Monday, April 27, 2009

Why, oh why?

I constantly wonder "why?". It is one of my quirks, for better or worse. This quality is one of those that can drive people bonkers. For example, when I was little, I was one of those kids that asked "Why?" about everything. Yep, I was that freckle-faced, wide-eyed little girl who followed grown-ups around pelting them with questions like "Why is the sky blue?", "Why is the grass green?", and "Why, oh why, do boys have belly buttons?" (because I thought belly buttons were where babies came out of the mommies). Anyhoo, sometimes wondering why is quite amusing and keeps me entertained for hours. So, here are some of the whys I've been wondering about lately:

**do I always end up in the check out lane behind the world's slowest person with the world's slowest cashier?

**does my daughter seem to only sleep well on the couch?

**does it cost so much to be green? (I think they charge more for organic and green-friendly items just because they know I'll pay it...)

**do I never get what I order at Popeyes? Seriously, I've eaten at Popeyes in 4 states and every time, my order gets messed up...

**are people still shocked by my name? Really, celebrities name their kids stuff like Apple, Tu and Pilot, and a simple little name like Cole shocks you?!

**do my kids only find it necessary to talk to me when I'm on the phone?

**do people invent crap like the Snuggie?

**and why do people buy crap like the Snuggie?

**don't people understand that the way they allow people to treat them is the way they will be treated?

**can't people give me more than 24 hours notice that they are coming to visit? Honestly, my house is always a mess (because we actually live in it) and I need more like 48 hours notice to prep it.

**are young people in such a hurry to grow up?

Ok, so I could go on forever because, like I said, I wonder "Why?" about everything. So, I'll stop there and go clean my house because the mother-in-law is coming for a visit.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'll Have the Chipper Chicken

One of my all-time favorite movies is Father of the Bride. I especially love when they are discussing the menu and George says they are going to have the "chipper chicken." Anyhoo, enough about my extraordinarily odd ability to remember and quote pretty much any line from any movie I've ever seen. (Too bad that talent doesn't translate into a highly paid job...) Chicken really is pretty cheap, though, and you can make sooo many different meals with it. One of our recent favorite chicken meals is Cheesy Chicken and Veggie Mac. I found the basic recipe over on the Kraft website in their 1 bag, 5 meals section (which is fantastic, by the way). The first time I made it I followed the recipe. Once the meal received a stamp of approval from my boys, I made it again and personalized it a little bit. Here's what I came up with:

1 lb. chicken tenders
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1 box mac-n-cheese
1 bag (10 oz.) frozen broccoli, cauliflower & carrots
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Using your preferred method, cook the chicken. (I usually poach the chicken in a pot of boiling water.) Cut into bite-size pieces and toss with the dressing. You can do this when you are preparing the meal or ahead of time and store in the fridge.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and frozen veggies. While this is cooking, reheat your chicken in a skillet. When the macaroni is done, drain and add the cheese sauce according to the instructions on the box. Add the garlic powder and chicken.

This makes enough for my two little boys and the hubby with just a little leftover, so if you are serving more than 4 people you should probably double the recipe. This is a super easy and quick recipe that only costs less than $5 to make! Can't beat that!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Green for FREE

In honor of Earth week, I have come up with a list of my top five ways to go green for FREE! Yes, that's right, you do not have to spend huge amounts of money to make an impact on our environment.

1. Reduce the margins on your printer. Going from the default 1.25" margins to 1" will reduce the number of pages you print and by extension reduce the number of trees being cut down. Also, you can buy recycled printer paper for the same price as other paper.

2. Unplug electronics when you aren't using them. This will reduce the amount of energy used in your house which will also lower your bill. Did you know that at least 5% of energy used in the US is being used by electronic devices left plugged in but not being used?! So, unplug the toaster when you're not using it.

3. Donate items that you no longer want or need to the local Goodwill (or other charity oranization). Or, if you need extra cash, have a yard sale. Either of these options keeps stuff out of the landfills.

4. Repurpose plastic containers. For example, empty plastic coffee canisters make excellent containers for crayons and markers. Be creative!

5. Wash your clothes in cold water. It'll reduce the amount of energy required and is actually better for you clothes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hooray for Not Being Pregnant Anymore

Well, it has been eleven days now that I have not been pregnant. YAY! I must say that there are some really good things about it. Here are just a few:

--I can sleep in any position I want.

--One word: caffeine!

--My body is returning to its normal shape and size.

--Oddly, I have this sudden desire to eat healthy and have managed to do so despite all of my food pickiness.

--I no longer feel the urge to constantly watch A Baby Story or any other birth related show on TLC or Discovery Health

--I now have a beautiful baby girl!!

These are just a few reasons that I am super excited to no longer be pregnant. Pregnancy is such an odd thing. For the last month of it, I was totally ready for it to be over and then suddenly it was. I think there is period where you almost go through withdrawals. And I'll admit that I did that for about a day a few days ago, but, like I normally do, I decided to find the bright spots in it all and move on. So, YAY for not being preggo any more :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our New Arrival

Warning: This is a long one and might contain more details than you really want to know :)

I know, I'm a little behind on posting this. But give me a break, I have a newborn :) Our new little one, Kacey Jane, arrived on April 4. She is a very healthy, perfect little girl. At birth she weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 21" long. So, here's the rundown on her arrival...

On April 1, I went in for my appointment and the doctor said that if I wanted we could induce on Friday morning. I, of course, jumped at the chance. It had gotten to the point that I couldn't sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. I could not eat a cracker without getting severe heartburn, so I had gone through a huge bottle of rolaids in two weeks. My swelling was to the point that it just hurt all the time. Basically, I was miserable! Add to that the fact that the doctor felt like Kacey would hang in there for at least another two weeks if we didn't induce and I felt like inducement was the right decision for me. It was something that I had actually done a lot of research on before the doctor ever brought it up, so I knew the pros and cons.

So, Martin and I showed up at 9 on Friday morning as instructed, only to be told that the doctor was doing a C-section and wanted me to come back at 11. We wasted a couple of hours and arrived back at 11. The doctor got me admitted and the nurses got me all settled into my L&D room. After the nurse started my IV (which hurt like hell and bled all over the place), I got to order lunch before starting the inducement process. And let me tell you, Ireland Army Community Hospital has some kick-ass food! They have this system that is like ordering from hotel room service. Anyhoo, I got my lunch and then waited for the doctor to come back. He said he'd be back at 2 but it was 3 before he showed up. (This lateness turned out to be a chronic problem with the doc, but he got the job done so I'm not complaining at all.) So, at 3 pm, they inserted cytotec and we were on our way to baby. I had been having some contractions on my own, so that was a promising sign. At 5, the nurse told me to order some dinner because they were going to start pitocin around 6 and I wouldn't be able to eat after that. I ate, then they started the pit which helped my contractions to get stronger and eventually more regular. By 11 pm, the contractions were killer but I was still only dilated 2-3 cm so I couldn't have an epidural at that point. The nurse got me some IV meds and, let me tell you, they were almost as great as an epidural. I managed to sleep during the night. The first 6 cm went so slow! But finally, around 10 am, I was dilated around 6 cm and I got my epidural, YAY! Right before that, my water broke on its own. Once my water broke, things moved pretty quick and Kacey was born at 1:15 pm on Saturday. Despite how long the labor was (22 hours, if you start the clock when they inserted the cytotec), it was so easy. I didn't have any complications and no tears, woo hoo! I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful labor and delivery, and a healthy little girl! Despite what you might have heard about military medical care, I had a great doctor, fabulous nurses and an overall wonderful experience at the hospital here on post. (Honestly, I've had two kids in military hospitals and one in a civilian hospital, and I have to say that my military experiences were way better than the civilian one.)

Life since Kacey's arrival has been incredibly hectic! But I wouldn't change it for anything. The boys adore their little sister. Martin has been fantastic. He had to go back to work today, so things are starting to fall back into a routine. I did nurse Kacey while we were in the hospital and we supplemented a little with formula until my milk came in. Now that we are home, I pump and she gets the milk in a bottle. It works really well for us, but it is a lot of work. However, I feel really good that she's getting the benefits of breastmilk. It's great to know that I can nurse her if I need to, but I love that Martin gets to be in on feeding her too.

So, there's my story of little miss Kacey Jane's arrival. Like always, I did things my way. I trusted my gut feelings and things turned out very well. My advice to any woman expecting a baby is to do the same. Take it all in and trust your gut. Really, that's good advice for life in general! I'm going to go look at my beautiful little girl now. Here's a picture so you can do the same :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Coming Soon...

Well, I had an appointment today and I have to say that I may be in love with the doctor now! He came into the room and the first words out of his mouth were an offer to induce labor on Friday morning. YAY! So, I am checking in at 9 am on Friday morning to get the process going. Hopefully it won't take too long and little Kacey Jane will make a quick arrival. Now that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, I have been thinking a lot about my little girl and the great-grandma from which her middle name comes. My grandma passed away a little over a year ago from breast cancer. She was an amazing woman without whom I would not be who I am today. Granny Shirley had a tendency to be brutally honest and had an incredibly tough exterior. But, under all of that was a woman who loved her family very much. Granny had her fair share of heartache in her life which I think led to her hiding a lot of her softer emotions. If I learned one thing from this wonderful woman that I can pass on to the little girl who will share her middle name, it is that no matter how many times life knocks you down you just have to get back up. That and how to fill out a NCAA basketball bracket :) I really miss Granny but I have a feeling that little Miss Kacey Jane is her way of reminding me that life goes on.