A Week In

I was actually up at 12:04 AM today feeding Critter.  Just a few minutes before, I had looked at his hands and thought A week ago, those hands did not exist.  In the final weeks of my pregnancy, every day, I would wake up and ask Critter if that day was a good day for a birthday (obviously his answer was no).  I also wondered how we would ultimately finish the sentence, On the day you were born.  For example, on the day that Billy was born, Mom made blueberry muffins.  For Critter, it is much simpler than that.  On the day he was born, we only had to live for four minutes without him.  There was no time to do anything else, because on January 30, he was always there.

And with that I am going to ugly cry some happy tears because I have been thinking about that all week and we have a son now and life is beautiful.

Time for some updates!

  • According to my home scale, I have lost 20 pounds and even though I still have a good chunk to go (I am deeply unconcerned about this) and my body has yet to resemble any other body I have ever had, I FEEL LIKE A GAZELLE YOU GUYS.  By the end of January I knew that I was not exactly a fast mover, and to varying degrees you could say that I was aware of how slow things had gotten in terms of what I could/could not do.  But, still!  Now I am just a girl on the go!  Bending over!  Rolling over!  Walking!  Being alive!  So nimble!
  • Every single emotion I feel is either accompanied with laughter OR tears and ALWAYS sweating.  Also, why is there so much sweating? Hormones are insane, y’all.
    • Remember how I was warm for the entirety of the pregnancy and Marcus was always freezing to death?  That beautiful ability to self-heat has vanished just as quickly as it arrived and now, I too, am freezing.  I did not know how good I had it until yesterday I pretty much felt like we lived in an igloo.  And then I promptly apologized to Marcus for very literally freezing him for the last three months.
  • Marcus will return to work next week.  I am equal parts excited for him to do this and terrified.  The good news is that next week is an “off” Friday for him, so my first week alone with Critter will really only be four days long.
  • I joined up with a new moms group that starts on Tuesday.  Stay tuned to see how that goes.
  • We were supposed to have our first pediatrician visit on Friday and then my CRV, for the first time in seven years of owning it, got a flat tire.  What are the odds.  Thank God for AAA and my mother-in-law coming to rescue Critter and I so that Marcus could deal with the rest of the debacle.  Thank God Marcus was with me so he could deal with AAA, the tire store, etc.
  • I had a sweet tension headache for four days this week that resulted in my own personal field trip to the doctor for a blood pressure check.  Ultimately I think we decided that for whatever reason, this is linked to my breastfeeding posture (but in my right shoulder only!).  My ibuprofen and heating pad game is strong right now, let me tell you.  In all seriousness, this is probably the most challenging part of motherhood so far because I would just like for this pain to go away.
  • Critter is sleeping in his crib in the nursery.  I resolved that we would attempt doing this while I was pregnant and so far it is fine.  We are using the baby monitor so if I hear that he is fussing, I simply roll out of bed and walk into the next room.  As y’all know, we live in a townhouse so his nursery shares a wall with our bedroom.  The kid is really never more than 10-15 feet away from us.
  • Today is Critter’s bris.  We will welcome him into the covenant and the Jewish community and finally after eight days we will announce his name to the world.

I think that’s pretty much it.  Every day we do the same thing, but each time we do it, it’s completely different.  I’m assuming at some point in the next month, we’ll do the same thing and it will actually feel…the same.  Until then, as I have been saying to Marcus and my family and friends, this is parenthood, not summer camp. ;)

Friday Food Round-Up!

You guys, let’s do this.

There was a lot of avocado toast eating this week.  There was also a lot of eating of things that we did not make this week.  But we did cook some food.  I attribute this to The List Of Easy Meals that I wrote up during the end of pregnancy so that we could sort of idiot-proof dinner time on the nights that we were feeding ourselves.

Look.

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Monday – Black Beans with Cilantro-Lime Rice, Avocado, and Soft-Fried Eggs

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It was tasty.  And we’ve all seen this one before.

Tuesday – Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Bear Creek Navy Bean Soup, and Caesar Salad

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This was just overreaching in all of the wrong ways.  Critter was extremely cranky (and gassy and on the cusp of cluster feeding) so he was howling.  I actually only ended up eating the sandwich because I was not in the mood for anything else (you can see the soup I didn’t eat pictured above).  But Marcus got to eat all of it so that means at least one member of the family won, right?

Dispatch From The Other Side

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Greetings, fellow time-travelers!

Okay, not really time-travelers, but I basically feel like I have been time-traveling since last Thursday.  Mysteriously, it is already Tuesday (and February) and I started writing this post this morning, but now it is nearly Wednesday and I feel that at this point it is best not to even try to figure out where the time went because I Do Not Know.  I mean, I do, but I don’t.  I may or may not write out some sort of birth story at some point, but in the interim, a brief synopsis of events that have transpired:

  • Last week, I had OB appointments on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.  Mom and I went to Bacio for lunch on Thursday and realistically, that was the start of early labor.  By 6:30 PM we had to go to the hospital because I was having contractions every four minutes and by 10:00 PM we were fully admitted.  I was all super-thankful that I didn’t have to be induced (still am), and then Critter and my body colluded to release him into the wild at 12:04 AM on Saturday morning.  For those of you keeping score at home, that is 36 hours of labor in total.  I would like to know who these people who have babies in like…four hours are.  Also wouldn’t really recommend 36 hours of labor but sometimes you just gotta do you.
  • We came home on Sunday.  Apparently we could stay at the hospital on Sunday too, but I had to ask the obvious, which is that if he is healthy and I am healthy, why would we not be at home instead?  So we are at home.  It is so nice to be here.
  • CRITTER IS A BOY.  Honestly, I truly felt for the entire pregnancy that he was a boy, and the random people who were truly making oracle-like predictions all went boy as well.  Lindsey also conducted the ring test in September (I told her that she could NOT tell me the result) and this also correctly predicted a boy.  So, no surprises there at all.
  • Critter is perfect.  We all know I have literally no experience with children and you guys he is just the best.  The hair on his head, his little ears, the feet we never get to see because they are hidden in footie pajamas, all so great.  I legit cried when we put him in his first outfit to go home, I was so proud.  He wore his own clothes!  He looked smart!  It was beautiful!
  • Critter is humbling.  At about 5:00 AM on his birthday, Marcus and I both realized that we had a child, and that we had literally no idea as to how to pick him up, trade him off, or do any of the other “parent” things that you are supposed to know how to do.  Thankfully it seems to be a pretty easy learning curve but in that moment, we were both amazed and terrified.
  • Currently I am really feeling quite well.  Pregnancy insomnia has turned out to be a blessing in disguise because as we all know, I spent a decent amount of time over the last nine months running on like four hours of sleep.  I am also making good on my self-goal to shower each day because even though I have like four different kinds of really nice dry shampoo, I really only think it is good for giving my already clean hair a bit of volume.
    • I will also note that during our home nurse visit today, when I reported just how truly happy with my life that I was, she informed me that today or tomorrow, most people have a meltdown.  I am filing this information along with the gem of wisdom I was once told about me not needing to worry because Critter wouldn’t actually love me right when it was born because it wouldn’t know how yet.  LEAVE ME AND MY JOY ALONE, OKAY?
  • In following Jewish tradition, we will not be publicly announcing his name until the bris.  Meanwhile, on the internet, he will be Critter (or some other pseudonym) forever because I really want him to be able to create his own digital footprint.

Meanwhile, in the outside world (AKA) outside of the four walls of our home, we are apparently having some sort of massive blizzard.  It’s sort of like living inside of a snow globe in a way.

He is here!

  
At 12:04 AM on Saturday morning, Critter arrived. We have a son and he is 9 pounds and 21.75 inches long. 

Our world is forever changed.

Friday Food Round-Up!

You Guys.  We weren’t supposed to be cooking this week.  And yet, because of the borrowed time we got from Critter, here we were.  Cooking.  Enjoy this one because I have literally no idea what the Friday Food Round-Up! is going to look like for the next month.  I have set up some different strategies to make sure that we can still do some cooking, but you might just get snaps of avocado toast and stuff that other people made us.  It’s hard to know at this point.

Sunday – Blueberry Pie

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I made another pie, y’all!  Once again, I used Kirsten’s recipe for mixed berry pie and I used frozen berries.  Ultimately, the total cook time was 55 minutes, with tin foil over the top for the last 10.

The reason I made this pie was because we needed a “grain” for our Tu B’Shevat Seder.  Not a bad idea, right?

I may or may not have two more pie crusts in my freezer that I’m just saving for a rainy day.

Sunday – Olive Chicken, Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Mandarin Oranges, Grapes, Dates, and Herby Barley Salad with Butter-Basted Mushrooms

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On the list of things I thought we would not have the opportunity to celebrate this year, Tu B’Shevat (the Jewish New Year for Trees) was at the top of my list.  But like everything else in our lives post-due date/pre-Critter, suddenly we got to do this too!  So we did!  And even though I felt sort of cruddy on Sunday night, we whipped together a feast for our Seder.  Once again, we managed to get grain, barley, grapes, olives, pomegranate, and dates but totally failed at figs.  Next year, we will have all of the fruits.  I swear it.

Wednesday – Kimchi Fried Rice with Soft Fried Eggs and Steamed Broccoli

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Has it been ages since we’ve wheeled out this recipe?  Or ages August?  I’m thinking that I might have been creeped out by kimchi for a spell, but clearly that aversion is gone.   Now, I’m also wondering why we stopped making fried rice altogether instead of simply sending kimchi on a long-term vacation and substituting other things instead.  Hindsight.

What I’ve Been Reading

This month, I ran into the issue of having too many books all at once.  At some point, I’ll have to go back through what ended up being returned to the library to re-reserve what I actually do plan to read.  My life is difficult, I know.

Pretty Girls by Karen Slaughter

Pretty Girls

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams

Along the Infinite Sea

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

The Clasp

The State of Our Financial Union: Stuff We Spend Money On

First off, y’all are actually reading these posts, which is really quite excellent.  When I decided I wanted to write about what we do with our money, I wasn’t sure if people would be into it or if they would be like OMG SNOOZEFEST NEXT PLEASE.  But, based on the messages and comments I have been receiving across the internets, this is something that is apparently at least moderately interesting.  I don’t have a ton left to say in the short term about our money, but I do have a few more posts in various stages of development, that way I can finish sharing what I think is important.  For now.  

With that in mind, if you have tricks and tactics you use to budget/spend/save/invest, please share them!  We are always looking for ways to improve our habits, and I know that other readers are too.  Also, if you have specific questions, feel free to ask.  I am happy to answer what I am able to or to get an answer out of Marcus!

At the risk of becoming insufferable, I thought that this week, it would be fun for us to talk about what Marcus and I do spend money on.  For all that we budget and save and do all of these (snooze) boring things, we do actually like to spend money too.  Marcus made an argument that at the risk of sounding like we’re too carefree with our spending, this week I should discuss what we don’t spend money on, and next week I should share this post.  I decided that we should talk about spending first, because it’s more fun.  He declared this to be “compromise.”  I guess you could call it that.

What are we spending money on?

We travel.  I don’t even know that I really need to explain this one.  When Marcus and I started dating, I had no idea that traveling would be such a big part of our relationship.  I don’t think he knew that either.  We seemed pretty much set-up to go on a European honeymoon, and I guess I sort of thought that we would probably go on one non-cabin vacation per year.  Preferably someplace warm in the winter.

As you all know, we have yet to go on that tropical getaway in the middle of winter.  But we have literally gone everywhere else we have thought of and we have most certainly traveled more than once per year.

We go out to eat.  Most of the time our “eating out” budget comes straight out of our allowances.  Outings with friends, date nights, a quick round of cocktails, those are usually the things that we’re up to, socially speaking.

Allowance aside, we have also been known to budget for once-in-a-lifetime eating experiences that you just can’t account for.  Like the meal we had last January at the now-closed La Belle Vie in Minneapolis.  We spent what I would absolutely describe as an inappropriate amount of money on that meal, but it was possibly the best restaurant meal I have ever eaten in my life.  Another amazing splurge meal was our dinner at Bouchon while we were in Las Vegas.  Now I can check Eat At A Thomas Keller Restaurant off of my culinary life list.

We fix our house.  On some level, this is a practical endeavor, because if you update your house properly, then you should also realize some sort of increase in the selling value of the property.  But our house is the place we spend the most time outside of work, so it makes sense that it should be a place that we want to be.  We also bought a glider last year for Critter’s nursery where again, I cannot even dare to speak the amount of money spent aloud.  But it is glorious, and covered in brown leather, and we will use it until the end of time.

We give to charity.  Probably the coolest thing we’ve been able to do over the past few years is add some serious $$$ to our charitable giving budget.  This is money that we never even get to think about until the point at which we give it away.  It exists in our budget and our bank account, but otherwise, we never really consider it to be “ours.”  When I pray, I often thank God for the financial blessings he has provided us with.  I ask Him to help us to steward those resources in the best way that we can while we are here on earth, and I ask Him to help us to discern where our money can do the most work for other people.  When we are able to give that money to institutions and causes that are making a real difference in the community we live in, that’s a really amazing feeling.  When we’re able to support friends who are making a difference in the lives of other people, that’s a really amazing feeling.

What do you like to spend money on?