28 February 2011

How to eat more fish

We've all heard how good for us fish oils are.  Well, this time of year, it seems the fish at the market has been either previously frozen, or, if it's fresh, it's quite expensive.  Our search for a tasty, economical solution led us to try the fresh, farmed steelhead.  And now we've been eating it twice a week.

I encourage you to try this preparation -- it's simple, fast, and tastes great.  The preparation comes from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook.  And, if you need some ideas for sides.  Here's what we've been enjoying alongside the fish: roasted fingerling potatoes, sauteed lacinato kale with garlic and sherry vinegar, asparagus with sea salt, spinach salad with beets and walnuts.

The fish preparation
from Salmon with Lentils in Barefoot in Paris

Start with a skinless fish fillet, bones removed.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat a dry oven-proof saute pan over high heat for four minutes.  (We use a le creuset cast iron skillet.)
Meanwhile, rub both sides of the fish fillet with olive oil and season the tops liberally with salt and pepper.

When the pan is very hot, place the fish fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for two minutes, until very browned.   Then turn the fillets over and place the pan in the over for five to seven minutes, until the fish is cooked rare.

Serve immediately.

22 February 2011

My holiday weekend

You might say I've had a holiday weekend, of sorts, from my new 24/7 job... Not so much time off but definitely a change of pace.

Byron and I had a date Friday night at the local Mexican restaurant -- complete with tortilla soup and fish tacos.  Saturday we had breakfast out at the pancake house with friends Darcy, Ryan, and Arlo. I ate six pancakes and two eggs.  Seriously.

Sunday, Byron retrieved his dad from British Columbia, where my father in law has been since the end of December. To celebrate his homecoming we had a home-cooked meal of stealhead, roasted potatoes, and asparagus, with ice cream sundaes for dessert. This is actually one of my favorite meals-- and the fish preparation Byron used is so good it's worth a separate blog post all its own (coming soon).

And today, Byron had the day off and we did a few things as a family. After sleeping in with Wyatt (yes, I am actually getting some sleep now), we went for a walk around Green Lake followed by pho and sandwiches at my favorite Vietnamese place--Pho in the USA. It felt like a big day with a six-week old.

We are getting better at going places with Wyatt in tow. He's a good baby, and as long as I feed him as needed, he's pretty happy wherever we take him.

Mine was a good President's Day weekend all around.  Hope yours was too.

15 February 2011

The first time around

Well, I'm back.  Kind of.  I'll warn you.  I've been operating for the last 46 days on not much more than a series of 2-hour naps, so my posts may not be the most coherent of my life for a while.

I made it through Wyatt's birth back in January, and I feel like I've physically recovered pretty well.  I've been taking it easy these past six weeks, as instructed.  But lately I've been wanting to get out more and be more active.  Toward this end, last Thursday I made it around Green Lake for the first time since having Wyatt.  I was worried that I'd feel achey or like I over did it, but no.  It was invigorating and I felt great.  It didn't hurt that I went around with a friend who also just had a baby two weeks before Wyatt.  Here's photographic proof of our first time around the lake with kids.

Carrie, Will, Wyatt (not exactly pictured), Amy
All of us, albeit a bit blurry.
In other news, I've been attending a new mom's group for the past couple weeks at the hospital, which I'm finding helpful.  It's nice to have a resource for asking questions and learning how to be a mom.  Plus, the other women are nice and I find a couple of them to be really interesting and good conversationalists.  I miss that -- Wyatt, although above average I assure you, isn't talking so much yet.

There are about eight of us in the group.  Wyatt is the youngest baby.  As much as anything, the group gives me an occasion to get out of the house and feel like a bit of a normal person for a while.

I'm beginning to feel more competent at this mother thing now that I'm into the sixth week.  Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot to figure out. But I can feed him, bathe him, usually find a way to soothe him and get him to sleep.  Any non-Wyatt time I get is dedicated to showering, eating, laundry, boob management, eating . . . and did I say eating?

I'm liking my new role, and I'm feeling very supported by my spouse, good friends, and some really helpful books that I've discovered.  As a first-time parent, I've learned a lot from reading. Here's what is by my rocking chair these days:
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the La Leche League Int'l
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S.
  • What's Going on in There?  How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by  Lisa Eliot, Ph.D.
  • Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina, M.D.
  • Heading Home with Your Newborn, From Birth to Reality by Laura Janna, M.D. and Jennifer Shu, M.D. 
For now that's all I've got.  I'm learning a lot every day.  And for my first time at this, I think I'm doing all right.

08 February 2011

Introducing Wyatt

Guest post by Byron (the new dad)

Amy has asked me to write an account of the birth of Wyatt. I think she feels she lacks the proper perspective, which I believe she considers one unclouded by excruciating pain or narcotics. I will do what I can.

He was five days overdue and we were still calling him Grover. We had a routine OB appointment on Wednesday afternoon, but Amy had a feeling and insisted we bring along both the car seat and the 'go' bag she had packed for the hospital. I rolled my eyes.

At the appointment, her blood pressure was elevated. This had happened before, but typically a second reading taken 10 minutes later was normal. In this case, though, our doc sent us to triage, the first step on the yellow brick childbirth road at Swedish Hospital. Predictably, her BP was normal in triage. They hooked her up to contraction and fetal heartrate monitors anyway, though. We had yet another ultrasound. Things seemed OK. In fact, the nurse told us they were sending us home.

As she was saying that, though, the doctor called back. She didn't like the way Grover's heart rate would dip with most contractions. Made it seem like he was in some kind of mild distress. So they admitted Amy, and we walked down the hall to our birthing suite. In the birthing suite, more of same: Contraction, heart rate dip, heart rate recovery.

As long as we were there, our doc said, we might as well see if we could get somewhere. So they gave Amy a 'cervical ripening agent.' This was not induction; she wasn't far enough along for that. Fast forward to the middle of the night: No labor progress, and the contractions were coming too fast to give another dose of The Ripener. Grover was still not digging the contractions.

Honestly, I'm not sure what would have happened had Amy's water not broken spontaneously at 7:30 AM on Thursday. I think I said, "It's on," or words to that effect.

Amy labored for three hours or so. I think her labor made up in intensity what it ended up lacking in duration. She had front labor, back labor, and I'm pretty sure sideways labor too. No epidural; they wanted to wait until she was farther along. By 10:30 or so it became apparent that she was not going to get farther along anytime soon, and that Grover was still not happy about being squeezed.

So that was it. They got Amy prepped, wheeled her to the OR, and about 30 minutes later the anesthesiologist tapped me on the shoulder. "If you stand up, you can watch them take him out," he said.

"Oh my," I heard our OB say.

"How does he look?" Amy said.

"He's--" I said. "He's beautiful."

I've heard from several of my friends who are fathers about how emotional the moment of childbirth was for them.

I don't consider myself a heart-on-the-sleeve kind of guy, but I burst into tears as soon as I saw his enormous bloody head come out of the incision. It was spontaneous and uncontrollable and completely biological.

Amy wanted play-by-play but all I could do was blubber about how beautiful he was and how big he was.

They pulled the rest of him out, and the baby equivalent of a NASCAR pit crew got him cleaned up in about the length of a pit stop, and then they handed Wyatt Grover Wallace Kneller to me.

There had been no problem. No cord wrapped around his neck or anything like it. He was just a 9-pound 13-ounce baby packed into a not-so-big space.

That was it, really. It was pretty much love at first sight, for me. We stayed in the OR for another half hour or so while they closed Amy up, and then it was back to the birthing suite. Amy's sister Becky was there (she'd been there for most of the labor), so she got to meet him right away; my cousin Jill came that evening and stayed until we left the hospital, three days later.

It's been a wild ride. Amy's parents came for a few days to help us out. Friends came with food and stayed to hold Wyatt. Amy's recovered from surgery nicely and is slowly winning the battle with sleep deprivation. I weighed him the other day using the bathroom scale (weigh myself, then hold him and repeat). He's 11.5 pounds now. Bigger and cuter every day.

I think he looks like me.

Wyatt was born January 6, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.  Photo taken at one day old.