Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dinner Time

A few days ago, when Jordan and I were trying to decide on dinner, we realized that we were missing a key ingredient for one of our favorite easy comfort food meals, poppyseed chicken. Not wanting to drive the 1 mile to the grocery store and remembering I'd recently bought all the ingredients for a Pinterest meal, I jumped out on a limb and tried out a new Pinterest-inspired meal!

I LOVE all things buffalo. I'm not necessarily a fan of nuclear hot food, but give me some moderately hot buffalo wings any day. Kickin Chicken Sandwich from Zaxby's? Drool. WingStop? Yes, please. You get the picture, right? So when I saw someone had posted a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Casserole, I knew it'd be right up my alley. Thankfully, Jordan and I are equally yoked when it comes to a love of buffalo things, so I knew he'd probably also enjoy this meal!

The original meal feeds 6-8 people (9x13"pan), which is an entire family more than what we actually need food for, so I tweaked & adjusted the portions to make an 8x8" pan's worth of food. We both ate full plates of food (and by full plates, I mean, my hubby cleaned his plate and I ate about 6 bites and was stuffed.) Some of the measurements are approximations and I've included a few tips that I think I'll put into practice when I make this meal for a second time. It's easy to prepare, filling, and comforting food. It would be a perfect hospital meal or freezer casserole. Try it out sometime!

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

MmmMmmMmm... Molten bubbly goodness

1 large or 2 small Chicken breasts, thawed and cut into strips
1/3 Cup Frank's red hot buffalo sauce
1 Can Cream of chicken soup
1/2 Cup Ranch dressing
1/2 Cup shredded cheese
2.5 Cups frozen hashbrowns (the shredded kind)
Enough Panko to cover the top
Salt & Pepper to taste

350 degrees.
Spray 8x8" pan with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt & pepper and combine with buffalo sauce. This is your first layer, so go ahead & dump that into your pan and spread it out to a nice even layer. Mix the next 4 ingredients in a separate bowl until it's all cohesive and lovely, then make that layer numero dos in your pan. Sprinkle the panko over the top for the third and final layer. Cover with aluminum foil and bake x30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown & bubbly. After this, I ended up popping the pan under the broiler for another 3 minutes to get a nice & crispy topping. Eat something relatively redeeming along with this cheesy creamy buffalo fest like a salad or something.

Here's what I think I'll do differently next time: first, I think this would be yummier with shredded chicken versus the chicken strips/chunks. I'll often buy a rotisserie chicken from the store, shred the meat and use it in a few different applications, and now also this casserole. I ended up putting a few shakes of Frank's on top of my dished out portion. If you're worried this will be too hot, I didn't find it to be overly hot even with the extra on top. Perhaps next time I'll bump the measurement up to 1/2 cup of hot sauce. I think I'll cut the potatoes to 2 cups and use sour cream plus ranch mix instead of the dressing, just because I'm not a big fan of bottled ranch dressing.  There are so many different ways to make this dish your own -- swap the ranch dressing for blue cheese -- use cream of celery instead of chicken -- top with shredded cheese instead of Panko -- the possibilities are varied and delicious! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Applique Boutique

Today I'm featuring a local business on the blog! I don't think I've ever done this before, but the two ladies who run Applique Boutique are dear friends of mine! I remember Brooke and Anne talking about how great it would be to invest in an embroidery/applique machine several months ago and just recently took the big plunge! They are working super hard and are cranking out some SUPER CUTE items. Check out some of the sweet things they've posted recently:

I'll get one of these for Baby M (on a onesie of course!) for Turkey Day!

A perfectly cute Christmas dress! If baby M is a girl....

These guys were made for baby M! They'll add a name to them once this kiddo arrives!

They don't ONLY make kids things - get anything personalized! 
So basically these two are gonna put me in the poor house! I never knew I could get so excited about basic white onesies, but have plans already for all of them! Also looking forward to adding some cute touches and monograms to just about everything else for this baby.

Check out their Facebook page (and LIKE them!!!!) to see tons of other examples of fantastic monogrammed and appliqu├ęd clothes and accessories! Brooke and Anne are passionate about creating affordable personalized items. Keep them in mind when you're thinking of something great for yourself, your kiddos or a perfect gift for someone else. Go right now and show them some love!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


So today I've met one of the last major pregnancy milestones! I am officially 35 weeks pregnant, which means I've only got 35 days left until my due date! This pregnancy has flown by at the speed of light and I am completely thrilled to meet this little person soon. 35 weeks in the L&D world is kind of a big deal. I wrote 2 whole paragraphs about what exactly this means in the L&D world, but had visions of crazed hormonal pregnant women doing stupid and dangerous things to themselves in an effort to deliver. So, I followed my inner voice of reason and deleted both paragraphs. Those crazed hormonal pregnant women who would do just about anything to have a baby are given a relatively tame nickname among OBs and L&D nurses: T.O.T. (tired o'totin.) (Interchangeable with T.O.P. - tired o'pregnancy).

Back to the matter at hand. I'm 35 days shy of that November 1 due date! That just seems entirely too soon! Contractions? Check. Indigestion? Double check. Insomnia? Triple check. All systems are pointing towards the end, which is in sight! This means I've got a few things to accomplish. Lets take a look at what we've got checked off the to-do list so far:
  1. Pre-Register @ the Hospital
  2. Baby shower x3
  3. Paint the nursery
  4. Assemble the crib and furniture
  5. Make a game plan for Mauve during our hospital time
  6. Put together all the baby extras (Stroller, swing, pack n'play, etc.)
  7. Do laundry and organize baby clothes and linens
  8. Make phone call to insurance company regarding our new policy holder.
  9. Obtain final prenatal labs including the lovely booty swiping GBS swab.
  10. Return duplicate baby shower gifts and buy as many packs of diapers/wipes as my credit card will allow before maxing out entirely.
  11. Pre-baby Bikini Wax! (hey- I gotta look these people in the eye again.)
  12. Pre-baby haircut & color
  13. Make phone call to anesthesia provider's office to "preorder" services.
  14. Install the car seat.
  15. Pack a hospital bag.
  16. Pre-baby Mani/Pedi!
  17. Get one final ultrasound for a position check (I'd bet money that this baby is head down) and approximate weight (I'd bet money that this baby is a pretty substantial size already.)
  18. Put together a couple of thank you goodies for my doc, nurse, and CRNA.
  19. Meet/Interview our potential pediatrician.
I don't really see the absolute need to include childbirth classes, CPR classes, breastfeeding classes or a tour of the hospital's labor & delivery unit, nursery, and postpartum. There are a few perks to working where you will deliver. Like already knowing your way around. Like having to attend those all day long education classes on things like breastfeeding and infant life support. Like trapping your favorite CRNA in a corner with a sharp object and threatening that you will call him at home when he is needed and that HE. WILL. COME. Or else. And then getting the warm fuzzies when he reassures you that he would be happy to come to work on his day off and take care of my your anesthesia. 

I wouldn't know anything about that last statement.

And a few things I have left on the to-do list
  1. Finish baby shower thank you cards.
  2. Wash some bottles and pacifiers
  3. Assemble/freeze a few casseroles for myself and prebake/freeze a few treats for my coworkers
I'm sure there are dozens of other things that I could come up with if given enough time to think, but these are definitely the big deals that still loom overhead. If nothing else happens, I'm most anxious to meet with our pedi-to-be and establish a relationship pre-delivery. Another perk of the biz: getting the inside scoop on all the pedi's (or any doc for that matter) straight from the ladies who work with them on a daily basis. Score!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

L&D Fun

The 12 hour shifts are really starting to make this belly seem 100lbs heavier than I know it is, but that doesn't stop the fun! These days, I'm getting closer and closer to my due date, which means I'm right on track with a lot of my patients as well. This is a curious phenomenon, as all of a sudden, I feel like my patients take me REALLY seriously because we're all going through the same discomforts of pregnancy at this point. Like, as soon as I say symptom X is completely normal, and I'm feeling the same thing, it's like the reassurance washes over and all is well in the world again.

Except for maybe that time last week when I politely (?) told a patient that contractions don't necessarily equal labor, because I've been having contractions for 2 weeks already and haven't had a baby yet. She didn't seem too happy to hear that.

I've gotten a lot of birth plan questions, both as a giggly inside joke between coworkers and a serious inquiry from other pregnant friends. I thought I'd share some of the highlights of my "birth plan."

  1. I'd like to have a baby in the safest way possible. If that means I can push him/her out, then great! If that means I need a c-section, then that's ok too. I was delivered via C/s, so we'll just see what happens.
  2. I want an epidural. It's important to me that I get to enjoy those last few moments with my husband as a "pair" instead of a "trio." Plus, I'm kind of a weenie when it comes to painful things.
  3. I would like to breast feed. 
  4. I want all the baby meds and vaccines. Also a circumcision (if baby M is a boy!).
That's about it.

I know there are about a jillion different schools of thought regarding all of my "birth plan" choices and don't intend to "step on toes" or cause a stir. Just last week, there was conversation around the nurse's station about patients who choose to take their placentas home for... uh... consumption. Most hospitals have policies against sending medical waste home with patients, so that's not even really a consideration, but then I had a patient who informed me that her mother ate the placenta from her last baby (my patient's youngest sister) and apparently scrambled it up with some eggs. Gag. Barf. 

Recently, I had a patient with a birth plan that only had 2 "goals." 1. Don't poop everywhere. 2. Don't tear to kingdom come. Maybe I'll add those to my own birth plan! In the end, she accomplished both of her goals. So now, don't let anyone tell you that hospitals don't uphold birth plans! HA!

All pictures found via Pinterest

Monday, September 17, 2012

Breaking the Rules

So we've finished painting the nursery, which makes this whole baby process seem a lot more real. And yes, I was right in the middle of all the painting. I let my husband do all the work that required a ladder but certainly wasn't about to let him paint my sweet baby's nursery all by himself. In my defense, we used the no VOC/very low odor/environmentally friendly (read: expensive!) paint from Sherwin Williams. And I had a fan on and the window was open until it got so hot and humid (thank you coastal Texas!) that I just had to close it.

Maybe I haven't followed all the pregnancy "rules." Like the painting thing. And the fact that I've had my share of caffeine on an almost daily basis. And I've eaten lunch meat, but haven't acquired Listeria. And I've taken a few nice warm bubble baths. And I frequently forget my prenatal vitamins. And even though Jordan was the ladder man this weekend, I spent an afternoon recently carrying boxes up into our attic (via that rickety fold-up ceiling ladder). Lets not even discuss some of the shenanigans I get into at work. Oooh, and sometimes I wake up lying flat on my back.

And so far, my baby is still happy & healthy, kicking around and doing barrel rolls in my belly. I have no reason to believe that he or she will come out with 11 fingers or one eye (a la Cyclops). I do my best to make healthy eating choices and load up on the water throughout the day. I don't consume alcohol or smoke or do illegal drugs and I hope that if my irresponsible, unhealthy 15 year old patients can have healthy babies then my little one should be just fine. Makes sense, right?

Wanna see how the room came together this weekend?

Step 1: Empty the room out (well, almost.)
Step 2: Tape [almost] empty room off. Test possible color choices. 
I had pretty much decided on a color from Sherwin Williams called Watery. SO sure in fact that I was thisclose to just buying a can of Watery and going with it. I stared at a paint chip for weeks and at the last minute, this little voice in my head said, "try a few colors out!" I consider this the voice of reason and not the voice of schizophrenia, so I chose another color, also Sherwin Williams called Raindrop. Apparently my inner voice of reason knows best, because in the end, we went with Raindrop. Go figure.

Step 3: Paint!
Step 4: Stand back and enjoy!
The more and more I look at the new room color, the more I like it! So now it's time to put the crib together and get organizing. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Maternity Pictures (and a 33 week update!)

I'm a week overdue for a 32 week update, so we'll just go with a 33 week update! Instead of featuring a red tank/jeans bump shot, I'll be featuring a few of the pictures from our maternity photo session that we did earlier this week. Heather Babbitt from Random Shots Photography was kind enough to snap some shots of the two of us and I think she did a phenomenal job! I was really REALLY hesitant to do photos, for several reasons, but I am so stinkin happy that I got over my insecurities and went with it.

Jordan and I have known Heather for a few years now and were super comfortable just hanging out and catching up and posing for a few great pictures. She was nice enough to put up with my long list of photo "donts"(No bare belly shots. No alphabet blocks or baby booties or kooky props. No hands in the shape of a heart.). I really wanted the pictures to capture both Jordan and myself together as a pair not just me & a bump. He is just as much a part of this journey as I am and it was super important to me to have him with me the entire time. Heather completely understood where I wanted to go with the pictures and they came out 1000x better than I even imagined in my own head! You folks who live down here in South Texas should consider Random Shots Photography for your photo needs! We love Heather!! 

As far as being 33 weeks, there's little to update! This kiddo is somewhere around the 4lb mark and like 18ish inches or so, according to the Baby Center / What to Expect updates. The bump is now large and in charge and starting to feel a little on the heavy side. Movements are frequent and big! I've determined that this child has very long legs and is often trying to escape by kicking out one side or the other. Still not having any cravings or aversions, and I'm getting to the point where about 5 bites of food makes me feel absolutely stuffed. 

Sleep is unfortunately becoming quite a commodity these days. Turning over in bed is becoming a chore! I'm sure this is just a little body prep for the newborn nights that will be upon us in just a month and a half! In a couple of weeks I'll have my last ultrasound and cross over that 35/35 milestone. This is just absolutely crazy to me! 

Next up on our agenda is painting the nursery! The room is cleared out and the color is chosen, we just need a few open afternoons to tape off and paint. I can't wait to start putting things together and getting organized and ready for this little kiddo! Stay tuned in the next few weeks for a play-by-play of the junk room to nursery remodel, as well as photos and updates from baby shower numero dos.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Adventures of Mauve and Charlotte

Mauve hasn't gotten a lot of blog love here recently, but rest assured, she is still the same ol mess of a doggy. She still spends her days eating all things both edible and inedible, napping, scratching and shedding all over the house. She hasn't seemed to catch on to the whole pregnancy thing yet, or if she has, she's pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. 

Well this past weekend, we opened our house up to another doggy named Charlotte while her people went out of town for a few days. Here's little Charlotte:

Hi Charlotte!
Seeing that Mauve is resting at a solid 72 pounds these days and I'm guessing Charlotte wouldn't even break the 20 pound mark on the scale, she is dwarfed by Mauve (you can see Mauve in the left corner of the picture). But thankfully, they've gotten along really well this weekend. She's a good bit quicker than Mauve and a little on the scrappy side, so their playtime isn't as one-sided as you might think. (But she's certainly been knocked over more than a few times by her 3.5x bigger friend)

It's been pretty hilarious watching them play together. Charlotte is usually the instigator, unless it's tug-of-war time, which just so happens to be Mauve's play of choice. She isn't really living up to her Labrador Retriever name, because she'd much rather watch a ball fly across the room than run after it and bring it back. But tug-of-war gets her every time. And it was nice to have someone else be on the other end of the rope besides Jordan or myself.  When Mauve was in a frisky mood (there have been a few instances where I've seen her give Charlotte the "leave me alone" look), she'll grab onto one end of her rope toy and lay the other end in front of Charlotte to see if she is up for a game or two. Then she proceeds to pull Charlotte all over the living room. Even though Charlotte puts up a good fight, there's no real "war," but she's just as content to have someone on the other end doing a little tugging against her.

Here's a funny little iPhone video that I shot of them playing tug-of-war together yesterday (The one doing all the heavy breathing is Mauve - she really gets into it.):

They've kept each other pretty well entertained the last few days and if they're not playing together, they're both passed out on the floor. Kind of like they are right now.

Jordan and I have learned a few things this weekend from our time with both Mauve AND Charlotte. First, I don't think we're a 2 dog kinda household. It's been fun having some extra entertainment around the house, but I think we're pretty content with little Mauve. And secondly, we just love our little Mauvey. Having Charlotte in a new place with new people and another dog was an adjustment for her, plus she's used to different rules and a different schedule. All the minor snafus that arise with all these new variables just made us so thankful for our own sweet Mauvey....

Well, as long as she's not eating out of the trash can and barfing on the rug.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vacation 2012

We are ... sadly... back home again from our wonderful vacation! Wanna know where we went? Here's a hint:

Not quite sure yet? Here's another hint:

Did I hear someone in the last row say San Antonio? Why Yes! We DID go to San Antonio!!! And it was awesome. After lots of thinking and talking and looking and pricing, we decided it would be in our my best interest to go someplace relatively close. I certainly don't have quite the stamina that I usually have, and I would've kicked myself in the pants if we'd spent a lot of money to fly some place and pay big bucks for a hotel room and then not have the energy to go-go-go. Originally, I was thinking it'd be awfully nice to spend a few days in NYC, but then thinking of all the walking, I just knew that by day 3 I'd be sore and exhausted and contracting. And then I'd kick myself in the pants for wanting to lay around the hotel all day. San Antonio was perfect! We only live about 2.5 hours away, and were able to put our flight money into other more wonderful things.

Like our hotel! We stayed at the Mokara Hotel on the river and it was incredible. The room was beautiful and luxurious. It was quiet, which is a vast contrast to the last riverfront hotel I stayed at! The hotel staff bent over backwards to make sure our stay was exceptional, and most of the people we saw remembered our names and would ask us each day how our visit was going. I mean sure, being mid-week in September, it was pretty empty, and I'd imagine that I was pretty easy to spot since I was toting this baby around all week, but it still meant a lot to be treated so personally. 

 The bathroom was gigantic! I should've taken a picture in front of that mirror to give you a better idea of how much space we were dealing with. There were 2 sinks (so double the counter/mirror space in the picture) and the tub very comfortably fit 2 people (so double the tub). The hotel even provided a bath butler who would come and draw your bath each night if you so desired. Jordan informed me that they would also come fix your coffee.

Long story short: I felt pretty fancy at the Mokara.

The hotel also had a full service spa, so we took advantage of that! One afternoon, we indulged in a couple's massage. It was bliss. I got the fancy maternity pillow on my massage table, and for the first time in months, I was able to comfortably lay on my stomach. If it weren't for the frequent little kicks & wiggles, I would've been convinced that I was no longer pregnant. Well, for 50 minutes. I think I died and went to massage heaven. After the massage, we were treated to some comfy loungey chairs, warm blankets and a plate of fruit to share while we came down from the clouds.

One afternoon, I introduced Jordan to the mecca that is La Cantera. More specifically, the Shops at La Cantera. I think I may have only won him over while at the Apple Store. Otherwise, it was just a trip to get my shop on. We also spent a brief amount of time at the Alamo Quarry Market. We spent an afternoon lounging by the hotel pool (which just so happened to be on the roof! Very picturesque.... except I didn't get one.). We slept in each morning and lounged around the hotel room. We were indulgent and ordered room service (dessert only! Wahoo!).

Long story short: We were slugs with no real agenda. And it was glorious.

We ate at lots of great restaurants both on and off the river. One night I was feeling an Italian food vibe, so we implored the hotel concierge for their recommendations and ended up at Tre Trattoria. The meal was probably one of the highlights of the entire trip. Seriously, I think I died and went to pasta heaven.  (that's 2 deaths in one trip for those of you keeping track.)

Here's a happy post-meal hubs. We were stuffed to the brim with some of the best italian food. Even though I feel like I can only fit about 3 tbsp of food in my stomach these days, I sacrificed a little post meal comfort and ate way too much! It was incredible!

That's our trip in a (big) nutshell. I think somewhere around Wednesday afternoon, we'd agreed that we should do this exact same trip again next year. Same quiet week, same incredible hotel, same massage, same ridiculously good italian dinner. Love it!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tomorrow, Jordan and I will do something that we haven't done in a really long time.

We're going on a VACATION!!!!! 

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

We're talking a just the two of us, no agenda, sleep in, order room service, lay by the pool, get massages and be slugs for 4 days kinda vacation. No work to accomplish. No friends or family to visit. No students to chase around.

Just the two of us. Before there are three of us.

See ya Friday for a 32 week update and full recap of our glorious trip!
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