Archive | September, 2010

Welcome to the World!

27 Sep

This afternoon, after a night and morning full of labor, we welcomed into the world our beautiful daughter.

I will write out our birth story later this week, but for now, here are the details.
Clara Nicole Schlieman
9.27.10 3:58pm
7lbs 3 oz.
20.5″ long

She is beautiful and amazing and perfect. I’m exhausted, but so happy, and thrilled she has finally joined us!

Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts, and wonderful comments on facebook and twitter. We love you guys!

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

25 Sep

These are so good and oh so easy!!  They’re by far my favorite thing from my baking spree last week, and will be added to my normal repertoire, and I’m introducing them to my mom’s Christmas baking routine, too.  Seriously decadent.  Perfect combination of sweet and salty, gooey and crunchy.

Here’s the recipe (via Culinary Concoctions by Peabody) – as always, my notes in another color.

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 ¼ tsp salt
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
11 ounces butterscotch chips
¾ cup light corn syrup
1 TBSP plus
1 tsp water
2 cups roasted salted whole cashews

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″x 13″ pan with cooking spray.

Using two sheets of parchment paper, line the pan’s width and length, creating a parchment “sling.” Spray parchment paper with cooking spray. Normally I don’t use parchment paper, but you definitely want it for this one.  The butterscotch filling gets really really sticky, and this will save you lots of cleanup time.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and salt for 1 to 1 & 1/2 minutes.
Decrease mixer speed to low and add the flour. Mix just until combined.
Lightly press dough evenly into the prepared pan.
Poke holes in the dough with a fork. I forgot to do this – it was not the end of the world.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is a golden color. Remove to wire rack to cool.

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir together butterscotch chips, corn syrup, and water. Stir until mixture comes to a simmer and butterscotch chips are melted.
Pour over crust.
Sprinkle cashews over the butterscotch caramel.
Bake for 5 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
After cooling, remove from pan and use a very sharp knife to cut into bars.  Original recipe suggested 2″ bars.  After tasting them and realizing how rich they are, I opted for closer to 1″ squares.  Seriously, they’re amazing.

I wish I had a picture to share, but I was on a baking rampage, and it was finish one recipe, on to the next.  And by the time I realized how great these are, they were mostly gone.  I think I will be making them again soon, though, so I’ll do an update with pictures then.

Eviction Notice Update

24 Sep

First, let me just say thank you.  Thank you so much for your sweet comments and support.  For letting me know that it is ok to cry and that I’m not the only one who has been here before.  It’s very easy to feel isolated and like a terrible mom-to-be for not loving the current state of things.  So thank you, thank you, thank you.

I promised an update, so here it is…

I managed to avoid breaking down completely at the doctor’s appointment yesterday.  Surprising, I know.

By the time I left the office, I was a couple cm more dilated than when I arrived.. I’ll spare you the details of that.  I’ll just say this: I was desperate.  And, owww.  That had a 50% chance of sending me into labor, but as you can see, I am still here.  I did have contractions all night, around 30 minutes apart, but nothing more than that.

Apparently, my doctor’s policy is to not even really discuss scheduling inducing labor until at least your due date, so I have an appointment on Monday, and then from there, I can be scheduled to be induced the following Monday.  Now, of course, the hope is that I’ll go into labor on my own before that. But if she remains as stubborn as she seems, I’d go in to be induced on October 4th.

So my September baby may very well become my October baby instead.  She’s already as stubborn as her daddy.

No commenting about how stubborn her mommy is…. 🙂

Eviction Notice

23 Sep
Warning: moody, full-term pregnant woman rant ahead. Continue at your own risk. Really, it’s not going to be pretty.

This baby is due on Saturday and is showing no signs of moving out, so I am handing her an eviction notice.

We have an appointment with our doctor today – just our weekly visit – but this time I have an agenda. I am going to talk to him about inducing labor.

I realize that people have all kinds of opinions on the subject. In fact, on every subject. And for some reason, when you’re pregnant, it’s like they think they have free license to share their unsolicited opinions. If you happen to have a negative opinion about doctors inducing labor, please just keep it to yourself.

Especially if you’ve never been pregnant. Once you are 40+ weeks pregnant and miserable, willing to do anything to get this child out even it has to come out through your nose, then you can talk to me about it. Until then, you don’t know what it’s like, and I don’t want to hear it.

Because I am miserable.

I am a mess.

I have cried every day this week. And by cried, I mean bawled. Really really ugly cry. Like my eyes are almost swollen shut from how much crying I’ve been doing.

I have been awake since 3am. This happens at least once a week now. Sometimes more often.

I have cleaned and staged my entire house for buyers who have not come to look at it.

I have baked everything in sight. Sweet scones, savory scones, candies, cookies, fruit butter, and lime curd. And I can’t even eat it, because there is no room in my stomach. It’s being squished into nothingness by this infant.

I feel trapped in my house because if I go out, I get stared at. (I am aware that I have a giant belly. The baby is not going to pop out while you’re watching. No need to stare.) Or barraged with unsolicited opinions from strangers. Or patronized. Or stared at. Oh, did I mention that already?

I am by myself all day because Joel is at law school or studying (which he totally should be – he’s doing great. I’m just lonely.)

I can’t even call anyone on the phone, because everyone answers with that same excited and hopeful tone that perhaps this is the call, and everyone has the same disappointed tone when they discover that it, in fact, is not.

I discovered this week that both my sister and I came a week late and my mom had to be induced as well – so I’m not holding out much hope that this little girl will decide to enter the world on her own.

For those who are concerned, yes, I do understand the risks. Yes, I also realize that I’m not past my due date yet. However, all my appointments are on Thursdays now. If I wait until next week to ask about it, I will already be almost a week past due, and then they still have to schedule something. And I’m not sure I can mentally or emotionally handle another 2 weeks of feeling like this. I’m pretty sure that my current emotional state isn’t very healthy for either of us.

Anyway, there’s probably not anyone still reading this. That’s fine – this is more about me venting than you reading. If, by some crazy chance someone is still reading, I’ll let you know what the doctor says.

And I’m going to post all of those recipes I’ve been baking. Yep. Current favorites: Butterscotch Cashew Bars and Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones. Not together. Ew. But separately they are both very good. And probably terrible for you. But who cares?

False Alarms or I Hate Braxton-Hicks

20 Sep

I have a little post about a minor scare we had last week, but I think I will save it until she is here, safe and sound. For some reason, it just seems weird to post it now. Suffice it to say, all is well, baby girl is fine and healthy, and has cute chubby cheeks and pouty lips according to the mini-ultrasound we had on Thursday.

I so thought we were having a baby on Saturday.

I started out the day with brunch with some girlfriends to celebrate Kelli’s new baby (our niece), Camryn. She’s about 10 weeks old now, and precious as can be. It was fun to see everyone, and I think we probably confused everyone in the restaurant, as about 6 of the 8 girls were either VERY pregnant or holding a baby. I realized that morning that I have entered an entire new part of my life… I will call it the “baby on my hip” part. Kind of a weird realization, but I’m ok with it.

When I got home, it seemed like a great idea to crawl back in bed for a nap, so that’s just what I did. And all afternoon, I was having contractions. They were about 40 minutes apart, literally all afternoon. I was excited, because it seemed like progress, but about 11:30 that night everything stopped. Dangit. Baby girl is a little tease… already.  We are in trouble.

So now, here we are, about 6 days from what the doctor calls our due date, and nothing. I know that most first babies don’t come early. I shouldn’t have ever thought she would, but man I was hoping. And so were a ton of other people. I feel like there was this expectation that we would have a baby this weekend. Part of that is my fault. But not all of it. I wish there was something I could do to speed up this process, but I can’t do a dang thing. If I could, she’d already be here. Promise.

I know that everyone is waiting for a phone call, a text, or a facebook message saying that we’re at the hospital. And that’s why I haven’t called or texted anyone in several days. We skipped church on Sunday because, even though I know they mean well, I can’t take one more “you haven’t had that baby yet??” or “think it might be today?” comment. I know people are just excited and we are too… Joel asks me at least once an hour if I’ve had any more contractions, as though I could hide them if they were for real.

I think I’m going into hiding until baby girl makes her appearance. Tomorrow I am going to the grocery to get a ridiculous list of ingredients to make a stupid amount of baked goods. Because if I don’t keep myself busy, I will go crazy. So I will bake. If you live in Raleigh, you may find yourself inheriting a bunch of baked items soon. And if you’re my sister, you just might find a care package at your doorstep too. And if you are our doctors and nurses at the hospital, whenever that happens, you will probably get lots of sugary treats for your efforts.

So if you need me over the next couple days, I will be baking.  Likely barefoot and pregnant… in the kitchen.  Wow.  I plan to try a few new things like scones and new muffins, and the old standards like banana bread.

If you have something to talk about besides the fact that I haven’t had this baby yet, feel free to call or come visit. Otherwise, I promise we will let you know, call, text, post pictures, etc, as soon as we can.

Just please don’t say to me “omg, you’re still pregnant???”. Consider this your friendly warning. 🙂

Marriage is Beautiful – 3 years and counting

15 Sep

When you first get married, it’s so easy to think that you have it all figured out.  It’s easy to think that life will be easy – all sunshine and rainbows.  It’s easy to be wrapped up in your blissful little bubble and think that it will never pop, that bad things will never happen, unexpected things will not come your way.

Deep down, we all know those things aren’t true.  We don’t have it figured out, life won’t be easy, the bubble will pop, bad things will happen, and unexpected things will come – probably more than we think.  That is when it’s great to have people to lean on.  People to look up to.  People who have more experience.

You hear stories about marriage – people are cynical, sarcastic, and downright rude sometimes.  They don’t always paint marriage in the most flattering light.  And I think maybe that’s because they forgot that deep down they knew that the bubble would pop – they expected to float along in bliss forever, and never thought real life would touch them again.  I think if you forget those things, it’s easy to become bitter and cynical about marriage and about your partner instead of leaning on each other in those trying circumstances.

Joel and I are blessed to have lots of examples of strong marriages, who love the Lord, and who have made it through some difficult things and come out the other side stronger couples.

My grandparents would have been married 64 years this year.  My Grandad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly the April before Joel and I were married.  They had their moments, their spats, and certainly their difficult times, but almost 62 years… man, that is something to admire.

Joel’s grandparents are still going strong as well (sorry Clair and Verlee, I don’t know how many years exactly).  Joel’s grandpa Clair had us take the Meyers-Briggs test before we got married, knowing that learning how the other person communicates makes a major difference in a marriage.  I joked that I had to pass a test before he would let us get married, but it really has been valuable to know that Joel thinks out loud, while I contemplate things in my head before I mention them.  It’s still a learning process, but it has been helpful.

Both of our parents have been married for over 30 years, and while they would be the first to tell you that their relationships haven’t been perfect, they have stayed together, persevered through some really difficult times, and remain examples to us of what it looks like to love another person.

Thanks to our families and our friends who really are examples to us of how to love each other well.  We are really blessed to have you in our lives – to talk to, watch as you raise your kids to love Jesus and each other, and ask questions of you when we aren’t quite sure what to do.

The past 3 years have been great!  We’ve seen our share of bizarre circumstances and difficult times, but we’ve also had some incredible times and we’ve certainly been blessed beyond measure.

From the very beginning… these are from our second date.  We love to laugh and be silly…

A few months later, we got engaged.  Millie took really fun pictures for us!

We worked on our house… painted, re-painted, put in new floors (with lots of help)…

We got married… Joel wanted to see my dress, but I’d only let him see the veil.

We’ve had adventures…. a honeymoon in Spain, a couple road trips to Iowa, and a trip to Miami…

I left my engineering job and started working as a photographer (my website) thanks to encouragement and prodding from Joel.  I get to see people on one of the happiest days of their lives and capture families being who they are.  I love it.

We went to India together to serve in a couple orphanages.  Joel’s heart was already there, and I left part of mine.

I ran a half-marathon.  Joel watched… and cheered me on!

Joel and his family laughed at me when I was super excited about snow in Iowa.  I built Sam the Snowman, and they laughed some more.

Joel graduated with his MBA…

We went to Hawaii for Christmas with his family – I snorkeled and went to a Lu-au for the first time.

We’ve practiced being parents by watching Maddie and Hazel (our two favorite 3-year olds).

I’ve learned a lot about jiu-jitsu, and met one of Joel’s “idols” – Royce Gracie.  We are best friends now.

We’ve been to Vegas and the Hoover Dam, and New Orleans (to shoot a wedding there) during Mardi Gras.

Another road trip to Iowa – and a Campbell v. Drake football game.  We were the only Campbell fans there… even the players were surprised to hear us cheering… and it was so much fun!

Joel has had lots of weird and terrible haircuts (most self-inflicted)…

We welcomed a new niece, Camryn, into the world…

And now, Joel has started law school, we’re selling our house, and we’re getting ready to welcome our own daughter in the next week or so. (My co-worker, Rachel took these great pics!)

(and Millie took these…)

It has been an incredible adventure so far!  Joel, I am so happy to celebrate 3 years with you!  I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold… I’m sure that they’ll be full of more adventure, more craziness, and more blessings that we can even imagine now.  And when things get difficult, we will have each other to lean on.  Love you bunches!

4am Ramblings

9 Sep

Well, good morning.

Today I woke up at 4am, for no good reason except that my back was hurting.  It was just better to get out of bed than keep tossing and turning.  I’ll be napping later, thank you very much.

So, lucky you, you get to read what my brain thinks of on 4 hours of sleep.  If you’re a regular here, you might want to get used to it… I hear that this is going to be my common state of being very soon.

1. UPS Deliveries
I love getting packages from the UPS man, or the FedEx man, or even the mailman.  I don’t discriminate.  When I know a package is coming, I check the tracking numbers obsessively.  When it’s a surprise, well, who doesn’t love a surprise package in the mail??
Yesterday I got 2 packages from the UPS man.  The pump I ordered and my diaper bag.  YAY for the diaper bag, especially.  I LOVE it.  I’ll do a full review soon, but suffice it to say, it was well worth it.

If you like sending packages, I’ll give you my address.  I love getting them.  Hahaha.

On a side note, why do the delivery guys always put the door mat over top of a large box?  What about that says “nothing to see here” ??  To me, it just draws more attention, because people are like “what the crap is going on with their doormat?”  Any thoughts?

2. My desktop computer
I have been working on a large and daunting project the past couple days – getting all my photo files organized and backed up (again).  Never fear, they are backed up.  I have had too many hard drives fail on me to chance that again.  But the issue is that everything is kinda all over the place, on multiple different harddrives, and while I have a list of what is where, I would like to have it consolidated.  The computer has been working fine – sometimes slow, but I figure that’s because it’s been on constantly for 3 years.  But for some reason, last night it stopped working.  I just tried to re-boot again, and it just makes that apple boot noise – you know the chime I mean – and spins and spins and spins.  I guess I’m going to have to make a trip to the apple store to get them to look at it… but man, I just really don’t want to.  I want it to magically start working again.  What do you think my chances are of that?

3. The office
Yesterday I had a long list of things I wanted to take care of.  I got 2 of them done.  But, to be fair, at least one of them was a large project.  I touched up the paint in our master bathroom.  This has needed to be done for a while – we put up new blinds and my first paint choice was still in existence where the old ones came down.  The second project was cleaning and organizing and decluttering the office.  Does everyone have a “dump room?”  The office was definitely mine.  It’s a single-purpose room (at least it was – now Joel uses it for studying), and easy to cut off from the rest of the house if there’s a mess in there.  Just shut the door.  Throw everything in there and shut the door.  That’s what usually happens.  And then I have to always make time for a big cleaning.  Since we’re trying to sell our house, that doesn’t really work anymore.  So, I got out my trash bags, empty plastic bins, and went to work.  It took literally all day, but I finished.

4. Selling the house
Yep, it’s on the market.  We had a showing last Saturday – our first.  We were out of town, which was probably a good thing.  I cleaned before we left on Friday, and decluttered as much as I could.  It’s a process, people.  I would love to live in a house that looks like a magazine all the time, but that just isn’t how life works.  At least not mine.
We are painting our downstairs this weekend.  Apparently, the green I painted my living room and dining room aren’t appealing to everyone.  I kinda knew this going in, but it’s our house, so we did it anyway.  So it will be a lovely barely-blue to go with our grey kitchen, white cabinets, blue countertops (we inherited those and they made the color selection process WAY more difficult… but it works now), and hardwood floors.  My dad is coming up to head up the process, and of course Joel will be here to help.  My mom and I are escaping to look at houses or visit the farmer’s market or something fun like that.

5. Dishes
I hate doing them.  That is all.

6. World Market
They are having a fall clearance sale.  I love that store.  It is kind of amazing and they have the best chai mix I’ve found.  I have tried chai almost everywhere in Raleigh since we got back from India 2 years ago.  Starbucks’ chai is terrible.  Sorry Starbucks.  I like you, really I do.  But your chai is awful.  Helios isn’t much better.  The best coffee-shop chai I’ve found is at Coffee and Crepes.  But it is still lacking.  But World Market sells a mix… I know, I know.  A mix.  But seriously, if you use milk (NOT water), it is the closest thing I’ve found to the chai I had in India.  Even Joel conceded that it’s pretty close.  Nothing will ever touch the freshly hand-ground spice mix there… but it’s close.
Also, I got a little 4-drawer library drawer set there.  It’s adorable.  Someday, when I have room an money for it, I want a big library cabinet.  You know what I mean – the card catalog kind with the little drawers?  Dude, they’re expensive.  But one day, I will have one.  And perhaps I will paint it some bright color.  Or just stain it a beautiful deep wood color.  And fill it with craft supplies.  Or something.  One day.

7. Paper-source.com
Oh, I could spend a fortune here.  I bought all the paper I used for our wedding invitations from this site.  They have all kinds of amazing things on this site.  Just a few things I’m drooling over… (but not buying because I’m DE-cluttering):

Who wouldn’t love to get mail in one of these beautiful envelopes??

If this calendar doesn’t make me want to stay organized, I don’t know what will.  I have a thing for typography and letterpress-looking numbers and letters

Oh there is so much more that I could show you, but you should just go check it out.

8. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
I love this show.  It happens to be, in my opinion the funniest late night show on television.  I am watching Friday’s show right now, and my favorite segment is on… Friday Thank You Notes.  If you haven’t seen this – well, you are missing out.  For example, “Thank you, omlette, for being a much more popular way of saying ‘egg taco.'”  I mean, he just makes me laugh.  It could be the sleep deprivation, but I’m pretty sure I just find him hilarious.

Jimmy, if you happen somehow to read this, thanks for making me laugh, even at 4 in the morning when I want to just cry because I’m awake.  Also, if you want a photographer to come visit your show, or SNL if you ever host, I’m your girl.

Ok, now I am completely delirious.

9. Doctors
I see them again today.  Hoping they announce that I’m making progress and baby girl will join us soon.  I guess we’ll see.

Until then, I’m going to sip on some ginger ale and crushed ice.

Diaper Bag

4 Sep

Even though I’m sure that this decision matters much more to me than to you, I thought there might be a couple of you interested in the diaper bag decision.

I went with #1 – the white and grey and red hobo bag looking one.  I ordered it yesterday, and it should get here around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.  Overall, I just liked the look of it better.  Also, it does clip to the stroller like the other two, I just didn’t have a photo to show that.  I didn’t like the size of option #2 (the grey one) – way too big – and option #3 seemed like it might be too small to hold my wallet and organizer along with the baby stuff.

So.  There you have it.  I’ll let you know what I think when it comes. Thanks for all the input.  Seriously. 🙂

A New Look

3 Sep

What do you think?  Just thought I’d update and get rid of the boring white, since I am not smart enough to figure out how to code in the photo I wanted for the header.

Certifiably Insane?

2 Sep

As though we didn’t have enough going on, enough big changes, or major life stressors happening at the moment….

We’ve put our house on the market.

That’s right.  2 weeks into law school.  3 weeks from our due date.  We’re selling our house.

Yes, we could have (and arguably, should have) decided to do this earlier in the year.  Yes, we’ve been tossing around the idea for more than a year.  Maybe closer to 2.  We always decided, for whatever reason, that it wasn’t the right time.  Either we didn’t know where we would be (dependent upon law school acceptance), or I was pregnant and we didn’t want to add more to that stress (hahaha so much for that!), or we had just painted a new room and really liked it, or… well, you get the picture.

Last week, we decided that it was time.  I’m not really sure why.

We just like to live on the edge, I guess.

Or maybe we’re crazy.  But either way… here we go!

Here’s the listing!