Eh La Bah.

Oh baby.

Can I just tell you how in love I am? David and I welcomed Louisa Elizabeth last Tuesday morning and we just can’t get enough of her. Her face is part David and part me and a lot of her own little self. We have spent loads of time just staring at her and enjoying all of the impossibly cute expressions she makes in her sleep. 

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We have known for a while that she was breech. I tried every laying/sitting/standing position that people swear by to turn a baby and even let our doctor try to turn her at the hospital. But no luck. She was just too content right where she was so we went ahead and scheduled C section for the 21st. It wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned when I would day dream about bringing my daughter into the world, but I’m grateful that I had time to emotionally prepare for the change in our plans. Anticipating the very day and hour that you will become a mother is an overwhelming feeling. It’s a good thing that we were both busy with work the week before she came. Otherwise, I think we would have gone a little batty with our anticipation that was equal parts nervousness and excitement. 

I don’t know that there is anything that can make you feel prepared for being a parent. Louisa is a week old and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am her mother. That this perfect tiny baby girl that I’m holding in my arms is the same little creature that I felt growing and kicking inside of me for all of those months. I assume that in time it will all feel real to me, but right now, it still feels a little unbelievable and amazes me. She amazes me.

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David amazes me. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have him as my partner in all things. He’s been a great support through the pregnancy and especially great through this first week of parenthood. He is smitten and I can’t get enough of seeing him and Louisa together. Watching him with her for those first few days at the hospital…definitely some of the most special moments of my life. 

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It’s certainly a blessed time for our little family. Thanks to all of you for your congratulations and excitement to our new addition. 

 

My kind of celebrity.

I’ve had a few celebrity run-ins in my life. There was that time when my family saw Aaron Neville at the TV station where my dad worked when I was growing up, the time I got to meet Bill Cosby outside of some hotel in DC where I was attending a conference, the time my friend Yvette won tickets to a private Ben Fold’s concert for 20 people and took me as her guest (so awesome!), and that time when I met (and accidentally offended) Ben Gibbard  (lead singer for Death Cab for Cutie) before a concert at Red Butte Garden. Though, that last one maybe shouldn’t count because I didn’t actually recognize him and while chatting I told him that I thought Death Cab was “just okay.” Whoops! 

I digress. 

I’ve been a consistent follower of the Smitten Kitchen blog for…I don’t even know how many years now. A long time. Deb Perelman is the queen of accessible, non-fussy, but inventive recipes that she has tested to perfection. And on top of that, she’s an absolutely charming writer. I’m a fan. She came out with a cookbook this last year and has been on a book signing tour. Luckily she came to my very own neighborhood on this tour, so my dear friend Nicki and I went to King’s English last night so that I could meet Deb and have her sign my book (which David got me for Christmas, cause he’s awesome like that, and I literally spent HOURS on Christmas Day pouring over it, marking which recipes I was going to try first). 

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She was darling. We chatted about her thick and chewy oatmeal raisin cookie recipe (which we both make on a regular basis) and adjusting recipes to make them healthier. I’m still kind of nerding out about how fun it was to meet her. I’ve got a long list of recipes that I’m anxious to try (almond cake with a strawberry rhubarb compote, anyone?) and thought I’d link a few of my favorite already tested Smitten Kitchen recipes for all of y’all. 

Happy cooking!

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Peach Shortbread

Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake (This is a fun one. Super adaptable. I’ve made the lemon version, a cinnamon version, and an orange chocolate chunk version.)

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies with Orange Zest

**Note: She has plenty of savory and main dish recipes on her blog too, but I seldom get to them when there are chocolate swirl buns to be tested. I mean honestly. 

A Great (Mini) Escape

If you’ve been an Eh Lah Bah follower for years, you know how I feel about January. Maybe I should be more specific. January in Salt Lake City. Inversion filled Salt Lake City in January. Ugh. It’s been an especially smoggy valley this January, which is unfortunate because I understand that above all of this ugly gray soup we currently live in, there have been some beautiful blue skies and sunny days. When I overheard a coworker yesterday talking about how it was 45 degrees and beautiful up in the mountains (as opposed to 18 degrees and pollution filled where we live) I decided it was time for David and I to have a spontaneous post-work mid-week adventure in Park City. Best idea of the week! Maybe the whole month.

It was about a 10 minute drive before we were out of the gray and as our altitude climbed, so did the temperature outside. Such a welcome change!

We enjoyed some enchiladas at Loco Lizard and, with the Sundance Film Festival going on right now, we even had a celebrity sighting while were there. That one dude from That 70’s Show, whose name I found out (after a little googling) is Danny Masterson. Don’t worry. We played it cool.

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Then it was off to the outlets where were able to enjoy walking around without freezing and we both found an amazing deals on winter coats (70% off!!!) to help us feel a little better about driving back down to into the cold gray abyss that is Salt Lake right now.

Thank goodness for even a short break from January. I think we just might make it to February.

In other news, in case you haven’t already seen one of our many announcements (Instagram, Facebook, etc…), baby Habben is a GIRL! We were expecting a boy, so it was a big surprise for us, but a very happy surprise. My nervousness from last week has changed to excitement and even more love for the little bean than I was already feeling. I can’t wait to meet her.

 

Boy or Girl?

David and I have our 20 week ultrasound tomorrow (I’m 22 weeks along) and will find out if baby Habben is a a little man or a little miss. We tried to find out before Christmas so that we could tell our families in our Christmas Eve poems (a Nagel tradition), but alas, the Habbeninkling decided that it would teach us our first lesson in parenting – to not get too attached to our plans. The baby moved around a ton and the doctor couldn’t get  a clear reading on what, in his words, was either boy parts or the umbilical chord.

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At that appointment I felt excited and totally ready to know this bit of info. But for some reason, a month later, I’m just nervous. Maybe this whole baby thing is becoming much more of a reality to me and knowing the gender will make it even more so. We’re over the halfway point, my belly is getting bigger every day, I can feel the baby moving around and, on occasion, practicing a little kickboxing.

Once we know the gender I think it will feel like it’s time to really get going on our preparations for this life-changing of all life-changing events.  It’s exciting and scary and surreal and amazing all wrapped up in one little package that I have a feeling will seem 100% more real tomorrow.

So wish us luck and soon we’ll let you know if the little bean has ballet or boy scouts in its future!

In the spirit of Nola, Happy Kings Day!

Is anybody still out there? It has been a long while but reviving Eh La Bah is one of my resolutions for this new year. I’ve never been able to manage consistent journal writing, but once upon time, this here blog served as a decent record for the goings on in my life. And with so many things going on in life that I want to remember…you get the idea. 

In 2012 I had resolved to run a half marathon and plan a trip to either Paris or Thailand. My half marathon plans fell apart (only temporarily. I’m still determined to do this.) when I injured my achilles during my training. But I got up to an 8 mile run, a record for me, and enjoyed some quality time and good runs with David in the early morning hours. 

Thailand in August got couched when we moved twice (to Logan and back) and Paris for New Years got couched when my first trimester with baby Habben (due May 23) proved to suck out every last bit of my energy and made and enjoying food almost impossible. I assume that when one goes to Paris for the first time, the ability to thoroughly enjoy a pain au chocolat while strolling along the Seine at night is an absolute MUST. So we’re saving Paris for another day. 

The upside? We decided that a trip to New Orleans for New Years would be a good alternative and it was! David has never been to my hometown before and I love New Orleans during the holidays. Garlands, bows, and wreaths on everything from houses to streetcars to churches to the French Market and all with flowers still in bloom and a chance that the weather will be in the high 60’s. Throw in some gaudy light displays (care of Al Copland, may he rest in peace) and I couldn’t be more in the holiday spirit. 

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So off to New Orleans we went and it did not disappoint. With my appetite back (thank you second trimester!) we enjoyed some great food*, took in some of the sights and entertainment, but as is true to form, the best part about being in New Orleans was spending time with truly great people. We rang in the new year with the Ortiz and the Garcias and a bajillion fireworks. That night earned its spot as my favorite New Year’s Eve ever. The whole neighborhood went CRAZY with fireworks at midnight. I’ve never seen anything like it. 

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I loved being there with David. Not only was it fun to introduce him to some of my favorite people and show him some of my favorite spots in my hometown, we did quite a bit of exploring in areas I hadn’t spent much time in and was able to add a few new favorite spots to my list. The Sculpture Garden in City Park is beautiful and one of the best I’ve been to and the World War II Museum is now on my list of must-see locations for any Nola tourist. 

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Getting back on a plane in 60 degree weather to come back to a place with a projected high of 20 degrees for the week was not my favorite. David and I both came back with little colds that quickly turned into hunker down on the sofa for days on end with a huge supply of tissues, cough drops, tea, and ramen noodles. Work starts again for me tomorrow, so I’ve got one more day to nurse myself back to health and then I have big plans to make the rest of January as awesome as it was on day one. 

So here’s to 2013! Happy New Year, everyone :) And a happy Kings Day (today) to you too – which marks the day the three kings found the baby Jesus, and therefore the start of Mardi Gras and eating king cake which I think I just might make today :) Laissez les bon temps rouler. 

*Food highlights for those inclined to care: Crawfish and Corn Chowder from the Garcias, Profiteroles at Mr. B’s Bistro (Cream puffs filled with ice cream and covered in the best dark chocolate sauce I’ve EVER ever had), a turkey and avocado sandwich from Cochon Butcher (I still don’t know what made this the best turkey sandwich ever, but MAN it was good), beignets dipped in hot chocolate at Cafe du Monde, and I had some amazing cannelloni at Vincents in Metairie. Did I mention the profiteroles? They deserve a second mention. I’m still dreaming about them. 

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