Saturday, April 28, 2012

Waiting for Baby

Well, I'm still pregnant.  My due date came and went and then the day after that, too.... Looks like the little lady has already inherited my knack for being late for everything.  The most exciting thing that happened on Thursday was losing my mucus plug (TMI?).  I hope that means it won't be too much longer!  Maybe she just really wants to be a May baby.  Some things I've gotten done in the mean time, waiting for Baby:

-Daily walks around the park (I only last about 20 minutes before I start having dilating pains and have to waddle back home)

- Deep cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom, which hasn't been done since we moved in almost two months ago... gross.  My sweet husband offered to clean it this weekend but I got bored and didn't want to sit still anymore.  It felt sooooo good to get this done!

- Cleaned out the fridge and got rid of some really old leftovers and all expired or close to expired items.  This has been on the to-do list for quite some time and has been nagging me for days.  A huge accomplishment before Baby comes!!

- Swept all the floors

- Finished reading the Hunger Game series... Team Peeta all the way.  

- Cleared up some space on my laptop for the insane amount of pictures I'll be sure to take of Baby Sanchez

- Extra naps

- Numerous episodes of Gilmore Girls

- Eaten several mini Milky Way candies Israel brought home from work....

I've been having so many Braxton Hicks that I've just stopped timing contractions since I've had so many false alarms.  I'm afraid I won't know I'm in real labor when it actually happens.  This weekend I haven't wanted to go anywhere, I just feel like staying home.  I'm a moody and impatient very pregnant lady who just wants to hold her baby!  Hopefully, Baby Girl will decide to come soon...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Due Date Day!

Dear Baby,

While it's been fun growing you inside of me for the last nine months, I think it's time we finally meet face-to-face.  Your room is ready and all of your tiny adorable clothes and blankets have been washed and put away in your dresser.  Your papa and I are very excited to meet you and find out who you look like more.  We keep wondering if you'll have his dark curls or my green eyes.  Will you have his Cupid bow lips or my brown hair?  Please don't make us wait too long, Baby Girl!  Your papa loves to put his hand on my stomach and watch you dance around and he loves giving you little kisses.  We are so, so excited to meet you and already over the moon in love with you.  I love you, my little angel.  Hope to see you very soon!!!

Love, Mommy

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cuban Cuisine: Picadillo

This recipe post is way, way overdue.  I hope to start a new section under the Recipe Index of just Cuban cuisine.  And first, I must apologize for Picadillo's lack of photogenic appeal.  Although it may not look too appetizing, it is one of the most flavorful dishes I've ever tasted and my man's favorite Cuban meal.

I had never even heard of this dish before meeting Israel and visiting Miami for the first time a little over two years ago.  My husband took me to his favorite Cuban restaurant, La Carreta, which is sort of the like the Cuban's mecca in Miami.  I had no idea what to order and Israel suggested ordering this as my introduction to Cuban cuisine.

Picadillo roughly translates to "minced meat," or "hamburger hash."  It is made with the typical "sofrito," or sauteeing of green pepper, onion and garlic, along with the typical Cuban spices.  Traditionally served along with rice and black beans, Israel would probably consider this the perfect meal.

The first and second times I made this, it was a disaster.  Because it is a family recipe and there were no real measurements, just "un chin" (a little) of this and "un chin" of that, it made things very confusing for this American girl.  I've copied down different versions and translations of this "recipe" from all the women in Israel's family.  So I've had to figure things out as I've gone along.  I now make it often enough to consider it part of our dinner rotation and believe I have finally mastered this dish!  Here is my adaptation:



- 3 T. Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, diced
- 1 Green Pepper, diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp. Oregano, heaping
- Dash of Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin

- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- Splash of White Wine
- 1 16 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
- 1 tsp. Salt
- Dash of Black Pepper


For the sofrito, first heat Olive Oil in a large pot under medium heat.  Saute onion in Olive Oil until translucent then add in green pepper and garlic.  Combine with bay leaves, oregano, garlic powder and cumin until well mixed and green pepper and onion are soft.  

Push sofrito mix to the sides of pot and add ground beef in the middle.  When it is browned, stir in can of tomato sauce.  Keep stirring mixture around until it cooks down a little bit.  Pour in splash of white wine and continue to stir.  Add salt and pepper.  Cook on medium low heat until meat is less wet and most of the tomato sauce has been absorbed.  

Serve over white rice.  Enjoy!

Stay tuned for my recipe for Cuban Black Beans!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Date night with Mr. Sanchez

*Photos taken on my newish phone

Last week when all the crazy things were going on, Israel and I went on a little date for a break from it all, involving seeing Hunger Games again and grabbing some oh so tasty fro yo afterwards.  Yes, I watched the movie before I read the books (and now I am currently almost done with the second book in the series already!)  By the way, coffee + hazelnut + chocolate + white chocolate chips may be my favorite combination yet at Orange Leaf!

It was such a fun time.  It may be our last little date for a while so it was definitely needed!  It's so nice to have a great partner in life to support you and give you some relief when things be cray-cray.  ;)  It's wonderful to go through things together, however hard or lovely they may be.  I am blessed.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

39 weeks

So, this post is a few days late.  I really cannot believe my due date is Thursday!!!  It really is the waiting game now-- Baby Girl could come any day!  And I can finally refer to her by her name and no longer as Baby Girl.  ;)

Overall, I'm feeling pretty good.  I still have heartburn, although not as frequently now, and I feel like my bladder has gotten even smaller, which I didn't think was possible.  I'm getting up more times in the middle of the night for bathroom trips.  I'm sleeping better, and I think this is because of my nightly dose of Benadryl (for the PUPPS).  

Contractions and dilating pains have become more frequent, almost a daily occurrence.  Every time I tell Israel I've been having contractions, he stops everything, looks at me and just raises his eyebrows, wondering if this could be the time that might send me to the hospital.  I was wondering if Saturday night might be the night, when we were on our way over to a friend's house and I had just started having contractions.  They continued for about two hours but went away.  Hopefully the little miss will make an appearance this week!!

I think it's safe to say Baby Girl may be at her birth weight and length now, which I really don't have a clue as to what that might be now.  I'm getting so excited to finally meet our daughter and see what she looks like!!  

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's been a prrrretty crazy week...

This happened:

And then this:

But first, let's go back to last Friday.

I got a very alarming call from the doctor about my sonogram results, saying that the baby was measuring very small, only in the fifth percentile, and they told me to come in immediately to have more tests done.  I called Israel crying and in a panic and then asked my mom to come with me to the hospital. I had a more detailed ultrasound done and a non-stress test in Labor and Delivery.  On the ultrasound, they tested the baby's muscle tone, breathing and measured her head, legs, and abdomen.  They zoomed in really closely on her face, and it was the first time she actually looked like a real baby.  She was sucking on her fingers and she had the cutest little lips!  She scored 8/8 in all categories.  

I went upstairs for the non-stress test and they monitored Baby Girl's heart rate and movements.  She did great and was moving a lot.  The nurse came back to check on me and had spoken with the doctor on call.  Originally, the doctor had wanted to induce me right then because they were concerned that the baby wasn't growing properly and would do better outside the womb.  This was pretty crazy to me, and the nurse then said that my doctor might want to induce me when I'm 39 weeks (which would have been yesterday).  So all weekend I thought I might be getting induced this week.  Crazy!  I wasn't sure how I felt about being induced, I knew that I had wanted to let Baby Girl come on her own, but if it really was for the best for her then I would do it.  

To wrap it up, I had another appointment with my doctor on Tuesday, and she relieved my fears by telling me that she didn't have all the measurements when she looked at the ultrasound, and the baby is actually in the fifteenth percentile.  It looks like she's going to be perfectly healthy baby, just tiny.  Like that was any surprise to us!  So now Baby Girl can come on her own.  And I'm hoping she won't take toooo long!  :)

On Saturday night, there were a ton of tornadoes and bad storms in Kansas.  Thankfully, no tornadoes passed through Topeka that night but at some point Israel and I did hear a loud sound but didn't go outside to see what it was.  When we were leaving for church the next morning, we saw that our neighbor's very large tree branch had crashed in our yard and was basically taking up the whole space!  It was right over a power line, too.  I'm just so thankful that it didn't fall on the house or my parent's car that we had borrowed setting in our driveway.  

The last picture of our damaged car has definitely been the craziest part of my week.  On Monday afternoon, I was coming back from having a lovely little lunch date with Rachel when I got into a car accident.  I was in the right lane and about to change into the left when I looked behind me to make sure it was okay to move.  I saw a green van behind me in the same lane so I turned on my signal and started making the lane change.  Before I even knew what happened, I just felt a huge push from behind that hit the car so badly, I actually was pushed onto oncoming traffic for a brief moment before I swerved to get back into the inner lane.  I was in shock and my first worry was whether the baby was alright.  It really is a miracle that I didn't ram forward into the steering wheel or anything, so I felt like the baby would be okay.  And soon afterwards, I felt her moving around so that eased my worries a lot.  

Thankfully, the accident happened in a pretty populated area and there were lots of witnesses across the street at the park who had seen the whole thing.  Everyone I talked to said it looked like the woman behind me was definitely speeding.  After spending about an hour giving my statement to the police, I very carefully drove the car home even though the entire bumper had been taken off and there was a broken tail light and a huge dent on the rear right side.  I spent most of yesterday on the phone with insurance companies, and the woman who ran into me did admit that the whole accident was her fault.  I think when she saw a nine month pregnant woman get out of the car she had hit, she was pretty quick to admit that.  

An appraiser came out to inspect the car yesterday and I just heard back that it looks like they're going to total the car.  So, we've got to find a different car pretty quickly.  I laid awake in bed the night of the accident and just kept replaying what had happened and couldn't stop thanking God for His protection.  It could have been much worse, and I'm so thankful that it wasn't.  Sometimes I don't understand His timing, but I know someday soon I'll be able to look back and see why this happened at the time that it did.  Our car has had a number of problems since we got it, so it's probably for the best that this happened.  I'm thankful to be alive, I'm thankful that my baby girl is perfectly alright and safe, I'm sure our car being wrecked is a blessing in disguise.  And I'm so thankful for the Lord's protection over us every single day.  I can't even imagine how many times the Lord has had His hand over us and we are not even aware of it.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seasonal candy

The day after Easter is the day that Russell Stover's seasonal candy goes to sleep until October.  I love being able to walk into Walgreen's any time I need a little chocolate "fix" and pick up a caramel-filled egg or tree, whatever is available for only 50 cents each.  From October to April, it's quite a magical time of year.  

My mom used to buy the seasonal candy and my sisters and I always knew where her secret stash was (although now it has changed!).  Once, we even left a whole bag of Russell Stover's strawberry chocolate hearts on the floor and our dog Minnie had no problem eating the entire bag!  She was a tough thing and didn't seemed phased at all.  

Last night, Israel and I were sitting around and I realized that this candy would soon be leaving for several months, so I told him we have to go stock up immediately before it's all gone!  

We made a trip to our local Walgreen's, and Israel laughed at me as I grabbed at least eight or ten chocolate eggs.  The best thing about buying them now is that they are half price!  We giggled as I carried all of them up to the counter and paid for them, and tried not to look too embarrassed.  I'm sure I fit the stereotype well as a pregnant lady with a huge pregnant belly buying all this chocolate.  

I'm going to try and make them last at least a few days!  ;)

38 weeks: I'm always the one percent

Two more weeks.  That is insane!  Where did the time go??

To add to the ever-growing list of weird pregnancy symptoms, I've got a new one:  PUPPS.  No, I'm not referring to cute little puppies, I'm talking about Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy.  Remember last week when I was venting about maternity jeans and how my skin has been extremely itchy?  Well, I started developing a rash on my stomach with tiny red bumps all over it.  It's nothing like what you'll find if you google this strange skin condition, but it's enough to be one extremely annoying symptom.

It only affects 1% of pregnant women (so of course I would get this "rare" symptom) and unfortunately has no real cure except to have your baby.  It can get pretty bad with some cases, and my doctor even told me that she could induce me at 39 weeks if I really couldn't stand it.  But I'd really love for Baby Sanchez to come on her own timing, so I'll try to just endure the next couple of weeks.  I've made it this far already!  Benadryl and Aveeno are supposed to help relieve the itching, I feel like I've got the chicken pox.  The itching lasts all day and while I'm trying to be a good girl and not scratch my skin off (once you start you can't stop), I feel like Stephanie Tanner in that Full House episode where she, Joey and Uncle Jesse all have chicken pox and take turns scratching each other's itches.

I still think that the whole spitting thing was worse, but this is pretty bad.  Here's to hoping Baby Girl will come early!  I did get to see her on an ultrasound yesterday and that's always so wonderful.  My OB had ordered one because of the bleeding I had last week and everything looked good, or at least they didn't say anything bad.  Little Girl is a few weeks behind length-wise but I think this is because she is probably just going to be a little thing, like her parents.  Based on her length, they estimated that she currently weighs 5.8 pounds!  I've heard weight predictions on ultrasounds can be very inaccurate, sometimes by 1-2 pounds in either direction, so we'll see how much she ends up being when she's born.  If that is the accurate number, she could still weigh seven pounds by the time she's born.  Either way, I don't think she's going to be very big.  :)

My mom came with me to my appointment and it was nice for her to see her little granddaughter on the sonogram.  A few fun details from the sonogram:

- She is still a girl!  I had a different ultrasound tech this time and when she asked me if we knew the sex of the baby, I asked, "Well, is it still a girl?"  And she confirmed that she was.  :)  So no need to change the nursery colors or exchange a whole lot of girly dresses and onesies.

- It was hard to tell what we were looking at a lot of times because my last ultrasound was in December, and the little one has grown a lot since then!  At one point, the tech pointed out a thick white band around the baby's head-- she said this was her hair!  So she's definitely not going to be a baldie.  I predict lots of hair.

- Baby Sanchez had her little hand up by her face almost the entire time.  It was so sweet.  At every ultrasound, she's always had her fingers in her mouth.

I'll post another bump picture soon once the husband is home to take one.  I think I pretty much look the same as last week though.  :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two years

Two years ago today, my love sent me on a gnome scavenger hunt which ended at the most beautiful secret beach with a proposal from the love of my life.  

Two years later, and we're still completely in love.  Mi amor, you are everything I ever dreamed of in a husband and you bless me and encourage me daily.  You are always kind to me, even when I am cranky in the mornings and give you sass.  When you smile at me, you make me feel like the most important person in the world.  You are always forgiving and speak with grace and tenderness towards me.  I love your heart and I love being your wife.  I'm so excited to be starting a family with you very soon, and can't wait to grow old with you.  I love love love you.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Random Things About Our House

I'm still getting used the sounds in our house.  Have you noticed that every house has its own unique sounds? Our house was built in 1926, so it is rather old, and therefore makes some rather interesting ones.  The floor creaks everywhere but probably the strangest sound for me is the fridge making a noise every few hours that sounds like aliens are trapped inside.

I was told that the previous tenant worked nights and slept during the day, so she changed the bedroom walls from turquoise to a light brown and installed shades and very dark curtains.  I never thought I would be one to sleep with a nightlight, but after stumbling around in the dark a few too many times for middle of the night bathroom runs, it became necessary.  

We live next door to Alfred Hitchcock.  For real!  I was sitting at the dining room table one morning with the curtain open and noticed an Alfred lookalike dressed oh so casually in shorts and a polo walking down the street.  It is now my mission to somehow get a picture of him.  

We laid down last night to go to sleep around 11:30.  And I lay there until 5 this morning, totally awake.  I blame my insomnia on taking a Benadryl and getting in a really good nap a little too late in the day.  I finally got out of bed and moved to the living room where I snacked on cheese crackers and read blogs.  My husband came out to see what on earth I was doing as he heard me leave the room.  I told him to try going back to sleep because I was just crazy, but I kept hearing his sounds for about an hour and I missed him.  I crept back to bed around 6, and fell asleep with my arm around him.  I love that man so very much.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

37 weeks aka I'm huge!

So, we grew a little bit.  
And I am finally full-term, which means it's considered very safe if the little one decided to come now even though she's got a few more weeks to go.  She is most likely about 19 inches long now (almost to her birth length) and could weigh anywhere from 6 to 7 pounds at this point.  Israel's cousin had an emergency C-section a little over a week ago (we originally had the same due date) and her little guy was just over 7 pounds!  
I see my doctor every week now until I deliver.  My blood pressure is still very good and my weight is officially up about 22-24 pounds since pre-pregnancy.  At my last appointment, I told my OB about my last trip to the hospital and she wants to do a final ultrasound next week to see how the baby is looking, especially because I had bleeding.  They'll also be able to estimate how much the baby might weigh, although I've heard that isn't all too reliable.  I'm looking forward to seeing our baby girl one last time in utero before I meet her face to face!  My OB also told me that the baby is head down now!  I think it's amazing that they can tell what position the baby is in just by feeling.  
I finally understand now why women hate their maternity jeans so much near the end.  I curse them every time I have to put them on now.  I would love to be able to get away with wearing sweat pants and my favorite light weight t-shirt that is now too short to wear out in public every day until the end.  My stomach is constantly itchy when I wear my maternity jeans.  I think it's because before, the panel pretty much covered my entire stomach, well above my belly button and now it sits pretty much right on it.  This is the area that is furthest out and the skin that has stretched the most, therefore it's the itchiest part.  
I've been experiencing lots more dilating pains and Braxton-Hicks almost daily now.  I think I overdid it activity-wise yesterday again.  I had been running errands all day and when Israel and I went to the Art Walk in the evening, I started feeling those sharp pains and contractions when we got out of the car.  I continued to feel them when we went to the grocery store afterwards but they went away when we got home and I was able to put my feet up.  Since it's getting so close to the end now, it's a bit of a scary thing never really knowing when I'm going to go into true labor!
Heartburn is my constant companion, all day long, every single day.  I find it gets especially bad if I haven't eaten in a couple hours or near the end of the evening.  I have a minor freakout moment if I leave the house without my Tums in my purse.  I will often just go back for them if I forget to bring them with me, that's how bad it is.  I'm definitely looking forward to not having to deal with this pregnancy symptom in a few weeks!  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Baby Shower + Hospital Practice Run

On Sunday, several wonderful ladies from church threw me a baby shower.  There were cookies and lots of other delicious treats, and a whole lot of gifts!  Israel and I were truly overwhelmed by everyone's generosity.  This little baby now has more clothes than I do and she's not even born yet!  A lot of women went in on group gifts and gave us a crib, changing pad, crib mattress and some lovely handmade burp cloths.  I'm feeling a lot more prepared now that we have some of the essential items for Baby Girl (I almost wrote her name!).  

Israel and my dad came later and enjoyed some refreshments.  We transported everything back to our house and soon left for TBC that evening to hear Pastor Jim speak about news events in Israel (the country, not my husband).  We were there for a couple of hours and the whole time I had a lot of back pain and sharp pains "down there" that only lasted for a second, but definitely took my breath away (this wasn't unusual since I had been experiencing these for the last few days, but I was concerned by how often they were occurring).  

When Israel and I got home, I was busy unpacking and putting things away in the nursery when I felt a sudden leakage.  Again, this wasn't too unusual because, TMI or not, that happens a lot when you're pregnant.  However, this just felt different.  I went to the bathroom and discovered that I was actually bleeding.  Immediately that alarmed me because everyone always warns you to contact the hospital if you have any bleeding at all because that can be a pretty serious issue.  I told Israel about it right away and we called the hospital.  When I described the situation, the nurse told me to go straight to Labor and Delivery.  

I tried not to panic or to cry, but we were both definitely quite scared.  I thought, Was I going into labor?  Should we pack my hospital bag?  Our car seat isn't even installed yet!  Is there something seriously wrong with the baby?  I noticed that I hadn't felt the baby move very much in the last couple of hours and that started a lot of worries.  Israel led us in a quick prayer before we left for the hospital and immediately the Lord acknowledged that concern and I felt little rolls and wiggles again.  This little baby girl loves hearing her daddy's voice.  :)  Since it was after hours we had to go through the E.R. and waited for about half an hour before a nurse came down to get me.  I told her that I was bleeding so she wheeled me in a wheelchair all the way up to Labor and Delivery.  I was taken to a room, changed into a gown, urinated in a cup and laid down on the bed waiting for another nurse to see me.  

The baby and I were both hooked up to a monitor and I was told to keep track of the baby's movements. I felt so much relief when I heard her heart beating steadily.  The nurse also checked to see how far dilated I was, which if you're not familiar with how this works, it is very, VERY uncomfortable!  Oh my word.  I was dilated at 1 centimeter and not very effaced yet.  The nurse looked at the monitor and said that I had been having contractions since I got there.  This baffled me because I could barely feel them!  She went and talked to the doctor on call to see what he thought was going on.  After drinking some water and waiting with Israel, the nurse came back and told me that they thought the bleeding was caused by my dilating.  Those sharp pains I had been feeling were actually ligaments being stretched in my pelvis to prepare for birth, and sometimes that can break a blood vessel or two.  

We were so relieved to hear that it wasn't anything serious or wrong with the baby, and I was sent home shortly.  Since it had been a super busy weekend and I was on my feet a lot (and probably just did way more than I should have), they told me to take it easy on Monday and just relax.  I was happy to oblige.  It was a scary night, and things got more real, but I'm just so thankful to God that our sweet baby is okay! It really made me appreciate the fact that I've had such a healthy pregnancy with no complications.  I thought the absolute worst when all of this started happening, and I simply can't imagine life without our precious little girl anymore.  I definitely don't take for granted that birth is such an incredible miracle.