Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Andrew Week 2-3

Oh my goodness - these weeks are flying by!!  It feels like yesterday we were bringing our bundle home from the hospital - and here we are 4 weeks in!

These are the past 2 weeks in pictures :)
We had a big ole snow day, and he got to experience a real Northeastern winter!

All bundled up!

When we weren't playing in the snow, we were all snuggled up, lounging by the fire, and watching Scandal marathons :)  

P.S. This is our napping spot - I'm such a sucker for cuddling.

And we had some fun little photo shoots with our Christmas blessing!
So happy his stocking came in time for his arrival :)

2 weeks old!

I presh.

3 weeks old!

He is the light of our lives.
These past few weeks, we have learned so much about his little personality.  He LOVES to be rocked, have his feet massaged, listen to Daddy sing, fall asleep on Mommy, go for car rides and eat eat eat.  He's not the biggest fan of bath time, diaper changes, or sleeping by himself :(
We'll work on that last one - but for now, we'll cuddle.

He'll only be this smooshy for so long, right?

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders

I am a big fan of Ree Drummond, AKA The Pioneer Woman.  I got her first cookbook a year or so ago, and loved cooking her delicious recipes, and admiring her wonderful photography.
Some of my favorites:

Baked French Toast
Chicken Spaghetti
Pico de Gallo and Guacamole

This Christmas, I was so excited to receive her latest cookbook from my parents!  It is amazing!  I would highly recommend this cookbook - the way she lays out and explains her recipes with pictures is really great, and chef-friendly.

We were so thankful to have our family and friends cook for us for the first few weeks after Andrew was born.  But as our family started to trickle out, John stepped up, threw on his Statue of David apron, and got cookin' :)
...and boy can he cook!

First up were these delicious Spicy BBQ sliders and Iceberg Wedge Salad.

We loved both recipes - and will definitely be making again.  The great thing about these burgers is that you can make them as spicy (or not spicy) as you want.  Also you can change up the salad with different cheeses or dressings.

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders

2 lbs ground meat
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
1 large onion - diced
1/2 cup whiskey
1 cup bbq sauce
1/4 cup jalepeno slices
12 slider buns (or dinner rolls)

Form the meat into 12 (or so) miniature patties and salt and pepper them on both sides. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the patties until just about done in the middle, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the patties from the skillet and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of grease, then return the skillet to the stove.
Throw the diced onions in the skillet and stir to cook, about 3 minutes. Pour in whiskey (be careful if you're cooking over an open flame; turn it off momentarily to be extra careful) and stir. Allow the whiskey to reduce by half, about 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in jalapenos and the barbecue sauce.
Reduce the heat to low and place the patties in the barbecue sauce, turning to coat. Allow the patties to simmer in the sauce until everything's hot and bubbly.
Place the patties on individual buns and be sure to spoon extra sauce (with the jalapenos!) over the top of each one before topping with the other half of the bun.

Homemade Ranch and Iceberg Wedge

1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 garlic clove - chopped
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
11/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp black pepper
dash hot sauce
2 heads of lettuce
fresh bacon - cooked and crumbled, chives, and choice of cheese (we used blue and cheddar)
Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle the salt over it, and mash it into paste with a fork.  Chop the parsley, chives and all other herbs finely and add to garlic.  
In a bowl, combine all ingredients, and adjust seasonings as needed.  Chill for a couple hours before serving.  
Wash and dry the lettuce and cut into wedges.  Add the cooked bacon, chives, and cheese.
Drizzle dressing over wedge, and enjoy!

Next up, Chipotle Chicken Chili :)

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Andrew Week 1

The best thing about having our baby on December 23, was getting to go home on Christmas Day!  
With the most amazing gift we could ever dream of. 
Leaving the hospital was surreal - were we really ready to be on our own?  Were we equipped to be parents?  Did we have enough diapers, was my milk even in yet, do we really know how to swaddle, when do we bathe him, what if he doesn't like us, what if, what if what if????
Well, we made it through the first night, and the second.  And each moment just got sweeter and sweeter.  Every morning, I felt a little bit better physically.  I was still on an adrenaline high from the labor/delivery/I HAVE A BABY - so I wasn't sleeping very well.  Even if he was sleeping, I was watching him.  Just making sure he was OK.  

We had the most AMAZING first week.  And we have my wonderful and selfless parents to thank for so much of that.  Between cooking meals, cleaning, errand running, grocery shopping, laundry, and more, they did it all.  All so John and I could have time together, and time with our sweet angel.  We celebrated the most amazing Christmas together, too.  
One that I'll never forget.  

Oh, and we gave Andrew his first bath.  
I probably won't forget that one either - we were terrified!  
But he did great :)

Andrew - 1 week old!!

What a sweet time this is for our family - thank you for all the love and support!

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Best of Beauty 2013

This past year, I tried lots of new beauty products, as well as "shopped my stash", and there were definitely some stand out items I'd love to share with you!
And what do you know - there are exactly 13 products that I fell in love with! 

So here are my top 13 of 2013:
Best of beauty 2013

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush - I finally tried out this popular blush, and I'm so glad that I did.  The colors are gorgeous, and I've never used a blush with this kind of staying power.  Incredibly pigmented, and lasts ALL day.  Can't beat that.  Worth the $ for sure.

Maybelline Line Stiletto Eye Liner - This is a fool-proof liquid liner- jet black and doesn't budge- love!

Maybelline Makeup Remover Wipes - I have gone through tons of these kind of wipes and these are by far my favorite. They get the job done, feel very good on the skin and smell great too.

NYX Butter Glosses - These are soooo good. Great color range, buttery smooth and smell like cake. 

Moroccan Oil Light - I have used this all year long on my ends right after heat styling. Leaves my hair shiny, smooth, less frizzy and smelling divine.

Mac Lipstick - Wore these a ton, by far my fave lipsticks for color, lasting power, and creaminess. My number one color is "Hue". Also love "Snob" and "Angel".

Bath and Body Works Shower Gel - Since I couldn't take baths during my pregnancy, I counted on these delicious body washes to make me feel all clean and smelling yummy. Love "Japanese cherry blossom", "twilight woods", and "twisted peppermint" for winter. 

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - Has been my go-to tinted moisturizer for years. So perfect. Will repurchase over and over again. I love the illuminating one for summer.

St Ive's Moisturizer - Love this for nighttime, very moisturizing and feels great on the skin...even after a full nights sleep. And cheap! (Also a Dr. Oz recommendation!)

Essie Nail Polish - These were my favorite polishes this year- wore them constantly. Loved "Fiji" for summer, "Bobbing for Baubles" for fall, and "Stylenomics" for winter.

NYX Concealer - So much bang for your buck here, great price, amazing concealer!

Mac Highlighter - All time favorite highlighter, adds the perfect glow to your face. And this product lasts forever!  Can use as an eye shadow too! 

Naked 2 Eye shadow Palette - From buttery ivory, to shimmery gold, and matte black, this palette has all you need. I use this 9 times out of 10 when I wear eye makeup.

And there you have it! My top 13 beauty products of 2013! 
What were your stand-outs from the year? Do share!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Day I Became a Mommy

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It was Dec 23, 2013. 
A cold, but beautiful day!  And the greatest day of my entire life.  The day I became a Mommy.

We were all checked in to Princeton Hospital, about a mile from our house.  Andrew's due date was actually Christmas Eve, but we were induced a day early for a few reasons.  Being induced was both nerve-wracking, and exciting.  On the one hand, I was forcing my body, and my baby to start the labor process, and it felt unnatural, and scary.  There was a chance that my body would not respond well to the pitocin, decide not to labor, and I would end of having a C-section.  I also read (darn all that free time I had the week before to google anything and everything) that being induced is more painful than regular labor, and the contractions are worse.

Of course there were upsides to it as well.  My doctors had been a little bit worried about my placenta function towards the end of my pregnancy, so this was ultimately their decision to induce and not let me go past my due date (in case my placenta function decreased rapidly at/after 40 weeks).  I felt very confident in their decision and in the plan we had.  Also, I could REALLY prepare myself for going into the hospital - my bags were completely packed, I took the longest shower of my life right before, and John and I got to have lots of good QT leading up to the day.  And both sets of grandparents-to-be were able to plan and make the trip for the big day!

Although I do wonder what it would have been like for my water to break, and start the labor process on my own, I am so happy with the way that everything turned out.  And I thank God for a wonderful and healthy labor and delivery.  

 So, we had checked into the hospital the evening before (Dec 22), and I was given IV fluids and medication for my cervix.  John and I got to order dinner, and we watched movies until we  he finally nodded off to sleep.  I didn't sleep a wink.  Nerves, anxiety, excitement, the hospital bed -
whatever it was, I was awake, all night long.  

That morning, Dec 23, around 7:00am,
I was given Pitocin - the medication to start the labor process.  And around 9:00am, my contractions began.  They started off very bearable, and slowly became more strong, more painful.   We made sure to keep track of how we both were doing...

We listened to Andrew's heart beat, and took his pulse....

I had about 4 hours of contractions before I opted for the epidural.  I was in a lot of pain, but the wonderful nurses and John helped me get through it.  I knew that I needed to save up all my energy for later.

4 hours after the epidural (8 hours of labor total), I began to feel like it was time to push.  I was right - I was 10 centimeters!
The doctor came in, and we immediately began.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done.  
But oh so worth it!

At 5:38, after 21 minutes of pushing, Andrew Harrison was born!

6lbs 15oz
19 inches 

He only cried a little, and his eyes were bright and wide, taking everything in.  
He was so alert!
He got all cleaned up, and we finally got to hold him!  
He was such a sweetheart, and didn't even make a peep throughout all the passing around.  
He looked up at everyone, and we immediately fell in love.

John was smiling from ear to ear - he was so proud, and it melted my heart to see those two together.

Andrew - holding you for the first time, I have never felt anything like it before.  My heart was overflowing with love for you, and I thanked God for choosing us to be your parents.  

You got to meet both sets of grandparents!

They were so proud - and it was very special to see my parents become grandparents for the first time!  You are the light of their lives already!

The next two days were magical - we got to hold you, snuggle with you, and begin this wonderful journey of parenthood with you.  

There are no words for the joy I have in my heart for this little blessing - can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for his life.  I am just so thankful to be his Mommy.
Thank you all for sharing in this journey with us - it's such an exciting time!

And please forgive the embarrassing amount baby posts that will be appearing more frequently :)

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