oven fried chicken with sauteed green beans and corn

Our second Blue Apron meal was delicious this week. Oven Friend Chicken with Sauteed Green Beans and Corn really hit the spot and even David agreed that it was quite good!  With two of our three meals digested, we are really really thinking about joining Blue Apron during this first year of new parenthood. Because, even though I can get the recipes from the service online, can I get all the ingredients for the price Blue Apron is offering, that is the question! David and I will try this week to buy three meals worth of ingredients for these Blue Apron recipes and see what it costs us from a regular grocery store. Anyway, back to cooking this meal. While Henry napped in his mamaroo, I cooked up this meal in 20 minutes. I seriously cannot believe how easy this company has made dinner time.  Yes, I cooked it at 3PM and then let it sit on the oven until David got home and we reheated it for dinner, but it is the small victories in life as a new mom that matter! This meal will definitely join our meal rotation since it was super flavorful, easy, and the quick quick quick.

Ingredients:

5 Ounces Green Beans

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

2 Ears Corn

1 Bunch Basil

1 Clove Garlic

1 Lemon

1 1/2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs

1 Cup Buttermilk

2 Teaspoon Fried Chicken Spice Blend (Smoked Paprika & Garlic Powder)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Mini Bottle Tabasco Hot Sauce

 

Preheat the oven at 450. Cut the chicken breast into three equal pieces. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk and then roll in the panko breadcrumbs and spices (which you should blend together in a little bowl). Place the breaded chicken on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs have browned.  Meanwhile, in a pan on the stove, melt the butter and  add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the green beans (which you should cut into 2 inch pieces). Once the beans are a bright green, about 2-3 minutes, add the corn kernels that you removed from the cob, juice of half the lemon, salt, pepper,  and basil. Saute all together for another 2 minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of water to thicken the mixture.  Then plate the sauteed vegggies and top with the delicious chicken.  They recommend adding Tabasco sauce to taste on the chicken but I skipped this part and it tasted fine.

lamb, mint, and pea orecchiette

We have been so lucky.  Since Henry was born we have been able to avoid cooking in the kitchen for almost 3 weeks. Our nearest and dearest friends have taken amazing care of us and have brought over nutritious and delicious meals. From chicken pot pie, to kale salad, to fajitas, to lemon pepper chicken, to homemade pizzas, to stir fries, and so many more, we have truly been overwhelmed by the love and care of our friends. It cannot be stressed how amazing it was to not have to think about, worry about, or shop for dinner.  We were really able to focus on Henry and figuring out his needs and were able to avoid the frenzy of cooking and juggling the baby. Unfortunately, preparing dinner has now become a daunting task and I feel quite shy about being in the kitchen and trying to make sure Henry isn’t having a meltdown. But timing dinner and naps is unreliable at this early stage. Thankfully, our friends, Lauren and Mark, have helped us with this big transition. They currently use Blue Apron as a weekly meal delivery service and generously gave us a free week trial of meals. We received our package yesterday and everything was fresh and perfectly portioned. All I needed to do was mix it up on the stove top and enjoy. With Henry as my sous chef, we prepped and cooked our first Blue Apron recipe and we loved it!  It was so simple and the recipe was complete in 20 minutes.  This service is perfect for new families and David and I are thinking about extending our membership now.

The service provides you with recipe cards for each meal that you can then use again in the future if you decide not to use the delivery service again. So it is a win-win situation!

 

Henry was an excellent sous chef in his rocking chair on the floor. I kept holding my breathe and hoping he would stay content while I told him what I was doing on the counter and stove top. Hopefully in the future he can help his momma out with a little more of a hands on approach.

Ingredients:

Orecchiette Pasta

English peas

3 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of mint

1 lemon (for zest and juice)

1 purple spring onion

8oz ground lamb

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Cook the pasta and reserve 1 cup of water. In a pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute diced onion and diced garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ground lamb and cook through. Season with salt and pepper. Add peas, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, squeezed lemon juice, butter, Parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta. Add the reserved water slowly to create a light sauce. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, serve and enjoy!

5 things that reveal you are a new parent!

Life with Henry is somehow becoming “normal.” Everyone always says that once the baby arrives, it feels as though they have always been a part of your life. Yes, in the midst of a frantic cry-fest, I can vividly remember my life as a DINK (double income no kids). Yet, at the same time, while there is some razbliuto for our former existence, I do truly love our new little family member who is all things sweet, warm, and cuddly. To say it is all easy and moving along smoothly would be inaccurate but we definitely have a “schedule” forming which helps us better comfort, respond to, and understand our little man. Each day feels better than the previous even if it is a miniscule difference. Nevertheless, David and I are clearly new to parenting and some of the tell-tale signs of our newness have left us doubled over laughing.

1. When food shopping with Henry, David forgets that he is pushing the stroller and not the grocery cart. Henry therefore can be found with random food items tucked alongside him while David says, “Oh oops that’s right he is not the cart!”

2. When changing Henry we have a 50/50 chance of having him pee all over himself. No matter how fast we aim to change him and how prepared we are to face the diaper change it inevitably ends with a costume change for the little guy.

3. When taking Henry’s car seat out of the car, I am never quite sure how to raise the handle and have knocked myself in the face and chin. So when you see my bruised face know it is a parenting battle scar.

4. When we successfully head out of the house for an errand and time it just right to coincide with his nap, we feel like we have accomplished mission impossible upon our return and can’t help but high five, chest bump, and do a victory dance.

5. When Henry fusses, we sing the craziest songs. Songs we make up and songs from deep deep into our childhood emerge and freak us out. Like, who remembers the lyrics from Sleeping Beauty? Apparently I do!

Henry Adam: Two Weeks

Oh my! How has is already been two weeks since Henry was born? Seriously, these last two weeks have flown by in a whirlwind of diaper changes, feedings,  and cuddles. David goes back to work on Thursday for a two week project and then will be home again with us for another three weeks. While I am excited to see how Henry and I will do on our own, I am also a little nervous to be just the two of us. David has been such an AMAZING dad. He is quite the baby whisperer and without him I am not sure if Henry and I would have gotten into our breastfeeding, soothing, sleeping routine as quickly as we did. Most of our days are spent in the living room. In our comfy clothes, we spend the morning sipping our coffee and snuggling up to Henry between feedings while watching Live with Kelly and Michael in the background. We try to head out each day for at least one errand/trip. In the first days this would take us a few hours to time the feeding just so with our departure from the house. But yesterday we made it out to the Town Clerk’s Office to collect Henry’s birth certificate and then walked around the mall.  It was a triumphant trip which included a public breastfeeding and restroom changing. These silly milestones  provided us with some confidence to be “normal” outside of the house. It is amazing how something as simple as using the public restroom changing station can help you feel like, “Yes, I got this!”

We keep wondering what his personality will be like. It is a bit too early to know now but it is clear that he has a calm disposition which keeps evolving each day and he loves loves loves his daddy. Eskimo kisses help lull him to sleep and in the morning he loves cuddling in bed before heading downstairs to face the day. He eats like clockwork right now. Feedings are every 2 hours during the daytime and every 3-4 hours at night. I think he sleeps longer at night because he LOVES to be swaddled. We strap him into his little swaddle straight jacket and he is off to slumber-land.  We feel incredibly lucky to have this early baby-generated schedule (though each day I worry that it is going to change!).  As we become more adventurous with Henry, I feel as though our lives are settling back into place. I am surprised by how quickly this new little guy has become a seamless part of our existence and rounded out our family. While I am still a bit hesitant to dine out (nights tend to have a little cluster feeding), I am sure we will head out there soon!

As for me, I am feeling great! I was SO afraid it would take me the full 6 weeks postpartum to feel good. By taking it easy, my body has healed and I truly feel like my own self again (though a touch more tired). I have 13 pounds to go before I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I am not in a rush to lose it and I just feel completely amazed by my body: What it did during the 9 months of pregnancy, what it did during labor, and how it is recovering at its own pace. Yes, I had a weepy afternoon when I was overly tired last week, but David helped comfort me and usher me to take a much needed nap. His support has really helped make this family transition ideal. In these circumstances, no wonder people get addicted to making babies =)

henry is born

When I envisioned going into labor the scene was always the middle of the night. At 3:40AM on July 2, I woke up feeling some mild contractions. Immediately excited, I tried to tell myself that this could be a false alarm despite my premonitions of a night like this. It became quite apparent within 15 minutes that this was the long-awaited labor. After a week of walking laps around the park, drinking raspberry leaf tea, and finally even trying a castor oil omelet, the little baby was ready to make his debut. I tried not to wake David right away and tried to lay in bed “asleep” for as along as possible.  Obviously labor would be a long process and I wanted to “store up” my energy while I could. By 4:15AM though, any attempt at peacefully reclining in bed was over and David was up and by my side. We drew a tub and I  stayed in there with the shower pouring over my back until our doula arrived. Things happened quickly in the beginning and before I knew it David was calling the midwife and we were being told to head to the hospital. This transition from bathtub to car to hospital was very challenging. I wanted to stay in the tub because I felt like I “understood” the contractions that were occurring there.  They would come, they would go, they crashed over me like waves and in this new space I felt a homeostasis. But, I knew that staying was not an option as the contractions’ strength increased incrementally. I remember thinking between contractions that perhaps that was it, perhaps there would be no following contractions.  Unfortunately, this was not to be true. In the back seat of the car, I begged David to stop driving during a contraction while my mom rubbed my back. My mantra during the labor process was “It’s just a minute.” David and my mom would repeat this line to me throughout the duration of the contraction and I tried to focus on this phrase to get me to the other side. It helped and then it became absolutely essential to each of my contractions.

Once at the hospital, we soon found out that the labor and delivery floor was awash in laboring women. There was no room in the inn for us! Panicked and afraid, I labored in the hallway with David rubbing my back as I leaned over the handrail. This was the moment when I felt my “calm” resolve begin to crumble. How could there be no rooms? We were ushered into a utility-type room to await processing and hopefully to be transferred into a labor room as soon as possible. I don’t know how long we were in there. It was a blur of contractions and being told, “It’s just a minute.” When we arrived finally in our room, it was so hard to sit still as they quickly monitored the baby’s heart rate before letting me up to do whatever internal labor dance would help me through contractions. Somehow despite the overcrowded conditions, we were able to get a room with a jacuzzi bathtub. With the lights turned off, candles lit, and bath drawn, I labored in the water until 10:30AM. It was a wild experience to be in what would otherwise be considered a romantic setting with labor contractions. Between contractions, the warm water would lull me to sleep and I felt my head nod off only to be brought back to reality as the contraction wave started in my back and wrapped around my center. David did his best to keep me calm and focused and poured water over me to help distract and soothe.  At the 7 hour mark, I turned to David and said, “I am lucid right now, and I am telling you I am done. I want an epidural please.” I thought I would have been disappointed asking for a medical intervention, but really it was the best decision I made during the labor process. The pain was almost to the brink of unbearable and the thought of laboring on in this fashion left me feeling as though I would not be mentally present for the birth of my baby since my entire mind and body was consumed by the pain of labor.  I was proud that I made it through 7 hours but I knew I had reached the limit of my pain.

Once the epidural was administered, I could feel my mind return to me. Calm washed over and I felt truly present in the experience.  Our midwife, Tali, closed the shades and set us up for a nice long nap. Knowing I would need my strength for the pushing since I was only half way there, she ensured us that napping would be the best we could do to prepare. The rest of the afternoon we spent in and out of a few naps, chatting together about the wildness of what we were experiencing, and chatting with our medical team. We all shared family stories, jokes, and talked about what the pushing phase would be like. My favorite part of this time was sharing how David and I met, dated, and married. It was so special to be able to go over these happy memories with our midwife and doula before we welcomed our son into our lives and became a trio. Then finally at 7:30PM we were told it was time to start pushing to meet our son. While the epidural still took the pain away the pressure was quite intense. I remember shaking and crying that I could not do it. David held me close the whole time and reassured me that I was doing a great job. With each round of pushing, I would break down into hysterics and hyperventilation. But, with David there helping to catch my breath, I was able to regain control just in time for another push. A little into this part the midwife announced, “I think we will have this baby by 10PM.”  I was deliriously excited by this news and looked over to the clock and asked, “Is it 9:45PM?”  David had to break the news to me that no in fact it was only 8:45PM. Digging somewhere deep down inside of myself I knew that I could not make it to 10PM and I bore down. David and our Doula coached me, encouraged me, and said that I was making progress. I had to believe them I told myself because otherwise I would not have the stamina to continue. At 8:58PM Henry was born and we met our son. To say this was emotional is an understatement. We had created this little life from scratch and here he was all warm and pink and sweet lying on my stomach as we were encircled in David’s arms. It is by far the most amazing moment of my life. My little family was born that evening and we are so blessed to have one another.

Since Henry was born at 9lbs 12oz, he needed to have his blood sugar monitored during his first hours of life. He was also born with a slight fever so soon after his birth, Henry and David had to go to NICU for some blood work and brief monitoring. Despite these little challenges, I loved the birth of our baby and it was so miraculous to be together as a family. We stayed in the hospital for three nights and finally came home on Saturday. Breastfeeding has its challenges but with the help of my lactation consultant, David, we have problem solved some of the issues and seem to be settling into a nice easy routine with our little one. If this first week home with Henry is any indication of what life will be like with our little boy, we made the best decision ever to become a family. He is so tiny and yet he is so lovable. He is challenging when he is fussy and we don’t know how to comfort him (yet) but he is also the most charming little darling. We will learn so very much from this little man in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. I love him and his daddy so very much and am so happy Henry made me a mommy.

doula, birth coach, and birth wishlists

Maybe I am crazy but I want to have a natural childbirth. Yes, I know I have yet to feel a contraction so my confidence is probably naive but something deep down inside me wants this. When it comes to pain, I am not afraid to grab the Tylenol for a headache and I cry out when I stub my toe on the pesky coffee table, but somehow I keep putting the pain of childbirth into its own separate category from these daily aches and pains. Whenever anyone asks about our birth plan or birth wishes, I am usually greeted with skepticism as I say, “I am going to try for a natural delivery.”  I am reminded that in the end, the baby and my body will decide how the birth goes. And, yes I know this. I know that all I can hope for on the other side of this birth process is a healthy outcome for both baby and me. In this I am not delusional. My ultimate goal is for a healthy and safe delivery of this little boy.  Yet, I can have a wish list, no?

I promise not to remain married to this wish list. I promise to have the wishlist be realistic. I promise not to stand in the way of the medical professionals who might need to intervene in the process. But, I also promise to focus my attention on my natural childbirth goals for as long as both my body and baby allow. To help me reach these goals David has committed himself to being a superb birth coach. Reading a variety of resources, he is now well versed in alternative forms of relaxation, support, and massage. Some nights we pretend I am in the midst of earth-shattering contractions and he “practices,” as best he can, ways to support me, calm me down, and stay tuned in with me. This might sound ridiculous, but it is actually quite sweet and romantic. He is the leader of my team and even though I am a little afraid of this path I have to take, I know that I have someone beside me who really gets what I am trying to do and who will help get me there. Even more important though he has relentlessly  reminded me that no matter what happens on the actual day(s) that he is already so proud of the work, decisions, and path we have taken with this pregnancy and impending birth.  This has not only assured me of his love and support but also taken off any and all pressure to have the perfect delivery.  We are both going in there for the ride and hope we can encourage that ride to be one way but are prepared to be there for each other for the twists and turns that are probably going to present themselves.

To further support the two of us, the baby, and our birth wishes, we have also invited a doula into the room with us. Catherine is so sweet. We have sat down with her on a number of occasions and she is a realistic, positive, and super informed woman. She is able to answer our questions, reassure our doubts, and remind us of the beauty of the childbirth process. If you know the show Game of Thrones then you know that there is a character named Brienne of Tarth. She is described as this massive woman who is able to fight with the very best of men. When I imagine my doula, I conjure up this character. Someone who is able to swing me up into their arms and carry me through the pains of delivery with ease. While our doula is in no way, shape, or form the stature of Brienne (our doula is actually quite diminutive in size), I feel like her spirit is that of Brienne’s. She will help us get to our goals as long as she can. She will be in the room to support David as he supports me and she will be there to support me as well. A fountain of knowledge and experience will be standing with us as we get ready to meet this little guy and her presence truly dissipates the fears that have been bottled up inside of me.

I am so thankful to have such an amazing team of support people heading into the impending birth of this little one. Am I still a little afraid? Yes, absolutely.  But that is normal and it is no longer a crushing, suffocating fear. Rather it is a fear that is imbued with an incredible amount of excitement. Fingers crossed that this little guy joins us soon. I just cannot wait to meet him. And fingers crossed that we get the outcome we desire – most of all a healthy baby, a healthy mommy, and as natural a process as we can hope for.

nursery tour

With only a few weeks to go until the little man makes his arrival, we finally have our nursery completed. It is one of my favorite spaces in our home, which is probably a good thing since I imagine we will be spending a lot of time there comforting, playing, feeding, and cuddling the little baby. In the beginning, the little man will sleep in our room in a bassinet next to  our bed. It will just be easier to have him close during that time when his sleep and eating habits will be more unpredictable and on demand. But, even though he won’t be sleeping in his darling little crib, I am sure we will be in his room to change him, to play on the elephant mat together, and to rock him. All of his little things are sweet and precious and I find myself going into the room to sit down and just exist in that quiet space (which will very shortly not be a quiet space any more!). Everything in there smells like baby and feels so warm and welcoming. It is amazing to think that we get not to only meet him soon but love him and parent him! It is truly surreal.  Bella and Buster have started to spend some time in the room too. We want them to be familiar with all of the stuff before the baby arrives. Of course, we monitor them while they explore his toys, the chair, and try desperately to chew on his elephant stuffed animals. It will be hard for them to restrain themselves from just thrashing the stuffies to bits but David has been working on it and there seems to be progress.  They can now go into the room and just hang out without frantically going after the toys = progress! I am sure things will change once the little man arrives and piques their curiosity but I am excited to watch them sniff, love, and protect him. It will be fun watching the little man grow up with the pups and romp around the house and yard. So even if the beginning months are challenging balancing all of the family needs, it will be well worth it I am sure.

When we started to put the room together we had one wood dresser. It had been our first home purchase when we moved in together in Boston. It is funny how when you buy a large item for one purpose you cannot image how it will be used in the future. We moved David’s clothes out of this particular dresser and moved it into the baby’s room. Since this piece was an oak color we decided that instead of painting it, we would stick to furniture of a similar hue and add color through linens, paints, and details. The major colors in the room are: blue, grey, and yellow. We wanted the room to be soothing on the eyes but not cold and I think we were able to meet that with our choices.

Here are some of the nursery room details

The changing table is part of the Kendall Collection from pottery barn. We picked it because we felt it was almost a match to the dresser we already had in our home. We were not huge fans of the knobs that came with the dresser though. So we headed to Anthropologie and found these little owls to replace them. The prints on the wall above the changing table are from Aldari Art on etsy.We wanted to add a little bit of color but didn’t want the room to become to overstimulated. Her animal prints are just so cute. They are one of my favorite details! His little hamper with the raccoon bandit is from the Container Store (one of the best stores! I could get lost in there for hours). And, on top of the dresser that we already had, we placed a  basket we received from our baby shower filled with burp cloths and bibs and a little dumbo and his mother stuffy. My mom and dad gave us the dumbo toy. When I was little my nanny would pretend to be Dumbo’s mother and her arm would be the trunk. My brother and I would sit on her arm and she would swing us back and forth singing the mother’s song. This toy is a beautiful reminder of my nanny and how lucky I was to have her in my life when I was growing up and until just last year. Though she will not meet our little one, I know she is still with us.

The yellow bookcase was a recent purchase. We started to receive all these great board books from family and friends and did not have anywhere to put them. We didn’t want to add another piece of heavy furniture to the room and then found this quirky bookcase “manger” from Land of Nod.

When the little man’s crib arrived, David and I would go into the room and ask, “And who will be sleeping here?” Seriously, how is it that we have a whole room set up for someone we don’t know yet? I still cannot believe we will be having a baby!  But, the crib is definitely proof that BIG changes are coming to our family. And if you couldn’t tell already, the baby’s room has an elephant theme. From sheets, to mobile, to stuffies, to quilt, he will be surrounded by his elephants while he is ushered to dream world (where he hopefully stays during full nights of sleep, fingers crossed!)

Ah, and then we get to my absolute favorite piece in the nursery!! I just LOVE this glider from Target. We were on the fence for awhile about whether or not we needed a glider.  Obviously it would be great to have to rock him to sleep, but there was no guarantee that he would (a) like it or (b) use it for very long. Despite these doubts we pulled the trigger and invested in these two pieces if for no other reason than to have a place to put your feet up after a long day! And with the chair we added an ottoman pouf from Aletafae on etsy. It just arrived today and it is AMAZING!

So now we wait, and wait, and wait. This is by far the hardest part.  The pregnancy has been easy but this waiting for the last few weeks and waiting until he is ready to join us is so difficult. I know that the longer he stays put and stays closer to his due date the better, but I just want to meet him and kiss him SO badly. I already love this little person who I haven’t met yet! At least now, while we experience this wait we can relax a little in his room!

3 years together

What!?!  How has it been three years since David and I walked down the aisle and said “I do!” I guess the old cliche is right: time flies when you are having fun. I seriously love this guy. He has challenged me, inspired me, loved me, supported me, and made me laugh each and everyday. In these short three years, we have built a family and a home together and I am so incredibly grateful to have such a fabulous husband (Of course, I am a pretty fun wife too!). Our little twosome is about to be a threesome but I am really happy to have had these three years together. It has been an adventure and promises to continue to be. Thankfully I will have this lovely guy by my side to keep it all interesting!

When it became official: The Kiss