Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fake Christmas!

Mom, Dad, and Katy (lil' sis) came to visit!
We decided to have a "fake Christmas" with them.
The kids had fun, it's been years since we've done the holidays with my mom or Katy.
The kids really missed Papa Mark, they'll be sad to say good bye in the morning.

Afton letting us know there were presents....


Afton waiting outside of Cracker Barrel!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Birth Story

So Nate didn't get to drive me in a frantic fashion to the hospital, but it was still rather dramatic and hectic!

Friday was a great day. Nate and I ran errands, shopped at IKEA, cleaned the house together, and I made a yummy dinner. I had started getting some back pain while we were out shopping, but just thought it was from all the walking. After dinner I was extremely cranky, irritable, and my lower back really hurt. We decided to go in to labor and delivery so I could get some stronger pain relief.

Nate was in the waiting room with all the kids while I went back to triage to be assessed, I figured we'd be there about an hour or so....man I was wrong!

The nurse had me change and hooked me up to the monitors, if I got any pain killers they wanted to keep an eye on me for awhile before sending me home. Perfectly routine and expected. The nurse then did a cervix check, again routine, and told me I was still at 3 cm.
She then left my "room" to call the doctor and get approval for pain meds.

I was happy they'd give something to ease the pain in my back! I tried to get comfortable and suddenly felt like I peed a little. Then suddenly:

I was gushing fluid! I couldn't reach my call light and yelled for the nurse instead.

"I think my water broke!"

She looked completely surprised and came over to check, "I think it did too!"

I hurried and called Nate, he was not prepared to hear what I had to tell him and was silent for a second. I was able to talk calmly to him and instruct him to take the kids home, call the RS Pres to help find a sitter, and to pack the hospital bag.

The nurse checked my cervix, it was now a 4.
I started to get nervous, when I hit a 5, things move very fast with my labors.

The pain in my back had double and I was suddenly contracting when I hadn't been before! The contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. My legs were shaking, I felt sick, and really wanted to cry. There was no way I could go through this without Nate! I said a silent prayer, pleading with the Lord to calm my nerves and ease the pain.

I made the decision to go ahead with an epidural and asked to get it asap.

Nate still hadn't found a sitter after 30 minutes, I really started to panic.

The nurses started my IV and ordered the epidural, I would be getting it in the next 10 minutes, they just had to move me out of triage first. I was proud of myself for being able to get it without Nate's hand to hold! It kicked in right away: my legs stopped shaking, I felt calmer, I no longer felt the back pain.

Finally, Nate arrived. It had been more than an hour since my waters ruptured.

The next couple of hours went by without much excitement, we watched a movie and called our family.

I was still at a 4, but thinned out more, when the next checked me (which they couldn't do too often because of my waters). They started pitocin at 12:45.

They checked my cervix again at 2:30, I was at a 7. Next contraction had a lot of pressure. I was now at an 8. Two more contractions and I was at a 9.5. They were amazed how fast I was moving. (Hey, I warned them!) We actually just sat and waited for the doctor for 20 minutes! He hadn't expected me to move that fast either. The nurse made me lay on my side to slow things down to give him a chance to arrive. I did have a "hot spot" on my left side, the epidural for some reason didn't numb that one area and I started to hurt. The pressure was building. I started feeling really sick.

Finally the doctor arrive! I had my eyes closed and was trying my best not to toss my dinner up.

Now, I had been seeing Dr Izenberg, but he left the practice the day before. I was going to start seeing Dr Semrad on Wednesday, instead he was there to deliver me!

They got me into position, placed the mirror, and the pushing began. It felt like forever and I was worried it was going to take forever to get her out. In reality, I pushed for 13 minutes.

I am so glad I used the mirror, watching her coming down and out really motivated me to push harder. Nate at one point was really cheering me on, "Come on! Come on! I can see her! Push!"

We noticed her hair right away! Thick and red!

(She came face up which explained the horrible back labor I had been dealing with.)

She was born at 3:18 am. Only two and a half hours passed between the pitocin and her birth!

Éowyn Aislynn Ralston
7 lbs 3 oz, 21 inches
December 4, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baking, Sewing, Henna, Shopping, Cleaning,

All the things I'm filling my day with until baby arrives. It's very frustrating.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I cooked for 3 1/2 hours, 9 months pregnant!
(not including the baking yesterday!)
I am thankful for this crazy bunch of people!!!!!

We didn't go anywhere this year or have anyone over.
I cooked the full, traditional dinner for just us.
Not trying to sound depressing, it was actually really nice!
We will be doing so much visiting and traveling next month,
it was nice to have a little calm before the storm:

My mom will be here in 10 days, my sister in 13, my dad in 15.
Nate has finals Dec 10 and 14.
Mom, dad, and sister go home the 15 and 16.
The girls go to visit Utah on Dec 17. (Flying alone!!!)
They get home on the 22, we leave that day for Arkansas.
We are spending Christmas in AR with Nate's mom and siblings.
New Years in Texas with Nate's dad!
We get home from Arkansas/Texas Jan 3.

Oh, and we will be having a baby sometime between now and Dec 15!

We are nuts.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Afton's "Friends"

Squeaker makes "friends" with a new object every morning and obsesses about it for the next 24 hours. She has to have it with her everywhere and finds new games to play with it. Here is a list of her daily friends last week:

Monday-a clean sock
Tuesday-baby doll
Wednesday-couch pillow (kept putting it on the floor and lying on it)
Thursday-a diaper wipe (clean and unused)
Friday-a teddy bear
Saturday-a greeting card
Sunday-a clicking pen

Today-The empty (and clean) dog food dishes that were Ben's. She is finding objects to put in them and using them as transportation devices for said objects. She fills them up, walks to another room, and empties them out.

She is such a funny girl!

She has also started to "hug" things. Like leaning against the wall and giving it love, her crib, toy box, mirrors, stairs, etc........

Friday, November 12, 2010

More sewing projects...

I made these cute boots for my niece in Vermont.

I love how inexpensive they are to make as well!

I bought a quilt and some curtains from IKEA for Eowyn's room.
Now, if you've ever purchased curtains from IKEA, you'll know how very loooong they are!
I had to cut and hem 14-15 inches and they still touch the floor, which I like.
Not wanting to waste the fabric, I made some throw pillows for her crib!

The envelope style pillow is so simple!
I love the Dick and Jane fabric I used on the backs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I can see the finish line!! Now if only I could see my feet.

35 weeks!

Afton at 38weeks.
Raedin came at 37 weeks.
Evelynn at 38 weeks.
Taylor at 43 weeks.

I could have as little as 2 weeks left!

And I don't normally like taking pictures of myself, or having my picture taken, but I felt cute that day and it is a rare thing for me to get dressed up these days!
(Most of the time I'm in sweats and no make up.)

My hair is getting long again!

The Arizona atmosphere has been great for my skin!
Plus, not wearing make up anymore....
It hasn't been this clear for years!

So far, I've gained roughly 20 lbs this pregnancy.
I've never had my legs get bigger, so it's really weird for me that they have.
My chest went up 3 cup sizes as well.
I didn't have time between this pregnancy and the last to lose all of the baby weight I put on with Afton, so all though it is only 20 lbs, it's 20 lbs on top of the 10 that was still clinging.
So I'm currently 30 lbs over my normal weight.

My pelvis is separated, my legs keep swelling, and my leg cramps are horrible.

I can't wait to meet the little angel (sometimes devil) growing in my belly.
I also can't wait to see my toes again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More Eggplant Please!!!

Eggplant is often over looked, it actually has many uses in a variety of cooking styles. Check it out in middle eastern and Italian recipes if you are feeling exotic!

My 3 year old son LOVES his eggplant. I usually just do "eggplant pancakes" for him (aka Eggplant Parmigiana) or Ratatouille. Since I just posted Ratatouille the other night, I'll put up two more quick recipes for eggplant usage. These are very quick and simple, but very tasty and satisfying.

Eggplant Parmigiana (SUPER EASY)

1 eggplant, peeled and sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1/2-1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Pasta of choice, cooked
Sauce of choice (I love Vodka sauce with it)
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Simple enough: Dip eggplant in egg, then bread crumbs, brown on both side in EVOO over medium heat. (In a skillet)
Preheat oven to 350
Layer pasta, eggplant patties, sauce, and cheese in baking pan.
Cook for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is nicely melted.

Now you could make it a little more UMPH-y by making the sauce from scratch, but I usually make this for a quick dinner, so I happily reach for the jar of sauce. :)

Roasted Eggplant with Pesto over Tortellini

1 eggplant peeled and sliced into strips
2-3 shallots peeled and sliced into rings
5-6 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pesto*(see below)
Fresh tortellini (I don't care for the dry kind.)

Preheat oven to 425
Arrange eggplant and shallots on greased cookie tray, sprinkle with EVOO
Roast until shallots are glassy and eggplant is tender, sometimes I'll put the eggplant in alone, roast for a few minutes and then add the shallots.
In the meantime, cook tortellini according to package directions.
Toss tortellinis with eggplant, shallots, and pesto until everything is nicely blended.

*Basically, you puree sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts together. You can also purchase it already to go in a jar.

Saying good bye.

We handed Ben over to a volunteer, she'll walk him during the event and hopefully help him find a new family today. If not, he'll have a foster to take him home for now.

It was a lot harder to say good bye than we thought it would be.

The girls tried to be big and let the tears fall silently.
Raedin however.....
Screamed, cried, kicked, and sobbed all the way home and then some.

I felt horrible.
I took away their friend.

I'm hoping they can forgive me, they'll understand eventually.
And hey, we will get another dog in just a few weeks, hopefully one that will not chase the baby and still be as wonderful as Ben was. First dogs should be a happy thing and for the most part was, they just shouldn't have to go away so soon.

Maybe we'll see him around at AAGI events!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Recipe

After watching my kids down this meal in record time, including Afton finishing 3 plates, I decided it's a good one to share. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta Salad

1/2 onion, chopped
10 garlic gloves minced or 2 heaping spoonfuls of minced garlic from a jar
(This may seem like a lot, but trust me.)
the juice from 2 large lemons, strained
1 cup chicken stock
chili flakes
Crushed bay leaves (whole are ok, just remove before serving)
2-4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
chicken tenders (usually 3 per person) or chicken breasts (1 per person)
campanelle pasta

Preheat oven to 375
Spray baking sheet with pam and arrange chicken on it. No need to season or anything. Tenders will take about 15 minutes, breasts will take about 30.

While that is roasting:
Saute garlic and onions in some olive oil in a small sauce pan.
Add a pinch of chili flakes and bay leaves, stir until mixed in well with garlic and onions.
Add lemon juice and chicken stock.
Simmer on low (about 15 minutes).

Cook pasta according to directions.

When chicken is starting to brown, remove from oven and chop or shred.
Mix pasta, chicken, and sauce together. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Campanelle pasta is a fun shape and texture, but any curly pasta could be used. It gets it's name from the bell shape. Here's a picture so you know what to look for:
Want to get fancy? Strain part of the sauce mixture out, reserving some of the onions and such. Mix with bread crumbs and shredded (or cubed) white cheddar cheese, stuff some mushrooms, sprinkle with EVOO and roast in 425 oven for 8-10 minutes. They go great along side the pasta!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ratatouille Recipe

Simple version, amazing taste.

1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into half circles
1 yellow squash, sliced into half circles
1 zucchini squash, sliced into half circles
1/2 white onion chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
a few sprigs fresh basil, chopped
1 cup white wine
1 large can diced tomatoes in their juice
olive oil
1 large pan with lid

Saute garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil, add eggplant, squash, and white wine. Stir.
Then add can of tomatoes and juices, stir.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant and squash are tender, add fresh basil.
Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes.

Super yummy. :) Serve alone or with breaded chicken breasts, pasta, sausages, etc.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Since everyone else posted Halloween....

The church's Carnival/Chili dinner/Trunk or Treat 2010

My Squeaky Sock Monkey! (her shoes squeak!)

"It's a me, Mario!"

The Queen Bee, complete with beehive.

The Dark Fairy Queen. (Why are they both queens?)

And here I am as a pregnant Elphaba. 34 weeks.

"What do you mean the cupcake is gone?!"

The girls enjoyed cupcakes before Trunk or Treating.

Raedin leaping from number to number in the cake walk!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Never seen that before....

Taylor was carving her pumpkin and found it sprouting on the inside!
How weird is that?!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Since no one else is posting....

...I will.

Afton in a cute outfit Grandma April sent her.

And Afton yelling at the world outside our door.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Squeaker is ONE!

Here she is just one year ago!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
6 lbs 10 oz 18 inches

And here she is now!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
24 lbs 33 inches

We decided to keep things simple, fill a room with balloons and cupcakes.
She seemed happy with it!

She wouldn't use her hands, wanted a fork!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Patch 2010

October isn't complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch! So much fun, a lot nicer than just picking one up at the grocery store.

No one wanted to look at the camera at the same time....

Afton loved all the big "balls".

Raedin showing off his muscles!

I perfect Afton sized pumpkin! :)

Oh, and I made those little boots she's wearing. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Saying good bye to Big Ben.

After weeks of trying and having a specialist come out to work with us, we've decided Ben would be happier with another family. Well, he is happy with us, but a family without an infant would be better for him.

No he hasn't bitten or even growled at Afton, but only from careful planning and separation on my part. He thinks of her as a toy. He likes to chase her, nip at her if we are carrying her, etc.
He can't help it. He was trained everyday to chase little crawling creatures.
So with a new baby on the way, I just can't keep up the exhausting efforts of Ben-sitting all day.

He truly is an amazing dog and a fantastic pet. If it weren't for the baby issue, I'd keep him. He is so loving and so much fun. :( It makes me sad to return him, I know it is best for us and him.

We will have him until November 6th unless a family steps forward before then and wants to adopt, otherwise he will go back into a foster home. We love him and hope he finds a family that deserves him!

After the first of the year we will try again with another greyhound, one that has experience with infants, it'll be hard to beat Ben though, he is a sweetheart.