Monday, August 30, 2010

NOT ME Monday

I'm sure YOU never do anything that would later cause you to look back on your own actions with embarrassment. After all, I NEVER do anything like that. I'm that one woman you dream of being who has every little detail under control, whose child never misses a step, and whose husband always finishes each and every item on his honey-do list a day before it's due date. 'cause honey-do lists have due dates, dont'cha know.

Anyway, in my great perfection, here are some of the things I did NOT do this week:

  • I did Not start my week by walking up to a woman at Green Lake (in Seattle) and thanking her for nursing her toddler in public. Although this is certainly a thing a "lactivist" like myself would do, it could embarrass the poor woman and I'm thoughtful enough to wait until she's finished feeding her child
  • The following morning, upon arriving at the airport, clearing security, and arriving at my gate to see that BOARDING HAD ALREAY BEGUN, my control-needy self did NOT throw the worlds largest adult temper-tantrum. I know as well as the next person that the plane will not leave without me. In my haste, I did NOT squirt half of my son's (hugely necessary) dose of benadryl across the room as he dodged the syringe. I have better aim, and I'm far too patient to do something like, say, pin my son to the floor in an airport.
  • After arriving in Denver, I did NOT allow my toddler to toddle sans socks or shoes. I also did not get reprimanded by airport security because apparently "there are chemicles on the floor that are not safe for babies". Chemicals, Schmemciles.
  • Since we've been home I have NOT had a short temper for the simple reason that my toddler's reality (which, as you may have guessed, has been rapidly changing between Seattle and Lincoln, traveling, and time changes, and the complete inability to take a good nap) makes him grumpy. I have been patient and loving towards him. I have given him ALL my time and affection, knowing that anything I have to do can wait. I'm a good mother after all.
  • I did NOT break a cardinal rule of naping yesterday after church, by allowing my very sleepy child to take a "cat nap" at 10:45am until 11:15 am hoping upon hope that he would still nap in the afternoon. True to form, he did not, but in response to that, I did NOT allow him to talk, and play, and cry, and SCREAM for the better part of two hours. Of course, I did NOT do this. And the reason I did NOT do this would certainly have nothing to do with the fact that we were going to a housewarming party for a couple of friends and I wanted to tote along a cheerful child. That's truly selfish.
  • Once we returned home, and I saw all the BEAUTIFUL finidh work my husband had done on our basement, I did NOT go right ahead and start making a mental list of NEW things I wanted him to accomplish. No, like a good wife, I allowed him to bask in the feeling of accomplishment he was deserving of. I was grateful to him, and I let him have "everything checked off his list" for once.
  • And finally, when my little one woke up SCREAMING last night (three times between 11:45 & 1:00), and after two totally unsuccessful visits to his room, I did NOT take the child who thinks an adult bed is a play toy, into the guest room to sleep with me. I know full well what this leads to, and it ISN'T sleep. One hour later I was not STILL trying to calm down a now playful toddler. Arg.
I bet you aren't embarrassed about anything you did over the last week, but if you were, what might it be?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

There's no place like home

And by that I mean both Seattle and Lincoln. They are both home to me, after all.

Home (seattle) was wonderful. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn about myself and my babe each time we take a trip. Traveling forces me to live outside my comfort zone, to do things that I normally wouldn't, to be bend-over-backwards flexible with routines, and traditions, and to go with the mighty flow. and what a flow it was.

We saw parents, grandparents, and great grand parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We visited not one, but two childrens' museums. We frequented kid-friendly coffee shops, fed many many ducks and chickens, and found water to splash in anywhere we could. We went swimming at greenlake, swimming at home, and swimming in the bath tub. We saw all the animals at the zoo, and even a few outside of it. We walked, and talked, and ate and ate. And ate.

We had two nap days, and one nap days. We NEVER got up in the middle of the night. Not once. Neither of us! We learned what a "pretty" was. We said and heard the words "no touching" no less than a thousand and one times. We experienced 90+ degree days in a home without AC. We said so-long to the sleep-sack in favor of normal toddler pajamas. We learned how to effortlessly climb stairs (but not how to back down them), how to get in and out of toy cars, how to step over tall thresholds, and how to back up and sit down in a small chair.

Indeed, we did MANY things. We grew and matured by leaps and bounds, and we were oh-so-very well taken care of. Levi's hair grew no less than an inch, and he no less than half of one. Our flight back was not so easy as our flight there, but it was nice to have a baby on pacific time who would gladly sleep in the following morning.

Out of shear laziness I have posted all applicable photos on facebook instead of uploading them here (which, as you may know, takes WAY TOO LONG), so go there to enjoy them. All in all, we are very glad to be back home (Lincoln) in our own comfort zone.

I feel like I'm forgetting to say SO MANY things, but that is likely because I haven't blogged in so very long. In time, all the "ah-hah" moments I had will come to me, and I'll be able to share them. Now, however, I have bills to pay. Bills which arrived whilste I was away. Bills which I need to pay out of an account at a bank which is in the process of changing hands. Cannot yout hear in my tone of type that I am insenced with this bank-changing-hands crap? Buuuuuuuut that's a story for another day. Cheers!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A vacation from my vacation

as in, I think I may need one - once I return home

Levi and I have been here in Seattle nearly two weeks now. We flew out of Omaha way back on Tuesday, August 10th, and we'll fly out of Sea-Tac on Tuesday August 24th (benedryl in hand).

Now, please don't misunderstand me. We are both having a fabulous time, I assure you. We are enjoying every moment of family fun, soaking up the pacific northwest breeze, basking in the love of all our doting parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, and being so very well taken care of - but there's still something to be said for being away from "home". Away from "normal". Away from mommy's organized, anxiety reducing, calm baby producing, rhythm and routine.

Yes, Levi has been a little handful lately. He'll be cute and cuddly as can be one moment, and then he'll have a total melt down the next. Today, on a rather lengthy car ride, I actually sat in the back seat with him (incorrectly assuming this would solve his woes) only to have him scream in my face all the way back home. I think his crankiness could well have to do with the lack of routine he's experiencing here, mingled with this whole I-want-to-drop-my-first-nap-but-sometimes-I-still-need-it thing. Tonight was the cou-de-gras of crankiness. I just about lost it with him.

Then I found a piece of chocolate. and I dove back in to finish off the evening.

Despite the wonderful time we're having, the irritability of my son, coupled with how much I miss my spouse, are really making me yearn for home. For a morning where daddy can get Levi out of his crib and I can just lay there for a brief moment. For an evening of making dinner and knowing that my son can play unattended in the next room because there isn't anything in there he can't touch
[very well meaning grandparents and great grandparents have LOTS of things that are off limits to toddlers. ALL of these things are virtual toddler magnets, and no matter how many brightly colored NEW toys you may have, "pretty's" (decorative items) will STILL be highly magnetic. in brief, "keep your lame toys mama, I'm after that candle/vase/china cabinet/bottle of rum/wine/candy dish/un-attached glass table top/coffeetable book...]
yes, I'm yearning for home. And even, gasp, for Nebraska.

When we first moved to NE I really yearned for Seattle - where the rest of my crunchy green friends lived. But now the tables have turned, and all the wrong I used to see in NE, I now see in WA. I guess my step-dad was right when he said "the longer you live there, the more you'll want to live there" We are quite settled, and it is very much home. and I'll write more about that later, but my brain is poorly mixed pancake batter and I think some sleep would bring some cohisiveness to the bowl.

There. How's that for a word picture?
If actual pictures are what you're after you'll have to head over to facebook - I'm posting them right now.

Oh, and Rachael, I'm SO ready for date nights. BRING-'EM

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lessons learned...

...while flying with a 14-month-old
  • If you ask nicely, the airline folks will seat you at the front of the plane so you can get off faster, and they will also give you a seat without neighbors
  • the waiting time in the airport, and before the plane takes off are FAR harder than the time actually spent in the air
  • toddlers make friends with almost anyone, and most anyone will "play" with a baby contentedly - READ: no need to shuffle him away from strangers who only want to dote
  • *new* toys (never before seen by said toddler) are a LIFESAVER
  • battery operated toothbrushes are amazing teething toys
  • you don't have to hide if/whenyou give your kid benedryl - every mother within 10 feet has done the same thing at one time or another
  • Don't show a toddler that the window shade goes up and down, unless you desire for him to be fascinated with it
  • Ditto with the arm rest
  • Know that Benadryl takes 30 minutes to kick in. Time that with the plane's actual departure and subsequent nursing/feeding of said toddler. out-like-a-light
  • Expect that although you may have been able to keep said toddler totally asleep while strapping him into your Becco, he will wake up, and stay awake, for the duration of any layover you may have.
  • When space is tight (flight two) expect that a toddler who is in the 97th percentile for length will have his little feet laying on (and in our case, kneading like a cat) the lap of the person next to you. Pray you get a neighbor like we did.
  • If said toddler still nurses, FOR PETE SAKE don't let him nurse (at a precariously squashed angle) the entirety of both flights. You'll know why in the morning.
  • "no-spill" sippy cups are NOT no-spill under cabin pressure.
  • ALWAYS get a window seat - unless you want said sleeping toddler to have his cute little toes hit by the drink cart. Note: NOT an experience we had. Just an observation.
  • Do not expect that a toddler who may have slept on two flights to sleep AT ALL on the 45 minute drive home from the airport. On the contrary, expect him to have quite a bit of trouble settling down and going back to sleep.
  • drinking water = having to get out of seat = waking toddler. no water = no bathroom trip
  • Let the drink cart pass you by. There isn't enough room to put the tray table down anyway.
  • DO NOT bring a carry on. bring only what will fit under the seat in front of you. You know you aren't going to get up mid-flight and get into that carry-on anyway. Heck, you aren't even going to get into the back-pack you brought. less is more.
  • Have I mentioned the benedryl yet? Have I spelled it enough different ways. Probably
Likely more to come as I continue to process what was a much easier trip than I had anticipated. I'm glad it was at night (although I was rediculously tired) We'll see how the return trip goes --> leaving at 6:00am from Sea Tac.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

and the countdown begins

in 8 hours Jonathan will drive his family to the airport, to leave on a plane without him - and while I feel badly that he'll be here all alone, I don't think he envy's my position of being plane-side with our intensely curious toddler.

We're packed, armed with all kinds of never-seen-before toys, loaded with every thinkable snack, and ready to begin our journey. I'm a virtual ball of nerves meanwhile, but I should have expected that. Levi agreed to an AM snooze, and I'm more than happy for a little time to myself, but with everything done for our departure, I'm having trouble finding anything to do!

In a moment of shear genious last night (and after much fruitless searching at wal-mart and target) I finally hacked up one of our bed pillows and fashioned a travel pillow for Levi and I. My intention is to be the LAST ticket on the plane, and I don't want to have to fight for a pillow, or any overhead bin space, so we're just taking a small backpack and our own pillow. I'll rest easier knowing there's no reason I need to be on that plane right away. I would post a picture of said pillow (which includes a zipped pocket for his blankie too!) but alas, my camera and newly emptied SD card are packed. That SD card has been full for a week, which is my only excuse for the lack of posted pictures.

I'm sure Levi's grandparents will be pleasantly surprised at the many leaps and bounds of development he's made even since his first birthday. I'm hearing new "words" come out of his mouth every day. His newest is "uh-oh" - which, at first, came out "uh-uh", but he has since figured out the last syllable. He's also saying mama, dada, please (peeze), baby, hat, and a couple others I can't seem to remember. If' he's in the mood for it, he'll also point to his nose, ears, tongue, belly and toes. On occasion he can also find his eyes, but that takes a little doing. In addition to verbal words, he (if he's in the mood) will sign please, mama, cup, more, dog, sleepy, book and milk. We're currently working on "help me" but that one is two handed, and a little complicated.

He knows what "time to change your diaper" means (although, it sends him running from me), and he also responds to "time to eat" by grabbing the high-chair tray. I'm sure he really understands a LOT more of the common phrases I use but sometimes it's hard to tell unless he has a common/repeated response to what I say. For example, if we're in my room together (where he cannot be left unattended lest he empty ALL of our drawers and pull every reachable item in the closet off of it's hangar) and it's time to leave I will say "out, out, out please" and usually he'll head for the door, but not always.

Levi is becoming quite toddlerish in his young age - he and his pal Teague are constantly taking toys from one another and squaking when they feel they've been wronged by the other. It's nothing short of hilarious. Meanwhile, Teague's mommy and I watch and try our best to allow them to duke it out without our assistance. Levi also tests his boundaries on a daily basis. While there are few things that are "no-no's" in our home, he knows what they are. When he begins to get tired, or he's longing for attention he'll go from no-no to no-no, waiting for mom and dad to respond. It's yet another one of his tired signals.

So, if you're on the West coast I hope you get a chance to see him for yourself. If I look frazled and harried, there's a good chance I'm still catching up on sleep. After all, I woke up with my adoring son at 4:00am Pacific time this morning, and we'll arrive in Seattle tonighat at 11:15 pacific time. I count it as likely that Levi will wake with the (central time) sun again tomorrow which will mean another 4:00am awakening for me. Here's hoping it won't take him too terribly long to adjust!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Making Hay

...while the sun shines.
Or, to be more precise, while the toddler naps. Which he should be doing. After all, he only slept 9 hours last night. Hubby left at 2:30am, baby woke at 5:30am. After taking 30 minutes to decide to have a happy attitude, mommy rolled out of bed at 6:00am.

Coffee. Ahem.
ok, now I think we're ready for a day.

Tomorrow the tot and I will leave for Seattle. I love Seattle. After all, I spent 18 years there. What I don't love are flights. What I really don't love are flights with toddlers - especially the kind that have to stay in my lap.

Remember your last flight? I mean, your last pre-child flight (if you do indeed have kiddos). Do you remember holding your breath as the woman with the babbling and/or whining 18 month old passed you by? I do. I remember being 28 weeks pregnant and flying home for my baby shower. I heard a toddler squaking behind me and said to myself "praise Jesus that isn't my child" along with the seemingly obligatory why can't she keep control of her own kid?" Well, this time I AM that woman, and LORD help me.

I'm not sure how intelligent this was, but I booked an evening flight. We'll arrive in Seattle around 11:15pm Pacific time. Our entire flying time will be during the time Levi is usually asleep. This could potentially backfire and leave me stranded on an airplane with an over-tired, over-stimulated toddler, but I guess I'm willing to take that risk considering there's also a chance he could sleep the entire way. Yes, he will have "help" in that department. (ahem, benedryll, ahem).

So, off I go to pack finish getting ready for our departure. If, friend, you are in Seattle, please let me know so I can connect with you - toddler in tow. He is awfull cute, and it would be a shame for you not to see him :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thinking ahead

I do WAY too much of that, by the way, but in following with that trend...

I've been thinking ahead to our return home from Seattle. For a couple of months now I've been thinking (well, deciding really) about getting Levi out of the habit of nursing to sleep. You see, he really only nurses 4-6 times a day now (wake up, down for 2 naps, down for bed and occasionally a couple in between if he has a rough fall, or we go someplace where lots of other babies are nursing) but it's becoming a bit problematic that he won't go to sleep without doing so.

In the beginning this was my LIFE SAVER. If he hadn't nursed to sleep I'm afraid he never would have slept - and I'm not exaggerating. But now, well, now he's 14 months old, and (as I sit here and listen to him talk through his first nap instead of sleep) I'd really like it if someone else could potentially be able to successfully put him to bed. Add that to the fact that 75% of the time he doesn't really fall asleep at the breast anymore (see previous parenthetical statement) and I'm ready to change up our routine.

Jonathan and I talked about it last night. Usually at night we do bath time, PJ's and then daddy reads stories with Levi for a good 20 minutes or so (I say a brief hallelujah for 20 straight minutes during which I can clean the kitchen from dinner) then he calls me in and we nurse to sleep. Well, I think we'll just flip flop things a little. bath & PJ's, then nursing, then story time with daddy. I'm sure he'll give us heck in a handbasket for the first week or two, but I simply think it's time for him to develop his own ability to calm down & drift off. Without sucking on me.

Now here's where I get confused. You see, during the day (and I'll preface this by reminding you that he's currently trying to drop nap number one; a process I always imagined being much more black and white than very very grey and muddled) I begin our nap routine (like our bedtime routine sans daddy and bath) when he starts fussing. When he starts hanging on my right leg. When he goes around the house doing all the things he knows he's not supposed to do. This used to work well. These were his tired signs. Now, though, I'm following the same signals but getting different results. He acts quite tired, he even yawns and rubs his eyes, and yet he'll stay awake for over an hour, talking and fussing in his crib. Some days, I swear he MAKES himself overtired by refusing to nap.

Whatever happened to "babies will sleep when they need to sleep"?

I mean, it seems logical to me. If he's so tired, why doesn't he doze right off. I sure would! I fully realize he thinks he's missing out on fun with mommy, but if he only knew that mommy is doing laundry, cleaning counters, and washing diapers while he's in his crib, maybe he wouldn't be so frustrated to be missing out on it all.

Add to that the simple fact that the less Levi sleeps, the less Levi will sleep. Does that make sense? The more overtired he is, the less likely he is to take a gooooood loooooong nap - or, for that matter, sleep through the following night and awake rested. It's a perpetual cycle that I'm SICK OF.

So, sage advice? I'm all ears.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

call me a Brine-o

I've always been non-plussed by roast turkey. Thanksgiving meals had me headed straight for the stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce - but this past Thanksgiving was different. With a nursing, dairy intolerant 7 month old, I couldn't have the grand majority of traditional Thanksgiving offerings (read: anything but cranberries and turkey were off-limits). Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise.

This past year we were invited to our neighbors home where they were serving a brined bird. Brined? doesn't that mean it sat in a salt bath overnight. Well, yes. Yes it does. Any recipe that takes longer than an hour to prepare is typically WAY too involved for me, so I have always shied away from brines, but that turkey (oh man, that turkey) was SO good, I had to give the recipe a try for myself.

And I did so. With EXCELLENT results. A week after Thanksgiving I snagged a small turkey breast for pennies on the dollar, and just this past week I did the same thing using an ad match from another grocer. The resulting meal was unbelievably moist and flavorful. Without further adieu, here is the recipe I adapted from an original by Emeril


one 5-7lb turkey breast, thawed
2/3C salt
1/2C brown sugar
1 large orange, cut into wedges
1-2 lemons, cut into wedges
1TBS dried rosemary
1TBS dried thyme
water to cover
a bit of oil or butter
salt (for seasoning)
6 peeled and chunked carrots
1 peeled and chunked onion
4 chunked potatoes
1TBS chopped garlic
1C chicken broth (for basting)

Make brine. Combine salt, sugar, rosemary, thyme and citrus with a few cups of water in a large stock pot. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Rinse turkey breast, inside and out. Pat dry. place into stockpot with brine solution. Add water to cover the turkey breast and swish the turkey/brine a bit to get all the new water mixed in. Cover and let sit in the 'fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 325. Remove turkey from brine. Rinse and pat dry. coat with a bit of oil or butter, and sprinkle with salt inside and out. Stuff with a few of the chopped vegetables and place BREAST SIDE DOWN in a roasting pan. Add remaining chopped vegetables around the turkey breast in the pan. Cook, uncovered, for ONE HOUR. remove from oven, turn breast side up, and baste with chicken broth. Continue cooking until thermometer reads 160 (or until that little automatic thermometer thingie pops up)

Mine cooked for a total of 2.5 hours, and it was a 6 pound breast.
Let sit at least 20 minutes before carving.

Welcome back to my life, roast turkey friend, I never knew you could be so moist!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Simple Math

What do you get when you combine one squirrely toddler with one helping of this:

Why, This of course:

Monday, August 2, 2010

NOT ME Monday


... yes. Here we goooooooooooooo

Levi's naps have been - shall we say - different recently. As such, he has been unusually fussy. In the later part of last week, when I'd had just about enough of the sleepless whining I did NOT tell my 14 month old to "shut-up". Who says that to their child? Not me.

I did NOT put the same handful of avocado chunks on my son's highchair tray 4 meals in a row trying to get him to eat ONE SOLITARY PIECE of his (formerly) favorite food. Seriously. Just give the kid what he wants. He knows if he waits long enough you'll show up with the good stuff. Give IN already.

I did NOT pretend to eat Levi's oatmeal for breakfast just so he would want some.

I did NOT throw the diapers in the dryer - twice - because I was too lazy to hang them on the line.

I did NOT leave at least one refrigeratable item out on the kitchen counter overnight each day this week. I clean MY kitchen every night. You should know that.

I did NOT purchase any of the following convenience foods at the grocery store this past week; items I PROMISED myself I would never buy: rice-a-roni, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks. Not me.

I did not audibly groan this morning when my son awoke (at 5am) to the sound of my husband rolling over in bed. I know our bed makes a small creak from time to time, but SERIOUSLY? he can HEAR that? With his white noise machine MAXED OUT? Sometimes I think he has a stethoscope in there, and he's got it up to the wall listening to us in the next room. I did NOT also mutter "you've gotta be kidding me".

I did NOT squeal like a baby when the dentist took off my temporary crown last Tuesday, and placed a cold-cement-filled porcelain crown on top of my VERY sensitive filed-down molar. It did NOT take every morsel of courage I had to remain seated. I may or may not have also cried.

I did NOT actually look forward to my annual exam (you know, THAT annual exam) simply because it was an excuse to visit with my midwife. Whom I love. And not JUST because she delivered my son. I did NOT also arrive at said appointment with a brag-book of photos to show her.

Not me. I didn't do any of those things.