Popcorn Boobs

When it comes to breastfeeding a second baby what I always see are images of little girls pretending to baby wear and nurse baby dolls. 

What I don't see are images of what big brothers do.

Being 3 1/2 and having never seen someone nurse a baby means you don't entirely get the concept.

You see we play the "got your nose" game half to death at this house. It has expanded over the past two years into "got every body part you have... and pretending to eat it." The game went a step further and he now pretends to throw up what he ate. It's a sick, sick version of "got your nose" that I would prefer never reached that last level.

So knowing that, you can see how Harrison would think nursing the baby is the baby literally "eating mama."

With that back story let me explain what happened the other night.

Harry has been on a popcorn kick and Jeremy was popping some in the microwave for him. He was getting irritated about something so I tried to distract him by pointing out the popcorn sound. Anything to prevent a meltdown over who knows what.

Well at the exact instance that the popcorn began to pop, and Harrison turned to pay attention to the popcorn and what I was saying... Elliot decided to unlatch.

So here we are with my boob out in the open in the process of swapping sides and burping and Harrison sees his brother eating and knows my boob is the source of whatever that entails.

That nutty 3 year old took off running towards me and got eye level with my boob, utterly (no pun intended) convinced that my boob was making the popcorn sound.

Just picture that in your head, an boob/eye level toddler saying "Oh WOW, ooo, wow, cool!"

Y'all I could not catch my breath from laughing. This is seriously going down as one of those memories I do not want to forget.

Mahon-Menorco Cheese, Ham & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

When we were in Puerto Rico about 5 years ago I had the most amazing breakfast sandwich in San Juan. To be totally clear, I ate that sandwich every single day we were in San Juan for breakfast. 

So when it came time to come up with an entree for the Mahon Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge I went straight to the idea I have been sitting on for years now. 

Even better, my little Spanish inspired sandwich uses real Spanish cheese. 

This ham, egg, and cheese sandwich sits somewhere between the breakfast sliders my mother made when we were kids and something slightly more special with the fig preserves added to the mix. 

I used the Tender Mahon-Menorca Cheese for this recipe and with its sharp taste the addition of fig preserves and dusting of powdered sugar really balanced the strong flavors. This is the younger of the three Mahon cheese options having only been cured for 21-60 days. It's the softer cheese of the three with a buttery taste. 

Mahon-Menorca Cheese, Ham, & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Serves 4
4 Sweet Hamburger Buns (such as the Hawaiian Bun variety)
1/2 lb thin sliced ham
4 eggs, fried
4 tsp fig jam
4 thin slices of Tender Mahon-Menorca Cheese
Butter, for frying eggs and toasting the bread
powdered sugar for dusting

Assemble the breakfast sandwiches with a teaspoon of fig jam on one side of the bread. Top with two slices of ham, a slice of Tender Mahon-Menorca Cheese, and a fried egg. Place the top of the bun onto the sandwich and toast in a buttered pan until cheese is warm. Dust the sandwich with powdered sugar and serve hot. 

I made some of the sandwiches with a runny egg, but for mine I fried it hard. Anyone else a fan of a fried hard egg?

Mahón-Menorca Cheese can be purchased nationwide at Whole Foods, and
at other fine retailers such as Fairway Markets, Harris Teeter, Saveway, Kroger, Murray’s, Central
Markets, Costco, Gourmet Garage, West Side Markets, Zabar’s, Central and Town & Country Markets in Seattle and at the best specialty stores all over the country.


Must-Read Wedding Planning Tips

Planning a wedding is a massive job, and you should be prepared to have it take up a lot of your time and energy. Give it your all but also know when to schedule in breaks and make sure you’re doing a good job of taking care of yourself too.

While you want all to go perfectly, realize that there may be a few obstacles or setbacks you’ll likely have to deal with along the way. Keep it all in perspective as you plan and remember that it’s about the love you and your future spouse have for each other that matters the most.
With that in mind, what are the best wedding planning tips to follow?
Prioritize Your Desires
Planning a wedding will require you to think about a lot of different aspects and elements. What will help you out the most is prioritizing your desires and deciding early on what matters to you the most, such as:
·       The date
·       The venue
·       The outfits (dress and suits, for example)
·       The cake
·       The catering
·       The music
You may not be able to have it all, but at least this way, you’ll be securing what’s most important to you first and foremost. You’ll definitely want to make sure you’re organized and follow a plan of attack, so you don’t quickly become overwhelmed as you start to tackle the logistics.
Create & Follow A Budget
Another wedding planning tip that will help you find success as you prepare for your big day is to create and follow a budget.
Weddings are expensive, and there are a lot of details that go into getting ready for your special ceremony and reception. Also, you’ll want to think about where you two want to head after the wedding on your honeymoon!
Don’t panic if you’re short on cash for the big day or the getaway afterward. What you can do is research your financial options and make a good decision about how you’re going to go about securing the funds you need for your getaway. Regardless, it’s a wise idea to start saving money early as soon as you know you’ll be planning a wedding.
Do Your Homework
What’s going to help you out the most as you plan your wedding is to do your homework and research up front. Instead of making assumptions or going off of what someone else did, find out the facts for yourself. Investigate the following:
·       Potential wedding venues
·       Potential photographers
·       Florists
·       Caterers
·       Musicians
Look into each aspect carefully before concluding what it is you want and can afford. Collect contact information and important details as you seek out your options so that you can compare them at a later date.
Involve Your Spouse
Although your future spouse may say they don’t want or need to be involved, it’s in your best interest to get on the same page! Having you do it all may be an easy answer, but it’s possible this approach will create arguments later on as your wedding day gets closer. Sit down and make sure you both see eye-to-eye on some of the most significant and most important decisions before handing over money to any vendors. For example, it’s possible they will want to be involved in choosing the music for the wedding but won’t mind if you pick out the invitations.
Focus on the Food
Guests may forget about some of the details that went on during your big day, but they’ll always remember and judge how the food was! If you want to ensure your wedding is one to remember, then focus on selecting delicious menu items and having enough food to go around. You’ll be sure to hear about it if you skimp in this area or choose to serve only fish to people who you know don’t eat it.
Therefore, you need to have a wide variety of options and make sure guests are always being fed some type of fare as soon as the drinks start flowing. Take time reviewing your menu choices and attend a tasting so that you know for yourself what the dishes look like and will taste like on your wedding day.
Be Flexible
Remind yourself that there are a lot of moving parts and that not all you do will likely go as planned. It’s a wise idea to remain flexible and always prepare for the worst, so you’re never caught off guard. Have a backup plan in place for some of the most essential aspects in case you need to make changes at the last minute. Being rude or throwing a fit when you face challenges are only going to make you feel upset and the people around you uncomfortable. Know that you did your best trying to prepare ahead of time and let that be enough. It may help to hire a wedding planner if you’re someone who’s exceptionally rigid so that they can help you make sure all goes smoothly.
Enjoy the Process
Remember that your wedding day is a special and unique occasion that will most likely only happen once in your lifetime. One tip to keep in mind as you prepare is to relax and enjoy the process because soon enough, it’ll be all over and a memory of the past!
Have fun securing the details and planning your dream wedding because ultimately people want to see that you’re happy. Recognize when your stress levels begin to rise and take a step back so that you can compose yourself and then start fresh the next day. It’ll be a much easier job for you when you stay calm and concentrate on all that’s going right.
Your wedding day is a chance for you to show off your personal style and preferences and celebrate the love you have for your significant other. Take advantage of these tips to help you stay on track and have a rewarding experience pulling all the logistics together. Most importantly, stay in the moment the day of your wedding, so you have the time of your life and are able to witness all of your hard work pay off.

Meal Pinning Monday

Mama is back to cooking this week, well at least half way. I've still got a few Omaha Steaks skillet meals that my mother sent us.

Seriously if you're planning on having a baby... go that route. Get premade-ish meals that the hubby can throw together quick and can be eaten one handed while holding a witching hour baby.

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - leftover Jambalaya Girl Gumbo

Tuesday - Grilled Chicken with Salad and Roasted Potatoes

Thursday - Bowl of Doom

Friday - Puerto Rican Pork with Roasted Broccoli and Fried Plantains

Saturday - Omaha Steaks Crockpot Jambalaya

Sunday - leftovers for lunch & Grilled Chicken with Zucchini for dinner

Elliot's Birth Story

This pregnancy was so different from my first, so I should have known going into labor it would be different as well.

By October 29 I was sick of being pregnant. At 39 weeks and zero sleep I asked my OB to strip my membranes, which got me to 5 cm. I was sent home to "walk the baby out" and I would surely have it that night...

Except I didn't.

No I got to the hospital and at 5 cm and contractions 2-5 minutes apart I was sent home.

Oddly enough I was having contractions but not feeling them. Go figure.

Either way I went back to see my doctor the next day, she stripped my membranes again, wrote orders so labor and delivery had to take me, and then said she'd be on her way to break my water.

Tired, puffy, and ready to get the baby out. 

Jeremy was ready to get the show on the road, but with a definite something happening I could have backed out entirely. Nerves.

Eventually I got back into my room, had a nurse come in to place a saline lock, and was set up for labor.

Which might I add whoever the angel nurse was that put in my saline lock that I can't remember her name, she was magical. I was terrified of getting the IV placed and when I asked if she was in she was done. Day and night to my last one. I didn't even feel this one. Plus! It gave me the freedom of movement I felt like a traditional IV didn't give me. I act nearly paralyzed with the tubes attached to me the entire time.

I highly suggest going into L&D around brunch when the nurses have had a ton of coffee. That 5am shift change crew I had with Harrison had zero patience for my fear of needles.

Fast forward, my doctor came in and broke my water at 11 am. My lovely nurse did something I didn't have last time that I thought was genius, she put those big ole hospital panties on me with a big ole pad... zero leaking. I could wander the room and not have fluid leaking all over me all day!

Natural labor was completely different from an induced labor. The pain was managable. The only difference, all those Webster Method Chiropractor appointments apparently worked. I had mentally prepared for another back labor, I brought comfort measure items for back labor... I suddenly had an anterior baby.

Labor was much lower and my beloved tennis balls didn't do much to comfort me. Instead I bounced on my yoga ball and did hip circles, had the hubby do light touch massage during contractions, and used the horse lip thing from Ina May Gaskin.

Those all worked like a charm until I hit transition. Then, for two whole contractions I couldn't figure anything out. My face was going numb from the raspberry blowing horse lip technique. It still wasn't as bad as the induced labor, but wholly molly that kid dropped down and life changed.

About that time my nurse walked in, saw the situation, and knowing I was wanting an epidural, but not too soon, she said she'd get that going and rushed back out of the room.

This is what I didn't expect though. When I had Harrison my epidural was a dream. I felt nothing. I didn't even have the desire to push. Which you might think isn't so great, but for a posterior baby that 4 nurses were taking turns attempting to turn... it was just what was needed.

Time time, something didn't work.

While getting the epidural it hurt like a beast, and suddenly a nerve was hit. I felt like I was being electrocuted in my left leg, and it happened twice. I could only sob and yell. I could barely explain the pain I was feeling. Then when I was done and laid back I had this drunk feeling and the epidural had moved much higher than it had with Harrison and I had the shortness of breath feeling.

The initial epidural gave me the relief I needed because within an hour I dilated from 7-10. So clearly I wasn't relaxed enough. My OB also tossed in a "wiff" of Pitocin, which sped that up as well.

Then pushing came... and the epidural had failed me. I had my mother push the button again, I couldn't even get that far. Nothing.

It did nothing.

Starting at 5:30 I began pushing out a baby with a pain/pressure sensation I hadn't felt before. And wasn't prepared to feel. It was so uncomfortable that all I could do was close my eyes.

Which showed how my doctor very much changes with the situation. With Harrison everyone was very low key, not this time. When I got to where I was my eyes shut the entire time and could barely take another deep breath my doctor and nurse got serious. They counted, they tried to refocus my attention, but what finally made it seem like the end was near was when my OB put on her face mask.

The end seemed in sight at that point.

Every so often I could feel Jeremy trying to comfort me. It was comforting, but I still wanted to escape and in my mind closing my eyes would get me out of the situation.

Suddenly I felt (actually felt unlike like my last birth) the head, then the shoulders slide out. It was such an odd sensation.

And at 5:58 pm (the exact same time Harrison was born) Elliot made an appearance.

I opened my eyes long enough to see boy parts coming up and over towards my chest. I was so dead tired I couldn't even muster up excitement.

It was more of an "Oh it's a boy, I'm going to close my eyes again."

It took a few minutes before I really had any energy. Everything from the past 30 minutes was so draining.

After skin to skin Elliot was finally taken to be weighed and have all his little tests done, weight was good 8 lb 7 oz. But his blood sugar wasn't, upon repeatedly being tested it kept coming up short, but he was showing no symptoms.

The idea of sending him to get an IV was tossed around and luckily an older nurse suggested just hand expressing colostrum and feeding him with it... even though he came out of the gate trying to nurse and had nursed.

So we hand expressed.

Or I should say, at this point my mother had returned with my number one and a cookies and cream shake form Chick-fil-a and I was being milked like a cow while I drank a milkshake... still in the delivery room.

Hand feeding to get that blood sugar up. 

It was quite the event.

Thankfully we only had to have 4 more blood sugar tests that night and after nursing a few more times he was perfectly fine. Praise the Lord!

While labor was seamless and uneventful, pushing and that first two hours after were something else. Something I wasn't expecting at all.

Working Mother Guilt

I went on leave today.

At 39 weeks I just could not physically deal with being at work any longer.

Constant pain, constant exhaustion, constantly having my work life together but home was a wreck. I just couldn't do it anymore.

How on earth am I supposed to roll up to the hospital and have a baby when I feel like nothing is done. It's not how I live. I'm very much someone who needs things done, and if all the talk about how mental going into labor is... home being undone is a big enough mental block to keep that at bay.

So now I'm at home. With my bag in my living room and not in my car.

No more fear of going into labor at work. No more stopping in the hallway because I'm in pain. No more wincing while I try to work with students because my contractions are a killer at that moment.

Nope. Now I can adequately get ready for this next baby phase.

But in that... why is there so much guilt?

Why is there this whole idea that we need to work until the baby is crowning?

I recently asked a question in a teacher mom group I'm in on Facebook about who went into labor at work and you'd be shocked at the answers. Many teachers told me that they continued to have contractions at work but stayed to get copies made and plans finished for the sub... then they left for the hospital.

Um, what?

What is this pressure?

Is this something we should place blame on that 1960's group of feminists? We are already told as women that we should work... now we should work through labor. Or we at least feel the pressure to place work above our own well being.

You see it from other women though, many thing you should just work until it all comes to a close and the baby falls out during your lunch break.

Maybe my last birth and postpartum period was just more difficult than some of the women I talk to.

This particular birth and postpartum might not be as bad, but I'm preparing for the worst again. I'm afraid of the emotions, not because I can't have them, but because it's just such an inconvenience for this new mom to now be the happy hostess when people come over. I should be happily handing my baby off, feeling great, and cleaning so others don't have to.

But I can't very well expect to be jumping out of that hospital bed again known where I was last time. Because of the trauma of suddenly not having any core strength and a pelvic floor that was ripped to shreds I couldn't do much on my own that first week. Jeremy had to help me out of bed. He had to hand me the baby. He had to help me get to the bathroom at the hospital. And at the end of the first 48 hours I was such a wreck that I just cried.

I cancelled hospital photos because I just had to get out.

Then when I was out I sobbed at home that first whole night with Jeremy holding the baby.

And you know what... we had visitors the next morning.

I needed my husbands support in everything at the time but we were being spread thin to visitors.

This time I can't do that. I can't feel bad that I do need time to get things in order before I have the baby, no matter how long other women work. I need time after having the baby where other people don't expect me to be some welcoming hostess, when what I need is to be taken care of.

I'm putting my foot down. Regardless of the fact that I've felt a basket of guilt for doing it. But this time I can't give in to peer pressure and just bounce back. No, I'm going to do what my body wants so that when it's time to return to the real world of work I can stand up without my pelvic floor wanting to come apart. I can feel like I've got things together somewhat.

So I can't spend the next 6 weeks making sure everyone else around me is happy and I definitely can't give into the guilt of what working moms are expected to do these days.