Monday, April 30, 2012


"The best way to make children good is to make them happy."

~Oscar Wilde

Friday, April 27, 2012

Letters from Riesling

Hello Friends & Family!

Parents can be the worst sometimes.  I've been working on growing in this great George Costanza hair style then my dad runs into some adorable newborn at his coffee shop with a full head of thick dark hair and insists that I need to start growing in the top now.  And I keep trying to grow my nails out so I can but my mom trims them at least once a week, just so I don't scratch myself on the face.  Can't a girl have her own personal style?  I guess I really shouldn't complain.  My mom did let me wear my first dress on our trip to Charleston with the coolest matching tights and she stopped trying to make me wear those crazy headbands with bows on them.  I guess I do have pretty fantastic parents. 

Love Always,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mad Men

Are you watching Mad Men this season?  Such a stupid question, of course you are.  It's such a great show and this season is no exception so far.  Although I will say that I thought the two hour premiere last month was a little slow.  But, in some ways that's what I expect from the show.  It's not your typical one hour show with a single highly dramatized issues that climaxes 40 minutes in and resolves itself in cloud of happiness by the closing credits.  I sometimes feel like you're drawn in by the mystical powers of Mad Men without even really knowing why you like it.  Damn you Don Draper!  I did read some reviews pointing out that there are some really serious historical issues happening in the time period that the writers have to tackle this season and sexist humor just might not cut it.   For now they seem to be focusing on Peggy becoming Don and Roger tripping on LSD...which was awesome!

We're also obsessed with Game of Thrones.  After a patient's recommendation we decided to check out season one on Netflix.  It's the perfect mix of sci-fi & historical drama.  Jim and I both enjoyed it from the first episode (even though we did have a little trouble getting use to the accents and keeping track of the characters).  It's really worth checking out, but be prepared to wait awhile for Season 2 unless you have HBO.

Band Practice

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Best Friend's Wedding

Nicolette and I have been friends for over 25 years.  Crazy, right?!  It's almost mind blowing to me that two little gals in pig tails bonded over crayons in kindergarten and managed to stay best friends through so many stages of life.  We've been through so much together and I was so grateful to be such a special part of her big day.  

Me, Nicolette, & Riesling at the rehearsal dinner

We arrived on Thursday afternoon to a quaint little area of Mt. Pleasant, SC and beautiful weather.  Mt. Pleasant is just outside of Charleston and so picturesque.  We stayed with the family and other members of the bridal party at the Inn at I'On.  Highly recommended!  (It's a bit more expensive than your typical hotel but the rooms were really nice, clean, and a good size.  And the complimentary breakfast was made to order from a good selection)

The ceremony and reception took place right at a amazing spot right on Hobcaw creek.  The weather was absolutely perfect!  Any girl that has dreamed of the classic laid back, breezy, outdoor wedding is dreaming of this day and this place. And Nicolette looked absolutely stunning!!!

 I was a little occupied and didn't get many pictures of the bride and honestly these pictures just don't do the whole thing justice.  I can't wait to see her professional shots.

 Walking down the aisle with Dad

The newlyweds!

 Best Friends

Happy greetings from old friends

Of course no wedding day is complete without a few minor bumps, right?!  Well the bride decided to throw her back out hours before the wedding.  Good thing she knew a good chiropractor!!


“Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” 

  ~Albert Camus 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We had a really great trip to Charleston. I'm so proud of Riesling and our little family for not only surviving such an adventure but truly enjoying ourselves. I'll post more details and pictures(especially of the beautiful bride!) soon.

Riesling's Birth Story

It's been almost two months since Riesling's birth and I still haven't gotten around to telling her birth story. I figured I better get to it before I start forgetting the details and making up my own fantasy version.

When you talk to people about pregnancy, labor, and delivery everyone will tell you that they just want a healthy baby and how you get to that point doesn't really matter. Of course I wanted that as well, but truth be told, how it happened did matter to me. And because it mattered I made conscious decisions throughout my pregnancy about health and wellness and equipped myself with as much knowledge as possible. The beginning and the end were exactly as I hoped. The crap in the middle was unnecessary sh*t that I had to deal with because of my decision to give birth in a traditional hospital setting with an obstetrician vs a midwife.

I was six days overdue. Around 1 or 2am I woke up to a wet-ish sensation. Did my water break? According to any movie or TV show I've watched it should be a gushing followed immediately by racing to the hospital and birthing my child within minutes. It wasn't even close to that so I thought maybe my bag of waters was just "leaking" or it was just some other form of pregnancy related wetness (gross things happen with pregnancy people). Either way I was not in a panic, went back to bed and tried to relax hoping I would start having some steady contractions. Which I did. I still wasn't for sure that I was actually in labor so I stayed in bed with Jim sleeping soundly next to me and tried to doze while also paying attention to the time between contractions.

After awhile I realized that the were pretty steady and deemed myself in labor. It was advised in our birthing class to try and rest as much as possible in early labor because you'll basically never get to rest again, so I attempted to keep snoozing with little success.

At some point I woke Jim up more for mental support than anything. We packed the rest of the hospital bag, Jim watered his seeds and tended to a few house related things, and I decided to take a shower. As dawn turned into the light of day my contractions continued to be steady and increased in intensity, frequency, and duration. I used my physioball and deep breathing exercises to help with the pain during contractions and tried to walk around in between to keep things moving. We even made a slow trip around the block. By 10 or 11 am my contractions were between 3-4 minutes apart, lasting near one minute each, for about 1.5 hours.

See "I'm fine Dad. I just need to sit for a minute."
We called my doctor's office, who advised us to come in and get checked. I was 4cm going on 5cm dilated and by some form of swabbing and microscope procedure it was determined that my water did in fact break. This is automatic admission to the hospital (and apparently panic) in the eyes of any traditional obstetrician. I was transported via wheelchair, against my request to walk, to the hospital adjacent to the doctors office. Nursing swooped in from all directions resulting in me flat on my back, being poked and prodded for IV access, and hammered with mostly ridiculous questions. In all the chaos I meekly asked for a drink of water to which a group of voices responded "you can't have anything to eat or drink" without even looking up at my ash gray face and eyes rolling back in my head. I think maybe it was Jim that pointed out I was about to pass out. Now I'm flat on my back with ice packed under my neck and an IV with fluids that I didn't want, a nurse came in to inform me that the doctor had ordered a pitocin drip.

I broke down and started crying. Little uncontrollable sobs with tears streaking down my face. All I could think about was, "here we go...." The snowball effect of unnecessary interventions and limitations that occur when woman delivery in a traditional hospital setting. Flat on my back, hooked up to wires & monitors, unable to drink, eat or change positions. And wouldn't you know contractions had slowed down to a crawl. I really was devastated at this point. Jim was upset, cursing, and committing to a home birth the next time around.

I refused the pitocin until I was able to speak with one of my doctors directly. I just came from their damn office. Why couldn't someone have spoken to me there about this plan? I just closed my eyes and tried to calm myself and refocus my energy.

See "Do not even think about talking to me until I open my eyes"
Apparently they were concerned about the amount of time that had passed since my water broke (about 12 hours) compared to the status of my labor. Through teary eyes I practically begged my doctor to wait a few more hours before starting the medication. She said I had no choice. No choice in what happens to my own body. Some things in healthcare make no sense. She did agree to delay antibiotics and allow me the use of a portable fetal monitor so that I could get out of bed and move around again. I was started on the lowest possible dose of pitocin and it was never increased.

I got out of that damn bed and moved around the labor and delivery area and within a few minutes my contractions were back in full swing. I was mentally prepared for hours more of labor, but from this point everything happened really quickly. My dad actually went back to our house (less than 5 minutes from the hospital) to have lunch and walk the dog. By the time he got back he had missed the whole thing.

My contractions started coming stronger and closer together and I was having trouble walking around. We stayed in the room and closer to the bed so I could sit during contractions but move around some in between. Nurses and the in house doctor started preparing the room with the little baby box, heat lamps, and delivery stuff. I started having a lot of pressure during contractions and really had to focus on Jim and my breathing methods.

See "I could care less who sees me in this state"

Everyone said it and it was definitely true. Transition was definitely the hardest part but never once did I think about or ask for medication. My legs were trembling and I was soooo hot! Jim used a wet washcloth and ice chips on my face and chest in between contractions but I wouldn't let him move much more than that. The contractions were really intense and really close together. For me the hardest thing was at some point I was fully dilated but had an anterior lip so I was allowed to push yet....but dear god did I want to push. Jim ended up with a large red claw mark on his shoulder during this period. But, once I got the Ok to push it was smooth sailing. With the help and support of Jim and our nurse, Riesling was born about 20 minutes later.

With Riesling cleaned, swaddled and snuggling with Daddy I delivered the placenta and had a bit of repair work down. One or two stitches in the classic area and then a terribly painful hematoma in an extremely sensitive area. Let's just say that it required a second doctor to come in and retract. They actually wanted to put me under general anesthesia but I refused because I wanted to be able to nurse the baby. And seriously...anesthesia now?! It was a bit dicey at points and I can't believe I didn't reactively kicked the doctor in the face during the procedure.

See "You need to repair what?"

After what seemed like eternity I was allowed to hold and nurse Riesling. She latched on and feed on both sides for a good amount of time. I will say that although I thought I had prepared for breastfeeding I obviously had no idea what I was doing nor was the labor and delivery nurse any help. I couldn't remember anything about latching or positions at this point and it actually hurt a lot. See "I seriously think she is biting off my nipple" But I didn't care at this point. I was already so in love with that little bundle that I didn't care one bit....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Letters from Riesling

Hello Friends & Family!

Mom and Dad are taking me on my first big road trip this week. I'm so excited to sit in my car seat and sleep contently for 12 hours all the way to South Carolina! It's my "Aunt" Nicolette's wedding and we are so happy for her. She has been friends with my mommy since they were 5 years old! My mom even gets to be a special person in the wedding and stand up next to the bride. The weather is supposed to be beautiful and I hear Charleston is lovely this time of year.

I'm not really a big fan of pacifiers. I strongly prefer to be soothed by Mommy, if you get my drift. But, sometimes I have to find contentment for a brief period of time when feeding me is not instantly available, so I'm been trying to learn to suck my thumb. I just can't seem to figure it out. I can get my little fist up there (I prefer my right hand) but can't seem to get my thumb out. It's pretty cute regardless.

Love always,

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Veggie Sandwich

The vegetarian and I enjoyed a simple, yet delicious, dinner Friday night: succotash, avocado sandwiches, and french fries.

Mediterranean Succotash
(modified from a Racheal Ray recipe)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 yellow or red peppers, seeded & chopped
2 C. frozen corn
1 can Great Northern Beans, drained & rinsed
Salt, pepper, parsley

Sautee garlic & peppers until soft.
Add frozen corn (I used my last batch of frozen corn from last summer) and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add beans and cook until heated.
Add salt, pepper, & parsley to taste

Avocado Sandwiches on Gluten Free Bread

Peel & slice 2 avocados (makes 3-4 sandwiches).
Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
Toast gluten free bread (I prefer Udi's) and top half the slices with provolone cheese.
Add avocado slices and light smash with fork.
Top with sprouts and romaine lettuce.
Spread your favorite hummus on the remaining slices of the toasted bread & add to your sandwich stack.


“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”

~Marilyn Monroe

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Did the Easter bunny stop by your house?
Are you heading out to for special church services?
Have you already consumed way too many jellybeans and chocolate treats?

We're heading across the bridge to New Jersey for an afternoon with Jim's family. A few years ago I made an amazing sweet potato dish that everyone loved. But, it's a lot of work so I decided on an easier recipe for butternut squash. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Even though Riesling doesn't have a clue what's going on, I decided it just didn't seem right not to get her an Easter basket this year. It's not much but I got her a fun little chicken garden/lawn ornament and a wind twirler and tossed in a few fake eggs to spruce it up.

I seem to have a lot of fond memories of Easter growing up: getting dressed up for church, spending time with family outdoors, brightly colored eggs, sidewalk chalk and new jump ropes. It was also the last holiday I spent with my mom and coloring eggs was one of our last activities together. I remember she was so, so excited about the beautiful bright colors, just like a little kid would be. I can't wait to make it a tradition for our family.

I read this little summary of how a lot of Easter traditions started, from bonnets to chocolates to egg filled baskets. "Eggs have long been associated with birth and fertility. Their abundance at Easter symbolizes the renewal of both a religious savior and the natural world. In addition, several Christian sects used to forbid (and some still do) eating eggs during Lent. After spending over a month egg-free, observers celebrated by eating the no-longer-forbidden food." I also found the bit about bunnies to be interesting. Apparently the white hare started as folklore and was brought to Pennsylvania in the 18th by Germans settlers. And by the way Jim, hot cross buns are a real thing.....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Food for Thought

I'm working on expanding my gluten free, vegetarian cooking repertoire. I've been searching the web and digging out the cookbooks this week. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut and eat the same thing week after week, especially in a house where we have somehow developed into picky eaters. I find that planning a menu ahead of time for the week is really helpful. I generally plan four meals plus plenty of stuff for salads. You always end up with leftovers, a sushi night, or pulling something easy from the freezer. Weekends depend on what we have planned and I usually don't mind stopping at the store for anything we might need if we decide on a special dinner.

Last night we had rice with spinach casserole and white bean salad. It was really good. The spinach casserole was easy to throw together in the crockpot and reminded me of the stuff inside spanakopita. I added a little garlic and crushed red pepper as recommended in one of the reviews (I also substituted gluten free all purpose flour). And the white bean salad was quick and no fuss. It also made great leftovers for lunch!

Other yummy treats I'm hoping to try soon:
  • A gluten free quiche recipe recommended by a friend awhile back
  • This date puree.
  • Risotto---anyone have a good recipe to share?
  • Homemade granola bars. I tried this recipe awhile back and thought they turned out just Ok.
  • Mac n cheese with peas. Um...that sounds good
  • The perfect veggie burgers for upcoming grill season. I think I'll start with this sweet potato variety.
  • And let's not forget some quick & easy rice pudding.
Any recipes you've been dying to try?

Monday, April 2, 2012


"The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith..."

~George Mueller

Letters from Riesling

Hello Friends & Family!

Can you believe I'm well over a month old? Where does the time go?! My favorite thing right now is rock music. I LOVE to bounce, shake, and dance along to my dad singing his favorite songs. Dad has also been playing some songs on the guitar and working on his rap skills with me. We've layed down some sick tracks....

I've also decided to start training for the newborn weight lifting championships. Since I'm already weighing in at nearly 12 pounds (95+ percentile!), I think I have a pretty good chance of kicking some baby butt. Mommy says I get my competitive nature from my father. He still holds the weight throw record at The College of New Jersey you know! Between music lessons, weight gaining, and taking lots of naps I'm a pretty busy little lady!

Love always,