Friday, July 29, 2011

Flavorsome Friday- Banana & Honey Muffins...

I’m on a mission to find my pre-baby weight, as I seemed to have misplaced it. While I am pushing full steam ahead (I only have ten pounds to go), I won’t let that get in the way of my love to bake. I allow myself a taste and then I give the treats away!

This week I made Banana & Honey Muffins. These are one of my favorites!

What you’ll need:
2 cups mashed bananas
¾ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups of self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¾ cup chopped walnuts
*This recipe will make approximately 18 muffins

1. In a large bowl, combine the bananas, brown sugar, honey, and melted butter. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in small batches until well blended.

4. Fold in the chopped walnuts. On a side note, I dry toast my walnuts on the stovetop first to bring out the flavor and give them a little more crunch.

5. Fill each paper lined muffin cup ¾ of the way, as these do rise when baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

6. Remove the muffins from the tin after baking and allow them to cool slightly on a wire cooling rack. These are delicious hot out of the oven but taste just as good for a few days if you store them in an air tight container.

I’ve got to run! Cooper’s yelling at me to come and play and he doesn't like to be kept waiting. Hope that y’all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So what if I am?

The dictionary defines worrywart as the following:
wor·ry·wart (wûr-wôrt, wr-) n.
One who worries excessively and needlessly.

While I do believe that motherhood has caused my worries to rise to the elevation of excessive, I certainly don't think that my worries are needless.

Like most newborns, Cooper slept in our room for the first several months of his life. About a month ago we took the leap of faith and moved him to his nursery. After all, we had put so much time, effort, and love into making it the perfect nursery, the kid needed to finally use it!

I wasn’t all that surprised when he took to his new room and crib immediately. He’s been a sleep through the night baby since month two so I assumed he would do just as well on his own and he did. What I didn’t expect was for my excessive worry to reach an all time high. I found myself grabbing the monitor at the slightest peep and staring at it to make sure that I could see his stomach move up and down, a reassurance that he was still breathing. I did this for hours on end. It was just crazy.

After a few nights my excessive worry seemed to fade to a normal level and I too was able to sleep through the night. Like most Moms, I still wake up and glance at the monitor throughout the night and that’s when this contraption comes in handy…

There's my little boy. Safe and sound, enjoying his nap today.

Best. Invention. Ever.

I’m convinced that without this video monitor, I would be sleeping on his nursery floor. God bless the person who invented it. They are awesome.

Worrywart? So what if I am. It’s just because I love him so!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Way Back When-esday- Delivery Story...

In my effort to catch up on the happenings here in the Halquist house, I thought that I’d devote this week’s, “Way Back When-esday,” to Cooper’s grand entrance into the world. I’m sure it’ll be a long story so unless you’re family or a close friend, you’ll probably have no interest in reading it but here we go!

As January was coming to an end, the anticipation of Cooper’s due date (February 14th) was approaching and we were growing more and more anxious to meet our baby boy.

We had just wrapped up a month of what seemed like non-stop birthday celebrations. January is quite the month in our family with Rich, my Mom, his Mom, my brother-in-law Scott, as well as my birthday, all packed in. My birthday is January 31st and while celebrating I noticed that I was getting more uncomfortable, with Braxton Hicks becoming a more frequent occurrence. There was speculation that with all this activity, he might very well have a January birthday too! However, January came and went with no sign of Cooper.

On the evening of February 2nd we hit the hay early. I was simply worn out and even though I was extremely tired, I found myself tossing and turning most of the night. It was impossible to get comfortable with the huge belly I was lugging around. In the wee hours of February 3rd, I got out of bed to use the restroom (one of about 10 times as this point), and noticed something was just different. I came back to bed and woke Rich up to tell him that I was fairly confident that I was in the early stages of labor. With excitement he quickly started asking what to do. I reiterated, “Early stages darling, go back to bed.” Seeing as it was 3:30am, he obliged.

Though Rich went back to sleep, I didn’t. Cue contractions.

Contractions… something I certainly hadn’t prepared for. They grew in intensity as well as frequency but I was still telling myself, early stages. I didn’t want to be that girl. You know, the girl who rushes to the hospital just to be told to go home.

Morning came and Rich woke for work. I told him to go ahead and go into work. I had planned to call the doctor at 8:30am when they opened and told him I would let him know what they said. He reluctantly left. I also put my Mom and sister on alert. They too were quite anxious. At 8:30am on the dot I called. At this point I had been having contractions consistently since 3:30am so I was excited to hear what they would have to say. The triage nurse said to monitor the contractions and not to come to the hospital until they were consistently 5 minutes apart or my water broke. Little did she know I was already doing that and yes, they were indeed already 5 minutes apart.

Still not wanting to be “that girl,” I continued about my business. All the while, I was talking to Rich via instant message and my Mom and sister via text to keep everyone posted. I was doing my best to downplay the situation but I must not have done a very good job. Rich and his Mom came to the house on their lunch break to bring me food (and I think to secretly check on me). I just couldn’t eat (something I greatly regretted later). Unknowingly, Rich was also timing the now unmistakable contractions and pulled the alarm when he noticed they were consistently 5 minutes apart. I was busted.

His Mom went back to work and Rich started his campaign to convince me it was time to go to the hospital. I’m not sure if it was nerves or what but immediately there were things around the house that had to get done. After all, we hadn’t finished the (ridiculous) list I had written. I mean, clearly you can’t bring a baby into a house with dirty blinds or not newly vacuumed floors! Hopefully you are sensing my sarcasm but my loving husband, being the kind soul that he is, simply agreed with me. On a ladder with shop vac in hand, he went to town on the blinds. He ran around like a madman with the vacuum. I was one grateful Momma.

He drew the line when I broke out the ironing board to iron my pajamas. Yes, you read that correctly, I was trying to iron my pajamas. By this time it was now 3:30pm, I had been in labor for 12 hours, and he had had enough. He finally convinced me that if we didn’t leave right then, we may not make it to the hospital in enough time for me to get an epidural. SOLD!

The 45 minute drive to the hospital seemed like an eternity and every little pothole seemed more like sinkhole. The drive gave me a moment to take it all in. We were about to have a baby!

We arrived at the hospital and spent about 45 minutes in triage where they monitored my contractions and checked my progress. The contractions were less than 5 minutes apart and I was already 4cm. They admitted me for delivery and moved us to a room. If it wasn’t a reality before, it certainly was now!

Around this time our family started arriving. My parents, his parents, my sister, and brother-in-law were all there as day turned into night. I opted for an epidural and to put it mildly, it was Heaven sent. After I had the epidural the whole experience was so enjoyable. Enjoyable is not something that I thought labor and delivery would be so I was so relieved.

From this point forward the timeline of everything is pretty much a blur. The nurses continued to check my progress. They eventually broke my water and I dilated to 10cm. They had me put off pushing for a while, hoping that Cooper would descend some on his own. February 3rd drew to a close and still, no baby.

A little after midnight the time had come to start pushing. We chose to have my Mom, his Mom, and my sister in the room with us. They were all such a great support system. Without going into too much detail, I pushed, and pushed, and pushed some more. I pushed this way, I pushed that way, and then I pushed this way again. Cooper, stubborn like his Momma, was not budging.

At around 5:00am my doctor came in the room and spoke the word that had terrified me my entire pregnancy, c-section. This was the one thing that my whole pregnancy I had said over and over again I didn’t want. After discussing the situation with him, he answered all of our questions. Rich and I decided the c-section was what was safe and best for both me and our son. Once we agreed to the operation everything happened so quickly. They suited Rich up in blue scrubs, just as we’d seen on television, we said our goodbyes to our family, and I was rolled off to the operating room.

At this point I had been awake for over 24 hours, all of which I had been in active labor. Exhausted doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt. I was relieved that Cooper would be here and the whole ordeal would soon come to an end. I prayed aloud with the doctors as they prepped me for the operation. A surreal sense of calm came over me. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t nervous. I was at peace. I was ready.

After I was fully prepped, they brought Rich in the room and he sat by my head. He held my hand and together we listened as our beautiful baby boy was brought into the world.

Cooper Allen Halquist was born on February 4, 2011 at 5:54am. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 20 inches long. His first cry was music to my ears. He was perfect.

I was so relieved that he was finally here. He was safe, healthy, and happy. I took in his smell, his touch, his little quivering lip. I was immediately in love.

Later in the day the visitors started arriving. We were truly overwhelmed by the love we felt from those closest to us. We really do have the best family and friends that one could hope for.

We spent the next few days in the hospital before we were discharged. Like every new Mom, I had the perfect going home outfit picked out for him and in late evening on Super Bowl Sunday, we left the hospital with our new baby in tow. Needless to say, we were oblivious to any football game!

It was then that the real adventure began...

Play along with Cheryl at Twinfatuation! It's so much fun to reminisce.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is it Friday yet?

To put it mildly, life as a stay at home Mom is everything that I hoped it would be. Cooper keeps me on my toes daily as he explores new and exciting stuff. I can literally watch him learn and each new thing, even something as simple as him following Gizmo around the room with his eyes, brings a smile to my face.

While I love our Mommy and son time, it seems that Mondays and Tuesdays are the hardest because we have just had a fun filled weekend with Daddy. When Rich returns to work on Monday, we miss him... A LOT!

Watching Rich in action as a Dad is by far the coolest thing that I have experienced in our relationship but I’m really not all that surprised. I knew that Rich would make an amazing Dad.

Can you really blame me though? With weekends like this…

We’d be crazy not to miss him!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mommy and Me Monday- Bedtime Story Edition...

Please excuse the mismatched pajamas, out of the shower wet hair (which also kind of looks like I am rockin' a mullet), and nada makeup, but this is one of the sweetest moments that I have shared with Cooper to date.

He's all into bedtime stories now! He reaches for the pages which inevitably he tries to put in his mouth, but all the same, this Mommy LOVES to read so this makes my heart happy! Here we are before bedtime sharing one of my favorite children's books, I Love You More.

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

I’ve put this off for long enough…

That’s right, I’m back!

Since the arrival of our little, well really not so little Cooper, we’ve been pretty busy here in the Halquist house. Every minute, even the challenging ones, have been filled with joy, laughter, and the occasional tear.

I’d like to officially introduce you to Cooper Allen Halquist. He was born February 4, 2011 at 5:54am, weighing in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 20 inches long.

He has grown like a weed before our very eyes so I’ll be playing a bit of catch up in the upcoming weeks to get this blog up to date but let it be known… I’m back!