Friday, July 29, 2016

Baby Boy!

I am super happy to report that we welcomed our little guy, Asher Matthew, to the world on 7/12/16.  He was born at 1:15am weighing in at 7lb 15 oz and 18 1/2in long.

 He is such a sweet little guy and we all love him to pieces.

I learned a huge lesson during this pregnancy and labor/delivery and that one thing is that no matter how much we plan and hope and expect something to go one way, in the end, we really don't have much control over it.  Especially when it comes to something like this.  When I first found out that I was pregnant I decided that this pregnancy was going to go much differently than my first.  To make a long story short, we had to switch from a midwife group to a regular OB, ended up having a bunch of extra ultrasounds and after about 20 hours of labor, ended up having a last minute c-section when my plan was to have an unmedicated labor with very minimal ultrasounds and was hoping for a much easier labor and delivery than I had with Sommer.  
We also found out at our 20 week ultrasound that our little guy would most likely be born with bilateral talipes (otherwise known as clubfoot - a congenital deformity (present at birth) in which the affected foot appears rotated internally at the ankle - the foot points down and inwards and the soles of the feet face each other.) and it was such a huge shock.  We were scared and had no idea what to expect but after doing some research, reading a few blogs of parents who have been through this whole thing and meeting with a great high risk doctor, we started to feel somewhat prepared.  We spent the rest of our pregnancy going to doctors appointments, having ultrasounds and trying to learn as much as we could about clubfoot.  I'm hoping to share our story with clubfoot here so that anyone who finds themselves facing this as well, might find a little comfort in knowing our experience as well.  

When we met our little guys on July 12, sure enough, he did have clubfoot and when he was 8 days old, we traveled to Philly to see our orthopedic doctor at CHOP.  Our doctor is trained in the Ponseti Method of treating clubfoot - something we familiarized ourselves with before he was born and that day, he had a cast put on each foot and leg to start his treatment.   Our ortho will become our new best friend as we will be seeing him weekly to get new casts put on until Asher is ready for the next step in treatment.  We were so excited to find out though, that Asher's feet are a very mild case of clubfoot and he may only require 3 or 4 sets of casts.  

 Our first few days with casts were a bit difficult as I'm sure they are quite uncomfortable for our little guy.  By now, he seems to be used to them and can lift them and move them around quite well.   We head back to Philly for our second set of casts on Monday and an updated idea of what his treatment looks like as we move forward.  I can't wait to see his little legs again after 12 days behind those casts!!

 Baby leg warmers have been amazing to cover the casts this week!

 We have loved these first 2 weeks with our little guy.  Sommer has been the best big sister to him and can not get enough of giving him kisses and singing to him.  We could all truly sit on the couch and snuggle with him all day. :o)  He is the best addition to our little family and I can't wait to share more of our adventures with two littles over the next weeks, months and years.

Monday, July 25, 2016

the first nine holes

I realize that Carrie just wrote about playing golf last week but oddly enough, our family just played our first nine holes together over the weekend. Will is a pretty decent golfer and has been asking me to play with him for quite awhile now. We decided to go on a golfing date for our 12th anniversary which happened to be last Sunday, but he was really sick and in no position to play. So instead of trying to schedule another babysitter, we just decided to take the kids along and celebrate as a family. We had a great time! Here are some photos if you'd like to see...

We didn't exactly pick the best day to play - the high temperature for Saturday was a cool 100 degrees. Our tee time was at 8:58 so we did ok for the first hour or so but then it got ridiculously humid, and we started parking our carts in the shade whenever possible and taking a few less practice shots. But despite the sweltering heat, we all had fun and learned a lot. I never thought I'd like golf that much but I can see how it could become an addicting sport - I was already getting hooked on always trying to hit that little white ball straight down the fairway. I really enjoyed my first nine holes and am looking forward to getting back out on the course with Will again soon. This time though, we'll be sure to choose a cooler day!

Hope you had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Christmas (in July)

I know, I know. Christmas? In the middle of July?

Yes. Christmas in the middle of July.

After all, it's never too early to get started on homemade gifts, mainly because it'll probably take me at least that long to finish the projects I'm dreaming up. And let's face it, it's entirely possible that I won't finish a single one, but the earlier I start thinking and preparing, the better the chances of finishing something. So let's talk about Christmas! Just a tad early.

Currently, my family is in the middle of what I like to call "all the celebrations." I think I've mentioned here before that between Will's family and my family, we have a span of 13 days in mid-July where we celebrate nine birthdays and two anniversaries, including my birthday and our anniversary. The only thing I can think of that I want for my birthday this year is yarn. We're in the midst of a big spring summer cleaning around here (more about this later) and are cleaning up and clearing out. With our newly cleaned shelves and surfaces, I know I don't want to invest my money in anything that will fill up what I've just cleaned out, and although yarn does, technically, take up space, it's not something that will stay forever. It will most likely end up being given as a gift (eventually) which will get it off the shelf.

So with that in mind, I took to Pinterest to find some Christmas gift ideas, collected my birthday money, and headed to our local yarn shop. Here's what I came home with...

Aren't they pretty?! I'm such a sucker for yarn. I'm so excited to get started on my projects and although I'd like nothing more than to tell you what I'm making, I think I'd better keep it a secret. You never know who's reading!

Are you dreaming of Christmas gifts yet? I know I can't be the only one! Happy Monday!

Friday, July 15, 2016

mid-week golf date

I made the questionable and mystifying decision to play in a corporate golf outing next Monday, so Wednesday night Robert took me to the driving range to get some practice. You guys, it's going to be really sad. But we had a fun time hitting a bucket of balls, putting & then eating Chipotle for dinner. I'm calling it a mid-week date.

[Total pro. Look at that form! (I know nothing of form.)]

[Rich Valley driving range]

[Trying not to "break my wrists" which only sounded mildly terrifying.]

[When you borrow golf clubs from your gramma, they come with a free head cover. 
In the shape of a beaver.]

[Somehow I managed to hit the ball for this video. No big deal.]

....wish me luck! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

for the love

Awhile ago, I had this idea to start a series here on the blog called "for the love" in which the girls and I would feature different things that we love...t-shirts, yarn, books, and one-pot meals were some examples that I came up with in my initial planning. But today, instead of talking about any of that stuff, which really doesn't matter at all in the grand scheme of things, let's talk about something different. My first official "for the love" post is this:  

For the Love of HUMANS.

When it comes right down to it, one of the things I love best is other people. I love spending time with family and friends, talking, laughing, learning new things about each other, sharing opinions and struggles and hopes and problems and dreams. I truly believe that ALL people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, political preference, and whatever other divisive category you can think of, deserve to be loved and respected. So after all the terrible things that happened last week, I'm feeling pretty embarrassed to be a human being right about now. Is it really that hard to extend kindness to someone who doesn't look like you? Is it really that hard to be respectful of someone who has a different opinion than you? Why must we continue to resort to screaming and name-calling and belittling and violence in the face of our differences? 

I've always been proud to be an American because of how tolerant we're supposed to be. I like that we're a melting pot of different cultures and ideals. But lately, it seems like everyone's picking a hard and fast side. And although I think it's fine to identify with one group or another, it's NOT fine to put others down or make them feel inferior because of what they have chosen or because of what they ARE. We ALL have a choice - you have a choice, I have a choice, and every other person on the planet has a choice - and it's completely crazy to think that we would all choose the exact same thing. And no matter what anybody chooses, in the end, at our core, we are all HUMAN. We eat, we sleep, and we die. All of us - no matter what other decisions we make in our lifetime. In the end, we all celebrate the good times, cry when things go wrong, yell when we're angry, and love those who are closest to us. We are all the same. 

And while I am not naive enough to think that every person everywhere in the world will always make the kind and respectful decision, and I know that there have to be punishments and systems in place when things go terribly wrong, I also know that I have another kind of choice. I can choose how to react to those who disagree with me, and I can choose how to react to people who make bad choices. Personally, my faith encourages me to love my neighbor as myself and pray for people who make poor decisions. To love them regardless of what they've done, and believe that they can change for the better. And while that's not always an easy thing to do and sometimes it's downright hard, I continue to do it because I believe that people really can change. I've seen many examples of it in my life thus far, and I know I will see many more.

It makes me so sad to think that my children will grow up in a world of increasing violence and hatred. Because of that, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to write a PRO-HUMAN post here today. I don't know what I can do to help stop the tragedies besides choosing not to sit still and be quiet about it. Enough is enough. It's time to choose kindness and respect and peace. And although I know that these paragraphs won't change the world, I am one more person standing up and saying out loud that I believe in humans. All of us. And I believe we can change. 

Smile. Be encouraging. Give up your seat. Help someone. Bite your tongue. Hug somebody. Pray. Surely we can all think of something small to do. Peace begins with me and you. I know we can do it, for the love of humans.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Broccoli-Cheddar Toast

I'm always on the look-out for easy dinners, and as I've been eating this so often as of late, I decided I should broaden my horizons and started paging through cookbooks for new solutions. I shouldn't be surprised, but I stumbled upon a delicious new-to-me recipe in my favorite old cookbook Simple Suppers, put out by The Moosewood Restaurant. For those of you who are not familiar, this cookbook is largely vegetarian, but also includes a section for fish. I have never made something I didn't like from this book, and the broccoli-cheddar toast is no exception. I modified the recipe very slightly, opting for regular organic broccoli instead of broccolini and horseradish cheddar instead of regular cheddar. I really liked the extra bite from the horseradish, but I'm fairly certain this would be good with any cheese that will melt under a broiler. Ingredient list and method below, for those interested...

-1 crown or fresh pkg. broccoli, chopped
-3 cloves garlic
-2 tsp. olive oil
-salt and pepper
-2 whole wheat bread slices
-3 oz. horseradish cheddar
-Dijon mustard

-Add the olive oil to a large frying pan set to medium heat, and saute the chopped broccoli and garlic for about five minutes. Season liberally with salt and pepper, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and steam until you can no longer see any water. 
-Meanwhile, toast the bread slices and cut the horseradish cheddar into thin slices. When your bread pops up, spread a good amount of Dijon mustard on both slices. Turn on the broiler. 
-Top your mustard-y toasts with broccoli and cheddar. Broil until the cheese has melted and has some delicious bubbly brown spots. 

I made a soft-boiled egg and sliced some tomatoes to make this a full meal, but believe me when I say it's good as is. I can't wait to make this again. Have a great weekend!

P.S: Links to some other Simple Suppers recipes I've shared on the blog below. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

current favorite smoothie

As the days have gotten hot, I have needed something cool as a breakfast option.  This quick smoothie recipe is simple and delicious and keeps me going most days.  I think Carrie shared this quite a while ago so I will refresh your memory.  I know it's probably not the healthiest smoothie you could find but it satisfies my sweet tooth while keeping me cool and filling me up.  

I blend 8oz of unsweetened vanilla almond milk with 1/4 cup of oats.  Then add in a frozen banana and blend until smooth.  A small spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder + a scoop of peanut butter and 5 or 6 ice cubes finish it off perfectly.  

 If I don't enjoy this for breakfast, it usually finds its way into my day at some point as I am basically hungry all the time now. ;o)

And, here's to hoping that the next time you hear from me it will be to report that our sweet little boy has finally arrived!