Friday, August 29, 2014

Spatchcocked Chicken

Spatchcocked ChickenA friend of ours introduced this type of roasted chicken to us and it is A.MAZ.ING.  This meal takes 30 minutes tops (including the prep work), and only 1 pan!

Spatchcocking is just the process of removing the back bone of a natural fry chicken.  When you get your chicken from the butcher ask them to remove the bone.  It makes the chicken flat and faster to roast while still maintaining the juices and yumminess.  This does not cost more money.  My entire chicken (organic & natural) was $5.41.

1 spatchcocked chicken
salt & pepper
2-15 oz. cans garbanzo beans, drained
Italian parsley

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Place in a cast iron skillet and cook at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.
2. Add chickpeas into the skillet and roast for 15 more minutes.  Add the parsley before serving.
3. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Milkies

Whoever said “there is no use crying over spilt milk” was clearly a big fat liar or not an exclusive breast feeder and they deserve to be punched in the gut (I kid of course… punching, but maybe I nice talk’n to).  I have definitely cried over spilling my milk and feel that it is completely justified!  The stuff has greater value than gold!
I’d heard of Milkies before but I didn’t want to spend extra money on another product, that is, until I got closer to going back to work and realized how precious every drop of breast milk was.  Milkies is an insert that slides into your nursing tank/bra to collect the milk that leaks while you’re nursing on the other side.  I was noticing how absorbed my nursing pads were and was frustrated because my child could be having that instead of it being wasted and thrown in the trash.
So I ordered the Milkies61QYahp6dgL._SL1500_61KUCfoPaLL._SL1500_
These things are amazing!  I had no idea how much milk I was wasting and now I don’t have to.  They really are easy to use, comfortable, and collect up to 4 oz. that you can dump into a bottle or freezer bag.
I highly recommend Milkies for mamas who are going back to work, or have a low supply and want to make the most of every drop.
Obligatory Blogger Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post; I just really like this product.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Indian Butter Chicken

I posted this picture on Instagram last week not thinking too much of it.  Because of the number of responses and comments I received, I decided that I better post this recipe stat! This was my first attempt at making Indian Butter Chicken, but I'm sure I will be making this again; it was yummmmmmmy!
Indian Butter Chicken
1 lb chicken tenders cut into smaller cubes
salt & pepper
4 tbs unsalted better, divided
basmati rice
small onion
3 tsp curry
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground ginger
6 oz tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed & drained

  1. Salt and pepper chicken.  Brown the chicken in a skillet with 1-2 tbs butter, and set aside.
  2. Prepare basmati rice following the instructions on the container. 
  3. Melt 1 tbs of butter in a stock pot.  Add onion and cook on medium heat until translucent (4-5 minutes).  Add curry, chili powder, & ginger to the onions and stir for a couple minutes.  Add in tomato paste & sauce, then stir again.  And lastly, stir in the cream.  Once everything is incorporated, add the browned chicken, reduce the temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes stirring frequently. 
  4. About 5-10 minutes before serving, add the peas, and 1 tbs of butter to the tomato cream. 
  5. Serve the butter chicken over the basmati rice, garnished with cilantro and naan for dipping.
  6. Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lapped By A Fanny Pack

In the morning Dutch & I go walking to work on our baby fat (Dutch it lookin’ to gain, and I’m lookin’ to lose…thus he sleeps while I walk).  Anyways there is an elderly woman with an obviously serious case of osteoporosis & a large fanny pack that we see.  She walks every morning and I see her through the kitchen window walking again when I’m doing dishes after dinner in the evening.
When we walk in the morning this woman passes us every day.  I mean this woman is bookin’ it through the neighborhood.  It’s both embarrassing and inspirational.  She motivates me every morning to do better and try harder.  
Ah-maz-ing fanny pack woman! 
See how small she is in this picture?! That’s because she is so fast I can’t get my camera out fast enough after she passes us.Lapped By A Fanny Pack-2
Happy Friday!  Go and be a fanny pack woman!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Keep’n it Real…..Again

It’s been a while since I shared some “real” pictures with y’all (here & here).
It’s time to confess again.
Here is what my living room looks like these days: a tangled mess of baby products & laundry.  To be honest, I love my new living room “d├ęcor”.
Keeping It Real Again

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baby Boy Pumpkin Patch

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was dreading the fall.  I still am.  In an effort to change my perspective, the Mr. & I have been thinking about activities we will get to do this fall.  These activities we have done before, but this year we get to share them with Dutch.  Going to the pumpkin patch this fall is going to be so much fun.  Yes we will be those parents that take a bazillion pictures with our kid leaned up against a pumpkin just to get the one perfect shot.  Of course the Houston weather will not have received the memo that the temps are supposed to drop in the fall and so my kid will be overdressed.  Oh well!
Baby Boy Pumpkin Patch
I’m co-hosting over with Kelly & Megan for Trendy Tot Tuesday.  Stop by and link up :-)Trendy Tot Tuesday[4]

Friday, August 15, 2014

Men In Spanx

I saw this yesterday and I die laughing every time I watch it. 
I hope you get some Friday laughs from this lol
Click here if you’re having trouble accessing the video.
Men In Spanx
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

No Fall Please

No Fall PleaseI am a fall person.  You know it, I know it, the man on the moon knows it!  I love the season…the leaves, the food, the sports (oh how I love the football), the festivities & holidays, my pumpkin spice lattes, and the fashion (I have way too many boots to be living in Houston).

But not this year.  I’m not looking forward to fall. Not at all. 

For the first time in years, I’m loving summer and in denial that fall is right around the corner.

You see “fall” is synonymous with “work” in my mind right now.  I can’t believe that my 3.5 months of my maternity leave are almost over.  I just can’t believe it.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like my job (I still really love & enjoy the work that I do), but I am not ready to leave my sweet little boy at home while I’m away during the day.  Just the thought of it brings unbelievably large crocodile tears to my eyes.  I’m not ready, and I’ll probably never be ready for it (not for his first day of kindergarten, or college, or his wedding day….none of it!).  Dutch and I have been attached, literally, for over a year.  Not having him with me all day every day makes my heart just ache and my stomach fall to my feet.

I know that I’m going to blubber my way all the way to school that first day back (let me be honest here, we all know that those crying sessions are going to occur more than just the first day).  I know that this is going to be a huge learning curve from everything to learning to juggle working outside of the home with motherhood and being a wife, to accepting that I am not going to be perfect or an overachiever in any area of my life.  I’ve got a lot of lessons that I’m getting ready to start learning.

If you have done this before, please share your tips with me.  What will make this easier for Dutch? What will make this easier for me?  Please say a prayer for us if you get a chance while we prepare for this transition. 

For now, I’m embracing every single hot day in Houston this summer.  I am NOT complaining about the heat.  I am NOT filling my agenda with “to do’s” and extra events.  I am NOT freaking out about meeting deadlines.  I am NOT counting down the hours of baby snuggles; I’m cherishing them.  I’m staying around the house in my pj’s all day loving on my baby.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Baby Boy

Before I found out Little Peep’s gender, I was shopping for baby clothes.  (Doesn’t every new mama do that?!)
I quickly noticed how larrrrrrge the little girl clothing section was, and how incredibly small the little boy clothing selection was.  Since then I quickly found stores and brands that had the best selections for boys.  This summer we haven't spent much time outside yet with Dutch, but here are some of the clothes we will be sporting next summer.Summer baby boy  rhino gingham shirt - chambray shortscrab swim trunks“one” onesierugby shirtstar flip flopsplaid shirtoveralls
Today, I’m link up with Megan & Kelly for Trendy Tot Tuesday; hop over and see some other great styles for kiddos!Trendy Tot Tuesday

Friday, July 25, 2014

What’s in a Name?

Dutch Newborn_2014_19
I’ve received a lot of requests on the origin of our Little Peep’s name:
Dutch LeBeau

The Mr. and I picked our sweet boy’s name about 3 years ago.  We prayed and prayed and just knew that if God gave us a baby it would be a boy.  I know you’re not supposed to say if you want a boy or a girl, and you’re supposed to say a “healthy baby” (but seriously that really is a given in my mind, and gender is completely independent of health), but I will be completely honest with you, I prayed for a little boy since we were married.  I always told the Mr. that I wanted a bunch of little versions of him running around our house. 
Our anatomy scan appointment back in January revealed that we were having a boy.  To be honest, when the tech revealed his gender there was no big sigh of relief or anything like that because we both just knew he was going to be a boy.  Our gender reveal was just more like a confirmation, and we could officially start referring to him by his name.

The Mr. picked our son’s first name and I instantly loved it.  I love unique names because of what my unique name has taught me: to be an individual, not a follower.  I’ve never met another Dutch before so I thought this would be a great reminder for our son to not do as the world does and to stand firm in his own individuality and beliefs.  Where did the Mr. find this name? From the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Predator.  I had not seen the movie so we purchased it from Amazon & watched it the weekend before Dutch was born.  It's a terrible 80’s movie, but I still loved the name.

This name we didn’t finalize until the lady from Social Security was standing over us in the hospital waiting for us to sign the forms.  Oooooopsies!  LeBeau is French for handsome boy and Coach LeBeau is the defensive coordinator for the Steelers.  Both of our pups (Rooney and Tomlin) are named after men of great character from the Steelers organization.  Coach LeBeau is a true a man of exceptional character, patience, integrity, and compassion; all characteristics we pray our boy will carry on. 

There you have it: the origin of our Little Peep’s name :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

50759-cold-brew-coffeeI’m not usually a cold coffee person, but I have to say that right now I’ve totally got a crush on Trader Joes Cold Coffee Concentrate.  This stuff is ahhhhh-maaaaaaz-inggggggg and you need to go get you some STAT!  The concept of a coffee concentrate  is new to me but I’m a quick fan.  All you have to do is pour 1 part of the concentrate to 2 parts water or milk (I use milk), and add ice.  How fast is that?!
No grinding beans!
No waiting for the coffee to finish dripping!
No sweating over a hot cup of coffee in the middle of the summer!
No traveling anywhere for an iced coffee!
This is not a new-mom-who-has-no-time-to-make-coffee thing (though it certainly does help of course).  This is an EVERYBODY thing! 
How in the world did I live pre iced coffee concentrate?!
Seriously folks you’ve got to try this; it’s the perfect way to start a summer morning :-)
Happy humpday folks!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Smell of Heaven {Dutch’s Birth Story}

Have you ever wondered what heaven smells like? I have, and I now know what heaven smells like.  A new baby, is the freshest and closet smell of heaven on this side of eternity.  I promise!  Everything about a newborn smells heavenly!  It is intoxicating.  The Mr. and I have found that we love to soak in the smell of Dutch, from his laundry, to his breath and his hair…it all smells like heaven…….like a miracle.  Everything about Dutch’s surprise conception, questionable pregnancy, and exciting arrival was from God, and we are beyond grateful.  There are no words in the english language that accurately express our grateful hearts.  I wanted to write down Dutch’s birth story before I forgot the little details.  In truth, I wrote them down on a legal pad weeks ago, and I’m so glad I did because the details are already foggy. 

First of all, nothing in my life has ever gone according to my plan, despite the fact that I’m an intense planner.  The Lord has been teaching me that my time is never as good as His timing for as long as I can remember, and the conception and birth of Dutch was yet another teaching moment.  We had planned and trained for a natural vaginal delivery…….spoiler alert… didn’t go down like that.  Not at all. ***FYI- I will be describing our birth process honestly.  This is not meant to be used as medical advice, this is simply our birth experience based on our specific circumstances.***

My due date was May 28, 2014, but I was convinced that Dutch was coming on May 18th…….this is where the laughing can begin.  At my appointment on 5/22 I was 2 cm dilated and had been in early labor for two weeks already so my membranes were stripped in the hopes of moving labor along.  I tried every single old wives tale to get that baby moving (exercising, dancing, eating pineapple, drinking raspberry leaf tea, acupressure, nipple stimulation, pure cranberry juice……you name it I tried it!).  A week later at my next appointment (Thursday 5/29, a day past my due date) I was 3 cm dilated and my membranes were striped again.  My doctor made an appointment for me to be induced on Monday 6/2 at 8pm.  My doctor was concerned because Dutch was measuring on the larger side for a natural vaginal delivery (over 9lbs).  I was NOT excited about the scheduled induction at all, and spent the weekend trying more old wives tales to get him moving and praying that we could avoid all medical interventions (more laughing here at my attempt to plan).  Over the weekend my contractions continued but still nothing regular.  They were intense and would stop me in my tracks, but they weren’t getting closer together.

On Sunday night (or early Monday morning rather), at 12:32am I had my first time-able contraction (I was 40 weeks and 6 days).  I labored through contractions on my birthing ball in our living room.  I tried to rest between contractions, but spent the majority of the early morning hours breathing slowly, on all fours on my yoga mat with my head on the ottoman, and humming.  I went through the rotation of positions we practiced with our doula for weeks before and that position (on all fours) worked the best for me.  The Mr. helped me to take a few warm baths through the night and washed my hair for me to help me stay relaxed.  Being in the warm water was extremely helpful for my pain management.  As I labored,  I graciously watched the Mr. finish off my list of things I wanted done before going to the hospital (wash the dogs, sweep, vacuum, dishes, laundry, etc.)  After about 12 hours my contractions were 3 minutes apart and we decided to head to the hospital to be assessed.  When we walked in, I remember thinking, “If they tell me I am only 3 cm dilated still, I will cry!”  In fact, I’m pretty sure I told the security guard that as we were checking in.  The hospital was great and got me back to a room very quickly (I seriously can’t say more good things about our hospital; every step was amazing and perfect!).  Guess what?! After being assessed I was still only 3 cm dilated; let the water-works commence!  Since I was supposed to be induced that night anyways, my doctor decided to just admit me instead of sending me home (the tears stopped when they said I could stay).  DSC_0001-2DSC_0006-2DSC_0005-2DSC_0024-2
Around 2pm, I was started on pitocin at a low dosage, and it was increased every hour.  As expected, my contractions intensified and quickened.  A little before 7pm, 20 hours into labor, I was 4 cm dilated . Everything seemed to be okay, slow but okay, so I told the Mr. to go to the car to get our bags and grab something to eat.  When he left our room I felt my water break, and as soon as that happened everything changed….and really fast.  When the nurse assessed my bag of water, she noticed that my temperature was pretty high and that Dutch’s heart rate was beginning to increase.  I was quickly diagnosed with chorioamnionitis.  I felt really bad for the Mr. because he was only gone for 15 minutes and when he left me everything was fine, but when he walked back into our room I was on oxygen, there was a swarm of medical professionals, and I was started with an epidural for the probably eminent c-section.DSC_0009-2DSC_0016-2DSC_0043-2DSC_0047-2
Because the doctors started talking about a c-section, we asked for a little more time to see if my body would break the fever on its own with antibiotics.  I fell asleep and Phil prayed over me and Dutch for the next 2 hours.  The entire time he kept watching Dutch’s heart rate on the monitor go higher and higher.  At 10pm the doctors noticed that Dutch’s heart rate was 220 (normal shouldn’t be higher than 165ish), and that Dutch was at risk for a stroke and cardiovascular damage, so we were rushed in for an emergency c-section.  The Mr. was brought into the operating room after they had me and the NICU team set up.  Getting to the OR was very fast, and the medical team started right away trying to get Dutch out.  The doctor had a tough time getting Dutch out because of his wide shoulders, and the NICU team was closely monitoring Dutch and waiting to get their hands on him due to his cardiovascular distress and lack of oxygen.  Dutch was born at 11:05pm on June 2, 2014 weighing 7 lbs 11oz, and was 21 inches long.DSC_0051-2DSC_0053-2
The Mr. noticed that the doctors were getting very quiet and giving each other knowing glances with big eyes over their face masks.  Due to the chorioamnionitis and prolonged labor, I started to lose blood really quickly.  At this point I began vomiting, and received many shots in my shoulders to try to control and prevent the vomit from filling up my lungs.  I lost 4x the amount of blood that is normal for birth via a c-section, so I don’t remember much because I was in and out of consciousness due to the loss of blood.  However, I do remember the doctor quickly holding Dutch over the blue screen for me to see him, I remember the many shots I was receiving in my shoulders to try and stop the vomiting, I remember the silence in the room as they were trying to get Dutch to cry, and I remember asking the Mr. if Dutch had a clef pallet (I can’t believe I remembered to asked that in the chaos of the moment, but that was something that I was worried about since we could never get Dutch to move his hands from his mouth during ultrasounds.)  The Mr. was back and forth between me and Dutch.  As my doctors were trying to get the bleeding under control to avoid a blood transfusion and sew me up, he would report back to me what the NICU team was doing to get Dutch’s oxygen levels up and what medications he was started on through his IV.  Sidebar- I had no idea organs were removed to be sewn up before returning them to my body!  It’s no wonder why a c-section recovery leaves your insides very sore and tender!DSC_0063-2DSC_0066-2
The medical team finished me first so I was sent to recovery around 1:30am.  When the NICU team was at a stopping point with Dutch, they brought him to us in recovery so that he could nurse, before being returned to the NICU.  This was where I first got to hold Dutch for about 10 minutes.  Before going into labor I was asked many times by friends and family, what I was most looking forward to saying to our baby boy when he arrived.  While I knew exactly what I wanted to say, I could never tell them because I would get choked up.  But when the time came, and I got to hold that sweet boy in my arms for the first time, I was able to tell him exactly what I wanted to say, “Jesus loves you little boy”.  Through my tears of joy I knew that those needed to be the first words he heard from my voice.  This precious boy was all in God’s plan; it was His perfect masterpiece and I want Dutch to always know that.DSC_0072-2
For the next 6 hours I was tested to make sure that my white blood cell count was increasing.  I had 8 medications going into the IV in my left arm, a few into my left hand, blood drawn every 30 minutes from my right arm and right hand, and more shots into my shoulders due to blood incompatibility.  My right arm quickly turned black and blue from all of the needles drawing my blood.  I never sweat, even while exercising, but I remember being super hot and sweaty from the fever while I was in recovery.  Sweat was just rolling down the sides of my face.  This continued until my blood platelets stabilized and my fever broke.

Around 6am on Tuesday, the Mr. and I were taken to our postpartum room, and Dutch was delivered back to us from the NICU around 7am.  Because of the chorioamnionitis , prolonged labor, and Dutch passing his meconium, he was on several antibiotics through an IV in his right hand covered by a large paddle.  Tuesday was such a whirlwind of tests on our temperatures and blood levels.  By the end of the day my foley catheter (for urination) was removed.  While it was incredibly painful to get up to use the restroom (thank goodness my hubby practically carried me to the bathroom each time), the absence of the catheter made adjusting to Dutch so much easier.  Trying to hold, nurse, or change Dutch around all of my IV’s, his IV’s, my spinal catheter and foley catheter was challenging, so just having one of those removed was incredibly helpful.DSC_0081-2DSC_0088-2DSC_0098-2
On Wednesday (6/4), Dutch’s pediatrician stopped by to assess him in the morning.  He only lost 3% of his birth weight and was now weighing 7lbs and 7 oz.  After he passed his tests for the day (hearing & bilirubin) he was circumcised.  While that was happening, the Mr. got me showered and changed for the first time since I was in labor.  Since I had not been allowed to shower I was really looking forward to this monumental task, however I had no idea how extremely painful it would be and how weak I would be.  Praise the Lord for my strong, compassionate, and patient husband!  When Dutch was finished with his procedure we went to lactation class.  At 11am everyday our hospital offered a lactation class for all new moms and it was awesome.  Dutch was the star pupil at booby class that day lol  By the end of the day my spinal catheter was removed and all of my IV medications were completed and removed.  Dutch completed all of his antibiotics and his IV was also removed from his right hand.  While we had a lot going on Wednesday, the day really was great: everyone was on the mend, we had two visitors, and the hospital gave us our celebration dinner- complete with blue cake and sparkling cider.  Our evening was a little more challenging because my milk had not arrived yet and Dutch was very hungry (read “hangry”), we were all exhausted, and Dutch was uncomfortable from his surgery that morning.  After a few hours of Dutch & I both crying, Dutch went to the nursery for supplementation around 2am.  I was concerned about weight loss from not eating increasing his risks of jaundice, so I had to deal with my extreme mommy-guilt and send Dutch to the nursery (I still cried though).  When 6am rolled around and Dutch wasn’t back, the Mr. walked and I shuffled to the nursery to pick him up.DSC_0106-2DSC_0110-2
On Thursday (6/5), we met with the pediatrician in the morning and Dutch received his vaccinations before he was discharged.  He was discharged weighing 7 lbs and 2 oz.  While I was waiting to be discharged we had two special visitors come by and keep us company, I practiced walking laps around the 12th floor of the hospital, and I had my staples removed.  In the afternoon my physician came by to assess me; he wanted to keep me one more day and send me home on Friday, but we asked him if I was really careful if I could go home and he said that I could……I mean when he looked around the room he saw that everything was packed up and piled by the door ready to go.  How could he say no?  At 3:30pm the discharge papers were signed, and we were pulling in our driveway at 5:30pm.DSC_0115-2DSC_0118-2DSC_0120-2DSC_0127-2
Since arriving home, we have been playing “get to know you” with Dutch.  And to be honest, with each other too since we have completely new roles as a mama and daddy.  We have both been soaking in the sweet smell of heaven.  The scent of heaven are the miracles of God; that’s what babies are….miracle after miracle.  It is the sweetest smell I have ever experienced.  Going through the birth experience and the transition into parenthood with my husband has been a true joy.  Even though our experience was nothing close to what we had planned, it was perfect; better than we could have planned.  I have fallen more in love with my husband; more in love than I ever thought was possible.  His dedication, patience, and compassion are characteristics that stare me in the face everyday.  He is a magnificent man, husband, and father.  I am blessed to have the Mr. at my side walking through this journey with me, and we are in awe of the blessing and miracle God gave us with Dutch.
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