Friday, May 28, 2010

Hard to Believe

Has it really been a year since we were here?

Hard to believe.
In that year you've changed so much, it's difficult to remember all the milestones we've passed

In size, you've skyrocketed from your lowest 6lbs 13oz to a whopping 23lbs. Daddy reminds me that if you were to keep growing at the rate you did inutero, you'd be the mass of the earth by your 21st birthday. e-gads!

Emotionally you've progressed from screaming your head off at every nod, to crying only when the situation calls for it. You have taught us what your cries mean, when we need to let you have them, and when we need to immediately respond.

Developmentally - wow - you've changed from a little curled up frog to a walking, babbling, toddler. A year ago you couldn't control your own limbs, they'd flail about, whacking you in the face. Now you place small objects in their holes, you feed yourself 3 meals and 2 snacks, (although mommy tries to spoon feed you, you won't have it anymore), and you sign "all done", "more", and "hat" consistently.

Cognitively you understand WAY more than we think you do. You obey simple commands ("bring that to mommy please") and fully understand the meaning of the word "NO". You know what I mean when I say "time to change your diaper", and "time to eat". You are fascinated with how things work, especially cabinets, doors, book-flaps, drawers, the dishwasher, and the TV remote (you've successfully turned on said TV twice - not sure how I feel about that).

Socially your interactions with others are astoundingly different. A year ago you were aware of no one but yourself. Slowly you figured out who I was, then your daddy, and now you actually "play" with other babies your age. You get ticked off when they take your toys, you give and take, you interact in ways I never imagined a one year old interacting. The world is your oyster.

Levi, you are a little ball of energy; a mobile, independent toddler with a mountain of curiosity. As we watch you grow we pray continually not only for your eventual choice to follow Christ, but also for your development into a man of integrity, of wisdom, and of confidence.

...all those things I saw in your daddy when I married him four years, four months, and 29 days ago.
We love our Heavenly Father
We love each other
and Levi, we love YOU!

Happy Birthday my son, Happy First Birthday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today, last year.

I went into labor a year ago today. Hmm... yes, that's quite a memory.
Note the mouth - mid-contraction - 9.5 cm. Ouch.
I only know how far along I was because I got to 9.5 in the tub and then they made me move to the bed because there was mec. in my water.
I was none to happy about moving.
Although, on a happier note, I do know that this was not the worst of it.
I was on my other side for the worst of it.
mothers remember the oddest things.

Levi's nap was both unbearably early and unbelievably short.
So, thus ends my blogging time today.
More tomorrow

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Levi's hospital visit and initial results

Well, it's all over with.
Soooooooo glad I can say that.

To those of you wondering how in the world you never knew this whole testing bonanza was coming, I have this to say: Neither did I!

When Levi had his UTI about two weeks ago we were told it was "no big deal". He hadn't even spiked a fever to fight it off before we began antibiotics. But then I received a phone call with the full story... because he's so young, and because they want to prevent further UTI's (which could potentialy be more serious and could require hospitalization) they have to do this whole battery of tests.

No problem, I thought, we'll take care of that next month - or sometime later on down the road. I'm not going to worry about it right now. His birthday is coming up, and his grandparents are traveling in, and I have enough on my plate.

Then I received yet another phone call. This time I was informed that I needed to have the testing done prior to his 12 month appointment so they would have the results to discuss with me. What? Excuse me? His 12 month check-up is next week. hmph.

So, I decided that if I had to do it soon, I may as well do it really soon, and I scheduled it for the following day. Now, mind you, hubby makes cheese Tuesdays and Thursdays this month, so he was out the door at 2:30am, not to return until 7:00pm meaning he wouldn't be joining us. Thank the Lord for my friend Rachael who stepped in to fill his shoes for the procedure.

We arrived to admissions at 1:00. The ushered us back to ultrasound around 1:10. This was supposed to be the easy part. No pain, no catheter, just an ultrasound... and then I realize that the tech will ultimately need him to be perfectly still. A 12 month old, perfectly still? Riiiiiiiight. Rachael held his hips down while I put my weight on his shoulders and he screamed like a skinned cat.

As I was beginning to wonder how on EARTH this ultrasound could last TWICE as long and be TWICE as involved as my 20 week pregnancy scan, a thought came to me. Why not just nurse him through it? I mean, sure it would involve a little contortion on my part, but it might just work.

And work, it did! I had never nursed him from quite that angle before, but apparently novelty has its perks. He stayed still and quiet for the remaining (eternity) 15 minutes of the ultrasound. Brilliant!

Then came the tough part. As I took him across the hall to the I knew this wouldn't be pretty. I stripped him down and they put him into this rotating harness. They put his hands up by his head and strapped them next to his ears. With a strap across his abdomen, and another across his ankles, he was perfectly immobile - and none-too-happy about it. The nurse came in to catheterize him for the secondary urinalisis and I shot up a quick prayer. This has been traumatic in the past, and I didn't think it would be any easier this time. As God would have it, she made her way into his bladder on the first try and got a clean catch" of urine.

After the urinalysis they began pumping dye into his bladder to fill it up. The goal here was to get his bladder very full and then see if, while he urinates, the die shoots up the ureters and into the kidneys. It took the Dr. a few tries to fill his bladder. The first two times he urinated right away and wouldn't allow the bladder to fill completely. On the third try she got it very full. Meanwhile, Rachael and I were up by Levi's head, singing to him, holding his little hands, and praying. He was too busy screaming bloody murder to hear a darn thing we said.

After about 15 minutes of what I considered torture (although I'm sure it was harder for me than it was for him) The nurse removed the catheter, removed the straps, and let me take off my lead jacket and grab my little boy. He was a mess, an angry, irritated, mess. And I don't blame him. I knew his bladder was full so after holding him naked for a moment I put him down to put a diaper on him and, man, did he read me the riot act. We sat in the changing area, the three of us, and I nursed him for a bit. Would you believe that, after all the commotion, my kid
was smiling at the receptionists as we left? Wow.

I thanked Rachael profusely and we headed home. On our way into his nursery I offered Levi some diced peaches and toast which he vehemently refused. We sat in the rocker, in the dark, and nursed for no more than 3 minutes before he was in a deep sleep. I sat with him for a while.

I carefully placed him in his crib and then, the unthinkable happened. My son (at least, I'm pretty sure it was my son) took the longest nap he's ever taken. After nearly 3 hours I went in to check on him. Still sleeping... I began making normal dinner-making noise and within another 15 minutes he was stirring. I anxiously went in and grabbed him in his dazed state to cuddle him more before he'd want to get down and play.

What a trooper!
Thank you all for your prayers,
We serve a God who is sovereign in all situations, but I'm particularly grateful that the Doctor saw no reflux into his kidneys. Hopefully he'll never have to go through this process again.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A post about holes

We're back from the hospital. Everything went just fine, although none of it was any fun. I'll blog about it tomorrow (you know, like about how I hung myself over the ultrasound table so Levi would nurse and quit flailing during his Renal US... things like that) but the good news is that all signs point to him being reflux-free. Can I hear an AMEN?!

Original Post:
Levi has recently learned how to put things into holes

Small holes
big holes
holes of all sizes

Problem is, he doesn't yet know which things go into which holes...

and a problem like that can render certain toys completely (albeit temporarily) useless

Speaking of holes, today at 1:00 (we changed that from 2:00 to 1:00 yesterday to better accommodate a potential afternoon nap) Levi will be catheterized for his VCUG, Renal Ultrasound, and Urinalisis. The whole process should take about 45 minutes, or so I'm told. In the interest of informing the public, I should probably give a little background.

Our son is not circumcised. We chose to keep his little body just the way God created it at birth. I could go on about this for a while, and if you want to know more about our decision, just ask, but I have more to say about it than I choose to share in this one post.

His uncircumcised state, however, has ZERO contribution to the recent UTI he came down with, which is exactly why they're running the test they're running. You may have heard that non-circumcised boys tend to get UTI's more easily than their circumsized counterparts, however this is only true for boys whose foreskin has separated from the glans, allowing bacteria to build up under a foreskin which is not kept properly clean. Levi's has not separated - and likely won't until the age of 2 or 3. So, since it's so odd that he got a UTI in the first place, they need to go in and make sure that the cause was not something bigger - namely urine refluxing from the bladder back into the kidneys.


It's not the procedure I'm particularly dreading, it's the catheterization. I've been through this process with him three times (two of which were, in my opinion, completely unnecessary, but that's water under the bridge now) and believe me, it's not pleasant.

Please lift our little boy up in prayer today. Daddy is very busy making cheese at work (he's been there since 3am) and mommy needs to be strong. Strong enough to hold down 4 limbs of an angry one-year old, strong enough to remain calm, and strong enough to nurse him back to comfort afterwords. That last part is the part I'm looking forward to.

This can't be over soon enough.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A bed of roses

My boy
This gorgeous boy
This nearly one-year old
has to have a procedure done at the hospital tomorrow.
and he doesn't even know it

I'm not thrilled, needless to say.
I'm a bundle of nerves and jitters

Because of a UTI he had early this month they have to catheterize him, fill his bladder, and make sure that he isn't "refluxing" urine back into his kidneys. Apparently it's very rare for boys his age to have UTI's, and the most common cause is something "mechanical".
I know this is going to be rough.
I don't want to see him strapped down, or crying, or catheterized.
Prayers for the two of us around 2:15 tomorrow would be much appreciated.

Parenthood was supposed to be a bed of roses - wasn't it?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Today I will...

...have nursed a baby in the very early morning hours because, even though he shouldn't be waking up at 4am to nurse, I wasn't about to let him fully awaken and assume that it was time to arise and shine. No sir. Today is Sunday and I want more sleep than that. This will, I assure you, bite me in the behind tomorrow morning when my son (smarty that he is) awakens at 4am again for a snack.

...shave my legs. both of them. during the same shower. wow.

...send my husband off on a bike ride to prepare for the duathalon he'll be completing in July

...wash diapers, wash whites, wash darks, wash dishes, and probably wash a baby's bottom more than a few times.

...make delightful hummus for a delightful birthday party this afternoon. A delightful birthday party for 5 of my favorite babies - including my very own. Wonderful mommies who I met at our local breastfeeding support center will also be there, cheering on their now one-year-olds as they splash in the pool and enjoy our 90 degree heat.

...pray that my babe goes down for his afternoon nap without a complaint, as that was not the case yesterday, nor was it the case this morning. Granged, he still slept for nearly two hours, but still. I thought we were past the "I don't wanna nap" phase. Apparently this is a reoccuring phase - I should have expected that.

...mop. hopefully. no promises.

...skip church. If you know us, you know we very rarely skip church (because we're VERY holy, and almost PERFECT, and we know, out right, that you have to go to church 99% of all Sundays to go to heaven. We also know that what I just said is complete bunk, and that what Christ calls us to is a living relationship with him, not a guilt party where we all try to out-perform one another. ahem. but I digress)

...rock the sunshine wearing shorts I wore two years pre-pregnancy. You don't have to tell me they look different, I know that. I gave birth, ok?

... feed my child scrambled eggs, which my pediatrician told me to wait on because they're "extremely allergenic and lots of doctors would tell you to wait until age two". I'm a rebel. And he like them. And I've been having SIGNIFICANT trouble getting him to eat lately because he will no longer let me spoon-feed him high-calorie mush involving lots of protein and cold-pressed oils. My independent child has decided to bat at anything I *attempt* to put into his mouth in favor of feeding himself what he so chooses. I do not approve of his complete lack of weight-gain in the past month since he learned to walk, but unless anyone has any better ideas, I'm rather stuck.

...finally empty the suitcase we took to Kansas for Jared's wedding at the BEGINNING of the month. Hey, don't judge. I put it into the guest room and forgot about it until I realized I was out of clean clothes.

...Begin, yes only begin, to contemplate how the last year (our first as parents of a womb-free child) has changed us. Me, specifically. This year has been life-altering like no other. I have so many words and so many feelings I'm hesitant to start writing for fear I'll never stop.

... write a blog posting in which I completely over use the dash key. really. Take a look. I'm dash-crazy. It's dash-tastic! And yes, I'm completely aware that some of them are un-dash-necessary, but I'm a little fixated on punctuation right now.
you see -

punctuation is what makes this what makes blogs interesting to read.

It gives them a voice.

in my opinion - anyway.

And that is what I will do today - with these two by my side. Lucky me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

take it, or leave it?

I've spent way too much time in the last hour (time which I really do not have today) trying to figure a good way to explain the topic on my mind.

Which is, in short:

When you don't have a lot of money, it's easy to be drawn to good deals, to veritable steals. But in the same hand, when you don't have a lot of money I think it's easier to waste it on "steals" that you're proud of finding but probably don't need .

Such has been my recent experience at various garage and consignment sales around town. I'm THRILLED and VERY PROUD of the great deals I've found, but in reality, if I'm being really honest, I usually don't need what I buy. In fact, I probably need other things for which that money could more judiciously be spent.

In addition to being an avid saver, I need to remember to also be a good steward. Sure, a great deal is hard to pass up, but if you find yourself using the word "might" (i.e. "he might really like that toy," or "those shoes might be great for next fall," or "I might be able to use that whatchamacallit to help harvest the rice in the back-yard rice paddie I'm planting next year" then stick that money back in your pocket and move along. If it is not necessary NOW, leave it.

That's what I'm trying to tell myself, anyhow.

I'm almost sure the same could be said for the words "someday," "later," and "eventually". In reality, truth of the matter is that "later" you'll find more screaming deals. And "eventually" your sister may send you a box with that very toy in it. And "someday", those shoes you want for your son will be on the clothing-exchange table at church.

Disjointed post. But sometimes I have to type it before I'll believe it, Let alone, live it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Notes from the Infirmary

Not that all of us are sick. In fact, only one of us is still sick.

Fortunately, that one is not Levi. Unfortunately, it's me.

But, Praise Jesus, yesterday it all peaked and now we're on the downhill slope. Wwwhhheeeww!
I'm still not sure if what I had/have is viral or allergen related, but whatever it is/was, it responded well to childrens' benedryl (it was all we had, and I was borderlione miserable, can you blame me?).
Today I'm making a meal for another church meeting. Their lunch will include Italian Meatball sandwiches, Parmesan garlic potato chips with black pepper, baby carrots and ranch dip, and butterscotch cream cheese brownies. YUM! wish there was some extra this time around but "no-can-doosville-babydoll" (quick, name that sitcom!) I'll head out here within an hour and a half to make my delivery and then the day is more or less empty, save a trip to walmart.

This morning I took some excellent video of Levi walking (will post to FB tonight). I know, I know, yesterday's news. But for those of you way off on the West coast it may be fun to see how far he's come in just three weeks. Suffice it to say this boy doesn't crawl anymore - unless he has to in order to get under something, or unless he's very very tired. Life, as we know it, has changed (as per many of your warnings)

In other news (I love that phrase, I've recently resurected it back into my common vocabulary. Be prepared to see it frequently until I over-use it and somebody kindly lets me know) Levi and I will be heading back to Washington in August, from the 10th to the 24th. Just bought our tickets. My brother is getting married to a wonderful gal whom we've come to know and love over the years, and (although they're getting married in Jamaica) their reception will be at my mom and Eric's house. Eric is my step-dad, and my brother Bryan's father, but you all knew that, right? It's hard to keep track of who reads this - for all I know there are people in far away lands keeping tabs on my boring life. So for THOSE people I simply must add some context now and again.
As we come to the end of the week I must point out that my baby - my little boy - will be one year old in 8 days. To celebrate not only are we having a party for him the day after his birthday (Saturday, the 29th from 5-7, open house style, all are invited), but a bunch of friends whose babies were all born in May of 2009 are throwing a group party which Levi is also a part of. It will be this coming Saturday at St. Marks. Although I CAN'T BELIEVE he's already a year old, all the developing he's been busy doing - walking, signing new words, gesturing etc - have gradually prepared me for the excitement of his big day.

On a completely seperate note, I'm beyond astonished that we made it this far as a nursing team. If you would have asked me when he wasm say, eight weeks old how long I thought he'd nurse, I probably would have told you that my goal was to nurse him to 12 weeks. That came and went, as did my 6 month goal, my 9 month goal, and now here comes my 12 month goal. How long will he nurse? got me. I'm content to let him as long as he likes - it was a LONG road after all.

That's enough babbling for now. If you're lucky I'll actually post something somewhat organized and coherent before the week is out.

If you're lucky.
oh, and yes, he's still infatuated with that salad spinner. crazy.
- Melissa

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Freezing in the middle of spring.

...a post in which I will describe the contents of my freezer
Sounds interesting enough, yes?

Way back in this post I talked about how I save quite a bit of money by making large-ish batches of recipes (not weird recipes, normal ones like soup, stew, pot roast and such), and separating them out into two-serving ziplock bags (the quart sized bags, which as I mentioned before, I consider one of man's greatest creations. They hold two servings of just about anything.) But before I go on, let me back up and share with you what I feel is one of my most poignant realizations as of late.

We over-fill our plates. And by we, I mean I, because generally I dish our plates up.

How do I know this? because frequently we don't finish what's on then. Where does that food go? you guessed it - the trash. According to the food guide pyramid, one serving of meat is roughly 2-3oz, cooked. Meat shrinks about 10%, depending on fat/moisture content, so that's 4oz raw, Or thereabouts. To get an idea of what this "serving" looked like, I did an experiment. I purchased a value pack of raw chicken breasts (aside: did you know that the fresh-raw chicken breast is actually cheaper per unit than the frozen stuff? The frozen stuff is coated in a glaze-salt-solution that makes it weigh more. Buy frozen chicken and you're paying top dollar for saline) I pulled them out and weighed each LARGE chicken breast on my food scale. To my SHOCK, each one weighed over 8oz.

that's TWO servings! So, what did I do? I cut them in half and put two pieces into each ziplock before freezing. Now all I have to do is pull out one bag to thaw and I know I have enough meat for one meal. "but why cut them up and waste ziplock bags when you may want to make a "large-ish recipe" with more than 8oz of chicken," you may ask? Good question! Because, quite frankly, We do a lot of grilled chicken on our george foreman. If I think I might make a "large-ish recipe" with chicken, I'll just buy another value pack at super-saver. When I have the time to prep food for easier usability, I USE IT!

Ok, now back to the topic at hand. So my freezer is FULL of one quart and one gallon ziplocks. Some hold two portions of soup, stew, slow cooked pinto beans or black beans, pot roast, raw chicken, etc. Others are home to baby food cubes (a topic on which I will eventually write an entire post). Still more have goodies - cookies, brownies etc which I pull out on a whim when company arrives.

Do I sound like I have it "all together"? because I SURELY DON'T! I'm as disorganized as the rest of society. I just have a special place in my heart for freezer storage. Don't you dare go looking in my closet... or my pantry for that matter.

I lied (just a little bit). Those cookies and other goodies that live in my freezer live there for more than one reason. Not only do I not have space for them atop the refrigerator, but if I kept them there they would soon disappear. And I alone would be to blame. That's right, I have a nearly insatiable sweet tooth. Thank the Lord it is also paired with a weak jaw that cannot deal with hard or chewy things. Frozen cookies meet those criterion.

Ahem. where was I? Oh yes, bags. Lots of bags of many things live in my freezer, but along with them are things we buy in bulk. Bread, for example. Rotella bread goes on sale for .99 a loaf at Hy-Vee about every 4 months. When it goes on sale I unabashedly buy 20 loaves. Frozen vegetables (one of the few convenience foods we frequently eat) also tend to go on sale at our local grocer for around .77, occasionally .66 per bag. So I generally have tons of those. We also buy and freeze milk when it dips below $2 a gallon (yes, you can freeze milk), and 8oz bags of cheese when they're .99/bag.

Last but not least there's jam. Good grief, I have a lot of jam. But it's great jam, and it's homemade jam, and it's low(er) sugar jam, and it contains a TON of elbow grease, so you won't hear me complaining.

Admittedly, the HARDEST part of using ones freezer to "stockpile" with a money-saving goal is in actually using what you bought. I've found the easiest way to win this game is (going back up to the top now) to put things into bags which hold an amount we'll use in one sitting. If I pour all my left-over soup in a bag and freeze it, it will inevitably never get used. I will look at it week after week and become overwhelmed at the prospect of thawing the whole thing without making a mess, and then using it over 2-3 different meals. Simple works best for me.

Well, that's it. That's all I've got. So, what are your freezer strategies? Do you have any? Do you wish you had some?

- Melissa
p.s. That BIG bag of ice in our freezer... I keep it because I don't want to push my luck. it's left over from when our upstairs fridge/freezer went out on us THREE TIMES last summer. This deep-freeze, which we bought on craigslist for $80 has been a tank.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gross, Yuck, & Ick.

I can't think right now, let alone blog.
My head is stuffed up, and my nose is - well - I wish it was running. Instead it's backed up into my head and down the back of my neck.


I don't think I slept more than 20 minutes in a row last night - and it didn't help that Levi didn't either. Poor guy. He's coughing so much he can hardly stay asleep, although I know he'd like to.

So, the question becomes, what are we dealing with here at the Hnosko Sanitarium?
Aparently Levi had "hand, foot, & mouth", as charactarized by those red spots in the back of his throat, but now I'm beginning to question that. Why? well primarily because he never developed the charactaristic spots on his hands or feet. Another reason - I certainly don't have HF&M. So my thought is that he and I both have the same thing - a nasty cold.

I'm no medical professional, but there are my two cents worth.

So now he's at the tale end of his cold mess, coughing and sneezing up a storm, and I'm at the very beginning of mine. Have I said yuck yet? Oh, no, sorry, I said Gross earlier. Well, Yuck AND Gross. Add to that the UTI that my baby was recovering from and this has been a house full of medical intervention. Go ahead and add this to the list of weeks I don't wish to repeat, will ya?

So I gave Levi some Benedryl this morning, hoping it would help relieve his stuffy nose and watery eyes. Looks like it did a decent job but that cough - oh man that cough. I've got the humidifier running in his room with eucalyptus oil, and I pumped his little nose full of saline before I put him down for nap, so hopefully one or both of those things will help.

Meanwhile I'm sitting downstairs with a pile of snotty baby-washcloths (because we ran out of kleenex, why else) a breath-right strip, and a strong desire to find my nasal spray which is currently MIA. Had I found said nasal spray I would probably be breathing out of my nose right now and, consequently, napping.

Ick Ick Ick.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I used to hate pumping

and it turns out, I still do.

Poor Levi.
He has "hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease". More on that in a minute

He doesn't want to nurse because his mouth hurts
he doesn't want to sleep because his mouth hurts
He doesn't want to play because his mouth hurts.

I can't do much about the last two except offer him Motrin, but that first one... oh that first one.
I have a responsibility, you see. So here I will sit and pump pump pump.

Why? well, you probably already know this, but nursing is a supply and demand relationship.
You will produce what they demand. If they stop demanding you will stop producing.
Right now Levi is not demanding, but since I know he will want that milk to still be there when this virus is gone, I have to demand for him in the mean time.

Hand Foot & Mouth Disease is common and harmless. It's a virus, like the common cold. It causes blisters in the back of the mouth (a very sore throat) and occasionally also blisters on the hands and feet. The ones in the mouth are the problem - my babe doesn't want anything near his mouth unless it's cold.

His fever (which never got above 101.7) has been gone since yesterday mid-morning, but the blisters can last up to a week.

All together now:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When it rains... pours. Literally.
We were under "severe thunderstorm warning" more than once yesterday evening/night.

And following in the trend of things that pour when they rain, lets talk about my day yesterday by reciting a little song I learned on Sesame Street.

One of these things is not like the other...
One of these things just doesn't belong...

Can you tell me which thing is not like the other...

Before I finish this song.

Yes, that is a rectal thermometer. The same one I've used no less than 6 times since yesterday afternoon. Last night was the first time I've seen Levi truly listless. Would you believe he fell asleep in his daddy's arms WITHOUT nursing? Apparently it takes being sick to do that. Needless to say, we're headed BACK to the pediatrician this afternoon to figure out if this latest fever is related to Levi's UTI (for which he's been on antibiotics for over a week) or if this is a new virus.

Until then, you can find me somewhere between the kitchen and the car, cooking, plating-up, and loading.

- Melissa

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I shouldn't be blogging

... really, I don't have the time today
and honestly, "short on time" is the way I like to run things around here, so that's no problem with me.

No, today I have neither the time nor the faculties to write a long, involved, thoughtful post about something important. Instead I'll leave you with this.
Years ago, as many of you know, I managed a medium-sized restaurant, a large catering business, and an equally large fraternity meal service. It was challenging to say the least - loads of fun, and tearfully frustrating all at the same time. So it shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone that I volunteered to prepare a number of catered meals for team-meetings at our local church here in Lincoln. The team I cook for meets once a month and, typically, there are only 12 of them. I have a blast.

So yesterday I get a call from the church wondering if I can pull something together last minute and prepare a luncheon for this Thursday (which was, at the time, two days away) "SURE!" I said. After all, I love anything having to do with food prep. "So, how many," I asked...

"thirty?" I muttered


Now, to put things into perspective, I've cooked for over 1,000 before, plenty of times. I can wrap my head around any number of guests... provided I have at my disposal a commercial kitchen, a staff of at least 10, a double-wide convection oven, jacketed steam kettle, and fryer set-up. Oh yeah, and a walk-in cooler/freezer combo. I have none of those things. None.

So here I go, preparing a meal for 30 with one fridge, two skillets, and any number of nylon cooking utensils. The labor is easy, it's the cooking/storing space that's tricky.

The menu: nah. I'll make you wait until tomorrow for that. Suffice it to say I cooked over 12lbs of ground beef this morning. Don't know what twelve lbs looks like? Well, This is half of it:

Cheers, it's back up to the kitchen I go.
oh yeah, did I mention I have a baby? Hmm, good thing he's napping well today!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shapes & Colors

"shapes and Colors" - words Jonathan and I commonly use to describe sermons preached by prominent members of the emergent church - but that's a story for another day. I'm talking about THESE:

In other news, PRAISE GOD for another month in the black. Admittedly, I was worried (read: had a large deficit in the faith department) that God would fail to provide the wisdom we needed to spend money judiciously, concerned he wouldn't faithfully provide for unknown expenses, and prevent large financial calamity. Silly Hnoskos, when will you learn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A weekend of firsts - and not-me's

This past weekend was a weekend of firsts in a number of ways. Not only was it my first mothers day (ok, my first non-pregnant mothers' day) but it was also the first Sunday Levi went to the walker's room at church, the first time we visited the Lincoln Childrens' Museum, the first time I went to the movie theater - alone, and the first time I was able to eat copious amounts of soy-sauce-smothered Chinese food with nary a negative result from my still-nursing formerly-soy-intolerant infant.

I'm sure there were some firsts I missed. But you get the point.

So first, about that Museum. WOW! It's a kids' paradise. There are rooms all over full of toys (that you don't have to put away!!) and different interactive activity zones. Levi, although rationally too young to enjoy such a museum, loved toddling around and climbing on different surfaces. Silly mommy forgot the camera. (So sorry folks), but let me assure you, it was a blast. I think his favorite room was the shadow wall room. When you make a shadow on the wall all the projected lights bounce around it as though it's a barrier. Very fun. He also enjoyed the water-play area where he could splash around and soak himself.Then there's mothers day. Oh Levi and daddy, why are you so good to me? On a friend's suggestion we decided to go see the movie "Babies" (if you want to have a baby, don't see this movie, it will only make you want a baby more. incredible). After a short morning nap, Levi's afternoon nap stretched on and I ended up just leaving on my own because I didn't want to be late. I wondered if it would be weird watching a move at a theater all alone, but man, the peace was pure bliss.
After the movie I met the boys at China Buffet (WAY better mongolian BBQ than HuHot) where they presented me with a lovely bouquet of flowers, a half pound of my favorite coffee from the Mill, and a new mug to enjoy it in. Sneaky boys. There I thoroughly enjoyed all-things-soy-sauce (from which I've been abstaining for the better part of 11 months) with no ill effects from the little one (yet). We went home to skype with grandma & GE and show them Levi's new bi-pedal skills before putting the little one to bed.

Now - for the Not-me's (or shall we re-name this one Not-My-Child)

It was not my child who woke up at 4:45 on mothers' day morning. He wouldn't do that, he knows his dates. It was also not my child who slept in until 7:00 this morning. hmm... maybe his calendar's a day off...

I did not attempt to feed my child a pickle this weekend fully expecting him to make an awful face and spit said pickle out. He did NOT show me up by enjoying said pickle and clamoring for more.

Speaking of feeding - I did not try to feed my child rice-yogurt (YUCK) nor hemp milk (double YUCK), nor Quinoa. What kind of hippie do you think I am? He did NOT enjoy them all, much to my surprise.

Lastly, I did NOT thoughtlessly enjoy both dairy and soy with little regard for the potentially negetive effects they might have on my (formerly) MSPI-infant. Needless to say, made obvious by the fact that I am not currently rocking a pained 11-mo.-old, we are NOT in the clear.

Have a great week everyone, enjoy the mid-west rains.
- Melissa

Friday, May 7, 2010

On Going Back To Work

...Which I am not planning on doing - yet.

When we were trying to get pregnant with Levi we had it all worked out: Jonathan would work, I would not, and we would live off of his paycheck, leaving our savings alone. And that works fine, It's worked well for the past twelve months in fact. But I'm starting to get that itch...

What itch? well, certainly not the itch to go back to work of my own volition. No, I'd much rather be at home with my growing boy. The itch I have is the itch built on guilt. I'll explain.

I'm somewhat of a depression era boyscout at heart. you know the type. "don't throw that out, I might use it some day", "Don't break down/recycle those boxes, we may need them if we have to move", "Save that foil, it hardly got dirty. Re-use it!", "Cut the mold off. It's fine", "don't give that used toilet seat extension to goodwill, i'm SURE I can sell it on craigslist" (a true story for another time). I'll do anything to save a buck; anything to potentially lengthen the amount of time I can stay at home guilt-free. But therein lies the problem.

Recently, I'd say within the past 6 months, all my friends with similarly-aged babes have either interviewed for, or taken on part time or full time jobs. Why? well, I imagine for one of two reasons (likely both): to make money necessary to pay off bills or debt, or to get some interaction with adults and other individuals who make sounds other than goo, ga, da, and ba. And here I sit. And I have to admit, I feel not only a little lazy, but a little socially deprived.

The itch I have, I guess, is an itch to appear and feel like I'm doing more. Silly isn't it. I'm busy from sun up to sun down with an infant, plus a house and gobs of other priorities. But the guilt inside me says "if you sit on your lazy butt, you will inevitably come to a point where you eat up that savings account and you'll be FORCED to go back to work - so get with the program and do what your friends are already doing.

Then another guilty part of me, that part which seeks adult interaction, reminds me how much more I'd get in a traditional workplace. That guilt, when brushed off, is quickly replaced by the insurmountable guilt I would undoubtedly feel if I left my firstborn with a daycare provider in order to fulfill my selfish need for adult interaction and my greed for money we are not currently in desperate need of (but who knows, we MIGHT be soon, and that WORRIES me!)

Now see what you've done? You've got me monologing again.

To summarize (for myself more than anyone else) I want to stay at home full time. I am worried that something might happen that would force me to go back to work for financial reasons, although that hasn't happened yet. I feel like if I just did what all my friends were doing now, I could avoid that. In truth, I really just want to control my own little world and make sure nothing catches me by surprise.

And then a voice comes from deep within reminding me that God has said he will provide. And who am I to question that provision, especially in light of the blessed situation into which God has currently placed us? Who am I.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The kind of excitement I'd rather avoid.

Yesterday was full of excitement. The kind of excitement I don't really appreciate.

I hadn't planned on this kind of excitement, nor do I have any photos to remember it by. I wouldn't want them.

My little boy is usually not very clingy. That is to say, he'd rather be off playing without me than be in my arms. He'd rather be exploring the other people in the room, trying to climb into their laps, than be hanging on my leg. He'd much prefer handling and mouthing everything in his environment to spending time in the sling with mom. Not yesterday. And actually, now that I think about it, not the day prior either.

Yesterday I began to notice that he was clamoring for my attention. This, from the child who is content to play alone for quite a bit of time (relative to his age, of course). I was puzzled, but not worried. Until...

Until I went to change his dirty pants. There it was - screaming from the soiled nappy. A bit of - eek - blood. Now I was worried. Now I started to put the pieces together. Bloody urine. Dog gone it, something was definitely up, and this warrented an immediate trip to the pediatrician.

Forget my plans to go collect my sister-in-laws stuff from her dorm to store at our home over the summer, forget getting dinner prepared, forget visiting with our wonderful neighbors, forget nap time (half of it anyway). We were off to see the doc.

After giving him a quick exam (he wouldn't allow me to put him down) the doc said the rest of him looked none the worse for ware. No fever. But about the bloody urine - Do you know what the standard protocol is when docs hear about blood in a baby's urine? Any guesses? It's got to be the most unpleasant procedure carried out in a ped. office.

They cath them. That's right, they use a catheter to draw urine from the bladder.

Excuse me? you expect me to hold my baby down on this table - my 22lb 11 month old - while you wiggle that plastic tube up you-know-where? It took four (count them, FOUR) people to wrangle my screaming babe, but on the first try they extracted just enough urine to test for infection.

So, here I wait. They put him on antibiotics in the mean time (his first dose, ever) but the urinalysis takes 48 hours. They suspect a urinary tract infection, but it could also be a kidney, or bladder infection. Of course, on the less severe side he could have just nicked his foreskin causing it to bleed a little. That happens occasionally, and believe me, I'd much prefer that, to infection.

Whew. Long day. Husband home late. Dinner came straight from the freezer.
I'd prefer a mundane Wednesday please.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Walking... already?

Indeed. And I have the video to prove it (although it took over a week and quite a few tries to capture it) I can't figure out how to turn this video so it's upright, but I posted the upright one on my facebook page if you'd like to view it without hurting your neck :)

I keep trying to tell myself this isn't really happening but Levi's growing up right before my eyes. In addition to walking 7-10 steps at a time, here are some other things he's been doing lately
  • cruising every piece of furniture, of course
  • pushing things around the house - tall and short things
  • pulling everything out of any drawer he can find and tossing it behind it
  • waving
  • pointing
  • saying da-da (and understanding what it means)
  • taking two naps daily, each at least an hour, sometimes a tad bit longer
  • collecting all the particulate matter from our wood floors on his feet, hands, & knees (I simply can't sweep enough)
  • eating big kid foods like pancakes, crackers, cereal bars, grapes, & pasta all by himself
  • busily growing a thick head of hair, but only in the back. The top remains mostly bald
  • discovering his ears. Sometimes he's so fascinated with them he doesn't want to let go of them in order to crawl. This produces either a fall, or a one handed crawl. strange.
  • "reading" his books
  • snuggling into mommy's shoulder when he's unsure of a situation (he's never done this before)
  • playing for outrageous periods of time with the big-kid toy we got for him at the take-2 consignment sale ($25!!) see below
  • weighing in at 22lbs and 31". still quite long and lean. currently in the 50th% for weight and the 90-95th for length.
  • tossing and rolling balls to us, waiting for them to be rolled back
  • talking a blue streak of babble. I'm sure a lot of it is words I just don't understand. He's trying anyhow, have to give him credit for that!
  • Many more things that I'll kick myself later for forgetting to post
That big-kid toy. Wow. We first figured out he liked these at mommy's group on Wednesdays & Fridays. Instead of playing in the circle with the babies his age he'd be off in the corner with this toy, opening and closing all the doors, putting things in and taking them back out again. He was having so much fun I simply couldn't resist finding him one of his own. As luck would have it he enjoys his just as much as he relishes time with the one at play group.

And to those of you wondering why I bought a kitchen for a little boy, let me direct you to the Food network, home of our personal favorite Alton Brown (master culinologist), Emeril, Bobby Flay, and many other highly successful male chefs. This kid's going to be a wiz, and I do believe the kitchen will be a favorite location of his. Fitting, I spend gobs of time there too!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wedding weekend in Kansas

This past weekend we went to Kansas for our friend Jared's wedding. it was DELIGHTFUL! Of course, if you and I are facebook friends, you've likely already seen my collection of photos from the weekend. Anyhow, to give you some idea of what our trip was like, I should first show you this:This is what Kansas looks like. Most of it anyhow. Kansas is FLAT. I thought Nebraska was flat, turns out Kansas is flatter still. We left for our 5+ hour trip on Friday morning, just in time for Levi's nap. The first couple hours were quite pleasant as Levi played and then slept for those. We stopped for lunch at Subway to break things up and he also quite enjoyed that - but when we got back in that car for the last leg the waterworks began. I'd say, all told, we endured a little over an hour and a half of tears. Tears, with intermissions for graham crackers and sips of water.

We arrived at our friend Jared's home in Wichita to find college friends Chelsie and Chris, and their 17 month old son Rowan (whom we'd never met, having not seen them for over 3 years). What a wonderful experience to see everyone.

Although I spent a TON of time worrying that my 11 month old wouldn't sleep through the night in a strange place, my worrying was in vain. He slept 11 hours each night - with two solid naps (albeit at very odd hours) each day. Bravo Levi, Bravo!

After a wonderful wedding ceremony and reception it was time to bid Kansas adieu. We tried to time things similarly with Levi's nap and were mostly successful. Since I haven't been able to take a picture of my child sleeping in - say - 10 months, I figured I should include this one (which I snuck from the front seat, capturing his distorted face in the carseat-mirror):

Again we stopped at a Subway on the ride home. This time, however, we brought our own food, so we just took up residence on their lawn. True, we looked a little corney with our sun-shade-umbrella and travel booster seat, but it worked for us and isn't that what matters?

So I'd call our first long-distance drive a huge success. Major congratulations to friends Jared and Emily, and a big Thank-you to Chelsie, Chris, and Rowan for making our stay so enjoyable. While I'd like to say "lets do it again soon", I think I have a fair amount of dishes, laundry, diapers, shopping, and many other things to keep my a tad busy for a bit. So lets just say "lets do it again before another three years are up".

For many more pictures, see my facebook page - they are FAR easier to upload there.
- Melissa