December 30, 2011

Crockpot Ham & Potato Soup*

Welcome! This post seems to be drawing in a lot of viewers from Pinterest and I am so grateful to have you here! Please make sure you follow along via google connect on the right hand side. Browse. Enjoy. And I hope to see you back :) 

A couple weeks ago, I had a craving for something hearty & yummy for my belly. I wasn't really in the mood to slave over the stove & we were going to a friends house that night, so I wanted to take something easy. I found this recipe and figured it sounded delish, as well as simple, so I might as well try it out.

It was just that. Incredibly easy and VERY yummy. Both husbands devoured it, the kiddo loved it and I may or may not have gone back for seconds as well. I did grate up some cheddar cheese to throw on top, but it was great without it. PLUS, it's a weight watchers recipe, so it only has 151 calories per serving. Making that second helping a little more guilt free. If you're looking for something quick and easy to throw into the crockpot, this Ham & Potato soup is a must for a cold winter night!

7 c. diced potatoes (about 4 medium)
1 c. diced onion (about 1 medium)
1 large carrot, chopped
2 c. ham, diced
5 c. hot water
1 Knorr Chicken Bullion cube (extra large size that makes 1 quart broth or 4 small cubes that make 1 cup each)
1 c. 2% milk
1/2 c. sour cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add diced potatoes, onion, carrot, and ham to a crock pot. Dissolve chicken bullion in 5 cups hot water, then add this to the crock pot also. Cook on low 7 hours, or high 3 hours. Then add milk and sour cream. Stir and cook an additional 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes twelve 1-cup servings.If you'd like a thicker soup, just before adding milk and sour cream, remove 2-3 cups of the potatoes and slightly mash, then return the mashed mixture to the crock pot.

Makes 12 Servings (About 1 Cup Per Serving)

December 28, 2011

New Years Resolutions*

I have a blog post in the works about Christmas, complete with photos, but I haven't finished it yet. I will likely do that tonight, but while this was on my mind, I wanted to get it written down.

With the new year just around the corner, I've been thinking a lot of about the goals that I have in mind for 2012. 2010 closed on such a shitty note, and my life was consumed with thoughts of baby & my impending 30th birthday. I had big dreams for 2011, and our biggest one came true.

But now it's time to move forward with that. Do some other things that i want to accomplish. And I'm hoping that 2012 allows me to get my ass in gear and get these things done. So here is my New Year's Resolution list!

1. Run a Half Marathon
I am actually really looking forward to this one. In January, I am signing up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon that will take place in November of next year. Even though that is still about a year away, I won't be able to start any training until about May, due to obvious reasons. I was never the greatest runner in the first place & frankly, kind of sucked at it. But with almost a year off at that point, I'll be starting from scratch. This gives me six good months to get in shape and prepare for the race. I CAN DO THIS. And I will!

2. Reach My Goal Weight
Pre-Pregnancy, this goal involved losing about 60 to 70 pounds. It will be slightly higher than this post-pregnancy. But I have this really great pair of jeans from my grad school days that I have hung onto, and I am determined to fit into them by the end of the year. I gave myself this goal before I reached my 30th bday, and it never happened. Not even close. But next year is the year. Training for a half marathon will most definitely help. But more than anything, I miss being healthy. And skinny.

3. Do More Artistic Things
I love art. Always have. Always will. But my creative juices have not been flowing very well in recent years. The photography thing has been great, but I've always been with clients. I need to do more photography for fun. For me. As well as pick up my endless supply of other supplies -- pencils, chalk, pastels, etc. -- and get my ideas down on paper.

4. Get My Photography Website Up & Running
I used to have one. But then I changed my business name. I have yet to get another one back up. I have the trusty old facebook site, but having a website with a blog would be much better for me. Especially if we ever PCS out of here. Having a site to start throwing out would be incredibly beneficial for me.

5. Read One New Book A Month
I love to read, but have a habit of going back to old favorites and re-reading those. I need to definitely branch out and read some more books. The Barnes & Noble gift card I received for Christmas will be a good starting place!

6. Learn To Sew
Seriously. I've been talking about this forever. I need to just suck it up and do it already.

I may add to this list later, but I'm really hoping to focus on these things. They are all things I've wanted to do for some time, and hopefully I can accomplish them. Especially the weight. I suck as resolutions, and I'm sure this time next year I'll look back at these and think "I could have done better." But I want to avoid that. When I do start working out again, I hope to document it all here to keep me in check.

Do you have any new year's resolutions?

December 21, 2011

A Different Christmas*

Last year on Christmas day, my best friend of a long ass time [20 years or so?] called me to wish me a Merry Christmas. We talk every major holiday & always pass the phone around to family, so I was expecting that at some point that day, I would hear from her. When she called, we had guests over, so I snuck into our bedroom so I could actually hear her & talk without the comments from the peanut gallery [aka, my darling husband].

What I wasn't expecting was for her to tell me that she was pregnant. Just a month before, she had been out here to visit & go to a Dave Matthews Band concert with me up in Virginia, when we had the "talk" that her and her husband were thinking about starting to try. It was a realistic conversation in that she wasn't expecting it to happen right way, she knew that it would likely take some time, and that she had learned a lot from the miscarriage I had a couple years back. It was a good talk. So when the words "I'm pregnant" came out, followed by "we weren't really trying that hard" and "I didn't expect to happen" the first time came out, it took everything I had to make my way through the conversation without crying. Luckily she was still in the car on her way to her parents house, so when we were done talking, I could hang up.

And when I hung up, the tears started flowing.

I called my mom proclaiming that I was a horrible friend. She was, and HAS BEEN, a solid rock in my life since the day we met in the 6th grade. But I cried my eyes out for a good two days, and definitely drank a lot of wine as I tried to get myself through the rest of the holiday. I wanted to be happy for her, but it was a long, long time before I could bring myself to accept how easy her getting pregnant had been. Because it wasn't me. It wasn't us.

This Christmas is obviously quite different for us. At 7 months pregnant, we are counting down the weeks until our little one arrives. There is a much different sentiment to our holiday and we are both happy to be counting down these last 11 weeks.

But we are also counting our blessings.

This Christmas, more than anything, I am grateful for what was given to us this year. I know how rough the holidays are for those in the infertile community, and I know how rough it can be to be around other pregnant people. The announcements and the photos still get to me, even being where I am, and I know that is something that might never go away. I speak from personal experience when I say that this weekend can shove it. People can be cruel and insensitive, no matter how good intentioned they are.

But even though 2011 was extremely rough for us, between family accidents, deaths & dealing with some other major issues, we were blessed with this one good thing. And I hope, more than any of you know, more than some of my friends know, that 2012 gives all of you exactly what you want. I hate seeing my friends, real or otherwise, in pain. I hope that this next year brings everyone exactly what they are wishing and hoping for. That treatments & medications work. That I have many more pregnant friends in my life. That this time, next year, you all are reflecting back and having a different kind of Christmas. My fingers are crossed.

Merry Christmas to all of you & your families. Bring on 2012.

December 17, 2011

Military Ball 2011*

Every once in a while, the Army throws a mandatory function our way. Typically, they are boring and lame and, well ... boring and lame.

Military Balls pretty much fall into that category as well, although there are definitely some upsides to them. Getting dressed up is one. Spending time with good friends is another. Seeing my incredibly cute husband in his fancy dress military uniform? Probably the best one of all.

For the most part, they are pretty boring. The format has been exactly the same for all three that we have been to. But we sat a table with some very fun people, some good friends of ours from the company. There was a ton of laughing! I love having the opportunity to hang out with other military spouses. Finding other spouses that I have things in common with can be difficult from time to time. So when they pop up, I latch on. Not in a weird crazy stalkerish kind of way, but in a "you're awesome. let's hang out sometime" kind of way.

After the formalities were over and everyone was released for dancing, the husband and I bolted for home. Lucky for me, I had a dress from a previous ball that worked for this occasion. But barely. To get into it required some magic, and I spent the good part of the evening not being able to breath. You can thank the pregnancy boobs for that. Plus ... heels. Ugh. A quick bathroom break turned into us being stopped from going back to our seats due to the guest speaker, which meant 20 minutes standing in the lobby in heels that weren't really meant to be stood in for that long. So when they told us we were free, it was home we went.

But all in all, it was a great night. We had fun, and while they are mandatory, they aren't all bad. Plus, again ... that dang uniform gets me every time!

December 15, 2011

Turning Over A New Leaf*

Last night, my husband and I were laying on the bed, chatting and catching up on our day, when he leaned over and told me he missed me.

Not because we've spent time apart. Or because one person has been traveling while the other has been home. Or because our work schedules have been so crazy that we just haven't had time to spend with each other. None of that is the case.

He missed me because right now I am a sad, broken wife. And it broke my heart.

It was the first time that he has opened up to me about how what I have been going through with this pregnancy has affected him. This funk/depression/overall sadness that has overtaken me has creeped into my marriage as well. Something I didn't realize until he laid it all out for me. He wasn't criticizing or complaining. And I don't think it was a conversation that he necessarily meant to have. But he didn't expect pregnancy to be so hard on me, and in turn, hard on him.

He has, through all of this, been completely amazing. Since the day we found out we were finally expecting, he has bent over backwards to take care of me, help me & pamper me when I need it most. He has been extremely tolerant of my mood swings and has been excited for the two of us about the new addition to our family when I have been less than enthusiastic. He has been supportive and wonderful and never once complained to me about the lack of dinners cooked or laundry done because I'm just too tired to handle it at the end of the day. He is a model husband. One that I am eternally grateful for and love on a whole new level. And while he assures me that it's OK, that he understands, and that I need to keep doing whatever I need to do, I don't agree.

For me, it's not OK. And I feel like I have neglected him on so many levels. This needs to change! I need to change. I need to figure out what the solution is to get out of this funk and move on. Enjoy these last 12 weeks of pregnancy. Spend the time with my husband that I need to spend with him before the baby comes. Overall, be a little more enthusiastic about life and a little less Debbie Downer. I don't know what the answer is, and I don't know how to fix it right away, but something will change. It has to!

So today, even if I have to fake my way through it, I need to find the motivation and plain and simple, BUCK UP. Get it together! Be the person that I really want to be and that my husband needs me to be right now! Our lives are about to change in a huge, dramatic way. And I don't want to go into this with one person in this marriage feeling like they've lost a little part of the other. That's not at all how it's supposed to be.

So. This is me. Turning over a new leaf. Kicking Debbie Downer to the door and finding my old, happy self.

December 13, 2011

The Joy of Parenting Opinions*

With the impending arrival of Baby Boho [seriously. Just about 12 weeks to go. Yikes!] I've started reaching out to friends and family with random questions that I have. The books don't answer everything and I've found that sometimes it's nice to have personal experience from friends that are already moms.

At least I thought that in the beginning.

Holy opinions, people.

While most of the people in my life have been very pleasant and neutral when I ask for some advice, and generally stick to the topic at hand, there have been others that have veered WAY off course, and frankly have been kind of rude about things. The general consensus has been what works for some does not work for all, and do what's right for your family. And I appreciate that. There are some things that I am going to have to be flexible on when baby arrives, and I definitely know that. I am not going into all of this with a set plan and structure on how I'm going to take care of our baby after he/she comes. Because let's face it. Even for an OCD freak like myself who likes to have everything planned out, I know that's unrealistic. Flexibility will be the key word of EVERY day life for us.

But there are some issues that to me seem a little bit bigger. Things that are non-negotiable in our book [because these are definitely thinks both M & I have agreed on] and things I am not willing to budge on. And those seem to be the hottest topics of everything. For instance, Attachment Parenting. I would like to say that if you practice Attachment Parenting and it works for you, that is awesome. Whatever you do to get through the day of raising a child, and whatever makes you and your family happy is totally OK by me. I am not here to judge or cast down on a mother for doing things differently than I would. Because let's face it ... then none of us would ever get along. But this is one of those BIG TICKET ITEMS on our list that we just won't budge on. I don't believe in co-sleeping. I believe in a routine. I believe in set bedtimes. I believe in having a space that my husband and I can call our own [especially since the military takes him away enough as it is] and not sharing that space with our child. I will also admit that I am totally selfish and LOVE my expensive fluffy pillows and down comforters. Not things I want to give up. And I feel that as a parent-to-be that is my right. But damn ... if some people don't get hot and heavy over this issue! Again, if it works for you that it awesome. Seriously. No judgement here. But M & I feel VERY strongly about not doing these things because of how we currently live our life. And this is not something that will change, despite what others may tell me.

I also, believe it or not, LIKE working and having a job. And, once baby comes along, I realize that leaving him/her in the care of somebody else for eight hours a day while I go back to work [because I will be going back to work full-time] will be hard and painful and a difficult adjustment after taking 12 weeks off. But, I like working. And it's what I want to continue to do. So I will make the best of what will surely be a really hard situation and tough it out. Because that's what will work for us. Being a stay at home mom has never appealed to me. It works for some, and I know a lot of GREAT women who don't work and raise their kids. My mom was one of them and I have nothing but the utmost respect for her because the four of us were rowdy! But is it for me? Nah. I have a hard time taking a week vacation, going nowhere and having the freedom to do whatever I want, before I get bored and am itching to go back to work. But to make me feel like I am a bad person for not wanting to spend every waking minute [and sleeping minute!] with my child isn't fair. At all! Because again, what works for some does not work for all.

And good lord, if I hear "you'll change your mind after the baby comes" one more time, I very well might explode. Because on certain things, yes. I might. What bottles we use. If we decide to supplement with formula or not. What type of cloth diaper we decide to go with. Whether the kid naps in the bassinet or the swing. Those are the type of things that I am willing to be flexible on. But what I don't understand is why it's so hard for other people [and again, I don't mean everyone. I have heard both sides of the spectrum through from many, many people] to accept that certain things we won't budge on. Because that's what works for us.

It's amazing how strongly people feel about some of these opinion. I promise I'm not trying to be bitchy [despite the incredibly bitchy mood that I'm in today] but just wanted to comment on how incredible and different opinions are when it comes to being a parent, or in this case, a parent to be. It has made me think differently about how I'll reach out to friends in the future, and how I'll address certain situations with them. I realize that when you ask for advice, you should expect all sides of it, but I think there is a difference between giving an opinion and shoving an opinion down someone's throat!

How about you? Do you have any situations where something has been forced on you despite your feelings on the subject matter? Or have people always typically been very kind and thoughtful when offering advice? Have you veered away from asking for advice from other parents, like I will likely start doing? Or have your experiences all been great that you can't wait to ask more questions?

December 6, 2011

Feta-Avocado Turkey Burger*

I am a big lover of all things turkey. ESPECIALLY a well made turkey burger. We eat them naked at our house [no bun ... get your mind out of the gutter!] but made this way, with a pita & some veggies, also sounds like a glorious alternative. The leftovers are always great crumbled up on a salad the next day. Not to mention that they are much healthier for you than a normal burger. The husband loves them, & so do I, so they are a regular staple in our meals.

I found this recipe and will be making these bad boys for dinner this week. I have no doubt in my mind that they will be tasty. I regularly use a little cheese in my turkey burgers [so not a big jump, plus feta ... nom.] & who doesn't love avocado?? I foresee these being a new alternative to the normal way I make them.

Feta-Avocado Turkey Burger Pitas

For the turkey burgers:

1 lb ground turkey burger
1 avocado, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt
3 tbs bread crumbs
3 tbs diced green onion
salt and pepper

Served with: 
1 pkg whole wheat pitas 
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 head of lettuce, separated

Spicy Mayo
1/3 cup light Mayo
1-2 tsp cumin (depending on how strong you like it)

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients together, mixing with your hands until evenly incorporated.  Shape into 6 patties.  Season both sides with salt and pepper. 

2. Lightly brush each side of the patties with extra virgin olive oil.  Place patties on the grill (high heat), cooking about 6 minutes each side until cooked through.  

3.  Spread some of the spicy mayo in each pita pocket and place a turkey burger in each.  Garnish with lettuce and tomatoes.  

December 5, 2011

Thank You*

First off, I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the people who left comments and sent me emails over the past few days. While I don't necessarily feel better about the issues at hand (mentally, or physically) it makes me feel better that I am not completely alone in what is going on in my head right now. That this is normal, to some extent. It does make me sad, though, that people don't talk about this side of pregnancy more often, as was evident by some of the comments. I hope that if others stumble upon this blog and read that post, that it helps them just a little in what y'all have helped me with.

I do find it unfortunate that feeling this way is a little too taboo to talk about. But it is what it is, and hopefully some of you that are feeling a little down in the dumps [or have in the past] will speak up next time around! I definitely will continue to keep being honest here, because what do I have to lose?

I did forget to mention the insurmountable pain that I continue to have in my hip/pelvic region. It makes doing things on a day to day basis pretty unbearable. Even the little things, like getting out of bed, or shifting position in the middle of the night, makes me want to cry because the pain is so intense. It's hard to enjoy things when you're constantly hating your body for making you feel this way.

Anyways. Moving on.

This week I am solo, as M is out in the field for Army training all week. Typically I don't mind having him gone for a few days, but this week I am missing him something fierce. I blame the hormones that are making me pretty sappy these days. But I'm trying to make the best of my time and actually get some things accomplished. My goal each evening is to do something productive instead of plopping my butt on the couch and watching TV. Monday night I got some needed cleaning done in a couple of room, and last night I tackled the dishes and also started organizing our pantry. A quick inspection a few weeks ago showed me that I have many cans of food that expired like, four years ago. Gross. So last night I started tackling that and got two of the shelves cleaned out and organized. I totally meant to take a "before" photo, but I'm sort of glad I didn't. Embarrassing how unorganized it was!!! Tonight I'll tackle the other two shelves, and then it's on to the cabinets where we also keep some food. My end goal is to create some space for baby stuff. We don't have a lot of room in our kitchen, so any extra space I can create for the coming months is crucial. Hopefully things all work out according to my plan. Can we say nesting?

I also need to work out a couple times a week. I weighed myself for the first time since my last doctors appointment and let me tell you, the result was not pretty. That sweet tooth that I've been having & my overall "I haven't gained any weight so I can eat whatever I want!!!!" attitude is catching up with me. Time to get that in check and get back on the "eat healthy" train. Bye bye, mexican food! [at least for now!]

Other than that, I'm just trying to move along and stay as positive as I can! The kid has been super active the past couple of days and I can actually see my belly move in some spots when he/she gives a good kick. Even with the extra activity, it's not keeping me up at night (yet) but I see that changing soon. I seem to be able to sleep through any movement at night. It's only when I get uncomfortable and need to shift positions that I wake up [which is pretty much every hour ... two hours if I'm lucky!] It's my right hip that kills me the most at night and oddly enough, my shoulder! I also have my follow-up ultrasound in just over two weeks [right before the Christmas weekend] to make sure my placenta has moved up enough to where my midwife is happy.

So that's that, y'all! Happy Tuesday! Here's hoping the rest of the week goes quick!

December 1, 2011


I debated writing this post for a lot of reasons, & I am still having this discussion internally as I write now. So bear with me as I fumble through this. I realize that the things I might say aren't standard for what *should* be said from a pregnant woman, but alas, it is what it is.

But I sort of feel like the way I'm feeling isn't normal, because nobody really talks about it. But there is no way that I'm the only one out there that feels this way. I can't totally be alone, right?

The past couple of weeks, i have felt that I am floundering just a tad during this pregnancy. As it stands, I am six and a half months along. While the end is in sight, I am feeling sort of lost & hopeless. Like I am in this rut, where I should be happy but realistically am NOT and I can't seem to dig myself out of it. I know that some of this may come with my history of depression. I made the choice to stop taking my prozac when I found out I was pregnant, and I don't regret that for a second. But I would be lying if I said I didn't miss it, and that I wasn't counting down the days until I could start taking it.

But aside from that, I'm just feeling lost. And scared. And slightly confused. Pregnancy is a big deal. I know this. When I think about the “what if’s” of that, then it spirals me into all these other thoughts … will I be a good mom? Will I love my baby? Am I as emotionally attached to this pregnancy as I should be? Is there something wrong with me because I don’t particularly enjoy being pregnant? (ok, I’m not going to lie. I pretty much hate it.) Am I resenting this kid already for making me feel so crummy and will that translate after birth?? Is it weird that I don’t talk to my belly or read it stories or play it music like so many other people do? Or am I normal for not doing these things? Normal for just accepting that I'm not pregnant and not relishing in it the way so many other women announce to the world that they are. The list goes on and on and on and on …. Just question after question that keeps popping up in my head. I know they are stupid, and I know that I am probably very normal in feeling a lot of the ways that I am feeling, but I just don’t REALLY know and maybe I’m just hoping I’m normal. I hate asking other people about it because the people closest to me all LOVED being pregnant. And it was so great and wonderful for them that it almost makes me feel bad/guilty for having any negative thoughts at all.

So I don’t know.

But the other part of me realizes that plain and simple, I don’t have time to enjoy it the way most of the people in my life do. I work full time. I am not a stay at home wife. When I get home from work it’s time to feed the dogs, and make dinner, and take the dogs for a walk, and get some laundry or cleaning done. And then I'm so exhausted by the time everything is over and done with, that I have to go to sleep. Obviously not every night is like this, and I wouldn't trade it for anything because I LIKE working, but there are things I have to do because I am not home during the day to get all this crap done.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not at all ungrateful for what we have. I know how lucky I am that our first IUI was a success. I know that so many other women out there have struggled through so much more for a pregnancy. I know that what we have is special and wonderful. I love feeling the movement, and there is something so amazing with the fact that yes, I am growing HUMAN BEING inside me. And the way that this has changed my relationship with my husband is amazing all on his own. The love that is between us right now is so unlike anything that we’ve had before, and in a very, very good way. I see him as a totally different person. One who is strong and amazing and will be the best father I have ever known. But pregnancy is also intensely scary & it freaks me out on so many different levels. And that fear has definitely taken over lately.

I know I can’t be alone in feeling the way that I do and I really wish that more women would be honest about how hard this shit is. Somewhere along the line it became too taboo to say that the miracle of life makes you miserable. If you talk about how miserable you are, it makes you ungrateful for what you have. At least that’s the perception. And I can definitely understand that, because being part of the infertility community, there was a time where I would see someone bitching and say to myself “lady, you’re pregnant. And I’m not. So deal with it.” But now that I’m on the other side, I’ll be the first to reaffirm to someone else that they aren’t the only one that feels this way.

But there aren’t that many out there that are brave enough to voice that opinion. And I hate “mommy” blogs, that are all “look at my KID! ISN’T IT THE CUTEST THING EVER?????” I want to be somewhere in the middle … yup. I’m pregnant. Yup. My kid is cute. But hello, I also have a life and am still a person!! There seems to be this idea that you cannot be both. That there is no middle ground. Either you are 110% about your kid all the time, or you’re a crap parent because you’re not plastering photos over facebook.

I know [at least I hope] that the closer I get to my due date, this feeling of loneliness and hopelessness will go away. That at some point I will enjoy this more than I am now. That I will accept that I have nothing to worry about and will figure it out just like millions of other women before me have done. But for now, I just don't really know how to deal with all of this.

Please, somebody, tell me that this worry is normal and that I'm not the only one!