All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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Little Reminders

I had a counseling session this morning.  B rearranged meetings so that he could stay with Matthew while I went.  I always appreciate that because B is super busy with work, especially right now.  I schedule my appointments at 8:00 so that I impact his day as little as possible, but conflicts, like today, do come up.  He needed me home at 9:10 so that he could get on a call that he was leading, so Dr. D and I planned ahead and stopped a bit early.

I don’t come right home, usually, and tell B about what Dr. D and I discussed.  I usually wait for an appropriate time and don’t want to bombard him with it, especially when he has to be on a call.  I was very anxious today, though, to share what we discussed because it was an “ah ha!” moment for me.  I stopped to get him some coffee on the way home and was back in time for B to get on his call.  B had Matthew all cleaned up for the day when I got home (even teeth brushed, which is not the “funnest” thing in the world to do), which I really appreciated.  He went off for his call, and I hopped in the shower.

Shortly afterwards, he came into the bathroom and sat down on the floor to play with Matthew.  I asked when his next call was, and we had 15 minutes to chat so I told him what Dr. D and I discussed.  And it’s this simple.  Every couple needs to find the bottom line between them – when it comes to arguments, decisions, plans, etc. – there is a bottom line.  The bottom line is, “what is most important to you as a couple”  Dr. D says that most healthy couples agree that their bottom line is their relationships with each other and their children, and then to those around them.  But central to every decision, every argument, every everything – your relationship with one another usually is (and should be) the bottom line between a couple.  If you can agree on that, then arguments, decisions, discussions will go much, much smoother when you keep that in mind.

This is a no-brainer.  I told Dr. D that had I known this before, I would have bought a sectional for our basement a year ago.  He chuckled.  I told him that a sectional in our basement would improve our relationship very much – there is plenty of room for all of us to stretch out and spend time together.  (I usually take 2/3 of the sofa and B gets 1 corner to himself = not comfortable for him = not desirable to spend time together down there.)  We bought a sectional this past Sunday, after 2+ years of discussion.  Two and a half years!  We put that decision off because, “what if we move and there’s no room for it?  It’s a sunk cost.”  We finally bit the bullet and we bought it.  Had we simply asked ourselves how the purchase would affect our relationship, we would have bought it a very long time ago.

And what do you know?  Yesterday, career discussions came up again.  We’re not taking this latest round too seriously because B had already started talking yesterday about what Dr. D discussed with me today.  B feels that this is the time for us to work on building our family here, and focusing on our two boys and each other.  And when you look at it from that perspective, and you think about our bottom line, moving right now is NOT the right decision.  It’s just THAT simple.  I feel much better about decisions like this in the future as long as I keep our bottom line top of mind.  Apparently, my husband is already doing this.

*****

When I was talking with Dr. D today, I told him that B is one of those techy guys who can get anything to work.  This was an issue last night for us as we were trying to watch Downt.on Abb.ey on PBS through our Xbox and it wasn’t working.  B was hell-bent on making it work, and I couldn’t help but wonder if part of his determination was his worry that I was upset that it wasn’t working.  I made sure he knew that I didn’t care and suggested we just eat and figure it out later.  Anyway, B got it figured out (of course he did) and we were all setup.

I appreciate this about B more than he probably knows.  He is very technical and can truly fix anything.  I had a cheap little thumb drive go bad once that had MY.ENTIRE.LIFE on it and when it failed me, I freaked out beyond your wildest imagination.  I was a wreck over it, but B said he’d figure out a way to get the data.  I figured if anyone could do it, it was him so I just left him to his devices and went into the other room.  Within an hour, he had it working again just long enough to transfer all of the data to a laptop (which was then immediately backed up onto our server) before it crashed permanently.

I’m a lucky gal!  I know this.

Today, after our conversation about our bottom line, B headed for another call and I got cleaned up in the bathroom.  Matthew was being SUPER cute so I grabbed my phone to take a quick photo – and it flew out of my hand and onto the tile floor (face down).  I knew without looking at it that this was the final straw for this phone – that it had been through so much before but that this forceful toss was what would do it in if something was going to.  And it did.  The screen is completely shattered.

I went down to B’s office and hollered through the door that I needed to go to AT.T soon to get a new phone (we carry insurance on our phones) before nap time.  He quickly said not to do that and that we’d talk in a bit.  By the time he was off the phone, he had a video ready to watch on how to fix it, the part found and ready to be ordered, and my data all being backed up.  He also got out my old phone (with a minorly cracked screen) and immediately started setting it up again.  He put off everything he had to do this morning to get me backed up, back “online,” and the parts on the way so he can fix my phone ASAP (if possible – it may not work).

*****

B sometimes surprises me.  He knew our bottom line before I did, and he handled what normally would have been a HORRIBLE stressor for me in a way that kept me calm and happy.  When I stress about technology, I am not nice.  I do take my frustrations out on him.  I admit it.  I become filled with rage and have a hard time controlling my temper.  B is used to this, he’s figured me out, and he handles me perfectly.

I was reminded twice today, within an hour of one another, not why I love B so much, but what makes him so special amd me so lucky to have him!


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An Anniversary Dinner

So the 26th was my 1 year blogiversary.  Who knew?!  I cooked up an awesome dinner, and I’d like to say I did it for my anniversary, but alas, I did not.  It just worked out that way!

We’ve been cooking a lot more at home these days.  We really enjoy it – and it was something we used do regularly together prior to having children.  These days, we divide and conquer.  But last night, it was all me.

A little background – we had a fantastic dinner downtown last Friday while celebrating Wilson’s clear ultrasound, and the side dish was parsnip potato mash.  It was awesome, but obviously potatoes are not something we want to be making at home.  We headed to Wh.o.le Foo.ds on Saturday and bought parsnips, not knowing what in the world we’d do with them.  We figured I’d sort it out later (famous last words with produce!).

So when it came time to cook yesterday, I decided steaks would be our meal and I’d come up with something to do with the parsnips.  Then I got a wild hair that I should just try to re-create the entire entrée from last weekend, because well, we both loved it.  So that is what I did.

An internet search for “parsnip mash” yielded many results, mostly with potatoes, but this parsnip-apple mash sounded right up my alley… and I had lots of apples in my fridge.  My parsnip mash did not end up white like Martha’s, but it was so tasty!

I decided that we had mushrooms so let’s go all out and make a rich mushroom sauce.  I usually just saute them up with garlic, pepper, and salt and call it a day, but I wanted to make an awesome sauce.  I got on BING and searched for “awesome mushroom sauce.”  I’m not kidding – that was my search, and this little dandy popped up.  It included a method for cooking the steaks as well – so I was all set.  AND?  I had all of the necessary ingredients for both recipes in my fridge, ready to go.

I got the mash started (sautéing the parsnips and apples) and then moved onto the mushrooms.  Once they were going, I started the steaks.  Everything was done at 6:03 (we usually eat at 6:00) and we were sitting down to dinner at 6:06.  PERFECT!

I’m not one to post recipes because I don’t think my cooking is all that great (B would disagree, but I would then disagree in return), but this?  This was fantastic!  The only deviations I made from the steak and mushroom recipe were using an espresso balsamic instead of regular balsamic, topping the steaks with espresso salt as well as the called-for rosemary and pepper, and using baby bella mushrooms because that’s what we had at home.

Usually, recipes like this cost a fortune because I need to run to the store to buy things – but I had the steaks in my freezer (thank you, Wallace Farms!), the parsnips and mushrooms in the fridge, and the special balsamic in the pantry.

Happy blogiversary to me!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

(I am posting the text of the recipes here in case they ever leave the internet.  I don’t want to lose these little gems!)

Parsnip-Apple Mash

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 pound tart apples (about 3), such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Coarse salt

Directions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook parsnips in a single layer until just golden on bottoms, about 10 minutes. Flip, and add apples, water, and 1  1/4 teaspoons salt. Raise heat to medium-high, and simmer, covered, until parsnips and apples are very soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered to retain moisture, until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth. With machine running, add remaining tablespoon butter.

Steak with Mushrooms and Awesome Sauce

Ingredients:

Steak:

  • 2 sixteen ounce rib eye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • Dried rosemary

Mushroom Saute

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 5 ounces fresh whole oyster mushrooms, trimmed
  • 5 ounces fresh whole shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

Awesome Sauce (My name, not Bon Apetit’s)

  • 1/4 cup canned beef broth

Directions:

  1. Start by rubbing the steaks with the peppercorns and rosemary and letting them sit for a little bit. I don’t think the sitting accomplishes anything other than making you really really want steak. I substituted fresh rosemary for dried and used more than the amount called for, which certainly looked nicer on the plate, as you can see below:
  2. The entire dish is fairly simple to cook. For the mushrooms, combine garlic, rosemary, and olive oil and sauté over medium-high heat for about half a minute before tossing in the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for 3 minutes or until they start to soften up and then add the balsamic vinegar. Throw in some salt and pepper and the fungi are ready to party.
  3. Meanwhile, in a heavy iron skillet, put about a tablespoon and a half of oil (for every two steaks) over high heat. Cook the steaks for 2 minutes per side, letting them brown. After the outside has browned, turn the heat down to medium-high and cook for another 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the steaks are and how rare you like them. Before you know it, the steaks are done!
  4. BUT WAIT! There’s more!   Whatever you do, do not slice the steaks immediately. Think of the juices, people! Here’s something to keep you busy while you’re waiting: Awesome Sauce. In the pan in which you just cooked your rib-eyes, there will be deliciously meaty scraps, just itching for a second lease on life. Crack open a can of beef broth, and pour ¼ or ½ cup into that pan. Let it heat, stirring and scraping until it has reduced to a succulent glaze. By the time it’s done and saucy, the steaks will be prime for the slicing.
  5. Order them like this: steak, glaze, mushrooms. Consume. Celebrate heartily.


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Finding Himself (AKA Major Defiance)

It’s only 2:50 and it’s been a day.  Matthew is teething like crazy – drool down his shirt constantly, fussy tantrums at the drop of a hat, refusal to eat food that isn’t super soft.  We had a rather fussy weekend and we weren’t sure if it was just him getting to know himself more (that’s my nice way of saying, becoming defiant) or if it was his teeth.

It’s both.

Matthew is in pain – that is clear.  I can see his canine teeth on both the top and bottom trying to come through, and I can’t imagine how awful that feels.  I try not to medicate him during the day – I’d rather not if he can get through it.  Today though?  I dosed him at 12:00 so it would be nice and soaked into his system by 1:00.  I delayed his nap a while because he FINALLY stopped crying and settled down to CG back in our bedroom while I ate pizza.  YES – it’s that bad of a day that I ate PIZZA for god’s sake.  In my defense (is there really a defense for such an offense?), I have wanted pizza for weeks now and it just had to be done – so why not on a day when it would feel like a justified reward?

It was good.  And worth it.  (So was the Diet Pe.psi!)

We learned over the weekend what Matthew’s new favorite thing IN.THE.WHOLE.WORLD is and it’s causing quite a problem for us.  Twice now, we’ve let him ride in my lap just a block from the neighbors’ to our house, and he loves this beyond belief.  Now he wants to get in the front seat all the time.  If you take him out to the car to load him up, he throws an absolute fit if he can’t sit in the front seat first and push some buttons.  This happens at home, at the grocery store, EVERYWHERE.

I let him knock himself out yesterday while B talked with our neighbor out front.  Matthew found the buttons to open the garage doors and turn on the dome lights.  This kept him busy for a long time and resulted in a major fit when the time came to load him up in his seat.  He freaked out again when we were coming home from our friends’ house.  And last night, B took him out to the garage just to play in the car because he wanted him to have something fun to do.  This resulted in a colossal melt down when they came back in the house.

I felt so bad for Matthew and his teeth today that I let him play in the front seat after we came home from Tar.get.  He hated being in his car seat, in the cart, and back in his car seat so I thought I’d give him something fun to do.  Did I NOT learn from B’s experience last night?  Apparently not.  While playing, he was at his happiest.  Upon coming inside, he had a melt down of mammoth proportions.

So teeth or “finding himself?”  I think we’re dealing a bit more with “finding himself” than teeth right now, but I’ll continue to blame it on teething in hopes that this phase quickly disappears.  I don’t know how much more I can take.  His fits just make me so sad and all I want to do is hug him and make it all better, but I can’t do that.  I need to set and stick to boundaries.  It’s killing me.

This is hard stuff.  Staying home is great and all, but it’s not always a picnic!  Some days are really hard to get through lately and I just wish his damned teeth would pop through so that we can put THAT behind us for now.

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The Monday Snapshot – Snow!

We got a small blast of winter on Thursday night.  We were told by the weather alerts to prepare for 7-9 inches of snow, then 6-8 inches, then 5-7 inches.  We ended up with under 5 inches, but it was still enough for us to hire out the scooping of the driveway (because our snow blower broke the last time we used it), for B to go snowshoeing with his buddy from work, and for Matthew to go out and touch the snow a bit.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day today – sunny and bright!  Matthew had worn a coat but we took it off as we loaded him up in the car after our last stop this morning.  It was plenty warm and sunny for him to go check out the snow for a few minutes before going inside for his nap.

The first step into the snow before he TOOK OFF into it!

The first step into the snow before he TOOK OFF into it!

What cute little hands - he did this all on his own without prompting!

What cute little hands – he did this all on his own without prompting!

This is my contribution to the Monday Snapshot over at PAIL Bloggers, where you can see other cute photos of cute kids!


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The Last 9 Days

I have been a bit quiet lately, and for good reason.

On February 13th, I had my 20-week ultrasound.  Things did not go as expected and I was referred to a Perinatologist/MFM for an ultrasound on February 22nd.  I’ve been blogging about this, but have been marking those posts as ‘private’ because I didn’t want to concern anyone over something that could end up being nothing, and I wanted to hold this close to my heart until we knew what was going on.  I wanted to capture all of the things I was thinking during this time, but didn’t want to share those things until we knew what we were dealing with.  Very few people know about this – we didn’t even tell our parents for various reasons.  It just seemed unnecessary to cause worry for others over something that was so unknown at the time.

We now have a resolution to the situation, which is good.  And the resolution is the best it could have been!  Because we have a resolution, I have now made these posts from the last nine days ‘public’ and you can view them if you’d like.

  1. And So it Goes
  2. Tomorrow is Another Day
  3. Today is Different
  4. Two More Days
  5. Resolution

 

I’m so glad this little chapter of this pregnancy is behind us!

Here is Wilson, looking cute and HEALTHY!

Here is Wilson, looking cute and HEALTHY!


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Resolution

We had our ultrasound today at 1:00.  It was originally scheduled for 8:00 AM, but the clinic called yesterday to reschedule due to a monster snow storm that was expected overnight.  Said snow storm was minor (oh so minor) but the timing worked out well for us and I liked being able to get up this morning to move at my own pace (slow!) and have both breakfast and lunch with my boys.

I woke up feeling good about this scan.  I just figured that we would be told it was nothing, and the worst case scenario would be that we’d have something to fix once Wilson was born.  My head wasn’t clouded much this morning and I reminded myself that of all the people in the waiting room, I would likely be the one with the least amount to worry about.

The ultrasound was great – the gal was very gentle and the machine was amazing.  We have never seen such clear pictures in-utero.  I knew what they were looking for, so I was relaxed until they got to his stomach.  And… it’s gone.  Whatever they saw last week is not there.  The tech thought that maybe his gallbladder was in the way last time, at a strange angle, and appeared attached to the stomach.  But, as she said, that’s just speculation on her part since she couldn’t see anything abnormal.

This is going to sound weird, but we enjoyed this ultrasound.  The tech was the age of our mothers, and very gentle and caring.  She described every last thing she was doing and looking at, something that no one has done for us before.  I just felt like there were no secrets at all, and I felt so comfortable that when she got to his stomach, I asked if she could see the “thing.”  I knew she may tell me that she couldn’t answer that, but I thought she was the type to share what she was seeing.  And she did.  She saw nothing.  When she got to Wilson’s head, she tried really hard to get a 3-D photo and she did!  She told us how cute he is.  How nice is that?

The perinatologist (Dr. W) came in shortly after and we immediately could see why Dr. H wanted us to see this guy in particular.  He was so kind, so wonderful, so calm.  He scanned me again and saw nothing as well.  He did say that Wilson’s gallbladder is a bit large, but that that’s perfectly fine.  Everything else looked great and Dr. W said that there was nothing else to do or worry about.  I don’t even need to worry about this changing our birth plan for Wilson – there is no follow-up needed.  Dr. W finished by telling us how great and clear the images were because of the machinery and because, “you’re thin.”

I will always hold a special place in my heart for Dr. W!

So – that’s it.  Nine days later, all is well.  All is resolved.  All is just fine!