Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our noisy life

Since I've spent more time in my house in the last six weeks that I have in the last six years (ok, probably not quite true, but any new mom would agree with me that it certainly feels that way...which I'm not saying is bad, it's just how it is), I'm trying to look at my "old" surroundings in new and fresh ways.

As I poured myself a bowl of Starburst jelly beans (a small bowl...I've managed to stretch this bag out for four days, which is a huge improvement over last week's "bag in an afternoon"), it struck me that a new way of looking at life would be through the sounds I'm hearing as of late.

So, here are some of the sounds around the McIntyre house these days:
  • The "ting" Starburst jelly beans plunking into a small Fiestaware bowl
  • The rattle of Lego pieces from the spare room as Scott dismantles some Star Wars inspired something and creates new mini items
  • Steam whooshing out of the iron as I iron Scott's shirts (I just couldn't take them hanging in the laundry room any longer)
  • The narrator's voice on the online tutorial videos that Scott is listening to as he learns more about his newest addiction: Lightroom (a photo editing program)
  • The cheesy lullaby music that plays in Claire's room when she's sleeping. I really need to put a new CD in because those songs are starting to bore into our brains.
  • Glee music (especially one song from Wicked). Not as much lately, but in the first three weeks after Claire was born, we were hooked on Glee We've finished the first season, so now I need put the first half of season 2 on our Netflix list.
  • Claire's cry. Now, this could be several bullets because, as I'm learning, there are several types of cries: the "I'm hungry, feed me now!" with the pitiful cough/cry, the "I was asleep but the pacifier fell out" tired cry, the "I'm so mad that you laid me down and there's no way I'm going to sleep now" wail, the "I'm so tired but for some reason am fighting sleep" ear piercing cry (which is the one that most makes us crazy)...and so on and so on..
  • Claire's cooing, which wipes from my memory (at least momentarily) all those cries. In the morning, when she's in an especially good mood, it's absolutely adorable
  • Birds chirping, which are super easy to hear outside the window at 4:30 am when I'm feeding Claire.
  • Claire grunting when she's trying to get her arms out when she's laying in the bassinet. The grunting stops either when she manages to free one from the swaddle or when she gets tired and gives up. I love peeking in her room and seeing one little hand just poking out of the covers as she sleeps, like she's saying, "Ha! I won mom! Got one hand free!"
  • Claire's myriad of adorable sleeping noises. Who knew that babies made so many sounds in their sleep? Sighs, grunts...even her breathing is so loud for such a little body.
  • Claire's snorts (yes, I know lots of these noises are Claire, but she does, by far, produce the most noise of any person or thing in our house). We've tried sucking out her nose (which she did not enjoy) and have come to the conclusion that she just snorts sometimes when she breathes. It's pretty hilarious.
  • Lip smacking (yes, Claire again). This girl is not a quiet dainty eater, which often leads to coughing noises when her swallowing can't keep up with her sucking.
  • The voice of some designer or cook. I'm hooked on HGTV these days! We had tried out a digital antenna but we couldn't stand the sporadic breaks in reception, so when Scott called to unfreeze our cable service, they gave us a bunch of extra channels for free. Now, I know that they think we will succomb to their evil plan of hooking us on these channels so that we will break down and pay for them when this free period ends, but Cox doesn't know that they are dealing with such a thrifty (ie. cheap) woman :)
  • The theme song from Law and Order: SVU. What can I say, I addicted.
Just a peek into our noisy life.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Food Fun

I've been trying to cook and bake more lately (which many of you know is not something I always enjoy). Perhaps I can get in the "groove" of it before going back to school this fall because I don't want Claire growing up thinking that spaghetti, refried bean tortillas, and cereal are regularly accepted meals.

One of my victories as of late has been baking bread. I grew up with the smell of homemade bread greeting me at the door after school. I know how to bake bread. I just don't take the time to do it...until now. Lindsay introduced me to this fabulous no-knead bread that the dough can stay in the fridge for up to 14 days, baking it into crusty deliciousness in small tasty. So Scott thinks that I'm the best thing ever this last week because of the homemade bread. Score one for me :)

Last Thursday Scott asked for homemade bread, so I was looking for a new soup recipe to make for dinner because crusty bread is best with soup on an overcast day, right? In my recipe binder is a recipe for Sweet Potato Peanut Bisque. I'm fairly certain Scott printed this out some random time because it's not the type of soup I would gravitate towards. I was in the mood to try something different, though, had sweet potatoes (which rarely happens), and thought Scott would be impressed with my adventurous cooking.

As I dished up the soup, I noticed the recipe indicated that bowls could be garnished with peanuts. "I have peanuts!" I thought excitedly (because usually I completely ignore garnishing instructions because they often involved some fresh herb that I never have on hand). So I dug in the back of my cupboard to find the can of crushed peanuts (leftovers from a "make your own ice cream sundae" party I had once, I think...the fact that I couldn't remember exactly should have been a warning flag to me, but alas...) and sprinkled a handful on top of each bowl.

"How do you like the soup?" I looked across the table at Scott, waiting for an answer. "Be honest, I don't care if you don't like it."

"It's good. What do you think?"

"Well, to be honest, nothing I'm going to crave, but not bad," I replied as I took another bite. But that was a bit of a lie. I didn't really like how it tasted. Something yucky that I couldn't put my finger on. Perhaps the unusual mix of ingredients, I thought.

"You know," Scott mused while finishing another spoonful, "something doesn't taste quite right. I think it's these peanuts. How old are these peanuts?"

Uh oh. I didn't think it was a good thing that I couldn't remember. I am known for keeping food around longer than I should. Expiration dates are often merely suggestions to me, and I regularly employ the sniff test when deciding if something is still good or not.

"Ummm..." I picked up the can of nuts off the kitchen cupboard, searching for the expiration date. When I found it I started to laugh.

"What?" Scott reached for the can. I pointed to the date. "2005? Are you trying to kill me? That's six years!"

Needless to say, we both had a good laugh as we dumped our first bowls of soup down the drain and dished up fresh servings, minus the rotten peanut garnish.

Want to come to dinner at out house? :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

One month ago...Claire's arrival

Hard to believe that one month ago I was sitting in a hospital bed, holding my new baby girl. I feel like I've been in an odd time warp these last few weeks. On one hand they have flown by, but at other times the clock seems to be standing still (most often these "other times" occur in the middle of the night and/or involve ear-piercing crys). Perhaps there are some out there in cyberspace who would like to hear about the day Claire was born, but, if not, this will just be for me on those days that I'm flipping back through my blog, reminiscing. I woke up a bit past midnight on March 13th, not feeling the greatest. "Stupid patty melt and fries from the Dell," I thought. Delicious as they were, I thought perhaps their fatty, greasy goodness was not agreeing with my 39+ week prego body. Fell back to sleep only to wake again at 2:30 am. After using the bathroom (which involves going upstairs, so not something I just decide to do for fun in the middle of the night), I was laying down in bed again when it occured to me that the Braxton-Hicks contractions I thought I was having felt different than they had the last few weeks. "Could this be it?" Laid there for a bit longer, telling myself it was probably nothing. About 15 minutes later I decided to Google (what would we do without the internet) "real versus fake contractions." After reading, I had to stop and take a big breath...I was pretty sure I was actually in the early stages of labor! First order of business was the finish packing the hospital bag. Scott had hounded me to start/finish that task for several weeks, but I was dragging my feet. Now I rushed to find the list from the hospital and put in the last few items because no way was I waking Scott before that was done :) At about 10 minutes to 5, I woke Scott up. Luckily, this was Guard weekend for him, so we had went to bed at a decent time because he had to get up at 5 am to get to Lincoln. When I told him that I was pretty sure I was in labor, he sleepily questioned, "Are you sure?" When he realized I was serious, he was up pretty quickly. (As I predicted, one of the first questions out of his mouth was, "Did you finish packing your bag?" I was so glad I could now say "yes!") Now I had some help in timimg contractions. I had been doing this...sort of...on my own, but now that they were getting a bit closer together, I wanted to be more accurate. I wish I could remember exactly how we arrived at our system, but let's just say it invovled, at one point, me wearing two watches (which didn't work so well) and at another point, me yelling into the next room to Scott every time a contraction started. Really, it's a miracle we had any idea of the timing. One thing I love about Scott is his ability to instantly kick into "get it done!" mode. After quickly showering and packing his own bag, he proceeded to fill and run the dishwasher, handwash some bigger dishes, put out extra food and water for the cat, and even run the vaccuum in a few spots. Funny, since it's not like we were leaving for a week or something. We'd be back in a couple of days, but still that made him feel prepared. Once everything was set, it turned into a waiting game. To pass the time, Scott decided we should watch the movie Zombieland. Not exactly my first choice, but since I was "distracted" once every 4 or 5 minutes, I guess it didn't really matter. Now I see it as a funny detail that I'll tell Claire someday: "Yup, your dad and I watched a zombie spoof movie while we waited for you to arrive." We held off going to the hospital until about 8:15 am. Once there, my contractions seemed to be slowing. "Shoot!" I thought, "What if this is a false alarm and they send me home?" That was the last thing I wanted, of course, because I had been telling the baby for the last few weeks how I wanted him/her to be born this particular weekend because I didn't want to teach the next book on my freshmen class schedule (great reason to want to go into labor, I realize, but just being honest :) When they checked me, though, I was already dialated to 3 am. "We're keeping you here" was music to my ears. After changing into the oh-so-stylish hospital gown and wrapping up in my big yellow robe, we walked the halls for a bit. Hospitals are rather quiet places at 9am on a Sunday morning. After a few laps, we decided to watch an episode of "House." That lasted all of about 20 minutes because pausing it every 3 or 4 minutes was just killing the plot :). Scott then reminded me that I had a jacuzzi tub in my room just waiting to be used. (I think he was secretly hoping to be able to use it as well, but Claire came too quickly for him to get the chance...poor guy...) The tub was nice, but when I reached the point that I couldn't "relax" during contractions like CeCe (our fabulous midwife) was asking me to (really, who can relax during contractions? I'd like to meet that woman), I decided it was time to get out. Good thing I did because when CeCe checked, I had dialted to 8 cm. The next span of time is sort of a blur, but I remember being aware, at one point, that the part of the bed I thought I was squeezing was actually Scott's hand (he never complained). I also remember CeCe asking Scott if he wanted to announce if it was a boy or girl because she thought the next push was going to be "the one." Scott has been telling me between pushes how amazing this was to watch...which surprised us both because birth class made him question whether he'd want to closely watch the actual birth. At 12:19 pm (just 4 hours after arriving at the hospital) CeCe said, "It's a ....." and then Scott exclaimed, "A girl! It's a girl!" Such sweet words! He cut the cord (another surprise decision for both of us...he even got to keep the scissors), and there she was, Claire Elise McIntyre, lying on my stomach. So there you have it, Claire's grand entrance onto the scene. What a day it was!