Monday, December 16, 2013

Maternity Photos

I didn't want to take maternity photos. Pregnancy makes women feel all kinds of ways about their bodies, and to be honest, I didn't consistently feel secure and confident enough to pose for photos. Besides, I'd rather spend our money on a newborn photography session once you get here! Nonetheless, I wanted a few private pictures just for you so you can see how much of a miracle pregnancy is. So on my first full day of maternity leave, I sat in the Florida room with no make-up, a sports bra and yoga pants on, and I took a few selfies with my remote.

Nursery Reveal

As far as nesting was concerned, I always felt like I could take or leave it. Our home is pretty clean, organized...there wasn't much to do! But there was one part of nesting I was definitely looking forward to: designing and decorating your room!

I love home decor. It's always an ongoing project, and the possibilities are endless. The best part is beginning with a new room; there's nothing like that blank canvas! I really enjoyed creating a theme with each room in our home, and your room was no exception. Because of your first name, I knew I wanted it to involve elephants. Ellie just sounds like a girl who likes elephants - they're kind, strong, smart, and many cultures believe they bring good luck. Because of your middle name, I knew I wanted it to be pink. I wanted it to be girly, but I didn't want it to be baby-girly. I decided that if orange and gold accompanied this pink, we could create a bohemian theme, rather than a cutesy baby elephant theme.
Top to bottom, then left to right: crib, elephant figurine, print, changing table, rug, garland, lamp, rocker, mobile, fabric, print, print 

The result of that inspiration board is a fun, colorful, glamorous room that I hope you'll enjoy for years!

Your big sister, Chelsea, even has a bed in the corner. She really likes it, though she was uncooperative when it came to posing in it when these photos were taken.

The diaper pail even has a bag in it right now...that's how ready we are for your big debut! I thought the orange baskets were a nice addition to avoid getting things too pink. Here's a close-up of that print in the bottom right, since the glare makes it difficult to see:

Yet another beautiful Etsy find!

Those sweet little shelves come from Land of Nod, which is a dangerous website for your mommy. They were perfect to display important objects that you're not quite old enough to handle yet. On this shelf, you have a framed photo of your mommy and daddy, as well as gilded elephants that belonged to your great-grandmother.

This shelf has another frame, but this one has pictures of you in it! The rattle and spoon were mine when I was a baby. Your daddy wore that grape soda pin (otherwise known as an Ellie badge) on our wedding day.

We got the confetti decals and the decal of your name at this great site called Walls Need Love.

That pink basket is full of nursing goodies so that I'll have them handy when we're in the rocker. Look at all of those great books and toys that people have given you!

The closet is still blue, as your friends Noah and Ryan used to live in this room before we moved in. We organized it as best as we could with some awesome Ikea finds.

The only thing missing is you!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

OB Check: 36.5 Weeks

OB updates aren't much to write home about at first. The anatomy scan was pretty exciting - we got to see your brain so I geeked out a good bit. But after that, it's just checking my weight, my blood pressure, the size of my uterus, and listening to your heartbeat. It gets pretty redundant. Then, all of a sudden, you're one month away from your due date and it's time for weekly prenatal check-ups!

The most exciting part, of course, was that we got to see your face.

We found out you were 7 pounds, 14 inches long, and in the 90th percentile for head circumference. Obviously, these measurements were approximate, but it meant one thing: you were a big girl! From there, Dr. Cauthen examined me and told me that I was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. This meant that my body was getting ready for you to enter the world!

Since we had a little more information, we were able to come up with a tentative plan: if you don't get here by 12/20/13, we're going to induce. Dr. Cauthen (and Mommy) wanted you to get as close to 39 weeks as possible (because it's important for your frontal lobes), but going too late could mean a C-section if you keep growing. So that's our plan at this point. Stay tuned to see if we end up being able to stick with it!

Thanksgiving 2013

I wish I could tell you that you got to enjoy lots of yummy Thanksgiving dishes this year, but the truth is I just didn't have room for very much food! I think I made myself the smallest Thanksgiving plate I've ever had, but I somehow made some room for a family favorite: The Toomey Potato Leek Pie.

Your mommy's side of the family has made this dish for years, though it's evolved over time. We cut out the pie crust because we decided it was too carby. We were pretty pleased with that adjustment, but the dish as a whole was still a little too bland for your daddy. A couple of years ago, I figured out what needed to change. The pie needed some heat, and it needed some smokiness. Additionally, the pie wasn't so much a pie now that it didn't have a crust. I decided to add some cayenne pepper and some bacon crumbles, and I decided to cook it in a casserole dish rather than one or two pie dishes. I'm not really sure whether this makes it a casserole, a soufflé, or something else, but either way it's easier to serve!

The Toomey Potato Leek Pie (with italicized updates by Mommy!)

  • 3-6 leeks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes (use whatever recipe you prefer; my recipe makes 4 cups with 2 pounds of Yukon golds)
  • 2 cups large curd cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (I used about 1.5 tablespoons. Seriously.)
  • 1 wedge of parmesan cheese, divided
  • 6-8 slices of bacon, cooked to a crisp, drained, and crumbled
  • Paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Trim the leeks to about 6 inches each. Cut into thin slices and rinse in a colander.
  3. Saute in 1T butter until wilted. I usually have to do this in two batches in order to cook evenly.
  4. Blend mashed potatoes through sour cream in food processor. Stir in leeks.
  5. Pour into 9x13 corningware, or similar casserole dish of your choice.
  6. Stir in cayenne pepper, to taste. Yes, I know I just told you to taste raw egg. Deal with it.
  7. Stir in half of the parmesan cheese and the bacon.
  8. Top the casserole (pie?) with remaining cheese and garnish liberally with paprika.
  9. Bake at 350 for an hour until set.
  10. Serve immediately, or cool completely and refrigerate. To reheat, bring to room temperature, then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Freezes well.

We can't wait to teach you all about our Thanksgiving family traditions (and start some new ones!) in 2014!