Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas, New Year's and More Bubbles

We had a fantastic first Christmas with the Princess.  She was certainly a trooper.  Sleeping most of the 8 hour drive in the car, traveling from house to house to house, sleeping in all sorts of strange places and being passed around like a hot potato!  Proof-sleeping in her Great-Great-Aunt's arms.
She didn't even give anyone the stink eye, much to my relief.  She hardly cried, and was all in all a very easy, laid back baby.  But, then we got home.  She basically cried for 24 hours because she was so exhausted.  Our families probably would not believe she was the same baby!  Proof...the ride home:
Are we there yet?  Luckily, her misery is behind us and we are falling back into our normal-ish routine.

With the new year upon us...2013 will be year like you haven't seen.  I am going to do my best to lose at least the last of my baby weight.  But first, I think this applies:
So I have basically wolfed down the remainder of my oreo truffles.  Shoveled in the last of the chex mix.  And am making a delicious Wegmans Beef Wellington for dinner tonight before the healthy eating starts on January 2nd (the 1st totally doesn't count because it's still a holiday).  We also had to try this before any New Year's Resolutions set in:
Buffalo Chicken Bubble Up Pizza.  Yum.  As I was posting my original Bubble Up Pizza post, I was struck with inspiration for this pizza.  This should not come as a shock seeing as how Buffalo Chicken probably falls second on my list of favorite foods only behind croutons.  So here it is:

Bubble Up Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans (12 oz) golden layer buttermilk biscuits (Pillsbury Grands! Jr)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup wing sauce (I prefer Anchor Bar Mild wing sauce)
  • 2 cups Rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles (plus more for topping)
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Spray 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
3.  Cut biscuits into quarters (I used kitchen scissors which worked like a charm!) and place directly into prepared pan.
4.  Add chicken, 1/2 cup wing sauce, 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, and 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese. 
5.  Stir it around to evenly distribute pizza toppings.
6.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup Montery Jack and sprinkle on a little blue cheese.
7.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until biscuits are done.
8.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup wing sauce and enjoy!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bubbles

As an obnoxious teenager, I had a thing for bubbles.  The word was fun to say and bubbles were fun to play with.  I liked the word so much that I used it in my first AOL screenname/email address.  That is how much I like bubbles.

So when this recipe for "Bubble Pizza" popped up on pinterest last week, you better believe I was trying it and ASAP!  It was easy too!  You break up buttermilk biscuits, mix them with pizza ingredients, top it with cheese and pop it in the oven!  I used regulation pizza ingredients...sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, but I'm pretty sure it would be okay to get a little crazy with toppings.
Friday night, being pizza night in the Royal household, this was easy and delicious!  I gave the King and I sizeable portions:
And he went back to the pan and finished the entire thing.  I think it was a winner!  

In other bubbles...
The princess' latest party trick is blowing a ridiculous amount of bubbles.  In this case she even made it look like a Santa bubble beard!  See the resemblance?
 She got to meet Santa on Saturday and she was totally cool with it.  I'm pretty sure she asked him for diapers and wipes...and milk if he has time.

In any case, bubbles are fun.  Bubble Pizza and bubble beards included.





Friday, December 14, 2012

Stockings all hung...


By our chimney with care.  The King was a little confused by the ribbon on the mirror until we had Christmas cards to hang.  I didn't want to confuse all of my readers, so I waited to post a picture until it made sense!  There are wads of tape holding the ribbon in place on the back of the mirror.  The cards are held in place by teeny weeny clothespins to complete the look.  I am really happy with how this came out.  We may need to enjoy it until February or so! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

3 months!


I can't believe it has been 3 months already!  Ask me again tonight when we're trying to put the princess to sleep and I'll believe you.  Or wonder if it's been a heck of a lot longer!

And yesterday, she giggled for the first time.  I'm using "giggle" loosely here.  There was sound coming out of her when she was smiling.  It's definitely something to work on!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Stink Eye

On Friday, we went to my former job (at an elementary school) to show the princess off.  She was definitely a hit.  An entire second grade class swarmed her stroller as soon as we walked in the door.  I'm really hoping she got a lot of my immunities from working in a school!  I'm pretty sure I could feel a hefty cloud of germs swallow us up as we passed through the front door.

I was hoping that she would sleep through the visit so I could ward off the games of "Pass-the-baby", but of course she woke up right away and was passed around like a hot-potato.  Much to my relief, everyone was cooperative and used purell before handling her.  I hope that stuff works!  Thankfully, someone was able to rock her to sleep and I was able to safely stowe her away in her stroller again.  


But, every new person that she meets gets the stink eye while she sizes them up.  It is an all out stare down and usually lasts about 5 minutes or until they make ridiculous faces at her to elicit a smile.  And then she decides that they might not be all that bad.  


The eyes/brows look something like this:

+ lips like this
(Duck face- Full House who *FUN FACT* was also Dakota Stanley on Glee!  Who knew?)

Look out world!  Contrary to popular belief, she is not imitating a face that the King or I have turned on her.  I'm fairly certain this is all her own doing and may show a glimpse of her personality shining through.  Nothing could make me prouder at this stage in her young life.  I am hoping she will be this skeptical of strangers always.  She is not one to be easily impressed, which is excellent news to the parents of a little lady growing up this day in age.  It will serve her well when she is allowed to date at the age of 35 (I kid).  And to any future potential suitors out there-she usually needs a well lit meal or fart noises and fish faces to turn from stink eye to smiles.  Any guy should be so lucky!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Debut!

The princess is making her debut at dinner night this evening.  All 8 members seem exceptionally excited for this evening and will be present.  Including our newest married couple (lots to celebrate tonight)!  That is a lot of pressure for the princess.  I really hope she's at her best!  I already warned everyone to dress their best because this is one for the baby book.  Just in case she's not at her best, I think these cookies may save the evening.  Remember how I said that I had something delicious in mind for these little guys:
Well, I made it all of 24 hours before I couldn't stand the anticipation of making what I had in mind.  I pretty much threw the baby at the King as soon as he walked in the door from work last night so that I could dash off to the store to secure the remaining ingredients necessary to create this brainchild.  My mom is actually responsible for coming up with this idea.  When I texted a picture of these baking bits to her, she recommended that I whip up a batch of these but sub in the Peppermint Bark Baking Bits.  

The original Oreo pudding cookies has recently become a beloved recipe here in our household.  The King loves them so much, that he has actually whipped up a batch himself because he couldn't wait for me to do it!  They were also a part of my nesting ritual.  I made a batch the day before the princess was born!  I had to pry a small container out of the King's hands at the hospital in order to give them to the nurses as a bribe to take good care of me.  Many of the nurses stopped in and gave their thanks and nothing horrible happened to me during my stay, so I'd say the cookies worked!

After the princess was born, I have convinced myself that the small amount of oats in these babies is good for me.  Therefore, these cookies = health food.  I think I almost have the recipe memorized. I guess that's how you know it's a good one!  And the peppermint bark baking bits have lived up to their anticipation and made one delicious cookie.  I'm pretty sure they will be included in my Christmas cookie baking frenzy this year. 

Peppermint Bark Puddin' Cookies

Ingredients:
·       1 cup butter, room temperature
·       3/4 cup granulated sugar
·       3/4 cup light brown sugar
·       1 pkg (5.1 oz) Vanilla Instant Pudding mix
·       1 Tbsp vanilla
·       2 eggs
·       2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
·       3/4 cup old fashioned oats
·       1 tsp baking soda
·       1 tsp salt
·       2 (9 oz) bags of Peppermint Bark Baking Bits
Directions:
1.     Preheat oven to 375°.
2.     In a stand mixer cream together butter, pudding mix and both sugars. 
3.     Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. 
4.     Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour, baking soda, salt and oats.
5.     Stir until combined.
6.     Stir in chopped candy.
7.     Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
***Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups Oreo Pudding cookies recipe. 
***I am entering this Peppermint Bark Puddin' Cookies in the Creative Recipe Contest hosted by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Cookies and Cups!
 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stranger Danger

Last Friday, I took the princess to Trader Joe's with me for the first time.  She appeared to savor the experience by sleeping the entire time.  And one employee commented on the fact that she was still asleep about 3 times whenever I happened to pass her in the store.  She enjoyed sharing it with other employees who did not share in her enthusiasm of my sleeping baby.  Weird.  

Anyway, I managed to leave with a few treats...I accidentally went to the store hungry which is never a good idea.  
Creamy dark chocolate with the tiniest of peppermint flakes?  Gone.  I may or may not have averaged around 4 per day.  Lucky for me, the King didn't notice these little gems until there were only 2 left!
I have big plans for these guys.  In fact, I am so confident that the recipe I want to make with these will be so delicious that I wish I had gotten more!  

And in other good news, I managed not to give my baby away in the process of shopping.  I said excuse me to a woman by the vegetable case so that I could reach in and grab what I thought were sweet potato fries...when she said "I'll do anything if you want to give me that baby".  I was shocked!  I told her that "my baby was not for sale, unfortunately".  I must have made a weird face though, because she appeared embarrassed and mumbled something about being a grandma and how it forces her to say such things.  It was still an odd thing to say and I'm pretty sure being a grandma does not excuse those comments.  If anything she should know better.  And to top it all off, I guess I was so distracted by her comment that I didn't realize I was getting butternut squash instead of sweet potato fries.  Ugh.

We had another run in with a stranger last week.  This time it was during an outing to Target.  I had the unfortunate experience of having a stranger touch the princess!  I had her in the baby bjorn type carrier because I feel that having her attached to me will discourage such unwanted touching.  A woman in the return line complimented her socks that look like shoes.  I said thank you and jokingly asked if both socks were still on her feet (haven't lost any yet!).  The woman (also a grandma), took this as an invitation to reach out and grab the princess' foot.  Again, I'm pretty sure I responded with a dirty look and turned away.  Momma bear will bite.  Back off.

The other odd baby compliment I received from a stranger came on Halloween when a parent of some trick-or-treaters told us that seeing the Princess made "her ovaries twitch".  I wasn't sure whether to graciously say thank you and accept that as a compliment, or slam the door in her face and put the house up for sale STAT.  We went with the former for now.  It seemed like the cheaper option in this case.  I mean, we can be honest...she was pretty stinkin' cute that day:
But there is really not a need to include your reproductive organs in a compliment.  Ever.

Strangers = Dangers.  Especially when there is a baby involved!

Any good suggestions for how to discourage strangers from touching a baby?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I make a point to thoroughly enjoy my breakfast nowadays.  The princess is usually at her best in the morning and very willing to allow me to throw this together.  
Whether I get to actually eat it or not, or get to enjoy any other meal quietly and without interruption is a different story.  Thankfully, I was able to make all of this, throw some garbage outside, do some laundry and even squeeze in 5 minutes of tummy time for the princess this morning.  Then she even let me eat it!  This is a very rare occurence that I thought should be commemorated in a post.  Maybe she noticed my frantic energy buzzing around her and realized mommy needed to RELAX.  Maybe if I'm lucky, she'll even force a glass of wine on me later!

As a side note, I was very excited to wake up to find that my good friend over at Chocolate is my Life cooked and enjoyed herself some bacon after being a vegetarian for as long as I've known her (almost 17 years!) to make loaded baked potato soup and beer bread.  I'd like to dedicate my morning bacon to her!  And welcome to any of her readers!

What is a breakfast that you could eat everyday?


Dippin' Eggs

Ingredients:
  • Spinach
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • shredded cheese (Mozzarella, cheddar, Mexican combo-whatever you have on hand)
  • one egg
  • a splash of milk 
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees (I usually don't even wait for the oven to get all the way pre-heated before I throw my egg in-like I said, frantic energy).
  2. Grease a small ramekin.
  3. Place the ingredients in your ramekin in the order listed.
  4. Place the ramekin in the oven for 12 minutes.
  5. Switch the oven to broil for 2 minutes (or while your bread is toasting).
  6. Remove from the oven and dip your toast in the egg to enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sleeping like a baby

What does that really mean anyway?  Because in my opinion sleeping like a baby means that they sleep until that exact moment that you are soaping up your hair in the shower, sitting down to a hot cup of coffee, or worse yet- just as you have finally fallen back asleep in the middle of the night.

Last night, however, the meaning of sleeping like a baby aligned with it's true meaning of a very sound sleep.  The King and I decided it was time for the Princess to start sleeping in her crib.  Prior to last night, she had been residing in a hammock-like bassinet to sleep.  I had worked on getting her into the crib for naps to no avail.  It seemed like it would be a painful process and I was dreading it.  I even tried to convince the King that maybe she was not ready for a crib just yet and we should wait another week, but he insisted that there would be no "good time" and we should go for it.  So, we attempted to get her to go to sleep around 9:30PM, but between the Princess being wide-eyed, too warm pajamas, and a bonk to the head on a door frame it seemed like we were in for one helluva night.  And then what a difference one feeding made.  She was asleep within an hour and slept from 1AM until 9AM in her crib...unassisted!



That makes it sound easy, but in order to get her to fall asleep and what took place during the hour after her feeding  involved some of the following and can vary in combination on any given night:
1.  A swaddle sack (pictured above) with her arms swaddled in to start with.
2.  Walking lunges while whispering "Din-o-saur" in her ear (a baby yoga "magic pose").
3.  Just plain walking when my thighs burn from lunges.
4.  When her eyes close and the Princess deems appropriate for me to sit, we rock in the glider endlessly (or for 15-30 minutes...). 
5.  A white noise producing stuffed giraffe or Pandora's lullaby station.
6.  Putting a corn pillow in her bed prior to laying her down to make her bed warm and snuggly.
7.  Her wubbanub (a pacifier with a stuffed giraffe on the end) knowing when to insert and remove it to ensure that we will not be getting up every few minutes to put it back in her mouth on repeat.
8.  Putting her down extremely delicately and keeping your hands under her to ensure her eyes will remain closed before slowly and oh so carefully removing them.
9.  And yesterday I rigged up a system of rolling a blanket up and putting it in a "U" shape under the sheet and adding a cushion from her bassinet so that the crib feels more like her bassinet...

Before we had kids, I never could have imagined that it would take so much to get a baby to go to sleep...she should just naturally "sleep like a baby", right?

Does anyone else find themselves doing crazy things just to ensure a good nights sleep for their baby (and for them!)?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fake Out

So this morning PC decided that she would fake me out with her pathetic cries to signal that she was awake.  So just when I was up and at 'em, I opened her bedroom door to find her sound asleep again.  I watched her for a few minutes on the monitor to see if she would stir, before making good use of my time.  I showered, threw some clothes on (to run the garbage out to the truck with wet hair), even put a little make-up on, and ate breakfast all before the princess really deigned to open her eyes.  And then we got this:
So glad the extra shut-eye was worth it!

Maybe she gets her faking out abilities from me.  I like to pretend I am crafty...the Queen Mother has it down pat, so compared to her, I am a real novice.  Without work, I am seriously channeling my attempts at creativity into the nesting department.  I enjoy attempting cheap, easy things like this to liven up the place:
Some salt in the bottom made to look like fresh fallen snow with fresh cranberries on top.  The cranberries were $5 for 2 bags and it took all of 7 minutes to dump everything together.  I'd say that is a steal of a deal for how pretty they look.  And added bonus- the King will not eat this display being that it is fruit (made that mistake when I decorated with candy corn and peppermint candies)!  

I even had enough cranberries leftover to do this:
I am slightly concerned that they may go bad-that would be my luck in the crafty department, but for now they are lookin' festive!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Got 15 minutes?



Then you've got soup!  So I told you yesterday that this is soup week.  And I meant it.  Lately, I've been making a "15-minute" soup.  Mainly, because that is about all the time I have!  It's really versatile and can be adapted to make a variety of your favorites.  My step-MIL gave me the idea when she came to visit after PC was born and I ran with it.  She made an incredible meatball soup, much like Italian Wedding.  I love throwing this soup together at the beginning of the week and storing it in single servings to pull out and heat up for lunch throughout the week. 

Most important is my addition of a secret ingredient at the end to really flavor the soup- pesto.  I use, basil pesto, but again, I'm sure that can be subject to preference.  This way there is no need for salt, pepper, garlic or herbs because it is all right there in the pesto!  

So we're eating soup to be all healthy and lose weight, but there is a certain baby in my life that is trying to gain!

I know I'm shameless, but I had to sneak a picture in somewhere!  She had a weight check today and as it turns out (if you can't tell by those chubby little cheeks), she has been successfully gaining!  Hooray.  I really hope that the mom and baby yoga she did this morning was not detrimental...my little yogi having a stretch. 


15-Minute Soup

Ingredients:

  • Pre-cut mirepoix (and other veggies if you feel so inclined)
  • olive oil
  • 32 oz. broth (choose for your taste, I like chicken)
  • Meat (rotisserie chicken and frozen Italian style meatballs are personal faves.  Sausage would be tasty too!)
  • Beans (I enjoy small white beans)
  • Spinach
  • Pesto 
  • Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Croutons
  • Options:  Cooked pasta, heavy cream, bacon, pumpkin, diced tomatoes
Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in your pot over medium heat.
  2. Sautee your pre-cut mirepoix until soft (about 7-10 minutes).
  3. Add in broth, meat, and beans and bring to a simmer (about 4-5 minutes).
  4. Drop in your spinach and allow it to wilt (2-ish minutes) and stir in the pesto to taste.
  5. Spoon into bowls and top with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.
  6. Serve with croutons.  Obviously.
Look at all those healthy vegetables!  And I just did the math...this recipe may need to be adapted to be called a 15-ish minute soup.  Math is not my strong suit.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Honey Beer Bread

So with Thanksgiving done and over and Christmas cookies looming in the very near future...there is a lot of soup on the menu for this week!  And while we are being healthy by eating soup, we need something to mop up those last delicious bites.  This quick and easy honey beer bread has fast become a household favorite.  In fact, I now have to make 2 loaves and freeze one so that we always have some on hand for the King!  I could tell him we were having kale, spinach, vegetable broth soup (or something equally as disgusting) as long as I said it was being served with beer bread, he'd be all in ready and waiting with a spoon.  Last night, it was served up with Baked Potato Soup.  The King went back for seconds, so it must not be disgusting.  Just don't tell him that the soup is secretly made with cauliflower AND potato thereby increasing it's healthy quotient.  We'll keep that our little secret.  

If you're naturally skinny and don't have to worry about your waistline, you are not my favorite.  But it has been recommended to me that you slather this bread in butter (oh wait it already is!) and coat it in a cinnamon sugar layer to make it taste like a beer bread donut.    Yum.  Or you can always add a cup of cheese.  Everything is better with cheese.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Traditions?

Based on PC's (Princess Crouton) reaction to Christmas lights:
Or lights in general, the King and I knew that we had to take her to our local Botanical Garden's "Winter Walk of Lights".  We went last night and she managed to keep her eyes open for all of 10 minutes.  Translation-she was impressed.
Her eyes were open here, but due to the shock of the flash, she closed them.  But, as you can see, she is having a blast!  It was pretty chilly out so it was a brisk walk through the illumination displays.  She managed to stay warm and snuggly in her carseat approved fleece sack.  We hope she may be more suitably impressed next year.  It could become a Crouton family tradition...

Another Christmas tradition I have been working really hard on is a Christmas Book Advent Calendar.  According to Pinterest this is what it should look like:
I am clearly relying heavily on pinterest for many of my holiday ideas...like dry brining my Thanksgiving turkey.  I am really hoping that the Christmas Book Advent Calendar turns out a little better than the turkey!  How can you go wrong with books?

My family, my own bookshelf, and Amazon have been helping me collect a ridiculous number of Christmas books to unwrap.  Here's the rundown of what I have at this point.  While she may not understand it just yet, it's a fun tradition to have for when she does.

21.  Snow

This list is subject to change.  

Are there any glaringly obvious ones that I am missing?







Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving found us with a lot to be thankful for this year:
And we celebrated in a very relaxed fashion.  Just the King, Princess, a turkey and I and a few of our favorite side dishes.

We thought we were up to the challenge, but as it turns out, we had a lot of leftovers!

Here's the run-down of our menu:

My favorite side is mashed potatoes, so I made 2 kinds:
And of course gravy was needed and necessary.

The green beans were steamed and then tossed with butter and browned panko breadcrumbs and our corn was tossed with bacon bits (how can you go wrong with added bacon).

The king got his favorite crescent rolls (homemade rolls were a little ambitious with a new babe in the house) and I made my favorite Pepperidge Farm stuffing...all bread...no vegetables...one could say it resembles broken down croutons in a way.  And Wegmans cranberry orange chutney.  Yum.

I dry brined the turkey in a rosemary, orange rub which seems to be all the pinterest rage, but was not the greatest.  I think having it hang out in the fridge in a bag for 3 days caused it to change funny colors and be a little dry.  Thankfully, it still makes great leftover melts, as what cannot be delicious with the addition of cheese (much like bacon):
and I plan on giving this one a go shortly- Panera's turkey artichoke panini

And the story behind Thanksgiving dessert- a few weeks ago, my mom came for a visit and I tore her away from snuggling the princess to put her to work making apple pies.  So for Thanksgiving dessert we had delicious homemade apple pie curtesy of the Queen Mother.  I can't really provide an exact recipe because she kind of does her own thing with the apple spices to make it taste incredible.  I also caught her off guard in my request for pies, so she didn't have her crust recipe.  SO sad.  We made do with this.  Not the same, but an acceptable substitute.  We had enough apples, so we used a Pillsbury crust for a second pie and that was actually much tastier than the homemade crust.  Maybe next year I will have the ability and the time away from the princess to create an apple pie masterpiece according to the Queen Mother's recipe.  And as a side note, apple pie can always be made better by eating it during the first viewing of the season of The Muppet Family Christmas movie (via YouTube) and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

All in all, it was an excellent day spent with my little family with plenty to be thankful for.



Smiles

As of late, I have taken my paycheck in smiles.  I took a leave of absence from my job for the year and I love being home with the princess everyday and am so thankful for this time with her!

The king is truly the best for making it all possible!  He continues to work long days to make up the vacation time he took to be present for the birth of the princess.  On top of that, he comes home and puts the princess to bed every night so that I have a few minutes to myself.  He's an amazing father already and the princess is only 10 weeks old.  I don't know what I would have done without him in the first few weeks of her existence.  He changed diapers, prepped bottles, and burrito-fied our baby like the best of 'em.  He entertained guests and ran up and down the stairs, to the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and chauffered the princess and I to doctor's appointments and Starbucks and just for drives around town to get us out of the house.  THE BEST.  

And now, I'm pretty sure, she has decided to pay us back in the world's sweetest smiles.  Getting up at 3AM to feed her is no longer a chore, but something I look forward to because I know when she sees me a big, goofy grin will spread across her little face and everything will be right in her world for just that brief moment.  And here's proof:
And then she realizes that she is starving and the crying begins again.

Princess Crouton responds best to fish faces and goofy eyebrows.  She is also a huge fan of light reflections in people's glasses.

Changes

So a few things have changed in the past 10 months since I've written last:
We've added a Princess Crouton to our clan!  She was welcomed to the world on September 13th...arriving 2 weeks before her due date (thank goodness).  

It all started on a normal Thursday morning.  I got up at 7AM to head in for a progress check with the doctor while the King stayed in bed.  He nonchalantly asked if I would mind turning off the alarm.  I walked over to hit the button, when my shorts felt wet.  I thought the Princess had a put a little too much pressure on my bladder, so I continued on my merry way to the bathroom for a shower (I even got to shave my legs!).  When the leak didn't let up, I know this was about to get real and decided to rouse the King.  I will never forget the look of shock on his face when I told him he best get up and pack his suitcase.  We scrambled to throw everything in the car and hit the doctor's office where I have never been seen so fast! He confirmed that a baby would be born to us that day!  We calmly (while inwardly panicking) walked over to a full labor and delivery unit where I bounced someone to get my room (there were 14 babies in the nursery our first night there!).  Contractions were induced and the fun began.  AMEN to the epidural.  I got to watch "Crazy, Stupid Love" while the King napped.  Fast forward a few hours to a dinner that consisted of an orange popsicle and I was "ready" to push at 7:45PM.  I'll spare you all the details...just believe Lorelei Gilmore when she says "And while some have called it the most meaningful experience of your life, to me it was something more akin to doing the splits on a crate of dynamite".  The princess arrived to us at 9:02PM and did a brief stint in the NICU.  The King accompanied her while I was checked and rechecked every 15 minutes for an hour and then we all met up in the recovery room.  It was the longest wait of my life (the 9 months were nothing compared to that hour!).  I didn't even get to hold her or take a picture of her before she was carted off.  But, all is well that ends well and in this case it ended with celebratory chocolate birthday cake and snuggling our beautiful baby girl.  


Since then, we've endured some trials and tribulations, but overall it has been the greatest. She is a pretty easy-going lady with the patience of a Saint for putting up with our novice attempts at parenting.  And some days still go like this.

But overall, parenthood is pretty awesome...so far.  
*Note:  No babies were harmed in taking this photo- she was immediately scooped into my arms and given hugs and kisses until she was happy again.