Growing like a weed!

Our little girl will be 12 weeks tomorrow…gosh, how time flies! I experienced a slight panic moment last night just thinking about how much Molly has grown and how I’ve done such a horrible job blogging and documenting all of her changes – I don’t want to forget anything but I feel like it’s all happening so fast! So I’m going to try to blog something at least once a month…just so I can process this all and so I can look back and remember these incredible little moments. 🙂

I can say without a doubt that as Molly is getting older, she is also getting much easier. Or perhaps Jon and I are just getting into the swing of things? Maybe both. At any rate, I’m definitely appreciating the fact that Molls has been sleeping 5-7 hours/night since about 9 weeks or so! There are a few outliers…strangely in both directions. She will have an occasional night where she wakes more than once for a feeding. And then there was the time when I worked a 12-hour shift last Friday night where Molly decided that she too was going to work for 12 hours – SLEEPING! Can you believe it?!? Jon put her in her swing around 6pm so that he could eat dinner…and the little bean didn’t wake up until 6am! She went that full 12 hours, gently rocking back and forth in her swing. But poor Jon was so worried about her that he didn’t sleep all that great. We figure she must have just wanted the time to pass by quickly since I was gone at work. 😉 Who knows?! Well…that hasn’t happened again. But still, I’ll take 5-7 hours/night. No prob.

In the last couple of weeks Molly has also started talking to us more. She has mastered most of her vowels and she smiles A LOT when we say things to her like “foo” and “goo” – it’s pretty hilarious. She’s even laughed twice! I think they were accidents and unfortunately Jon didn’t witness them, but I’m pretty sure there will be more laughter before too long.

We continue to try to have tummy time each day, but she really doesn’t like it. Wait, that’s an understatement. She gets hysterical and pretty much hates tummy time. But we try! And I have to laugh a little when we put her on her tummy because you can see how strong willed she is (a Stoddard trait for sure!). She kicks like crazy with her feet as if she’s trying to crawl and she gets really upset because she’s not coordinated enough yet to actually get anywhere or flip herself over. Again…in time I’m sure she’ll figure it out. 🙂

In the last couple of weeks Molly has also developed much better head control. She still at times looks like a “bobble head baby” but when you are holding her upright she can move her head from side to side and is very fascinated by people and lights. She will stare at both for extended periods of time – just studying them intensely. And she’s perfectly content doing so! Most of her crying these days is simply from hunger, gas, or a wet/dirty diaper – things that are relatively easy to fix. Aside from that she is a very easy and happy baby! God is good!

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Glazed Cranberry, Lemon & White Chocolate Buttermilk Scones

I like to bake, but I don’t consider myself to be an amazing baker by any means. I mean, I make stuff that is generally yummy and edible, but not necessarily blog-worthy. However, after making cupcakes for our Bible study group and having some leftover buttermilk in the fridge, I decided to take a stab at scones…one of my most favorite food items…ever. It’s really hard to beat a good cup of PG Tips and a scone!

So, feeling somewhat frugal and also not wanting to trek to the grocery store, I looked at what other ingredients we had in the pantry that I could use for scones. I wound up making 2 different kinds: Apricot Buttermilk Scones & Glazed Cranberry, Lemon & White Chocolate Buttermilk Scones. I have to say, while they were both delicious, the second of the two was my favorite and may in fact be the best scone I’ve ever tasted. If you like your scones a tad sweet, you have to try this!

Glazed Cranberry, Lemon & White Chocolate Buttermilk Scones
adapted from http://pinchmysalt.com/2008/11/16/buttermilk-cranberry-scones-recipe/


scones:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 heaping cup of white chocolate chips
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon zest

glaze:

juice of 1 lemon
powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Prep-work: Measure and chop the cranberries, zest the lemon & measure the white chocolate chips.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Cut butter chunks into the mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cranberries & white chocolate chips and stir to combine.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk & lemon zest.
5. Add buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the mixture clumps.
6. Dump mixture out onto a floured surface and knead lightly into a ball to ensure everything is combined. Pat into a circle, about 1/2 inch thick, and cut into 8 slices. Put scones on lined baking sheet.
7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to cooling rack.
8. While the scones are baking, prepare the glaze: Juice 1 lemon and whisk in powdered sugar to desired consistency.
9. When the scones are completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top. Allow to dry and enjoy!

ALSO…

For a really yummy and quick Devonshire Cream, try the following (courtesy of Wisdom Tea House in Monument, Colorado):

Equal parts of Mascarpone cheese & heavy cream – mix using an electric mixer until it resembles very stiff whipped cream. Add a bit of powdered sugar if you like your cream slightly sweet!

And now…I’m going to go enjoy a scone 🙂

Molly Noelle Stoddard

Our precious little girl was born on Friday June 17, 2011 after I labored for about 2.5 days. The labor was rough (perhaps I will write an entry about this at a later date) but well worth the reward of our sweet little child! At birth, Molly weighed 6 lbs 14 oz and was 19.5 inches long.


We were able to go home from the hospital on Sunday June 19 – which also happened to be Father’s Day – what a gift for Jon being able to celebrate being a new dad AND take Molly home all in one day.


Molly did very well on the car trip home but did manage to spit up on her cute outfit – go figure – guess I’ll have to get used to this. Unfortunately, the episodes of spit up seemed to greatly increase over the next several days as well as excessive, unconsolable crying when we would try to feed her. Both by breast and bottle (we were desperate to get food in her any way we could) Molly would take a few sips and then begin to cry, grimace, and appear so completely uncomfortable. Jon and I were baffled – being new parents we figured this was something all babies go through, but it did seem unusual that she would cry when being fed – it seems like crying is a precursor to being fed and that being fed should alleviate it! But what did we know?!

Anyway, this continued to concern us but our pediatrician reassured us on Tuesday June 21 that Molly looked great and appeared very healthy despite her weight on his scale being 5 lbs 14 oz. (He wasn’t concerned as it was a new scale and all babies lose weight initially). Just to be sure she wasn’t losing too much weight though and also to obtain a lactation consultation, we made an appointment with the pediatrician’s wife who is an NP and a lactation consultant for 2 days later.

We returned to the pediatrician’s office on Thursday June 23 and met with Joanne, the NP. Despite worsening emesis and poor eating, Molly’s weight had miraculously increased up to 6 lbs 3 oz. But, Joanne observed Molly trying to breast feed and also bottle feed and agreed with us that something wasn’t quite right. Molly had a good latch and seemed very hungry but also seemed very much in pain when trying to eat which was unusual. So given that, and the amount of vomiting (often multiple times between feedings), Joanne wanted to rule out any possible anatomical abnormalities that may be making it difficult for Molly to eat but also mentioned that it could be GERD. To be safe, Joanne wanted Molly to be evaluated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and called the ER to let them know we were coming.

It’s a little hard to recall every event that happened once we got to the ER, but I will give the cliff notes version. Essentially once in the ER, it was determined that Molly was pretty dehydrated and after being poked 7 times, had an IV placed and was pumped with IV fluid. The ER also performed multiple other tests including EKG’s & X-rays to thoroughly examine every possible cause for what was going on. It was clear that Molly was having reflux but unclear as to why. After 8+ hours in the ER, Molly was admitted and went to the pediatric floor.

On the peds floor Molly was connected to a monitor that constantly checked her heart rate, respiratory rate, and pulse oximeter (oxygen saturation). She was immediately started on Zantac as, like I said, it was clear she was having problems with reflux. The nurses and doctors all mentioned that it could take a few days to see if the Zantac would work. The physicians also wanted to run a few more tests to further rule out any anatomical abnormalities.

Well, praise the Lord the only thing the physicians could come up with was that Molly had very, very severe GERD! They said that this was unusual in full-term newborns as they don’t normally have high acid levels. But…the Zantac worked and nothing anatomically was wrong so 5 days after our admission we were able to go home. What an eventful 2 weeks Molly gave us!

Since Molly’s 2nd time in the hospital, things have vastly improved. Sure, we still have spit up, and sure, she still cries, but it’s different…it’s normal newborn behavior. Molly is eating so well although getting her to swallow her medicine is sometimes a bit of a battle! She’s not the biggest fan of artificial grape flavoring. 😉

Also, Molly is now exclusively breastfeeding (except for once or twice at night when Jon gives her a bottle)! She decided that she really liked breastfeeding around 6 weeks and I’m so glad that I persisted in trying to get her to do so. My best friend Katie was a huge encouragement to me as well as her little one didn’t breastfeed until she was about 6 weeks old as well. Spit up still happens…at pretty much every feeding…but Molly doesn’t mind it for the most part and she is still gaining weight and eating really well. Apparently the reflux is just something she will grow out of as her system matures.

Jon and I are also doing much better – our families have both been out to help us and we have been able to catch up on some much needed sleep! We are loving being parents and still baffled that the Lord would entrust us with the life of this amazing little girl…but we are overjoyed at the same time that He did choose us!

Here are some more pictures of Molly over the last several weeks. You can see that she is really filling out nicely!

The little one!

Hi everyone! So to re-cap…Jonathan and I are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our little one on June 23, 2011 (or somewhere around there…because how many people actually have their baby on the due date?!).
And…for those that don’t know already…we’re having a…GIRL!!!

Today marks 28 weeks & 3 days, to be precise. I am so happy to be in the third trimester although I have been feeling much more fatigued recently. Getting up & down and bending, especially to tie my shoes, is also not quite as simple as it used to be. But…overall the Lord has been so good and I feel quite mobile given how round my belly is getting!

Today Jonathan and I purchased a great bargain from craigslist…a pine dresser that will double as our little girl’s changing table. We are so excited! When Jon finishes this semester in mid-May he is going to get to work organizing his office/baby room. I am so looking forward to this…I’m already feeling the need to nest! I will do my best to post some more photos in the future as things come together.
And…as for a name for our little girl…stay tuned… 🙂

June 23, 2011

But wait…it’s only January! Wondering what’s with the title?
Well…for those of you that haven’t heard…Jonathan and I are expecting a baby on June 23, 2011! Yep! That’s right…the Lord saw it fitting to make us parents and boy are we excited! Currently, I am 4 months pregnant…only 5 months to go! Now that I’m in the 2nd trimester, I’m feeling fantastic. My appetite is back, energy levels are up (a little bit anyway) and in just about a month we get to find out if Baby Stoddard is a boy or girl. And in just a few short weeks, I should start to feel fetal movement. They say that some women start to feel it around 16 weeks, but most don’t realize it because it is such a small amount of movement that people often mistake it for gas. 😉
Anyway, below is a photo of the 8-week ultrasound & another photo of me at around 13 weeks. Don’t worry…more photos to follow but this is all I have for now. Stay tuned!

Pennsylvania…here’s the scoop!

Hello friends and family! Let me begin this post by catching you all up to speed on these last few months:

May 2010: Jon packed up basically our entire life (with the help of our pastor in Denver and some awesome guys from the High School youth group) into a HUGE moving truck and drove allllll the way from Denver to Philadelphia to put our stuff in storage. He then boarded a plane to Atlanta, drove with his friend Jimmy to Savannah, and started cycling across the United States on May 24th. Meanwhile, I remained working at The University of Colorado Hospital in the Neuro ICU until June 1st, crashing at my former college roommate Katelyn’s condo. (Thanks, Katelyn!)

June 2010: I met Jon and Jimmy in Paris, TX on June 4th after a 2 day drive from Colorado. This was Day 12 of their ride across America…nearly half way! Jon and Jimmy piled their gear into my car and I followed them (along with Jimmy’s wife and their daughter) all the way to the end of their ride on June 21, 2010 in San Diego, CA! My parents met us in San Diego to congratulate and cheer for the guys at the end of their 29 day journey on bicycles. We had an awesome meal with them and then headed back to Claremont, CA to my parent’s home just for the night. The following day, Jon and I took off in my car, back to Colorado. But before leaving Claremont, we made all the necessary stops: 42nd Street Bagel and Somecrust Bakery in the Village. We would have gone to Patty’s, but they weren’t open that early. 😉 A fortuitous thing happened at 42nd Street – my cousins Rachel and Lizzy were there! It was completely random but so awesomely exciting as I wanted to be able to tell them goodbye before making the move to Philly!
Anyway, our journey continued, through Vegas and then to Monument, CO to stay with Jon’s family for a couple days before heading to Philadelphia. Awesomely, it worked out for Amy, Jon’s sister, to ride with us all the way from CO to PA! We were thankful for the chance to hang out some with Amy and also share the driving with her. Along the way we stopped in MO and in Pittsburgh where we stayed the night with one of Jon’s friends from VA, Mark, and his wife Helena. They spoiled us with some delicious home cooking and by June 28th, we found ourselves saying “hello” to our new home: Philadelphia, PA!

July 2010: After temporarily getting situated in Philly, me interviewing/getting offered/accepting a job and Jon beginning Ancient Hebrew at Westminster, we took a mini-vacation over the 4th of July to upstate NY for a Stoddard/Walter Family Reunion. Jon’s sisters Amy and Celeste joined us for the road trip and it was so fun having all of us together again! The reunion was a blast – figuratively and literally as Jon’s cousin Tom made sure to have a plentiful supply of fireworks to entertain us.

August/September 2010: August seemed to fly by! So fast that I’m having trouble remember much of it, other than the fact that Jonathan successfully finished 2nd semester Hebrew and by mid-September started his 3rd and final semester of Hebrew along with 1st semester Greek and a whole slew of other courses at Westminster…which he is fully enjoying, by the way. I also started a class at Westminster on Thursday nights called “Dynamics of Biblical Change.” The course is all about how people can change because God is in the process of making right everything that goes wrong! It’s a refreshing way to spend an evening after a long day at work…let me tell you. I hope to take more courses at WTS in these next few years we spend here! During these two months we also started regularly attending Cresheim Valley Church in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philly – really close to our home that we moved into September 1st.
Speaking of our home…it was quite a find! It is located in Erdenheim, which is a town right next to Glenside where the seminary is located. There are lots of older homes and big trees and although it’s close to the city, it’s a completely different feel. The home is a Victorian Twin built about a hundred years ago – we live on the 2nd and 3rd floor (along with Celeste) just above our landlord and her two kids. It’s very spacious…3 bedrooms, although there is only one bath! But it’s got so many other great features, that isn’t much of a concern. The top floor is where the bedrooms are, plus a laundry room with a full size washer & dryer plus a sink. The main floor contains the kitchen + kitchen table, bathroom, large living room, and a separate dining room. It’s being able to host many people comfortably at the same time…the tricky part is the awkward closet space that is a quirk of old homes…but Jonathan is pretty handy and put in some extra shelves and even made one of the upstairs closets into our walk-in clothes closet. 😉
Lastly, we took a trip down to Maryland in September (me, Jonathan and Celeste) to visit Jon’s grandfather’s brother and his family (The Reids). We had a lovely reunion with them…Uncle Paul and Aunt Lorraine were such great hosts. Their love for the Lord is so evident in their love for one another and their love for their whole family. We went to church with them on Sunday and Celeste sang during the service, then we had a large reception complete with trivia and bingo after church was over. It was such an encouragement spending time with them and we hope to visit again soon!

October 2010: And here we are…October already! We are finally in to Fall weather, such a welcome change from the hot & humid summer. The leaves are starting to turn and we’ve been able to enjoy hot beverages once again as it cools down in the evenings. Work & school have been going well for all and Jonathan and I are especially looking forward to the end of this month when we celebrate our TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! We made plans today to spend one night in the Poconos at a bed and breakfast near the Delaware. For those that aren’t familiar, the Poconos are a mountain range in Northeast PA (not the Rockies…but the next best thing) and we are looking forward to possibly doing some hiking while we are there.

Last but not least…some photos of our home!

Bit of a rough start…

Happy Sunday everyone!!! So here’s the news for today…I called Jonathan when church got out, thinking he was probably already on his way to Atlanta to meet Jimmy at that point. To my surprise, a couple minutes later, Jonathan called! Apparently the flight he was supposed to be on took off from a different gate than that which was listed on the monitor…in other words…he missed his flight! He even captured a photo of the monitor on his iPhone just to prove he wasn’t imagining it! He said there was another man there that missed his flight as well. Luckily, by now, Jon should be on another flight that is going to Orlando before heading to Atlanta…so he’ll be a little bit late but he should get there today at least. Kind of a rough start! But for some reason God wanted Jon to miss that flight…
The bike ride starts tomorrow, and if you haven’t done so already, check out the bike blog!

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