Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Mama Favorites

Hi there! It's finally summer here in LA - and I'm recovering from some sort of weird 24 hour fever. I thought being sick and pregnant was bad, but being sick with a newborn wins hands down. Baby K is in her swing, and I'm posting and on the mend.

I finally made it to see "The Hangover" this weekend and it was hilarious! We were able to sneak out thanks to some kind babysitters for a matinee.

Baby K is getting so big and so alert - she's turning into a real little person now.

I used to love getting facials every few months, but I'm thinking I don't have time to do that anymore :). Here's my solution. Bliss Steep Clean mask is perfect. It is gentle enough so that you aren't red and raw after using, but gets deep enough to really get the glow and make you feel like you've had a pretty serious cleaning. With all the dirt in the air now that it's hot, I think a more thorough cleaning is in order and this fits the bill!

The Joe's socialite jean - my answer to skinny. I don't do skinny jeans (I have really big feet and I think they emphasize my size 10's :). These are pretty much straight - and so comfy and flattering. I'm thrilled that they fit me again! They are also fantastically soft and stretchy!
Japanese Weekend - so soft, so comfy, and so easy to nurse in. This top I have in blue, and it's perfect. I use a nursing apron too (I'm a huge prude), but these tops make it really easy for first time moms to discretely feed babies and then get dressed again.

Ahem - PSA about skin cancer and the sun. My obstetrician recommended going to the dermatologist after Baby K was born, because pregnancy can trigger changes in your skin which may be precancerous. (You should go to the dermatologist every year for a skin cancer evaluation anyway - Icing loves you and doesn't want you to get melanoma:). Here's what I'm wearing on my face and arms this summer. It's fantastic. So light, oil free and doesn't drip in your eyes even on a long walk. Please be sun safe and careful out there!

So now, it's almost time for the 4th of July. I'm thinking that Baby K and I may just need to go up to Malibu during this week for a little adventure at the beach before it gets too crowded. What are you all up to?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

8 weeks

OMG - Baby K is now 12 pounds and almost out of the newborn size diapers. Where did my itty bitty baby go? She's so cute now, but I miss the brand new baby just a bit :).

Solar Powered - I live in a walking neighborhood, and can do most of my errands on foot, so I have the Bugaboo Chameleon. It is pretty easy to fold up for the car, but I think if I did most stuff driving, I'd want something a little smaller and easier to fold. I also wouldn't need the big sturdy wheels. Since I like taking walks for exercise - this is worth it, but I'm not sure it would be if I didn't walk a lot - we go out for a long walk almost every day!

Happy Wednesday - I'll add a picture to this post later today!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Tame Birth Story

I know some of you reading are expecting (hi there solar powered:) so I wanted to share my very tame and PG birth story. (This really is tame - so if you want to read about wild home births, dramatic surgery or near death experiences, this isn't for you!) I had so many people scare me silly about pretty much everything, and in the end - it was all fine! (Better than fine, because I got Baby K, who is napping downstairs).

Baby K was late. At my 40 week appointment, my doctor recommended an induction at 40 weeks and 6 days - as there is a very slight risk of complications if you wait for 42 weeks to induce w/o medical reasons. (Since Baby K and I were both very healthy, there was no need for a medically indicated induction - which is always a good idea if your doctor advises it).

I was so nervous, because I'd heard all sorts of horror stories about inductions ending in c sections, or very long and painful labors. I was also terrified that my epidural might not work, because I have very mild scoliosis - and that can make it harder to get the medication equally dispersed on both sides. But, I trusted my doctor, and was convinced that it was in the best interest of me and of Baby K to get her out.

So, we checked into the hospital in the wee hours of the morning (2:00 a.m.) and were shown to our lovely suite with a panoramic view of the Hollywood Hills. The hospital thought I was a second time mom, so they didn't think I would be in the room for too long - and wrong they were. I was placed on a pitocin drip about an hour later, and had some contractions - a little uncomfortable, but nothing really painful.

The epidural process went really well. The team came to my room about 15 minutes after the pitocin drip. My husband stayed with me, and the doctor explained everything that was happening. He numbed me with a tiny needle - and I didn't even feel the epidural needle going in. He also reassured me that most people with mild scoliosis have no problems with the epidural, and mine certainly worked.

So, we settled in and took a little nap. When I woke up in the morning at around 7:30, my doctor checked on my progress, and I was already 6 centimeters along. She thought breaking my water would be a good thing to do at that point, and so she did. Again, I didn't feel a thing. They had actually taken me off the pitocin, because I was now in labor on my own. Clearly, Baby K just needed a little coaxing coming out.

At around 10:00 in the morning, my lovely nurse noticed that Baby K didn't like contractions when I was lying on my back or my left side. So, I had to wear the oxygen mask and lie on my right side. Annoying, but not horribly uncomfortable. And that's how we spent most of the day. By about 7:30 at night, I was at 10 centimeters. I had one of the epidurals that allows you to hit a button for more medication, and I was so comfy that I didn't really need to give myself any more!

Pushing was hard work, but again, I was pretty comfy, so I could listen to my doctor's instructions and follow them. I could feel when I had to push, but I could also stop when she told me to. Since Baby K was a little bigger than anticipated (they thought she was about 7-8 pounds), it took about 1.5 hours to push my little 9 pound munchkin out. I did it, and thanks to my marvelous doctor - I had very minimal tearing/other stuff that I'm squeamish about. So, at 10:00 p.m., Baby and I were cleaned up and wheeled to recovery. (I did send her to the nursery for both nights of my hospital stay - she came back for feedings, but I am glad that I did, because I needed the rest). I also sent my husband home the second night because he was so tired! Those little chairs are not comfy at all.

Honestly, I had more pain in my right hip from lying on it the entire day than from delivery. So, I just wanted to share one positive and happy baby story. I was going for walks around the neighborhood a couple of days after I got home from the hospital, and was pretty much back to moderate exercise (walking 3.5 miles at a slow pace) by two weeks out. If you're having a baby, I wish you the best of luck and a very easy delivery!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Progress and Deliciousness (Is that a word?)

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, but we've been pretty busy with visitors and the new baby routine. So, to make it up to those of you who are still reading, this post covers a wide range of topics - including what my MIL and I and my mum have determined is THE BEST BROWNIE RECIPE in the world (the caps are not excessive - this really is it). The brownies are the Maida Heatter Palm Beach brownies, and the recipe is below the photo.

Maida Heatter's Palm Beach Brownies (with some minor edits)

8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
8 oz (two sticks) unsalted butter
5 eggs (large or extra large)
1 TBS vanilla
1 tsp almond extract (I just add in more vanilla)
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBS dry instant espresso or other powdered (NOT GRANULATED) instant coffee
3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour (sift if you please, but I am generally too lazy)
8 oz walnut halves or the nuts of your preference (I prefer my brownies nut free :)

1. Adjust oven rack so that it is in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13x2 inch pan (and she lines it with foil that is greased, but I don't think it's necessary).

2. Melt the chocolate and butter together - either in a double boiler or the microwave. I think the microwave is MUCH easier, I just heat in 30 second intervals and make sure to stir well between heatings so that the butter keeps the chocolate from scorching. When melted, set aside and allow to cool a little

3. In the large bowl of your mixer, beat the eggs with the vanilla, sugar, salt and coffee powder for 10 minutes on high speed. Turn the speed down to low and add the chocolate mixture, beating only until mixed. Likewise, add the flour on low speed, mixing only until all combined.

4. Pour into greased pan and bake for 35 minutes. Now, you will note that the edges get a little dry. This doesn't bother me, whereas Mrs. Heatter recommends trimming and discarding the edges. I think that's wasting chocolate! I do agree that you must make these a day in advance, as they are simply too rich and fudgy to cut the first day. So, cut yourself a nice piece the first day, and serve the rest to some really nice people the second day. These also freeze like a dream, so you can microwave them for delicious brownies anytime.

Below is my favorite little sous chef surveying the kitchen and for ONCE, being chill in her car seat. Seriously, she only likes the seat when she's in the car, or it's snapped into her stroller. Any suggestions? Everyone else's baby seems to like to hang out in the seat, but not Miss K!

This past weekend was my birthday, so I celebrated by picking up some adorable Lilly for Mommy and me fun. Miss K was so comfy in the Lilly boutique that she required a prompt diaper change. Fortunately the owner was so nice and helpful - it still makes me a little uncomfortable asking if there's a restroom or other place to change her - but I can't let her sit in a dirty diaper!

Miss K and I have embarked on an exploration of the many "Mommy and Me" classes here in LA. We went to Mommy and Me yoga twice last week - but as it is during Ms. K's preferred napping hours, I'm not sure we'll be going back, as she was VERY MEAN and not very calm. This Wednesday I'm going to try to check out Mommy Bootcamp, and I'm signing up for a Mommy discussion group for later this summer. In the meantime, I've discovered that Miss K really likes Motown/Soul, so this post is brought to you courtesy of the Motown/Soul music station on Direct TV. Happy Monday, and I'll be trying some new recipes this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Here's what was cooking last night - easy and delicious. It's based on a recipe from Giada, but I tried to make it a little healthier, and it still tasted delicious:

Penne with Sausage, Peas and Ricotta

1 lb penne - I used whole wheat
turkey sausage - uncooked (like the little breakfast sausages - I used about three)
1 clove minced garlic
1-2 cups frozen peas - you could use another veggie too - like broccoli?
1/2 cup ricotta cheese - I used part skim - I think all skim would be wierd and rubbery
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1. Boil pasta water. In skillet, brown turkey sausage and garlic over medium heat. Add tomatoes and their juice. Let simmer.
2. About two minutes before pasta will be done, add frozen peas to pasta. When al dente, drain. Add hot pasta and peas to turkey sausage and tomatoes. Toss. Add ricotta and toss some more until everything is melded. Serve with a little grated Parmesan on top.

It's really nice to have a drink again. I enjoyed this glass of wine and the pasta above thanks to the miraculous baby swing.

How cute are the feet of this little outfit? I'm a big fan of suits that snap, rather than zip, for ease of access for changing.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thankful Thursday

(apologies for the title - I know it's been done before)

I've been thinking lately about all the things I should be grateful for, and it's time to start listing them. Some of these are small and silly, others are quite large indeed. With all the horrible things in the news and going on in the world, it certainly doesn't hurt to count the blessings, does it?

1. A healthy baby. She has a plugged tear duct, but according to our doctor, it's a minor problem. Phew. I wasted an entire day yesterday envisioning horrific scenarios and harassing her by taking her temperature.

2. Same for the rest of my family and me. I read an article in the NYT talking about how dangerous birth is for mothers and babies in Africa, and it really made me reflect on how lucky I am to live in America. We take so many things for granted here. My biggest worry was if I had a C-Section how much it would hurt - dying was a remote possibility at best.

3. Living in a walking neighborhood. Baby K has only been in the car a few times - her stroller is my "wheels" and we go for a nice walk every day.

4. Summer. I spent the last part of the previous summer being very nauseous and looking for discrete places to throw up thanks to an impressive case of morning sickness. (I never did throw up, I just felt terrible and wanted to throw up for weeks 5-12). This summer I'm excited to take Baby to the beach and to enjoy silly summer beverages.

5. Friends. Having a baby is a scary transformation - and I really appreciate all the kind people who cooked for us, called, and just checked in to see that we're ok. It makes everything seem better.

6. Sleep. Baby K is down to one middle of the night feeding, and I'm praying that she stays on this path.

7. The swing. Baby K will generally conk out for 30 minutes in it during the day...hence time to write here and read all your fabulous blogs.

8. This week my part time babysitter started. Even when I'm in the house, it's so nice to be able to deal with issues uninterrupted by a shrieking baby. (like last week when I had to register her on my insurance. I think the insurers may have reported me to child services, because she was SCREAMING!)

9. Being able to help others. I'm one of those people who get the warm fuzzies from volunteering. Especially with children. I am doing the same JLLA placement this year - working with kids and reading for a few Saturdays. It is so much fun!

10. My lovely and caring husband. Who recognizes the child care can be exhausting and scary. Who doesn't judge that there aren't a whole lot of delicious baked goods or other sorts of treats coming out of the kitchen these days. And, he just loves Baby K to bits. Seeing them together gives me the warm fuzzies.

11. (This is vain and silly) - Pregnancy didn't change my shoe size. So all the lovelies still fit!

What are you thankful for these days?

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Mish Mosh Post

Baby K is one month old as of last week. We're starting to get into a routine, and I'm starting to figure out how to dress postpartum. Some of my old clothing fits, but sadly not everything. I'm really trying to make a point to dress presentably (i.e. clean, showered and a little makeup).

Gap is making some cute and really practical tops for nursing - and this one is on sale now. I may order it in more colors, but for right now, this purple is one of my favorites.

Here's the cake of Orangette's - please search for it on her blog and try it - it is like chocolate mousse only slightly more solid! It is called the "winning hearts and minds" cake and was so incredibly easy to make. I served it with coffee ice cream. So, dinner last Friday went very well. The steak and salad were delicious, and our friends brought the most delicious baked orzo. The cake was very good too - and I enjoyed eating the leftovers this weekend:).

Here are my new jeans, which are on super sale at Bluefly. The brand is Earnest Sewn, and these are very soft denim, with a great, slouchy trouser leg. I need to get them hemmed, but they rock and they aren't "Mom" jeans. Does anyone wear "Mom" jeans anymore anyway?
BTW, how incredibly awkward is this season of Jon and Kate Plus 8? It's like a wreck on the freeway - you don't want to look, but you do anyway!