Friday, April 4, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Running over

Tad has definitely entered his Baby Velociraptor phase. If you don't know what that is, you have lucky ears. It's adorable, but I seriously need to stop holding him with his head right next to my ear.

My total grocery spending for March was about $205. I am quite pleased. (This includes non-food household items but not OTC medications. It does not include all the stuff I get through WIC, which is why it's 200-ish and not 250- or 300-ish.)

Last weekend, every living descendant of my maternal grandparents managed to be in the same room--13 of us, plus 4 in-laws. My mother's side of the family is not terribly prolific.

Funny story: We were asking my 18-year-old cousin about her college plans and she was saying she wanted to go into nursing. My 7-year-old sister exclaimed, "You're going to have a baby!?" and we were quick to say, "No, not THAT kind of nursing." And then everybody laughed and Teresa sulked because she didn't get what was so funny.

At one point my aunt was asking about Tad's habits and preferences and ended up saying that he sounded like a pretty normal baby. I said, "Well, we think he's the cutest and smartest baby to ever grace the planet." She replied, "I think every baby deserves to have somebody think they're the cutest and the smartest for a while." I thought that was a really sweet sentiment.

I must have sufficiently culled my Facebook friends list, because I didn't see a single annoying April Fool's Day status this year. That holiday just drives me nuts. I don't have the right temperament for pranks or something.

A bit of nostalgia: Last year on April 1, I took a second pregnancy test because I apparently didn't believe the one I'd taken the previous morning. It was positive, of course, but then I started spotting an hour later. The day ended up being a big ball of stress and phone calls and getting bloodwork done.

Fortunately, the whole positive pregnancy test thing didn't end up being a cosmic April Fool's Day joke.

While we're being nostalgic, today marks 6 years since Scott informed me that his list of reasons for not dating me was flawed. He's super romantic that way. :)

The other day I was over on Margaret's blog and came across this quote:

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

The baby was sleeping in my lap when I read it. I cried.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Shoemaker Friday Tomato Soup

A guest post by my husband

Attempting to approximate alchemical methodology more than modern recipe methodology...

* * *

Two parts milk to one part tomato sauce. (E.g., two cups milk to every eight ounce can of sauce, or four cups to every sixteen ounce can.)

Two parts tomato sauce to one part essence of tomato. (Presuming one fresh tomato is approximately one cup, based on similarity in size to an eight ounce can. Essence of tomato may be extracted from fresh tomatoes via the food processing methods "grind","blend", "puree" etc.)

As many diced or chopped tomatoes as desired.

A small dusting of Italian spices such as onion, garlic, oregano, basil etc. (No more than a full shake of each for eight cups of milk. Only a small shake or two for anything less. Verily this ought to make the flavor slightly more rich than "tomato sauce and milk mixed together," but without anyone actually being able to tell that Italian spices are in the soup, as it is not intended to taste Italian. I suppose real, native Italians must have their own ways to effect the transmutation of tomato soup, but I cannot imagine it resembles the Italian-bespiced tomato sauces used as a part of their other delicacies.)

An array of grilled cheese sandwiches with muenster cheese and overly buttered bread.

* * *

Mix reagents but for the sandwiches and heat until steaming, then reduce heat to prevent curdling the milk, stirring as necessary. This will take practice to master. If the milk curdles the mixture is still good, but sure hot without curdles is better -- verily the texture is smoother and the flavor may just be a tad more rich. Leaving the mixture on this lowered heat for a longer time may thicken sauce; effects require further experimentation.

Embowl mixture. (Sic. Not embowel.)

Apply mixture to grilled cheese sandwiches via dunking of the sandwiches in the bowls of soup. Cross-contamination of cheese grease and fried butter into the mixture is desirable.

Salt soup to taste.

Consume or devour.

Entertain guests if applicable.

Entertain wife.

Entertain child.

Cleanse spectacles if necessary.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Seven Quick Takes 3/28

Tad had his actual 4-month appointment on Tuesday. He weighed 13 pounds, 11 ounces and measured 24.25 inches. That's a growth of almost 2 pounds and 3/4 of an inch since last month. I think he's doing that thing where he alternates between gaining weight and gaining height.

Since I posted his four-month picture last week, here is a random picture of him wearing a penguin diaper:

It was actually a pretty good pediatrician appointment. They praised his incredible motor skills, commended our extended-rear-facing plans, didn't object to our delayed solids plan, and forgot to ask where he sleeps. (Which is good because I just went to Confession for lying about it...)

Of course, they didn't have any idea what I was talking about when I tried to explain his possible lip tie. (For example, "Can he stick out his tongue?" is not particularly relevant...) Fortunately, we have an appointment with somebody who actually specializes in such things later on in April. Prayers would be appreciated and all that.

The other day I saw a billboard that asked me whether I had an emergency preparedness plan. I told Scott about it and ended up giving this whole little speech about how having a plan isn't the important part. Having resources and skills is far more valuable in a crisis, because it enables you to adapt when things don't go according to plan.

Scott's very proud of me for breaking out of my Myers-Briggs mold.

(I'm INTJ and he's INTP. I'm pretty sure every argument we've ever had can be summed up by that one-letter difference.)

I was at the chiropractor on Wednesday and at one point she was holding Tad and handed him back to me with exaggerated reluctance. I said to him, "She can't keep you; she has enough kids of her own." Dr. D laughed and said that she loves her job because she gets to hold babies and then hand them right back. I still felt horribly awkward afterwards. Dr. D has three children, aged about 5, 4, and 2. While I'm sure they're quite enough to keep her busy, I feel like a bad evangelist for accidentally implying that three children is "enough." I guess I'll just have to keep associating with her until I have at least four children. (She's in my LLL group, so I'll see her even if I give up being chiropracted.)

Scott has had a cold this week. The first couple of days were very annoying, but then I enjoyed having him home the last couple of days. (He's been telecommuting.) Plus I enjoy sleeping in an extra hour and not having to scramble to get us all out the door in time for him to catch the bus.

The other day I didn't have much to buy at Kroger, so I went through the U-Scan and had the pleasure of bagging my own groceries. Seriously, having a bagger is not all it's cracked up to be. Last week I had ice cream and marshmallows and cans of tomato sauce all in the same bag. And raw meat NEVER EVER goes with anything else. Really, people.

Scott is probably the only one of my readers who will get this, but I am going to rant about it anyway.

During the most recent Agents of SHIELD episode, I kept yelling at the TV (well, the laptop), "This is where you all stuff cotton in your ears and tie your captain to the mast! Don't you all read!?" Obviously there would not have been much dramaz if the heroes had thought of that, but I am very disappointed.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tad's summer wardrobe

Just because I can.

Outfit #1: I found all these pieces at a thrift store. The onesie is Carter's; the jacket and pants are some other brand I don't recall. I am very proud of myself for finding them considering they're different brands and yet match perfectly.

Outfit #2: One of my retail therapy purchases from this past Friday.

Outfit #3: Part of the same set as #2.

Outfit #4: A baby shower gift from my friend Liza.

Outfit #5: A onesie from the set Liza bought; pants that my mother thrifted.

Outfit #6: A retail-therapy polo; shorts my mother thrifted.

Outfit #7: Same. (Except they're pants, not shorts.)

Outfit #8: Same.

Outfit #9: Polo and pants thrifted by my mother. (There's a tiny penguin! So cute!)

Outfit #10: Thrifted by my mother again.

Outfit #11: Onesie thrifted by me, shorts by my mother.

Odds and ends: A jacket, a hat, a white onesie.

I'd like a few more things (some more onesies, maybe another set of pajamas), but overall I'm quite pleased. Especially since I spent a grand total of $30 of my own money on all of these clothes. My mother seems to think it is her duty to outfit her grandson, and I'm not complaining. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Seven Sunday Takes

Tad turned four months old on Thursday. I do not approve. Also, I promise he does smile sometimes; he's just mastered deadpanning as soon as I pull out the camera.

This week has been really rough in stay-at-home-mom land. I think Tad is hitting his four-month growth spurt. While I'm glad he's not screaming all evening this time around, I could really do without him screaming for most of the morning. Even the sling doesn't put him to sleep. Taking him on an errand does seem to work, so I'm all stocked up on groceries but way behind on laundry.

(I handed him off to Scott yesterday morning when he started his scream-fest and Scott ended up calling his dad for help/advice within the hour. I feel a lot less wimpy now.)

On Friday I called my mom to see if she had any scream-fest advice, and she reminded me that stuffing him in his carseat and driving around had helped before. I pointed out that I didn't have any errands left. "You might want to make one up," she replied.

So I stuffed my hoarded allowance in my pocket and stuffed the baby in his carseat and went to the nearest Carter's outlet to find some summer clothes. I got this and this. (He needed a bigger frog outfit for his monthly pictures, and the polos were just too cute to pass up.)

Then Tad slept for almost 4 hours when we got home. (With some nursing interspersed.) Poor overtired cranky baby.

Tad's eyes are still a combination of dark gray and golden brown. I am really curious to see what color they end up.

Here is a picture that doesn't capture his eye color terribly well but is still adorable:

Why is my mother interrupting a diaper change to shove a camera in my face?

I forgot a cute Matthew story last week.

When we visited at the end of February, both littles were of course fascinated by the whole breastfeeding concept. (Recall that they were adopted and therefore not breastfed themselves.) Matthew kept pointing and saying "Drink?" and then "Where?" as if he expected me to reveal that I had a couple of bottles hidden under my shirt.

On the way back from the museum center a week later, I was letting Tad suck on my fingers in an attempt to calm him until we were done driving. Matthew was sitting next to us and he pointed and said "Drink?"

I told him no, Tad was just sucking on my fingers, but it occurred to me that from his perspective the idea of the baby getting milk from my fingers is probably about as logical as the idea of him getting milk from my chest.

Last Saturday, Scott and I did our federal taxes and Scott managed to find a credit I had missed that almost tripled our return amount. It was kind of awesome.

Then on Wednesday Scott told me that he got a raise. Granted, he's gone from Ridiculously Underpaid to $1/hr More Than Ridiculously Underpaid, but $40 a week is nothing to sneeze at when you're all poorish.

I'm giving St. Joseph the ultimate credit for both of those, by the way, since I prayed a novena to him with the main intention being that he'd help Scott provide for our family.

Kroger had blackberries on sale this week, so I currently have a blackberry crisp in the oven for our Sunday treat. This has no deep significance; I just get really excited about dessert during Lent.

The other day one of my Facebook friends posted a video making fun of The Notebook. The video was not that funny and kind of NSFW, so I won't post it, but here's a really funny quote from my super romantic husband:

"All I know about The Notebook is that there's a guy and a girl kissing in the rain, and I always think, 'Your notebook is going to get soaked!' Is that what this movie is about? 'I had this great romatic encounter but I lost all my passwords for Metroid!'"

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


This recipe was originally called Farfalle Leonardo and made with actual "bowtie noodles", but in practice we just call it Farfalle and make it with any kind of short pasta.

2 lb sausage
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sm (15oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
16 oz pasta
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Brown sausage and onion, drain if necessary. Add garlic, tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Simmer until thick, about 30 minutes. Mix with cooked pasta. Top with cheese. Serves 8

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: The hairs on your head

Tad's had a big milestone week. First, he started actually hitting the toys on his play gym instead of just staring at them. (His play gym is this one.)

THEN, since that apparently wasn't enough, he rolled back-to-front. He's not even four months old, you guys, and he can already roll both ways. I guess that's what happens when you're ridiculously active from the womb onwards.

The other week, the gospel reading was the one about all the hairs on your head being counted. (Or maybe that was mentioned at the retreat? I lose track these days.) And it suddenly made perfect sense to me. If I could, I would certainly count the hairs on Tad's head--not for any particular reason except that I love him and want to study and know everything about him.

It's kind of nice to think of God as being like that with us.

Speaking of noticing minute details, we're pretty sure Tad has a lip tie and maybe a tongue tie as well. You'd think somebody in the round of doctors and LCs we saw in December would have noticed, but apparently that was left to me. (I did get my LLL leader to confirm at the last meeting. She said that she can't give me medical advice but she really thinks I should have him evaluated.)

So next week is going to be full of calling the pediatrician and his insurance company and probably a bunch of other places. Fun times.

One of my cousins got married just over the border in Indiana last week, so Tad was able to attend his first wedding AND meet his great-grandmother. (One of them, anyway. The other one lives in California.) On Monday we went to the museum center (minus Scott, because he had to work), and Tad enjoyed it a lot. See?

Relatedly, a funny Teresa story: The wedding was held in a church that had a children's center sort of thing advertised in large rainbow-colored letters. Teresa saw it and said, "Wherever there are colorful letters, there's bound to be kid stuff."

She's pretty smart.

On Tuesday, Scott commented happily on the weather as we were driving back from the bus stop and I said, "It's supposed to snow tomorrow." To which Scott replied, "Then we should take the baby to the park today."

I couldn't think of a good reason to say no, so we went and walked around the local park for an hour. Tad seemed to enjoy himself again.

The next day it did snow, and Tad and I walked around Kroger. Tad got hungry in the middle of the dairy aisle (maybe it was the sight of milk...) so I pulled him sideways, fiddled with my shirt, and continued on my merry way. Two different people complimented me on my sling, and I felt like a breastfeeding ninja.

Scott and I are trying to bring our post-baby budget back under control. (Though we figured out today that we should be getting a sizable amount back on our taxes, which should help make up the shortfall in our savings.) To this end, I started sneakily turning the heat down to 72 instead of 74. It took about 48 hours for Scott to notice the first time and he hasn't seemed to notice the second time yet. Though he reads this blog, so I guess my cover is blown.

One of my favorite things about breastfeeding is when Tad and I are side-lying and he unlatches with this deep sigh of contentment and turns his head so it's resting on my breast as if on a pillow and falls asleep. Seriously, it's the sweetest thing ever.

One of my not so favorite things is when he tries to nurse and suck his thumb at the same time. (He has some serious oral needs.) I'm telling you, baby, that will NEVER work.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!