Baked Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Recipe

Friday, April 30, 2010

I found this recipe off of one of my favorite blogs, Our Best Bites. If you've never been to this blog before, please do. They have AWESOME recipes. We tried this one tonight with our dinner guests and it was a huge success! I think this recipe will be replacing my old chicken and broccoli alfredo, since it's way more exciting. You wouldn't think artichoke hearts would be good in a dish like this, let alone marinated ones, but it added a fantastic flavor to this dish that really made it delicious. I plan on making another pan (if we can eat through our leftovers from tonight) for our church's pot'faith' on Sunday. I left the links to some of their other recipes included in this recipe, although I used jarred sauce, rigatoni, store-bought garlic bread, and I doubled it and it was still wonderful.

Baked Chicken-Bacon Alfredo

8 oz. penne or bowtie pasta
1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (1 16-oz. jar would work in a pinch)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (about 2 c. chopped chicken)
6 oz. (1/2 package) cooked bacon, chopped
1 14-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. chopped green onions (about 1 decent-sized bunch)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
3. While pasta is cooking, prepare Guiltless Alfredo sauce. When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Toss with chopped chicken, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onions, and 1/2 c. mozzarella. Season to taste.
4. Transfer mixture to an 8x8" baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.
Serve with a green salad and breadsticks or a loaf of garlic bread made with Garlic Bread Seasoning.

One Month Old

I can't believe it's been a month already! And what a month it's been. Here's Drew's one-month pictures. As for an update, he's doing very well. He's a very sweet baby most of the time, but boy - he can be feisty if he's messed with in away he doesn't care for. And he'll let you know about it! Unfortunately, I can see myself in him more and more every day - including my temper and my big nose. Poor kid.

Oh, and although my husband thinks I'm nuts, I swear Drew smiled at me last night. And it wasn't a half awake/gas bubble smile. It looked legit to me!

Campbell's Kitchen Recipes

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm definitely a huge fan of quick, easy, and cheap meals. I stumbled across Campbell's website - well, I knew it existed because I had visited it before, but now that they've revamped their look and updated their recipes, I've found myself coming back time after time for more recipes to try. I highly recommend giving them a peek. We've tried four of their recipes and all were incredibly simple and very tasty. Click on the banner above, create a free account, and enjoy.

The Past Three Weeks

Now that the baby powder has settled and the luster of having a new little one has worn off, real life has set in. The past three weeks have flown by in a sleep-deprived blur, but not without incidence, of course. The Lord has been gracious, but I won't sugar coat anything. It's been incredibly hard adjusting. Going into this, I knew it would be and it sent me into many a panic attack late at night when I was pregnant. Living it is something different, now. It's still definitely worth it and I love my job, but some days it seems like I'm one twitch away from a hug-me jacket. I think my biggest issue is the lack of sleep at night combined with running ragged all day. Drew still wakes up every three to four hours at night, and although I've caught myself snoozing through many feedings in my chair, it's the broken bits of sleep that are effecting me so poorly. Robby is attempting to settle into his place, but usually in the form of acting out for attention - which was to be expected from a child his age, but doesn't make things any easier. He demands much of my mental ability during the day, which, depending on how much sleep I've had during the night prior, varies from day to day. That mixed with hormone fluxes that are sending me into postpartum depression and some physical limitations of the recovery process from surgery, I've been a slight train wreck, lately. Slight to say the least, I suppose.

I had to give up on breastfeeding after two and half weeks because it was causing me great mental and emotional anguish and I was about to have a nervous breakdown. Not a hyperbole by any means. My supply was extremely low again, despite my best efforts - and I do mean best. I tried EVERYTHING, so before you suggest it, let me just answer you, now - yep, I tried that and it didn't work and we're all better off now that I've stopped. The stress and frustration towards the issue was causing everyone in the household nothing but strife. I have to say that I'm thankful and proud to say that I made it a week and a half longer than I did with Robby. I have nursed Drew for his comfort a few times after I officially threw in the burp rag, but I've stopped nursing and pumping regularly. I dreaded my WIC appointment last Friday, thinking for sure that they were going to rip me a new one for giving up, but even the WIC lady told me, "Just stop. You're doing more harm than good. You've done really good to go this far and you've done a lot for him in just the bit you have been able to breastfeed." I almost broke down in front of her. It was the first time anyone assured me that it was okay to stop instead of judge me because I wasn't trying hard enough. She also told me that not all women are built like Holsteins and I'm probably just not wired that way. It could very well be a hormonal or even physiological problem with me. Either way, I really do believe now that the problem with breastfeeding I have is definitely legit and was causing nothing but tears on both sides. Stopping has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. It did cause me to feel that familiar feeling of failure once more and envy towards those moms who don't have this problem and actually enjoy the time spent nursing their babies. Two babies under my belt and it's been nothing but a horrid, dreaded experience.

Poor Robby and I have been clashing badly. The combination of my rampant hormones and his acting out are not boding well. I feel terrible because I'm sure I've been lashing out at him in order to vent some of my frustrations - never in physical form, I assure you. CPS need not apply here. I've just been biting at him a lot lately and it seems like the only time we've gotten together is just me taking care of his necessities and snapping at him. I feel like a total jerk. It took poor Robby ending up with croup yesterday for me to realize that I need to spend more one-on-one time with him. He was so sick and just wanted comfort, but unfortunately his brother was taking up a lot of my time yesterday. I tried my best to juggle and ended up with both of them on my lap at once, despite my aching stitches. I have to say it was the hardest day for me since Drew was born, but we all survived. Last night was really rough too, as Robby woke up a few times freaking out over not being able to breathe. I ended up only getting three or four hours worth of broken sleep. Although I'm running on fumes today, I'm trying my best to endure until Matt gets home, relying on strength and patience from the Lord and an extra cup of coffee. Matt was dear enough to run to Target last night and buy a humidifier for Robby, which seemed to comfort him last night. If I haven't said it enough before, I'll say it again - I really don't deserve that man. He has done far beyond his fair share these past few weeks. Other than venting frustrations and illnesses, Robby is incredibly eager to help out with Drew and is very affectionate towards him. We try to encourage both by keeping him as involved as possible. His special task of choice (not even kidding) is running diapers to the trash. You can always count on him to make sure they are taken care of post-haste, as he'll point to the wrapped pocket of poo and ask, "Away?"

So, to sum up my experience as a new mom-of-two: we're surviving, but only by God's good grace. It's been stressful and difficult, but only some of the time. It seems to go to the extremes - it's either completely peaceful or all Hell breaks loose. Never in between. It's stretching me and growing me in ways I never imagined, but all in good ways in the end. I'm having to rely on God's strength rather than my own. I'm realizing that I can't do it all and it's not wrong to ask for help, despite what my pride tells me. It's been quite a roller coaster, that's for sure, but I slowly start to see my hands easing their grip on the bar ever so slightly as the days progress. I'm confident that someday I'll be able to lift my arms up high and enjoy the ride fearlessly. Until then, prayers are appreciated.

Rough Night

Friday, April 16, 2010

Please pray for the poor tot. We're having pacifier withdrawals. Breaking his binky habit has been tough for him, but it was time.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fortunate for me, Robby was feeling rather affectionate towards his little brother today. Rob did this on his own accord and thought it was hilarious that Drew kept grabbing his face.
I am so very blessed to be their mama.

Hard Work

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Eating is exhausting, but oh-so worth it."

Drew's Keepsake

Finally started and finished Drew's keepsake. I don't know how I feel about it, yet. Not what I envisioned, but cute nevertheless. The things I decide to waste my time on. Click to enlarge.

Moms: Overwhelmed?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My dear friend, Lark, did the devotional at my baby shower last night. She used a post from a blog called The Stay-at-Home Missionary. It was outstanding and incredibly moving. Enjoy and be encouraged.


We feel overwhelmed.

Have you ever felt that way as a mother? Ha, I can't remember the last time I didn't feel overwhelmed!

But the good news is that we cannot do it ourselves.

2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 3:5, "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything form ourselves, but our adequacy is from God."

Yes, the calling is high, but He has given us Himself!

Are you weary?

Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest."

Isaiah 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might, He increases power..."

The Lord loves mothers. He loves you and He loves your children. He wants you to fall into His arms and find rest. He is El Shaddai- our refuge and our strength.
He wants to comfort you, care for you, strengthen you, and whisper words of love into your ear and give you the strength to carry on.

This isn't about striving harder and doing or being more- this is you releasing yourself to Him and watching Him take over. It's exhausting, I know. I'm not minimizing this. Take care of yourself, but also realize that motherhood is all about sacrifice....dying to ourselves. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we feel that it isn't fair that we have to give up so much....and we do.

So, during those times where we feel hopelessly overwhelmed what can keep us going?

"Inspirational historical models may provide a temporary enthusiasm, but a mother of dominion needs something more. Otherwise, the grueling day and night demands of crying infants, filthy bottoms, vomit-soaked blankets, strong-willed naughtiness, physical exhaustion, dull routine, deferred gratifications, lack of recognition, cultural criticism, and personal disillusionment will bring the work of her hands to a grinding halt.
There she sits, exhausted on the edge of her bed, her face in her hands, wondering, 'Where is the glory in this?' She needs something more empowering to keep her going.

She needs to gain and maintain the deep conviction of the glory, honor, and nobility of selfless service. This she finds at the foot of the cross, looking up to the One who earned for Himself, 'the name that is above every name' by emptying Himself, taking the form of a bond servant. There she beholds her Savior, who mopped up the damning vomit of her own sin with the precious sponge of His perfect life and atoning death. The love of Christ constrains and compels her to press on. The Spirit of Christ empowers her." Womanly Dominion, pg. 120

So, today when you feel overwhelmed (and you will), take it to Him lay your burdens at His feet, and ask for His strength to carry on.

Very Long Day

It was a very long day yesterday...

Drew's Checkup Update

Friday, April 9, 2010

Just a quick update on Drew's checkup today. He weighed a whopping 7 lbs., 6 oz. - three ounces more than his birth weight and definitely a plus. The doctor was very impressed by his weight, color, and overall health. He did note that Drew had two blocked eye ducts that would require treatment in the form of massage and ointment. Easy fix. I raised my concern about his tongue tie. The doctor did agree that he did have it, but it was completely up to us if we wanted to correct it or not. Unfortunately, he told me that there's only two times during a child's life where they can tell if tongue tie is going to effect the child - now, when they might have issues eating and when they're older and it effects their speech. Please pray for guidance and discernment for Matt and I as we decide on what to do. Other than that, Drew is doing fantastic and already well on his way to be a big boy like his brother! Praise God for his mercies and blessings!

Robby's Keepsake

I may not be able to scrapbook, but I do know how to Photoshop. I plan on making one of these for Andrew, printing and framing them, and hanging them up in the boys' room. Definitely a fun project! Click to enlarge.

Drew's First Checkup/Update

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

So, I'm a little late on this. Please forgive a sleep-deprived woman (a.k.a. a mom). Drew had his first checkup on Monday and I also had my staples removed. The doctor said Drew looked great and was almost back to his birth weight - a very good sign and definite improvement from where Rob was at this point. The doctor said his color and overall health was good, but he also told me that the hospital was concerned about his tongue, that he may have tongue tie, but the doctor checked and assured me that it wouldn't be a problem and wouldn't require treatment. I noticed this issue when at the hospital, but didn't think much of it, since no one mentioned anything to me. I have to take Drew back on Friday for another checkup with a different doctor, so I think I'll ask for a second opinion just to make sure. I'll update on that later. Getting my staples removed was quite painful, as some of the staples had embedded themselves into my skin and required some "digging". The P.A. also noted that my incision was slightly infected and prescribed antibiotics. Despite the infection, I'm feeling great, especially after getting my staples out. I was given a prescription for pain medication, but haven't needed it. I took ibuprofen when I did start feeling uncomfortable, but now I don't feel any pain. Sadly, even though I'm recovering from surgery and have to get up with a newborn at night, I have less pain, discomfort, and exhaustion than when I was pregnant. I don't think people realize just how miserable I really was in the end. I'm just thankful it's over!

Things are starting to settle in fairly well. We're working on getting Drew on some sort of a schedule, but he keeps changing it up for us, but I really don't expect anything less. I've had to supplement with formula, as my milk is taking it's sweet time in fully coming in, but it's definitely a vast improvement over last time. I'm able to provide a lot more for Drew than I ever did with Rob. We seem to have a good "system" down. I offer the breast first, wait for him to have his fill on both sides, and then finish him off with a bottle. My body gets the "idea", he gets fed. It's a win-win situation. He averages about two feedings a night, which is definitely doable for me, depending on what time he allows me to go to bed to begin with. He seems to be a rather content, sweet baby and, when he is awake and full, is quiet and alert. He's fascinated by his big brother, who loves talking to him, pointing out his features, and giving him kisses. Rob is adjusting better than we thought and is actually quite helpful. His specialty is running dirty diapers to the garbage. He still tends to act out for attention off and on, but not often. He's rather patient for a toddler. Thankfully, he has a decent grasp on what it means to "wait". It's still weird to think we have two kids, but we feel immensely blessed by these precious little gifts. Matt and I are working great as a team. He, along with my step mom, are a huge help to me, as I try to step up and adjust to be a mother-of-two. Things, overall, have gone very smoothly. God has been incredibly merciful to us.

That's all I have for now. Depending on how things go, I may update again at Drew's next checkup, but really it's just another blood test, so nothing too exciting. My baby shower is also on Friday and I'm really looking forward to it. I love "sharing" my new little one. Until then...

Do You Ever Have This Problem?

Monday, April 5, 2010

"I finally found my thumb, but now how do I get this finger out of my eye?"

Good Morning World!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Someone was quite bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning.

Brother Comparison

Friday, April 2, 2010

Many people have been interested in how similar the two boys look, so I thought I would post a picture of each at around the same age.

Robby's on the left, Drew's on the right. Rob was two days old, Drew's three.

You can definitely tell they're brothers!

Andrew Ezekiel

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Andrew Ezekiel Marshall was born March 30th, 2010 at 3:51PM via c-section. He was 7 lbs., 3 oz., and 20 in. long. No complications whatsoever, Baby Drew came into the world very healthy and screaming at the top of his lungs.

My surgery was scheduled for 1:50PM and we were told to come in two hours early, so we showed up at the hospital around noon. They checked me in and I got into a room right away. As I laid there waiting, I was asked a bajillion more questions, one being if I had eaten, as I was supposed to fast. I had to be honest - I had A doughnut early this morning because I knew I wouldn't make it that long without eating. Big mistake. Because of one silly doughnut, I got my surgery pushed back to 3:00PM, not to mention the title of "The Doughnut Lady" by the surgical staff. As soon as they started in on me (in jest, of course) I told them, "Well, if it means anything, it was a really good doughnut and totally worth it." Finally, Matt and I were prepped for surgery (Matt donned a very lovely paper suit, booties, hair net, and mask). Matt had to wait outside as they did my epidural - which took a few tries, but when they got it right, it set in almost instantly. They continued to prep me and then they let Matt sit beside me. After much tugging and pulling, Drew came into the world screaming. He received very good APGAR scores and was screaming like mad. Matt got to follow him back while he was being cleaned up to take pictures and trim the cord, then he brought him out to show me. I bawled, of course. He was so beautiful! Matt left to share Drew with my family as I was being stitched up. Almost an hour later, I was back in my recovery room, waiting for my baby boy to come join me. Finally, both he and Matt came and I was able to hold and nurse him. Later, my step mom came and brought Robby in to meet his new baby brother. When we told him, "This is Baby Drew," his eyes got huge and his mouth dropped, as if things were starting to click inside his little head. After much brotherly bonding, Robby left with my step mom, quite excited over his new brother. I felt pretty good that evening and asked my nurse if I could stand. Surprised, she said I could. I ended up standing up twice that evening. The rest of the night was filled with the usual pokings and proddings; they had to monitor both Drew and my vitals periodically, so we were woken up by a nurse multiple times that night. On top of that, I was hooked to machines that liked to go off at various times. Needless to say, it was less than restful, but was to be expected. The second day was filled with visitors, including our pastor, a few church friends, and then my family. Robby also visited again and enjoyed some Daddy time with Matt in the cafeteria for lunch. I really started to miss him by that evening, so we set up Skype with home to see him, but it only made me miss him more. We also Skyped with Matt's family for a little while, but then I started becoming noticeably sleepy, so we decided to it was time for bed. We had a couple hiccups with breastfeeding and I did have to break down and supplement with some formula, but it hasn't deterred me at all from continuing to try. We all had a fairly restful sleep that night and woke up eager to go home that morning. Technically, I could have probably gone home the evening prior, but my doctor decided that one more night of monitoring might be best. I'm glad, as I was a little sore, but I was sure ready to leave the next day! We packed up our belongings and our new little one and headed home for some much needed rest and bonding time with our boys.
Overall, the whole experience was vastly different than what we had with Robby. It was calm, controlled, and actually joyous - as it should be. I went in nervous, but aware of everything that was going to happen and had no surprises. No chaos, no emergencies, no complications. I am praising God for His strength and mercy in this situation and for the joy and blessings He has showered upon us undeservedly. We felt every single prayer and were immensely blessed by the family and church family who came beside us celebrated new life with us. And a HUGE thank you to my step mom, brother, and sister-in-law who were wonderful enough to take care of our firstborn the whole time we were in the hospital. Robby was well taken care of thanks to them.

On a personal note, my pain is very minimum and I feeling pretty good overall. Drew is in very good health and will be going in for a checkup sometime on Monday. Conveniently enough, I will have my staples removed sometime on Monday as well.