Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hi Friends!

Life never slows down, does it? Just when I think I'll get a little downtime, things always seem to come up. We've been ultra busy around here recently (big surprise), and I don't see that ending anytime soon. After spending a day catching up on housework and laundry, Isaac is finally in bed, Jordan is wrapping up his Wednesday night youth service and I've stolen away a few quiet minutes to ramble.

First, I'm thrilled to say I'm typing this from our NEW computer! She's a real beaut and thankfully all updated and working properly. Our previous Macbook served us very well for 7 years, but for the last few months has gotten increasingly more difficult to blog from. iPhoto had become corrupt, which meant any pictures that needed to go through iPhoto had to be loaded onto a different computer, then uploaded to blogger, where I could either save the post and work on it later, or sit at our computer desk and type it out. Either way, it wasn't convenient. The browsers were all out of date. The battery was dead, so I always had to have the computer plugged into the wall. Hurray for new computers! Fingers crossed for some more frequency and less unedited iPhone photos here on the blog!

Over the weekend, we had our first big yard sale at this house. Mostly, we needed to clean some old junk out to make room for this new baby. Our guest bedroom (which will soon by occupied by a toddler) was FULL of stuff. I love purging things. There's nothing more gratifying than starting with a completely overloaded closet and ending the day with a blank space and a bunch of trash bags ready to be taken out. There are very few things I am attached to. My husband, on the other hand, is attached to everything. He can get worked up over an empty box. In most circumstances, we balance each other out; He keeps me from throwing truly important things away and I keep him out of the hoarder zone. In the realm of yard sales, our differing opinions led to a few disagreements. Thankfully at the end of the day, we both compromised on a few things. And we sold a ton of junk! It was a lot of work, but we made a few hundred bucks AND created some space around the house. Win-Win.

Ive been working a good bit more here recently. At least it seems like a lot more coming off of a very sporadic work schedule in July. I don't talk about the Labor & Delivery world here on the blog much more, but it's not for lack of stories. I really do love my job. In the last couple of months, we've had large quantities of patients on a regularly occurring basis. As in, I don't quite understand how there can still be pregnant women in Corpus Christi. Because surely, we've delivered all of them by now. The summer has been CRAZY. Fall is typically our busiest season, which has me worried for September and October. In years past, I could hardly name a day here or there where we ran out of places to put patients. Now, it's a daily struggle to find an empty, clean bed for a patient. Bless your heart if you were scheduled for an elective induction anytime in the last 10 weeks, because you were probably pushed back, sometimes more than 24 hours later. Just a little shameless bragging here: I was orienting a new nurse yesterday and we were in a room with a physician. I introduced her to the doctor and jokingly reassured him that I'd teach her everything I knew. He turned to her and said, "Well, I've always thought that if I needed surgery, I'd want Hollie as my nurse." Now, I quickly told him that I didn't know much beyond delivering babies, but at the same time, I was totally honored to hear something from a doctor I respect greatly. I've always considered my job to be one of my greatest ministries and have put great effort into being a diligent, hard worker. Working hard and being honest doesn't always show immediate rewards, but that comment was certainly a morale boost! Hopefully I kept his good faith by delivering his patient in a safe and timely manner!!

Tomorrow we are off on yet another adventure! Then, in 2 weeks, I go on my own little adventure! Kid Free!!! (Well, except for the one I tote around in my belly) More details on these things to come!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meal Planning For the Win!

So it's been a year since I posted this post, which continues to hold steady at #5 on the list of most-viewed blogs. However, over the course of a year, a lot has changed. For one, I can't tell you the last time I pulled weeds. Or dusted the fixtures. And then there are still several things I hold to: laundry on Sunday and Wednesday, groceries & meal planning for the week on Monday.  Although I would wholeheartedly still recommend a similar schedule to anyone feeling overwhelmed by their household to-dos, I really needed to accept some flexibility in my own schedule. Ever-changing work days, appointments, errands, and plain-old-I-want-to-spend-the-day-with-my-son kinda interruptions come along on an almost weekly basis.

There is one thing that hasn't changed in the year since I revolutionized the way I kept up with my house: meal planning. I can't tell you how much organization this has added to my week, knowing exactly what I need to get at the grocery store and having a set plan for each day's meals. Now, sitting down and planning out a week's worth of meals to satisfy the husband and toddler can be a frustrating process. I can't tell you how many times I've told my husband, "Do you have ANY input?! You are no help at all!!!!" Or I choose meals based on what protein is on sale and get home to upturned noses. Or even just the simple struggle to avoid the same meals over and over and over.

Last week, I was absolutely fed up with myself, unable to come up with a meal that didn't feel overdone and I set out to cook something new every day of the week. Finally I was going to try out all those Pinterest recipes I had pinned months and years ago. I wanted to try a few of the dishes i'd seen pinned over and over and over again. Mostly, I hoped to add some new life to our tired lineup.

Here are a few of my successes!
Chicken Lazone (Source & Recipe): This was SUPER easy, really quick to throw together and gobbled down by both my husband and son. You'll see cayenne pepper on the ingredient list, but it isn't spicy at all, in fact, I'll probably double the amount next time I make this to kick it up a little more. If you need an easy 30 minute meal, this is a winner. The recipe suggests pasta or mashed potatoes, so if you're pressed for even more time, pasta is much quicker than real mashed potatoes (no boxed potato flakes in my house). It could probably go from pot to table in 20 minutes. It's also good reheated as leftovers. I served this with a salad.
7-Up Biscuits (Source & Recipe): One of my coworkers actually brought a pan of these and I was blown away by how good they were. 4 ingredients plus 15 minutes equals delicious biscuits. I whipped these up over the weekend and between fielding a toddler, cleaning the kitchen and placenta-brain, I may have botched the first batch of these. (the same combination of distractors led to a few other new-recipe-failures I won't mention here until I can try them again) The second batch, however, was wonderful. My suggestion is to let them sit for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan to prevent them from getting too crumbly. I served them with sausage patties, butter & jelly. Yum!
Corn Casserole: Ok, so I'd never made a corn casserole before Sunday evening. Lame, I know. Always admired, never attempted, it came to mind when I was trying to think of a new side dish to serve with fried pork chops. After looking through lots of recipes, both fancy and super simple, I used what I had in the fridge and made my own pan. 1 Can Creamed corn, 1 can kernel corn, 1 box jiffy, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 stick melted butter all combined together and baked for nearly 1 hour at 350 degrees. This was also a huge hit with the husband and toddler.

Shredded Beef (Source & Recipe): I didn't get a pic of this one, even though we've had 2 meals from the one recipe. There were tons of recipes for crockpot shredded beef for tacos, but I especially liked this recipe because it didn't call for a packet of taco mix and a bottle of sauce. This means, you can customize the spices and chiles to suit your own tastes. I used this beef for tacos and quesadillas and it was fantastic- plus had I portioned out my leftovers appropriately, I could have easily gotten a third meal out of one recipe. It would also be fantastic as an enchilada filling. I can definitely see myself making this again. The recipe suggests you pour out all the cooking liquid once the meat is finished, but next time I plan on reserving the liquid and adding some or all of it back in to the shredded meat. Husband said it was a little on the dry side without the liquid.

So there you have it! Four easy, yummy, husband & toddler approved, new-to-us recipes complete with several random iPhone shots of my half eaten plates of food. I'm looking forward to working these dishes into our meal routine. Hope you can also try them and enjoy them!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

17 Weeks

Originally I'd planned to write an update around the 16 week mark and last week flew by so fast it made my head spin a little... or maybe it was just because I got up too quickly. Love the second trimester! Here I am at 17 weeks... or 23 weeks left! (that sounds much scarier.)
Total Weight Gain: 8lbs per the Doc's office scale... 6lbs by mine here at home. I'll let my brain believe that my home scale is closer to the truth. Really, it's probably just the difference between weighing first thing in the morning with no clothes on and an empty bladder versus midmorning after breakfast with scrubs on. All I know is that it must've been a man who decided that pregnant women should be subjected to weigh in at every prenatal visit. That alone makes my blood pressure go up. 

Fetal Size: An iPhone with arms & legs! or the size of a turnip, which seems much more boring and harder to visualize. Yesterday during Sunday School, I totally held my phone up to the belly for the high school girls to admire how big my baby had gotten. 

Movement: Yes! Little bumps and flutters. I felt this baby moving much much earlier on than with Isaac. Knowing what to look for made a huge difference,

Symptoms: Heartburn already! I'm pretty certain that started a little later with Isaac. Also, the girls are still tender, I'm still routinely constipated (thanks for that one, prenatal vitamin), and I occasionally still fight off feelings of fatigue, usually the morning after a tough day at work.

Gender: Don't know and likely won't find out! We enjoyed the surprise so much with Isaac that our plan is to be surprised all over again.

Cravings: I went through a dairy kick last week. Otherwise, I swing back & forth between salty and sweet cravings. Nothing too exciting yet.

Aversions: Nothing really.

Next up: 20 week ultrasound for anatomy and size. I seriously can NOT believe I've already got this appointment scheduled. That means I'm nearly halfway through, which is enough to get the cold sweat and hyperventilation going. This pregnancy is flying!

Friday, August 8, 2014

More Summer Adventures

So my summer adventures with ^^^ this one  ^^^ have been so much fun. I promise I'll post about this soon too, but I just can NOT get over how much he has grown up over the summer. His second birthday is seriously right around the corner. He just makes my heart melt every single day. Some days he also makes me want to pull my hair out. One thing is definitely true: life with a toddler is an adventure.
Most recently (ok, like 2 weeks ago), Isaac and I drove up to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Jordan was away for his second week of summer camp, so we packed up and made the lonnnnnnnng (8+hrs with stops) drive to Argyle. My dearest friend and her kiddos had driven down from their new home in Illinois to visit family, so we came to her to stay and catch up for several days. I'm going to be honest: the thought of driving by myself with a toddler that distance made me so anxious I nearly broke out in hives. And no surprise… he did SO well. We took our time stopping several times on our way up and back, which I'm certain was our saving grace. I also made sure our longest stretch of driving was over his typical post-lunch nap time.  I'm so thankful I didn't let my anxiety overwhelm me to the point of backing out.
It was such a sweet time. Both for me to spend with my friend and for Isaac to play with kiddos close to his age. They played hard every minute of every day! The house we stayed at had a pool, which was well used, plenty of toys, which were strewn from one side of the house to the other and lots of land to roam around. I think Isaac entertained the big kids just as much as they entertained him! (if not more!!) He is such a people person, and I pray my own introvertedness doesn't rub off on him down the road. I hope he always has a smile and a "HI!" for everyone he meets.
In the end, I think we both left with full hearts. I'm excited for our next mommy-son adventure, but it was also really REALLY good to be reunited with Dada again!

Sweet Friends!!!

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