...and her trials of dealing with a working mom

Monday, October 31, 2011

I love my camera!

It's a Canon Powershot S95.  Here is our weekend in pictures.

Anyone have any idea who she is?????

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New camera

We've had such a busy week.  We did so much stuff, that the days have been full and long.  I had a job interview on Tuesday, so Miss A had her first official babysitting experience.  I handled it just fine, thank you very much.  I don't think I could have done it several weeks ago, but this mom is ready to get back to work.  And it's really helpful that we have the BEST babysitter lined up.  She is a stay at home mom with two boys.  Before she did that, she was a special ed teacher.  I'm pretty sure she's a better mom to Ainsley than me.  I showed up to pick her up, and it was nap time.  Everyone was asleep.  They had done tummy time, went outside and swung, and played with bubbles.  I can't accomplish all that with one kid, much less three!

Wednesday was a funeral.  Just generally crappy like all funerals are.  Thursday was our shopping day and today was our first experience at post natal yoga.  It was pretty fun.  I don't know if I'd classify it as a good workout, but it was nice to be around other moms with Ainsley.  The only thing I can't stomach (I'm ok with all the other hippy crap) is their pushing of baby sign language.  I'm not going to do it.  Kids fall behind verbally that start using sign language.  And it has no relevance the rest of their lives.  It's not like learning a second language they can use forever.  Poopy in sign language is only going to be used for a couple of months.  I think it's stupid.  Anyways....

The big thing is, the spousal unit bought my Birthday present early.  I got a new camera!  Which is helpful, since I've taken ~350 pictures of Ainsley so far, so they might as well be really good ones.  It's a canon.  I like it thus far.  Here is a picture of my Edel bug that I took messing around with it this evening
I was looking at SLRs, and this is suppose to be as comparable as possible, minus all the bulk.  Big plans for the rest of the weekend.  You'll get tons of pics later of it all, I'm sure.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A baby... in a bar...

So the wedding shower we were helping to host was this weekend.  The initial plan was to have the spousal unit's mom watch Ainsley.  Unfortunately, she came down with the stomach flu and was unable to even hold her, so she had to hang out at the party all night.  She was SO good.  She got a little fussy at the end, but it was close to 11 pm...

We had a lot of fun.  It was in a really small town in south Texas, in the town's beer joint.  Who knew bars had toys for kids?

I stayed up til 4 am on Friday making cupcakes.  I made 6 dozen.  Yeah, you heard me right...  SIX dozen.  I should have taken pictures of them.  Not that they turned out extremely pretty, but they were extremely delicious.  The main "theme" of the cupcakes was booze, since the party was in a bar and all.  I did make strawberry ones though, in case there were kids there, they could have one.  And their weren't....  Here are the recipes I followed, besides the margarita ones I posted the other day.

Strawberry Cupcakes
Yield: 34 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¼ cups sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
1 cup milk
2½ cups finely chopped fresh strawberries*
For the frosting:
1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped*
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula.
Divide the batter between the paper liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-28 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Puree until completely smooth.  Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer** fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip with the frosting.  (I used a large, unlabeled star tip to frost these cupcakes.) Frost cooled cupcakes as desired, and garnish with fresh berries or berry slices.

The frosting on these cupcakes were really to die for.  I think this is going to be my go to icing recipe from now on.  It can handle a lot of liquid, while still holding it's stiffness.  I think it'd be really good with Baileys that's in the next recipe....

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.
3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.
4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.
6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

I was kinda surprised that these were the biggest hit out of the 3 different kind of cupcakes.  They were a little rich for me, but then again... I'm not too crazy about chocolate.

Friday was the last time I cooked.  We were down in south Texas til Sunday, and we didn't feel like cooking Sunday night, so we just leftovered it.  I have a interview tomorrow  (YAY!), so I didn't cook tonight.  Instead I went and got my nails done and went to the gym.  I should go to the gym more often, but hey... I'm consistent in being inconsistent.  It works for me...

So I should probably get my rear to bed.  Her is Miss Ainsley with her Popo on Saturday night.  Gotta close with a pic of the sweetness!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

3 months today!

There isn't much to write about today.  We did some errands and I'm going to try to get up early in order to make 4 dozen cupcakes... or something like that.  I did stay up late last night and re-did my resume.  Hopefully that will illicit more interest than a career services company looking for money to find me a job.  Whole Foods is closing it's posting I applied to on the 25th.  The likely hood I'd get that position is slim, but it'd still be awesome...

The bit news of the day is that someone is 3 months old today!  It's passed so quickly, and then again it hasn't.  Being in the hospital seemed like ages ago (Thank God). But her weighing 8 lbs and me carrying her around like a football seemed like just yesterday.  Here is the Birthday Girl today...

                                                    Miss A sleeping in my arms tonight...
                                         Napping while we got the oil changed in the car today
Almost 2 months old.  I don't think she's grown that much until I start looking back at ALL the pictures I've taken of her

Here she is, 2 days old.  This was our first night at home.  And I'm pretty sure we were both SO ready to be out of the hospital.  God knows I was!

She is my sweet cheeks, and I'm so lucky to have her!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today started off by going downtown.  I received a call from a "headhunter" wanting to sit down and talk about jobs.  I went to the meeting, figuring it would be bullshit, and it was.  After listening to his spew about him empowering women, (blah, blah, blah...  You'll empower my foot up your ass...) it turned to me paying them to find me a job.  Yeah.... no thanks. So that's the only development on the career front so far.

So I went to the store today and got all my supplies for baking.  We are helping host a wedding shower this weekend, and we are in charge of dessert.  So I made margarita cupcakes today to test drive them.  They were delicious.  Ainsley baked with me for a while as she rode in her Bjorn carrier.  Then she got fussy and laid in her bouncy chair for a few minutes while I finished up the frosting. 

These aren't cupcakes for kiddos btw...

And remember, the booze you cook with should be good enough to drink.  If anyone ever tells you to use cheap stuff to cook with, that don't know what they're talking about.

Margarita Cupcakes with Lime and Tequila Cream Cheese frosting
Adapted from Homemade by Holman

Cupcakes:1 box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
7 1/2 ounces margarita mix
2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce orange juice
3 large egg whites
2 T vegetable oil
Zest of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin tins with paper liners or spray with baking spray. Mix together margarita mix, tequila and orange juice in a large measuring cup. Add cake mix to mixing bowl and add egg whites, oil, lime zest and tequila mix. Beat on low speed for about 30 seconds until dry ingredients are incorporated and then beat on medium high speed for 2 minutes. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan and then cool completely on wire racks. Brush additional tequila over cupcakes while warm.

Icing:8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T lime juice
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp lime zest
3-4 drops green food coloring

Beat cream cheese and butter on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 2 T lime juice and lime zest and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated. Add Tequila to taste. Add food coloring a couple drops at a time and beat on medium high speed until desired color is reached and icing is smooth. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired.

I wish I got a picture of A cooking with me!

After I got the cupcake mess all cleaned up, I started dinner.  I just used the rest of the chicken we had left over from the other night.  It's a store bought rotersseri.  Put a little olive oil and stirred in onion and green pepper with some salsa.  Added drained can of black beans and the chicken with a little more salsa.  It made the best tacos.  I'll have to remember that one again...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Man vs Baby

It's going to take me forever to write this, so it's going to be short and sweet tonight, I think.  Yup, it's 3 am.  I was so tired from staying up super late last night looking up cupcake recipes, that I passed out while nursing her around 9:30 pm.  The spousal unit woke me up about 10 and took her and I went to bed.  Apparently I'm so use to only getting about 4 hours of sleep every night, that I was back up at 1:30 am.  And that's about the time she woke up....

I nursed her, and now she won't completely go back to sleep.  Luckily, I'm pretty awake too from my 4 hours of sleep earlier, so I decided to battle the sleeping position tonight.  And oh.... it's been a battle so far.  I pick her up, and she goes right to sleep.  I put her on her back in the pack n' play, and she starts squirming and fighting her swaddle.  This is actually the longest she's gone.. about 3 minutes.  I really don't know what to do.  Should I just let her squirm and possibly even cry herself to sleep?  I know she's tired....  she sleeps when I pick her up.  Ugh, It's going to be a long morning.

Yesterday was pretty uneventful.  Just cleaned the house after this weekend's beer and cookies episode.  I think today's plans are going to consist of Starbucks (of course) and finally getting A's birth certificate.  We are going snowboarding this winter (well, not me now, since I lack the all important health insurance) and we have to have it in order for her to fly.  So that should be entertaining.  State agencies are usually just a load of fucking fun.  I need to dig out the few Halloween decorations I have and put those up.  I also need to get her costume lined up.  I think she's going to be a lobster.

I mean, seriously... how cute is that.  And this poor kids picture is ALL OVER the internet by the way.  I can only hope I can embarrass my kid as well as these parents have.

Ugh... she's up again...  wait... she put herself back to sleep I think.  Oh thank goodness. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beer and Cookies

We had a really good weekend.  Not really productive, but none the less...

We pulled the tv out onto the back porch and watched Texas get beat by OSU (Go Pokes!)  It was a little white trash, but it was fun.  The afternoon got a little warm, so I pulled Ainsley's onesie off and she pimped her OSU diaper.
               Miss A does like watching her football (that's roadcone orange btw, no burnt orange bulshit....)

Luckily I had pumped enough on friday and the previous week, because she had to get a couple of bottles Saturday.  Mommy got Samuel Adam's Cream Stout....  it was delicous! 

I'm really lucky in the fact that my spousal unit is super support of all my parenting choices, even when I can tell he's not too thrilled.  I would have breastfeed no matter what, but it does help that he helps me out whenever he can.  Holds her while I get situated, never suggested formula when I was first beginning and getting frustrated...  it was great.  He even tolerates my cloth diapering habit I've acquired.  He doesn't know that I ordered a couple more last week though.... ssshhhhh.  And I haven't exactly got her sleeping in her crib yet.  She's basically permanently sleeping in her bouncy chair.  I put her flat in her pack n play in our room, and she only sleeps an hour, and is up again.  Even tonight, she's been a little fidgetty even in her bouncy chair.  That's partly my fault.  I think I let her sleep too long for her afternoon nap.  I really need to work on her sleeping in her pack n play.  I'm not ready for her to be in a separate room though....

                                              Ainsley sleeping while I write this on the couch....

One thing I didn't get accomplished this weekend is saving all my pictures on my phone of Ainsley.  I seriously have like 250.  That's what I do all day....  no working and lurking for me!  Just funning and sunning with her.... and taking a lot of pictures while doing it.  If anyone knows how to load my pictures from my iphone 4 to my computer I'd really appreciate it, because at this point, I'm just going to start emailing them to myself.

Along with all the beer this weekend, I may have decided that cookies were an excellent idea.  I made a recipe I'd been meaning to try.  I don't know if it was the beer I had, or if the recipe wasn't that great.  But the cookies only came out mediocre.  I won't even bother posting the recipe

                                                            Just flat a chewy.  ehhhhhh

Now my plans for the week include finding a recipe for cupcakes.  We are hosting a shower with a group of people and our job is to bring the dessert.  I was going to buy a couple dozen of Hey Cupcake (Hey strawberry nom nom nom), but at $33 a dozen, and I ain't got no job....   We are going to make our own.  Hopefully I can find some bootleg recipes or something off the net tomorrow. 

Speaking of jobs...  I still haven't gotten a nibble.  It's really frustrating.  I had a job and a job offer this time last year.  Now I don't have shit.  I keep telling myself that I'm okay with being laid off, but I keep having dreams of punching my former bosses in the face.  At least I wake up with a smile now...   So if I can't get another job here in a few months, I'm going to need to figure out how to bring in ~$2000.  I like being creative, and I can produce some pretty decent art.  I'm thinking of maybe trying to sell some of it on etsy.  I wish my sewing skills were better, because I could think of several things to sew and sell on etsy.  Hopefully it won't have to come to that....

Friday, October 14, 2011

A month later....

I'll start with a little background....

I'm a recently stay at home mom to a 12 week old due to being laid off while on maternity leave.  Not only did I not expect to be a mother a year ago, but I didn't in my wildest dreams think I'd be staying at home.  Motherhood has definitely been an experience I was unprepared for.  Never did I think I could love someone as much as I love my little girl.  Completely exhausted, I still sit up and stare at her.  She is definitely the most beautiful thing I've ever done.  And then there were moments at 4 am, after 6 hours of screaming, that I think to myself, "what did I do to deserve this?" 

Now to get into why I ever even considered blogging...   I am in no way a writer.  I'm actually horrific at being articulate.  But a little over a month ago, while reading my July birth club board, there was a post by someone who's daughter was having problems feeding.  Her daughter, Naya, was born 4 days after my Ainsley.  There was a link to her blog, and I commenced reading it (http://www.notesofnaya.blogspot.com/).  The way I look at my daughter has changed since...

Naya was misdiagnosed as a lazy feeder.  After being rushed to the ER, it was determined she had Sepsis (a bacterial infection of your blood, basically) and spent the next 2 months in the NICU until she passed away on September 14, 2011.  I sat in my livingroom one day while Ainsley slept all day after getting vaccinated and read Jamie's (Naya's mother) entire blog.  It was heart wrenching.  As I went through the days of them sitting in the NICU, I thought about what Ainsley was doing those days.  When I finally got to the most recently post, it was of Naya's passing.... and I bawled.  This little girl was a perfectly healthy baby when she was born.  It wasn't a genetic disorder.  It was something that if was caught, she would have been perfectly fine.  The symptoms were something that even I would have totally missed, but a doctor should have caught.  There was equal possibility of this happening to Ainsley.  Naya just drew the wrong card.

Now I look at my daughter in a very different light.  How lucky am I that I still have her.  Even when she's screaming at 2 am, I hold her and thank God for her being able to even scream.  And at the same time, I really do feel a deep sorrow for Jamie and her family.  How something could happen to a baby just like Ainsley is beyond me.  If I had to hold my daughter while she passed, it would be the end of me... I would never be able to mentally recover from that. I have the utmost respect for Jamie and her family, and thank her for sharing her story.  She is so much stronger than I could ever be in that situation and her ability to share her story is remarkable.  I'm sure she hates people like me...  People who still have their children while she does not. I know I would.  I am sure her intention wasn't to write a blog so people would appreciate what they have, but that is what she has done.  For that, I am forever grateful and maybe her story can be a warning to other new mothers as to what to look for so this doesn't have to be repeated.  Naya and Jamie will forever be in my prayers.

So... on the one month anniversary of Naya's passing, I'm dedicating this blog to her.  Her short life here on earth touched so many people via her amazing mother.  I know I am a better person and mother for what Jamie has written about her precious angel.  I hope that I appreciate the moments with Ainsley everyday in the same way that Jamie would appreciate moments with her Naya if she could have her back....

                                                   My precious sleeping monkey pants