Thursday, July 15, 2010

Babies Don't Keep

I hope that my child will look back on today
And see a mother who had time to play.
There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up while we're not looking.
Dusting and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow
For babies grow fast we learn to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I'm nursing my baby and babies don't keep.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, this is what I saw...


Then there was this...


Followed by this...


And now this!


I can't believe it's been a year since that positive pregnancy test! This past year has been full of the highest highs and the lowest lows. But ultimately, I have the best gift ever to show for it - my beautiful son, Benjamin James.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 months already?!

My baby turned 4 months old yesterday! These last four months have been incredible, amazing, a bit trying, but so wonderful. Daddy and I are working out our issues and learning how to be parents together, which isn't always easy. But you make it so worth it!

So, what are you up to these days?

*You looove chewing your hands. Can't get enough of them. I know you'd love it if you could just stuff that whole fist in your mouth.

*You're still exclusively breastfed, even though Mommy has been back at work for over a month now. I have to pump three times a day to make sure you get enough to eat, but so far, it's going well.

*You're generally a pretty good sleeper. We stopped swaddling you several weeks ago, and you didn't mind at all. You'll take naps in your crib, but I don't think either of us are ready for you to sleep there all night yet. Right now, you're still sleeping in the co-sleeper bassinet next to Mommy's side of the bed.

*You're a very happy baby! You love to smile, and I've gotten you to laugh a few times. You're still very stingy with the laughs, but the smiles come all the time now - even first thing in the morning. I love how you wake up happy!

*Daddy weighed you the other day on the bathroom scale, and we think you're close to 14 pounds. We'll find out for sure on Monday, at your 4-month appointment. You'll get more vaccinations then too. You did great with your 2-month shots, so I hope you do equally well this time.

*Your favorite thing to do is stand up. We still have to hold you steady, but your strong little legs can bare all your weight no problem.

*You hate tummy time, but we make you do it anyway. Your arms are still a bit weak, especially compared to your superbabylegs, but we're working on it. You've rolled over a few times, but I think it's just because you were on an uneven surface. Still waiting to see a real "rollover".

*You have your entire family wrapped around your finger. They all adore you, and why wouldn't they? You're the cutest baby ever! (Daddy and I agree on this).

I love you so much, Benjamin, and I truly enjoy watching you grow up and learn about the world around you.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dance Magic baby

Dancing Baby Ben! We were watching The Labyrinth the other day, and Branden started making Ben dance. It was just too cute, so I got it on video...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Date night, and Ben laughing!

This has been a big weekend! It started out last night, with our first date night since Ben was born. Branden really outdid himself for this one! He wouldn't tell me what we were doing, so I was in suspense for several weeks, wondering what he might have up his sleeve.

We started out with dinner, which we cooked at home. My mom was going to watch Ben for us, so Branden invited her to have dinner with us. He bought prime beef from the meat market down the street and we had steak, mashed potatoes (a joint effort between me and my mom, who finished them up while I fed Ben/got ready) and steamed squash (I made that).

Imagine my surprise when, just as I was about to go upstairs to get dressed, Pete and Rachel walked in the door!! I was so happy to see them. Yay for a double date!

So we all ate dinner (delicious - Branden did a great job with the steak!). Then we headed out to catch the train. Branden did a fake out and we almost got off at the Deep Ellum station, but when we sat back down, I knew exactly where we were going. Fair Park Station...Music Hall...

Yesssss! I was so excited to finally see Wicked for the first time. And it was everything I hoped (and had heard) it would be! Loved it!!! And even better to get to see it with friends.

On the way home, the guys stopped for ice cream while Rachel and I went back to the loft to relieve my mom (it was awfully late!). After she left, I fed Ben while everyone else ate their ice cream and talked. (I did, eventually, get to eat my ice cream too). It was a great night!

And today has been a great day as well. Ben and I went shopping for some dinner items to make Branden a special Father's Day dinner. When we got back, we were playing together on the couch, and I noticed he was in a really good mood. I hopped up to get the camera, and this is the result: Ben laughing video [Note: I can't get the embed code to work right, so you'll have to click the link and go to youtube - sorry about that!]

Branden's home now, so I'm going to spend a few hours with him on his first Father's Day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I have two blogs

Just as I blogged on Pregosaur during my pregnancy, I am now blogging on the sister blog, Littlesaur, about my experiences raising baby Benjamin. I'm Citysaur on those blogs, and I've already posted my introduction on Littlesaur.

So yeah - me, who's not the best at keeping up a blog to begin with, has committed to two blogs. I want to keep this blog up, because I still need an outlet for things that may not be baby-related, or things that are more personal that I don't necessarily want to share on a national blog.

Like this.

I attended a funeral yesterday at DFW National Cemetery, and of course I couldn't leave without stopping by to see Wayne. It was the first time I'd taken Benjamin, and I won't lie. It was really, really difficult. I just can't get it out of my head that this isn't how it was supposed to be.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ben Update

That's my little cutie! We call this "SuperBaby with his Crimefighting Pacifier".

So last entry, I mentioned that Ben had a cough. Well, it did turn out to be something - RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Other than the cough, and maybe being a little sleepier than normal (and when is that a bad thing?!), Ben isn't showing many ill effects from this virus, though. We went back to the pediatrician on Wednesday, and she sent us home with a nebulizer for breathing treatments. Ben does not like them! Have you ever tried to hold an oxygen mask on a squirming infant? Yeah...not easy. So we faithfully gave him his treatments, and went back today. He's making a good recovery, and we're just supposed to keep up with the treatments and keep him hydrated. The virus should work its way out of his system in a week or two.

Also on Wednesday, Ben had his hearing test. For this test, we were led into a soundproof testing room. I sat in a glider with Ben on my lap, and the audiologist hooked up electrodes on his head - two on his forehead, and one behind each ear. She started with his left ear, and ran a whole series of click and sound tests with a computer, which gave her readouts of his brainwave response. I had to stay absolutely still (so he wouldn't wake up) and completely silent. My mom was in the room with us, and afterwards she said she wasn't sure how I did it! Halfway through, I turned him around and she tested the other ear. The whole thing took about 90 minutes.

The results were basically good. He didn't show any neurological hearing damage. He showed a little bit of conductive hearing loss, but she said that's likely due to fluid in his ears - could be fluid still leftover from birth, or fluid due to the RSV. We're bringing him back in to repeat the test in early June. If he passes that, then all is well. If not, then we'll be referred to an ENT for further testing. Either way, it's likely something that will either fix itself or can be fixed. Definitely good news, and such a relief!!

On the childcare front, we're hopefully working out a plan. We put in our application last November for the only independent/non-church-affiliated daycare center in downtown Dallas. We really, really like the place. We put all our eggs in that one basket. Of course, it's all dependent on timing, and when spots open up. Since there are only 8 spots in the infant room, it can be a waiting game. And that's what it has turned into for us. We're currently second in line on the waiting list - which means 2 kids have to leave the infant room (usually, to head to the toddler room, which they do around 1 year of age) before Ben will get a spot. At first, we weren't sure when exactly that would be. But after a frank conversation with the daycare director, wherein I told him that we were definitely interested in using their center, and we would be taking a spot as soon as it opened, he let me know that we're probably looking at mid to late July. So that's 6 or 8 weeks of a temporary situation. And we think we may have it figured out.

Branden will be switching shifts when I go back to work. He'll go to C shift, which works Fri-Mon, 10 AM - 9 PM. He'll be off Tues-Thurs, so he'll be with Ben those days. That just leaves Friday and Monday to figure out, assuming I work my typical workweek. My mom is off on Fridays, and she has agreed to watch Ben then. So for Mondays, I'm working with my boss/management to see if I might be able to work from home...or if I might just have to take that day off unpaid for a while. No word yet on how that will turn out, but I think we'll be able to figure it out, one way or another. So there's our plan!

It actually works out pretty well. I think it will be easier for me to go back to work (in 3 weeks - whoa) knowing that Ben will be with family for a while. Branden will get to spend a good amount of time with Ben, which he hasn't gotten to do much yet, thanks to working full-time and taking 4 graduate classes this semester. (Thankfully, the semester is over next week). My mom will get to spend some quality time with Ben, which I think she will enjoy (or at least, I hope so!). By the time he does go to daycare, he'll be almost five months old, and ready for some socialization with other babies. The only downside to the situation is that I won't get to spend much time with Branden for a while. We'll be working exactly opposite schedules, and won't have any days off together. If he takes a class over the summer (he's still working that out), then it would be Tues/Thurs evenings for five weeks - so during that time, I would only have one evening a week to see him. But, it's all temporary, and I have to remind myself that plenty of couples work opposite schedules (my sister-in-law and her husband, for example) and they manage to make it work. So I know we can too. Once Ben's in daycare, Branden will switch back to his regular shift, and we'll all have more time together. (And hopefully, once he graduates, either this summer or in December, he'll find a super-awesome professional planner job, and then he'll have real workday hours).

Phew...I had no idea this post was going to turn into a novel! I guess I had a lot to get out! Here's one more picture of our little munchkin...showing off his new talent, smiling! We don't get to see this very often...but it sure is a great reminder of what we're doing all this for. He is so worth it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today, I am not going to worry

Today, I am not going to worry...

About all the baby weight I still need to lose...or the weight I have to lose on top of that. 50 pounds in all.

About the call I need to make to my insurance company, to sort out various claims from Ben's birth.

About the ABR hearing test Ben has tomorrow, where we'll finally get the answers we've been waiting 6 weeks for.

About the cough Ben has, that I just took him to the pediatrician for. Okay, maybe I'll worry a little, but only if his blood test comes back with less-than-positive results.

About the fact that we don't have childcare lined up for when I return to work. We're second on the waiting list, but I found out yesterday it's unlikely we'll get a spot by June 1st, the day I'm scheduled to go back.

Today, I am not going to worry. I am just going to take care of my son, and myself, and relax on the couch with a good book, and maybe later, a movie. Today, I'm taking the day off from worries.

I'm sure they'll be waiting for me tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A day in the life...

I have to give Stay-at-home Moms props. When they say being a mother is a full time job, they really aren't kidding! Here's a sample of what my morning has been like so far, starting with going to bed last night.

10:00 PM: Swaddle the baby, put him in the bassinet next to our bed.
10:05 PM: Baby won't sleep in bassinet. Bring him over next to me into our bed so I can get some sleep.
12:30 AM: Wake up. Take baby over to chair. Attempt to nurse. Baby won't wake up to eat. Go back to bed.
3:00 AM: Baby wakes up - TIME TO EAT. Change diaper, then go back to chair, nurse for 30 or 40 minutes.
4:00 AM: Try to put baby to sleep in bassinet.
4:15 AM: Baby finally falls to sleep in bassinet.
5:40 AM: Alarm goes off to wake Branden up. We talk briefly. Baby wakes up.
5:45 AM: Branden gets baby back to sleep in bassinet.
5:50 AM: Baby wakes up. I scoop him up and bring him to sleep next to me.
7:00 AM: Baby wakes up. TIME TO EAT! Put contacts in, go to bathroom, then feed baby.
7:35 AM: Hook baby up in bouncy seat so I can take a shower.
7:50 AM: Showered and dressed. Bring baby downstairs.
7:55 AM: Change diaper in baby's room.
7:57 AM: Baby poops in new diaper.
7:58 AM: Change diaper. In middle of diaper change, baby pees all over changing table and wall, and also manages to get diaper mess on his stomach.
8:00 AM: Haul naked, screaming baby into bathroom, holding him away from me so I don't get covered in pee. Put baby in bath chair, put bath chair in shower. Go get baby shampoo and towel.
8:01 AM: Give baby a bath.
8:05 AM: Rinse screaming baby off (he doesn't like the bath). Wrap him in towel and calm him down.
8:07 AM: Grab diaper, onesie, and portable changing pad and change/dress baby on the couch, since changing table is still covered in pee.
8:10 AM: Put baby in swing. Grab cleaning supplies and wipe down changing pad (and wall).
8:15 AM: Gather breast pump parts. Bring computer to table to watch TV on computer.
8:17 AM: Start pumping.
8:27 AM: Finish pumping. Clean supplies.
8:30 AM: Put waffles in toaster oven.
8:35 AM: Finally sit down to eat breakfast, after being awake nearly two hours.
9:00 AM: Write blog about crazy morning.

And now, of course, the baby is happily sleeping in the swing, and I'm exhausted, but too alert to go to sleep. So I'll publish this blog, and then finish watching my show. Maybe after that I can take a nap? We'll see...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ben's First Month

I can't believe it's been almost a month since Ben was born...and I haven't blogged once since my announcement post on the 14th! I figured since we're approaching the one month mark, I should write a little about how the first month has been. Let's see how much I can remember!

On March 13th, when Ben was a mere 3 days old, we went to my Mom's house for our big friends and family Shower/Party extravaganza! Technically, I wasn't supposed to leave the house (or even be out of bed) according to my midwife's orders, but we had a bunch of family in town to meet Ben, not to mention all the friends who were planning on attending the shower. So off we went! Here's Ben, dressed and ready to go:

The party was so much fun (if a little exhausting), and we were blessed with so many great gifts. And I finally finished the thank you notes today!

The first week and a half of Ben's life was all's appointments! We started off a 1-day appt with the pediatrician (who we love - so glad we made a good choice there). Branden took Ben to that one alone. On Friday, March 12th, our midwife stopped by our loft for a home visit. Monday the 15th, Ben had another routine pedi appt (his one-week visit). He was looking pretty yellow at that point, so they did a blood test to check his bilirubin levels. Turns out, they were very high, so they sent over some phototherapy equipment to help his body break down the bilirubin.

Tuesday the 16th, a follow-up appt at the pedi's office...then over to Baylor to get a blood test done to see if the phototherapy was working (it was). Here's Branden and Ben, waiting to see the doctor...

Wednesday, another pedi appointment and another blood test at Baylor - the results there were great, he was basically in the clear at that point! But of course we weren't done with appointments yet, as we had a 10-day appointment at the Birth Center to go to still (which was actually an 8-day follow-up). That was an easy one - they just took his weight, asked how we were doing, and then put his footprints up on the wall (and in our baby book). I need to remember to get a picture of that when I go back for my 6-week check up!

Things went much more smoothly after that week. It took Ben a while to get his days and nights sorted out, but we're doing pretty well with that now. We were also fighting with getting him to sleep in the bassinet - he just wouldn't do it, no matter what we tried. So for a few nights, we were doing whatever we could just to get him to sleep at night - including one night when I slept in the recliner with him on my chest. I finally had an epiphany when I saw how well he took to swaddling during his newborn photo session. We had been given a SwaddleMe wrap as a gift, but I hadn't thought to use it on him at night. That turned out to be the key to getting him to sleep anywhere other than in our arms or next to us! He just needed to feel like he was being held.

The rest of the month has been filled with great visitors, a few trips to my mom's house, and many walks around downtown and trips to the grocery store. Ben absolutely loves being in the Baby Bjorn carrier, and he loves it best with Daddy.

On the 27th, we took a trip to downtown Fort Worth to have dinner with some friends and Branden's parents, who were in town for a dog show. We rode the TRE - here's Mommy and Ben, enjoying the ride:

Branden and I are starting to get the hang of this parenting thing. I know that many, many more challenges await us, and there will always be something new for us to figure out, so I don't want to sound overconfident. I'm merely pleased that things are going much more smoothly than they did those first couple of weeks!

I'll try to be a better blogger and update more frequently. But with an infant around, I make no promises! :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meet Baby Benjamin!

Introducing Benjamin James, aka Baby Citysaur. Born 3/10/10 at 6:24 PM. Weighing in at 7 lbs 15oz, 20 1/4 inches long.

I mentioned in my last post on Pregosaur that our midwife wanted us to kick start labor on Wednesday...well kick start we certainly did! We started out at 8:45 AM with her stripping my membranes. Then we did some nipple stimulation and took an hour power walk. At 11:30 AM, the midwife broke my water. We did more walking as we went out to have lunch and gather our bags at home, then back to the birth center. By the time we arrived back at the birth center at 1:30 PM, I was having contractions that were 2 minutes apart and was most definitely in labor!

Not the most flattering picture of me, but here we are, in the early part of active labor, just after arriving at the birth center. I did not look this good as the day progressed!

I won't go into the whole, explicitly detailed birth story, but I'll summarize from here. I labored for about 3 hours before pushing, exploring various positions including the birth ball, the shower, the tub, and hanging off the bedpost. About 4:30 or so, I went to the bathroom at the suggestion of the birth assistant, and I started to feel the urge to push. Pushing lasted about two hours, and was the most exhausting part of the experience. The only downside to not going into spontaneous labor was that Ben hadn't quite descended, so I had to work extra hard at getting him down. That part was difficult, because every time I'd make progress during a contraction, he'd slip back when I went to rest in between.

Eventually, after pushing for a while in the tub and hanging off the bedpost, I got into the bed to conserve energy. I almost had to go back to the bedpost, but when I realized they were about to make me get out of bed, I gave it everything I had, and he began to crown. And that's when things got serious.

Ben came out with the cord wrapped tightly around his neck. He was fine until right at the end, when his heart rate plummeted. When the midwife looked at me and said that we had to get him out now, and that I had to push without the help of a contraction, I knew she meant business. Even though I was beyond the point of exhaustion, I found the strength to get him out fast. They cut and clamped the cord from around his neck as soon as he crowned, and then a few pushes later, he was born. Daddy got to catch him, and he put Ben on my belly, but a split second later, the midwife whisked him away to the resuscitation table to work on him. He was born in distress - white as a sheet, depressed heart rate, elevated breathing and low body temperature. Daddy helped the midwife, and after 45 long minutes, he was finally up to snuff. They placed him on my belly and I fell in love!

Family portrait...that's my mom (Ben's Nana) in the pink, and Wayne in the picture. He couldn't be with us physically, but he was definitely there in spirit!

For more pictures, check out our Shutterfly site - click here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


On the Pregosaur blog. I'm lazy and didn't feel like posting it twice. :o)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Big Baby?

My midwife suspects that I'm growing a large baby. Hopefully not quite as large as the statue above, however.

Yesterday I had my 37-week check-up. According to some sources, I'm now officially full term. Other sources prefer to call that near term, and peg actual full term at 38 weeks. Either way you look at it, I'm pretty darn close to having this baby. And if you listen to my midwife, he's pretty much ready to come out!

Now, I do take this with a grain of salt, because any estimate of fetal size is a guess - perhaps an educated one, but still a guess. But yesterday at my appointment, after palpating my uterus rather extensively, the midwife told me she thinks Baby Ben is already approaching 8 lbs. We have a growth ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow afternoon - but again, I've heard plenty of stories of people who were told after an u/s they were going to have a large baby, and the baby ended up weighing 1-2 lbs less at birth than what they were told.

So, I'm staying calm and not getting up in arms about it. I'm going for the ultrasound, and am actually pretty excited about it. We've only had one other, and I honestly thought that would be it. So we're excited to get to see our son (and, you know, double check that he really is our son) one last time before delivery.

Due date is three weeks from today, and if this large baby thing is true, they'd like to see me go early rather than late. I wouldn't mind that either way, honestly. But since we're using a birth center, they won't be inducing any time soon. So it's still a waiting game, either way. Come on, (Big?) Ben! We want to meet you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Shared Pain

Last night, I watched Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette perform a courageous short program, just two days after her mother unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack.

It was too much for me to take. Because I know her pain.

I may not be an Olympic figure skater. But that look on her face when she finished her skate, as she was overcome with emotion - I know that pain.

And I know all too well the feeling of going through something so huge and wishing, wanting with all your heart, that you could share it with that parent who sacrificed so much for you.

But it's just not meant to be. So you go on, you forge ahead. Because that's all you can do.

There's irony in our situations, me and Joannie. Terrible, painful irony. Joannie would not have made it to the Olympics if her mother hadn't sacrificed so much for her dreams of being a champion. And I wouldn't be four weeks away from having my first baby if I hadn't found out last summer that my father was dying of cancer.

I so desperately wanted him to meet his grandson. We pushed up our timeline on having a baby because we wanted that so badly. And oh, how he tried to make that happen for us. Up until just a couple of weeks before he died, Wayne was still talking about how he was determined to stick around so he could hold his grandbaby.

I told him, a week or so before he died, that it was okay. We all knew his time was near, and I told him it was okay that he couldn't stick around. We'd be okay, me and Branden and the baby.

And we will be. Because we have to be. What other choice is there? But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, when I feel this child move inside me and think how very much Wayne would've enjoyed this time. When I think about the moment my mom enters the room to meet her grandson for the first time, and how Wayne should've been there too.

And so, while I might not be an Olympic figure skater, I know the pain Joannie is experiencing. And I feel for her. My heart goes out to her. That is a pain I don't wish on anyone.

My heart also goes out to my friend Serena, who lost her mother to the evil that is cancer over the weekend. Serena, I wish I could be there to give you a big hug. I know too well the heartache you are dealing with, and I wish you didn't have to go through it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nursery Pictures!!

I spent a good part of the day working on the nursery, and it's basically finished now! We still have a few odds and ends to get, and we'll probably hang some more pictures on the wall at some point, but for the most part, it's done! Here are the pictures...

The wall across from the you can see the crib, the color block painting we did, the letters I painted and hung over the crib, the glider/ottoman, and the hanging stuffed animal display to the right.

Close up of the crib. Only thing missing here is the crib skirt, which my mom is making out of some old curtains she originally made for my dorm room in college. Turns out M&Ms fabric is now considered "vintage" (I'm guessing there was a big clamp-down on unlicensed M&M stuff) and is verrry expensive now. Lucky we already had some!

A close-up of the stuffed animal storage. I got this years ago from IKEA, but this is the first time it's been used. I put a few Easter goodies in there for now (Snoopy and a couple of Easter M's)...then we have a stuffed Sneetch, and finally, in the bottom two slots, Ben's first stuffed toys of his own that we've been given as gifts.

Close-up of the glider corner. The blanket behind Clifford is a Peanuts blanket I used as a kid. The colors matched, so I decided to put it out. On the shelf, we have some plush M&Ms, a really cute handmade lunchbox I got from a friend at our shower, some posable M&Ms, a little train toy, and the stuffed Moose from If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Clifford, Sneetches, the Moose...can you tell we're a literary bunch? My mom's a librarian, and when I was growing up she was a children's librarian - so she instilled in me a love for good children's literature.

The blank corner where our changing table/dresser will go. It's currently being handmade by Ben's GranPoppy (Branden's dad). They'll bring it up next month.

The wall opposite the crib - just to the right of the main door. We have an M&Ms cuckoo clock, some dispensers, a shelf of children's books, and on the bottom, some socks and bibs that are waiting for the dresser, the bumbo, and the hamper. And if you look very closely, in the middle on the top shelf, you'll see a clay sculpture. It's a star-bellied sneetch dancing with a plain-bellied sneetch, and Wayne sculpted it for me. I figured it would be nice for Ben to have something of his grandfather in the room.

The wall we didn't paint - because it's taken up by this huge door, which leads to bathroom/closet/utility room.

Close-up of the crib.

And finally, the floor covering - a patchwork of four different rugs I found online.
So there you have it - a tour of our nursery!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


My debit card number, that is! Here's the story...

Sunday morning, Branden and I went out to buy groceries. When I attempted to pay with my debit card, it was declined. Branden paid for our groceries, and we came home, wondering what would cause my card to be declined.

After unloading the groceries, we logged on to our accounts online and boy, was I in for a shock! There at the top of the detail on my account were four strange charges that I knew nothing about - three to DHL totaling over $2200, and another to for $4.75.

Initially, I was in shock. Of course I'd heard of this happening, but didn't this always happen to someone else? A friend of a friend, someone a coworker knows, etc. But it was actually happening to me? Wow.

I immediately called my bank's customer support number. Here is where I have to brag on Chase and their fraud department. They never questioned me about the fraudulent charges. They had even already added a fraud alert to my account before I called - apparently the thief tried a fourth charge at DHL for over $900, but that one didn't go through. (Seriously - who spends over $3000 at DHL? What are they shipping, and to where?)

I spent about fifteen minutes on the phone with the fraud department, and they completely took care of me. The representative gave me a number to call back as soon as the charges actually hit my account (they were still pending) so that a credit could be issued. They also gave me a number to get in touch with DHL (that was a laugh...more on that in a minute!).

On Tuesday morning, I logged on to my account, and it was like it had never happened! All four fraudulent charges were completely gone, and everything looked great. The good news in all of this is that they only got my debit card number - so my actual account is still safe, as are our other accounts (savings and Branden's checking). I was issued a new debit card, which I should get in a few more days. Hopefully, this is all behind me.

Oh, except for the DHL part. I called their customer support line, and they said in order to get in touch with the fraud department, I had to e-mail them with my contact information. So I did, on Sunday. I have yet to hear from them! Good thing Chase is taking care of me, because they certainly aren't!

So to recap:
Credit card fraud stinks.
Yay for Chase!
Boo on DHL.

Nursery Sneak Peek

We started work on painting the nursery last weekend. For a full detail of what we plan on doing with the room, check out my latest post on Pregosaur.

I'm going to hold off on any "results" pictures until we get a few more things up on the wall, but here are a few sneak peeks to tide you over...

Branden taping off our design:

The letters that will go over the crib, painted in the same colors as our wall design:

The painting is all done, and the tape is down. I must say, I absolutely love what we did! I hope to make some more progress this weekend, so stay tuned for more pictures!

Friday, January 29, 2010

32 weeks, and all is well!

I figured it was high time for an update here, since I haven't posted in almost three weeks! I'm 32 weeks pregnant now. The picture above was taken on Wednesday. What's been going on lately? Well...

Last Saturday, we had our first baby shower!!! It was sooo much fun! By the end of the day, my face hurt from smiling so much. We got tons of great gifts, and had a blast with all the friends who were there. After the shower, we went out to dinner with my mom, and she gave us even more clothes! Here's Ben's closet now:

He had maybe a third of that before the shower on Saturday. And every single thing is just so stinkin' cute...I can't wait to dress my son in these adorable outfits!

Wednesday the 27th was Wayne's birthday. Not a good day. Very emotional. After a long, trying day at work, I went to visit his plaque at the cemetery and had a good talk with him. I really miss him...the sound of his voice...his laugh...and I try to think of what he would say if he were still here. I hope I'm making him proud. I know he'd enjoy watching me get bigger and bigger. We talked a lot about the baby before he passed away, and I know he was so excited for us. I suspect he's still watching, and is still excited. Even though Ben will never get to meet his Grandpa Wayne, he's going to know alllll about him!

I got a good surprise today...and haven't even gotten to see it yet. I got a phone call from the Fed Ex delivery guy saying that I had a large package, and asking if I was home to receive it. Unfortunately, I wasn't. He then told me it looked like a mattress, and was from Babies R Us! Aww, a surprise delivery off of our registry! I had him deliver it to our doorstep, and then got hold of Branden so he could run home and put it inside. Of course, he put it in the crib. I can't wait to see it! Now we have something to put those mattress sheets on that we got at the shower!
Not very exciting, but there's a picture of the mattress from the Babies R Us listing.

Oh, and our mystery gifter? It was my mom! Thanks, Nana!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Makin' cookies

On New Year's Eve, I spent the afternoon making cookies. From scratch. I never, ever do this. But I really wanted to make a special present for my mom for our extended family gift exchange (I'd drawn her name).

I chose Paula Deen's White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies, because I knew my mom liked white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and pretty much anything by Paula Deen. I bought the ingredients before Christmas, so that on New Year's Eve, all I had to worry about was the actual baking.

Somewhere along the line, I got the bright idea that I should make a double batch. I have no idea why I decided to do that, but I did...and so I ended up making 53 huge cookies. No matter - I had plenty left over after my mom's gift to give them as a gift to a friend and also share some with Branden's co-workers (who I hear loved them). And we still have a few left here at home.

So without further ado, here is the recipe, illustrated and annotated with my pictures and comments.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies
Cook time: 15 minutes (that does NOT include prep time!)
Level: Easy (ha!)
Yield: 4 dozen (um, yeah...I should've read this before I decided on a double-batch)

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup candied cherries
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks

Here's my mise en place:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (Well, it starts out easy enough.)

Decided to go ahead and chunk up my white chocolate and set that aside...

That's an awful lot of white chocolate.

Holy moly...two bowls full?!
This is my first hint that maybe a double batch was more than I bargained for.

In a medium bowl, with electric mixer (hey, I can do one better - I just got a new stand mixer for Christmas!), cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Set aside.

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. (When no sifter is handy, substitute collander...right?)

Add milk to the butter mixture and then add the flour mixture. ( a little messy here!)

Mix until just combined. Batter should be stiff.

In another bowl, combine nuts, cherries, and white chocolate. Then add to batter, stirring only to blend. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper instead), 2 inches apart.

Bake for approximately 11 to 13 minutes. (Mine were so big, I baked them for 15 minutes per batch).

Cool on wire rack. (That part, I can handle).

Then, just try to resist them. I did pretty well...I only ate one.

Once cooled, arrange cookies into an attractive Christmas tin, and tape the recipe on the inside of the lid, so Mom can see that you made Paula Deen cookies from scratch! (Okay, so that part isn't actually in the recipe.)

And of course the best part...soak up Mom's raves when she opens her homemade cookies at the family Christmas celebration! I must say, I really enjoyed the whole process of making these cookies, even if it did take over two hours, start to finish, and my feet were absolutely killing me by the time all was said and done. (But maybe that had something to do with the fact that I'm seven months pregnant? Perhaps.)