Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Garlic butter chicken

Loosely inspired by this recipe.

All measurements approximate.

1 lb pasta
2 lbs raw chicken
1 stick butter
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil

Put on water for pasta.

Cut chicken into middling pieces and chuck in a skillet.

Add butter, garlic, oregano, and basil.

Cook covered over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through.

Add pasta to water.

When pasta is done, combine with chicken.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: 8 months

A collection of random baby-related things amassed over the last two weeks.

Tad turned 8 months old earlier this week. It's been a banner month for motor milestones. He's definitely mastered sitting--he can switch from a crawl to a sit and back, reach for toys without toppling over, etc. He's also mastered cross-crawling rather than lolloping about like a drunken bunny. And as soon as he mastered those skills he started pulling up on the furniture. Now he can sit back down from a standing position and stand holding on with only one hand. Crazy baby.

His new favorite thing (I guess this is sort of a milestone too) is picking up two blocks--or any hard sort of object--and banging them together repeatedly. If he's feeling really fancy, he'll suck on one and bang the other against the stationary one. (That sounds more complicated than it is.)

On the second Sunday of this month, we were at coffee-and-donuts at the nearby Latin Mass parish. I ended up talking to a lady who has twins about 6 weeks older than Tad and another lady with a little girl about 3 weeks younger. Both of them commented on how BIG Tad was, which was really funny because he's not even that big for a 7/8-month-old--their babies were just...more small.

On the other hand, I offered him some fruit salad and he dumped it all on the floor, whereas the twins were gobbling blueberries and the other baby was obediently opening her mouth for some fruit puree. So he was behind them in that regard.

Since my last update Tad has tried rice, yogurt, and corn. The yogurt was his favorite, I think, maybe because it was cold. (I blended it with a frozen banana and plopped it on his tray so he could play with it/lick it off his hands. He also ended up with a couple of spoons that I pre-loaded for him.)

I was surprised by how quickly he figured out rice. He eats it by smashing it with his hands and then licking off the grains that have stuck to his fingers. I'm not sure if he can eat corn of his own accord; I was helping him a little by offering him some on a pre-loaded fork or the tip of my finger (both of which he grabs and stuffs into his mouth). He's gotten very good at using utensils--pops the business end right in his mouth and pulls it back out empty.

Last Saturday Scott and I had our monthly ice cream date at the local park. Afterwards we all went for a walk on the trail and ended up accidentally walking three miles. The first mile or two I had a great time talking to Scott (Tad fell asleep in the sling after about a quarter mile) and then after that I wanted somebody to carry *me* the rest of the way. (Scott was carrying the diaper bag and stuff so it wouldn't have really helped to have him carry the baby.) My shoulder is still a little sore; I've been trying to alternate sides with the ring sling to give it a rest.

Did I mention that we signed up for a Holy Hour on Sunday afternoons? Because we did. It actually works out pretty well--we pack up a lunch and go to 12:30 Mass and eat and then do our 2:00 Holy Hour. Scott and I agreed to take shifts looking after the baby, but so far he usually falls asleep after about 15 minutes and sleeps until we get home at 3:30.

Yesterday I took Tad to the pediatrician because he'd been crying off and on for the better part of three days and I figured we should rule out ear infection or anything like that. His ears and lungs and everything are fine, and the doctor said she thought she saw more teeth coming in, so it's safe to keep blaming things on teeth.

He got weighed at the appointment (though not measured) and was 18 pounds and 17 ounces. No wonder he's seemed so heavy lately. That's an increase of 2 pounds and 5 ounces since his 6-month checkup, or about 4.5 ounces per week. (And KellyMom says that 4 ounces is the upper end for 6 month + babies!) He only has solids once a day at best, so you know that's just my awesome milk at work. (Actually, my theory is that getting his tongue and lip ties fixed probably made a difference in his milk transferring abilities. But maybe it's all just random and I'm reading way too much into it.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary Svellerella!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Food log 7/11 through 7/18: In which I stuff my child full of potential allergens

After my last update (actually, I think while I was writing it) we gave Tad some whole wheat spaghetti. He LOVED it, and did not seem to suffer particularly from ingesting it.

The next day he had some lettuce, which he seemed to like but which made him gag a lot. I mentioned it in passing in my Facebook mom's group and everybody was all, "DUH, you don't give a baby lettuce!" but whatever, it's not on those peanuts/hot dogs-whole grapes lists, so how was I supposed to know except by giving it to him?

A couple of days after that he had tomato. He had a fabulous time mangling that, and I was finding little tomato bits in his diaper for days, so apparently he consumed a fair bit as well despite the faces he made whenever he tasted it. (I know the red flecks weren't from his favorite cardboard box because we moved that to where he can't reach it.)

Then he took a little break from new foods and got some more chicken, which he loved even more than last time. Now that he has five (!) teeth, he can do a pretty good job shredding it up with his incisors.

Finally, yesterday he had scrambled egg with cheese. He ate this with even more gusto than plain scrambled eggs, and nearly 24 hours later hasn't reacted a bit. He even slept decently last night. We'll see how he does with yogurt and things later on.

He still likes chewing on the furniture, alas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Slimy pudding

Once upon a time, I asked my mom, "Why do you never make that slimy pudding anymore?" And she said, "I thought you didn't like it." And that, friends, is when I truly learned the meaning of the word "connotation."

3 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup cocoa powder
A pinch of salt

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Mix first five ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook until thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla.

Separate into individual servings and chill in fridge for as long as you can stand.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Focus and abandonment

I went to Confession today and mentioned that I haven't had a routine of prayer in a long time...I pray when I want something, but otherwise God feels kind of irrelevant to my daily life.

After I rattled off the rest of my sin laundry list, Father pulled it all together by recommending that I ask God to help me put my focus on him.

The image struck me as particularly profound, and as I prayed in church afterwards I wondered why.

Then I remembered all the times this week I prayed and told God that I was drowning and he needed to save me. And I thought of Peter, thinking he could walk on water, losing his focus on Jesus, drowning, calling out for help.

So, yeah. Focus.


A couple of weeks ago I was telling my therapist about certain things that happened during the baby's newborn days and he suggested that I felt disappointed. I accepted this suggestion, but upon further reflection decided that a better word for the feeling would be abandoned. Like nobody was ever going to help me. Like nobody even understood that I needed help.

Praying after Confession today, I wondered if maybe the reason I stopped praying was because I felt like God had abandoned me too.

But of course he never did.

Friday, July 11, 2014


One day last week, I was lying in bed nursing Tad and for a moment, feeling him snuggled up against me, I flashed back to when he was a tiny cheesy newborn lying naked on my belly, and I felt this lovely warm fuzzy feeling.

Does that seem like not a big deal? Do most people look at their children and think fondly, "Oh, I remember when you were born"?

It's a big deal to me. The first six weeks of his life are like this huge chasm of exhaustion and tears, and when I came out on the other side of it and finally started feeling like I loved him...well, it was a whole new thing. There was no continuity between the love I developed for that six-week-old baby and the love I had for the baby who did gymnastics in my womb and was delivered purple and hollering into my arms.

Now there is, and it gives me hope that maybe someday there won't be a gaping chasm like a raw wound in that spot in my memories. Maybe someday there will just be a little scar, that you can see if the light hits it just right, but if you weren't looking you wouldn't even know it was there.

7QT in which brownies are a breakfast food

I really don't like one-syllable names. I don't know why; they just seem incomplete to me. What makes that especially funny is that I live with two people who have one-syllable names. (And one of those people has a name that *I* suggested! Exception proves the rule, I guess.)

So if you hear me repeatedly calling my husband "Scott, dear," it's not because I am that affectionate toward him. It's just that his name throws off the rhythm of my sentences.

Meanwhile, the baby is always "Baby Tad" instead of just "Tad." (Except insert his real one-syllable name.) I'm not sure what I'll do when he's no longer a baby; "Tad, dear" sounds almost as bad with his real name inserted.

In the past few weeks, Tad has mastered cross-crawling, sitting independently, and pulling to a stand on furniture. Just last night he was standing up with help from the recliner and managed to lower himself onto his bottom instead of falling over dramatically once his arms got tired. I clapped and made much of him and he laughed.

This week's new foods: Coconut oil (used to scramble eggs), canned pear, baked potato (no skin). He only liked the pears. But he also likes chewing on the furniture, so his taste is questionable.


Last week we had a small crisis because I managed to lose my car key in between getting the last load of groceries out of the trunk and depositing them upstairs. It could have been worse; I could have lost it before removing the baby or the perishable groceries.

Anyway, Eldest Younger Brother was able to bring Scott home from the bus stop, and then Scott found his spare key, and then a couple of days later found MY key in the trunk. Well, sort of in the trunk. The trunk has a rubber seal around the edge and outside that rubber seal is a little groove and somehow my keys had fallen in there. I have skills, you guys.

A couple of days after the key-losing incident, Tad and I went to a babywearing meetup. This confirmed for me that he definitely knows his own name. I can't test whether he knows it because he turns and looks at me when I say anything. But we went to the meetup and a lady who knows me came up while he was facing the opposite direction and said, "Hi, Tad!" and he snapped around and looked at her suspiciously.

I made these brownies for a snack yesterday and now it's 8:21 a.m. and I'm wondering when I can eat some more. Anything with 4 eggs in it totally counts as a breakfast food, right?

(Update: I lasted until 8:38)

And now I should wrap up this post because Grace has arrived and we are going out for "coffee" which really means dessert. MOAR CHOKLIT PLZ.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Eating log week of 6/30

7/2: Scrambled eggs. (Cooked in microwave again, with no butter or oil or anything.) He really loved these and didn't have anything resembling an allergic reaction, so I'm cautiously optimistic about this particular top allergen. I'm glad since eggs have lots of iron and he had a hard time with beef when we gave that to him.

7/4: MOAR OATMEAL. He really loves this stuff but I'm not sure if it is causing diaper rashes or not. Even if it is, I doubt it's an allergy or intolerance so much as it is the laxative effect of fiber combined with his ridiculous drooling. (Drool rash is totally a thing, right?)

7/5: Paint. Note to self: Crib rails do not make good chew toys.

7/5 part 2: Cardboard. Do we need to feed this child more or what?

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Warning: This is about breastfeeding. Again. If you don't want to read it, nobody's making you, but I want to write it.

I requested our records from the hospital where Tad was born and got his last Monday. It was cathartic in that it had the information I was looking for in terms of our "encounters" with the lactation consultants, but of course it also made me cry and hug the baby and tell him I'm sorry, because I rock mom guilt like that.

Something that's been gnawing at me since the whole mess got started is that we had a lactation consultant come to see us around noon the day after he was born, but Eldest Younger Brother had just arrived for a visit so I asked the LC if she could leave and come back later. She was noncommittal and sure enough never came back; a different LC showed up about 4 hours later, and you all know about that one. (Or do you? I might have only alluded to just how awful she was.)

Let me reiterate: I desperately needed lactation help and when an LC finally appeared I told her to leave. I don't know why it bothers me so much more than any of the other mistakes I made. Maybe because it's there, on the record, in black and white, and could easily be thrown back in my face with, "Well, you didn't take help when it was offered so you couldn't have been that committed to breastfeeding." Maybe just the uncertainty of not knowing what would have happened if I'd asked EYB to leave so she could come in. (I got over not breastfeeding in front of Scott's brothers pretty quick, but a lactation consult is a horse of a different color in that regard.) I do know that if we'd met with her we never would have met with Awful LC, but of course I don't know anything else. Maybe this other LC would have been awful too. Maybe not. Odds are I'll never know.

I don't know what I want to happen to make that not hurt. I suppose I want the baby to forgive me, but of course he is just a baby and can't even talk, much less comprehend what I want forgiveness for. And of course I want to live in an alternate universe where I'm the perfect mother who never ever makes mistakes.

I guess I'll just have to settle for knowing that there is no possible universe in which I wouldn't love him and be glad for the chance to be his mother, no matter how badly I mess it up. I've wished lots of times that I was a better mother, but I've never wished for a better baby, because that wouldn't be possible.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Green beans and bacon

This is a ridiculously simple recipe, but people think it's the coolest thing ever when I tell them about it, so here you go.

8 slices bacon
2 lbs green beans (fresh or frozen)

1. Cut bacon into roughly 1-inch pieces.

2. Fry bacon pieces in a large skillet.

3. Add green beans; cook until green beans are soft.