Friday, April 30, 2010

It's that lovely time of year when we begin to receive our tax refunds...which in reality is just a false sense of feeling like the government is giving us money because HELLO this was our money we originally earned anyway....but, I digress. It is still a great feeling when you trot out to the mailbox in the t-shirt you have been wearing for 3 days and your flip flops with socks (wait, just me? nevermind...) and see a nice, fat check.

At our house, 'tis a great feeling until reality sets in that this money is going straight to a savings account not to be touched. No shopping spree for me! Right now, there's about 100 things on my list to buy, but if I could buy myself a Mother's Day gift (since it's my inaugural celebration), I would swing by the jewelry store for this little chotchky...
It's only $1200. What? Too expensive? You see, I would justify it by saying that it is aquamarine, which is Noelle's birthstone. It is also done with chocolate diamonds, which is quite unique. AND...since I am planning on being a mom for the rest of my life, it really isn't a lot of money if you spread it out over the course of a lifetime...right? If I live another 75 years, that only amounts to $16 a year. Wow, don't I sound like one of those "Sponsor a Child" infomercials that are on at 4 a.m.? "For just 95 cents a day...."

Sigh. Never. Gonna. Happen.


'Spose I will settle for saving the check from Uncle Sam for a rainy day...or for when Luke's car will inevitably need thousands of dollars of repairs.

30 Day Shred - Day 11 & 12

Perhaps you thought I quit on the Shred? Nope. Not this girl (points to self). I did manage to squeeze it in yesterday, which happened to be the first day of Level 2. Holy was hard! I had forgotten how hard Level 2 was. I have done Level 3 in my past life (back when I had a semi-nice body), and I don't think Level 3 is as hard as Level 2. Anyway, I did it. Praise the Lord!

I also managed to do the Shred today...but it took three different times of turning the DVD on, then hitting pause because Noelle needed me. You see, she is on day 7 of no pooping (read my prior post about her poop habits). I think we will have a...breakthrough...tonight, but she is quite uncomfortable. She has needed her momma to hold her and love her today even more so than usual. However, she has been sleeping for a bit and allowed me to get my workout in. Thanks, Noelle!

If this 30 Day Shred doesn't work for me after all the effort I have been giving, I am going to personally hunt Jillian Michaels down and shred her.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mom's Day Out

Because I have the two best sister-in-laws in the world, I will be visiting a Salon/Spa on Thursday, May 6 for a hair cut and color. They got me a gift certificate for my baby shower. I am so excited! I haven't done anything with my hair since February, and it desperately needs a makeover.

ALSO, I won a $25 gift certificate to another Salon/Spa in Fishers for donating money to Zumba for Autism! I made an appointment for Thursday as well to get my eyebrows waxed and have my first 30 minute facial! Thursday is going to be a great day!

With my upcoming return to work, it will be nice to feel refreshed and ready to see the general public again. Until then, I will be wearing my sweats and not wearing makeup.

7 Weeks!

My sweet baby girl is 7 weeks old today! I don't know if I should celebrate or cry. Maybe a little bit of both. I don't think I write enough about Noelle on this little blog, so I will update you on how the little "nugget" (as my dad says) is doing.

We weighed Noelle on the scale we are borrowing (thanks Amanda!) the other night, and she weighted just over 10 lbs! She has gained almost 2 lbs since birth. At her last doctor's appointment, she was 22" long. She will go again on May 11 for her 2 month check-up. I hear there are shots this time, so I am thankful that I will not be taking her (since I will be back to work).

Noelle has begun to smile when she is happy. When you tickle her cheek or get down in her face, she will usually crinkle her little nose and give you a smile. It just melts your heart! She holds her head up when you put her up by your shoulder. We work with her being able to lift her head when she is on her tummy. Her legs are getting stronger, and she will even start to bear a little weight on them when you stand her up.

She is making lots of noises right now. At first, I thought every little noise was her being upset, but I have realized that she is trying to find her voice. She will let out a little scream or grunt but not be unhappy. It's cute to see her figure herself out!

She is sleeping at night in chunks of about 5-6 hours. The trick is getting her to sleep for the correct 5-6 hours...meaning from 11-4 instead of 9-2. I am nervous about sleep for when I go back to school. However, I really can't complain, because she does pretty well.

Noelle is finally on a good feeding schedule. After having one near breakdown that would have resulted in throwing in the towel on breastfeeding, I have finally figured out that she can eat every 3 hours until she goes to bed and she is perfectly happy. This makes me happy, too, because I can get something down around the house in the in-between. She naps quite a bit during the day, too.

She is a perfect angel in public. At every wedding, funeral, church service, or restaurant we have visited, she hasn't made a peep. She is just wonderful. She allows anyone to hold her, and as long as she is held, she is happy.

Unfortunately, Noelle only poops like once every 5 or 6 days. She has even gone as long as a week. We don't like this...not that we want more poop in our lives, but she gets some pretty intense stomach pains and we can't really help her. Not to mention when she does finally let it go, it is DISGUSTING! Speaking of disgusting, Noelle passes some serious gas. It could clear a room. People try to be cute about it and tell us that she is "tooting." No. Noelle is having some man farts. It's not one of her finer qualities.

So, that's my little girl in a nutshell. She is the light of our lives and makes us so happy. I look forward to each day with her. Here are some updated pictures of little Noelle Elizabeth. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 10

I am 1/3 of the way there! I plan to step up to Level 2 tomorrow.

Still no budge on the scales. Disappointing. However, I am hoping my body decides to give birth to Noelle's 15 lb twin soon.

In other healthy news, I bought a rice cooker/steamer last night. We used it for dinner already. It was awesome! I steamed brown rice in the bottom and then broccoli on top. They came out perfectly! I always cook rice horribly when I do it on the stove. It is always too watery. This came out perfect...almost like the sticky rice at Asian restaurants. I also had chicken tortellini. Too bad Luke took the leftovers with him today...

Zero Tolerance

Several years ago, Luke, his brother Abel, and Abel's then-girlfriend-now-wife Elizabeth and I were riding in a car together. Somehow, the conversation was started about the guys' dream girls. Abel so famously piped up, "Sandra Bullock," but he said it like this..."Soooondra BullOCK!" We all have quoted and re-quoted his words numerous times over the years. And now I have to say that Miss Sandy might be my dream girl, too.

Unfortunately, Sandra Bullock's name has recently been added to the list of gorgeous women who have been cheated on and publicly humiliated by their famous husbands. cough:: Elin Woods ::cough Apparently the tatted up, grungy, wanna-be hardass Jesse James wasn't worth the years of defense that Sandra Bullock gave him to the press, because he proved the stereotype to be true and decided to engage in numerous extra-marital affairs with some of the nation's finest women (i.e. strippers and neo-nazis). And of course, the news had to hit within days of Sandra winning her first Oscar, forcing the media to forget about her award-winning Blindside performance and focus on her philandering husband.

So why is Sandra my new favorite woman? Well, she has filed for divorce. It's not that I love divorce or think it is OK 100% of the time. It's that she was humiliated. She was betrayed. She was hurt. He probably endangered her health by exposing her to STDs. And she has enough strength to say, "I am not going to stay with you and pretend like we are going to work through it. I am not going to stay with you because you go to a 30-day rehab and call yourself healed. I am not going to stay with you, even if you offer me money." She is accepting that her marriage is over, and she is not going to put on a happy face and pretend that infidelity and betrayal are OK in a relationship.

Elin Woods should take some notes. All her husband had to do was make a scripted public apology, shoot a new Nike commercial, and make a few great shots at the Masters and now we have forgotten all he has done. I realize that they have children together, but staying together will not erase what he did or keep his children from knowing about it. Staying together will not necessarily promise those kids a happier life than if Elin and Tiger were apart. Unless Elin 100% has truly forgiven and forgotten (which I doubt, given her lack of appearance at the Masters), the children will be able to tell that their mom and dad are not happy together. Smiles will be fake. Conversations will be tense. Elin will be miserable. Tiger goes on living his egocentric, power-hungry life. Tell me how this is better for the children?

It is NOT ok for anyone to go outside his or her marriage. It is NOT ok for someone to hire a prostitute or pay off a fling with millions of dollars just because they can. It is NOT ok for a person to piss all over the vows they made on their wedding day and then go to a rehab for a month and declare the problem as solved. I think a lot of times, when affairs happen, women are made to feel that they weren't pretty enough. They weren't supportive enough. They weren't adventurous enough. They weren't fun enough. Somehow, the affair is the woman's fault. Celebrity wives who stay with their husbands after such repetitive and disgusting affairs only back up this theory. "It's my fault, so I will stay with him and try to make it better."

I know it's hard to declare a relationship "over." I have been with Luke for 10 years, and I feel physically ill at the thought of not being with him...but I also feel physically ill at the thought of him being with another woman...of him taking hard earned money to pay off the other woman...of him lying to me over and over and over again.

So, Sandra, if you were my friend, I would buy you a drink and give you a hug. I would also thank you for being true to yourself and realizing that the right decisions are the tough decisions. Your best days are ahead!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 9

If you're asking if I did the Shred today, I will just tell you the answer is YES!

I feel stronger already. I think I will step it up to Level 2 on Day 11. I haven't missed a day since almost a week ago, which is an accomplishment given how hard it can be to find time for myself in a day, even if it's only 20 minutes.

Almost 1/3 of the way done!

Tasty Tuesday - Pizza Sandwiches

I am starting a feature on this blog called Tasty Tuesday. What is Tasty Tuesday, you ask? OK, no worries. I will tell you.

This blog has become a great way for me to 1) share my feelings, 2) share some pictures, 3) share my opinions, 4) share Noelle. However, I don't want it to be come stale and redundant. I would like you, as the reader, to remain interested and wondering, "I wonder what that Mrs. E is yapping about today?"

Thus, Tasty Tuesday was born. I enjoy cooking. In fact, I rarely feel more womanly and powerful than when I am whipping up something delicious in my kitchen. I am a self-taught cook who enjoys finding new recipes and buying fun ingredients like Dill Weed.

My food tastes have really evolved over the years, and I find myself interested in a whole new world of food. If this were me 6 years ago, I am pretty sure the only thing you would find me making is chicken fingers. I have now been introduced to the world of cheese, beef, vegetables, and an abundance of other things I would not have touched with a 10-foot pole. However, you will NEVER find me cooking with either of these two ingredients-- FISH or MUSHROOMS. So, if you're looking for that kind of thing, I hear has a great site.

Anywho...please enjoy as I have posted my first recipe for Tasty Tuesday. I made these for Luke's birthday party over the weekend, and they were a hit. They are customizable, so if you HAVE to have an offending piece of fungus (i.e. mushroom), you can add it in as you please. Just don't tell me about it.

Bon Appetit!

Pizza Sandwiches
1. Crescent roll dough (I used Pillsbury's crescent roll sheets-- not perforated like regular crescents) -- you will need 2 cans per pizza, and I made 3 pizzas with math tells me SIX cans for this exact recipe!
2. 1 jar/can of pizza sauce
3. 1 bag of Italian cheese (I used that 5 cheese Italian blend)
4. Pepperoni (or whatever you want to put on...I don't recommend a lot of toppings as the dough is thin)
5. 1 egg, beaten
6. Herbs such as basil, oregano, garlic powder
7. Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat to 375 degrees
2. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray
3. Roll out 1 crescent roll dough sheet on the cookie sheet. If you cannot find the roll sheets, you can use crescent rolls, just push the perforations together with your fingers to make them one long sheet.
4. Spoon pizza sauce on the dough in a thin layer. Leave about a 1/4" border of dough around the edges.
5. Place pepperoni evenly on the dough.
6. Sprinkle cheese evenly on top of the pepperoni. I don't recommend piling it on, as again the dough is thin and these are meant to be a "light-ish" snack.
7. Roll out a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Then roll out another can of crescent roll dough on top of the paper. Stretch it to the size of the other dough with all the toppings on it.
8. Lift the parchment paper and turn it over so that the dough is now on top of the pizza toppings. Peel back the parchment paper carefully. Now you have made a pizza sandwich!
9. Press the edges of the dough together.
10. Brush the beaten egg on top of the dough.
11. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and garlic powder.
12. Place in oven for about 12 minutes.

Repeat for the additional two pizzas you are going to make.

When they come out, cut the pizzas into even squares (I cut mine into about 8 squares). Then cut the squares diagonally so that you have 16 triangles.

Serve with marinara sauce for dipping!

Monday, April 26, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 8

The title speaks for itself. I know these posts are pointless, but it kind of holds me accountable to actually doing the Shred. I made myself do it during Noelle's nap this morning. It's amazing how good you feel when you get done working out. Sadly, I won't be able to make it to Zumba because I will be meeting friends for dinner (a good reason to miss). I at least wanted to get this workout in today. Maybe I will take Noelle for a walk in her stroller if it doesn't rain on us.

22 more days to go!

Going to the Chapel

In the past two weekends, Noelle has been to her first two weddings! Last weekend, we went to New Albany for Luke's cousin Emily's wedding to Jonathan (also known as Chunky...don't ask me why, because I don't know!). She was a perfect angel during the ceremony, not making a peep! She also did great during the reception as everyone passed her around. We had a great time and stayed until midnight! It was a really fun time with the family. Special note-- the reception had three different food stations with three different themes of food (Italian, Polynesian, and Mexican). It was a great idea and had something for everyone. I took the full world tour and ate from all three stations. Yum!

Noelle with Luke's dad at the reception

Noelle's second wedding was for Brandon, one of our high school friends, marrying Jennifer. After getting lost in the fields and farms of Pendleton, Indiana, Luke and I made it to the ceremony just after Jennifer walked down the aisle. Thankfully Noelle was quiet as usual and didn't call any more attention to us. It was another great time, and we got to catch up with a lot of our friends that we hadn't seen since Noelle was born. It's always fun to watch a friend you have known since elementary school get married. I am happy that our group of friends has stayed together so many years down the road.

Me with my long lost friend, Stephanie

Kevin, Luke, Noelle, and Me

Happy Birthday, Luke!

My wonderful, amazing, charming, caring, sweet, kind, hard-working, dedicated, doting husband turned 25 on Sunday. We celebrated by having his family and mine at our house for some lunch, cake, and ice cream. There's always a lot of laughs, noise, mess, and fun when we all get together.

Noelle got her dad a very special present. She arranged for a very talented photographer to take her picture in a onesie that says "I Love Daddy," and she had it framed. In the frame she also included a hand print and a foot print. She worked really hard on it. For my gift to Luke, I got him the movie Avatar. Needless to say, he was one happy guy!

Here are a few pictures of the day. Happy Birthday again, Luke! I want to be celebrating with you for the next 100 birthdays!

Luke with his girl on his birthday!

Noelle with her God parents, Uncle Abel & Aunt E

Luke's golf cake that I made. "Twenty-Fore No More!"

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 7

I was very tired and did NOT want to lift my butt off the couch after the birthday party for Luke, but I knew I would feel better afterwards if I did the Shred. So, Shred I did. I grunted it out until the bitter end, and I DID feel a lot better. It made the huge helping of Blue Bell's Cake & Ice Cream ice cream seem not so bad.

Go me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 6

Oh yes. Six days of the Shred. I am very happy that I found the motivation to do this today. I will be leaving here shortly to go to a 2 hour Zumba class to raise money for Autism! My body isn't going to know what to do with itself.

Praying for some results soon!

Friday, April 23, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 5

Another day of Shreddin' down...only 25 more to go! :-)

Actually, today's workout was great. I didn't feel as tired. I felt stronger. I can already notice an improvement in my muscles. I know that the external improvements (i.e. 4 months pregnant-looking belly is gone) will be right around the corner. Noelle slept like an angel while I had my date with Jillian.

It is amazing how inspiring exercise is!


I really want to redecorate something. I had a lot of fun doing Noelle's room, and now I need to throw my creative energy into something else. I think that I want a new bedding set for our bedroom. I also want to redo our guest bedroom/office. I would like to make it an actual functional room, and it needs a new bedding set as well. It also needs a new paint color. Hmmm. How to make this happen...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Vent

Parenthood in many ways is everything I thought it would be and nothing I thought it would be, all at the same time. Noelle is 100% perfect. I am obsessed with her. I love buying cute clothes for her. I love holding her. I love talking to her. I love kissing her. I don't love getting up in the middle of the night, but I do it with love because I love her. She's my dream come true.

That said, parenthood is really hard sometimes. It's hard to be alone while Luke is at school. Holding the responsibility of her happiness and well-being for the majority of the day is a lot for me. I get lonely...a lot. I got to Target like 5 times a week. They probably see me on the security cameras and say, "There's that frumpy girl with the baby again. At least she's good for business." I guess when I envisioned the early weeks of Noelle's life, I thought it would be more Luke and me, doing it together. He does what he can, but medical school is a real bitch right now (pardon my language-- don't know how to describe it), and I want to punch it in the face.

I thought this next upcoming year would be different in a lot of ways. I was told by Luke and other med school people that 4th year would be a breeze-- "so easy you will be doing cartwheels off the top of the hospital." Hmmm...yeah, OK. Do we do cartwheels AFTER he spends an entire month away from Noelle and me to do an "away rotation" in a surrounding state just to make his residency application look better? Do we do the cartwheels AFTER he studies for his Step 2 board exam, which he will take in December (hello, stressed out, cranky Luke right before the holidays)? Do we do cartwheels AFTER he spends $1,500 on the aforementioned test? When do we do cartwheels? Because I am really good at them....

Sometimes I feel mislead. Don't get me wrong. I love Noelle SO much. I wouldn't take her away for anything. But I was told that 4th year would be a great year to have a baby because of the relaxed schedule. Hmmm. Yeah, just stamp "gullible" on my forehead and send me on my way.

I am not a loner. I like to be around people. I like to be around my husband, too. I don't like overnight calls. I don't like "away rotations." I don't like hearing, "It won't be like this forever," from him.

I had great visions of taking Noelle to the zoo this summer. Of having picnics together. Of watching her roll over and smile and giggle, together as a family. Of going on walks and jogs together. Of putting her in a little bikini and going swimming together. I guess we won't be doing that the entire month of July (when Luke plans to be away), and we probably won't in June either because he has scheduled a "hard rotation" for that month. Looks like it is Noelle and me against the world, together....and from what I hear, it doesn't get better with residency.

I don't expect pity. I know that I knew what I was getting myself into...and I know this is Luke's dream. I know that physicians have a "good life," but I don't think that people understand the sacrifices that they as well as their families make along the way.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can...

30 Day Shred - Day 4

Yes, I took another day off from Shreddin' yesterday. However, I did make it to Zumba, even though Luke and I had to exchange Noelle in the parking lot of Lifestyle Family Fitness. It's hard when you don't have someone you can call who can be there in 5 minutes to watch your kid until the next parent gets home. Oh well. We are figuring out a way to make it all work.

Anyway, Noelle sat in her bouncy seat and half-snoozed/half-played while I had my date with Jillian Michaels. I am starting to get frustrated. I am an instant gratification kind of person, and I guess I am not seeing results as quickly as I would like. I would really like to get jogging again, but I am not comfortable taking Noelle in the jogging stroller yet (if I actually jog) because her head might bounce around (because I run at lightning speed, you know). I never really have time to do it at the gym because I get there right before Zumba and usually have to get right home after. Too bad our damn piece of junk treadmill crapped out in January. That would really help. Oh well. Someday when we are rich (haha, riiiiight), maybe we can buy something NOT from Craigslist.

At this rate, the Shred is becoming more like a 60 Day Shred, but oh well.

Oh well.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 3

OK, OK, I know. I said I was going to do the Shred for 30 consecutive days. All I have to say about that is...Jillian Michaels must not be a mom. It has been impossible to find the time to do the Shred since Thursday. Friday, I was running around getting things packed to head to New Albany. Saturday and Sunday we were in New Albany and traveling home. Yesterday, Noelle was quite needy and wanting to be held most of the day. I couldn't put her down. I did manage to go to Zumba, so it was not a wasted day of fitness. Today, however, I have jumped back on the wagon.

I have completed 3 days of the Shred. I am trying not to weigh myself every day like I used to, but it is habit. I have set some small goals for myself, knowing that saying "Lost 40 lbs"-- which would be my ultimate end goal-- is too vague. I have set four 10 lb. we will see where that gets me. I know 90% of it is food, and that kills me, because I love food! I DID discover about 15 frozen bags of veggies in the freezer, so maybe if we attempted to make a dent in those, that would be a step in the right direction. Grrr...

Anyway-- 'nuff said. Day 3 of the Shred is done. (pats self on back)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What a Waste!

Luke and I are two of the most wasteful humans on this earth, and I believe this to be true. We have been known to buy the same thing multiple times even though we have an unopened or half consumed thingymabob at home. We do this a lot with food.

I went through the fridge after we returned home from the store today only to find a number of expired items that had to be thrown out. Luke is notorious for going on a health food kick and exclaiming, "I will only eat fresh, healthy things!" and then he lets those fresh, healthy things rot. At least I can admit that I would prefer a fresh Big Mac instead. Those have a much longer shelf life.

We started looking at expiration dates and found some salad dressing from MARCH 2008. HOLY COW! That was 2 years ago! Sick! Somehow, that salad dressing actually survived our move from our apartment to our house. Don't worry, the dressing safely found its final resting place in the trash, and I vow never to buy something and let it go to waste again.

Meanwhile, while we are buying two of things we don't really need, we neglected to pay attention to the fact that we are out of trash bags. Fail.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gravida 2

I have been delaying this post. Maybe because I have been "busy." Maybe because I have "forgotten." Maybe because it's all still painful and it's hard to talk about. Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

Two days ago, it was April 13. April 13, 2009 was to be our due date from the first pregnancy. I remember how I dreaded the approach of that day like it would surely be the end of the world. It happened to be the Monday after Easter in 2009, so I remember bawling like a baby during the Easter Mass and just praying that somehow I would be put out of my misery. No such luck. I slapped on a happy face and played "find your hidden Easter basket" in Luke's grandmother's yard like a good girl.

What a difference a year makes.

This year, I spent Easter staring at my sleeping baby girl, praising God for the gift He gave me in Noelle rather than cursing him for what He took away (and we didn't have to hunt for our baskets this year, either). April 13 came and went with little fanfare, though I thought about the child that we never got to meet quite frequently throughout the day.

We always had a feeling the baby was a girl. Was she really, or was "she" a "he?" Would he or she have looked like Noelle? We would have been hosting a first birthday party for the child. It's all pretty crazy to think about.

At my last OB appointment on March 9, Luke looked at my chart on the computer while we were waiting for Dr. Ertel to tell us when we would be induced. He quietly said, "Hmmm. Gravida 2." I said, "What's that mean?"

"Gravida means how many pregnancies you have had."

I realized in that moment that I have actually been pregnant twice. It's not that I didn't know that, but to be quite honest, the miscarriage had been put in the back of my mind once we had good reassurance that "Baby E" was going to make it. We had been so focused on the new baby that we had stopped thinking about the first baby that we unfortunately lost in September 2009. I immediately felt guilty and ashamed.

But, through it all, I have realized that where there is great sorrow, there can be great joy. I have seen that God's promise is true...that He has plans for us, plans not to harm us. I have learned that everything happens for a reason, and it is all part of the plan.

For whatever reason, it wasn't our time to be parents a year ago. I think of it as "Baby Lay-Away." We got our baby...not as quickly as we wanted...and we paid a significant price...but when she was finally ours, she was so worth the wait.

30 Day Shred - Day 2

Well, I just completed Day 2 of the Shred. I was definitely a little tired and sluggish today. I just kept telling myself it's only 20 minutes, and it really does work because it has worked for me before. I had one eye on Noelle who was sleeping the entire time. Now, as I sat down to type this, she has started to wail, so I need to get going. Just want to say that it feels good to do something healthy and good for me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 1

Well, it's been a month since Noelle was born, and I lost a quick 20-25 lbs the first week. Now I have stalled out, and I need to get my butt in gear. I am running out of clothes that fit me (my maternity clothes are already in a plastic tub in the attic), and I return to work in 4 weeks. I will have to have something to wear. So, in a nutshell...

I am starting Jillian Michaels's 30 Day Shred (again). It's a great workout, so I am hoping it helps. I am going to make every attempt to do it for the 30 consecutive days.

Here goes nothing!

UPDATE: Well, I finished the first day! It only took twice as long because I had to stop to either a) feed Noelle, b) comfort Noelle, or c) put a pacifier in Noelle's mouth. However, she eventually conked out and allowed me to get the workout in. I feel very accomplished. It's amazing how my life has changed because of this little girl. I find myself rushing to multitask a thousand different things while she is asleep. For instance, while the workout DVD was setting up, I was making her a bottle and doing the dishes. Perhaps you might be thinking, "Ashley, you would have more time to do things if you would stop blogging and actually get to work." Touche, my friend.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cooking with Paula

I love Paula Deen. I love her voice. I love impersonating her with Elizabeth. "Let's deep fra this buttah in oll (oil), roll it in sugah, and wrap it in foll (foil)." I have made several recipes of hers. I get them from On Saturday night, I was feeling ultra domestic, so I made her mashed baked potatoes, and on Sunday night I made her gooey butter cake. Needless to say, Luke and I have been eating light ever since...

The mashed baked potatoes were really good. It combines instant mashed potatoes (which I personally am I huge fan of on their own), frozen hash browns, french fried onions, and lots of cheese. They were really, really good! We even used the left overs (we had plenty) for breakfast the next morning by just tossing them in the skillet for a few. I recommend this recipe for sure!

The gooey butter cake...I knew Luke would probably not be a fan of just because of the title. He's not into butter the way I am. It was pretty good, but VERY rich. I would recommend eating this with ice cream or something to tame it down. The ingredients consisted of TWO sticks of butter, cream cheese, eggs, a yellow cake mix, and a whole box of powdered sugar. Can you say sweet? I had a small glob of the cake and it was enough for me. I am not sure who is going to eat it with me because Luke hasn't touched it. I recommend this for a family gathering where lots of people will be there to enjoy it.

Night Mumblings

The Scene: It's 3:00 am. Noelle is crying. I am awake, changing her diaper. Bedside lamp is on.

Me: Shhhh, Noelle. I love you, Noelle. Shhh.... (and various other soothing comments)

Luke: (Eyes still closed) Hey, did you talk to that guy about that transplant?

Me: Luke, be quiet and go to bed. You don't know what you're talking about.

Luke: OK.

End Scene

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Yesterday, I did something that I never in a million years thought that I would do.

Yesterday, I hugged four grieving children and one toddler who was blissfully unaware that his father had just died.

Sixteen years ago (I think), we moved into our house on Sollars Drive, next door to the Dishman family. At that time, they were only a family of three. Over the course of the last sixteen years, my parents and I have watched them become a family of seven. Their oldest, Tate, was two years old at the time-- making my mom cry because he called her a "Moo Cow," despite her best peace offerings of toys and candy.

Tate's parents are Amy and Dave, people who would become great family friends of ours. We would later come to celebrate four more births (of Teaghan, Tannon, Tynan, and Tyce) and countless birthdays with their family. We have shared Christmas celebrations, watched kids play sports, and I logged hundreds of babysitting hours at their home during my teenage years. The little ones learned to ride their bikes in our driveway, and my parents' house has been Santa's Storage Facility for the Dishman family gifts at Christmas. My mom and dad have shared dinners and laughs with Amy and Dave, and Dave and my dad have fixed lawn mowers, moved furniture, erected Christmas trees, and exchanged tools together. Four out of the five kids were a part of our wedding. Tyce would have been, too...but he wasn't born yet.

We have a lot of memories between our two homes on Sollars Drive. Unfortunately, another memory was created yesterday when my dad received a phone call from Tate to come over quickly because something was wrong with Dave.

Dave, not even 50 years old, was found unconscious by Tate and Amy...a scene no wife or child should ever witness. A few hours later, my dad called me to say that Dave didn't make it.

The word "surreal" doesn't describe this feeling. Our family lost a friend. Amy lost a husband. These children lost their father. Let the nightmare begin.

Luke and I put our darling one-month old in the car and headed to Muncie to be there for the families-- both the Dishmans and my own. Seeing my own grieving parents was difficult enough, but it pales in comparison to seeing Dave's five children mourn the loss of their father.

Already, at the ages of 17, 13, 9, 8, and almost 2...they have miles on their life journeys that I can't begin to identify with. They, in a couple of days, will bury their father, and then return to elementary, middle, and high school in a week. It's an unfair paradox that makes me nauseous.

Speaking of unfair, Dave's family just experienced the loss of his own father a week ago to the day of Dave's death. Dave's own children were still grieving the loss of their grandfather, and Dave's mother was already feeling like life could not go on. This family has got to still be looking for the truck that hit them.

Whenever something like this happens, and by "something like this" I mean a seemingly healthy, relatively young father of five beautiful children just suddenly passes away on a beautiful Saturday leaves you with a horrifying reality that life is so short. As a new mom, I know that 1,000 years wouldn't be nearly long enough to spend with Noelle or Luke. I know that I will be luck to get 50 or 60 years.

Let us learn from this...that we can't ever get back our yesterday-- live for the moment; live for today.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Easter!

We had a GREAT Easter Weekend! It began with Good Friday, and it was especially "good" because Luke called me to say that he would be coming home early! It was a beautiful day outside, and to be able to enjoy it with my husband and my daughter was just an awesome surprise. I should mention that he pranked me first, calling to say that he unexpectedly had to work the overnight shift that night. He called "April Fool's!" (though a day late) right before I exploded into either a fit of anger or tears. That Luke...

My parents joined us Friday night for some pizza and a little pre-Easter celebration with the baby girl. Noelle is luck to be loved so much!

Saturday morning, we headed out for New Albany with about 10 bags of luggage containing everything Noelle could possibly this weekend was the first weekend away from home. I was nervous for the car ride with Noelle because I hate it when she gets upset and I can't do anything about it. However, she handled it really well and slept for almost the entire ride!

I attended a bridal shower for Luke's cousin, Emily, who is getting married in two weeks. It was fun to take Noelle and introduce her to everyone. She was held and loved on by plenty of people! After the shower, we enjoyed a walk with Seth, Liz, Gus, Sol, and Eric. Gus was determined to push Noelle's big stroller throughout the walk. He did a pretty great job for a 3 year old, though he did get tired and decided that he would rather ride on the shoulders of his mom or dad.

Saturday night was the big Butler game, so we all gathered at Luke's grandma's house to watch. It was a good time, especially because the Bulldogs won! Noelle handled all of the noise and screaming like a champ. I didn't want her to be scared, but she did great!

She did pretty well for her first night away from home...waking up the normal amount of times. When she woke up Sunday morning, it was time for her first Easter! We got her all dressed up and ready for Mass. I was worried she would cry out during an important part of the service, but she again did great. We have such a happy, content baby.
Sunday afternoon brought Easter dinner at Luke's grandma's. We had fun with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins, and the weather was just so awesome. We took Noelle out and laid her on a blanket under an umbrella. She loved it!
Another successful 2 hour drive back, and we were home sweet home!

Me with my little Easter Bunny

Close up of the bunny outfit

Only our 2nd family photo since Noelle was born!

Monday, April 5, 2010

One Month Doc Appointment (1 week early)

Noelle's pediatrician is getting married this weekend, so she will be on her honeymoon when Noelle's official one month check-up was scheduled. We went ahead and had her "one month check-up" today, even though she is just 3.5 weeks old.

Noelle is doing great according to the doctor. She weighs 8lbs, 12oz, and is 21.25" long. She's getting more alert by the day, sleeping still for about 3-4 hours at a time, and she is both nursing and taking in formula.

She smiles at us, and it melts our hearts, even though we know she doesn't really know what she is smiling at. She brings us such joy each moment of the day.

I have scheduled her 2 month appointment, which just so happens to be when I will be starting back at school...May 11. Where is the time going?