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Thursday, October 1, 2015

BB's Birth Story

I hesitated to do a birth story blog.  For years I've cringed at the thought of reading anything another person writes that contains words like cervix or dilated or birth canal.  But, ya know, this blog is where I happen to chronicle my life and store my memories, so leaving out such a momentous event didn't seem right either.

In light of that, I've decided to do some sort of a compromise.  I will be writing a birth story.  But I won't be writing a graphically detailed, gory version and promise not to use the word cervix.  I've decided the best approach is to tell the story as I've heard The Boy from Texas tell it to other people.  He is super private and I figure if he feels comfortable including it when he tells the story, it's probably safe to share.
Final belly photo headed into the hospital.


At about 36 weeks I started having contractions and beginning to dilate.  At that time, the doctor told us that he thought we could be having a baby "any day now" and that he didn't think we would make our due date, which was great because we would not have to discuss things like induction.  With that info, we hurried around and got our hospital bag packed, carseat ready to go, and waited on a baby.  Well....said baby decided to prove the doctor wrong.  (My dad swears that all doctors tell all women at 36 weeks there will be a baby any day just so they don't jump out a window thinking they have a month of pregnancy left.  Maybe he's right.)

At our last scheduled appointment, which happened the day before BB was due, the ultrasound tech spotted something concerning on the ultrasound that she brought to the doctor's attention.  In light of this, the doctor told us that we needed to go ahead and plan on having a baby the next day and that we should induce.  So, there was the plan.

After a lovely dinner with one of The Boy From Texas' co-workers, we headed home to get some sleep before heading to the hospital at 6:00 am.

The Day Of

Once we arrived, they got me checked in and gave me Pitocin at about 8:00.  They asked if I wanted an epidural and my answer was that I thought I'd wait and see.  I didn't like the idea of not being able to get up and walk around, but turned out, because they induced me I couldn't get up and walk around anyway.  So in light of that, after about an hour and a half of pretty serious contractions, I decided an epidural was a good idea.  It just didn't make sense to me to spend all day in pain when there was medicine to help with that.  So the epidural man came in and took care of me....and I wanted to kiss him.  I could still feel a little pain, but nothing too bad.

So from there, we basically hung out for the rest of the day and just waited.  About 1:00 they came in and said I was progressing nicely and we would probably have a baby by 4:00.  (Perhaps something else they tell every poor woman...)

At 4:00, they said we'd wait another couple of hours.  At 6:30 they came in, I was ready to go, and we decided to start pushing.  The nurse told me she thought I'd probably just need to push about 30 minutes and we'd have a baby. The kickoff for Monday Night Football was on, Patriots v. Steelers.  We started pushing about the time kickoff happened.

The Delivery

Well, after pushing for 4 hours, still no baby.  My favorite part of this time was during the midst of this, the nurse says, "Who in the family has red hair?"  Well, there is red on both sides of the family, so we knew there was a chance of a red-headed boy.  It was hilarious that before he was even born, that red hair was a topic of conversation.

The Boy from Texas was a champ. He held my leg in the air for hours, held my hand, handed me barf bags, was right in the middle of it all.

4 hours into this, I was exhausted.  I had been vomiting all day.  I was starving.  I was on oxygen having a hard time breathing.  The baby was beginning to show signs of distress.  The doctor came in an said that we were in a situation where we needed to do something different.  I was out of energy and the baby was starting to have trouble.  He very calmly explained we had three options:  forcepts, vaacum, or c-section.  The Boy from Texas sort of took over at this point and asked what the doctor thought we should do.  He said he really thought he could have the baby out with forcepts in 2 pushes.  Decision made.

At this point, people started running into our room.  All day it had pretty much just been us and the nurses and a couple of nursing students who were hoping to see their first delivery.  Suddenly, the room was full of probably 10 nurses everywhere.  The doctor got everything ready and off we went.

Now, when I heard forcepts, I didn't really know what that meant.  I pictured some sort of long tweezer-like things that would grab his head.  No.  What I saw were these tong-looking things the size of the dang spatchula The Boy from Texas uses on the bbq grill.   I can't even.

The doctor was right, two pushes, horrible pain, and the baby was out.  He didn't cry and all I could see was that his legs looked blue.  The Boy from Texas could see him and assured me that he was fine.  Dad cut the cord, the doctor finished up working on me, and that was that.

The Baby

So, with that, BB arrived.  He weighed in at 7 pounds, 10.9 oz.  (For the record, I had guessed he would be 7 pounds 11 oz earlier in the day.)  Measured at 19.5 inches long.  He had the cutest little face, the longest little feet, and hair that is just barely tinged red.


TBFT, BB, and our doctor, who TBFT now refers to
simply as "a badass."

The baby was delivered exactly as the coaches shook hands after the game.  While the doctor was working on me after the birth, he asked the nurses who won the game.  "The Patriots," I responded.  The doctor replied, "You were watching the game during that?!?"  What can I say?  I am, indeed, a football fan.

The After Party

After he arrived, the family came back in to meet BB.  My parents, Ty's mom, and Ty's sister were all there.  

Honestly, all I remember about this time was that I was so thirsty and starving.  They let me have some water right away but made me wait an hour for food.  By this point, it was midnight, nothing was open, and The Boy from Texas was also starving.  Enter our friends 4-H Agent and Show Photographer.  One text message later and these two showed up in the middle of the night bearing Whataburger for The Boy from Texas and red gatorade for me.  That, kids, is what friendship looks like.

And just like that, we were a family of three.

So, there you have it.  A birth story.  Without using the word cervix.  You are welcome.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Loving Him More

Well, here we are almost two weeks into this motherhood thing.  

Some things have been surprising. Like how my emotions are a complete roller coaster. And how I really can function on far less sleep than I could have imagined. How wearing baby spit up almost constantly is strangely becoming normal. And how naive I was to think I could get all sorts of things done on maternity leave. Right now, if I can keep BB alive, get a shower, and maybe sonin either small thing like pay bills or run a load of laundry, it's a good day. 

But the one thing I have found most surprising is how damn much I love The Boy from Texas.  You all know from reading this blog I obviously loved him before he became a dad. But the love I have for him now just blows that away.  

It started in the hospital where he was an absolute trooper. He kept me calm and was right in the middle of everything and when it was time to make a tough decision, he just made it and then held my hand. I fell in love with him all over again over the 14 hours of labor.

And then, when we got home, I kept falling more and more. Seeing him with BB, watching him hold his tiny head in his hands, hearing him tell that tiny baby how much he loves's almost too much for my heart to handle. 

Then add in how he has taken care of me and the dogs and the cows and still going to work over the last 12 days, and, well, he should really be in the running for husband of the year. 

I waited a long time to find him. And we waited for what felt like a long time to be in the same zip code. Then we waited 10 months for BB to make his appearance. And I can say without a doubt, getting what we have together now was worth every single minute. 

Meet The Cast Monday #51: The Baby from Texas

Meet The Baby from Texas, named Braun, who will now be known as BB on the blog.

Photo by our amazingly talented friend, Britt.

 He made his grand entrance to the world weighing in at 7 pounds, 10.9 oz and measuring 19.5 inches long.  His dad and I are absolutely in love with this little guy.

And I've already got tons of new blog know, when I can train this kid to let me have some blogging time!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #27: Mom's Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

If there is one meal a good, country girl should know how to make, I feel like it's chicken fried steak.  I had never attempted this dish before.  It seemed complicated, messy, and frankly, my mom makes it a lot when we come over so I figured that The Boy from Texas could get his fill there.  But, in advance of us having The Baby from Texas, I felt like I should give this recipe a whirl.  My mom emailed it over.  It was less complicated than I thought, but was super messy.  So heads up on that.

The Boy from Texas Rating:  4

The Boy from Texas Comments:  Tastes like chicken fried steak to me.

My Rating:  5.

For steak:
Cubed or Tenderized Round Steak
1 C flour
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4 C milk
1/4 Vegetable Oil

For gravy:
1/4 to 1/3 C flour

In small, put flour, salt, and pepper. Stir it.(I actually used an old cool whip container I saved.)

In another bowl, put eggs and 1/4 C milk. Whip with fork.  (Used another cool whip container.)

Put about ¼ C of oil in skillet. You will want to warm the oil in the pan before you place the meat in it.

Slice meat into small pieces.  (This isn't necessary, just makes it easier to be sure meat is cooked and somehow helps make breading stick better.  I'd say mine were probably 3" x 3".

Roll each piece of meat in the flour and shake off excess flour. Then roll the meat in the egg/milk mixture. Roll the meat again in the flour. Place the meat into the skillet of warm oil. Do the same process with all meat. Place lid on pan.

Let meat cook until batter begins to brown on bottom. Turn meat over, replace lid and cook until batter browns. Turn meat back over and cook a little more on each side. Then, remove lid and cook until each side has browned.  (To be sure meat it cooked through, you can just poke the center with a fork and ensure that juices are clear.

Set meat aside.

Remove excess oil and keep enough in pan to make your gravy.  (This is the kind of unhelpful instruction that makes me crazy from family recipes.  How much is enough?  How much is too much?  I didn't have very much left in the pan, so I just left it all in there).  Add about 1/4 or 1/3 cup of flour to grease. Use wire whisk to stir. Brown the flour good and then add milk (How much?  She doesn't say.  I just kept adding a little bit at a time until the consistency looked about right). Stir with whisk. Lower heat and let gravy thicken continuing to stir with spatula that has holes in it. If it gets too thick, add more milk.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Life Hacks #2

I got a big positive response to my first Life Hacks post, so I figured why not keep this little list going.  Here are a few more...

- Never pay full price at Hob Lob.  Now, the real life hack would be trying to make yourself never enter Hob Lob because let's be real, if you go in there, you are going to spend money no matter what. should NEVER pay full price for anything.  First off, there is always a 40% off one regular priced item coupon.  That's available in the Hob Lob flier in the mail (or they usually have them in the store) or you can pull it up on your iPhone.  So if you need to buy something that is not on sale, use your 40% off coupon.  But second, if you can afford to wait, the full price item you are looking at will be on sale within 2 weeks.  My Cousin Whitney is the one who informed me about this when she was wedding planning.  She watched and the sales in that store basically rotate ever three weeks.  So, if she found something she wanted and it was not on sale, she'd just check back the next two weeks and it would be 50% off.

- Have a card stash.  I'm a card sender.  And honestly a pretty good one.  I rarely miss a birthday or anniversary.  I try to always send baby cards and engagement cards.  And then sometimes have it together enough to send just because cards.  It's much easier to do this if you have a stash of cards rather than trying to hit up Target or Hallmark or wherever every time you need one.  I have a basket (OSU orange, of course) where I store all my cards.  I keep them organized by topic.  I just use little sticky notes to keep them separated.  It works like a charm and helps me keep up with events and have cards ready to roll quickly!

- Meal plan for the week.  This trick not only helps keep you from having to go to the grocery store multiple times a week (who the heck likes that??) but also helps you buy only what you need and not waste food.  Every Sunday, I sit down and make a meal plan for the week (Usually I do this for Monday - Friday).  I make a menu of what we will eat for each meal and then base my grocery list on what I need for these meals.  I have really found it saves a lot of time and money at the store if I know exactly what I'll be cooking and buy only that food.

- Remedy for forgotten name.  I'm hesitant to share this one because I've probably used it on someone reading this blog.  But, whatever.  Are y'all as bad about names as I am?  I'm a super visual person, so if I've seen your name written down, I will probably remember.  If I see your face, I can usually remember things about you (where you are from, how we met, what you were wearing the last time I saw you), but your name?  It's iffy if it will come to me.

One little trick I learned when you can't recall a name you should know is as follows.  Say you are chatting with the Unknown person and another person walks up.  You introduce the two and say, "Oh gosh, remind me of your name again?"  And when they tell you their first name, you say, "Oh, no, of course I know your first name, it's your last name I can't recall." (Even though you had no clue what their first name is.)  Then they'll tell you and bam, you're in.  Just make sure you remember it this time.  For example:

Say Alex, Bob and I are talking and I can't remember Bob's name.  Here's how this would work:

Tiffany:  "Alex, this is, oh gosh, your name is escaping me."
Bob:  "It's Bob."
Me:  "Oh no, of course I know your first name, it's your last name I can't recall."
Bob:  "Oh, Bob Jones."
Me:  "Jones, of course.  Bob Jones."

I'm always up for new life hacks....please share your favorites!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #26: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This weekend I was hungry for zucchini bread and started looking for recipes.  I couldn't find any one that I really liked, so I ended up taking bits and pieces of several recipes and making my own.  I have to say, turned out pretty well!  One thing I like about this recipe is you can easily add or substitute other things.  If I made it again, I might add some shredded carrots.  You could easily add dried cranberries or raisins instead of (or addition to) the chocolate chips or pineapple.

The Boy from Texas Rating:  2.5 (he was grouchy)

The Boy from Texas Comments:  I don't understand this, you are putting zucchini in bread?  Wait, there are chocolate chips in here.  I don't understand, is this supposed to be healthy or not.  It doesn't make any sense.

My Rating:  4

 Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
3 C flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder 
1 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon sugar
.5 t nutmeg
3 eggs
1 C apple sauce (you could use vegetable oil instead, but apple sauce works just the same and is healthier!)
1 C sugar
1 T vanilla
1.5 C grated zucchini
.25 C chopped pineapple
.75 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preaheat oven to 350.  Spray 2 loaf pans (9x5) with non-stick spray.

In large bowl, mix first 6 ingredients by hand.  One at a time, add each of the next ingredients, mixing well.  (Batter is going to be thick, that's okay.)

Put half the batter in each pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

15 in '15 Update: July and August

So....this will be the last list update before The Baby from Texas arrives.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Holy moly!

Summary (for those of us keeping score):
I've completed 6/15 items.
I've made at least some form of progress on 13/15 items.

Here are the details.

1.  Visit 2 new states.  COMPLETE!

Prior months recap:  Georgia (January), Iowa (April), Minnesota (April)


2.  Print Instagram photos in Chatbooks.  COMPLETE!

I'm happy to report that the Chatbooks have arrived and are happily on our coffee table.  I now have photos from every day of 2014 and it's really fun to look back and see what was going on!  Special thanks to College Roomie for giving me gift cards for Christmas to pay for this little project!


3.  Read 12 more books.  (5/12 complete).

Prior months recap:  Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist (February), St. John Paul the Great by Jason Evert (March), Before Amen by Max Lucado (April).

 I've had several friends follow this book with their babies and they got those kids sleeping through the night before the mom went back to work from maternity leave.  I'm sold with just that prospect.  I think that for someone as Type-A as me, having a schedule for this baby is going to be helpful.  We'll see!

The Hardest Peace.  I learned about the author's heartbreaking story when she wrote a beautiful letter to Brittany Maynard about the author's choice not to end her life, but instead to live it out despite the terminal cancer that would eventually kill her.  The book, as you might expect, is heartbreaking, but it is also beautiful.  Repeatedly the author speaks of trusting God, even in the hardest, most impossible situation.


4.  Run another half marathon.   Complete a post-baby 5K.  (No progress.)

Still waiting to be post-baby to start working on this one.  I'm eyeing a Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving, but that may be a bit ambitious....


5.  Take a fun trip for The Boy From Texas' 30th.  COMPLETE!

We spent a few days at the beautiful Inn of the Mountain Gods in Ruidoso, New Mexico.  If you missed the blog recapping the trip, click here!


6.  Plant flowers in our yard and the fun pots we got.  COMPLETE!


7.  Cook 52 more recipes in the Newlywed in the Kitchen series.  (19/52 completed).

Prior months recap:  5 through end of February; 10 through the end of April, 14 through the end of June.

This month, I added recipes for grilled chicken salad; red, white, and blueberry pie, salsa verde chicken pasta, brisket dinner, and peach cobbler pancakes.


8.  Finish Uncle Black Belt's book.  (Some progress made).

Prior months recap:  As of April, we had Chapters 1-4 finished and were just starting editing on Chapters 5 and 6.

No progress this month, but this is going back on the priority "to do" list!


9.  Complete one study a month.  (8/12 completed.)

Prior months recap:
January:  New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer.
February:  Breathe Spiritual Passion into Your Marriage by Gary Thomas.
March:  Praying for your Elephant - Praying Bold Prayers
April:  Discerning God's Will
May:  Hope
June:  Assurance
July:  The Lies of Busyness:  Devotions from Time of Grace
August:  Using Your Time for God


10.  Complete 5 Pinterest projects (other than recipes).  COMPLETED!

Prior months recap:  Plant a ceramic pot garden (April), Plant a mixed plant pot (April), Send a birthday box to a friend (May), Make lavender bunches (June).

This month I wrapped up project #5 when I made baby shower folder gifts for College Roomie and the Oklahoma Girls. 


11.  Knock off three more bucket list checkmarks.  (2/3 completed).

Prior months recap:  Meet a blog friend in person (January).

This month I crossed off my goal to stay at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. I had heard all about this place for years and had never been there.  It is absolutely beautiful and peaceful and I really enjoyed going for The Boy from Texas' 30th!


12.  Order books/prints/canvases of our wedding photos.  COMPLETE!


13.  Listen to the New Testament.  (Minor progress made).

Prior months progress:  Matthew 1-10.

I have got to get this in gear.  Hoping to use the motivation from the devotionals about spending time wisely and the lies of busyness to help me get cracking!


14.  Pray Novenas for 12 friends and send them notes to tell them about it.  (8/12 completed).

Prior months progress:
January:  Novena to St. Anne for a friend suffering through infertility.
February:  Novena to St. Joseph for my single friends.
March:  Novena to St. Patrick for my friend and her growing family.
April:  Divine Mercy Novena for another good friend expecting a little one and a friend diagnosed with cancer.
May:  Novena to the Infant of Prague for two friends struggling with infertility.
June:  Divine Mercy Novena for a good friend going through a stressful time.

In July, I prayed a Novena to the Saint John Paul II for my friend taking the bar exam.  Goodness knows that's a stressful situation and I'm confident she knocked it out of the park!

In August, I prayed a Novena to St. Joseph for my friend whose husband is looking for a job.


15.  Organize my pictures.  (No progress.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Baby Shower Gift: Baby Folders

Since just about everyone I know is currently knocked up (or working on getting there!), I tried to come up with a good baby gift idea that is useful and different than what most people buy.  When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew I had found my answer:  a baby folder!

A baby folder is the perfect gift for someone like me to give.  I'm super organized and as a lawyer, I feel like being on top of the paperwork is key to any new motherhood.  I love having one place to keep all of the baby-related paperwork and love even more that it's portable rather than just having hanging folders in a file cabinet.  When you go to the doctor, you can take the folder with you and have your paperwork all right there.

So, I bought some cute expandable file folders, some file folders, fun colored sharpies, and I went to work.

I used the following categories:

Birth Certificate & Social Security Card
Shot Records
Parenting Articles

I must say, I was quite pleased with the final results!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #25: Peach Cobbler Pancakes

It is currently Saturday night and I am up late writing this blog for the dear Mrs. Lee, who wants the recipe and when I told her I would have this post up on Monday she was sure I would be birthing a baby rather than blogging.  Because she so kindly believed this baby is coming soon and is generally awesome, here is the blog! :)

The Boy from Texas loves peaches and I love pancakes, so when I saw a recipe on Pinterest for peach cobble pancakes, I knew I had to give it a whirl.  I made a few minor revisions from the original recipe, which turned out just fine.  I thought it turned out really good and is something that is easy to make but looks quite impressive!

The Boy from Texas Rating:  3/5.

My Rating:  5/5.

The Boy from Texas Comments:  Why does it have to be so fancy, and not just regular pancakes?  (Good gracious, help him.  Clearly he never read this prior blog.)

Peach Cobbler Pancakes
(For pancakes)
1 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
2 T sugar
3/4 C greek yogurt (I used Chiobani vanilla.  You can actually leave this completely out if you're not a greek yogurt fan.  But I like it because it gives the meal some protein!)
8 T milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t cinnamon sugar
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 C diced peaches (You can dice up fresh ones or dice up canned, either way)
1 fresh peach, sliced

(For topping)
1/4 C oats
3 T flour
1.5 T honey
2 T butter
1/2 t cinnamon sugar
1/8 t nutmeg
1 t sugar

1.  Make streussel topping. I used a small skillet, you could also use a small sauce pan.  Throw everything for topping in the pan, mix together, cook on medium heat until golden brown and forms small clumps.  Set aside.

2.  Heat skillet or griddle and spray with cooking spray.

3.  In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon sugar, nutmeg, and salt.  In another small bowl, mix together yogurt, milk, egg, vanilla, and diced peaches.  Combine two mixtures and stir together until mixed well.

4.  Cook pancakes in skillet.

5.  Place pancake on plate.  Top with sliced peaches.  Add optional additional toppings (butter, greek yogurt, etc).  Repeat with another stack.  Add streussel on top.  Drizzle optional sauce (syrup, honey, etc.)

Serves:  About 6 pancakes

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen #24: Brisket Dinner

Brisket is a staple food for anyone who grew up on a ranch or lives in Texas.  As I am both, I felt like it was time to attempt my very first brisket.  And, well, I nailed it.  It was so tender it fell apart, no need for a knife.

I am, however, hesitant to share this recipe (or even count it as a recipe) because as you are about to see, it's so easy.  To make up for that, I'm going to tell you how I cooked the entire dinner in hopes that makes things tad more impressive.

The Boy from Texas Ranking (brisket only):  5/5

The Boy from Texas Comments:  We should have this more often.  Throw this in with some eggs and wrap it in a tortilla and we'll be talkin' for breakfast.

Beef brisket
Claude's brisket sauce (buy it in the BBQ aisle)
Roaster pan

Thaw brisket.  Trim fat.  Put brisket in roaster pan.  Pour Claude's brisket sauce over brisket.  (I don't know exactly how generous.)  Place in fridge overnight to marinade.  Cook in oven on 300 degrees for 6 (or more) hours.

Mashed Potatoes

Russett potatoes (I usually do about 1 potato for each person)
Garlic Powder
Sour cream (optional)
Grated cheese (optional)

Peel potatoes and boil until soft.  Drain and return to pan.  Add milk and butter---you just sort of have to eye ball this, but remember, you can always add more, you can't take it out.  Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Beat with mixer for 1-2 minutes until creamy and smooth.  Serve with your favorite toppings (I like just a bit of sour cream myself, but you can add in anything---cheese, bacon bits, chives, whatever).

Corn on the Cob

Ears of corn--1 per person. (My mother in law brought us fresh sweet corn she picked from the field that morning....I'd highly recommend that)

Shuck corn.  Place in boiling water and boil until kernels are soft (doesn't take long, less than 5 minutes).  Serve with butter, salt and pepper.