Saturday, November 22, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Viruses, Cake, and Selective Amnesia



My birthday was Monday but we celebrated it on Sunday because seriously, we already don't have enough time in the evenings.

It ended up being a good call because right about when I finished the lasagna, Tad spiked a 101-degree temp. We gave him some ibuprofen and ate cake and then turned in early. He ran that fever for the entire 24 hours of my birthday; it went away sometime between about midnight and 6 a.m. on the 18th.

Birthdays aren't quite the same when you're a mom, are they?


Food pictures!

a. Lasagna from the 1980 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Everybody loved this; even Tad managed to down half a piece once his ibuprofen kicked in.


b. This cake. As you can see, I was lazy and just did two 9-inch layers. It was still a really excellent cake.


c. Oh, and here's Tad's cake. It was yellow cake with a cherry filling (both from BH&G) leftover frosting from my cake, and assorted decorations. I am still miffed that the white frosting came out runny. You'd be amazed at how fiddly basic butter frosting is.

Not a lie
"You want me to do WHAT with the fire?"
Turns out he doesn't like cherries. He yanked it off
and threw it away before consenting to eat the cake.

I got Serenity and some cooking utensils (a wooden rolling pin to replace the metal one I got last year--did you know metal rolling pins eventually get full of rusty old water?--a candy thermometer, some new paring knives, that sort of thing) and also this card from my little sister:



Tad was feeling better by Thursday (his birthday) but hit his overtired cranky wall around 6 p.m., so we skipped cake and presents in favor of more going to bed early.

The next day we had cake for breakfast, present-opening after morning nap, and sherbet for afternoon snack. Then in the evening we Skyped with Tad's godfather. Today we are probably going to install his new carseat. We'll see.


More pictures!

Grandma and Grandpa D got him a convertible. ;)
New PJs, also from Grandma and Grandpa D.
Cards from assorted relatives.
Balls and a book from my siblings.
Wooden blocks from his godfather.


I actually bought the Grandma/Grandpa D. presents myself using a gift card they gave me. I am saving the rest of the gift card for Christmas, partly because our gift budget is kind of nonexistent this year and I want him to have some stuff under the tree (he doesn't know the difference, but it matters to me) and partly because I don't want to bring any more STUFF into this apartment if I'm just going to have to move it all in a week.

Oh, yeah, we are supposed to get the keys to our new place on Monday. Finally. I am not holding out a lot of optimism.


On Tuesday night, Tad was refusing to fall asleep and at about 11 p.m. I told Scott that no matter how little we slept we'd still get more rest than we did last year. He agreed. I added, "And I'll probably be a little more comfortable."

Scott definitely agreed with that one, and then we ended up having a conversation about how I would totally do labor again because now I've basically forgotten that it was actually painful and just remember that I got a baby at the end of it. Scott is deeply skeptical of this amnesia; apparently he still distinctly remembers how painful labor was and he wasn't even experiencing it!

(I mean, if you ask me whether labor is painful I'll tell you that around 7cm you start to suspect that Stephanie Meyer is right and your spine is going to snap in half and you're going to die. But that cerebral knowledge somehow doesn't affect my feelings about doing it again someday.)

On the selective amnesia note, I expected yesterday to be a lot harder emotionally than it was. I mean, Thursday I spent pretty much the whole day in a state of, "Oh, this time last year we were doing this." November 21 last year was a pretty awful day in lots of ways and I didn't really want to relive it.

But then I didn't. I don't even know why. Somehow in the last year the good memories got clearer and the bad ones fuzzier. So when I look back to a year ago today, the thing I remember is this:

All dressed up and ready to go home
And every second seems totally worth it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Veggie soup + Garlic cheese biscuits

Vegetable Soup

2 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp oil
1 can kidney beans
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 sm can diced tomatoes (~16 oz)
1 lb frozen mixed vegetables
1⁄2 cup dried lentils

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes in a large pot. (You can skip this step if using dried onion.)

Add all the other ingredients to the onion and garlic.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add more broth if needed.



Garlic Cheese Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1⁄4 cup butter (melted) or oil
1cup water
1cup shredded cheese

2 tbsp melted butter

Combine first 8 ingredients.

Drop on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day in the life

Because for some reason I periodically feel the desire to chronicle just how much I *don't* get done.

11/12/14:

1:00 a.m. - nurse nurse nurse

3:00 - nurse nurse nurse

4:00 - nurse nurse nurse

5:00 - nurse nurse nurse

5:30 - I reflect on how I know now why I'm so tired all the time. I get annoyed by the fact that when the baby gets tired he pops on and off repeatedly but refuses to just stop nursing and go to sleep.

5:40 - Endless comfort sucking is finally over; I get up to use bathroom and then flop tiredly into bed for about 20 minutes.

6:00 a.m. - Time to get up. Ping Scott.

Get Scott's lunch and both our breakfasts together. Realize that our leftover situation is dire. Again. Realize I'm going to have to go grocery shopping. Again.

6:10 - Ping Scott, sit down to eat breakfast.

6:20 - Really, Scott, get up.

6:30 - Ping Scott again, finish breakfast, throw on some real clothes. Scott finally gets up.

6:40 - I fold a bunch of our cloth wipes. This probably seems like a waste of time, but having all the diaper supplies organized makes changes a lot less harrowing, so. I also hung up assorted diaper parts for drying, since I did a load of diapers last night.

6:50 - I attempt to make heads or tails of the dirty dish situation. Not even washing dishes, just sort of rearranging them so it's possible to wash something. I put a couple of pans in the sink to soak.

7:00 - Internet break! How is the baby still sleeping?

7:10 - And he's awake. Change his diaper and wrestle him into his car seat. Make Scott carry it down to the car. Drop Scott off.

7:55 - Tad and I are home from the bus stop.

8:00 - nurse nurse nurse. While he's nursing I renew library books and check DMV hours.

8:05 - Tad is done nursing so I set him up with some peas and collect receipts out of my purse. I find a bunch of appointment cards while I'm in there so I update the family calendar and rotate out all the old appointment cards on the fridge.

8:12 - Tad has finished his handful of peas; instead of being lazy and giving him more I scramble an egg in the microwave.

8:15 - I remember why I don't give him cooked food--it's hot! I give him a cup of water and handful of raspberries to tide him over. Then I log on to our banking website so I can balance the budget like I meant to 10 minutes ago.

I need to ask Scott what he's been doing with his allowance; there are a bunch of transactions with websites I don't recognize.

A couple of Kroger receipts give me trouble; I finally realize they're pharmacy transactions and the receipts are in the pile o' doom by Scott's place at the table.

8:30 - The baby has eaten all his raspberries and his egg is definitely cool, so I give it to him.

I continue balancing the budget while Tad repeatedly tells me about his cup. (smack smack smack)

8:38 - I have $66.43 left in my grocery budget for the month, which is going to get eaten up fast (ha ha) given that we have two birthday parties ahead of us. Still, it's something. I start working on a grocery list.

8:42 - Tad is fussing. I get him down and put the uneaten half of his egg away for later.

9:00 - Now he's full on crying. I use the bathroom by myself over his loud protests. Then I pop him in the mei tai to wear him for his morning nap. While he is nursing I sneakily eat some leftover Halloween candy.

9:20 - He's asleep! I waste time on the internet during the brief intervals when he allows me to sit down.

10:30 - Tad's awake and not happy about it so I nurse him some more to ease the transition to wakefulness. Then I change a very wet diaper and waste some more time on the internet.

11:00 - Tad falls and bumps his head. I soothe his feelings with a little nursing. Then we eat lunch. (He mostly throws his food around but eats at least one bite of egg and about a tablespoon of *my* oatmeal.)

11:50 - I write down my grocery list and look up what I need to bring to the DMV.

12:00 p.m. - I change a poopy diaper and get the baby dressed in real clothes and so on.

12:20 - We leave for Aldi, where we spend about $30 buying out the dairy section. (Not really, but we got a bag of shredded cheddar, a bag of shredded mozzarella, a bunch of ricotta, a box of butter, and a carton of heavy cream. Plus some bananas and tomato sauce and whatever.)

1:00 - We leave Aldi and head toward the DMV. You might think it would have been better to go to the DMV first and Aldi second, but I figured that at 12:00 a lot of the people with Real Jobs might be trying to run errands on their lunch break. And it was cold enough that my groceries could survive in the trunk for quite a while anyway.

1:30 - We're home again (see, it didn't take long at the DMV at all!)

1:40 - Baby is whiiiining so I nurse him again and he promptly falls asleep. Okay then.

2:20 - I finally stop fooling around on the internet and try to transfer the baby to bed so I can nap too. He nurses off and on but doesn't sleep much. I doze for not nearly long enough.

3:20 - Nursing isn't working to keep Tad half-asleep anymore. I change his diaper, he whines while I sit around tiredly, I serve him some cooked carrots and eat the last slice of leftover pizza. Lots of staring dully at Facebook thinking I should be doing something productive.

4:15 - time to get Scott. It takes a while to get out the door because I have to change a poopy diaper first. This kid loves to poop in dry diapers.

4:45 - We're home. I do some more glassy-eyed staring at the computer while Scott gets changed out of his work clothes and stuff.

5:08 - Start a small flurry of productivity that involves rotating the hang-drying laundry and putting a few more things in the dishwasher and taking out the trash but mostly just rearranging the kitchen so I can cook.

5:35 - Husband and baby are both sounding a little frazzled, so I grab him and nurse him. (The baby, not the husband.)

?? - I go back to frantically doing stuff

6:10 p.m. - Scott has a chiropractor appointment, so we all pile in the car. The baby falls asleep on the way so I sit in the parking lot and read. He wakes up again as we're leaving.

7:20 - Home again. I put some muffins in the oven. (I made the batter before we left for chiro.) Tad bumps his head *again* at one point and therefore requires nursing.

7:45 - Muffins are done. I break one open and put it in the fridge for Tad. He cries and paws at me because I won't share my nice hot muffins with him.

7:50 - Tad is in his chair with a muffin. He is happy.

8:15 - I start NaNoing and Tad starts dropping things over the side of his high chair. I get him down shortly thereafter and he crawls around amusing himself while I type rapidly. (I get about 1500 words in 45 minutes, so not too shabby, but not quite my quota either.)

9:03 - The baby is starting to smell again and I realize I haven't changed him in a while (the chiro and dinner craziness threw me off). I change a slightly poopy diaper and then eat a pork chop because they are finally ready. (I threw them in the crockpot on high before we left for the chiropractor.)

9:40 - I put Tad in the mei tai again in an attempt to get him to sleep. He nurses for a while but remains wide awake thanks to his 45-minute car nap.

10:00 - Scott and I do the de Montfort Consecration prayers while Tad climbs all over us. Then I brush my teeth and otherwise get ready for bed.

10:45 Wear-to-sleep attempt #2.

11:05 - He's asleep. THANK YOU JESUS. We transfer to bed and he nurses some more before finally falling into deep sleep and staying that way until 4:30 the next morning. THANK YOU AGAIN JESUS.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Links

I've had these hanging out in my browser waiting for me to write deep and thoughtful posts for a while and then I realized that's not going to happen. So, here:

1. Golden Seams: The Japanese Art of Mending Ceramics

This has been hanging out so long that I don't remember where I got it. It's interesting in its own right, but I couldn't help but think of it as a metaphor for suffering--we break, and God puts us back together, but the putting-back-together leaves its mark, and yet makes us more beautiful than we were to begin with.

I want that, or at least want to want it--to have my suffering make me into something that looks like it belongs to God.

Also, there are some people who think that God smashes us on purpose, so that he can put us back together like this (just as there were some people who destroyed pottery on purpose so that it could be repaired with gold), but I don't believe in that kind of God.

2. A Mother's Repentance

I don't have much to say about this article except that every word of it is true. For me the inciting event wasn't miscarriage, as with the author of the piece, but for a long, long time after the whole poor feeding/slow weight gain/postpartum depression mess that was the first 6 weeks of Tad's life, I felt as though I had to do everything perfectly--as if I was taking the most important class of my life and had flunked the midterm so there was no way to pass except by getting 100% on the final.

I'm getting a little better, in increments, with occasional setbacks. Because he is mine, in a million very important ways, but in a million other important ways he isn't and never will be. I made him inside of me and yet he has so many things in him that are not me, his own very big personality (trapped in a little, mostly nonverbal body for the time being) and a destiny that only he can discern. It's not my job to make his life perfect or to keep him always safe, and I couldn't even if I wanted to.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Language update

Because I might not get around to doing a whole Quick Takes post anytime soon.

New sign of the day: "Cup." This one was hard to get; what he did was smack the back of his right hand with his left until his stupid mom finally figured it out and gave him a cup of water. And then of course he didn't drink it, just played with it. He's not really into drinking water at the moment; I think he knows that if he waits until he's done eating he'll get breastmilk.

He also lifts his arms into the air (like the "Touchdown!" gesture) when something exciting happens. He'll do this repeatedly until you say "Yay!" and then he stops, satisfied. I don't know if that counts as a sign or if it's more of a gesture, like waving or clapping.

His complete vocabulary, in order (signs are in quotation marks, actual spoken words are not):

"Milk"
"All done"
Mama
No
Uh-oh
"More"
"Cup"

According to "What to Expect: The Second Year" this kind of vocabulary would be average for a baby of about 16 months. Tad won't even be 12 months until next week.

Like any self-respecting first-time mom, I am thoroughly convinced that my child is a genius.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Seven Quick Halloween Takes with lots of pictures





Tad turned 11 months old last Monday. He "celebrated" for a week by staying up fussing and crying and fighting sleep until 11 p.m. almost every night. Then we had a good 3-4 days where he went to bed easy at night, fought his naps less than usual, and was generally cheerful during the day. I hoped that we would get a little break until his next Wonder Week (due to arrive shortly after his birthday next month.)

No such luck. The last three nights have been terrible--up until 12 a.m., up until 11 p.m., asleep at 8 but awake and screaming nonstop from 11:30 to 12:30...We're really tired of this one month on, 3 days off pattern he's had going, let me tell you.

Funny story, though, about the Sleepless Wonder: About two weeks ago, we were driving to look at an apartment and he was tired so he was sitting in his carseat moaning loudly in an attempt to keep himself awake. (He does this a lot.) Scott said, "You sound kind of like your mother did right before she gave birth to you."

The hilarious thing is, he totally does sound just like that.


Recently I've noticed that he can stand independently (i.e. not even holding on with one hand) for a few wobbly seconds at a time. When he's done he doesn't even fall over--he either grabs on to the nearest baby-shoulder-height object, or he lowers himself carefully into a squat and then carries on crawling around getting into mischief.

You can tell he really wants to walk--he'll be standing there, nonchalantly leaning one hand on the dishwasher, and I'll try to coax him to take a step or two towards me. He'll think about it, swaying back and forth like a cat getting ready to pounce, and then drop onto all fours and crawl towards me instead, grinning happily at his clever solution to the problem of not being able to walk.

He did this "revving the engine" thing for a while before he learned how to properly crawl on all fours (you may recall that he flopped along on his belly for a while before that), so I suspect walking is just around the corner.


Tad's fine motor skills are developing apace--He can stack two blocks (apparently quite the feat for an 11-month-old, according to the What To Expect books I've read) and accurately put rings on his ring-stacker; the nuances of the shape-sorter still elude him despite valiant efforts.

We're beginning to suspect he might be naturally left-handed. He uses his right hand for plenty of things, but when he needs to do anything particularly tricky--pick up a frozen pea, attempt to fit a block into a shape-sorter hole, etc.--he uses his left. I guess we'll see what happens in a few years.

(Scott and I are both right-handed, but one of Scott's brothers is left-handed and my grandfather was naturally left-handed [though functionally ambidextrous, because that's what happens when you learn to write in the early '40s.], so Tad's genetic odds are perhaps slightly higher than the average offspring of two righties.)


Word of the week:

More: He produced a reasonable approximation of the sign for "more" last week. I've been pushing this one because for the past week or two he's been using "all done" to mean both "I'm ready to get down" and "My food is gone and I would like more." It's a little confusing.

The normal sign for more involves making your hands into beak shapes and sort of tapping them together. (Or at least that's how I do it. I freely admit I could be doing it wrong.) Tad does it by making one hand into a beak and tapping the back of his other hand. It almost looks like he's tapping his watch in the universal gesture of impatience, except of course he doesn't wear a watch.

I've been working on getting him to say "Daddy." He obviously knows who I'm talking about (if I say "Where's Daddy?" he turns and looks at Scott), but so far has absolutely no interest in talking about him.


Last night we went Trick-or-Treating with Elder Elder Brother and his son. (The girl-child had been around a few streets before we got there and then decided it was too cold.) Tad dressed up as a panda bear and ate half a Kit-Kat. After his midnight scream-fest he's not getting any more Kit-Kats for a while, just in case.

On his grandparents' doorstep

He really enjoyed the Kit-Kat.

My most recent culinary accomplishment: Chicken alfredo pizza with spinach on a garlic-butter crust. I made the crust the usual way, except of course with a good sprinkle of garlic powder, and then I coated it in softened butter before putting it in the oven for the first bake.


Scott loved this, even though he normally looks askance at spinach, and Tad ate a pretty sizeable slice himself. (Probably about 1/16 of the total pizza.)



The whole apartment hunting/moving process proceeds slowly but surely; I should have a more interesting update for you all next week. Or the week after that, or whenever I get around to blogging again.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sausage gravy and biscuits

Sausage gravy

1 lb sausage
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour
2 - 4 cups milk
salt and pepper

Brown sausage. Do not drain.
Add flour and stir until it combines with the sausage fat to form a thick paste.
Add milk gradually, stirring to remove flour lumps. (There will still be sausage lumps, obviously.)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot over biscuits.

Really Lazy Biscuits

based on "Really Big Biscuits" from this cookbook

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup melted butter
2 cups milk or plain yogurt*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
Drop in rough lumps onto greased or nonstick cookie sheet.
Bake 13-15 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.

*I used yogurt once when I accidentally ran out of milk and turns out it adds amazing richness and flavor. I might do that every time from now on.