Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas goose?

Well, folks, it’s finally here: the date our giant Costco ketchup from the summer was supposed to expire. (We already finished it.)

Also, baby boy’s due date! :)

Many of you know we’ve had a wave of sickness in the Psiaki household to close out the month of November. While Linnea’s poor stomach bug was much sadder and scarier, she was over it in a flash compared to this cold of mine. I haven’t been sleeping much because of the cough, and Tim ran the household in every respect during his 4-day vacation over the holiday. He took such great care of Linnea and me that I am truly thankful for the timing, even if a little sad we couldn’t all-out enjoy our family time together. (We did have a few fun highlights together though, including a morning in downtown Seattle to ride the monorail and see the electric train exhibit, as well as meeting friends for the Kirkland tree lighting).

But this cold has been dragging on and on, and for the last 5 nights I’ve been able to snag only a few hours of sleep each. I finally got some meds prescribed on Saturday night, but wouldn’t you know it, the antibiotic I took in case of bacterial infection gave me hives at bedtime last night. The cough suppressant wore off just in time for the Benadryl to kick in, and before I knew it another night of tossing and turning and gargling salt water to no avail had gone by.

BUT! Things are looking up. I may still look like a leper (and scratch like one), but things seemed to have taken a distinct turn for the better. I have better instructions for taking my remaining meds and can actually walk around feeling like a normal person today. And, I had my 40-week appointment this morning and now we have a plan for baby (rather than just hoping he would come soon, then praying he would wait so I could get better).

Dr. would have done a short in-office procedure today to get things moving had I not been sick, so we rescheduled that for Friday morning. Which is actually perfect timing, giving Tim time to put in a few more good days at work before taking off, and me time to heal up and get back into the swing of things with Linnea, who I’ve really been missing since taking such a back seat in all affairs at home. Hopefully labor will get kick-started on Friday morning and Linnea will have her baby brother out and ready to be squeezed by her anxious 2-year-old fingers sometime this weekend.

(If not, we have an induction schedule for Dec 7, which I can postpone until the 11th if I want, but no later since he has to be out by 42 weeks!)

You all know I had been hoping for a November rather than a December birthday for this little one. But, I trust God’s timing and really am glad to wait a few more days, even through the change of the calendar. Anyone who’s seen me wrinkle my nose at the Christmas stuff laid out in stores on November 1 knows I like to celebrate one thing at a time, and I think it is just perfect for baby brother’s birthday to fall neatly (if not evenly – I AM ready to be done with pregnancy, folks!) between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I do believe it’s special for babies to be born on holidays but I guess I just never really liked to share. So baby will likely be a little Christmas season goose rather than the Thanksgiving turkey I had been expecting; and honestly, I’ve nearly had my fill! (Except for the aahhhmazing turkey soup Tim concocted over the weekend – quite the chef, that one).

And, it seems fitting that baby boy would be a Christmas goose since that is our favorite nickname for Linnea. Or maybe he’s the gander. Either way, don’t ask Linnea his name, because she will probably tell you, and that is still supposed to be a surprise! She randomly starting saying it (put together with our last name, like it was a done deal) on Thanksgiving night even though we never told her! It is so sweet to hear his name coming out of her little mouth!

Thanks for your prayers for continued healing and baby’s health. If you could please pray that we could avoid a hospitalized induction like last time AND be at peace with God’s timing for his arrival, I would really appreciate it!

Counting down the days…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have a lot to be thankful for, and God reminds me of much of it daily. Tomorrow we’ll be resting up as a family so here are some Thanksgiving “eve” thoughts:

My salvation in Jesus, which has finally taught me I am not the main character in my life story, but rather a supporting character in the greater story of His kingdom. It’s not about me, but all about Him, and that takes away so much of my inborn perfectionism and striving. I have Jesus and don’t have to prove anything, because He IS everything. It doesn’t make life easy, but does make it worthwhile!

My husband of 4 years and best friend for 8. I am thankful for Tim’s integrity, wisdom, and sincere and ultimate desire to pursue Christ in his life. He leads our family well and I am so glad I get to trust my life and that of our children to his care. I’m thankful we’ve been really connected this year, and especially lately, as we plan for life as a family of 4 and snatch up moments of fun and silliness that remind us of our college days. We like to remember those shared experiences and moments from when we were first married, like how we ate frozen hamburgers for a week because we had no money upon first moving to Seattle, or the stories surrounding each of our pieces of furniture because we had no furniture when we moved here either. (One of the best is driving our armless green microsuede chairs up the treacherous hill to our Queen Anne rental with BOTH chairs precariously tied on top of our Corolla to have them in time for my parents’ first visit at Thanksgiving 4 years ago). I love you, Timmy.

My wonderful, sweet, amazing daughter Linnea. Most nights after she’s in bed Tim and I just sit around and talk about how much we love her. She does the silliest things and surprises us daily with her insight, memory, and thoughtfulness. I was coughing while lying in bed with her today at naptime and each time she said, “Bless you, Mommy.” She truly is a very sweet and nurturing girl. I cannot wait to see her flourish as a big sister. I am so thankful I get to be her mommy and spend every day with her. And I am very very thankful she has been napping all month (last month was horrendous and she seemed to be giving it up) to get the rest she needs (which I need, too!) and we have seen a real change in disobedient behavior. She is such a joy and I am thankful for every ounce of time we have dancing to music, playing Legos, cooking or baking together, going to music or art class, doing errands, going for walks, visiting coffee shops, doing laundry and chores, and all the daily little things I am privileged to do as a stay at home mom. I’m thankful that this is my job!

Our warm, dry, cozy home that we’ve been able to live in in precisely the area we love best, and the ability to fix it up some for comfort and hospitality and a second child.

Our friends, an ever expanding circle we wish we could still invest deeply in in all levels. We have been very blessed by our community group which we started leading in our home at the end of summer, having left our old community and closest friends to be on mission with our church in our own neighborhood. We are thankful for the new relationships we’ve formed and the amazing growth God has already brought with many folks who live within walking distance!

Our church, the leadership of which we respect and the mission of which we have joined our lives to with joy. Both Tim and I have experienced a great desire to serve that has grown over the last 2 years especially, with a vision for opening our home and hearts and lives to reach the unsaved in our neighborhood. I’ve never before been part of a church that makes me want to be within its walls more and more the more I attend, and do more and give more and serve more the more I do those things. In the past other Christian organizations I’ve gotten closer to have shown a dark side, but we haven’t found that here. This isn’t to praise our church as some sort of perfect model, but we believe it really is Spirit-led and is stewarding its God-given calling well.

A healthy pregnancy that has had its difficulties (maybe because I already have a toddler, and was in a car accident…), but in many ways has been even easier than my easy first with Linnea. I’m thankful for a healthy baby boy whom we will get to meet any day. I’m so thankful that he’s going to look just like his Daddy (I presume!). Tim seriously has the cutest little boy pictures I’ve ever seen. :)

Things like health and safety and provision, peace within our home, seasons of fun busyness and rest, women in my life who are faithful to check in with and pray for me, our relationships with extended family, and Tim’s upcoming month-long parental leave round out the list in my fuzzy brain for now. Oh, and Amazon.com. May sound silly but being enormously pregnant with an energetic toddler makes online shopping pretty amazing. And necessary. :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How we’re doing

Here’s an update for those who may be wondering.

I’m 39 weeks 1 day.

Last Friday I went for a massage while Linnea and Daddy had a date for Thai food, and we all came home for Linnea to throw up 3 times while going to bed. We all kept vigil in her room that night and nobody got much sleep.

Saturday morning Tim and I cancelled our brunch date (was going to be our first date since our July anniversary…yep, we’re those people) and we never left the house all day. I was super exhausted and uncomfortable from a lot of contractions and we thought baby boy might come, but nope. Linnea seemed better but she and I ate very little all day and I was just nervous thinking baby would come, causing us to leave a sick girl at home. We did have a little bit of fun family time that included watching our wedding video, which delighted Linnea since I don’t think she had ever seen it. We had to correct her assumption that she was “in mama’s belly” multiple times (how do you explain to a toddler events that happened before they were born? They just don’t get it).

Sunday was sunny and cold; I wasn’t up for church, having woken up several times in the night with more contractions, so we all stayed home. During a burst of energy we went for a walk to try to get baby out and stopped at our favorite coffee shop for a treat. Linnea seemed to be all better and had fun helping Daddy put together cubbies for baby’s room, which is now mostly finished. Tim did a lot of odd jobs around the house, actually. We even had a family grocery trip (Linnea loves to push the mini carts) and then I made meatloaf for dinner. And then Linnea threw it up all over me when I was putting her to bed. That was the 4th set of sheets we washed in 48 hours.

Monday I woke up with a sore throat and Linnea was just not herself – very quiet and subdued. Basically all we did all day was read books and eat crackers, plus one trip out to the doctor, which was largely unhelpful (no clear cause of vomiting since she didn’t have a fever or any other symptoms). She DID take an amazing 2.5 hr nap to make up for so much lost sleep over the weekend (even when she wasn’t vomiting she was having a very hard time going to bed) which started with her falling asleep in her big white chair next to me while I sang her snuggle songs (she likes You Are My Sunshine and My Bonnie these days, because of Kindermusik). She was out in about 3 minutes, unheard of for her, and then I had to wake her up at the end of naptime so she wouldn’t miss bedtime that evening. It was such a relief when she went to bed easily and with no throwing up!

Today my headache and sore throat are worse, and I’m just thankful we don’t have a newborn yet. Linnea and I did take a fun trip out to the mall to make a Build-a-Bear for baby brother, which she loved, and have a little treat before my 39 week appt. No new news there; contractions have become much less frequent since the weekend (ironic since all I did Saturday was lay around, and the last two days have been doing tons of laundry, sweeping, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, etc). But after the fun morning Linnea didn’t nap well and my health has been going steadily downhill. We’ve been pretty isolated so we attempted our church’s Thanksgiving service tonight, but left 10 minutes in since Linnea was looking peaked and still needs extra rest.

Who knows what tomorrow will hold? I have mixed feelings about Thanksgiving. Could be our last as a family of 3, and we have a little turkey thawing in the fridge in case we’re up for that; but either way it won’t be the same as the big production we’re used to, since we’ve had such a strange run-in with illness and I never know how I’m going to feel day to day. Maybe we’ll have a Thanksgiving baby, though it’s hard not to view that as mostly inconvenient for those who have so graciously agreed to care for Linnea while we’re in the hospital. And if we get past Thanksgiving my due date (next Monday) will be looming…I so hated to be induced last time, and don’t want to be late! I know it’s in God’s hands. And we still have a middle name to settle on! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recipes

I owe so many people so many recipes, so here’s my stab and getting them all down at one place!

THE Egg Casserole (recipe from my mom, modified by me)

1 16-oz loaf unsliced French bread

6 oz (1.5 c) shredded monterey jack cheese

6 oz (1.5 c) sharp cheddar

(I know the oz and cups make no sense, as there are 8 oz in a cup...but this is just the way my Mom wrote it down. If you buy pre-shredded just do it in a measuring cup for 1.5 c)

1 8-oz pkg softened cream cheese

1 4-oz can chopped green chilis

10 eggs

2 c milk

1/2 t dry mustard

dash ground red pepper - I use either paprika or cayenne

1. Tear bread into chunks (about 10 c). In greased shallow dish (3 qt casserole or 13x9x2 pan) arrange bread chunks evenly. Sprinkle with shredded cheeses and then spoon dollops of cream cheese on top. Top with chili peppers.

2. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until just mixed. Stir in milk, mustard and red pepper. Pour mixture over cheese and bread. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.

3. Bake uncovered at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 10 mins before serving (it will be puffed up when you take it out of the oven and shrink back down, which is kind of too bad but just what happens!)

 

Sweet Potato Casserole (also from Mom)

2 lb. sweet potatoes (boiled, skins removed)

1/4 c salted butter, melted

1/4 c sugar

1/2 t salt

1/2 c milk

1 T pure maple syrup (or 1/2 t maple flavoring…though I never substitute!)

Mix all well with an electric mixer. Pour into 8-in square casserole greased with Pam spray.

Top with:

1 c brown sugar

1/4 c butter, cubed

1/3 c flour

2 t cinnamon

1 c chopped walnuts

(All mixed in a separate bowl).

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

 

Braided Stuffed Breads (from Tim’s mom)

White Bread Dough

2 pkg yeast

1 T. sugar

1 t. salt

4-4 1/2 C. flour

1 1/3 C. milk

2 T. butter

1 egg

In large bowl mix together yeast, sugar, salt and 1 ½ C flour. Heat milk and butter, add to yeast mixture, then add egg. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out on floured surface, knead, then cover dough and let rest 30 min. Punch down dough, divide in half. Use as directed.

Salami and Pepper Loaves

2 sliced green peppers (not really sure of amount- missing from my copy of the recipe)

1 C chopped onion

8 oz thinly sliced hard salami

2 C shredded mozzarella ( 8 oz)

1 t. dried oregano

1 large egg, beaten

2 T. parmesan

Place green pepper and onion in microwave safe bowl, cover with paper towel, microwave 4 min or until barely tender. Drain on paper towels. Roll out dough half to a 14 x 9” rectangle. Arrange salami in a 4” wide strip down center of each rectangle. Top with green pepper and onion, sprinkle on mozz. cheese and oregano. Make 2 ½” long cuts at 1” intervals on long sides of each rectangle. Fold strips crisscross fashion over filling on each rectangle. Place loaves 3” apart on greased large baking sheet. Cover and let rise about 30 min. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 375 20-25 min or until golden brown.

Spinach-Cheese Loaves (same idea as salami pepper loaves- different filling)

2 10oz. pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese

1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese (8oz)

1 egg

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t. dried basil

½ t salt

In bowl mix together spinach, ricotta, cheddar, egg, garlic, basil and salt. Spread down middle of rolled out dough rectangle same as above loaves. Doesn’t call for egg and parmesan on top, but probably would be good!

 

Pumpkin Bread (from EatingWell.com, listed as “Squash Tea Bread”)

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (or other squash puree)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice and cloves in a medium bowl until combined.
  3. Beat pumpkin, sugar, honey and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in egg and egg white. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined. Scrape into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake the bread until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes more. Serve warm.