Friday, November 29, 2013

Light Vegetable Lasagne

I made this the other night to use up some stuff we had around the house. It ended up being delicious, so I want to share the recipe.

I like that this is hearty, but full of vegetables and light enough that you won't feel bad for having dessert afterward.

Its only 250 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving (compare that to Olive Garden) - and by serving I mean large portion that I would eat for dinner, not how Trader Joe's likes to pretend that one cookie is a serving.

9 lasagne noodles (8 ounces)
15-16 ounces of fat free ricotta
1 cup light mozzarella cheese shredded
1/4 cup parmesean
4 garlic cloves
1 jar marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 bag of spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
Olive Oil

1) Preheat the oven to 350.
2) Sautee the mushrooms with a few teaspoons of olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, sautee 2 minutes. Add the spinach, sautee until wilted. Set aside.
3) Combine the jar of marinara sauce with the water - set aside.
4) Chop or press the garlic. Combine this with the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Set aside.
5) In a 13x9 pan, cover the bottom with your sauce/water mixture. Add 3 uncooked lasagna noodles. Cover noodles with more sauce. Layer 1/3 of the cheese mixture in dollops (it will melt together in the oven), then 1/3 of the vegetables, 3 more noodles, cover with sauce, 1/3 cheese mixture, 1/3 vegetables, last 3 noodles, and top with remaining sauce, then cheese, then vegetables.
6) Cover lightly with foil, bake for one hour. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Make sure the sauce covers all parts of the noodles and you will not have to precook the noodles. Saves lots of time. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sleep? ... Ain't Nobody Got Time for That

I started writing about sleep in the section on the one month post - and realized that I had a lot more to say than should be allotted in that section. Who knew I could do an entire post on sleep? I know Dan and I will look back and laugh at this someday.

It really is amazing how well you can function on no sleep. People told me this when they had newborns, but you don't quite realize it until you go through it. You can go days with maybe 3 - one hour naps for each 24 hour period. You might forget what day it is and ask the pediatrician: "Is it tomorrow already?" what does that even mean? Or you might forward an email a friend sent you, right back to her saying "a friend sent me this, thought you'd like it." But when it comes to taking care of your baby, staying awake, and brushing your teeth at least once every 24 hours, you are a champ. 

What is also amazing is how you are up for .. say 21 hours a day - and you get nothing done. Dishes take hours, laundry takes days. Dusting? Vacuuming? Puhlease. I'm lucky if I shower before noon.

And another amazing thing (apparently I am amazed all day, everyday) is how much you can get done in an hour if you can get your baby to nap. Olivia has been asleep in her crib for one hour (as I type this, I know she will wake up), and I have done the laundry, paid bills, cleaned the kitchen, made chicken parmesan, did the dishes, edited photos, checked the mail, and written two blog posts. (That's funny .. she just woke up. The little brat heard me.) How was I so incredibly inefficient prior to having a baby? I had weekends and evenings! What did I do with my time?!

There has to be some hormone released that allows you to function so well after the birth of your baby. Pregnancy and delivery are very tough on your body. And despite not sleeping for the first 48 or so hours of Olivia's life - I am much less tired than I was while pregnant. It is incredible what your body goes through and how well it survives this short (wishful thinking?) time in your baby's life. 

And without further ado, this is what Olivia does in her crib. Eyes open - making sure she doesn't miss the next party.

Just kidding. I set her in her crib to grab something in her room and she rolled to the side and got her arm 'stuck' between the slats. Since she isn't coordinated enough to pull her arm out, she couldn't go anywhere. She just had this look on her face like 'I'll wait for mom to fix this situation.' So instead of helping - I ran and grabbed my camera.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Family Photos

With Dan's family in town - we set up the tripod and the self timer and took a handful of family photos. Gigi (Dan's mom) made sure we were color coordinated. I think they turned out great! This one is my favorite!

Dan and his dad:

Let's zoom in on Olivia in some of these:

Dan and his parents:

A little family photo:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Olivia - One Month

I can't believe our little Olivia is one month old. On the one hand it seems like just yesterday we were meeting her for the first time, and on the other hand it feels like she's been in our lives forever. 

Weight: 9 pounds 6 ounces (65th percentile)
Height: 22 inches (95th percentile)

Sleep: Haha. That's funny. Sleep. You guys crack me up. I think at this point I have slept a total of 2.5 hours uninterrupted so far. Don't tell my mom. She's been trying to get me to sleep more. I've been trying to get Olivia to sleep more. No one is winning. Anyway - I have a lot to say on this subject, so stay tuned for its own post. 

As for Olivia - she goes down around 10 at night. Fusses some with Dan going in there - wakes up every 1-3 hours. Sometimes I feed her, sometimes I determine that my gluttonous child is not hungry, and just rock her back to sleep. She gets up for the day anywhere from 5-8 am. We have been good with the bedtime, the wake time has been much harder. She is in the best mood in the morning and I just can't resist all of her morning smiles and giggles. Best way to wake up. Makes you completely forget about being up all night.

She doesn't nap well. She comes by it honestly. She will nap anywhere from 0-5 hours a day. 5 being rare. Newborns are supposed to nap around 10 hours a day. "That's rare" is all the pediatrician had to say about it. I know she was thinking "sucks for y'all."

Eating: Olivia eats every 3 hours during the day - give or take 30 minutes. If she's hungry earlier, I feed her earlier. At night, I try to not feed her more than every 3 hours. I would like her to start going longer at night - and if she gets on a habit of snacking, she's up even more often. 

Best Moment of the Month: The day she was born. I don't think I stressed this enough in her birth story - it was the greatest day of my life. Whenever I am pregnant again (not soon .. Dan.) I know the biggest thing I will look forward to is labor. For those of you dreading it - know that it can be the best experience of your life. You get to meet your child. How can that not be amazing?

Parent of the Month Award: Besides all of these, this award goes to Kelley.

D: Oh no, did Olivia poop? Should I change her?

K: Nah, she's fine. I spilled salsa on her.

Milestones: She's starting to grab things, stare at us more, smile with her eyes open. She looks us in the eye. We have gotten a few laughs. She holds her head up a little better and swats at toys hanging from her play mat. Apparently they are born not realizing that their hands are attached to them. She would hit herself in the face and then look at us like we did it. Haha - so grabbing and swatting is coming a long way!

We transitioned her to her crib so she sleeps the entire night in there. We are also doing one nap a day in her crib.

Clothes / Diapers: In between newborn and 0-3 month clothes. The newborn ones with feet are getting too short, and the 0-3 outfits are still a little large. She is currently in-between newborn and size 1 diapers - which is leading to lots of leaks - very fun!

Favorites: She loves her soothie pacifiers and her wubbanubs (pacifiers attached to small stuffed animals). She sleeps in the Summer Infant Swaddle Me velcro baby straight jacket (okay not the name, but that's the concept) every night.  She loves music. Dan has a pandora station of orchestra versions of everyday songs - she gets so quiet and calm listening to it. She has a black and white book called "look look" that she loves to stare at. The pages say things like "children smile, fish swim" so its no Faulkner, but she loves it. 

Dan and I still love the Boppy, her bouncy seat, and the Aden and Anais blankets. I have carried her around a bit in the Moby wrap and I love it. When she gets bigger, we will use the Baby Bjorn that my cousin gave us. I know Dan will use that - he's not too keen on the wrap idea. But I love having my sleepy kangaroo baby close by. 

She's already growing up too fast. And almost half of my maternity leave is over. I just want to hold her and kiss those chubby cheeks all day. I want to soak it all in because pretty soon we will be doing the daycare craziness - and hardly seeing her except for weekends :(. 

Lastly, more pictures from the one month photo shoot. Such attitude!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 3

Well .. someone did not knock on wood. Or, like I said in my post, I would eat my words. Our perfect little baby had a very dramatic week 3. 

We went through the three week growth spurt. Some of us wondered if we would all make it out alive. We did, in case you weren't sure. (Apparently the six week one is worse - that'll fall right around Thanksgiving - mom and dad - enjoy :) ). 

During a growth spurt they get pretty hungry and want to eat much more often. The pediatrician says to feed them as often as they want - they need the food. Because they are eating so often, they are sleeping less and much more cranky than normal. Overall - it leads to a really enjoyable time for all involved. Next time, I'll have you over for wine and cheese. I'll whine, y'all bring the cheese. 

Dan's mom also came in town the same day this all started and Dan I spent most of the week convincing her that this was not the child we brought home from the hospital. 

In an attempt to feed her as often as she wanted, she ended up only snacking. Eating for a few minutes - drifting off for maybe 10 minutes - and wanting to eat again. I kept this routine up for about 3 days - holing up in her nursery and not spending much time with Dan's mom. 

Eventually I had to make Olivia wait longer for food - to get her back on her eating every 3-ish hours schedule. Either the growth spurt ended after 4-5 days, or getting her back on her schedule worked - and we seem to have our baby back. She still gets a little fussy in the evenings (from 6:30-8:30) and would much rather be napping while held during that time, instead of anywhere else. But I have been informed that Olivia 'fussy' isn't really fussy, and I shouldn't complain. 

We still love her, and we still think she's perfect. She's starting to smile with her eyes open. And if Dan and I kiss her cheeks while making smacking noises she'll smile every time. That isn't supposed to happen until 6-8 weeks, according to Dr. Google, so we think she's super advanced ;). I'll bet if someone did a study, there's a correlation between early smiling and Harvard degrees. ;)

I could hold this snuggly little baby and kiss her chubby cheeks every second. And, growth spurt or not, this newborn thing is still much easier than I had planned. We will see if I'm singing a different tune after the six week growth spurt.

Without further ado, more pictures:

Chubby cheeks

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty"

I gave Dan this onesie for Father's Day. It says "I love Daddy."

Such a happy baby

Spoiled rotten in her Vineyard Vines and Sperrys from Aunt Sam and Uncle Jason. She has some room to grow, but knows she looks good.

Mesmerized by the clouds while on a walk

Sleeping on dad


Olivia is going to do a guest post for the blog 'the low-down on fall boots' 
Olivia turned tummy time into nap time

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hospital Bag

I read so many posts of what to bring to the hospital, but they were all written by pregnant people. More 'what I am planning on bringing' rather than 'what I actually used.' Not many people went back to update after the baby was born.

So here is Dan and my list of things we actually needed at the hospital:

  • Water bottle: The hospital has these teeny cups of water. And if your nurse goes missing for an hour, you don't get refills. Bring your own large bottle - you'll be thankful for it from the moment you walk in until you are discharged.
  • Comfy clothes and shoes for the husband: He will have a lot of standing around and sitting to do.
  • Snacks: We brought change for the vending machine and I don't think we ever saw the  vending machine. Your husband will get hungry. When they tell you no food, you can sneak the snacks (I definitely would have). And when you are up all hours of the night with your baby, you'll have something to eat instead of trying to walk to the cafeteria in your hospital gown where the back is completely open. Pretty visual, I know.
  • Night light: you'll want some light to see and move around without turning on the huge overhead light that could wake up your baby. Or your husband, when he manages to sleep 10 hours on the hospital couch.
  • Noise machine: we brought ours, I was just too lazy to dig it out of the bag, and I really wish we had. Every time another door opened, it sounded like it was our room. People are in and out so much that I kept thinking it was a nurse coming in. You can hear other babies crying, and staff wheeling things down the hall. At one point they took Olivia for about three hours for some tests. I could have slept but kept hearing all the sounds and thinking she was on her way back in. 
  • Make up remover wipes: I had heard to bring these - and found some in the dollar section of target - but thought that I would never skip washing my face - I am too type-a. What I didn't realize was that not being able to move my right leg, i.e. not being able to walk, I wouldn't be able to stand at the sink to wash my face. Also, I really didn't care about getting up. I just used those to clean off my face before bed and they were awesome. 
  • Nail clippers: Olivia came out needing a manicure asap. The nurses told me to just bite her nails down. As someone who has never bitten my own nails - I couldn't do it. I was thankful that we brought her clippers. Our hospital doesn't believe in covering up their hands - that they use them to learn and comfort themselves - so these saved us from a scratched-up face. 
  • Socks with grippy bottoms: Dan bought me cute pink slippers to wear in the hospital. With all of the IV fluids, my feet were too swollen to fit into them. Socks were the way to go.
  • Shower shoes: For a hospital that has to be pretty sterile, that shower was pretty gross. Bring the shoes.
  • Camera: obviously.
  • Boppy pillow: my dad was a little nervous about holding her and the Boppy makes it so much easier. Your arms don't get tired holding her. And if you are breastfeeding, they can show you how to use the Boppy.
  • Computer / ipad / all chargers: we received a lot of emails from friends and I wanted to reply on something other than my phone. Also, your husband can play Candy Crush while you are waiting for the epidural. 
  • Pillow (with a non-white pillow case) for you or your husband. I didn't really sleep - and they have tons of pillows at the hospital, but I know some people are picky and Dan enjoyed having his own.
  • An outfit to go home in, knowing you will still look pregnant. See: Kate Middleton.
  • Toothbrushes.
Here are something that we brought that really aren't necessary:
  • Toiletries: I definitely liked having my own, but the hospital has them for you. Also, Dan ran home to shower in his own shower, so he only needed a toothbrush.
  • Cute nightgowns: The hospital bed and sheets were a little gross for me - that I just wore the gown the entire time. I didn't want my new PJs all "hospital-y." I never left the room. And we were only there for about 36 hours. Other people can't wait to change out of the gown. 
  • Bows / Hats / Outfits for the baby: The bows and hats were all too big. We changed her into a cute going home outfit, but she wore the hospital shirts and clothes the entire time we were there. With all the tests, people coming in, them taking her, I didn't want any of her new stuff all gross. Also, I figured we would lose a blanket in the jumble - so we saved all of that for going home only.
  • Cute slippers: never fit into them.
  • Vending machine change: do they even have these?
The hospital has most anything you need - just ask for it. Don't pack a million things. The bag will just sit in your room for a week before you get around to unpacking. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pictures from the first 3 weeks

Life has been absolutely perfect.

Dan has had these three weeks off. His first day back to work was today. 

Everyone told me that no one could prepare me for life with a newborn. That it was harder than I would ever imagine. That I would be more exhausted than ever. 

I ran into a coworker a few weeks after his first was born and he said, "Its so true what they say. No matter how hard they tell you it is - you don't really believe them - it is so much harder."

If I mentioned being tired while pregnant - people would say "oh just you wait! you think you are tired now?!"

I know I am going to eat my words. And I would like each one of you to knock on wood. AND I know that we will have our moments - and when she starts crawling all around life will get crazier. 

But I am here to say that life with a newborn has been a million times easier than I ever thought. And with hardly any sleep - I have so much more energy than I did while pregnant. 

I love this little girl so much. I could hold her and stare at her for ever. I could listen to her little newborn noises and her purring all day. I could watch her facial expressions while asleep (from laughing out loud, to grumpy faces, to the pouty bottom lip) constantly. I love that when she hears a loud noise her hands fly up in the air like she's falling (startle reflexes). I love that when Morning Joe is on she talks and uses her hands like she is on some political platform. I love that she gets so calm and content when Dan or I hold her. I love watching Dan with her. I keep thinking that I am so incredibly blessed to have these 12 weeks with her. I also think about how she will get so big, so quickly and I will be back at work before we know it, and I need to cherish these moments. 

She really is such a good baby. She cries when she is hungry (I mean, who doesn't??). She will let out the saddest little whimper of pain if she has gas. She likes to be held, but she is perfectly content in her little bouncer or on her playmat. She sleeps all night in her bassinet (well .. in two hour chunks before she's ready to eat again). She lets anyone hold her.

Basically - if she isn't happy - she is hungry. Otherwise, she is perfect content. 

If all babies are like Olivia, I can see why the Duggars had so many.

People tell me to sleep when the baby sleeps. And I do at night - so about 3 - 2 hour chunks. But during the day, I just want to hold her and stare at her and enjoy her. Sleep can wait, they'll be plenty of time for that. For now, I am going to enjoy my 3 week old, because pretty soon she'll no longer be a newborn, she'll be a baby. And I'm not yet ready for that.

All that to preface - here is an insane number of pictures that we took from the first 3 weeks. Mostly cell phone shots. And I know its photo overload, but family has been asking for them. 

All these pictures are giving me a headache:

First bath, censored:

Talking on the phone:

First beer, while watching revenge:

Dan feeding her:

And my mom took these, which are much better than our cell phone shots: