Friday, September 30, 2011

World's best french toast recipe

It's General Conference weekend, my friends. A time for inspiring messages to help you stand a little taller, and decadent breakfast foods to make you feel a little fuller. This is my all-time favorite french toast recipe (coming from a girl who hated the stuff all growing up). I don't have any photos to tantalize you with--some things mustn't get cold in a photo shoot--but it looks something like this:

And makes you feel a little like this:

Sadly, we won't be making it this year--it calls for Great Harvest cinnamon swirl bread, and our nearest is a nearly an hour away--so make a batch or two for me, will you?

Best French Toast Recipe Ever

Mix together:
4 eggs
2/3 cup cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Dip slices of Great Harvest cinnamoon swirl bread into egg mixture and cook both sides on a hot griddle. Slather in that amazing buttermilk syrup recipe that you probably already have, but I'll post below just in case, and then add a dollop of whipped cream and then some banana and strawberry slices (to keep it healthy). Makes enough for 6-8 really thick slices.

Best Buttermilk Syrup Recipe Ever (you know this already)

Melt together in a pan on the stove:
1 cube butter
1 cup sugar

Then add:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla or maple flavoring

Continue stirring over medium heat until it gets all frothy white. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The birth story

Turns out this is kind of a long story. Whoops. (Also, I love parenthesis. You'll see.)

This story starts back in May. I attended a Mother's Day charity brunch and won the "expectant mother" raffle package. It included a few onesies, a couple of those decorated burp cloths that are cute but I don't really get, a carseat cover, and a hypnobirthing course. At that point, all I knew about hypnobirthing was that my coworker had done a similar program with her births. She had such a positive, empowering view of birth (even after two long, difficult deliveries of her own), that I was excited to learn more.

Ryan and I started attending the classes, and we were hooked. Total game changer. Did you know people who are allergic to anesthesia have used hypnotherapy to get through crazy surgeries? I'm talking slicing-and-dicing, hammer-and-chisel type surgeries. Incredible. Ryan and I started practicing relaxation methods that would help during the delivery. (Looking back, I wish we had practiced more diligently, but the little we did helped us immensely.)

Meanwhile, I began having doubts about the midwife I had been seeing. When I asked more details about the logistics of the actual delivery, she started throwing around some interesting stats. More than half of her patients were induced. Fifty percent of her deliveries ended with episiotomies because of sudden drops in heart rate. I'm not an expert, but those numbers sounded high. She assured me that she would only induce me if my water broke before going into labor, which doesn't happen often. Surely it wouldn't happen to me. But Ryan told me to go with my gut, so, at 35 weeks pregnant, we switched to a new doctor.

Fast forward a few weeks, and what do you know? My water broke at 2:00 on a Sunday morning. (My gut is so smart sometimes.) We were so excited. Free pass out of teaching sunbeams and sunday school! No correlation meeting! Oh, and right. We were gonna have a baby! Plenty to be excited about.

I started having contractions, but they were pretty random. Three minutes, then seven, then twelve, then two. I relaxed in bed while Ryan packed half our house to go to the hospital. We waited until 6 to start calling around--first the doctor (who said we could hang out at home until the contractions started coming more regularly), then our parents (who said get thee to a hospital are you sure you don't have to leave right now?), and finally the missionaries (who said woohoo we'll teach your classes).

Then we hunkered down and started watching movies. There was Stardust, then Nacho Libre, with Ryan faithfully timing the contractions (which were coming every 4-8 minutes) on his phone. By around 1 p.m., we were getting a steady stream of texts from family that either said
  • "so-and-so said that at such-and-such hospital you have to be admitted x number of hours after your water breaks so what are you waiting for?" or
  • "SO EXCITED!! CAN'T WAIT!! LOVE YOU :) :) :) :)"
  • or both.
Dr. Peterson (our OB) called to check in on us (and also to see if she could teach her primary class or if I would be having a baby then), and we decided to meet up with her after church at her office. (Seriously how nice was that? To open up shop just for us? I love that woman.)

She checked me a little after 4, and I was dilated to a 4. No fever, no infection, but also not much progress. We decided to head back home and prepare for an early morning delivery. On the way home from her office, my contractions started coming every 5 minutes or so. We stopped at my mom's house and had dinner. The contractions started coming every 4 minutes or so. We drove back to Katy and straight to the hospital. By then, the contractions were every 3 minutes.

I was so excited. He was finally coming! But when they checked me, I was only dilated to a 5. At that rate, it'd be another 7 or 8 hours before we'd have our little boy. Which was fine, I thought. Up until that point, I was able to relax and the contractions had been fine--tight, but not painful.

Soon after we checked into the hospital, I started to feel some pretty intense pain in my lower back. I tried to use the hypnobirthing techniques to relax, but I was having trouble focusing. After only a few contractions like that, I decided I couldn't handle that kind of pressure for 7 or 8 more hours, so I told Ryan to get that anesthesiologist in there, pronto.

While we were waiting (they said it would take him 30 minutes to arrive), I couldn't shake this overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom. I absolutely had to go. In my mind, if I could just go to the bathroom, all this pressure would be gone, and then there would be room for the baby to come. (I'm really good with human anatomy, if you couldn't tell.) I was all ready to go through with my plan when the nurse came in. She pretty much had to pry me from the bathroom and drag me to the bed, where we discovered I had somehow gone from a 5 to a 10 within the half hour.

I was immediately relieved, mentally and physically. You mean I don't have to do that for another 8 hours? I was back in control. We sent the anesthesiologist away, called the doctor, and then nurses started streaming in. Ryan was such a champ. He kept telling me how good I was doing, how much he loved me, how proud he was of me. Made me feel like I could birth a buffalo, I felt so good. But, yes, a baby would be better.

The pushing began, and the pressure from before was gone. I just kept visualizing our sweet boy in our arms. I can't say how long I pushed for--everything seemed to happen so fast to me--but in retrospect it must have been awhile because he wasn't born until 9:50 that night. I just remember the room being very quiet, with us chatting a bit in between pushes. At one point, they had me feel the tip of his head that was poking out. It was like a warm wet nerf ball--super soft and super strange.

With my last push, Dr. Peterson helped to pull him out with her hand. According to Ryan, it looked like his head was being crushed like a sponge (and where was his brain?!), but he didn't say anything because how do you word that without making the lady on the bed freak out? (Excuse me, but did you just deflate my son's head like a balloon?) Plus, it all happened so fast.

Everything was suddenly perfect. One moment he was just the tip of a nerf ball, and the next he was our son. In our arms. Red skin and wide eyes. This little life that we created. We were in awe of it all.

Ryan cut the cord--which has produced a beautiful belly button, I might add--and not long after, my mom came in to meet him and take the photo above. The next day we settled on his name. Beau Ryan Tingey. Fits him perfectly, the way he fits us.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's a Beau!

If we're not facebook friends (why aren't we??), then you may not know that the belly from my last post became the baby boy of this post. Two months and two days ago, to be exact. We tried our hardest to get him to hold out til 7.11.11, but he wouldn't have it and came a few hours short.

So much and so little has happened in the last two months. So much (he came! he cried! he rolled! he smiled!) and so little (we feed him. we put him to sleep. we clean his dirties. over and over.) that I don't know where to begin. But here's a start:

**Beau loves techno. Ryan's brother made a few songs on garage band before leaving on his mission (miss you, drew!), and only bouncing can rival the calming powers of those electric rhythms.

**Beau has peed on us about 23 times. He looks so innocent in his newborn photos, but 5 of those times happened during that photo shoot.

**When Mother Goose retires, Ryan would make an excellent replacement. The impromptu rhymes he sings to get Beau to calm down at night are pretty epic. Almost as good as Megan's "throw, throw, throw your beau" rendition.

**Beau sees dead people. He'll be looking right at you and then his gaze will turn to just above your right shoulder and change into a look of horror. This makes night feedings particularly spooky.

**I almost can't handle how sweet this little guy can be. When he curls up and falls asleep on your chest? It's over. Nothing sweeter. Except for maybe when he sighs in his sleep in your arms. Melt my heart. (Just one thing though--what's he doing in your arms? Give him back already.)

Anyway. Like I said, just a start. Up until now, the big battle has been Beau vs. the blog, and it's pretty obvious who won out there. But seeing as how Beau's got grandparents who live a gazillion miles away, I don't think I'm allowed to keep all this cuteness to myself anymore. Consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the payoff

Thank you for all the comments! We're slowly making some ground here, and your suggestions are helping a ton.

Now. A deal's a deal, so let's start with this fancy glamor shot I took using my laptop's web cam at 11 o'clock last night, shall we?

Ow ow. Y'all are lucky I got dressed that day.

I'll put up some stories and ultrasound photos next -- just keep those ideas comin'!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The great bribe

If you're still stopping by here every so often, it's most likely in the hopes that I've either a.) posted a pregnant picture or b.) written something riveting about our lives. Meanwhile, I'm busy trying to figure out babyland and what stroller is lightest, whether or not a travel system is necessary, if crib bumpers are deadly or just cute, and what brand of everything is the best.


I'm proposing a bargain.

For every comment you leave that includes a tried-and-true (by you!) baby product recommendation (or stay-away-from-ation), I will post either a belly photo, an ultrasound photo, or an anecdote from our recent lives (and let me tell you, we've been exciting lately). I will also accept life-changing (cannot live without!) baby book recommendations, baby name recommendations (but only the awesome ones will count), and other general tips/tricks that have made your children brilliant and you fabulous.

You might think my proposal's pretty selfish -- that I will get far more out of your recommendations than you will out of seeing my 33-week baby bump.

You obviously haven't seen me pregnant yet.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pretty great

In the past couple months, we:

*visited some great sites and friends in a new city

*went to the greatest rodeo on earth

*fell in love with bread pudding

*won a pretty great door prize (42" wide)

*planted a garden

*made the world's greatest french toast

*drove to the coast

*uncovered a box of treasures

*listened to a prophet

*felt our son kick for the first time

Hope to share more details soon.