Monday, November 23, 2015

Four Months

On Thanksgiving Day my little man will be four months old.  Where the heck did the last months go?  Thanksgiving Day is also a special day, because he will finally meet his Grandpa Rodney for the very first time.  What a perfect day for them to meet.  I seriously can't wait!

Unfortunately, this month Henry got his first spout of conjunctivitis.  I felt so bad for him and tried everything I could to get rid of it without using antibiotics on my little, bitty baby, but after a couple days I knew we had to see the doctor.  I couldn't shake the feeling that it was my fault for putting him in daycare.  It was devastating.  He is 100% better now!

This month I hosted a parenting class with my mommy group.  I met this amazing author, Kathy Walsh, who resides in Santa Fe.  The whole idea is "Mindful Parenting" and how to establish this mindset in your own home.  Henry missed last month's class due to the evil stink eye, but he'll go to the next one.  It's really wonderful hearing other mom's parenting ideas whether you agree or not.  I'm hosting a class each month or so and can't wait for December's.

Month four is my favorite so far.  I have a feeling I might say that every month, but I feel like my little baby is now a little human.  He is intrigued by so many things it is amazing to watch him grow and explore.  I am amazed with how different my life and day to day tasks are.  Andy and I make such a great team.  Sure it is different, and sometimes I miss the old days, but I wouldn't trade this life for anything.  I don't think I have ever been happier.  Henry is truly a little bundle of  joy.

Month Four 

  • Milestones: Finally rolls over ...  and over and over 
  • Dislikes: Sleeping by himself.  Henry has decided he would rather cuddle with mom every night.  We're working on this ...  
  • Likes: Tikka, his piano walker, dancing, carrots and avocados 
  • Weight: 15 lbs 3.5 oz
  • Length: 25.5 inches long 
Four Month Appointment 

Chair Comparison
Wagon Comparison 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Over my maternity leave I was so bored (and thankful for my well behaved baby boy!) I created things to do each day.  I made sure Henry and I either left the house once or had a to do list.  For a couple weeks I was obsessed with making cookies.  This was one recipe I loved.  I tweaked it some due to not have certain ingredients in the house. Enjoy!

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
makes two dozen 

1 1/4 cup quick oats
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In a KitchenAid bowl or mixing bowl using egg beaters mix together coconut oil and brown sugar until smooth.  Add egg, milk and vanilla, mix again until smooth.

Add flour and oat mixture to wet ingredients, mixing until well combined.  Slowly add in coconut and chocolate chunks.

Use a tablespoon to measure out cookie dough balls and place them onto a cookie sheet.  (I use a silicone baking sheet, but would recommend greasing your sheet if you do not.)  Bake 9 to 11 minutes and enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Three Months

Has it really been three months since I was in the delivery room moaning, crying, and pushing with all my might.  ("They" told me I would forget the pain, but I didn't.  First time mommies, don't believe the lies!)  Has it really been three months since the first time I held my brand new baby boy?  Has it really been three months since I became a mom?  One thing"they" didn't lie about is that fact that your babies grow so fast.  Time flies "they" said, but it honestly feels more like the speed of light.  I blinked and am back to work and have a three month old who can almost roll over and tries to sit up.  And Christmas is only two months away ... WTF!

Henry is just loving life.  He is such a joy to be around and only has had a few fussy days in his lifetime.  But we think that he might be starting to teethe because he will not stop chewing on his fists, blankets, or .... us.  He has this little lamb blanket (Lamby, How original? I know!) that is so ratted down from his spit and slobber so I foresee more fussy nights coming our way.

On a positive note, he absolutely adores Maria, his daytime caregiver (chickens and all) and as of late, he is obsessed with his dad.  I seriously love seeing Andy and Henry interact with each other.  I knew that Andy would be a great daddy, but he has gone above and beyond what I expected.  It is truly a magical thing.  They like to fly (see photo below), read, and have bath time together.

This past weekend Henry was invited to his first TWO Halloween parties.  Andy and I decided to tag along ;) It was so fun dressing him up, he loved it, but the pictures display otherwise.  We have party number three this weekend.  I can't wait to actually go trick or treating with him next year for the first time.  The undescribable imaginations of the kids trick or treating was so amazing to witness on Saturday, I can't wait to see that spark in my little guy.

As promised, PICTURES!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Two Months

Where did the last two months go?  I swear my mom was just here cleaning my house and making me dinner.  (Thanks, Mom!)  I guess I didn't believe everyone when they told me time would fly by.

I also can't get over the fact that my little baby boy is now 12 pounds 10 ounces and 23.5 inches long!  He is growing out of his three month clothes so quickly, we're going to need to go shopping soon.  I think all the growing has made him super sleeping because my TWO MONTH old now sleeps through the night.  Last night he slept over ten hours!  I love that he sleeps, but Andy and I now wake up every four to five hours to check on him.  That is another tip I was told that was right, "You will never truly sleep again."

So month three of Henry's life is a big one.  He starts daycare next week!  We found a lovely lady who lives only ten minutes from my office.  She has chickens in her backyard and a garden that she uses to feed the kiddos! Fresh pureed baby food anyone?  Henry and I have been visiting every other week to get to know her better and I feel really comfortable with her.  She adores him already.  We have a stash of breastmilk ready (72 ounces!), a plan for the mornings (have to wake up earlier!), and his diaper bag ready to go.  I, on the other hand, might be a mess Tuesday morning.  (We are slowly easing into going to daycare/going back to work part-time for the first few weeks.)  I know that he is in good hands and trust her, but I haven't been away from him for more than a few hours.  Andy gets every other Friday off, so I have tested myself the past few Fridays to prepare for the "big day" next week.  Fingers crossed I keep my head up and won't need too many tissues.

Anyway, like I promised, below are his monthly photos!

Comparison of this month and last.  SO BIG! 
At two months old Henry loves to stand while we are holding him, can roll over from back to side, side to back, he LOVES his thumb, and is the happiest in the mornings.  Can't wait to see the changes next month.  Until then ...



Monday, September 21, 2015

Quick Green Chile Dill Pickles

I haven't posted a recipe since May.  Sorry, I've been a little busy...  So I thought since fall is almost here and the Farmers Markets will be blooming with even more delicious vegetables this recipe would make up for my delay.

I originally found this on Pinterest and that blogger adapted it from Food and Wine, I added a New Mexico twist!

Quick Green Chile Dill Pickles

8-12 pickling cucumbers, quartered or halved depending on size
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
6 large garlic cloves, halved
Your desired amount of green chiles (or jalapenos) halved lengthwise, seeded
8-12 dill sprigs

Pack cucumbers, chiles, dill, and garlic into a clean glass jar.  In another jar, combine the salt, sugar, vinegar, and coriander.  Shake until the salt and sugar dissolve.  Add a cup of water and pour the brine over the vegetables, adding more water to keep the vegetables submerged.  Close the jar and refrigerate overnight or for up to one month.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

So this is it ...

The last of our visitors have visited and left.  Andy and I are now on our own.  I knew moving away from family would be hard and not that I regret our life choices, I'm nervously excited to start this new life as a family of three.  I know we can handle it, but damn ... having family here for the last six weeks has been a blessing to say the least.

To celebrate, I've highlighted my favorite moments with our amazing family members below.  

I absolutely love that Andy captured these photos of me and mom.  I will cherish these images forever.   
The four of us visited Los Alamos while Andy worked one day.  Henry decided it would be a good idea to explode his pants while at the Bradbury Museum.  While we were learning about bombs, he was dropping one.  (Of course it was the one (and only) time I didn't bring the diaper bag!) 
Three generations of Morello Men.  Grandpa Joe's face displays all my feelings about this image.  I just love it! 
Aunt Natalie spoiled the crap out of Hank while she was here.  I can't get over their instant connection and hope it lasts a lifetime.  I couldn't have asked for a better sister.  
I love each and every one of you so much.  Thank you for all your love, gifts, help around the house, and support throughout the last six weeks ... and eleven months.  Andy and I could not have gone through this without you.

For those who weren't here in person, but in spirit, we are so grateful for your love, all the gifts, and your support from afar.  I seriously can't wait for Henry to meet the rest of our family and friends over Thanksgiving.  How many more days?



Thursday, August 27, 2015

One Month

A whole month has passed.  I am a mother to a beautiful ONE MONTH OLD.  I seriously can't believe how fast that went.  I know people say, "They grow up in the blink of an eye," but com'on!  I honestly didn't think that much would change in a month.  I can't imagine what my fingers will be typing after he turns one!

Until then, Andy and I are documenting his growth.  We are taking two photos each month with these adorable sticker ties we found on Amazon.  One photo will be of him in a little rocking chair Andy grew up with (It is over 55 years old!) and another with his giant teddy bear from Grandpa Rodney in his little red wagon that Grandpa Joe fixed up for him.  See the change below!

Henry's second day of life with the amazing Dr. Wolfswinkle. 
One month, unhappy baby. 
One month, happier baby. 
We all think our own babies are geniuses, right?  But Henry really is!  He has developed quite the vocabulary.  He talks in dinosaur so we aren't totally sure what he is trying to say, but we encourage his blossoming communication skills.  His coos and gurgles are absolutely the cutest I've ever heard.  Sometimes he sounds like a T-rex ready for dinner (mainly when he is ready for dinner), but most of the time he sounds like a timid plant eating dino, think 1988 Littlefoot.

Henry likes to read books with daddy, listen to music and sing with mommy (so far Hakuna Matata is his fav.), and snuggle with anyone.  His favorite way to sleep is on his tummy on someone else's.  I think the heartbeat noise soothes him.

He also enjoys sitting besides daddy while watching the BBC version of Top Gear.  He is already scheming plans to build that 1970 Fastback Mustang Boss 302 clone or a first generation Bronco with a stroked small block.  See a genius! What did I tell ya?

At one month Henry loves his mommy's milk, car rides, and tummy time.  He also loves his thumb when he can find it, his bouncy and swing, and bath time with daddy.

Even though I don't want him to grow up too fast, I can't wait to see how much he changes and develops next month.  Until then ...


Sandy (and Henry)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Henry Andrew Morello

The day finally has come!  On July 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm, Andy and I welcomed our son, Henry Andrew, into the world.

I was induced that morning around 11:00 am and then a few hours later the doctor broke my water. Once they did, the contractions started and boy was it horrible!!! I was only going for a few hours when they administered the epidural and felt so much better after.  I must have relaxed because I was at only three centimeters beforehand and then 20 or 30 minutes later I dilated to eight!  I only pushed for an hour and then Henry was born! 

He did give us a scare though. After the epidural Henry's heart rate dropped and five nurses ran in to give me oxygen and made me move in all these different positions. They thought he was ok, but when he was born the cord was around his neck.  Andy quickly cut the cord and the nurses rubbed Henry vigorously to make him cry.  Everything else after that happened perfectly. 

After a few days as a mommy I remembered half way through my pregnancy when I wrote a blog post titled Half Way There.  This post highlighted the things people should probably NOT say to a hormonal pregnant woman ... Now that I'm postpartum and enjoying life as a first time mommy, I want to share the very HELPFUL advice I was giving during my pregnancy and before and after birth. 


1. Purchase a pregnancy pillow. My mom bought me one for my birthday.  I had problems sleeping from the very beginning of my pregnancy to the end.  This pillow was a lifesaver.  Don't skimp, buy one the day you find out you're pregnant and ignore all the hateful things your partner might say about it.

2. Prenatal Yoga.  I was extremely lazy during my pregnancy.  I had zero motivation to do anything active.  Before I found out I was pregnant I went to a yoga class twice a week at the YMCA and loved it. I missed it so much, but knew there were certain poses you can't do with a baby in your belly and I wasn't sure which ones.  I explained this to someone and they told me to find a prenatal yoga class.  I did and boy did it help!  I didn't feel like a lazy bum anymore.

3. Birth Plan? Meh.  Just make sure you and your partner know what you both want.  Someone told me the nurses and Doctor won't even look at it and someone else told me their plan never left their suitcase.  Andy and I sat down together around 39 weeks to make sure he knew everything I wanted to happen if I couldn't speak for myself and to make sure I knew what he expected.

4. Pack light for the hospital and put the bag in your car around 35 weeks.  We brought one suitcase with items for me, Andy, and baby.  Just one bag.  Your partner, family members, or friends can always bring or buy something you forgot or didn't know you needed.  Take advantage of your family and friends during this time.  You can return the favor somehow someday.

BUT pack more than one outfit for baby and more than one size.  Henry pooped a lot during his hospital stay.  Some babies don't, but it's better to be safe than sorry.  Also, he was almost 9 lbs!  We had to call Pediatrics to bring bigger diapers for Henry and my mom (thank goodness for my mom this week!) had to bring more changes of clothes.  

5. Get prenatal massages. I wish I would have done this sooner .... so I got two at the very end.  Seriously they were the best massages of my life and relaxed me for what was to come. 

6. Patience.  I was almost a week late.  So many people said, "The baby will come when it's ready."  Yes, it was annoying to hear 100 times a day, but it was true.  You won't be pregnant forever, your doctor wouldn't allow it. 

7. Take everything you can from the hospital.  You are paying for it, so take it!  They give you pretty much everything you will need.  Don't bring your own diapers or wipes, they are expensive so take advantage of the free sh*t!

8. Warn your partner.  Don't be scared to give him or her too much information.  Tell them the nitty gritty, gross and dirty details.  Make sure they read up on birth and what to expect.  They need to be prepared.  Also, don't be surprised if your partner surprises you.  Andy was absolutely amazing, I knew he would be, but he went above and beyond my expectations in the delivery room and during my recovery.  (This is my personal advice!)

9. Take an Epsom salt bath.  I tore a little.  It's not fun having stitches down there.  I totally forgot someone told me to do this so I did yesterday and felt instant relief.  I added just enough water to cover my legs and sat in the warm bath for ten minutes.  (Don't sit too long though.  My doctor said no soaking, but a quick bath was ok.)

10.  If baby is a boy don't be scared to go heavy on the Vaseline for his penis.  A friend told me they used it on the gauze and in the diaper. Their baby healed with in one week from the circumcision.  I hope I have the same luck with Henry! 

I'll end this blog with my advice.  Take everyone's suggests with a grain of salt.  What worked for them might not work for you and they mean what they say with love, not to be annoying or tell you what to do.  This milestone in your life is a special one and friends and family just want to play their part and help.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Kimber's Story

In the winter of 2008 my dad found a black lab roaming his hunting grounds in White Cloud, MI.  He decided to drive her miles away to a different section of land so she'd stop spooking his deer ... but she came back.  This continued for a couple of weeks, driving her further away each time - until I got wind of what he was doing.  I told him to bring her home and help me find her family.  So, on a December evening my grandpa found her and brought her over commenting that he was sure that she was left behind from a neighbor whose house was foreclosed on.  We never found her original family so we decided to take her in; we fell in love instantly.

On the morning of June 3, Kimber wouldn't get up off of the floor to go outside; her normal morning routine.  Knowing she is stiff in the legs from time to time, Andy carried her outside and helped her go to the bathroom.  She wouldn't walk up the two concrete steps we have in the front entrance, something she's been able to do ever since we moved into this house.  Andy had to help her again.  Once her feet touched the tile floor we have inside our walkway she immediately stopped scared.  She couldn't walk any further and could barely keep her balance without her legs sliding out from under her.  If that wasn't enough, she wouldn't eat her breakfast, something she had always jumped up and down for in excitement every morning and evening.  We knew something was wrong with our precious girl.

Later that afternoon Andy and I headed to the vet.  We had high hopes that they could fix her, but also knew that being realistic is sometimes better than being positive.  The vet wasn't concerned at first, but suggested x-rays.  Two techs came into the room and carried Kimber out on a stretcher.  She seemed to love it, Queen of the Office, I thought.  A few minutes later the vet came back and said Kimber did great and was being super sweet, but the news we received was nothing we expected.

The vet showed us a significant growth in Kimber's abdomen, a tumor, possibly cancer.  She suggested we check her liver function (via blood work) immediately and if all was ok we could put her on pain medication for as long as we'd like, but it wouldn't shrink the tumor.  She explained to us that the tumor was a "ticking time bomb" and could be punctured or could burst at anytime, especially if Kimber is having a hard time walking and could collapse at any moment.  She didn't recommend removing it via surgery because of Kimber's age.

Kimber's liver enzymes were off the chart; so high their system couldn't even read them.  We were told that we would not be able to put her on a routine pain medication for her arthritis, and unfortunately, that there was nothing we could do to extend her life and take away the pain.

She was the first animal I was completely responsible for.  She taught me so much about love, laughter, and life.  She was everything to me and became quite affectionate towards Andy when we moved in together.  They became best friends instantly.  I know we have given her a great life and she has given us so much joy.  This decision has been hard, but we couldn't see her in pain anymore.

This morning at approximately 9:30, Kimber took her last breath.  It was an exceptionally difficult decision, but the memories and photos we have will last a lifetime.  RIP Kimber, we love you and it won't be the same without you.