Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Signing off... from Blogger

Nearly a year ago I reserved MPLT as a Tumblr account because part of me wanted to make the switch from Blogger. But, as a creature of habit, I didn't have the time/energy to want to learn a new blogging system.

But, that time has come.

For various reasons, mainly an easier ability to update my blog with my smartphone once baby arrives, I decided it was time to make the switch to a new blog format.

So here it is:

To my followers, please please pleaseeeee continue to subscribe to my RSS feed on Tumblr - which is easy to do... it's the top right option on my page's navigation bar. My format is very basic right now, but I'm planning on investing some money into making it personalized and user-friendly.

All my blogger posts have been imported to Tumblr - so you'll have full access to all my archives.

So, goodbye Blogger. You've served your purpose. Crossing my fingers Tumblr works out or I'll be crawling back asking forgiveness.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Building my library

I have been SO excited to start purchasing some baby and children's books for Jack. My mom was always great about reading to us and encouraging our reading growing up. So I knew I wanted to start collecting some books .

But where to begin?

I wanted to buy all the books I loved as a child. Books my mom would read to me or ones I'd help read to my younger siblings.

But I also knew there were likely tons of amazing books that have been written in the years between that I wouldn't have a clue about. That's where having a child development expert as your sister-in-law helps. Molly was able to make some good recommendations.

So along with some of my old favorites...

...Molly also suggested getting some fun "board books" for the baby that include fun pictures, bright colors, lots of repetition and rhyming words, etc. She said Sandra Boynton's are great - so I picked up a 4-pack of her "greatest hits":
And, of course, there are the classic "goodnight books" that friends have given me as gifts like:

But my mom also found the sweetest book that I have a feeling will definitely be my favorite to read to my darling boy...

I can't even read the words without crying:

On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”

Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.

So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
That they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

It sailed through the farmland
High on the breeze…
Over the ocean…
And through the trees…

Until everyone heard it
And everyone knew
Of the one and only ever you.

Not once had there been such eyes,
Such a nose,
Such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.

When the polar bears heard,
They danced until dawn.
From faraway places,
The geese flew home.

The moon stayed up until
Morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.

So whenever you doubt just how special you are
And you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
Listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)

If the moon stays up until morning one day,
Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…

For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again…

Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born.

How your body changes

I've been telling Chad the last several days that I just felt like I wanted to stretch out my upper torso so it was twice the length because it just felt so dang uncomfortable. It's hard for me to even twist around to reverse down the driveway because my body has no where to twist.

Then they showed a graphic like this at our birth classes this weekend.

Now it makes sense. And I think Chad gets it too. ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Chad called me last Friday afternoon to say he had a little surprise for me when I got home from work.

This isn't unusual for Chad (I know, I'm spoiled) - and he often has done something sweet for me like bought me a pretty bouquet of flowers, or a card or a special dessert to welcome me home on Fridays.

But I walked into the house and there was a lovely packaged bag from GreenPea Baby (my favorite baby boutique in the area) with the softest KissyKissy onesie, a Sophie teether (we bought one like it for baby James last week) and "chewbeads" --- which is a 'necklace' I can wear and not care if the baby chews and drools all over it.

I thought it was so sweet that Chad spent part of his Friday morning walking around a baby store picking up some things he thought baby and I would like.

I know it's the understatement of the century, but we sure are lucky to have him. Unfortunately for Chad, if he ever gets sick of my antics and decides to up and leave me... I'm packin' my bags and following him. I can promise you that I'd never find one better.

Power not Pain

So this weekend was the "big weekend" where Chad and I spent 12 hours in a classroom at the hospital learning about how in the heavens I'm going to deliver this baby.

Other than a few funny words, comments and phrases from our tree hugger/hippie/doula instructor - I think it's safe to say Chad and I found the labor and birth education class to be super helpful and did so much to alleviate a lot of the concerns we had going into this whole "birthing a human" thing.

So here's the thing - if you only based labor off of what you see on television and what your "for some reason I think it's a good idea to terrify you with how hard and difficult labor is" friends tell you about it... no doubt, you'll be terrified. Obviously, I don't think any woman is stupid enough to think labor is easy and painless. But there is more to the picture than that.

As our instructor did a good job in explaining, "pain" during labor isn't pain for no reason. It's a natural response your body is giving because it's doing something it was made to do. It's not like pain from an injury or sickness where your body is telling you something is WRONG. Labor "pains" are completely different. And besides that, the pain is not constant. With each peak of pain comes minutes or seconds where you can regroup and focus to do it again --- God's awesome design. And if we can change from seeing it as scary, scary "pain" into something that is empowering (ummmm hello, you created life and are delivering it!!!) then you can go a long way into alleviating that fear we have going into labor... which will go a long way in making your delivery easier.

So with that knowledge, we learned all about the ins and outs of labor and delivery. We learned about the options available to us and how to advocate for things we do or do not want during labor in order to come up with a birth plan for our ideal birth to share with our doctor before our little man arrives. Everyone has the right to decide what they think would be best for them - so no judgment on what anyone else decides - but I'm glad that Chad and I were on the same page.

We had to do one helpful exercise where we laid out all the options that would go into having our "perfect labor and delivery" and then had to go through acting like if three things went wrong and we had to change what we had wanted, and then add three more things, and three more things until we only had 2 "cards" that were most important to us. These are things that our partner would advocate for us above all else if things were to go south.

Ours were:
Vaginal delivery.
No forceps or vacuum on baby. (I have an 'under no circumstances' for forceps, and if absolutely necessary, I'd let them try the vacuum ONCE very briefly to help guide the baby out. But if there was any resistance, I'd want it to stop immediately. If baby was absolutely lodged in there and was in distress, then we'd absolutely go for c-section.)

My other big "want" - which I know might be hard to fight for - is that I really, really, really unless absolutely medically necessary for the health of me or baby, do NOT want to be induced prior to 42 weeks. So many of the reasons people either want to be induced, or that doctors want you to be induced (mainly liability/medical malpractice reasons) aren't really necessary. We should trust our bodies know when baby is 100% ready to arrive.

Big reason being? Once you start one medical intervention, things are exceedingly more likely to snowball requiring you to need others. Again, this is no knock to those who were pleased as punch to figure out their induction date and proceed to have perfectly healthy babies. It happens all the time. But for us, we really want this to be as natural as possible for both me and our little one.

So here are some of our "wants" for our labor + delivery. As you can see, so many of these "wants" would be eliminated immediately should I have to be induced.

1) Spend as long as possible of "pre-labor" at home. Our hospital is only 7 minutes away, so when our contractions get closer together and more powerful, we'll head on in. Until then, I want to be in the comfort of our own home.

2) I don't want to be hooked up to an IV. I want the freedom to eat and drink as I want to during labor unless I'm showing signs of dehydration. I'll have the little port stuck in my hand ready to go in case I need to be quickly administered an IV or medications --- but I don't want to be tied to an IV.

3) I only want intermittent monitoring for baby. I don't want to be tied to a machine for this either. I'm happy for the nurses to come monitor the baby as often as they want to - but I don't want something strapped to me unless, again, baby is showing signs of distress. This monitoring is the same thing I had on during my non-stress test last week, and I was stuck lying perfectly still because whenever I moved the dang thing would slip and the nurse would have to come in and readjust it.

4) The biggest reasons for numbers 2-3 is I want to be able to move about freely during labor. I don't want to be lying in bed. Our hospital will provide us with a birth ball and each room is equipped with jetted tubs and showers for "aquatherapy" if we want to do that. We spent a good 2 hours practicing various techniques - standing, squatting, sitting and lying that will help open up the pelvis. A lot of times women can get stalled in labor simply because they aren't trying any other positions. Let gravity work with you!

5) After the baby is born, I want to immediately hold him on my chest and unless medically necessary, delay any testing or newborn procedures for one hour.

In terms of drugs, I've been super honest this whole time with the fact that I'm not going into this assuming I'm going to need them. At the same time, I'm not kidding myself that I won't want them. I have no idea how my body is going to be able to manage the pain. But I hope that by being able to move around and work through my contractions with Chad's support, I'll be able to put off (or avoid completely) any pain medications or an epidural. Of course, the ideal situation is for this baby to be born completely unmedicated - it is definitely the best thing for baby and mom if that can happen.

Our instructor mentioned more than once the biggest factor in allowing you to have a natural birth is you believing in your body's ability to do it. I don't want to second-guess myself and don't need anyone telling me "oh you say that now... just you wait!" What does that accomplish? Nothing.

I am completely realistic that in birth, like in every other area of life, things hardly ever go as planned. And I'll be okay with that. The only thing I really care about in the end is having a healthy baby. There are a million different scenarios that can all end with that - that involve any number of combinations of things I do or do not want during my labor + delivery. I just want my little boy at the end and we'll do what we need to do to make that happen. I'm not tied to my plan - because things will change... I have no doubt. But I'm glad that I have an idea of what I want instead of going in this blindly.

Most of all, I'm so thankful to have Chad. As big of a goofball as he is, took the class very seriously and I have no doubt he is going to be the most amazing support system for me in that hospital. I'm also so thankful to have baby Jack... I've said it before: Jack is a fighter. I know he is. I can feel it. It's crazy, but I really feel like the three of us - Chad, Jack and I - are going into this together as a team and we're going to work this thing out. I have completely confidence in my ability to do this, Jack's ability to cooperate with me to get him out, and Chad's ability to support us all.

Only a little over 6 weeks left.

And I finally feel ready.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Busy Bee

Sorry for the lack of posting - it has been a busy week!

This weekend, Chad and I have our labor and delivery classes at the hospital where I'll be having our sweet little boy. I'm crossing my fingers that we have a great teacher, because I heard they can feel like a huge waste of time - or the best, most informative thing ever - depending on who you get.

Regardless, I'm sure I'll have some fun/funny stories ready for you on Monday.

Have a great weekend y'all.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Panic Routine

This weekend, Chaddyboy and I go to our Labor and Birth Education classes at the hospital where I'll be delivering little Jack. In preparation for the class, the hospital sent a large booklet for us to read ahead of time.

I had to keep reading it in stages because all the talk about labor and delivery would freak me out and I'd start crying.


I know it's a little too late now. No turning back. But seriously, I'm terrified. And I know it's hormones and it's (somewhat) irrational - so no need for all my mom friends to send me pitying emails about how this is normal. I know this.

I texted Molly last night just to be sure.

I just got to keep reminding myself that babies are born every minute. Women have been doing this for generations. And they end up having MULTIPLE babies... so it's obviously not the end of the world.

But it's just the fear of the unknown. And knowing that every birth is different - so I can't assume my labor and delivery is going to be like someone else's.

With that said - I told Chad he better double- and triple-read the page on "What to do if the laboring woman panics."I loooove some of these "pre-panic signals" like if lose my focal point and start thrashing my head from side to side.

So great - I can potentially turn into the exorcist. Lucky for us there is a "Panic Routine" at the bottom which includes things such as holding my head in his hands, breathing with me and reassuring me. Chad said he thinks if he tries to touch me or tell me to slow my breathing than I'd be liable to start cursing like a sailor at him to leave me the $#%*^$% alone.

After Chad reads through this dang booklet, we're going to need another page:

"What to do if the support person panics."

Summer meals

Got a nice little package from Papa Spuds yesterday - filled with summer goodness.

Yellow beans
Grape tomatoes
Yellow squash
Pickling cucumbers
Yukon gold potatoes
Mini peach poundcake

So last night's dinner was a little sampler - sauteed squash, homemade fried okra, corn off the cob and baked beans I had left over from the 4th of July.

And, of course, some peach poundcake with fresh raspberries for dessert.

I'm so excited about continuing to get these fresh veggies once baby arrives and starts on solid foods. I will definitely be making my own baby food and I hope my little one will be open to eating all sorts of different foods. Since Chad and I are adventurous eaters, I hope Jack takes after us! I refuse to be "that mom" that insists her child will only eat Tyson's chicken nuggets for dinner every night.

And... while we're on the topic... Chad set up baby Jack's keekaroo high chair that we were lucky to get from my in-laws at our baby shower last week. How cute is it?!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baby update: 32 ... or is it 33 weeks

Back to the doctor again this morning for a ultrasound to check on the growth of our little boy.

Here's the rundown:
Mama's doing great -
Nice blood pressure of 108/60
Weight gain - 10.5 lbs
Gestational diabetes - readings are all great, nothing to be concerned about

Baby is doing great-
Our son is growing! First good new - he is in the head-down position. I know he can still twist himself around some, but hopefully he'll stay that way! The little one is now 4lbs 8oz and in the 53 percentile... which the doctor is very, very pleased with. I'm measuring closer to 33 weeks than 32 (fine with me - let's get this show on the road), and the doctor thinks I'm right on track to have a "perfect sized" 7lb baby. I can do 7lbs. ;) Little mister was very cooperate during the ultrasound and we got to see his sweet little face!

{profile shot of our lovie}

The only thing a little bit worrisome (and I stress little because the doctor told me to NOT freak out because my numbers are only slightly off) is the fact that my fluid levels surrounding the baby are a teeny bit into the low range. He said he'd be much more concerned about this if the baby wasn't growing right on target, as low fluid + low size could indicate a problem with the placenta.

So just to make sure this isn't an ongoing (or worsening problem) - I go back in later this week for a NST (Fetal Non-Stress Test) where they'll attached a "belt" to my stomach and monitor the baby's movements, heart rate and any contractions for about 20-30 minutes. Then we'll go back in next Tuesday for an ultrasound so they can re-measure the fluid around baby and to make sure the little guy is still growing.

In the meantime, I need to be drinking water like it's my job.

There are complications (of course) if low-amniotic fluid continues to be a problem - but I'm not letting myself get worked up over it until I know that it's an issue... and not just a miscalculation. So I'm trying to stay upbeat since all indications (mainly his growth and his veryyyy frequent movements indicate he is doing just fine.)

But I'm glad Chad and I got to see our little boy today. We just are so in love already.

10 Great Things About Being Pregnant...

Thanks Pregnant Chicken!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

Last night reminded me why I enjoy cooking so much more than baking.

Because I don't "do" recipes. I mean, sure, if I've never made something before- I'll check out a recipe. But usually, I throw whatever I want to into a pan -based on my personal tastes and cravings - and see what happens.

And usually it turns out pretty dang good if I say so myself.

Last night was no exception. I knew we had shrimp and knew we had grits... so why not do one of my favorite southern classics.

My thought process while cooking goes something like this:

Grits or polenta... grits or polenta. I am running low on grits, so I'll use polenta this round.

Cheddar... cheddar makes everything better - add that to my polenta.

Shrimp... hmmm. I feel like a lot of flavor. Let me cook down some diced pancetta (which will be nice and crunchy to sprinkle on top), and the cook the shrimp in the pancetta drippings and some olive oil. Andddd let's sprinkle the shrimp with Old Bay. I like Old Bay. Might as well toss in some minced garlic and shallots... since I have those lying around. Hmmm this needs to be a little thicker to make some sort of a sauce. A pad of butter? Don't mind if I do. Anddd some white wine. I'm pregnant... white wine doesn't count if I cook it. And some lemon juice - butter, white wine and lemon are my trifecta... remember. Ohhh scallions? It needs something green in there. I'll toss some in with the shrimp while they're cooking and then put some extra on top for more crunch.

Let's plate this thing. Big scoop of cheesy polenta, lots of shrimp on top... drizzle some of the sauce too. I like some heat. Let's add a few shakes of Tobasco on top. And some fresh cracked pepper. Don't forget the scallions and pancetta! And... because I can... a little bit of Locatelli cheese (because we put it on everything.)And voila.


In, I promise, less than 15 minutes. And better tasting than you can find in most restaurants because I could make it according to what I want.

So take THAT baking. You and your measuring cups can get on outta here.

MPLT's Shrimp and Grits
(please don't ask for quantities because I don't measure anything. eyeball it.... except for the grits/polenta - that needs to be exact)

Grits or polenta (polenta is smoother than grits) - cook according to directions
Shrimp - peeled and deveined
A couple 1/4inch thick slices of pancetta --- ask at your deli counter, remember?
Scallions (green onions)
Sharp cheddar
Locatelli --- totally optional, unless you live in our house... then it's mandatory
Garlic, minced... just a clove or two
Shallots, minced
Old Bay seasoning --- not necessary but it gives the shrimp a bit more kick
Tobasco - totally
Butter and olive oil... because you SHOULD

Get your grits/polenta going. Timing is key because once they cool off, they turn into a hard jello. You want to time it so your shrimp are ready to be plated once the grits are done. Once the grits are almost done (the water is absorbed and they are nice and creamy) add your cheese. Salt and pepper.

Make sure your shrimp are clean and dry... sprinkle with Old Bay prior to cooking.

Sautee pancetta (cut it first into small pieces) in a teeny bit of olive oil (it doesn't need much.) Once they are crispy, remove to plate with a towel to remove excess oil. Don't clean the pan.

Depending on how much fat was in your pancetta, you might need to add olive oil or butter to the pan... the shrimpies need something to cook in. Add in your shallots and garlic first. Let them start cooking (but don't brown) and then throw in your shrimp. Please know that shrimp cooks SUPER fast. Once you can see they are pink on one side, flip 'em over. They'll cook even faster on the other side. Toss in your scallions to get soft. Once the shrimp are cooked, quickly add in your white wine, butter, tobasco... whatever else to make your "sauce." Salt and pepper.

Plate up! Grits first, then all the shrimp goodness on top. Then add your pancetta and extra scallions. Squeeze some lemon/put on extra tobasco/whatever. Add more cracked pepper.

That's it folks. So easy Chad could do it (but he won't). ;) It tastes amazing and looks fancy and is something out of the ordinary. If you make it for your man, he'll run out and buy you something fancy... I promise!

(Almost) Final Nursery

I can't say there won't be another Final FINAL Nursery post - because I know there are a few more things that we'll be incorporating into the room - some shelves (sorry Chad, hadn't told you about this yet), storage, etc.

But..... for the most part - WE ARE DONE.

{baby jack's nursery}

I absolutely adore Jack's room - it is definitely becoming one of my favorite rooms in the house. It is so calming and serene, and, well - beautiful. We put a lot of hard work into making this room special - including lots of DIY projects.

So without further adieu...

{crib and cloud "mobile"}

{more crib + clouds}

{side view}

{crib and bedding}


{crib bedding}

{the "clouds" came from by baby shower -thanks for the idea mom and sis!}

{end table, glider and ottoman, dresser and art}

{end table, chair and ottoman}

{dresser and art}

{details: lambie rattle from Pinehurst, "advice jar" to Jack and letter J from my shower}

{lovie and ratte from Eliza and Molly respectively, burp clothes from Heather}

So there it is --- Now all we need is the baby!

All the deets
Paint - Benjamin Moore, Lake Placid and Sherwin Williams, Dover White
Crib - Million Dollar Baby, Annabelle
Glider and ottoman -
Best Chairs, Quinn
Bedding -
Serena & Lily, Blake
Cloud mobile -
Martha Stewart (raindrops by sister)
Toile minky blanket - Etsy, no longer available
Pictures - DIY based-off
Spot on Square
Dresser and end table - bought unfinished, painted ourselves

Side table lamp - Target
Lovie and rattle -
Angel Dear

Pregnancy Week by Week 29-32

Week 29-32 (Month 7)How is it possible that I'm entering my 8th month of pregnancy?

Baby Size: A squash (or head of lettuce.) According to my "What to Expect" pregnancy tracker on my phone, this week baby is 19in. and 3.9 lbs! I have an ultrasound on Tuesday though so I'll get the "official" numbers then.
How I feel about being pregnant: I feel really blessed that I've been able to carry the baby as long as I have. Though I've had some bumps along the way, this pregnancy has really been an absolutely incredible experience. I have a feeling by the time I do my next entry at 9 months I'll likely been feeling a wee bit different. ;) Right now I'm still loving having this baby in me (despite the accompanying discomfort) and I just love watching and feeling my little boy move around all day.
Symptoms: My body is just pretty sore trying to carry around all this extra baby up front. My lower back is so sore that I have been sleeping with a heating pad every night (and often putting it on my work chair during the days) to try to combat it. Also, I'm drinking water like a crazy person - I'm soooo thirsty all the time.
Food cravings: I'd still saying nothing crazy. I haven't been dying for pickles, ice cream or anything. Every now and then I'll be in the mood for something, but I don't think it is any different (or more intense) than any pre-pregnancy food cravings.... minus the bag of peanut M&Ms I crushed yesterday afternoon.
What I'm most excited about: Ummm, no brainer. Meeting the little man. But also, seeing Chad as a father. I'm pretty excited for that. As for the more immediate "excitement" - I'm pretty pumped for my ultrasound on Tuesday to see our little guy again.
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Nursery is, for all intents and purposes, done! I'm sure we'll add little knick-knacks between now and D-day, but it's completely ready for baby! Also, thanks to generous gifts from friends and family, we have a lot of the big items we need - crib, carseat, stroller, high chair, etc.
Special moment: Definitely my baby shower this past weekend. I had such a nice time with a wonderful group of women. Also, all the continued love and support from other moms I know has been incredible.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chad's kinda gift

So I had Bible study last night and one of my small group girls, RobinAnn, brought the sweetest gifts for Jack.

When I brought the package home that night to show Chad - he zoned right in on it...


Indeed. Indeed it is.

Jack's first Handy Manny toy - which is Handy Manny that comes with a motorcycle with detachable tailpipes. Chad was PUMPED. He quickly pulled all the pieces out to assemble it. I think Chad might love it as much as our boy is going to!

We have such great friends. Thanks RA!

(If this post makes no sense to you, see this or this.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nursery storage

If Jack's dresser drawers are any indication, babies have A LOT OF STUFF.

{almost as many clothes as my mama}

I needed some cute storage solutions for not a ridiculous amount of money. Land of Nod is having a pretty swell summer sale, so I was able to pick up this in a navy blue:

and one of the big and little ones of these in green and blue, respectively, for under $50!

So now I'll have a place to put the knickknacks - toys, lovies, books, stuffed animals, rattles, etc. - that have already accumulated around our house.

Nursery... just a taste

We have another "project" for the nursery I hope to have finished by tomorrow night, so hopefully Friday I'll do an updated nursery post.

Lots of changes since I last posted!

But for now, here's just a taste:

Cans and Cannots: almost 8 weeks to go

I can shave my legs
I cannot paint my toenails

I can get really sleepy
I cannot sleep really well

I can get up and down on my own
I cannot get up and down on my own without grunting (attractive, yes)

I can still make dinner and do laundry
I cannot do any other household chore... or at least that's what I tell Chad

I can control my gestational diabetes
I cannot control my emotions

I can (with assistance) step up into Chad's too big Ford F-150
I cannot do it without saying "why can't we sell this and get a sedan?"

I can fold a huge load of baby clothes in like 2 minutes flat (cutest stuff EVER)
I cannot figure out how to work our carseat (we really need to look into this!)

I can imagine this little boy coming home from the hospital with us
I cannot imagine the process of going through labor without majorly freaking myself out

I can handle 8 more weeks of this if I have to, but...
I cannot WAIT to hold my child in my arms!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


My husband has quite the sweet tooth. Since I'm trying to seriously limit my sweet intake (thanks gestational diabetes!), I don't really keep many sweets around the house.

Last night this came to a head.

Chad: "I need something sweet to eat."
Me: "Look around the pantry, I'm sure you'll be able to find something."
Chad: "No, we don't have anything."
Me (looking for myself): "We have a whole package of your favorite Reese's eggs. Have one of those?!"
Chad: "Your mom bought me like 12 packages. That's all I've been eating for months!"
Me: "Well I don't know what to tell you then."
Chad: grumble, grumble, grumble
Me: "Hey, we have that good sunflower bread we got from Papa Spuds, and the local honey we bought at the market this weekend. Toast some of that bread and put some butter and honey on top."
Chad: "I don't live in the mountains."
Me: "What does that even mean?"
Chad: "Only hippies would eat bread with honey as dessert."

Point taken. He's got it rough, doesn't he?


Chad and I have desperately tried to grow basil in the past. Herbs, basil in particular, just hate us.

And, of course, this is the one herb that everyone and their brothers says, "You can't kill basil if you try!" Go figure.

I think part of the problem is everyone (including the farmers at the market!) tell us to do something different. So we have tried, sun and shade; damp, dry and wet; in a pot or in the ground - and in various combination. The only thing that is the same is the result: dead basil.

So instead of stressing myself out over it anymore, I decided to take the cheater's option: go to the farmer's market! And that's just what I did this weekend - three huge bunches (stuffed a whole plastic grocery bag) for $5. I love you N.C. agriculture!

And what better to do with a ton of basil than to make homemade pesto. And that's just what I did.

I cleaned it thoroughly.

Picked off all the leaves.

Chopped the garlic... a LOT of garlic.

Ground pine nuts, walnuts and garlic together in the food processor.

Blended in my basil and extra virgin olive oil. Added pecorino romano cheese.

Made a mess (sorry Chaddy.)

Packed it in several small containers (make sure to add a small layer of olive oil on top) to freeze for later.

Success! It is delicious. So go forth and make pesto!

Kitchen + Flowers

Can I just say...

1) I love fresh flowers

2) I love my kitchen

Monday, June 27, 2011

A name

Over the years, we've (and by we, I usually mean me) casually talked about names for our future babies. .

Girls names were easier for us; there were plenty we really liked. Almost too many, in fact. But we had a hard time coming to a consensus on a little boy's name. That was until we GOT it. Then we were so much more sure of our boy's name than we were on a girl's name.

We wanted a name that had meaning to us.

Something we both 100% loved... not one we got the other to just "agree" to.

A family name.

A strong name.

A name that would work just as well for a sweet little boy, as it would for a grown man.

A name that we wouldn't get sick of.

Nothing trendy.


Lucky for us, we already have a beautiful name in our home.

Chadwick Jonathan Barnhill.

My husband has a beautiful name. I've always loved it. We both smiled at the idea of passing down a father's name to his son. But we wanted them to be different. I didn't want to call little man Chad as well... too confusing. And Jonathan or John, while great names, just didn't strike either of us as the right nickname. So we thought some more... both of us have always loved the name, Jack. It's a great boy's and man's name. So, we figured, why not just call our little CJB, Jr. "Jack" for short. Though not the most common nickname, I figured Jonathan -> John -> Jack. And the "ck" in Chadwick also carries over nicely.

It just works for us. We love it. Baby Jack. Our little Jack.

We've already gotten used to it. We talk to Jack using his name all the time. We never really say "the baby." It's, "I'm ready for Jack to be here." Or, "I'm thinking about this for Jack's nursery." Or, "Oh my GOSH Jack will.not.stop.moving. in my stomach." (which is what I'm thinking right this second!)

So there it is. Our firstborn's name.

Jack, we're ready for you, son!


I had my first baby shower on Saturday afternoon - thrown with love by my baby sister Samantha... with some assistance from mom and Molly. It was such a special afternoon.

My sis, who has an affinity for design/wedding/creative blogs, did a masterful job of putting together SO many cute ideas for my "shower."

{cloud decorations which we're going to use as a mobile in the baby's room}

{milk bottles with cloud straws}

{homemade cupcakes courtesy of SK - which were the hit of the party}

{homemade marshmallows -plain, s'more and caramel pretzel. um yeah. as amazing as they sound.}

{advice table - my favorite thing. sweet j's jar is sitting on his nightstand}

{guest favors... i have an affinity for lemon drops}

Unfortunately, I did not get ANY pictures of the attendees or myself for that matter. Or the food (other than dessert) or drinks - which you should know is a real shame since it's well-established that the women in my family can COOK!

It was just such a fun afternoon and I had a great time with the loved ones there to celebrate our little boy. Thank you so so much to my family, especially my sister, for all her time and hard work she put into making this such a special day. (Inside joke: SK, if I had to "baby scattegories" you, I'd say amazing, beautiful, creative, darling, energetic... ;)

And... since Chad's already started dropping baby's name on Facebook... I figured I'll announce it later on the blog. But here's a hint: baby's first monogram cloth...