Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pecan Pie Failllll

I loveloveLOOOOVVE comfort food. I totally could live off of mashed potatoes and gravy. So keeping with this Southern theme, I decided to make a pecan pie for Thanksgiving.

Now, I made one last year and it was perfect! Absolutely, positively perfect. Can't say the same for this year, though. I don't really know what happened, but it was kind of undercooked or something, even though I cooked it for exactly how long the recipe said to and the crust was golden brown. Any longer in there and it would've burned!! I think the trouble is that I deviated from the recipe I used last year and used the one on the back of the Karo corn syrup bottle instead (because it called for more brown sugar...mmmmm, I thought it was a sign from above). So either I took a wrong turn somewhere during the recipe following, cooking in a different oven messed up my game, or the recipe just isn't as good as the one I used last time. Either way, I shall not despair and I WILL conquer the art of the pecan pie again for Christmas!

In case you are wondering, here's the old recipe for the pie. You won't even BELIEVE how easy it actually is!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

baby smiles and other loves of mine

Levi had his first real real smile on Halloween and it's by far the cutest thing my eyes have ever looked upon. The trick is having the camera on hand to capture it! Here's a video of him a few weeks ago when he was laying on Clay's lap. Since then he has been smiling alll the time, and I LOVE it! He also loves it when you smile back at him. Sometimes he smiles so big and gets so excited and you can tell he reeally wants to laugh, but can't yet. I'm gunna freak when he's able to laugh too. My sweet little boy!!!

Speaking of Levi, another thing I'm loving is Pendleton's collaboration with Levi's! Yes, a match made in heaven. Both companies have a long, cool, rugged history and are still going strong today. Together, they make me drool. I once scored an awesome Pendleton shirt for Clay at a thrift store for like $3 bucks. Now perhaps I can happen upon the perfect worn in Levi's jacket for him too...

I know I posted about this on my Facebook a short while ago, but if you missed it or wanted another look, here ya go.

I'm loooovvin the poncho/cape thing worn UNDER the jean jacket. Genius! Gotta try that one out.

So Pendleton is definitely on a roll lately, as they've been collaborating with a bunch of other designers as well. I'm diggin their collab with Opening Ceremony too. AHHHH!

I love every item in the last look.

They've even collaborated with Hurley, which I'm usually not a fan of, but loooook! Cutie pie stuff fo sho:

Touche, Hurley, touche. I'm kind of impressed.

The best part about all these dreamboat clothes is that they would look uhhhmazing with my wedge desert boots! Oh yeah.

All images via Pendleton

Monday, November 22, 2010

I heart desert wedges

I've been kiiind of obessed with wedge desert boots lately, they've started to become a growing trend (which I'm not sure is a good or a bad thing, since I don't really like to jump on the trendy bandwagon), but nevertheless I have satisfied my craving and finally found the (almost) perfect pair. I say almost perfect because the heel is a little bit higher than I would have preferred, but I guess you can't have it all!

These babies by Marc Jacobs are what sparked the fire of my lust:

So I got some knockoffs at Nordstrom Rack, yeahyuhhhh!!
The ones I got were a true dark tan, not olive-y, which I like. I also like the fact that they were about $300 cheaper.

Here are some more that have me drooling....

How rad are those yellow ones?! Supies cute if I do say so myself.

But now of course I want...no, need some in black too. The hunt is on, my friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Hello, my friends. Yes, I am alive and well. My apologies for not updating this blog for TWO MONTHS...that's what life with a newborn does to you - makes you fall off the face of the earth for a time.

Annnnyway, I figure since I amVERY slowly but surely starting to get slices of more free time back in my life (Levi isn't quite as ravenous anymore and the seemingly 24 hour feeding sessions have waned), I might as well spend it updating all my friends about how Life with Levi...and Beyond is going.

First off, I guess I have to ease into the updates with the official laborious (ha!) story of my labor and delivery. Hope you're interested, if not, just skip this entry and join me next time.

It all started on September 23rd, a warm autumn day to break the streak of unusually grey late summer weather. Now, I planned on working up until a few days before my due date, which was October 4th. Mostly because I could use the money, but also because my job consists of me sitting at a desk for a majority of the time and I figured if I wasn't there I'd just be sitting at home, so I might as well get paid to sit, right? So I got off work that Thursday and headed to the doctor for my 38 week check up. She checked me out and I was "almost 2 cm" dilated and 80% effaced. At the end of the visit, she said "Looks like we might be having a baby this weekend!". This weekend?! My due date was still 11 days away and for some reason the thought of him coming early had never seemed a possibility. First babies are usually late, I'd heard. We'd just have to wait and see.

So I got home and reported back to Clay, who was instantly excited. Even though my pregnancy was pretty close to perfect, I was tired of being huge, tired of peeing every 5 minutes, tired of rotating the same outfits that still somehow fit, tired of being asked "when are you due?" "boy or girl?", and tired of being TIRED. Trivial, I know, but hey, if you've ever been pregnant you know, and if you haven't... you will. Looking back, I shake my head and think how I thought I was tired then...ha! I didn't know what tired was. THOSE were the days! But moving on...

That night we took Clay's mom out to a belated birthday dinner, and while we were at the restaraunt I started having my first real contractions. They felt like cramps, but slightly worse. We got through dinner just fine, but once we got home we started timing them. Sure enough, they were about 6 or 7 minutes apart for an hour, and even though they weren't BAD, we decided to call the doctor just to be safe. When we got ahold of her she told us to continue timing, and if the contractions continued this way for another hour, we should check into Labor and Delivery at the hospital. An hour and a half went by and the contractions were still coming, so we packed our bags (ok, so mine had been packed 2 months ago...better safe than sorry!) and drove up at about 11:00 pm. Upon checking in, I got hooked up to a heart rate monitor, which tracked both mine and Levi's heart rates, and also recorded the length and strength of my contractions. I had to lay there for an hour, and finally the nurse came back in, looked at the monitor, and told me I was still barely 2 cm dilated and wasn't ready to be checked in yet. I had to go home and wait. I told her that there was no way I was going to be able to sleep (I'm a suupper light sleeper....good news if the house should catch on fire, bad news for burglars and my ability to sleep during contractions). She gave me some Ambien to take to help me sleep, assuring me I wouldn't sleep through giving birth or anything. I reluctantly took it, knowing that if I was truly in labor I'd need all the rest I could get.

Well, the Ambien did NOTHING. I was awake all night, tossing and turning and pacing around. Finally, at about 6 am, I woke Clay up and told him it was time to go back to the hospital. So away we went. I got hooked up again to the monitors for an hour. This time, they checked me out and told me it didn't look like I'd made much progress, but to walk the halls for an hour to try to get things moving along. So walk we did. After a painful hour, the nurse checked me and I was STILL only 2 cm dilated! What. The. Heck. She told me to go home AGAIN and said "I hate to say this...but when it gets worse, come back." Ugh!! So home we went.

...that's when it got bad. I mean, I've never felt pain like that before. It was like the absolute worst period cramps times 10000000, which doesn't even come close to describing it. I tried walking, I tried sleeping, I tried sitting, I took about 5 showers, nothing eased the pain at all. Clay massaged my back and told me to just breathe.... I told him to shut up! No amount of childbirth prep classes or breathing techniques could have prepared me for what I was going through. The scariest part was knowing that it was only going to get WORSE. Now, mind you that by this point I had been awake for 24 hours. I already wasn't happy. That beautiful autumn day turned into the start of a weekend long heat wave, I was sweating, exhausted, and in horrid pain, and finally I couldn't take it anymore. At about 2 or 3 in the afternoon I told Clay we were going to the hospital, and if they tried to turn us away again I would sit in the lobby and wait.

Luckily, when we got there and they checked me out, I was about 5 cm dilated (on a scale of 10) and 100% effaced. It was time to stay. YES! I told them I wanted an epidural and I wanted one NOW, and about an hour later I was drugged up and feeling much much better. Now I know epidurals an controversial, not because they are necessarily dangerous (although in rare cases they can be), but because a lot of women think they take away from "the birth experience". Our bodies were designed to give birth, it is beautiful and natural and transcending the pain makes the birthing process that much more rewarding in the end. Not to mention the fact that it it is certainly better for the baby. The thing is, I have to admit that I have like ZERO pain tolerance and childbirth has always been at the top of my list of scariest things I will ever experience, alongside dying a slow and painful death. Really sad, I know. I'm sure that 90% of my pain came from not only the expectation of it, but from the fear of it. I wish I had the strength to do it au naturel, but alas, I don't. Obviously if I were living in a time or place where epdiurals didn't exist, I could do it. I know my body could. But there I was, in the year 2010 at Saddleback Memorial Hospital, and epidurals were very much in existance, so I chose to take advantage of that. And in defense of my decision, I must say I am SO glad I did. I was able to relax, get some much needed rest, and most importantly be excited instead of scared. It made the experience an enjoyable one instead of a traumatic one. Oh, and I now give major props to anyone who gives birth naturally. Seriously.

Here's me after the ep...I wish I had a "before" picture...or maybe not:

I'm going to skip the boring details about the next 8 hours that went by, but finally at about 11:30 p.m. the epidural was slowly wearing off, I was finally 10 cm dilated and I was feeling an urge to push (which is what they wanted, so I wasn't allowed to get another dose). I was verrrry nervous...THIS WAS IT! Nine months of carrying Levi in my belly was about to come to an end. My mom started crying before I even started pushing! It was scary and thrilling all at once. Clay stood next to me and held my hand while the nurse helped me count to 10 between pushes, and about 3 pushes in she told me I was a little too good at this and that I'd have to wait while she ran and got the doctor! Finally, the doctor showed up and it was show time. I pushed about 5 more times and voila! Baby Levi made his grand entrance into the world at 11:50 p.m. on September 24th, 19 1/2 inches long and 6 lbs 14 oz. First of all, it wasn't nearly as scary as I though it would be. I was so focused on him being safe and healthy that I was in The Zone and nothing else mattered. I could feel pain, but it wasn't painful, if that makes any sense. It was just beautiful! Looking at his face for the first time was amazing. I suprised myself when I didn't completely lose it and cry, since I cried everytime I watched birth videos of other people's babies being born. But I was just so tired and happy and overwhelmed that I couldn't cry at that moment. It was the best day of my life. :)

Levi Francis Campbell

September 24th, 2010

6 lbs. 14 oz, 19.5 in. long


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