My Dearest T, Why You’re an “Only” (For Now)

This post comes from a lot of raw emotion, reflection, and guilt.  I’m just going to say that up front, and move on.  Take this post for what you will.
I should be working, but as all things inevitably do, my thoughts turn to my family as I’m eating lunch.  They also turn to my friends, many of whom have children about T’s age, and are rapidly extending their families, or planning to do so, while ours is resolutely staying unchanged.

I constantly get harassed by many, many people about when T is going to get a sibling.  When I say, “Not for several years, if ever,” reactions range from looks of dismay to outright lectures as to how I will ruin my child and my life if we don’t have another, and do it soon.  I’m sick of explaining it to people, I’m sick of feeling guilty about it, and I’m really tired of defending myself.  So here it is, my apology to the world: T, I’m sorry you’re not getting a sibling now, or possibly ever.

We got really lucky when we got pregnant.  I’ll never deny that.  But, we were also unprepared.  *I* was unprepared.  I now completely understand why my husband wanted to wait for children until he was done with coursework.  Having a child and attempting to do a Ph.D. sucks.  It downright sucks.  I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a student, I’m supposed to be a researcher, and I’m supposed to be an employee.  Balancing all of these things is incredibly difficult.  I’m barely treading water at school.  I nearly left school last semester.  And right now, we outnumber her.  What happens when you add another?  Yeah, sorry, not gonna happen–at least not while I’m trying to finish this degree.  I actually LIKE what I’m doing (most days), and I want to see it through.

As any parent will tell you, being a parent is HARD.  It’s time consuming, energy draining, and a constant emotional rollercoaster.  Last week when M and I were up for hours overnight with a puking child, changing bedsheets, changing diapers, taking middle of the night showers, and listening to her scream out of fear and pain, we had the same thoughts, apparently.  We really don’t want to go through this again, at least not right now.  I’m constantly fearful of something horrific happening to my child.  Part of that is because I’m an incredibly anxious person to begin with, but it’s only exacerbated by having a child who I’m fairly certain is trying to give me a heart attack before I’m 30.  They’ve nicknamed her “TT” at school for “Toughie Tessa.”  She’s as rough as the boys, if not more so, they tell me.  Oy.  I foresee a trip to the ER in my future, I can feel it in my bones.  My heart hurts already.

Lastly, kids are expensive.  I don’t think I need to expand this explanation that much.  Most people know this.  I can honestly say I didn’t realize HOW expensive children are.  Right now, I take home about $200/month after we pay for daycare.  Simple finances are a very valid reason to not have more children at this time.  I love you kid, but PLEASE stop destroying your clothes at daycare.  I think I need to stop shopping at Carter’s, and go hit up Goodwill.

Between the time consumption, the constant anxiety, constricted freedom, and money, we just cannot have another right now.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know how much our viewpoints are going to change when we’ve got jobs and are attempting to get tenure.  Do I feel guilty?  YES.  I had always envisioned having two children, and feel incredibly sad when I reflect on all the crazy things me and my siblings did together.  But, it’s not realistic right now.

Our life as a family of three is actually really beautiful.  I love that I can play with her when M is busy doing something.  I love it when she takes my hand, or wraps her arm around my neck.  As hard as it may be to see my DINK friends travel, and enjoy their weekends, or see my friends with multiple children post their gorgeous baby bumps and adorable newborns, I have to lay aside my envy.  I remind myself that everyone has an individual path to walk.  Right now, ours is as family of three.  We may add two more feet in our future, but we may not.  And that’s okay.  Just please stop lecturing me.  I’m sorry I’m not living up to your vision of my life, but we’re still evolving as a family.  We just may be taking another path.

Categories: Children, Daily Life, Education, Family, Married Life, Parenting | Leave a comment

Happy 1st birthday, my dearest daughter!

Although it’s not *quite* your birthday yet, tonight’s one of those nights where I have a million things on my mind, and can’t sleep.  One of those things was writing this letter, so I figured I may as well do that while I was awake.

I know it’s totally cliche, but I can’t believe you’re already going to be a year old.  This year has gone so quickly, and I remember it all so well.  This time last year I was anxiously awaiting your arrival.  The doctor kept monitoring me because she was afraid you were small.  She kept mentioning that she might induce me if you didn’t grow.  Despite what the doctor thought, I kept telling everyone that I was afraid I’d be pregnant until almost October.  All the while I was telling you that you’d really want to come Labor Day weekend, so that you’ll always have a holiday around your birthday.  And here you are–sleeping soundly in the next room.

This year has been amazing.  From that first moment of “holy crap, she’s real” when I held you right after you were born, to tonight when you took a wobbly step towards me, I have loved watching you grow.  Your happiness, your spunk, and your curiosity for the world around you brings joy to both your Dad and I.

I still have days where I wonder how I got so lucky.  You’re only one, but I can tell you’re an amazing person.  You’re going to challenge me, yes…but God gave me you for a reason, and you’re here to make the world a better place.  You already make my world a better place.

I can’t tell you how much I love you.  I really didn’t know what people meant when they said you need to be a parent to understand.  It’s true.  You light up my world like nothing else.

I love you, baby.  Happy first birthday.

Categories: Children, Faith, Family, Married Life, Parenting | 2 Comments

Our BFing Journey

As World Breastfeeding Week (and my time BFing T) comes to a close, I continue to ruminate about T’s and my breastfeeding relationship.

I am by no means here to proselytize the wonders of breastfeeding.  There’s enough information out there from breastfeeding advocates that can do that for you.  I think that a mother should feed her child in whichever way works for her family and for their relationship.  Mothers have enough to worry about without getting into a pissing match about who’s better for doing whatever (including breastfeeding).  However, that being said, there’s still a lot of controversy and stigma surrounding breastfeeding.  These are my thoughts (and my thoughts alone) regarding the journey that T and I have made together.

I’m really happy I put the work into breastfeeding.  As many, many mothers will tell you, it is no easy task.  For something that is supposed to be “natural,” it’s really hard to figure out, especially in the beginning.  I’m really fortunate that our hospital had a great lactation consultant, and that our pediatrician was a very strong supporter of breastfeeding.  There were a lot of times, especially the first week of T’s life where I wanted to quit.  Let’s be honest, that first week it hurts, you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s frustrating, and you both can spend a lot of time crying.  At least, we did.

IMG_20130217_131412

Oh hey, Momma! It’s you up there!

Eventually though, it all worked itself out.  There have been very few times since the early weeks where I have thought about quitting.  Although we’ve had a few hiccups along the way (clogged ducts, bites, slow flow, nursing strikes, etc.), overall, I’m really happy with the way it worked out.  T will take milk from a bottle, a sippy, or me, equally happy–probably in different ways–with all of them.

<–I love this photo.  It was taken when T was about 4.5 months and finally started to realize who was feeding her.

Now we’re weaning, and moving T to cow’s milk soon.  Although I still let her BF when she needs to, it’s becoming less and less.  I feel good about what we’ve done.  I’m happy and very grateful that it worked out.  Breastfeeding is really empowering.  Not everyone can do it; and that’s alright.  But, if you get the chance to try, I definitely recommend it.  :)

 

Categories: Children, Girls Only, Parenting, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just Gotta Post

I haven’t posted in a really long time. Sometimes just starting off a post is the hardest part. But I’ve already done that, haven’t I? Phew, glad that part is over.

This summer has been pretty crazy-busy thus far.

GPA visit

Tess with Grandpa Charlie

Korty Family

Korty Family Reunion

We’ve had several visitors, gone to a family reunion, visited relatives and friends in Illinois, and gone to a Mommy-group meet-up/picked up Khrysta’s flower girl dresses…and we still have an entire month of stuff to go (including a trip to Montana for a wedding!).

So, it goes without saying that time is absolutely flying.  In the past week I’ve booked Tessa’s first birthday photo shoot, and ordered her first birthday invitations.  I know it’s cliche, but really, how is my baby turning a year old?  She’s moving all the time now, crawling, pulling herself up, and just starting to attempt cruising.  She’s got such a happy, fun personality (most of the time).

No matter how hard and exhausting it can be, M and I are really lucky.  We’ve got a wonderful kid, who is super healthy.  I might not be able to stay up past 11 p.m., and sometimes really miss the time we had to ourselves, but all in all, I wouldn’t give up this crazy life for anything else.

 

Categories: Children, Daily Life, Family, Married Life, Parenting | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to my Daughter

Dearest Daughter,

It’s been a little over 5 months since you’ve been here.  Maybe it’s just because it’s Valentine’s Day, so I’m feeling sentimental, but today I’m really glad I’m your Momma.

I was rocking you to sleep for your morning nap, watching your eyes flutter open and closed as your little hand stroked my hair, as it often does when you’re beginning to drift off.  I felt you snuggle in closer and realized that your feet now practically hang off the side of the glider as your head practically falls off my arm.  You’re still so small, but when did you get so big?  How is it I see you every day, yet I am still in awe of the tiny changes you go through?

Your bottom teeth popped through this week.  Again, I thought, since when have you gotten so big?  Where does time go?  I know I’m going to think this so many times throughout your life.

It’s funny that you never really realize the way in which your own parents love you, until you have a child.  All of a sudden, all of the things they claimed during an argument during your teenage years that they “sacrificed” or “did” for you start to make sense.  I understand why my parents acted the way they did.  You will be the biggest investment of my life.  (Your daddy is a close second.)  Parents make the investment willingly.  It doesn’t take long for your value to increase exponentially.  We have so much fun with you on a daily basis.  Your smile melts my heart, and your tears break it.

I know you won’t always be easy.  We had some rough weeks in the beginning.  There were lots of times where I really wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into by becoming a parent.  And I’m sure when you’re the toddler in the store who’s throwing an epic tantrum, I’m again going to wonder why I wanted kids as I haul you out to the car.  But for now I’m going to enjoy these little moments of peace…the snuggles I get when you’re falling asleep; the smile I get when you wake back up and you see I’m coming to pick you up; the giggles you give Daddy when he tickles you in just the right spot.

This what I promise to you today: I will take joy in the many small moments of being your mom.

I know there are so many struggles ahead of us.  But know that no matter what, I have loved being your mom.

Love,

Momma
(aka, the food lady)

Categories: Children, Daily Life, Family, Parenting | Leave a comment

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

A blog of this sort would typically belong on my other site, but since I feel like most people are aware of NFP, it’s a public enough topic to be discussed here.

NFP typically is synonymous with “surprise” babies.  Not shockingly, NFP gets a bad rep among most.  Yet, if you’re married in the Catholic church, it is the form of birth control that the church preaches.  While DH and I were going through pre-cana (the required pre-marriage classes the church requires you to take), NFP was drilled as the way to go.  But then they had the “endorsers” speak.  By this own married couple’s admission, they had two–TWO unplanned children by NFP.  Yes, in retrospect, they were blessings and part of God’s plan, yada, yada, yada.  But M and I did not leave that talk reassured that NFP could work. 

SPOILER ALERT:  we were wrong!

Fast forward a couple of years, and a missing gallbladder later.  I had been on and off of BC pills since the age of 14 due to hormonal imbalances that lead to ovarian cysts.  But once I found out that the pill might have been responsible for my gallbladder self-destructing by the time I was 24, mixed with the expense of the pill (since my prescription insurance sucked) and random disliked side-effects, I had a nice sit-down talk with DH about NFP.

There are various forms of NFP that combine well with Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM).  The Marquette Method is one of them.  After a lot of discussion (as we wanted the best odds of protection possible) we settled on a combination of the Marquette Method with the Symptothermal Method.  Although it required some work on my part (more so than remembering to take a pill at the same time every day), I actually enjoyed NFP a lot more than I anticipated.  For starters, I learned a TON about my body.  Despite having hormonal abnormalities, I learned that my body was still working the way it should…just on a random schedule.  Additionally, when both parties are committed to NOT having a baby at that point in time, it becomes a lot easier to resist one another.

But the main reason I’ve become an advocate for NFP is 33.5 weeks old.  Had it not been for NFP and the knowledge I gained from it, I don’t think we would have gotten pregnant as quickly as we did.  After 1.5 years of successfully preventing, we were ready to start a family.  Despite being told that if we wanted to try naturally that we’d essentially be playing “roulette,” we got pregnant the first month.  I cannot tell you how many times DH and I have looked at one another in disbelief at our incredible luck (even still!!).  As our due date approaches, I cannot help being thankful for the path we took.

So, when we say that we were “surprised” we got pregnant when we did, we’re always referring to the ease with which it happened…NOT that we’re surprised that it did happen.  I mean, we were there.  ;D  We knew what we were getting into.  We just didn’t realize it would happen so fast, especially after years of hearing we’d need fertility treatment.

As we learned in December, life can surprise you in positive ways.

Categories: Body Issues, Children, Daily Life, Faith, Family, Married Life, Pregnancy | Leave a comment

Cloth Diapering

This is one of those weird topics that M and I had agreed upon long before we even got pregnant.  I had casually mentioned one day that people still cloth diapered their kids, and I kind of thought it was a cool idea.  (Yes, I really am a hippy tree-hugger at heart, and always have been; go ahead and judge me.)  M and I both agreed that it seems to be better for the environment, better for your child’s skin, and economically more beneficial in the end.  Additionally, we were both cloth diapered (CD) as kids, and were were comfortable with the idea for our own children.  In the end, we knew that we’d probably end up CDing.

Now that we actually are pregnant, I’ve come to realize how big the CDing world really is.  There are SO MANY options out there, and so many items you need–diapers, wet bags, sprayers, etc.  Then as far as diapers go, there are prefolds, one-size, pocket, all-in-one, and the list just goes on.  In an attempt to figure out what will work best for us, I’ve ordered a couple of different kinds to try out once the baby is here.

Prefolds:

Cute owl cover

I bought this adorable Thirsties Duo Wrap before I had any clue what I was doing.  I wasn’t sure what exactly I was ordering, so I got the wrap, and ordered some inserts.  When I got it, and saw that it was just a shell, I was really confused.  There were no pockets!  Where did the inserts go?  This is why reading is your friend.  The description on Amazon does state that they are ideally paired with trifolded prefolds.

Trifolded prefold with Snappi

What the heck are those? I thought to myself.  I just assumed that’s what inserts were.

No, no. This—>

is what a prefold is.  Also known as the “old fashioned” method of CDing, you have to place the prefold around your baby, and then the cover and inserts over that.  Try doing that with a screaming child.  In the middle of the night.  Yikes.

Cover, prefold, Snappi, and inserts.

 

Pros: Cheapest option, cute covers, easy to wipe cover, easy to dry inserts and prefolds

Cons: Pain to do, lots of parts to buy, takes forever to do, have to buy multiple sizes

 

Although this is the cheapest method of CDing your kid, and your cover options are super cute, these suckers are a lot of work.  I could forsee this being a nightmare to do in the middle of the night, or to make a babysitter try to do.  While we have the one that we’ll try out, I’m willing to bet this is NOT the option we end up going with.

 

 

Pocket:

Anytime I imagined CDing, I always imagined the pocket diaper (perhaps that’s because it’s the most common CD currently used).  Just like it’s name, it has a pocket inside that you place the inserts in.  Within this general category, there are several sub-categories of diaper types.  The main ones that come to mind are “perfect size” and “one-size.”

 

Perfect Size

Small “perfect fit”

 

I ordered this FuzziBunz Perfect Size diaper just to check it out.

Inserts get shoved into back “pocket”

I figured our little peanut would be small enough that we should get about 6 months of use out of it.  Also, a lot of people claim these fit their kids way better than one-size (OS) diapers do.

 

 

Pros: Slim design, easy to dry inserts, nice fleece inside, “best” fit

Cons: Have to stuff them, need to take out wet/gross insert, have to buy multiple sizes (7-18lbs, 15-30lbs, etc.), moderately expensive

 

One-Size (OS)

Snaps for multiple sizes

 

After purchasing the FuzziBunz, I decided to look into some OS diapers as well.  I like the idea that we can purchase one diaper to take us from a 7 pound baby up until the time we potty train him/her.  We’d have to purchase less diapers, but we might have to deal with diapers that don’t fit as well.

For these, I decided to try a BumGenius diaper, since they were rated the highest on multiple sites.  I got two of them.  They are very similar to the FuzziBunz, except they go up to 35 pounds instead of 18.

Inserts go in back pocket with flap that closes

 

Pros: Easy to dry inserts, diapers come with multiple inserts, nice fleece inside, won’t have to buy multiple sizes

Cons: Have to stuff them, need to take out wet/gross insert, moderately expensive, might have issues with fit

 

 

 

All-In-One (AIO):

“Albert” Freetime. SO CUTE!

One of my friends in my online Mommy group brought the BumGenius Freetime diaper to my attention a couple of weeks ago.  These diapers are just one of many kinds of AIO diaper.  As an AIO diaper there are no inserts to stuff.  Instead, the “inserts” are flaps already within the diaper.

Flaps fold on top of one another

Additionally, these particular diapers are OS, so in theory we won’t need to buy any other sizes.  When I found out about these, I had my husband drive us out to Cotton Babies in Town and Country so I could check them out myself.  I didn’t quite understand the concept of AIO.  However, after looking at them, we ended up coming home with two of them.  I could have bought more, but then M would have glared at me…

Pros: No inserts to deal with/pay extra for, no stuffing, won’t have to buy multiple sizes

Cons: They are line-dry only, most expensive diaper, might have issues with fit, could be bulky

 

 

Obviously, there’s no “perfect” option out there.  In the end, we registered for the Freetimes on our Amazon registry, as these seem to be the easiest/least time-consuming diaper to use.  Only time will tell which one of these options will work best on the baby.  Right now I only have 6 cloth diapers (the one Duo Wrap, the one Fuzzibunz, the two OS BumGenius, and the two Freetimes).  We will need at least 24 in order to get us to doing laundry only every other day(ish).  Although it’s going to be a big up-front investment (several hundred dollars), I know people easily spend that on diapers for one child alone.  The beauty of these is that we should be able to use them for a second child, whenever that time comes.

Overall, one of the things I’ve realized about parenting (so far) is that you do what you think is going to work best for you and your family.  It may seem crazy, and it may not work at all, but you make an honest effort to do the right thing.

 

Categories: Children, Daily Life, Family, Parenting, Pregnancy | 2 Comments

Ah, Roma!

After many years of dreaming, I finally got to book my ultimate trip: a week to Rome.  Since high school, the idea of going to Rome has always called to me.  I loved the idea of tiny streets, sidewalk cafés, and thousands of years of history.  Last October, we finally booked my dream trip–great hotel, sight-seeing in the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Pompeii…I dreamt of great food, cappuccinos, wine, and gelato.

Almost as soon as I realized we were pregnant, I also became aware of the fact that I would be missing out on some of the fun things I was looking forward to–mostly the wine and cappuccinos.  But I didn’t really think about it past that, for which I am grateful.  About two weeks before we left, I started to get really nervous about the trip.  Although the pregnancy has been relatively smooth, I was slightly concerned to be going so far.  While I’ve maintained exercising through yoga and shortish (2-3 mile) walks, I knew that a lot of walking would be required in Rome and the various tours.  I was starting to think that perhaps going to Rome while pregnant was not going to be the best idea.

While I’m very glad that we went, our trip was not exactly the rosy picture that our Facebook photos portray.  I figured I’d synthesize our trip through photos while I still remember some of the details.

Wednesday/Thursday:

This photo was not included on Facebook for obvious reasons; I look horrible.  We left St. Louis on Wednesday morning.  The flight into Newark was pretty bumpy towards the end.  I think the combo of the very bumpy descent, plus the stress of traveling while pregnant got the best of me.  I spent most of our 4 hour layover and 9.5 hour overnight flight in the bathroom feeling miserable.  During our layover in Newark we both really started debating if traveling all the way to Rome was a good idea for both me and the baby.  In the end, I knew I would kick myself if we postponed the trip (not only would we lose some of the money, but I didn’t want to be a pansy about traveling).  By the time we actually got to Rome, I was starting to feel better, but I was absolutely exhausted.  Since we arrived to the hotel around 10 a.m. Thursday, our room was not ready yet.  Although most tourists drop their bags and go out exploring, I fell asleep on a couch in the lobby.  Luckily, whoever was in our room before us checked out early that morning, and they were able to ready our room within 45 minutes.  We spent the rest of the day Thursday napping and watching CNN.  This picture was taken after I woke up from one of my naps.  That night we went out for pizza at a local restaurant that was recommended by hotel staff.  It was quite yummy, although my tummy was still barely handling food.

 

Friday:

Trevi Fountain

Otherwise known as crazy tour day.  We had a busy, busy day.  We saw the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Colonna, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Vatican in the morning.  While walking between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, I began overheating and had to sit for about 5 minutes.  Once I had some water and took a break, I began to feel better.  I felt great by the time we got onto the bus and headed towards the Vatican.  Seeing St. Peter’s Basilica was amazing.  I told M that it was almost akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca.  It was fantastic to be able to be in the religious epicenter for the Catholic Church.  I got chills just being there.  In addition to the history and the art within the Basilica, it was just absolutely gorgeous.  I really enjoyed it.

We then headed off to lunch with two other American couples.  It was there that I learned a typical meal in Rome consisted of bread, a first course of pasta (which I devoured), and a surprise second course of meat, and dessert.  Since I had eaten all of my pasta, I had no room for the second course.  Ah well, lesson learned.  :)

Roman Forum with Colosseum in background on the left

In the afternoon was our tour of the Roman Forum, St. Peter in Chains church, and the Colosseum.  Although we didn’t get to walk through the Forum like I was hoping, it was still really cool to see the ruins.  We then spent a good hour or so within the Colosseum.  Our tour guide gave us WAY too much history, and M and I decided to break off the tour a little bit to do our own picture taking, and to let me sit.

By the time our tours were over, we were both tired.  We decided to do dinner “early” (7:15 p.m.).  We, and another group of tourists were the first ones in the restaurant.  For dinner we went to the restaurant on the street behind us.  I ordered some gnocchi that were the best I have ever eaten in my life.  We then tried out the gelato place that was around the corner.  I knew within my first lick that we would be going back…oh so yummy!

 

Saturday:

Looking down from atop the Steps on an empty day.

After all of the touring on Friday, we decided to have a lazy Saturday that consisted of a late breakfast (9:30 a.m.) and slowly getting ready to go out.  We meandered to the Spanish Steps, which was about a mile away.  We at lunch at the famed Babbington’s Tea Rooms, walked back to the hotel, and napped for a bit.  We then had dinner (pizza) across the street from our Hotel at a restaurant named Henry Cow.

 

 

Sunday:

Naples on a dreary day

We spent most of Sunday traveling to, and touring Naples and Pompeii.  This perhaps was the one tour that I was looking forward to the most.  I was SUPER excited to get to visit Pompeii.  Although the weather was kind of dreary (cloudy, misty rain), I really enjoyed getting to see the countryside.  Naples was not all that exciting.  Although I’m sure it’s pretty on a sunny day, it really didn’t do much for M or I while we were there.  However, the weather did not dampen my enthusiasm for Pompeii. Although our tour guide was kind of

Looking down the street towards Vesuvius

annoying (he had some weird noise he would make at the end of each sentence), M and I stayed behind most of our tour group to take our own pictures and do some of our own exploring.

M got some great shots!  Overall, Pompeii was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

Since we got back so late, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant, which was on the roof, overlooking the city.

 

Monday:

We had a very nice, relaxing Monday after having to get up at 5:45 a.m. the previous day.  So, we slept in, had a later breakfast, and waited for the rain to clear.  We spent the day milling about, and explored Termini Station and the Spanish Steps for some souvenirs.  We quickly came to the conclusion that everything was either ridiculously chintzy, or something along the lines of Prada or Dolce and Gabbana (which we can’t afford).  Slightly saddened, we headed back towards the hotel to grab a quick pizza dinner at a hole-in-the-wall pizza place across the street from us.  We got a lot of ridiculously good pizza for less than 5 Euro!  Monday evening was rounded out by a Nighttime Tour of Rome.  Of course, that’s when it decided to rain again.  But not only did it rain, we had a nice, gentle Italian thunderstorm.

Lightning lit up the Roman sky

M got this great shot as we were on top of a hill in Trastevere, overlooking the city.  To the left is the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.  I love how the lightning just lit up the sky.  Although the night was rainy and thunderstormy, Rome at night was still gorgeous.

 

Tuesday:

A majority of our last day in Rome was sadly spent inside of our hotel.  The rain from the evening before continued as a downpour for most of Tuesday.  We ventured out midday for lunch at Trimani, a local winebar.  Afterward, we looked for a couple of bottles of wine in their shop to bring back.  We trudged back to the hotel in the deluge to dry off and change clothes.  Several hours later, we decided that the rain just wasn’t going to lighten up, and I really wanted to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain (which legend has it will ensure a return trip to Rome).  So, we put on our semi-dry clothes and trekked to the Fountain.  Luckily, the rain slowed to a trickle while we were there, and we got to fight the other tourists for a spot at the Fountain.  Our return trip ensured, we went back to the hotel to get ready for our last dinner in Rome.  We asked where a great place to go was, and we ended up at Hostaria di Vincenzo, a local place made popular by its seafood, of all things.  Both M and I avoided the seafood, but had some fantastic pastas.  We also headed back one last time to our favorite gelato place around the corner from our hotel.

 

Overall, I’m really glad we went.  But to be honest, by Tuesday we were both looking forward to going back home.  Although I definitely suggest a trip to Rome, a week dedicated just to Rome may be too much.  I would definitely like to go back and see more of the country.  And I definitely want to go back and eat more of the food!!

 

 

Categories: Daily Life, Married Life, Pregnancy, Travel | Leave a comment

Enchalupés

One, I’m not sure if enchalupé is a word.  Two, I just figured out how to put the accent above the e, which makes me kind of excited.  Regardless, I’m excited about this recipe.

I received this recipe from the mom from my roommate Steph in college.  I spent a couple of weeks staying with her family, and her mom made this one night.  Me, being a Mexican food fan, fell in love with this recipe.  It takes about an hour (start to finish), but it’s delicious and totally worth it.  I’ve tweaked it a bit to fit my husband’s and my tastes, but the bulk of it remains the same.

 

Enchalupés

1 pound ground chicken/turkey/beef

1 onion, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can refried beans

1 package taco seasoning

1 package large flour tortillas

1 package (3 cups) shredded Colby Jack cheese

 

Brown meat with onions, and drain fat.  Add the diced tomatoes, refried beans, and taco seasoning.  Heat until warm.

 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Layer the bottom of a 13×9 pan with tortillas.  Once meat mixture is warm, layer half on top of the tortillas.  Layer half of the cheese on top of the meat mixture.  Repeat with tortillas, remaining meat, and remaining cheese.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is beginning to brown.  Cool five minutes before cutting.

 

Top with favorites like sour cream, lettuce, tomato, salsa, guacamole, etc.  Enjoy!

Categories: Foodstuff, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Ooooh, I’ve been bad…

It’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve updated this.  Bad blogger!  Well, in all fairness, I’ve been blogging…just not here.  I’ve been updating the baby blog and a class blog, so this one has just fallen by the wayside.  My apologies!

So, what’s been going on the past six weeks or so?  A lot actually!  I guess I’ll just try to synthesize, because otherwise, this post will be ridiculously long.

*I will officially be taking next semester off to stay home with the baby.  After much thought and debate, my advisor and I decided that this would be the best course of action emotionally, mentally, and academically.  I’ll get about 4 months at home with the little one, and if we’re lucky, he/she will be very close to sleeping through the night by the time I go back to class.  In the meantime, I will occupy myself with a lot of (scholarly) reading, trying to narrow my interests, and frame myself within the research.  If I get the chance to be really productive, I’ll hopefully find a way to churn out a publication.

*I went to Vancouver for the American Education Research Association (AERA) conference.  I fell in love!  Not only was Vancouver itself an amazing, beautiful, friendly city, but the fact that I was there to learn was just so much fun.  I saw a lot of great researchers, had my thinking pushed a little, and got to meet some of the prominent people I read.  Anyone heard of Gloria Ladson-Billings?  (Probably not, unless you’re an education nerd like me).  Yeah, got to meet her and we talked about Wisconsin politics for a good 15 minutes or so.  Additionally, four girls, two beds, one hotel room, and nobody killed or wanted to kill each other.  It was like a long sleepover!  So much fun!

Baby's face is on the right

*M and I can officially feel Stormageddon move.  He/She is a busy bee in there!  There are very specific times where he/she is really active…particularly during my stats class and again later at night.  Perhaps we have a statistician on our hands??  Also, we’re officially half way through the pregnancy.  We had our 20 week appointment and ultrasound this week.  While the ultrasound was so much fun, the face shots are a little creepy.  He/She looks a little like a cyborg in this shot.  Look at that big brain cavity!  But have no fear, when we saw the baby’s face from another angle, it looked a lot cuter!  Also, we could see Stormageddon opening and closing it’s mouth…probably in there complaining…not unlike it’s mother.  :D

*Classes are officially over for the semester!  I just have to finish up a case study (which is A LOT of work), finish a take-home stats test, take a stats final, and write two papers before I’m free for the summer.  Yes it’s a lot, but at the same time, I’m shocked that I’ve made it through this first year.  There were times, particularly in the beginning of this semester when I was exhausted and hormonal that I really didn’t know how I would make it.  But alas, it’s almost May, and another school year is done!

That’s about it for the update.  Hopefully now that school is winding down, I’ll have more time to update things.

Categories: Academia, Children, Daily Life, Education, Family, Married Life, Politics, Pregnancy | Leave a comment