Because there is not a great place to start this story and since we’re quite honestly still very raw, I’m going to attempt to share mostly just what the facts are today and ask for support and prayer as we embark on this journey. I should add a disclaimer or trigger warning but after turning to a number of friends and community I am realizing how much more common these types of scenarios are and how much I don’t want to contribute to the masses of people who feel like they can’t or aren’t allowed to talk about it. Here’s our story:

Wednesday March 9th, at 11 weeks pregnant (adjusted 11 weeks + 2 days) Dan and I went in to get a sonogram at OHSU (Oregon Health and Sciences University). We’d told very few people that I was pregnant, only a few close friends and had just really begun to share the news with our families. Thrilled to be finally getting the first look at our sweet babe (we’d known I was pregnant since around 5 weeks but didn’t have an ultrasound scheduled until 11 weeks, which seemed like an eternity already.) With two healthy happy babes at home, and no other signals that anything unusual was happening with the pregnancy, we were completely caught off guard when the sonogram tech (after seeing a strong heartbeat – 162 beats per min! and seeing our sweet baby wiggle and wave) practically tossed one blurry sonogram photo at me and nearly ran out of the room. When she returned with not one, but TWO doctors, one of whom we learned was a genetic specialist we knew there was something seriously wrong. Dan could maybe give a more accurate account of what was said here – I truly heard the most horrifying silence – I could tell everyone was speaking, and even felt myself respond and ask questions, but all I can remember is silence – we were quickly ushered to the genetic counselor’s office where we learned that our baby had a cystic hygroma (fluid surrounding parts of the baby) resulting in some concerning NT measurements (Nuchal Translucency – 4.7mm, normal is under 2mm). We learned that although most of the cystic hygroma is near the baby’s spine/back there is a very small amount surrounding the baby’s belly. We immediately agreed to a CVS (a test that involves scraping the placenta for a small sample of tissue that can be cultured/grown to determine if baby has one of the major chromosome abnormalities, e.g. downs, turners. The perinatologist who performed this procedure was clear about her feelings that this baby would have a less than 5% chance of survival considering the ultrasound results and urged us to consider termination. We left the hospital heartbroken and confused – we were asked to consider our options and sent home to wait for the CVS results.

Friday March 10th, our CVS results came back clear, they were able to see that chromosomes 13, 18, and 21 were all normal and only 2 XX chromosomes…. Yep, a girl! – good news but unfortunately only an answer to what is NOT likely the cause. We officially transferred my care from the Midwife group to Fetal Therapy and met with our perinatologist, who specializes in genetic abnormalities. Considering the results of the CVS, her outlook was slightly more positive, although she still believes we fall into a 20% positive outcome likelihood. Past this, things are hard to put in writing, because the truth is, these are all the facts we know at this point.

A sweet and happy note, weeks ago, when we’d first told Olivia and Townes that we were going to have a new baby in our family, Olivia was insistent that we add the name Fern to our list of considerations. Moments after hearing that it was a girl, Dan and I both knew exactly WHO she was. We agreed that the kids (mostly Olivia) should be included and allowed to grieve and process with us… She knows that there many different outcomes and that Fern may get to be an angel before we ever get to meet or hold her.

Next steps will be a microarray panel (?) where they will test each of the other chromosomes – the CVS only looked at 13, 18, 21 and XX – and determine the likelihood of any of the more rare chromosome abnormalities. Unfortunately, if this test comes back clear and the cystic hygroma gets worse or starts to cover more parts of the body (or develops into fetal hydrous, basically an extreme case of cystic hygroma) we will still be a bit in the dark.  The most likely other cause of cystic hygroma, outside of genetic conditions, would be a congenital heart defect. Ranging from something that would prevent the baby from surviving  the next days/weeks/months… to something that could resolve itself during pregnancy… to something that could possible require surgery after birth. There are fortunately an overwhelming number of miracle stories where babies with these types of cystic hygroma / NT #s seen at around 11/12 weeks that miraculously resolve.

From here on out, we will have weekly sonograms to check baby’s heart rate and monitor any other changes or development. At around 17/18 weeks when we would typically have an anatomy scan, when we will be able to look at her heart more closely, we will have more of an idea of what type of defect is causing the hygroma. At 20 weeks we’ll have a fetal echogram and meet with a team of doctors including a pediatric cardiologist who will help us determine next steps.

Our prayers are big. We believe that God made my body to sustain and grow new life and we have faith that these problems are not too big to be fixed. We’re choosing to believe that our sweet Fern will thrive and we’ll get to hold her in our arms come September and get to raise her and see her grow into a happy and healthy little girl then into adulthood. I’ve already felt so much amazing support and love from our friends and family and we would appreciate your continued prayers, positive thoughts and support as we embark on this journey.




March 24th, 2016: At our weekly sonogram, we got wonderful news that the fluid surrounding Fern’s belly has actually disappeared! An encouraging sign that her tiny body is working to resolve whatever abnormalities are causing the fluid build up. We were also able to get an almost complete anatomy scan at 13 weeks pregnant which was wonderful! Fern’s heartbeat is strong and we were able to look at 4 chambers of her heart, her kidneys, brain and vital anatomy. We were encouraged to hear our doctor say that if there was something major with her anatomy, it is most likely that we would have been able to identify it today. The cystic hygroma is still present but is limited to the area behind her neck and is still concerning. We are waiting on a Micro Array Panel that will hopefully rule out any other genetic abnormalities. We’ll continue to be seen weekly and will remain on course with the plan for a fetal echogram and complete anatomy scan between 16/18 weeks. Thank you for your continued prayers!

2012 Resolutions: Updated

The Pittman Family 2012 New Years Resolutions 


1. Exercise regularly to feel good and lose baby weight. Aim to be back at goal weight by June/July. Walk daily (with Durch). Pick-Up yoga again and practice strength training/toning through workout videos like Tracy Anderson Post Preg Workout and Metamorphisis.

June 2012 Update: Officially gained 58 pounds with Liv. The first 30 pounds came off with little to no effort at all. The second 30… I’m having to REALLY work for. Loosing about a pound a week by eating healthy and exercising as much as lil nugget will let me. She thinks it’s hilarious to watch me dance around like a fool with Tracy Anderson. As of today – I have 13 pounds to lose to achieve pre-baby weight. I still cannot fit in to a single pair of pre-prego jeans… but some of my looser “boyfriend” style pants and shorts are starting to fit again. THANK GOODNESS.

October 2012 Update: As of 2 weeks ago – I am officially back down to my pre-baby weight! Everyone promised me that as soon as I stopped stressing about it that the pounds would melt away… As skeptical as I was (and still am) the past few months have been so incredibly active that in addition to a slightly more conscience diet and a few sit-ups… and by a few… I mean – as many as I can get in before Olivia starts playing “climb the mommy.”

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Not even the holidays ruined my weight-loss marathon! And there’s that whole nursing an 11 month old baby thing… I’m telling you. BREAST FEED YOUR BABIES. I mean… who wouldn’t want to burn an extra 700-1000 calories a day. 

2. Slowly eliminate soda and sugar beverages from diet. Minimize to one a week. Drink more water. Choose tea instead of coffee. Take Vitamins.

June 2012 Update: Well.. I’m doing GREAT with the vitamins. Still taking these prenatals ( below) recommended by brother Gorham. As for cutting out soda… I’m still working on that. Attempting to cut back on caffeine and eventually cut out completely. 

Octover 2012 Update: Still doing great with minimizing sugar beverages but could definitely drink more water. As silly as it may sound – Dan and I both started drinking water during the day out of Tervis cups… which has REALLY helped. Also still taking a daily prenatal. Giving up coffee though… that’s just never going to happen.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Really have done a great job at minimizing soda and tea… coffee… not so much.

Image From Here

3. Launch Internet business for reselling craigslist/ estate sale/ canton finds. Learn to Sew. Make & Sell Pillows and other handmade goods on Etsy.com Thrift More. Plan for Canton

June 2012 Update: I have had some success selling things we don’t on craigslist… but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. (Unrelated note: I hate the word gotten but am too lazy to rephrase)

October 2012 Update:  Well.. I did learn how to sew a few weeks ago (Thanks Michelle!)… Now I just need a few good naps to practice my new skillz. Who’s up for a trip to Canton next weekend!?

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Maybe we can carry this resolution on to 2013… or at least the Thrifting More portion?

4. Be more supportive of Dan’s job search. Hold him accountable to actively seeking out new opportunities without getting discouraged.

June 2012 Update: DING DING DING… Completed! Dan took a new job as a Sr. Systems Administrator at Consuro/Enterhost a Data Center in Ft. Worth.

October 2012 Update: Dan’s job continues to be equal parts challenging and fulfilling… with lots more travel than we anticipated. 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: As many of you know, Dan accepted his 3rd job of 2012 in December… definitely an exciting time in his career!

5. Find a way to support financial needs through some kind of supplemental income.

June 2012 Update: I’ve failed miserably here so far. Yesterday I sold $14 worth of books we don’t read at Half Priced Books! …

October 2012 Update: The closest I’ve come to supplemental income is filing a petition to recapture our 2010/2011 homestead exemption. Hopefully in the next few months we’ll collect a nice little check for that… other than that… Dan brings home the bacon… and I bring home the sugar (AKA baby kisses)

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Although this technically came to fruition in 2013… I’m going to go ahead and say it counts… I’ve started doing a little bit here and there (mostly babysitting and working the resale/ garage sale market) to pick up some extra cash)

6. Go to the Optometrist Get Eye Exam/ New Glasses

June 2012 Update: I found some glasses I like here: Warby Parker

Image From Here

October 2012 Update: Cross this one off the list. I will say – I never really wear my contacts. And my glasses are way more hipster than I thought that they would be – but hey, I can see.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Now I just need to work on some prescription sunglasses.

7. Stop Using Macy’s card and spending irresponsibly on credit cards.

June 2012 Update: I suppose progress is progress… 

October 2012 Update: Two words – Paid OFF.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Thinking that 2013 will be our year.

8. Keep the house clean between monthly maid service. Do dishes after every meal. Manage Durch hair with new vacuum. Laundry as needed, not waiting until Sunday to do it all. Spread cleaning out throughout the week

June 2012 Update: I will say… it is becoming easier and easier to keep the house picked up… mainly because I can “pick-up” in short spurts all day long… and do laundry, dishes, etc. HOWEVER … cleaning, with a baby… that’s a whole other story. I have made the bed every day for 2 weeks. I feel like I deserve a gold star for that… at least.

October 2012: I feel like I’m in the same place I was in June with keeping a clean house. The fact of the matter is… it’s hard to really CLEAN a 100 year old house… Or that might just be a little bit of an excuse. I mean.. baseboards are baseboards. Maybe my resolution next year will be to better utilize nap time by tackling tasks like… dusting… and well, yah. baseboards. I have continued to make the bed EVERY day and keep the laundry under control.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Not much change since October… although I’m comfortable with that.

9. Finish decorating: office, dining room, guest bedroom. Re-Decorate (baby proof) master bedroom, guest bathroom. Plan for renovation of Kitchen/master bathroom (@least fix leaking in shower/ faucet in tub and create new storage solution for bathroom stuff) Plan for DIY renovation.

June 2012 Update: none. what-so-ever. HOWEVER… I did purchase clear bath+kitchen caulk, caulk remover, and spray foam to remedy the leaking issues…

October 2012 Update: all those yucky issues… I did caulk the shower/tub in the master bathroom to further prevent water from leaking under the house… Dan and I agreed the other night that if we plan to stay in this house for another few years  minute, we need to make a plan for some NECESSARY improvements. 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: My Pinterest boards are busting at the seams.

10. Organize Photos (and memories boxes in office/ digital pictures on picasa/ wedding pictures in album

June 2012 Update: I did collect all of the frames from around our house and do a 4X6, 5X7, and 8X10 tally of photos that need to be replaced! Figured I’d start there!

 October 2012 Update: HAHA… Was it really June that I collected all of those frames? They’re still in a pile in the guest bedroom… waiting for new pictures. I will say that I did finally clear off 2,800 images off my iphone (I got the dreaded “You Do Not Have Enough Memory To Capture An Image” message) and backed up all my iphoto pictures to Picasa. Still need to print/frame our wedding pictures, maternity pictures, Olivia’s newborn pictures and 2 rounds of family portraits…. 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: I have a feeling that this will be a lifelong resolution. Daniel and I did brainstorm some new data storing solutions (I currently use Picasa and google Drive to save/store all our family data and pics)… and have a great idea for how I’d like to print/save pictures in a family year book… more on that in our 2013 Resolution post.


1. Complete 2 certifications: CCNA, MCSE, & VCP by August 2012

June 2012 Update: Dan has been taking a test every-other week and will have completed both by Sept 1!

October 2012 Update: Completed – VCP4, VCP5, MCSA, MCITP, MCSE and since his CCNA expires soon… considering starting to study for a CCDP. (Disclaimer: I have no idea what most of the above acronyms stand for – In my eyes, Dan is a certified techie badass.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: No change since October – Still a certified Badass.

2. Seek out and secure a new career path.

Update June 2012: As I mentioned above, Dan started at his new job with Consuro/Enterhost the week before Olivia was born! A crazy hectic time for our family, but his new boss/coworkers were incredibly accommodating and even let him work from home quite a bit for the first few weeks! I’d have to let him elaborate on the technical job specifics… 

October 2012 Update: Dan is still loving his job at Consuro/ Enterhost – they recently opened new offices less than 5 minutes from our house near downtown Dallas so his commute has improved dramatically although he has been traveling quite a bit as the company is quickly growing and expanding. 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Dan accepted a new position in the R&D Department at VMWare… since his job is super high-tech and all kinds of classified… I’ll let him decided if he wants to share more here.

3. EAT MORE VEGETABLES, try new foods

June 2012 Update: if burrito bowls are considered a new food… we’re succeeding here. 

October 2012 Update: If only salsa were considered a vegetable.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: No, Cilantro is not a vegetable. 

4. Start an Internet venture

June 2012 Update: Check back on this one… I think we may have stumbled upon something together…

October 2012: Stay tuned for “Keep or Toss” coming 2013…

END OF YEAR UPDATE: @DANIELSCOTTT what happened to K or T?

5. Make and Take lunch/breakfast/coffee @ least 4 days a week.

June 2012 Update: We’ve both been much better at eating at home or packing snacks/meals for when we’re out

October 2012 Update: being on a tight budget definitely makes this easier.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Since the new gig frequently caters breakfast and lunch…. this has only become easier.

6. Get in shape. Get Bigger muscles.

October 2012 Update: in all of his spare time – Daniel joined a gym and now runs 500 miles a week, lifts lots weights and also drinks protien shakes all day long. JUST KIDDING. Maybe next year we’ll both really get in shape? 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Still rocking the Seth Cohen look.

7. Go to Doctor & Dentist

October 2012 Update: At the risk of sounding like I’m nagging….  Despite my nagging – Daniel hasn’t quite made it to the Doc/Dentist yet.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: And another year passes…

8. Keep a positive attitude at work

June 2012 Update: Instead he got a new job. haha JUST KIDDING. All jokes aside… I think Dan would agree that he’s made progress here.

October 2012 Update: Dan has been working SO incredibly hard to provide for our little family. He brings work home on most nights but is great about making sure that we spend the 5pm-9pm hours together as a family (mostly uninterrupted). Then he frequently works after the baby and I have gone to bed. He really never complains about the long days, weeks, etc. His work ethic is unmatched by any I’ve ever seen and the way he keeps a positive attitude even in moments of sheer exhaustion always amazes me. 

9. Do special things for Meg – Dates. Flowers. Bring Sexy Back

June 2012 Update: Dan is incredibly good at picking up the slack with dishes, laundry, and general picking up (especially while Olivia and I enjoy our nighttime bath, massage, songs + books, routine. That’s special  sexy in my book…

October 2012 Update: Dates + Flowers? Not so much. Making me feel special and beautiful… always.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Do Love Tweets count?

10. Practice Patience

October 2012 Update: I think Dan would agree – we have the Durch to thank for his daily does of patience practice.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Key word, practice. 


1. Cook Dinner/ Eat in 5+ times weekly. Plan meals weekly to minimize money spent on food (takeout/ dinners out). Try to only make one trip to the grocery store weekly. Better utilize leftovers.

June 2012 Update: Having a baby has made this resolution so much easier to achieve. Not really because of the baby-in-a-bar factor (most of our favorite places to eat suddenly feel like bars) because… we’re totally fine with having our baby in a bar as long as it’s early and there’s a NO SMOKING sign. Moreso because of the sheer cost of eating out….we’re spending that money on diapers… We do indulge on a weekly basis at our new favorite spot: Stackhouse Burgers, great because it’s definitely family friendly, great food and Deep Ellum IPA on tap.

October 2012 Update: Having a baby learning to live on a VERY tight budget has made this VERY easy. Daniel bought me a Meal Planning tool for Christmas last year that has definitely come in handy. I’ve found that if the dinner plan is publicly posted – I’m 90% more likely to stick to it. I’ve learned to do all of the grocery shopping in one trip instead of buying as we decide what to cook. Also embraced the dreaded “leftover night.”

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Lately we’ve fallen short of this resolution, with more frequent meals out and lots of sandwich/ crock pot nights. Maybe 2013 will bring more inspiring menu selections.

2. Visit Tricia & family in Lena, IL

June 2012 Update: It doesn’t look like Dan will be able to take the time off work with the amount of vacation time he has in this first year at Consuro. We’re tentatively thinking about a trip next Spring or Summer. Although I think Tricia + the girls are going to get to come to TX this summer! We can’t wait to meet our new niece Remie! 

October 2012 Update: Nothing new to repot. Although Tricia + the girls have made a few trips down to Dallas to visit. 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Gotta get on this!

3. Start recycling bottles and cans.

June 2012 Update: Cross this one off the list! We ordered a recycling bin (Actually.. Gramma G ordered it from the city while she was here on her last trip! Thanks Gramma G!!). 

October 2012 Update: Now if we could just get the cans out on the right day of the week…. DAN.


4. Spend Christmas in So. Cal with Family Gorham, including weekend in Big Bear, New Years celebration 2013

June 2012 Update: Although we haven’t firmed up these plans yet…they’re definitely on the calendar firmly in pencil!

October 2012 Update: Tickets purchased! We fly out on Christmas Eve (yes, we’re traveling with a 10 mo old on one of the busiest travel days of the year!) Daniel can only take a week off of work but Olivia and I are going to stay an extra week and soak up some Poppa G+ GeeGee time. 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: and it was wonderful… read here

5. Get Macy’s/BofA Credit Cards paid off/ Make a new savings plan for Little Liv

June 2012 Update: B of A card… what’s that? yep! got that one paid off! WOOOhooo… Just working on all those Macy’s purchases. I’m convinced that’s why they give you an employee discount… so that you can afford the interest rates.  

October 2012 Update: It’s really no secret that we’ve struggled to adjust to becoming a one income family… Overnight we increased expenses, decreased income and encountered several unexpected financial burdens… and have STILL managed to keep our credit card debt to a minimum. This year has been a clear exercise in trusting God to provide. And this year… isn’t over yet.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Adjusting financially in 2012 was without doubt one of our biggest challenges… leaving us with (still a relatively small amount) some debt but we’ve got a plan to tackle it and are finally settling into a comfortable spending and saving routine.  

6. Find a church where we feel at home. Stop bouncing around.

June 2012 Update: We’ve been going to Fellowship White Rock for the past month or so. Not 100% sure that it’s the right fit but we’re going to stick it out for another few weeks to see if we click.

October 2012 Update: Giggling now… knowing that when you post a link (like above) to a managed site… for example, a church’s website… that someone (from said church) will inevitably visit and read your blog then refer to you as “The Blogging Couple” for the rest of all time. That being said… We’re REALLY glad that we “stuck it out” at Fellowship White Rock – as we really have come to find a fit. 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Feeling even more awesome about White Rock Fellowship. Getting more involved, making friends. Oh, and Daniel is drumming again… which makes me SO SO happy. 

7. Have a garage/yard sale. Clean Out House. Minimize and simplify. Sell stuff on craigslist/ amazon/ ebay/ etsy

June 2012 Update: We did have a garage sale a few month ago! Raked in $250 (minus a $15 fee payable to the city of Dallas…. Note: In the city of Dallas you MUST acquire a permit for a yard or garage sale AND you cannot post signs unless they are on your personal property… WHOOPS. Did not know that. So.. other than the minor citation from a Dallas… uhh garage sale inspector? it was a huge success!)

October 2012 Update: We’re just about ready to have another garage sale. Also looking forward to selling at the next Just Between Friends (which unfortunately isn’t until next Spring – so we can add that to next years resolutions)

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Actually… we’re having a garage sale this weekend… and planning to sell at JBF in March.

8. Make new friends. Keep in touch with old friends.

October 2012 Update: Dan and I have both made huge efforts to put ourselves out there (individual and as a couple/family) in order to meet new people (Especially families). I joined MOPS this fall and got connected in a Mom’s bible study at church. We’ve definitely stayed busy with play dates and daytime activities. Definitely still feeling a bit isolated on some days but reminding myself to embrace the special alone time I get to spend with Olivia. Overdue for some quality catch-up with time with some of my long distance pals 😉

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Definitely will continue to grow some of the new friendships we made in 2012

9. Celebrate 2nd anniversary by doing something special

October 2012 Update: Considering the degree of celebration we showed our 1st anniversary – I’d say we made some progress this year. We managed to make it out for dinner (@ Sissy’s Southern Kitchen) and to the Texas State Fair while the Grandmas babysat. Nothing glitzy… but hey! we’re not really the glitziest of people.

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Maybe I should start planning for year 3 now?

10. Take more pictures (journal/blog/baby book) to document young married life + Baby P’s first year.

Update: turns out… it’s easy to take TONS of pictures of a beautiful baby… I’ll post one.. just because I can. Although I need to get better at getting pictures of all three of us!


However, we did meet up with Deena Riley of Deena Riley Photography to shoot some family portraits at sunset at the Filter Building on White Rock Lake! Here’s a shot from the preview she posted: (Olivia WOULD NOT smile… I know what you’re thinking… “WHAT?!! That baby? wouldn’t smile???”… NOPE… not even a smirk. But… WHATEVER. She’s still beautiful. And we love her… in all of her stinker-ness. 

 October 2012 Update: 2,800 iphone pictures later… I STILL don’t have many pictures of all three of us. Recently, MOPS reposted a challenge that I’d seen floating around the internet encouraging moms to stay IN the picture. Especially in the next few months, with all of the holidays, Olivia’s 1sts, etc. I’m going to make more of an effort to get myself (AND DAN!) in front of the camera!

END OF YEAR UPDATE: Another one that should be carried to the new year… 


In the Kitchen: South of the Border Fettucini

Aunt Mary’s South of the Border Fettucini

 To say there are some great cooks in my family would be an understatement. This is one of my favorite creations from my Aunt Mary McElyea. I’ve come to always stock the ingredients in my pantry just in case I get a hankering. South of the Border Fettucini is one of my go-to week night dinners; Relatively healthy and inexpensive, I guarantee you’ll love it.

4T. Butter (Cut this in half for a healthier version or use Earth Balance – it’s just as delicious)

1/2 T. garlic, minced

1C. diced tomatoes

1/2 C. canned black beans

1/4 C. sliced black olives (I don’t think these were included in the original recipe… so if you’re not a fan of olives- Omit)

1 whole roasted chicken, meat removed and chopped (Can substitute 3-4 grilled chicken breasts – I find it so much easier and just as inexpensive to buy a pre-roasted chicken)

1/4 C. white wine

1/4 C. chicken stock (I use “Better than Bouillon” Chicken Stock” mixed with some of the leftover pasta water)

1C. chopped cilantro (or more)

1T. chopped, seeded fresh jalepeno

8 oz. Spicy fettuccini (al dente Three Peppercorn Fettucini) (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE! This pasta makes the dish!) Buy Online Here or my local Albertson’s and Central Market carry it.


Image From Here

In medium saucepan, heat butter. Add tomato, half the cilantro, black beans, jalapeño and garlic. Saute 3 to 5 minutes. Add chicken, wine and stock and simmer until reduced by 1/4. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a large pot, cook pasta. DO NOT OVERCOOK! This pasta only takes 3 to 5 minutes to cook! Do not rinse. Just before serving toss all together and add the rest of the cilantro.

South of the Border Fettucini

Note: This is a VERY forgiving recipe….sometimes I use canned tomatoes, sometimes fresh. Very easy to omit the wine and/or chicken stock and just add the can of diced tomatoes with their juices for a slightly healthier option. Daniel almost always makes me add more cilantro, because he’s kinda a cilantro nut!

Momma Meg Loves: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

At about 6 months 6 Weeks pregnant, Daniel and I decided that I would NOT be returning to work after Olivia was born . We weren’t really sure how we were going to make it work… just that we both agreed that it was a) important for me to stay home with our new babe and b) that my measly little salary would barely cover quality childcare and therefore be no more practical than staying home and cutting costs. So here I am… full-time, stay-at-home momma… lookin’ for cheap… or better yet, FREE, things to do.

I’m considering starting a summer series on baby-friendly adventures under $10/day. Consider this the first edition.

Image from Here

When my mom was here after Olivia was born (around 5 weeks) she bought me an annual pass to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens – Become a Member Here. Our family pass  was $109 and includes admission for 6 individuals, not living under the same roof, for one year, free parking, discounted concert tickets for Chihuly Nights concert series, various discounts at the gift shops, restaurants, and local nurseries. Liv and I have easily been two dozen times in the past 4 months. She LOVES being outside (mentioned here) so most of the time we just pack a picnic and park ourselves on a blanket next to the Koi pond or water walls and just relax. (I’m that lucky one that has the baby who will happily lay still and thoughtfully gaze up at the trees or sky #naturebaby) Tickets for adults are $15.00, so after 8 visits, the family pass has paid for itself. With the exception of the past month (it’s been unbearably hot to go during the day) the arboretum has been my go-to, get-out-of-the-house, activity. At an average of 3 visits a month, each trip would cost $3.02.

At The Arboretum with Uncle Chippy + Gramma G at 7 Weeks Old

Watching the Koi Fish at the Arboretum at 3 months old

This year, May through October, the Dallas Arboretum is hosting the Chihuly exhibit: a collection of large hand-blown glass installations. Like nothing I’ve ever seen, Chihuly is definitely worth checking out…. And, since it’s been SO hot during the day, I recommend checking out the exhibit during Chihuly Nights (Either during one of the summer concerts Tues/Thurs nights or on Wednesday nights when the exhibit is beautifully lit and the heat isn’t quite as intense)

Image from Here

There are also 50+ affiliated gardens all over the country to which we can visit for FREE! Hopefully planning to check out the Los Angeles Arboretum or the South Coast Botanic Garden in Long Beach while we’re in California next month!




Post Pregnancy: Shape Up, Slim Down

First things first… I gained 62 pounds with Olivia and have NEVER had to work as hard as I’ve having to work to lose the baby weight and reclaim my figure. Several weeks before I realized that I was pregnant, (having already noticed some unexplained weight gain) I started doing Tracy Anderson’s Mat Workout 4-5x a week. ( I could tell you that I was doing the prescribed 6 days on, 1 day off… but that’s just not true). If I could go back and do one thing differently I would have not strayed from my normal diet/exercise routine during pregnancy. I’ve always maintained a fairly healthy lifestyle without depriving myself. I do LOVE food. That being said… Day One: Home from the hospital… I found myself discouraged when I saw the number on the scale. Within the first week I was down about 25 pounds. (Obviously 6.8lbs of that was my precious baby girl). After the first month, I was down another 5 or 6lbs… having not done anything more than walking with Liv in the Bjorn 4-5x a week and attempting to break some of the bad eating habits that I picked up in the last trimester. With more than 30 pounds to go… I found myself totally discouraged.

At 5-weeks postpartum I picked up a vinyasa flow yoga class on Monday nights at Karmany Yoga. Although this was the perfect way for me to start getting out solo for an hour of “me time”… Addicted, I started going 2x a week… but still definitely wasn’t enough exercise to result in any weight loss.  (I’ve really enjoyed the Monday/Wednesday 7pm class – Karmany offers a very positive and nonjudgemental atmosphere… understanding that everyone practices yoga for different reasons and at different levels and no practice is “better” than the next. Individuals gets what they put in to their practice. Karmany is also the only donation-based studio in DFW… Making it even more awesome. Suggested is $15/class or $10/class for 3+ classes a week)

2 months postpartum,  I found myself centered but still carrying an extra 25 pounds around. Determined to really get things going in the weight-loss department… I dusted off my Tracy Anderson DVDs. I have some qualms with her “methods” and definitely did not follow them completely… However, I have found some success mixing and matching bits and pieces of the following workouts… creating my own 20-40 minute routine(s)… For example… I’ll choose the “arms” from the “Metamorphosis” workout, “Legs” from the “Mat Workout” and Abs from “Post Pregnancy.”  I can usually get in at least 30 minutes while Liv naps… sometimes an hour… if I’m REALLY lucky. I almost always opt out of the dance cardio… because even my 5 month old daughter thinks I look like a fool doing it.

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Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy Workout: Very Calm and Quiet… which is really the last thing I want in a workout. 6+ times a week is suggested to “see results” but REALLY… predicting a 60-min block of time where baby is either a) happy enough to watch mommy workout or b) napping doesn’t happen 6-days a week. I’m lucky if it happens even 4x.  I will say… this workout is heavy on the abs… which is exactly what my postpartum body needs.

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Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis: I think this is the “method” that most people have heard of. Basically a 90-day complete diet and exercise program involving a structured meal-plan and 6 days on, 1 day off exercise routine. The strength training sequence changes every 10 workouts, to be used in conjunction with a 30-min cardio dance routine (This is MUCH easier than the stuff in the “Beginner Dance Cardio” video). Seems to be more leg-intensive… but I think that may just be the “hip-centric” version I have.

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Tracy Anderson Mat Workout – Overall, my favorite. One 60-min workout including warm-up and cool-down stretching. Somewhat fast-paced and dance-y. Starts with 2 leg sequences (using a standard dining chair for balance) 2 arm sequences (one with 3lb weights) then “standing ab isolation” (basically upright ab wiggling) followed by more legs on the floor and a mat ab sequence. I love that this workout moves at a faster pace… but the sequences get boring after a few workouts… I need variation to stay motivated.

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 Tracy Anderson Beginner Dance Cardio: If you want to dance around a feel like a fool. Might be fun on girls night after a few cocktails. Or definitely a workout if you can pick up a routine easily. I look like a limp noodle when I dance… I’m sure Dan would vote this as “most fun to watch”

I only wish I was as coordinated as Nicole Richie… Tracy Anderson & Nicole Richie Dance Cardio

Fast Forward to 4.5 months. A combination of semi-consistent workouts (at least 5x weekly… be it 15 minutes or an hour), yoga, a healthier diet and extra calories burned from breast-feeding. I’ve lost another 10 pounds… Another 15 would get me back to pre-baby weight but I TOTALLY accept the reality that that may NEVER happen. Not to mention the fact that I may NEVER fit in to my size favorite jeans because I have these things called hips now! Hello Momma body. 

In the Kitchen: Beer Biscuits

Beer Biscuits

(Originally from the Kitchen of Gramma G)

This may be the easiest breakfast you’ve ever made… and easily one of the most delicious. Great for those mornings when you really feel like a hot (homemade) breakfast… but getting the griddle out seems like a huge hassle. I’m convinced that they were created as a hangover cure… or to make use of those “wounded soldiers.” Or in my case – Simple enough to make on 6 hours of sleep with a baby in one arm. 


2 cups Bisquick

3 tsp Sugar

3/4 Can/Bottle Beer (About 8oz)


Mix until blended.

Bake in greased muffic tins at 450 for 10-12 min.

Makes 8 biscuits. Or… 6 really large ones.

Good with Old Fashioned Grape Jelly + Butter or Honey


Note: (Don’t stress too much about how much beer “3/4 of a can” is… I’ve tried everything form 1/2 can to the whole thing… everything works… these biscuits aren’t science. Variety of beer is also unimportant. Generally speaking… lighter is better. We usually buy Miller Lite specifically for these biscuits because a)that’s how my mom made them and b) they sell tiny little 8oz cans… so there’s no wasted beer!)

Post Peanut Projects

My Big List of Post Peanut Projects

An ambitious (and growing) list of things I’d like to accomplish (this year) as a stay-at-home mommy

  • Create a Disaster/ Tornado Kit for the house and car
  • Take a Sewing Class, Finally take the sewing machine that I got for my birthday 3 years ago… learn to use it to accomplish several projects (Including… New Pillows for the Living Room Sofa, Curtains for Master Bedroom, Guest Bedroom and Liv’s Room)
  • Revamp Outdoor Living Spaces (New Planties, drought-friendly plants for beds, Cushions for Adirondack chairs, twinkle lights for arbor, porch swing, new grill solution, and of course… kill weeds.
  • Document Recipes for “Season’s of Love” Lifebook
  • Start Mommy Blog (whoohoo… I’m already making progress on this one!)
  • Update Liv’s baby book
  • Organize Photos in Picasa albums
  • Organize Office/ Re-do Office space so that’s it’s functional as Daniel’s “home office” with room to share for Music and Mommy stuffs
  • Put Wedding Photos in an Album
  • Order and Frame Wedding, Maternity and Newborn prints
  • Clean out craft closet, pantry/utility room, and kitchen cabinets
  • ReVamp Guest Bedroom
  • Open Etsy Shop to sell Found/Handmade (Read: things I sew) goodies
  • Replace fixtures throughout house (rather… remove. Rustoleum spray paint ’em and put ’em back on)
  • Postpartum slim down
  • Re-Finish + Sell old dining set