Monday, September 22, 2014

Pregnancy: 8 Weeks


Right before we headed out to California, we found out that we were pregnant. I saw a faint line on a test, and knew there was no such thing as a false positive. Previously, I had imagined telling Nik in an adorable way. Something that would result in him faintly crying from happiness, while I was aglow  smiling with him, somehow caught on film. Instead, I headed out of the bathroom in sweats, walked into Nik's office holding the test and said, "We're pregnant." Instead of the happy tears I assumed my normally-sensitive husband would have, he proceeded to stand up with his hands in the air, saying, "What?!" over and over. With his hands raised in the air, I hugged him, and his arms remained in the air.

The following weeks, I felt like a rockstar. I ate the same types of meals I always ate, full of vegetables and protein, and only ate sweets twice a week. I guzzled water down to stay hydrated, and pumped myself full of pre-natals. I hiked with my mom, and continued to get my normal eight hours of sleep. I was like, "Should I pursue a career in surrogacy? Clearly, my body was made to do this." Then, six and a half weeks came.

First, my body was like, "No more chicken. Never eat chicken again." Then, my increased sense of smell started not likely certain smells. Those certain smells being pretty much all smells. Anything scented. Any type of food, especially as it cooked. And people. Why do people have such strong smells? Then, I developed what Nik has affectionately dubbed, "afternoon sickness". In the mornings, I am okay. But breakfast foods like toast and cereal are easy. Lunch is a bit harder, then by 3:00 PM it's like my body has given up from all the smells of the day. Which is terrible, because I'm hungry and it's almost dinner time. Oh, afternoons and nights are so hard. I'm on a diet of bread, cheese, and milk. I have consumed so much Taco Bell, even Nik (the junk food lover) is like, "Maybe you should cut back." But I know I'm lucky. I've known people, and especially in my family, who are throw up sick the entire first trimester. As of eight weeks, I only had one barfing session.

Today, I had my eight week appointment with my OBGYN. I had attended the doctor a week before, but only met with a nurse practitioner. (Who happened to be LDS, and had taught Nursing at BYU, she's great!) The nurse practitioner saw me, and asked if she could attend the ultrasound. It was helpful, because the doctor explained things to her as he performed the ultrasound, and it helped me understand what was going on. The baby's heart rate was 163 each minute, and it measured exactly to the day for the due date we assumed. Hearing the heartbeat was more magical than I could have imagined. I was scared it was going to be a holy-crap-I'm-going-to-be-a-parent moment, but it wasn't like that at all. It reminded me of the feelings I had when Nik and I were married, just overwhelming joy. I left that appointment over the moon. Clutching the print-outs from the ultrasound I wanted to dance, I wanted to sing, I wanted to do something to express this happiness that was bursting from me! So, I texted Nik and some of our family to share the good news. Later, walking around stores with those pictures in my purse I wanted to show them to cashiers and random shoppers. A healthy baby! My baby!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Spring Semester Catch Up


Let's talk about spring semester. It's stunning. I swear all the money the university invests in keeping the snow off the sidewalks in the winter is then put into the landscape during the spring and summer. Don't quote me on this, but I've actually been grateful to live in a place with such cold winters because you appreciate the warmer temperatures so much more.


A rushed before-we-leave-church-selfie, because as I passed our reflection I laughed at how young we looked this Sunday. Who let these two teenagers get married? It didn't help that the dress I was wearing was purchased when I was fourteen. It looked like I was ready to attend 8th grade promotion. 


Have you ever heard of the Momofuku Crack Pie? Supposedly, it's addictive. After making and bringing one to a dinner party, I don't know how anyone could be addicted to it. Even Nik, who once when I was browning butter stated, "I would love to drink that", after three bites was like, "Wow. This is really rich."



My dad flew out in the middle of June, and we ran the races we had been training for. Nik ran the half marathon, and I ran the 10k. I had trained a lot, while Nik's training had tapered off the month before the race. (And by tapered off, I mean his legs hadn't run in a month the day of the race.) He somehow managed to run it in under two hours, and made it look easy. Meanwhile, despite my training, the 10k was a struggle. I want to avoid using cliches like "It was the hardest thing of my life," or "I thought I was going to die." but somehow those are the only phrases I can think of to describe my race. I could not have done it with my dad, who helped me keep pace and talked to me throughout the entire race, and helped me reach my time goal!


The same weekend my dad came into town, our sister-in-law, niece, and nephew came to Rexburg as well. Looking at my house with them and my dad sitting around chatting was the best. We loved that weekend. By far, the best of the semester. 



Nik has been filming a lot this semester. (What's new?) He's been working on his second short film, working full-time for the AV department on campus, and doing freelance. While watching him work on all of these projects I've learning the following: the production process is slow. Writing scripts is slow. Revising scripts is slow. Making shot lists takes forever. But the slowest thing? Set up and take down on set. It is mindnumbingly slow. Moving equipment in and out of vans is the only form of strength exercise I get though.



We presented our Senior Projects at the end of June. For some reason, that day was extremely stressful for me. It wasn't even presenting my project that was anxiety-inducing. It was the realization that I am going to graduate soon. Terrifying. 


Over 4th of July weekend we drove down to Logan, and picked cherries in Nik's grandma's backyard. Since I've known him, Nik has always described picking cherries as one of his favorite childhood memories. I loved being able to participate in an activity I had heard so much about. Not to mention, we've been eating pounds of cherries for weeks now. 




The other night, we went to Harriman State Park to film a video. We had been there before, when we stayed in yurts, and it was incredible to see the scenery in a different season. The conditions were perfect: setting sun, warm summer weather, stillness of nature, and tall trees. The only downside? The lake was a breeding ground for mosquitoes. While holding equipment with both hands, we were unable to swat away the pesks. We were literally watch them eat us, and couldn't do anything about it. As I felt myself being bit, I promised myself, "I'm not going to itch them, that only makes it worse," of the imminent bites that would result. I lasted like half a day, and presently my dozen or so bites are scratched raw. Worth it. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bacon and Green Apple Pizza




This is the type of meal that makes you seem a lot fancier than you are. Something about the combination of green apples and crispy bacon is so sophisticated. Luckily, this recipe could not be easier. 

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST: 
1 1/2 C All-purpose flour 
3/4 C Warm Water 
1 t Dry Active Yeast 
1 T Sugar 
1 T Olive Oil 
1/2 t Salt 
1 t Italian Spices 
1/2 t Garlic Power 

TOPPINGS: 
Shredded Mozzarella 
5 Pieces of Bacon 
1 Green Apple 
Italian Spice 
Olive Oil 
Crushed Garlic 

Directions:

1. Mix the flour, water, yeast, sugar, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Cover and let rest with a towel in a warm place for 1 hour. 
2. Take risen dough, and pressed into greased 8x8 pan. Sprinkle with Italian Spice and Garlic Powder. Cover with towel. Let rise an additional 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
3. Cook bacon and crumble. Thinly slice apple. 
4. Remove Drizzle dough with olive oil and rub with 1 t crushed garlic. Top with shredded mozzarella, crumbled bacon, apple. Sprinkle Italian spice over pizza. Cook for minutes, or until bottom is golden brown color. 

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes






The thing with vegetarian meals is that the end result can be not very filling. These stuffed sweet potatoes are full of protein from the black beans, cheese, and healthy fats from avocados. The result? A filling vegetarian meal that doesn’t leave you looking in the fridge for a burger. 

Ingredients:

2 Sweet Potatoes 
4 oz Black Beans 
4 oz Corn 
1/4 C Salsa 
1/2 Red Pepper 
1 T Chili Powder 
1 t Cumin 
1/2 t Garlic Powder 
1/4 t Cayenne Pepper 
Jack Cheese 
Cilantro 
Avocado 
Sea Salt 

How To:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take sweet potatoes and stab holes into potatoes with a fork or knife. Wrap in foil and cook in oven for one hour, or until cooked through. 
2. Take cooked sweet potatoes and scrape out. Take 1/2 cup of sweet potato filling and mash in bowl. (Store remaining cooked sweet potato.)In a separate bowl mix black beans, corn, salsa, diced red pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper with mashed sweet potato. Place mixture into sweet potato skins. Top with grated jack cheese. 
3. Bake stuffed sweet potatoes in oven for 15 minutes. 
4. Remove sweet potatoes from oven. Top with sliced avocado, cilantro, and sea salt. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers


At the end of Spring Semester, our fourteen week efforts were rewarded with a thrilling treat: watching a Nik's first short film displayed on a theater screen. It was fantastic. Aren't spouses most attractive when you get the chance to see their talents and passions in action? The entire semester we were floored by the amount of effort our friends put into helping Nik complete this big goal. 


We helped my little sister move out of her apartment. Well technically, it was just switching apartments in the same complex. Nik and I, being the impatient  energy efficient couple that we are, attempted to scoop up all of her clothing to move to the floor below. Upon grabbing his arm's worth of clothing, Nik turned to me and commented, "Wow. Lolly has a lot of clothes," and after further inspection continued, "and they are a lot nicer than yours." Thanks, Nik.




We took a trip down to Logan to visit Nik's grandparents. In pursuit of my mission to determine what our future children will look like, I asked if they had any pictures of Nik as a child. I hit the baby picture jackpot. The two above are my two favorite. Chubby cheeks, pinchable arms, big brown eyes, and his strong chin that somehow still manages to suit his baby face. Trying to attempt my express my love for Nik, combined with my desire to be a mother the other day I tactfully said, "I just love you so much I want to have a carbon copy of you to raise." Nik slowly backed away, unsure if he should absorb the compliment or call for help.




The above picture is not, in fact, a child's playdough replica of a crabby patty. It was a dinner. That made me cry. Let me explain. On Instagram there has been this Whole 30 craze, a cleanse in which participants cannot consume the base of my normal diet: sugar in any forms (including honey), gluten, legumes, and dairy for thirty days. It sounds doable. I wish I could have understand how wrong I was. 

On Day One, I began my day with sweet potato hasbrowns, eggs, topped with salsa. So far so good. By Day Four, I had to choke down my eggs. Without cheese, toast, or in the form of a breakfast burritos, eggs quickly lose their appeal. By Day Five, I thought I had the flu. A constant nausea accompanied me throughout the day, but I am not a quitter. I dreamed up a meal that would help me endure this thirty day hell. Teriyaki burgers, topped with pineapple,  on a homemade sweet potato bun would be the solution. The result was horrific. Let me assure you, it was more disgusting than that picture looks, which is no small feat. Standing above the sink, I cried as I tried to eat the "burger", it crumbled in my grip. Apparently the almond flour I had used to bind together the turkey, and in the sweet potato buns was not capable of this. 

The five days I participated in Whole 30 did teach me two things. Firstly, I will not be participating in a cleanse again. If I can't eat the healthy foods that I love like black beans, brown rice, and a big glass of milk it cannot be that good for me. Secondly, the cleanse did teach me how to incorporate more veggies into our meals. (For the record, I will never again make sweet potato buns.)


There is something about Spring that makes me swoon for romance. The Mindy Project may be playing a role in this. The season just ended, but each Tuesday night (or the day after on Hulu) I got to experience twenty-three minutes of mini romantic comedies. Nik would walk in on me watching the show, greeted by my teary-eyed, goofy smiling expression. The above image is my favorite moment of the season, Danny reading Bridget Jone's Diary to Mindy in a British accent. I cried tears of joy from the amount of adorable I was witnessing. 



On Easter Sunday, I entered the kitchen and Nik sat sorting all the orange and yellow Starburst jelly beans from the rest. He explained, "I'm separating the wheat from the tare." After church, we continued an Easter tradition of flying kites. 


In a slightly Easter related theme, while on a Sunday walk, Nik kicked this egg that lay randomly on the soccer field by our house, thinking it was a Cadbury egg. 




While staying at our friend, Tiffany's, house in Salt Lake, our room had a oversized cat book in it. I forced Nik to take a picture with it, and he surprisingly proceeded to read the entire book. Commenting on all the pictures of cats. Cat conversion process: steadily progressing.


This past week, I took a quick trip to Cabo with my mom. My dad was there on business, and she needed a friend to play with. Because I didn't bring a camera, and we didn't have international service, our phones were never with us, I managed to only take one photo of the trip. Memorable moments: seeing two dozen sting ray jumping out of the water by Lover's Beach, the tide catching my mom off guard pushing her down a rock (you had to be there), and the endless amounts of fresh fish we consumed!



For a couple of weeks, before the weather was warm, I began running on the school's indoor track. Some don't enjoy running on a track, but I enjoy the measurable distance and the controlled temperature. I did not enjoy lugging my gym clothes around all day. One day, in my rush, I put my pants on inside out. While passing people on the track, I was overjoyed to be faster than others. At home, I was horrified to see my white tag hanging off of my butt. 

Now that the weather is warm, Nik and I have been running outside recently. Spring is stunning in Rexburg. It is the gift that comes after enduring the grueling winter. On our runs, there are gorgeous green hills and fields that cover our routes. The green is so vibrant it looks fake. I've developed the ability to accomplish things I never thought I could: running over four miles, talking while running, and choosing to run without music. Going on runs together has been the perfect solution to find an hour of uninterrupted time to talk and spend time together. 




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Winter Semester Wrap Up


We made it to the end of April, people. Nik and I survived our busiest semester to date. I think both of us are in shock that we made it out alive. 


The last half of the semester was a crazy busy blur. Mine included two uncomfortably large (70, 80? page) papers to wrap up my internship. Nik's included shooting and editing a six minute short film. 

According to our phone's camera rolls, here is what else happened the second half of the semester:


I wore a trench coat 90% of March because I felt it was the coat that best suited my bangs. These dang bangs that do not complement the Rexburg wind. 


We held poker night and ate cookies. It was the worst round of poker ever. I don't think I'm a fan of Texas Hold Em anymore. If I'm playing a card game, it better be Monopoly Deal. 


I updated the wall in our living room. 


I applied for my passport for an upcoming trip to Mexico with my mom.


Nik destroyed a microwave in our living room, to prep to get a shot from inside a microwave. I think our vacuum is full of led paint chips now. 

In our kitchen:


I have found perfection in the form of a biscuit. When I first made biscuits for Nik I could tell by his reaction that he was not a fan. I am not a competitive person, unless it involves food. It only took a year, but I've converted Nik to my biscuit abilities. When he ate this he said, "It tastes just like KFC." Which on the surface is like super insulting, but Nik always compares the recipes he loves to bad chain restaurants or brands. 


His (raspberries and biscoff) and hers (banana, blueberry, coconut) oatmeal on a lazy Saturday morning.


You can't tell in this picture, but those noodles are made from scratch. I learned to make them with my mother in law when Nik and I were engaged, and every once in a while I get a big craving for comforting homemade noodles. They're actually surprisingly easy to make. 


During the final week of the semester, I was like "Nik, I don't have time for cook. Let's have a fend for yourself night. Just make something quick." We both scrambled around the kitchen, whisking up quick meals. When we sat down to eat, I laughed at the differences between our "quick" meals. 








Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How We Met, Our First Date, and White Chicken Lime Enchiladas


If registration for spring semester is two days away that means it's almost spring right? I'm just going to go along with that line of thinking, and unpack my skirts and sandals. Spring semester holds a particular feeling of nostalgia for me because my first spring semester is when Nik and I met. 

When I think of that first semester, one meal comes to mind: white chicken enchiladas. 

I think it's a requirement in the first months of dating to constantly take Photobooth pictures together.
I had moved for the third time since starting school, moving in with a friend on a whim. My first week in this new apartment I walked into the kitchen and stumbled upon Nik. He was the perfect example of my "type". From his build, to his coloring and cute face. My middle school self would have ripped his picture out of a magazine to be glued to a binder. Seriously, it was like seeing my dream boy in person. (Outside of the enchiladas, that's as cheesy as this post gets.) I was filled with jealously, because obviously the cute guy in my apartment was a boyfriend of a roommate. 

By some miracle, he happened to be my roommate's brother. And she did what any smart sister would do. She told me he thought I was cute, and him vise versa. 


For our first date, we started off making dinner. We made white chicken enchiladas. The main ingredient for the sauce was one food I refuse to eat, cream of chicken. I was not raised in a family that consumes cream of anything. I had never tried cream of anything, and didn't have any plans to. Ever. 

While Nik and I were cooking, my fear of eating the enchiladas increased. As Nik scraped the soup into the pan, I tried to disguise my dry heaving through coughing. While the enchiladas baked in the oven, I hoped for some sort of fire or spontaneous combustion in the oven. The timer went off, and it was my moment of truth. I honestly thought I could work up the courage to take a bite, due to the effort Nik had put into the meal. My will power to make this date with this cute boy go well was strong. I kept reminding myself how attractive he was as motivation. But as my fork cut open the enchilada, the sauce oozed out, and any will I had mustered diminished. I didn't care if he was adorable, I would not consume that dang soup sauce.

I put the fork down, and explained I couldn't eat due to a "nervous stomach". Not my smoothest move. Nothing creates an environment  for a romantic date like mentioning a "nervous stomach". 

Unfed, we moved onto or next activity. Nik had heard me reference in the kitchen we met that I had a desire to learn to drive stick shift. Luckily, he hadn't heard me mention I failed my license test. Twice. 



He borrowed his roommate's car. It was a green mustang convertible from like 2000. By most standards, I was terrible at learning to drive stick. But knowing my driving skill set now, Nik would probably say he was just grateful I didn't crash. 

Afterwards, we went to a janky Mexican restaurant, and filled our empty stomachs with chips and guacamole. 

Ever since that first date, I've been determined to prove my ability to produce the best white chicken enchiladas possible, to make up for my lack consumption of the original white chicken enchiladas.

Tonight, the following recipe was actually dubbed by my favorite first date as "the best enchiladas" he's ever had. 



White Chicken Lime Enchiladas

Serves 1 Wife and 1 Extremely Hungry Husband

Ingredients:

2-3 C shredded chicken
2 T of butter
1/4 C flour
1 1/2 C chicken broth
1 C sour cream
1/4 C sliced jalepenos (I use the kind from a jar)
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T chopped green onion
1 T lime juice
2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
7 tortillas
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Mix cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Set aside. 
3. Melt butter over medium heat, add flour. Stir until flour is incorporated and you have a thick roux. Cook for one minute. 
4. Add chicken broth. Stir thoroughly, ensuring roux is incorporated into broth. After one minute, the mixture will become thicker. Cook until sauce has desired thickness. Stir in sour cream. 
5. Pour sauce into blender. Add sliced jalepenos, cilantro, lime juice, and half of spice mixture. Pulse mixture three times or until ingredients are evenly distributed. 
6. In a bowl, mix shredded chicken, 1 C of cheese, remaining spice mix and 1/2 C of sauce. 
7. In a baking dish, place tortillas. Evenly distribute chicken mixture into tortillas. Wrap closed. 
8. Pour remaining sauce and sprinkle cheese over tortillas. 
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. 
10. Garnish with cilantro, avocado, and limes. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bangs, Bacon, and The Oscars


The end of February and beginning of March have always been a pivotal point in time for me and my hair. (Feel free to skip reading, because apparently I have a lot to say about hair.) Between the wind and the dry cold, my hair takes quite a beating. Last year, I made the (idiotic) choice to dye my hair brown. Except then it turned red. Anyways, despite the long journey back to my natural color, last winter taught me a valuable lesson: Hair color is permanent (and expensive to remove) whereas a hair cut can grow out. So rather than going dark, I made the next obvious choice: bangs. 

I've never had bangs before, mainly because my hairline didn't fully develop until I was in kindergarten. You can't get bangs if you don't have hair for them. 

And then, my hair was too curly for bangs. 


Seriously, this is the amount of thought I put into something as silly as a new haircut. Are all women like this? 

Monday the thought of bangs consumed me so much I ingnored the Thursday appointment I had scheduled, and walked into a salon. In Idaho. I live my life on the edge.

Because of my "never-had-bangs" syndrome, the hairstylist suggested I try side bangs first. Most likely because she didn't want to have a crying client in her chair. I think my 10 minute explanation of the secret bang board I have on Pinterest gave off that vibe. 


So I spent four days with the same haircut everyone had in seventh grade. 


So then Friday, the big cut was made, and group texts were sent for opinions and I think they're here to stay.


Sunday we threw a little Oscar party and like the good host that I am, I didn't take any pictures. The only pictures I have are the ones texted to my family. 


There were "Red Carpet" Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, creme brûlée, and homemade pizza. 


We passed out sheets for everyone to vote for the different categories, and the winner got to take home our one footed gold Ken doll. This made the oscars a thousand more times entertaining to watch. Like, we were actually concerned about who was winning "Sound Editing" vs. "Sound Mixing". I highly recommend this activity to keep guest entertained for three and a half hours. (Plus, Ellen helped.) Unfortunately, and surprisingly the least artistic of the group (me) won. And there's nothing more anticlimactic then a host winning her own prize. Boo. 

Lastly, I've been on an avacado kick. Actually, I'm always on an avacado kick. And today I cut open a perfectly ripe avacado. It was a glorious moment. A moment that needed to be celebrated with bacon. 

The result was a lunch of Nik's dreams. And I felt bad I was enjoying it without him. 



I texted Nik about eating the lunch in his honor to which he replied, "Is all of the bacon gone?"  

The man is protective of his bacon.