Tuesday, July 25, 2017

16 Week Check Up!

Here I am, solidly into the second trimester...thank God.  

I said I'd feel more relaxed...I don't.
I said I'd feel better...I don't.
I said I'd be more optimistic...I'm not.
I said I'd be more motivated...I'm not.
I said I'd stop worrying as much...I haven't.
I said I'd stop being convinced the baby had died...I haven't.

Anxiety is real...trauma is real...

I said all of these things, and they make complete sense!  Up until this point, I was still in that risky time.  Although I'm presently 16w2d, I hadn't seen the baby since 12w4d. So when people would excitedly remind me I was well into the second trimester, I just replied, "I don't know if the baby is in the second trimester!" That was to be confirmed today-and thank God it was! But this is how real and irrational anxiety and trauma are:  at almost halfway through this pregnancy, things are looking more and more positive. I should let myself breathe and think that maybe, just maybe, I'll bring home a baby in January.  I thought once I get there, I'll be ok. I'll stop worrying so much because I have every reason to be less worried! But anxiety tricks you-when you think you're comfortable, when you think you have a plan, it finds a new way to rob you of being comforted.  

Today it took some time to find the heartbeat again.  I got a sense the nurse was getting a little nervous, but eventually a heartbeat popped on the machine, "150 beats per minute," she proclaimed, and then just as quick as it was found, she turned the doppler off.  Relieved for half a second, I texted my husband:

It's alive, but I don't believe it. 

It took too long...
I only heard it for a second...
It was probably my own heartbeat...
How does she know...

I got to this place, this place I waited to be in for so long, this place that I thought would give me comfort, but I'm not comforted, now, not even a doppler can convince me all is well. 

You can follow my story this week at The Layers Project where I'm discussing my story and more about my anxiety and trauma resulting from the past 18 months...


Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Munchies: Firecracker Chicken

Sounds like summer huh? 
I am not one to experiment with meats or poultry; probably because no matter, I never end up eating it.  But, I contributed to a Shabbos lunch meal this past weekend, and I said I'd make chicken.  I knew I needed to spice things up #nopunintended 

We don't own a grill, or a fryer, or any fancy shmancy meat contraption.  So I needed something simple. What I loved about this was although it took a few steps, nothing was too complicated or overly time consuming. What else was nice, is that by cooking it in the pan first, you greatly reduce the overall cooking time!

Baked Firecracker Chicken

1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar or honey (I used brown sugar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 tablespoon cider vinegar 
2 cloves grated garlic (I buy the pre-minced)
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper

Heat the hot sauce, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauce pan until sugar is melted and it looks like a sauce.  

Then, begin heating the oil in a skillet (the original recipe calls for using an oven safe skillet so you can brown it and then bake it in the same pan, but since I don't have an oven safe skillet, I just transferred the chicken to a tray.  

Salt and pepper the chicken, and when the oil is hot, brown it in the skillet; 3-5 minutes per side.  

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees, about 10-15 minutes. 

If you like spicy, this is the recipe for you! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Home Tour: Entryway

I hope you'll join me over the next several weeks as I showcase our current apartment.  It's pretty bittersweet, as we'll be moving on in less than a month.  You may remember, we moved to Baltimore in July of last year, and in August we'll find our way to Columbus, Ohio.  I've always regretted not taking the time to showcase each of our current spaces-yes, each...there have been seven in almost ten years!  While I don't consider myself a decorator by any means, I've always fallen in love with the spaces I've created. We've only rented, so you have to make do with what you have, and part of that is budgeting too!  All things considered, I think I've done really well making it stylish, functional, and meaningful.  My "houses" (and currently apartment) have always been homes, and for that I'm so thankful.  

Without further ado...c'mon in

Entryway mats had always been a dilemma to me: function, yet stylish-only to dirty...it wasn't until I thought to find a doorway mat that was cheeky and just me...this makes me smile every time.  This was bought on Etsy, but you can find several on Amazon.  

And chances are, you can usually find me at home with donuts.  
Is it a real baby, or a donut baby? 

Since we're moving to Columbus, where there isn't a kosher Dunkin' Donuts, you will find me like this for the next few weeks...

A common theme you will notice throughout the apartment, is maximizing walls and corners.  That chalk board wall is really blocking a door into the kitchen. But, just to left of the bikes is the dining room with an entry into the kitchen as well.  Two entries into the kitchen within a matter of steps was just not necessary.  When we moved here, we lost our garage, so bikes and strollers now had to be stored inside the apartment, in addition to lacking space in general. So, we made this a little entryway nook.  It looks tight, but there is plenty of room, even with the bikes hanging on the wall.  And they aren't too terrible to get down and put back, I just try to avoid it.  

The board was painted with chalk board paint and again, to maximize space, it provides my kids another area to play.  

But it also provides me with another nook on the other side, plus I can use the other door for door storage, and hanging laundry space-to be showcased later!

This is about as good of a command center I pulled off this year, and it was really a life saver.  The bins on top were bought from Amazon. During the year, it stored papers that were necessary to be saved, or time sensitive items that needed to be taken to school.  Now, it stores their summer packets.  

The hooks are from Anthropologie, they were a little pricey, but it gives such charm to this space.  I love personalization, and I especially love this industrial look-it just ties in the bikes and the chalk board.  

I appreciate any way that clutter is organized and off the floor-so this was the perfect solution since we don't have a mudroom or adequate closet storage.  It also gave the kids the opportunity to be responsible with their bags-emptying and hanging.  

Thanks for joining, and welcome...next week I'll show you our living/family room.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

First Trimester Screen Blood Results

A week and a half ago I got the call that my blood work came back with good numbers-meaning the ultrasound combined with the blood work indicates a low possibility this baby has trisomy 18 or trisomy 21.  I am to repeat blood work between now and 21 weeks with results that are 90% accurate.  
I am presently 15 weeks 2 days.  I was supposed to be in New York this past weekend, and I managed to get squeezed into my OB that Friday for a check with the doppler.  However, Dovy and I got sick en route,  so we turned around and I was forced to forfeit the appointment.  I have been trying my best to think positive and just hang in until my regularly scheduled appointment which is in a week from now, Tuesday July 25th.  I have had a very hard time connecting to this pregnancy beyond the here and now-which is why there has yet to be a bumpdate.  It saddens me because I have 6 week belly pictures from every other pregnancy, and I just can't overcome my fear and get that done.  But, I will have to, because I'll regret it. And just to clarify, this has nothing to do with a "4th baby" or "too busy" none of that, "youngest child" syndrome-this is pure anxiety getting in my way, which I hope to address here soon!

Typically, I will feel daily movement, but it is still early that it's faint and can easily be confused with any other bodily function we commonly feel.  So, the movements are not always reassuring-because it's easy to question them, it provides me little relief.  I know that statistically, things are ok in there, and I am just trying to be reassured by that.  

Check back Thursday as I'll have a pretty cool, new to me, type of update on the blog!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Just popping in...again #inserteyeroll 
It's Monday Munchies!!!!! But once again, we have to go with a stock photo because this recipe was used during a fabulous Shabbos lunch! 

"Strawberry watermelon soup"   This soup makes a refreshing first course for a summertime meal.

This recipe got several compliments-it's light, tasty, not overly sweetened with sugar, contains no dairy, and is so refreshing! 

2-1/2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained, and hulled
1/3 cup sugar 2-1/2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into chunksJuice of 1 lemonJuice of 1 orangeSprigs of fresh mint or lemon thyme

Slice one pint of the berries into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Set aside for 15 min. Transfer the sliced berries and their juice to the bowl of a food processor. Add the watermelon, the lemon juice, and the orange juice and process to a smooth purée. Transfer the purée to a bowl and refrigerate for 30 to 60 min., until cold.

When you are ready to serve the soup, evenly divide the “broth” among 4 dessert bowls; glass is nice. Slice the remaining strawberries thin, and add some slices to each bowl. Garnish with sprigs of mint or lemon thyme, and serve at once. 

4 servings

I tripled this recipe...you could definitely get away with cutting the sugar.  I would also recommend using orange juice if you're making such a large batch-and maybe even adding more than the recommended amount to make up for cut sugar, and/or changing the flavor a bit.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Phew...so glad I get to welcome you back here! I have so many new summer recipes to share with you! 
A week and a half ago, my wonderful doctor husband finished his medical training-10 years in the making!  I felt like I had to do something to recognize this momentous occasion, but being in a new city for only 11 months, we don't have too many friends, and money and time were both limited! So, I decided to throw together a Shabbos afternoon kiddish (aka a light lunch).  But, I spent Monday and Thursday in New York, so prep was fast, and most of it required fresh fruit and veggies, and minimal heating-which are all fabulous requirements for being amazing summer recipes.  Everything got rave reviews, seriously, so just follow the links, you surely wont be disappointed!

Image result for fruit skewers
This is a stock picture, follow this link to see what I followed. Although they took some time, they look so pretty standing in a vase.  My advice is to prepare all the fruit so you can easily assemble. 

Cucumber Basil and Watermelon Salad | foodiecrush.com
This salad screams summer-if you're lacking time, just cube the watermelon.  It does not last because of the liquid from the watermelon.

Green Goddess Veggie Dip Cups --- a fun, healthy, portable appetizer --- keep them in the fridge for quick healthy snacks, too/
This was such a fabulous way to get veggies in without adding a boring salad.  This is especially kid friendly! I used two different pre-made salad dressings: a Caesar and a basil vinaigrette.  

A fresh and easy Greek Pasta Salad just in time for summer! This crowd-pleasing side dish is tasty with grilled meats and at all your backyard barbecues.
This was such a crowd pleaser I've made this two weekends in a row! It's so light and filling-and kalamata olives give it such an awesome kick, what could be better! I left out the cheese because both of these meals involved meat, but it was totally fabulous! Definitely try to get pitted olives-so you're salad isn't a choking hazard,but also so you don't have to slave away pitting the olives.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle... A light and delicious trifle layered with strawberry sauce, angel food cake and whipped cream! This will be a hit wherever it is served!
This is like summer comfort food! My friend insisted I pass on some of the food obligations to her, so I gave her this.  It doesn't seem too hard to make, but I will say we needed more whipped cream and although the cake and strawberry amounts were fine, I definitely feel like I had to stretch it. So I would probably at least add another half of the recipe.

Dana's Crispy Coconut Chicken
I made this crispy coconut chicken in nugget form.  This was one of two hot meat dishes I made. I wanted simple, yummy, appetizers.  I put this out on a platter and it was delicious!

Barbecue Pineapple Meatballs - just 3 ingredients - barbecue sauce, frozen meatballs, and crushed pineapple and perfect as an appetizer recipe for parties and get togethers!
I was so intrigued by these meatballs-it's a twist on both typical versions: the regular meatball, and the sweet and sour.  I'm really all for cutting corners, but I was not able to find kosher pre-made meatballs, so I had to make my own.  I quadrupled the meat, and ended up using most of it with only doubled sauce.  It's a little overwhelming at first to deal with the uncooked meatballs in a sauce, but it all worked out.  I initially attempted to plate like this, but it just didn't work-they were too soft, and I was short on time, so we just served them from a bowl.  Not one single meatball was left!

If you're searching for a new summer recipe, I guarantee one of these will be perfect for you! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

First Trimester Screen

On Thursday I made my way back to NY for my last blood test at Dr. B's, and then my first trimester screening ultrasound and blood work.  I have heard that over the past few years there were new blood tests available as a screening tool, such as Harmony.  I did not receive that, rather I did the traditional blood tests, with some new ones as of four years ago-think 13 vials, and the nuchal translucency screening ultrasound.  

My ultrasound measurements looked great, but they aren't able to give a statistic until the combine the pictures with the blood results-which I should have later this week.  Then, they now recommend more blood work in the second trimester between 15-21 weeks where all of these results  combined, will give them a 90% likelihood of detection.  The more invasive option, but also more definite of an answer as oppose to a "prediction" is either the CVS testing or the Amnioentesis.  At this point, the blood work combined with ultrasound should be all I need G-d willing, but if the results come back concerning, we'll probably move forward with a test that can give us a more definitive answer.  

For now, things look good; baby movements are very reassuring, except for when I convince myself I'm making it up in my head, and then it's not reassuring!  I'm going to most likely schedule a quick heartbeat check for July 14 when I think I'll be in NY, and then about two weeks later I'll return for a routine OB appointment.   
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