Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Umbilical to a belly's button

According to Denis the Menace, a man's bellybutton exists so he doesn't look bad in bathing suits. (Girls have them so the baby can be put into a mother's tummy).
So, the questions for little Jackson is, how good will his bellybutton look in a bathing suit!!??

The umbilical cord is truly an amazing thing. It supplies perfect blood and nourishment to a growing little fetus--without producing gas (like a mother's milk!!!). Unfortunately, it is an UGLY looking thing, that gets to stay with a new little infant, for what seems like FOREVER!

As a child, I remember being absolutely scared of the little stub. And it is no wonder. As you can see, this miraculous thing goes from looking like a slimy white DNA strand, to this crusty black and green protruding scab.

Can you imagine my delight last Monday (day 13), when I was changing his diaper, and most of it had disappeared!? OH! I was thrilled. It took me a while to find it (hiding in his diaper), and it also took me a while to throw it away (I definitely had to show it off to Dad and G'ma).

I was ALSO thrilled, because now we could give him a full-fledged bath! Sponge baths are just a mess and difficult to deal with.

So, observe carefully. Will it be an innie or an outie?

Whatever it ends up being, it will definitely look amazing in a bathing suit :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

This I love about you

They say you love your new baby like nothing before. No one ever mentioned how many things there were to love about a new baby! I feel like I could stare at little Jackson all day long. "Hello my beautiful baby!" is all I can say everyday.

Here's a little list of lovely things about him.

purring as he doses off into unconsciousness
little feet
the victory arm--the arm that shoots straight up into the air
big eyes
shifty, guilt ridden eyes as he poops or tries to
biceps that are furry and look deceptively buff
cheeks that want to be kissed
strong legs that want to stand
soft, soft hair--oohhh, I can't stop caressing it
a pointy little ear fold
his endless struggle to get his hands out of a tight swaddle
smacking lips that say, "I'm hungry....see if you can feed me before I cry :) "
crooked smiles -- coming from gas
kisses in the neck folds
watching dad swing him up and down

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jackson Paul

5.4.10 12:28 pm 7 lb 14 oz.

Monday May 3rd.

I went to school to teach. I was definitely dialated to 3 cm, BUT still no labor contractions, so why not go to work? By 11 pm, I was fairly convinced my water had broken--no embarrassing gush, just a little trickle. Still, no labor contractions. So, I told the poor secretary in our office, left a class of 15 students in the hallway, and called an advice nurse who told me to get to a clinic AFAP (as fast as possible).

Too bad we thought our car was dead, so I was relying on public transport. I called Mark, who had great news about the car--it had been in neutral, hence not starting. Good. And he would meet me at home. Amazingly we hit the same subway on the way home, and got to hold hands and get excited together.

We packed. We went in, and....we went home.

False alarm. No broken water.

Great. I'll go to work tomorrow.

Tuesday May 4th

12:40 am. I go to the bathroom. Back ache--it goes away. Was that a contraction?! I go back to bed. Ooo. Ouch. another one. I look at the clock. 12:50 am. Hmmm. 1 am. Another.

I get up, and start planning lessons for the rest of the week--b/c I'm probably not going to be going in to work tomorrow. I plan, uterus contracts, I write down the time, I go back to planning.

I wake Mark up at 2:38 am.
"Honey, I actually have contractions. They're coming 3-5 min. apart. I think it's finally time."

I did not feel so great driving in the car. I was predicting I would be 5 or 6 cm by the time we got to the hospital--I didn't want to get my hopes up too quickly.


When the Dr. FINALLY checked me, she told me I was a 4+. Ha! No chance that baby was going to come out anytime soon.

We brought plenty of stuff, except the two bags we forgot--which Mark went home for around 5 am.

It took about an hour to get to a room. Because we had decided to go al-natural, I was really concerned I would be able to walk around and move. These beds were certainly cool--if you were 8 years old and liked to push buttons--but not the most comfortable things for labor.

Luckily, the dr. let me do "intermittent monitoring." We did a bit of walking, lots and lots of breathing, squatting, rocking, and Mark's hands are still recovering from the hours of pressure and massage he gave my back.

The last hour of dialating (from a 9 to a 10) was where a C-section started to sound REALLY nice. Pushing was probably the most exhausting thing I have ever experienced. Every push felt like -- OK, something's got to be coming out now -- and the dr. wasn't even there to catch him yet!

Finally, (after only 20 min) I yelled out if anything was even happening down there... and Mark goes "Shaunel, he has black hair."

Wow. New surge of energy, and we got him out of there.

Totally worth it.

The nurses and Dr. were amazing. We probably had 10 the whole time we were at the hospital, and definitely only took a picture of a couple. But all were fantastic.

We were at Fairfax Hospital--rated one of the top 50 hospitals in the US. They have an average of 30 babies born each day. Luckily we got a private room, so I could walk around in my skivies :)

(notice the crooked yawn...awww.)

First time in the car seat was a bit traumatic, (oh, those hard screams just break my heart!) But we after conking out, he had no complaints.

First night was kind of rough. Ok, really rough. Mark ran to the store at 2 am for some Vaseline, then we had our first of daily sprayings from his manly hose, and finally we went to bed at 3 am--with everyone exhausted. Needless to say, we didn't get up until 12 pm the next day. 3 nights of no sleep can do anyone in.

Despite extreme frustration, lots of tears (go hormones) and complete exhaustion, I look down at his perfect eyes, his beautiful skin, his gassy smiles, his little neck creases, and I'm overcome with gratitude.

What an incredible gift from God.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Food Love

A Mark-Approved Experiment
(AKA--"you should make this again")

Being a teacher at an urban school comes with interesting benefits. We have all sorts of grant money being poured into the school. One of these programs is a daily "fresh fruit & vegetable" snack--an attempt to expose low-income kids to healthy snacks. Generally the kids love the snacks--especially the fruit. However, 2-3 times a month, there will be plenty of left-overs from kids who just don't like plain cauliflower or raw zucchini (go figure). These left-overs go home with me. Last week's leftovers were especially exciting--red peppers. YUM! Luckily for me, many of the kids didn't feel excited to eat these sweet delicacies, so I got quite a few snack size portions to work with for dinner.

My creativity river was roaring that night, and I danced around the kitchen creating a masterpiece of an experiment. Usually I try to find a recipe online--similar to the one in my head, but not this time. So if it is patented to another experimenter--great! But I swear I made it up :) While I was making it, I had so much fun, I decided if it was a flop, I would still post it on the blog--b/c it was SUCH a blast to make!

Mark always comes with an open mind to the dinner table, but especially if it's an experiment. He's a fairly good audience, but I can REaLLY tell if he likes something by how many portions he dishes out to himself. We had this dish with Barley and a grape-fruit lettuce salad. He took a small amount of barely, plenty of salad, and came back for more of "the experiment"... probably 4 times. I deem that a ringer for sure.

Anyway, here's to:

Filo Frenzy

20 sheets Filo dough
Olive oil
1 sliced onion
1 sliced red bell pepper
1-2 Handfulls of spinach
1 can garbanzo beans
1 Lemon
Handful of nuts (almonds or pecans)
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Cheese (I used pepper jack, but any normal block cheese would work)
1 fresh tomato, sliced

1) Let your filo dough de-thaw (if it's frozen); pre-heat oven to 400
2) Saute onion until browned (5 min), add pepper and beans. Cook for 5-ish min--until beans start to soften, add spinach and the juice of 1/2 the lemon. Stir and cook until spinach is wilted, season with plenty of salt and fresh pepper.
3) Chop the sauted stuff in a food processor with the nuts or mash it up really well and add chopped nuts. If it needs more juice, add chicken broth or plain yogurt to help the mixing.
**Taste it at this point. Add lemon as needed or seasoning. Fresh Parmesan would also be delightful.

4) Grease a casserole dish (9x9 or a basic cornel).
5) Layer half of your filo dough on the bottom, brushing a bit of olive oil on the layers to help them stick together (I think I used about 8 pieces). I let my pieces fold over the sides, but I don't think that really matters.

6) Spread the cooked stuff on the top of the filo, and layer the rest of the filo dough on the top.
7) Cover with cheese, and bake for 20 min. Add the tomato slices during the last 5 min of baking or at the end--depending on your taste.

**Disclaimer. I have never written a recipe for my own experiments. Let me know where I can improve for clarity sake:)**