Pregnancy, second time aroundPrint Recipe Print Recipe

Photos by Catherine Abegg

I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy is flying by!

With your first, each week feels like a month long and then with your second, you blink and you’re in the delivery room.

Given when I first announced I was pregnant, life was hectic and really slowed down since. Now that I’m just about 37 weeks, I’m thinking it’s probably time we pull out the infant carrier from storage and maybe put a few things in an over overnight bag. I’m not even going to tell you all the other things on my to-do list. I’m sure it’s totally normal to not have a crib weeks before baby is due.

So, I’m kind of embarrassed, but feel the need to confess. I googled “what are signs of labor?” today. I’ve had crazy back pain, cramping, a shit ton of pressure and my inner hips feel like they’re going to dislocate when I walk. I never had any of this with mason.

Sure enough, it’s all normal. And yes, I’m getting close, but we already knew that.

Back to the waiting (while uncomfortable) game.

 

 

Working this time around, I had to buy a whole new maternity wardrobe. With my first, I lived in sweats because I rarely left the bed. It was really nice, but I have to say, I like having to get dressed every day. Not so much now that I’m huge at the end, actually not at all, but there’s something about being put together that makes you feel good.

Maternity clothes are hard, but I got a handful of basics from Gap, a nice pair of jeans from Pea and the Pod, few dresses from ASOS, splurged on a few pieces from Hatch Collection and a few non-maternity items from Anthropologie.

 

 

Thankfully this pregnancy has been much kinder to me compared to my first. I only got sick a handful of times, had a much healthier appetite, and much more active – as in on my feet, not working out.

However, the emotions, not so much.

I think the hardest part is knowing that I wont have my mom here. She was with us the week leading up to Mason’s arrival and then by my side through the whole labor and delivery. She always had the best advice when I needed reassured. And there’s lot of reassuring needed, especially as a new mom. She helped to keep our family fed once we’d returned home. But most of all, it was her company that was so comforting.

I know it’ll be hard, but I’ll be okay.

I mean, this baby was brought into our lives for a reason and with the timing around my mom’s passing, I have a feeling this little being will be a gift to more than just my husband and I.

 

 

I now see why you forget all the “joys” of pregnancy in the last month. And child birth, for that matter. Although, that’s starting to come back to me.

I just keep reminding myself that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Lastly, here’s a sneak peek at my maternity shoot (below)! Catherine literally just sent over the photos and I seriously can’t wait to share. I’m going to talk more about maternity photos in a later post. It’ll be really good, in case you were wondering.

 

 35 weeks / iPhone photo by Catherine Abegg

Random, but I had completely forgotten that I’d posted “Packing for the Hospital” on the baby blog, which was also the last post… I was planning to keep up the two blogs, but then I ended up going back to work full time and then life happened. So, that will likely be the last post on WS&G Baby. Anyways, if anyone else needs a packing guide, it’s pretty helpful!

Grilled Vegetable SandwichesPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

I wish this could be a freezer meal.

I’m in full nesting mode (minus the time to physically nest) and trying to plan out my freezer meals for after the baby arrives. All the things I’m craving and eating right now really wouldn’t work to freeze for later. Maybe we can we talk about what are good freezer meals are then? I was going to do a few soups and maybe veggie enchiladas, but that’s kind of it.

Truthfully, I keep thinking that I’ll be super mom and can do it all after this baby. I mean, why not? … I’m quickly realizing that there’s a reason you forget about things. Like the last month of pregnancy, childbirth, and newborns.

Whatever, I’m sure I can either 1. still make these sandwiches  with an infant strapped to my chest or 2. find someplace or someone who can. And then whatever you’re doing, you should probably make these too. Trust me. They’re really easy, there’s nothing fancy about them, but so SO good!

 

 

I’ve made these so many times this summer and I typically go between two versions – one with mozzarella/balsamic and one with mashed avocado. I like them equally, which is why I’ve included both versions. Also, I have tried these with hummus and I wasn’t a huge fan. Just throwing that out there.

Now I should probably tell you a story.

It’s kind of embarrassing how long I’ve been thinking about these sandwiches and that I’m just now making them. We’re talking post college, pre-married life days. No need to do the math, it was a long time ago.

Once upon a time… Kidding, but kind of feels like that.

It was just after college, I strapped on a backpack and traveled around Italy with my two best girlfriends. There was no real agenda, or any pre-booked lodging. Very unlike my grownup self.  At the time, I didn’t do cheese (but I did do gluten) so when being on a “bread and cheese” budget, there were limited options. It was these veggie sandwiches, which I probably had at least one maybe two a day, biscuits and nutella or make your own bread and ham (with mustard) sandwiches. The end.

So, because these sandwiches have hardly left my mind and when you’re pregnant and  there’s something food related spinning in your head, it HAS TO HAPPEN. Period.

And you’re welcome.

Like a said before, these sandwiches are really nothing fancy, but I felt like you might need these in your life so I had to share. You can basically chop the vegetables any which way you like. I typically like them thin, but if my husband is grilling, I’ll cut them thicker so they don’t fall through the grill. You can chop in little pieces after you’ve grilled them and have the cheese act as “glue” to hold it all together. If there’s a vegetable you don’t like, them forget it, switch it out with something else. And of course, if you’re not gluten-free, it’s also very easy to make with any type of bread.

 

 

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches

makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini, cut in half and sliced vertically
  • 1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, cut in stripes or sections
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 8 slices of gluten-free bread

Cheese version 

  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette

Directions

I used a grill pan on the stove, but you can also toss these on the outdoor grill.

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt. *you may need extra olive oil with the eggplant as they tend to soak more of it up. You can either toss them all together or one vegetable type at a time. Place coated vegetables in a single layer on a the pan. After a few minutes, flip  the vegetables. *note – I added a little more salt at this time, but you don’t have to if you’re watching your sodium intake. Once they’ve softened and browned, remove and place on a plate or platter. Continue this until all the vegetables are cooked/grilled.

I used a panini press, but you can also use the same grill pan and kind of smash the top with a heavy pan. Or however you typically make grilled cheese.

Avocado version – spread mashed avocado on two slices of bread. Layer the grilled vegetables how you like and top with the second piece of bread, avocado side down. Place the sandwich in the panini press or back on the grill pan (like you’d make a grilled cheese) and flip after a few minutes or the bottom has browned. Once both sides have browned nicely, remove and enjoy! Continue these steps until all the desired sandwiches have been made.

Cheese version – drizzle balsamic vinaigrette on two slices of bread. Layer the grilled vegetables how you like and top with the slices of fresh mozzarella. Add the second piece of bread. Place the sandwich in the panini press or back on the grill pan (like you’d make a grilled cheese) and flip after a few minutes or the bottom has browned. Once both sides have browned nicely and the cheese has melted, remove and enjoy! Continue these steps until all the desired sandwiches have been made.

Enjoy!

*gluten-free *dairy-free, optional 

 

 

Summer Vegetable and Quinoa SaladPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

I’m back.

I know, I can’t believe it either.

I didn’t think it would be this hard to get back into blogging. Baby steps, I guess.

Since my mom passed, I went back to work full time, we moved – it was a crazy month long process, I entered the third trimester in my pregnancy and my husband took a new job.

We’re still adjusting to our new normal, but I’m definitely back in the kitchen and it feels more comforting than ever.

 

 

To get myself back into the grove of things, I remade an old favorite. A recipe from my mom. I thought it was only appropriate.

Mom would make big batches of this every year we were in Hawaii and then during the summer time when we’d visit. Everyone loved it and the best part, it’s incredibly easy and adaptable.

 

 

I made a big batch so we would have extras for lunches and also enough to send home with my sister.

I put a little in a bowl for my son (he’s now 20 months) and he went through two helpings. Not only was I thrilled he was eating a healthy meal, but I felt like he got to experience a little piece of my mom in that moment.

My sister and I top ours with baked tofu (extra firm, olive oil, salt, pepper and a little garlic powder) and grilled chicken for my husband. It’s also perfect for those summer days or nights that are too hot to cook. We’ve had a lot of those recently. Really thrown off my menu planning, but nice when there’s a backup already in the fridge.

Thank you all for being patient with me while I’ve taken the time to get into our new routine, be a mom again and find our new normal. More to come on pregnancy, life and of course gluten-free recipes!

 

Quinoa and vegetable Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 zucchini, quartered
  • 2 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange), chopped small
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes – red/orange, halved
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup  (3.8 oz.) black olives, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt + pepper
  • Optional – add baked tofu or chicken for protein

Directions

Place 1 cup uncooked quinoa and 1 3/4 cup water into a pot, sprinkle a little salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover and cook for 15-18 minutes.

Add the cut/chopped vegetables to a large bowl. Add quinoa, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt + pepper. Mix together and set aside, allowing all the ingredients to soak up the flavor.

For the taste test – if it’s too dry, add more olive oil. Add additional salt + pepper if needed.

Serve as is or top with tofu or chicken for extra protein.

Serve and enjoy!

 

*gluten-free *dairy-free *vegetarian 

 

Forever in our HeartsPrint Recipe Print Recipe

I have dreaded writing this post.

Mom put up an incredible fight. Six months of limited access to words, little awareness, declining mobility, in and out of multiple doctors appointments, and taking an obscene amount of medication around the clock. The emotions, deep sadness and loss were heavy on all of us, but she never stopped fighting. And either did we. Every appointment we went to – and I say we, because we ALL went everywhere together – she always had a smile on her face.  She would wave to Sunny, the receptionist when we’d come through the doors. She’d hold her oncologist, Dr. Crossland’s hand when she’d speak to her, even when receiving difficult news. With very few words, she never stopped touching lives.

December and beginning of January were dark months for us. Then in mid January, we had a glimpse of hope after we brought in Hospice and began Avastin treatments. She had access to additional words, more awareness and greater movement on her right side. We knew this was only temporarily, but we were going to hold onto whatever we had, even though there was still so much unknown for the future looked like.

On Friday, March 14th (6 months later), mom began her final transition to end of life, here in her own home. The days were filled with lots of ups and downs, moments when we swore that was it and then she’d fight through it. We had two of the most incredible days. They call it a window. She woke up from an almost comatose state with access to her entire vocabulary and memory before this journey began. We talked about everything from dying, what heaven looked like, who we needed to give extra hugs to and a check list of what needed to be done around the house, which she gave directly to my husband. We recorded her voice telling my sister and I that she loved us and that we loved her right back. At times, we laughed so hard that our belly’s hurt. One of the hardest parts for her and of course all of us what that she wouldn’t be here to meet the new baby. Everyone had tears when we’d talk about this. I asked if she would like to do a finger painting project where she’d put her handprint on one side and then we’d put the kids handprint on the other side. We did two, one for each kiddo. This actually brought smiles and comfort to all of us.

BTW – she was the only one to guess know the sex of our baby, which we found out the day of her service.

My mom continued caring for her family all the way until the end. She waited until Monday and 10 minutes after our head hospice nurse came for her daily visit. We didn’t have to make one single phone call. It was Monday, March 31st when my sister, dad and I held her hand as she left peacefully. It couldn’t have been more beautiful.

Hospice cleaned her up, put her cashmere sweater on, some lipstick and surrounded the bed with her hearts.

She was beautiful, as always.

She taught my sister and I to be strong, independent women and to be able to take care of ourselves in case anything were to happen. That included knowing how to put air in your tire to being able to get a job if or when we needed to. And by all means, she lead by example. She worked hard every day of her life. She balanced a successful career in the mortgage business before starting her own coaching business at age 59, raised our family – putting dinner on the table every night, and she did this all with perfectly manicured nails, styled hair and her designer high heels.

She was someone who didn’t gossip, judge, and hardly brought an ounce of negativity into a room. When she would ask, “how are you doing?”, she really wanted to know. Then she would listened to every word you’d say and before giving any piece of advice or pushing further, she’d ask if it were okay. I wouldn’t be surprised if she changed someone’s life that met on an airplane. That would be my mom.

Mom’s Celebration of Life was held April 17th at Newcastle Golf Course, the same place my husband and I got married. It was a special place for all of us. The photo (above) with her and Mason was taken at their restaurant shortly after we had moved in with them about a year ago.

The celebration was above and beyond. In the ballroom, 400 people gathered for the service. The speeches were raw, inspiring and didn’t leave a dry eye. When the service ended, everyone exited the ballroom and proceeded to the tent, where they were greeted with popcorn and a glass of mom’s favorite champagne (Veuve Clicquot) or white wine (Rombauer). Of course there were tears, but there were also lots of smiles and laughter. The moment you entered the tent, you could feel it – it was a celebration.

Someone in their speech said, not quoted exactly, but generally speaking, “If each of you could take a piece of Linda with you, the impact in this world will be significant.” It’s true.

My sister and I planned this in two weeks, but not without the help of our family friends, the golf course event coordinator, florist and a those from the funeral home. It was absolutely picture perfect and had mom’s name written all over it.

Every spring and summer, my mom would buy tulips every week for the house. They’ve always been one of her favorites. Two weeks after her passing, my dad, sister and I brought tulips and cards to her doctors, nurses and several others who played a huge part in this journey. The love and attention that we received from them was more than we ever expected. They provided comfort during the ups and the downs. Between them, hospice and our caregivers (yes, it took a village), we will forever be grateful.

I don’t know when it’s all going to feel real. There are moments when I think or even speak of her and I actually feel okay. But then there are also the moments, usually when I least expect it that I am filled with emotion and so much sadness.

It doesn’t feel fair for someone who made such an impact and brought so much beauty to this world could be taken away. I wish life lessons didn’t always require such pain and grief. I know I can’t stay in bed all day, quit my job, and just throw my hands in the air and say fuck it. Our hospice nurse told us, “Whatever you do down the road, make sure your mom can still recognize you.” And I will. I want to make her proud. I want that piece of her that’s inside of me to shine through brighter than ever. I am forever grateful for the moments that we spent together, which thankfully was a lot.

I know I mentioned this before, but in the process of going through old photos, I wish there were more photos of her and I growing up. This has been such a good reminder for me to stay in the photo with my kids. I hope this experience also resonates with others and has them stay in the photo too.

Life is so precious, the least I can do is get out of my own way to be in the photo with my kids. They’ll appreciate it one day.

Thank you to all those who’ve supported my family and I through this journey. It means so much to us and we’re truly grateful for all you’ve given us.

Much love.