Monday, July 30, 2012



:: Time to go home & start life as a family of 3 ::

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bowen!

When I wrote my last post and I wondered if my life would change tomorrow or next month, I didn't actually think the answer would be tomorrow.

Babies. They're kind of charge of things, huh? I haven't really figured out much in the few days I've been a momma except that one truth.

I had a doctor's appointment that Friday morning and my doctor told me since I was full-term, they'd welcome me with open arms anytime I went into labor. After dance trance the Tuesday before, I had started having Braxton Hicks and felt like maybe I had felt him move down lower.. but still, none of these things really made me think that I'd be meeting my baby boy that very night. She told me I was 2.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced, which I didn't take too much stock in - I've known friends who have walked around dilated for weeks and nothing happened. I went home and went about my day, cleaning the house, getting a manicure and working on a project for the nursery. All the while my BH contractions continued, and I started to notice that they felt a little bit different throughout the day - more like a cramp than the hardening of my stomach that they had been the last 2 days. Matt was on his way back from Wilmington from a golf trip and I was updating him by text about my contractions. I was just starting to think that maybe something could be happening, and his persistent questioning - how long were they? how far apart? - made me realize that maybe I should pay a little more attention to them.

I downloaded an app around 4:00 that afternoon and the whole time I worked on a project for the nursery, was clicking "start" and "stop" on the contraction timer. By the time Matt got home, we decided maybe it was a good idea to install the car seat. Just in case. At this point, my contractions were all over the place from 15 minutes apart to 8 minutes apart. I really didn't want to go to the hospital only to be sent home for false labor, so we just went on with our night. Matt went out to pick up dinner, we ate and started to get ready for bed - all the while I was clicking "start" and "stop" on my app and watching the time start to even out to a consistent ten minutes apart.  Then 8, then 7 minutes apart. Right after we laid down to go to sleep, I reported to Matt that they were about five minutes apart.

"We're going to the hospital."

It was 10:30 when we got in the car and as we sped through the dark along Silas Creek Parkway, I watched the app tell me that my contractions were getting closer and closer together and it suddenly hit me that we were probably going to have a baby that night. I felt scared and nervous about labor, but so excited that we were going to meet our little boy soon. We pulled into the parking lot of the hospital and we were in maternity triage before I knew it. There my contractions started to increase in their intensity and I suddenly understood what people meant when they said "when you can't talk through them anymore, they're real."  Oh THAT. Yea. After a few checks, they decided I was well on my way but not quite ready to get admitted...and I was banished to an hour long walking of the hallways to see if things would progress.

That was a long hour, in a long hallway. Walking slowly, bending over to catch my breath when a contraction hit, trying to remembering the deep breathing I had learned (from, um, some YouTube videos...), telling myself it would pass.... feeling very jealous of my pain-free husband who was walking alongside me, texting updates to our family. I kept asking him how much time had passed. I knew I need to keep moving to make my labor progress, but as we walked by open rooms on the labor floor the open beds beckoned me and I just wanted so badly to go crawl into one.

I would say I was excited when we got back to the room and I had progressed another 3 cm but at that point the intensity of the contractions had made me start to block out everything that was going around me. We walked to the labor & delivery room and I vaguely remember being told my nurse would be Tony - and having a moment of panic that my L&D nurse would be a male (sorry gender equality) (and it turned out to be a female Toni, who turned out to be super awesome). The next thing I knew my angel in blue scrubs arrived (the anesthesiologist) and I was getting my epidural. After the few hours of feeling contractions without a spinal block, my hat goes off to the women of the world who do this au natural. Wow. And my other hat goes off to the inventor of the epidural. That stuff works good.

The rest of the night went quickly, but I felt much more present without the pain of the contractions. I could still feel them, but with the pain subsided I just started to feel really excited that soon I'd be meeting my little guy. Matt and I watched the clock as my contractions built and Matt watched the heart rate monitor of our little boy. We tried to guess what time he'd be born. My guess was 2:52 and Matt's was 2:40. Both of those times rolled by, and no baby yet. A little after 3, my nurse came back and told me it was time to do a practice push. I started to feel a little nervous again about what would happen, but she and Matt coached me through my first push. At 3:12, the doctor came in and told me it was go time. Two contractions and six minutes later, I heard my baby boy cry for the first time. I was in shock for a few minutes - I thought I'd have much longer to wait (and push more) before meeting him, but here he was - perfect, blonde, healthy, squirmy and already sucking his thumb!

And just like that, my life was forever changed.





Thursday, July 26, 2012

37.5 Weeks


I have been procrastinating writing this post and I am not entirely sure why. I've had a lot of downtime at work over the last week as many of my tasks are getting tied up and I keep thinking "okay TODAY, today sit down and write and capture what's going on at this moment." And every day I've found an abundance of other ways to whittle the day away, so much so that my 36 week update became a 37.5 week update.  Oops!

I think this post would sound entirely different on any given day that I would have written it over the last couple weeks. There are some days when it probably have just veered off into a litany of complaints and full fledged final-month-of-pregnant whining. In fact, I did have one post like that finished at the very start of my 36th week after a particularly miserable week and then my internet went out and I couldn't publish it. Probably a good thing. Not that I want to wear only rose colored glasses and pretend everything about pregnancy is just la, la, la the best thing ever but I also don't want to look back at my final weeks and only remember the parts where I was uncomfortable, aching, hot, cranky or ungrateful.

Truthfully, there are plenty of those moments lately. I don't think many people get to full term without feeling a bit crotchety. There are moments when all I want to do is sleep on my stomach, have a glass of wine, paint my toenails, or roll over without having to grab the duvet first to anchor myself and swing myself up and over, body pillow in tow, to the other side like a beached whale.

But those moments certainly don’t encapsulate every bit of this final stage. I am pretty aware of the good fortune I've had that the majority of my pregnancy – certainly the first 35 weeks - were very, very easy and that I've been very healthy. I'm still going to dance trance or walking regularly, and truthfully, I feel better doing those activities than I do sitting in my awful desk chair for 10 hours a day at work. (In my mind's eye, I will be tossing that thinly upholstered piece of cardboard with wheels into a virtual bonfire in my head the day I walk out of that office. We were not friends pre-pregnancy, and we are certainly not friends now. And yes, I have a yoga ball that I also sit on although wouldn't you know that's actually against office policy? So far, the powers that be have been kind enough to turn a blind eye to my transgression in office furniture.)

Anyways! Somewhere among all my preggo-insomnia induced complaints is the knowledge that this chapter, my first pregnancy, is getting ready to reach it's dénouement. But I have no idea what this means. You know in the Twilight series how Alice can see into the future, but then once Bella gets pregnant with Renesmee, she can no longer see her future because the little fetus is blocking Alice's powers? I sort of feel like that. Not that I could ever see into my future a la Alice but I always have been a big visualizer and whenever I have a Big Next Step in my life, I usually spend months picturing what it might be like. (And yes, I believe that visualizing it in a positive way can help shape that event to go more positively. I'm a hippie dippie life coach, what can I say.) Even though I know that what pans out will usually be completely different than what I pictured, visualizing helps me stay calm, or excited, or focused before the Big Next Step gets here.  I've always taken this ability to visualize my next steps for granted and used it a way to prepare myself - mentally and emotionally - for what's to come.  But right now, picturing whatever comes next - everything from going into labor, to meeting my son, to bringing him home... I draw a blank. A total blank.

All I know about what’s to come is that I have no idea about what’s to come. And I don't really feel particularly stressed about the unknown. I think perhaps because I know that I just have absolutely no control over the majority of what's to unfold, that I've given into that. I just feel a little bit... detached. Floating. Waiting. Wondering if my whole life will change tomorrow, or will it be another month? It’s possibly the strangest emotion I’ve felt so far in my life – this feeling of acceptance, detachment and expectation all rolled in to one.

So maybe that’s why it’s easier to just complain that my back hurts and my feet are swollen….

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


My sweet friend Jamie took some maternity photos for me last Sunday and I just love them. Thank you Jamie for scouting out some fun places downtown, running all around in the crazy heat and using your gifted eye to capture this exciting time in my life! I know I am always going to treasure these photos of my first pregnancy!







Saturday, July 21, 2012

Greek Yogurt Based Ranch Dressing & Café Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing


I really, really, really love ranch dressing. It’s probably one of my greatest food weaknesses.  And I really don’t care for low-fat or low-calorie ranch dressing, it’s gotta be the real stuff.  One day it occurred to me that it was probably pretty easy to make and that I might feel a whole lot better about eating it if I knew what was going into it. Not only did it turn out to be super easy to make, but after a few experiments with Greek yogurt I came up with a recipe that’s mostly yogurt-based instead of mostly mayo-based.

I win! Pass the carrots and let’s start dipping!

The great thing about this is that you can make it dip consistency or salad dressing consistency, just by adding milk to it.  I keep this recipe hung up inside my spice pantry door now so I can refer to it quickly and easily.  All the herbs as dried, but if you had any fresh on hand I bet it’d make it even tastier! After consulting a few different recipes that were already out there, here is what I’ve come up with:

  • 1 container of plain Greek Yogurt (some are 8-oz, some are 6-oz… to be honest, it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 t chives
  • 1/2 t parsley
  • 1/2 t dill
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • Skim milk*, to desired consistency

The easiest way to make this is to put it in a container with a lid and just shake, shake, shake.

If you stopped right before the skim milk, it’s a great consistency to serve as a dip. If you want to use it as a salad dressing, just add a few tablespoons of milk at a time and keep shaking it up until it’s as runny as you’d like it to be.




I’ve been making my ranch this way for about a year now and I’m totally addicted. Today, I discovered that it also works great as the base for one of my other favorite dressings, Café Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing. My CSA box came with a whole bunch of tomatillos this week and I immediately knew it was time to make a batch of creamy tomatillo dressing.

Now to be perfectly fair, a Café Rio purist will not find this to be spot on. There’s a lot of great copycat recipes out there for the tomatillo dressing and the ones I’ve had the most success with use the Hidden Valley ranch package. Since most of them are basically starting with a ranch dressing base, I decided to experiment with my Greek yogurt ranch and see how it turned out.

(Spoiler alert: Delicious. Now I need me some pork barbacoa burrito to go with it!)

Again, I just looked at a couple recipes and kind of went with the common theme of what most of them were doing.  I mixed it all in the food processor, which made it super easy and creamy.

  • Greek Yogurt ranch dressing
  • 2-3 tomatillos, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped & seeded
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, rough chopped

If you started with a dip-consistency ranch dressing, you’ll probably want to add the milk to make it a bit runnier and more like a salad dressing. You also don’t need to chop things up really good if you’re tossing it all into the food processor (or a blender) which makes it super easy to make. 

My grocery store sells tomatillos over by the tomatoes. You remove the outer husk before chopping. The smaller they are, the sweeter they are. I still have a few leftover from my CSA this week so I think I’m going to have to try my hand at making some salsa verde next!



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, America!

I must admit I quite like having a mid-week day off from work! Of course, a long weekend to celebrate the 4th is always enjoyable but there was something kind of great about working a few days, having a day off and then having a little mini work week before the weekend showed up again. I vote for Wednesdays off every week, yes? Hooray for freedom!

I was quite lazy with my mid-week day off.  In fact, I didn’t even get dressed until I worked out mid-afternoon and got ready to head over to our friends’ David and Kathleen’s for a backyard barbecue. It was hot, hot, hot out but we made the best of it with cool drinks and lots of time in the shade and – best idea ever – orange sherbet push pops & bonbon popsicles!

Happy Birthday, America!








Monday, July 2, 2012

Dining in the Dash: King’s Crab Shack

Winston-Salem needed a restaurant like this.  A down-home, pretend-you're-at-the-beach seafood place. My husband has said for years Winston needed a "good seafood place" and I think we finally found it.  Yes, there is the one out by the mall but we hate driving out to that trafficy-retaily side of town and there are lots of restaurants that serve amazing seafood dishes - Mozelle's, Milner's and Meridian's come to mind - but this is the kind of place where seafood is the entire point and your meal comes in plastic red baskets with a side of perfect tartar sauce and a lack of any pretense. Basically, the only thing missing is a nearby source of saltwater.

As Anne wrote in her post (she always beats me to it!), we were originally attracted to what we heard was the weekend lunch special - all you can eat crab legs. Turned out that they were $28 per person, which I did not think was very special. (I often get confused by restaurants calling something special - do they mean it's just the only time you can get it or do they mean it's a good price for something they offer regularly? I think this case might have been the former, but either way we decided not to opt for it.)

The good news is, despite the initial disappointment of no endless crab legs, everybody was very happy with their meals when all was said and done. Matt loved his spicy catfish sandwich - he is a catfish aficionado and has been disappointed ever since Village Tavern stopped carrying it on their menu a few years ago!  I debated between a shrimp po'boy and clams and finally decided to go with clams. I love me some clams, and could easily have taken down 2-3 dozen of these suckers but since that wasn't an all you can eat special, I limited myself to a dozen plus a starter salad.  They were excellent - briney and delicious, with the right complementary sides of melted butter, a tangy cocktail sauce and pungent horseradish.  Matt had a Pacifico to go with his meal, and I perused the fun drink menu for future reference.


I liked the set up of the restaurant too - it had a really long bar area, plenty of tables on the inside and lots of outdoor patio seating. (Given it was our 100+ degree Saturday, no one was taking advantage of that... no big surprise.) There were enough things on the menu I'd come back regularly, and there were options for non-seafood eaters as well too. Our meal came to $35 with gratuity and everything, so that included 2 meals, a salad and a drink - which I think is very reasonable for delicious seafood! It was just an easy, laid-back place to have a delicious seafood meal. Definitely a place we will make future visits to!


Oh, and the ego boost in the ladies restroom sure doesn’t hurt either…


A review of our “Dining in the Dash” Project*