Friday, February 24, 2012

Healthier Chocolate Cake

I am always on the look out for a good chocolate cake recipe that isn't too damaging on the ole waistline.  Now that AR is pre-diabetic I also try to watch the sugar in recipes as well.  A task that isn't easy for me!  I came across this cake on one of my favorite blogs and had to try it out.  I made it for AR as a Valentine's Day surprise and neither of us were disappointed.  The cake was moist and had no hint of the coffee in it that the recipe called for (I was skeptical).  I simply topped it with chocolate syrup instead of frosting and it was good to the very last bite.  You could really taste the chocolate in it.  It was still a little high on sugar, but not the worst I've seen for sure.

Homemade Skinny Taste Chocolate Cake

Friday, February 10, 2012

22 months and 22 weeks

Time flies when you are having fun or when you have a toddler.  Seriously.  M is now 22 (and a 1/2) months old and I'm 22 weeks along with version 2.0.  Even this pregnancy seems like it's passing quickly and I'm already frantic with wanting to nest- which I started this past weekend.  Every now and then I try to slow the clock down and enjoy these last few months with my sweet girl as an only and feeling my inside baby kick.  Here's an update on both of my little ones:

M, the stubborn, adorable toddler is full of herself these days.  She is spewing new words left and right and simple sentences.  I find it interesting that when a word is easier for her to speak in English, she says it in English and when it's easier in Spanish she says it in Spanish.  Right now her main words in Spanish are: Mami, Papi, zappato- shoe (but she says it to mean shoe/sock/or foot), manos- hands, bendicion- God Bless, Abuela- Grandma, Abo- Grandpa, Tio- Uncle, Titi- Auntie, aqui- here, aqua- water (but she says this for any liquid she asks for), uvas- grapes, mio- mine, este- this/that, dame- give me, gracias, and many more I don't even realize or can't remember right now. :)  She completely understands commands spoken in either English or Spanish as well.  I'm totally jealous that her being bilingual has been so easy for her...I really must get Rosetta Stone one of these days.  She can identify most of her body parts if I ask her and she can name a ton of animal sounds.  My favorite is her monkey interpretation.  She has also started to sing her favorite songs or try to.  Lately, it's been the Elmo's World tune.  SO cute!
She is obsessed with Barney and will be getting a Barney themed party NEXT?! month complete with a visit from the great dino himself.  I'm also happy to report that her hair is finally long enough for pony tail and/or pig tails and I have taken great delight in doing her hair.  She actually likes it now and sits still for me to do it and usually leaves them in all day.  Once I've put her pony tails in as part of our morning routine, she always has to look in the mirror to see my handy work.  She loves to be just like Mami- I pretty much wear a pony tail every day :).  She loves her baby dolls and has really taken to mothering them which is fabulous timing with her new little sibling on the way.  I think she'll be an excellent big sister although we will have to watch her closely to make sure she doesn't try to change "caci (poopie)" diapers on her own.  Her babies are always in need of changing. M has peed on the potty once now and sits on it usually once or twice a day just to practice.  We aren't pushing potty training at this point, but she's getting so close to being ready.  She also loves to "help" whether it be feeding the dogs, "cooking", switching laundry around, dusting, putting toys away, sweeping, etc.  She has quite the sense of humor and certainly has a stubborn streak (like me!).  Each day I have with her is a joy and I look forward to her "muuu-ah!" kisses and tight hugs around the neck each day.
Baby R 2.0 is growing big and strong.  We've passed the halfway point of pregnancy and are so close to reaching viability at 24 weeks now.  At our last ultra sound he/she was measuring a little over a week ahead.  I'm really not surprised considering I make big babies (9lb 4oz and 8lb 6oz so far).  At our 20 week scan, they saw two cysts on the baby's brain, so we had to go see a perinatologist and get a Level 2 ultrasound at the hospital.  We weren't too worried about it as Dr. Google said that with no other markers, cysts were usually harmless and would resolve themselves on their own by third trimester.  Of course we get there and THREE different people scanned my belly and we got to see 2.0 stretch and kick and squirm for about 45 minutes.  A resident scanned me and did all measurements, then the actual ultra sound tech did the same thing, and then the actual perinatologist came in and did it all AGAIN.  A and I were freaking thinking that something must be seriously wrong and they needed three opinions to confirm.  At long last the peri put the wand down, put a hand on my belly and said our little one was absolutely perfect.  There were no signs of the cysts and all organs looked great and we were released without needing any follow up appointments.  We both were stunned for a second (sort of a "pinch me to make sure it's real" moment) and then slowly let out sighs of relief.

We've been contemplating baby names lately and have some favorites, but aren't ready yet to say a girl will be called this and a boy will be called that.  I have an anterior placenta this time, so A and M haven't been able to feel the baby move yet.  I've been feeling a lot more myself in the last week and it's fabulous.  I really love this stage of pregnancy.  I have no true cravings except a bowl of Cocoa Puffs every now and then and I am really into Mexican foods this time, although, still not too spicy.  My heartburn is back and I am grossed out by chicken on the bone and certain meats (like pork chops).  I also feel like I'm carrying a lot lower this time as this baby feels like it could bottom out at any moment.  I never had morning sickness and the 1st tri fatigue is gone. I have started to notice slight swelling in my ankles, but it goes away when I put my feet up or overnight.  We've made headway in getting the guest rooms cleaned out and hope to move the large furniture around this weekend so we can paint M's new big girl room and move her next month for her birthday.  Once she's moved and settled, we'll set up the recycled nursery for 2.0.  I've been letting her play and hang out in what will be her new room for a few months already, so hopefully the transition won't be too hard.
I think I've rambled enough about my babes for today.  Now to add some pictures to this post. :)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Then Came You By: Jennifer Weiner

This is another book I picked up on a whim at my local library.  I've had it on my Goodreads reading list awhile and it finally became available after about a month long wait.  I was surprised when I got it that it was only a 2 week loaner at my library, but I had no problems reading it on time and even finished it early.  Once you start this book it's quite hard to put down!

The author follow four women and their journey through life and how they all became connected.  I basically figured out who played what role early on, but I won't go into too much detail in case you haven't read it yet and don't want spoilers.  It was definitely a nice read and probably even leans more towards the "chick lit" category.  That said, I'll be reading more from this author for sure.

Friday, February 03, 2012

b- Mother By: Maureen O'Brien

I found this book by chance at my local library while I was waiting for the books for my book clubs to arrive back (I had three on hold at one time!) and thought I'd read it.  It was written by a local author and I figured it would be a quick read.  Considering I'm a birthmom myself, I thought I would be able to relate to the story and hoped I wouldn't cry too much while reading it.  The main character, Hillary, got pregnant at 16 after her mother pretty much abandoned all parenting skills towards her when her eldest child died as a Freshmen in college.  She had hoped to keep her baby, but when she finally told her parents she was pregnant, they shipped her off to a Catholic agency for pregnant girls where she lived in a dorm with other pregnant teens until she gave birth.

For a first novel, I believe the author did a pretty good job of conveying the character's emotions in the novel.  I cried when Hillary left the hospital and again when she was able to establish contact with her son after he turned 18.  She pined for him for all 18 of those years and never quite forgave her mother for shipping her off.  While she wanted to keep her son, she still went through with the adoption even though she didn't have to.  She kept in touch with his adoptive parents over the years on his birthday (much like I do with my son).  I cried the most at the end when she got a letter from her son and then when they met.  Just to imagine what it'll be like one day if my son contacts me brought up a lot of feelings I tend to hide away.  I'm not sure that someone who hasn't experienced adoption firsthand whether as a birthparent, adoptive parent, or adoptee would feel as much emotion as I did, but I think it is a pretty good portrayal of what a semi-open adoption might be like for a girl and her family.

It was a quick read for me and I'm glad I stumbled across it.