Thursday, February 19, 2015

Brown Butter Shortbread Thumbprints with Salted Caramel

I don't know if it's a boy/girl thing or if it's just a funny coincidence, but when I was pregnant with Nash, I wanted red meat and salty foods. It was only the last month or so that sweets sounded good again. This time the pregnancy sweet tooth hit a lot earlier. Yikes!

I have been making a batch of cookies every week and eating way too many. Last week I tried something other than my go to chocolate chip or snickerdoodle, and oh my. They were delicious.

Brown Butter Shortbread Thumbprints with Salted Caramel

3/4 cup butter, browned and cooled (just cook butter, stirring constantly until it turns brown)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk or half and half
2 tbl butter
1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more for garnish)

1. Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy.
2. Add the dry ingredients, and mix together until well combined.
3. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
4. Roll into 1.5 inch balls, then press onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Use your thumb or whatever to make a little well in the center of each cookie.
5. Bake at 375ยบ F for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden. Cool on the cookie sheet.

1. Put the sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. DO NOT STIR! Once the sugar has completely melted, you will start to see spots where it starts to caramelize. At this point you can gently stir or swirl the sugar in the pan so that it caramelizes evenly.
2. Once the sugar is a nice golden brown, quickly whisk in the milk. If clumps of caramel form, don't panic, just keep whisking over low heat until it's smooth. Add the butter and salt, and pour into a jar or bowl to cool.
3. Once the cookies have cooled, fill up the "thumbprints" with the caramel sauce and sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the top if you want to.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mayby: 25 Weeks

Hello, I'm here with a little pregnancy update on baby But number two.

How far along: 25 weeks tomorrow! My 24 week appointment was today though. They got a bit off over the holidays. Everything is looking good so far!

How I'm feeling: Definitely better than a few months ago! I still don't feel amazing though. I feel like I have a certain amount of energy to expend each day, and when I use it all up, nausea hits. That amount of energy is very small to begin with, so I just have to be careful not to do too much and to take it as easy as I can while keeping an almost two year old entertained all day. I also have been getting this ridiculous hip pain that gets so bad I almost can't put weight on my left leg. Annoying.

Weight gain: So far my weight gain has tracked almost exactly with my first pregnancy, although I lost fewer pounds during the first trimester this time. Actual numbers aren't important; I weigh less than my husband, that's all that matters. :) (Side note: why do people think it's ok to ask pregnant people how much weight they have gained? If you wouldn't ask a non-pregnant person that question, don't ask a pregnant person that question.)

Maternity clothes: I have definitely been wearing my maternity jeggings. (Thanks, Old Navy.) I wear those with stretchy shirts from pre-pregnancy. But honestly, I mostly just wear tunics and leggings. I don't love maternity shirts because I just feel really dumpy, so I just go for stretchy most of the time. 

Baby is a... GIRL!
I did the Verifi test at 10 weeks, so we've know since around 11 weeks that it was a girl. However, I still sort of didn't believe it until the ultrasound a month ago. We have a boy, Mike's twin brother has had two boys, so I thought we would have another boy. Nope! I can honestly say I had no preference, but it sure will be fun to have a little girl!

Baby size: I don't know. Cauliflower, eggplant? What do those even mean? At our anatomy scan four weeks ago, she was measuring 50th percentile. After a baby who in utero was over the 90th percentile with an off the charts head (still is), 50th sounds great to me! 

Sleep: My sleep has been a little wacky the last month because Nash had an ear infection, and now he is getting his 2 year molars. We have had a few rough nights, and if I don't get a good night sleep, I feel awful the next day. This week has been good though, so that has been awesome!

Movement: Another crazy little mover in there. She doesn't kick as hard as Nash did, thankfully. 

Name: We are pretty set on a name, but it's a secret. It was on our girl's list from when I was pregnant with Nash and we love it. Middle name is still up in the air, but I have my mom doing some digging through the family tree for more possibilities. Mayby is her code name for now. May baby = Mayby.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Christmas 2014

You know, it's February, so I should probably get something down about Christmas. Maybe.

Christmas started on December 20th for us when we got together with Mike's brother, his wife, and their son Miles to celebrate Butler family Christmas. (The rest of the extended Butler family was celebrating on the other side of the state.) We opened blocks from Mike's parents, which were and continue to be a HUGE hit! We also had brunch and made Nash and Miles wear matching pajamas, obviously. Later that day we decorated Christmas cookies and went to a party at Mike's uncles house, where we spent time with some of his aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The 24th was our immediate family Christmas. It was exciting to celebrate as a family since Nash us old enough to know what's going on this year. We gave Nash a train board, which he promptly destroyed, so the tracks are just all over the place now. :) We went to church in the afternoon, then came home and FaceTimed with Mike's parents so they could see Nash play with all of his presents. We also had italian food for dinner, which we thought could be a fun family tradition in years to come.

Christmas Day was a crazy travel day for us, and we headed to Colorado to see my family. We flew with my brother, his wife, and their daughter which was fun, and we landed in a snowstorm, which was not fun. On top of that, the one car that my parents have that would fit two car seats, four adults, all the luggage, and a driver wouldn't start, so they had to borrow a car. By the time we got home, it was almost time to put the kids to bed. And we had left our house in Seattle mid-morning! It was a long day for a 2.5 hour flight. It was really fun though because my grandparents were at the house when we got there, and I hadn't seen them for almost three years! And the 25th is my grandma's birthday, so it was very special to be able to spend time with them.

We had Christmas with my family a few days later, which was a blast. There was cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, and lots of trains for Nash. He was in heaven, and he loved being able to spend so much time with his cousin, Olive. My morning sickness wasn't cooperating for much of the week, so I went to bed early a lot and was sick for quite a few of the days. Thankfully there were lots of people around to help with Nash so Mike was able to get a break too. 

We had a fun few fun outings on days I didn't feel to sick, and we were able to spend time with a couple of friends, but we wish we'd been able to see more! Mike and I also snuck away to see a movie, which almost never happens these days. It was at a theater with huge recliner seats and food and drink service. So fun!

New Year's (which also happens to be my mom's birthday), we got another snowstorm, so we just hung out and ate Chick-Fil-A, and watched tv all day. It was magical. 

With all the snow we got, Nash was able to go sledding for the first time! He loved the snow and loved sledding. He is a Colorado kid at heart. :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fall Wrap Up

Well, our fall is going out with a bang. And by bang, I mean being totally exhausted. Last week Nash had a stomach bug. You can guess how that went with me being thisclose to throwing up at any given moment. After a day respite, Nash then got a horrible cold and cough, which I proceeded to catch. Let's just say coughing fits aren't doing my morning sickness any favors. Thank God Mike is still healthy, or we would be in big trouble! Although, I don't think anyone in our house has had a full night sleep for the last two weeks. Oh well.

Here are the things we did this fall that I don't want to forget! Starting with Labor Day weekend. We rented a big ole cabin with 5 other families for three nights and had a blast! It was right on a river near Leavenworth, WA. This was the trip that we found out that 17.5 month old Nash was too long for his Pack-N-Play, and he basically didn't sleep the entire trip. Since then we have been officially homebound until we move him into a normal bed, which honestly we are not ready to do. So it means no more trips for a while, but that's ok. Thankfully my parents in Denver have a crib, so we'll be covered when we go there for Christmas.

This was a walk we took at 6:00 am because Nash had been up since 5am. :)
My parents flew up the next weekend because Nash and Olive (my brother's daughter) were dedicated to the Lord at church. It was very special!

About a week after that, we found out about baby number two! And the same day, we went to the zoo! Nash was indifferent. Afterwards, we met up with my brother and his wife to tell them our news. It's our baby tradition. We tell them like 2 hours after we take the test. :)

The next weekend (we had a busy September), I jetted off to San Clemente, CA, for my annual girl's weekend with friends from college. Miraculously my morning sickness had not kicked in yet. (At the time, I thought maybe I wouldn't really be sick this pregnancy. HAHAHAHAHA!) Anyway, it was a great long weekend filled with lots of food, whale watching, sitting on the beach, and laughing. A lot.

When I got back from California, I babysat my niece Olive. Nash took that literally.

And the next day all hell broke loose and morning sickness hit with a vengeance! I'm super glad it waited until after my trip though.

October had a few ok moments, but mostly involved me laying in bed trying not to be sick. We did make it to the pumpkin patch with Mike's brother's family, which was really fun! For some reason I can't find any of those pictures!

Then Nash trick-or-treated for the first time! Night time is my super sick time, so I was spent after the first three houses, but it started raining right then, so we just called it a night. Sorry, Nash.

He was a cowboy. Obviously.

November was more of me laying around. Exciting stuff. Thanksgiving was spent with a bunch of good friends, and it actually was so nice not to host this year. I magically was able to eat that day, too. Thanks, Thanksgiving.

And that pretty much gets us to today. December has been all sickness all the time, but hopefully it will all be out of our systems by Christmas so we can be healthy and enjoy it. We have like 5 Christmases to celebrate, so we need to get our game faces on. I can't wait!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Baby But #2

Well, if we are Facebook or Instagram friends then you already know our news. Baby Butler number two is coming in May! We are so excited and thankful that Nash is going to have a little sibling.

So far this pregnancy has been the same, but different. Last time I was nauseous right at 4 weeks, the worst was 5-7, and then I steadily felt better from there. I was sick off and on into the the 3rd trimester though.

This time, I didn't feel sick until around six weeks, which was great because we found I was pregnant out about a week and half before I was supposed to leave for my annual girl's trip with my besties from college. Thankfully I felt pretty good the whole weekend and could eat normally! Then I got home and it got bad. Like really bad, really fast. Like lose eight pounds in two weeks bad, and it stayed bad for quite while. I am 15.5 weeks now, and the last two weeks have slowly been getting better. Dinnertime is still hit or miss, but I've been able to eat it for most of the last week.

Poor Mike has been run ragged, but he has not complained even once. Since afternoons/evenings are my super sick time, he has been on his own with Nash when he gets home from work. He's also had to make dinner for both of them, clean up, go grocery shopping, etc. Super-dad! Thankfully we have had friends bring meals, and my mom visited for 10 days to get us through the worst and give us a break.

I think the most surprising thing about this pregnancy has been how much less stressed I am. Probably because the unknown of becoming a parent isn't looming. I thought that with everything that happened with our nephews and with other friends recently would make me terrified to the max this time, but I'm honestly not. I think that watching my sister-in-law's second pregnancy taught me a lot about being brave in the name of love, and it taught me to enjoy and love this child for whatever time we have.

So that's what we are doing. Enjoying this time as a family of 3.5 as much as my nausea will allow! And taking it really easy. :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

For All the New Moms... And the People That Love Them

I hung out with my sister-in-law yesterday morning. She has a cute little 9 week old. He cried some (as 9 week olds tend to do), he ate, he spit up, and he slept some too. He doesn't sleep through the night (which is also the norm for a 9 week old).

We were talking about how when you are the one with the fussy baby or the baby who wakes up every two hours all night or the one who fusses when he eats (the list goes on) it seems like everyone else's baby is perfect.

Probably because we see photos like this...

But what people don't realize, is that for every moment of calm, there are 100 moments like this...

Oh, the screaming. Not to mention the sleep deprivation, poop, pee, spit up, and the night screaming. Night screaming gets its own distinction because everything feels about a million times more stressful at 2 am as opposed to 2 pm. It's just the way it is.

But it's not just people putting on a face for social media. To an extent we see what we want to see, and also, if someone posted about their crying baby every time they cried, it would be ridiculous. They would post every five seconds. So they share the cute smiling pics because (for those of us who don't have perfect babies) those moments are more rare the first few months, and that's what you want to remember anyway.

Really there is nothing that prepares you for how hard it is taking care of a newborn. No matter how much you want it, how much time you've spent with babies, how many books you read, how long you've tried: taking care of your own child is a whole different ballgame.

So I've been thinking about babies all day, and my sis and I talked about a lot of this stuff. I wanted to write it down for all those new mamas. And really these are just the things I wish I could go back in time and say to myself.

1. You don't know anything.
That's the bad news. The good news is, neither does anyone else! Not Babywise, not Dr. Sears, not your best friend, not that bitch at the grocery store who tried to tell you that your baby should really be wearing socks. Nobody knows, because if they did, there would only be one book, and everyone would follow it, and everyone's baby would be on the same schedule, and life would would be perfect. But every baby is different, and what works for one won't work for another. But you will figure it out eventually. Maybe. Hopefully.

2. All the things you are stressed out about will work themselves out eventually. I promise.
That is the number one thing I wish I could go back and tell myself! When Nash would only nap in a carrier, I was convinced it was a bad habit he would never break. When we finally got him to nap in his crib, we still had to rock him to sleep until he was 5 months old. Well, guess what, after 5 months, we could lay him down awake, and he puts himself to sleep. He was ready. It's not like there are 15 year olds out there whose moms still rock them to sleep every night! (I hope.) The crappy phases will end, and a year from now, it will seem like the blink of an eye. I know that doesn't fix anything now, but I promise, it gets better.

3. Please keep posting cute pictures.
People will find out eventually when they have their own kid how much it sucks, right? Just kidding! But seriously, I think it helps morale so much to have other people say "What a beautiful baby!" or "Wow, out and about and looking great with a one month old! Super mom!!!" They don't need to know that it's the first time in a month that both you and the baby are wearing non-pajamas at the same time. They also don't need to know that your pants were covered in spit up, that's why the picture is from the waist up. Anyone with kids knows what a big deal it is just to get out of the house, so if you get a moment of feeling like super mom from posting a cute family pic from the park (from the 30 seconds that the baby wasn't screaming), then I think that's a good thing. 

4. On the flip side, don't be afraid to get real.
I love how much awareness people have now about loss and infertility. Seriously. However, I think it makes people feel like they can't complain AT ALL lest they hurt someone who is dealing with one of those things. I know I definitely felt that way after the loss of our nephew. Who was I to complain, when my baby was here and healthy?! Unfortunately, being aware how lucky you are (and I promise, I know) doesn't make the actual day to day care of a newborn any easier, so the guilt hits you like a ton of bricks. It's ok if you don't love being a mother all day every day. It doesn't mean that you don't deserve to be a mom; most moms feel that way. You don't need to shout to the world how tired and frustrated you are (but if that helps, go for it), but I hope you have some people in your life that you can be real with. It makes it so much easier and makes it feel less lonely. 

5. You're doing a great job!
I promise. Nobody is judging you when your baby won't take naps. It is not a reflection on your parenting every time your baby cries. You are doing great! Babies cry and that's ok! Also, your baby loves you. I was really convinced for a good 5 months that my baby hated me, but it turns out he doesn't. When he falls down, he wants a hug from me. When I pick him up from Sunday school, he sees me and runs straight over. You'll get there with your baby, too. :)

And to the people with a new mama in their life/neighborhood/family:

1. We don't need your advice... unless we ask for it.
Maybe you raised 6 kids, maybe you run a daycare or a preschool, maybe you read a book, but guess what. Kids are different! Sometimes I just need to vent and hear someone say, "That sucks, but it will get better." We have Google, books, forums, and blogs to give us all kinds of information (usually conflicting). If you try to solve our problem by saying, "Have you tried this?" we have probably already tried it. Just be there for us. If we say, "Did your kid ever struggle with napping? What did you do?" of course share what you know! It's awesome to have a support system of people who have been there that we can go to for advice! But only if we ask.

2. PLEASE don't tell us about other people's babies.
I don't want to know about how your neighbor's daughter slept 10 hours straight at 4 days old. I don't need to know that your cousin made so much milk she could have fed three babies. Save those stories for six months from now when I am less of a crazy tired hormonal zombie, ok? When you ask how my baby is sleeping, and I say "He gets up every three hours", and you tell us how your brother/daughter/grandson slept through the night at one week old, we hear, "You are doing this wrong. If you were a good mom, your baby would be sleeping through the night like this other baby." I know you didn't mean it that way at all, but we are trying so hard just to get through the day (and night). Don't compare, just say, "That's great!" or "That's exactly what he should be doing at that age!" Ok?

3. Thanks for being there.
Thanks for meals and laundry. For mowing the lawn and buying us coffee after a long night. Thanks for calling before you come over. Thanks for not staying too late so that my husband and I can have some precious alone time after we put the baby down for the night. Thanks for coming to our house so that we don't have to get a sitter. Thank you for inviting us to things even though you know we can't go, so we feel like we haven't lost all of who we were before we had kids. And thanks for being there. We couldn't do it alone!

All photos are by the amazing Carly Bish!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Things I am Obsessed With: Summer 2014 Edition

So, I am officially over summer. No offense summer lovers, but I am fair skinned (so I can't be in the sun for long periods of time) with a 17 month old (so he can't be in the sun for a long time either). Our house doesn't have air conditioning (nobody in the PNW does), and we are going on 4 months of temps in the 80s. Over. It.

I am ready for fall. I want sweaters and boots and pumpkin spice everything.

Here are a few things that made me hate summer a little less.

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Ice Cream: No explanation necessary.

Old Navy Linen Drawstring Shorts: I got these in 2 colors for $10 each during a sale a few months ago. Are they "mom shorts" yes. But I am a 31 year old mom, and these are long without being bermuda length, and the drawstring allows some disguise of my muffin top. So whatever. Lame mom shorts.

ELF Jumbo Lip Gloss Sticks: I am not really a lipstick person, but I guess part of being in your 30's is wanting a little color on your lips. Or maybe it's just being tired. I started with the nude color, and have now amassed the berry and the red. They are sheer and creamy without being sticky. I really really like these. I also like them for traveling because they don't explode if you open them on a plane, and they can double as a cream blush or eyeshadow in a pinch. Ok, maybe not the red one for eyeshadow, but you get the idea.

H & M little boy tank tops: Great for little boys who tend to run hot like mine. We have gotten so lucky with hand me downs, that I have only bought clothes for Nash a handful of times. When I do, H & M is the place I like to get them. No stupid character clothes or shirts with dumb sayings on them (for the most part). The cotton is so soft, the clothes are great quality, and they are actually less expensive than Old Navy and Target if you hit a sale. And they look so cute!

Homemade alcoholic slushies: You know, because of the whole "no a/c thing", and the whole "deal with a hot screaming toddler all day" thing. (Why does being hot make everyone so crabby?) Please, if you have an ice cream maker, do this right now. Ours didn't even 100% freeze because it was 85 DEGREES IN OUR HOUSE. It was still amazing.

Does anyone else have a summer obsession? What am I missing out on? There's always next year...