Monday, January 30, 2012

He, whom shall not be named

My husband is an amazing man.  He is honest, generous, giving and thoughtful.  I try my best to cook food dinners and breakfast during the week so the whole family can have nutritious yummy meals and so that hubbers doesn't have to worry about cooking when he gets home from work.  This, the whole me cooking aspect, took many years and many failed meals, but I am 'able' to feed my family.  I have no delusions I will ever be on par with my husband or my Aunts Laurie and Eileen.  True chefs they are.

Currently, my husband is the sole worker in the family, and his job requires a lot of traveling.  A lot.  He is away about 45% of the month of February.  This bothered me so much that the kids and I will be joining him on his last trip in February, so we can at least see him at night and breakfast.

When my husband is home, he will do the dishes, fold the laundry, and cook amazing meals for hours on end, especially if he knows he is leaving soon.  He'll also do these sorts of things if I am sick.  Which I am right now, sick that is.

I have a very bad sore throat and a slight fever.  I went to bed last night at 8:30pm, and although Loki woke 6 times, we stayed in bed until 6:00 am, so I think that's good for my body.  Yesterday though, my dear husband got up with Loki at 5:00 am and began making him steel cut oatmeal.  The remainder of the day was filled with cooking.  Omelets, guacamole, homemade pizza, sausage, macaroni and cheese, turkey burgers, grilled portabella mushroom burgers.  You know, the works. 

My dear husband is leaving this Tuesday evening, and will be home Thursday evening.  Even though I am sick, I know I will have plenty to feed my children and myself.

I adore my husband, and I am so thankful for all that he does for his family.  We will miss him.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Potty training and nursing

So, first, I'll start with the good news.  I have deliberately not posting about potty training, well because, you don't really care, and you don't want to know the details.   But at this point, I'm going to give you the details, so deal.  ;)

Suffice to say that it has been a long road. We started when Jeanne was 3 months old, and she had consistently pee'd on the potty (Thank you Elimination Communication books!).  Pooping took longer, but she got that down around 6 months, and was good to go.  She used the potty several times a day and night, and would even remain dry throughout the night at times due to sitting in the potty pre-one year old.  Moving, a nutritional switch to (non organic/ GMO) soy milk switched all that and we had a girl with horrible belly problems for 3 months (poor thing).  Once we figure out it was the GMO soy, we took her off it and she was all better within 2 weeks.

The other set back was a second child.  Everyone told me that she would have a setback, but I was stubborn and didn't believe.  I thought she was pretty much done and had bought panties when she was 20 months old.  Yeah, a very needy, colicky, screaming infant who could not be put down really changed the dynamic in the house and she very seriously had a long, tiring setback. 

Ten months later (that's now), I am very happy to say, that Jeanne has been in panties all day, everyday, in the house, and out and about and has been dry for 3 weeks now.  Of course, now that she is out of cloth diapers and is wearing panties, her pants fit her differently now and she looks so big.  She has an amazing vocabulary, better than some 4 year olds, but has the emotional maturity of an 18 month old.  Eh.  That's my girl.


Loki is 10 months old now.  At his 9 month visit he weighed in the 2th percentile, which was a reduction for him.  The Doctor also, very condescendingly, told me that babies his age should either be sleeping thorough the night or perhaps waking once.  So I tried  to not pick him up every time he cried (which is somewhere between every 3 to 4 hours).  I tried to space out his nursings to only every 4 hours.  I tried to rub his back and shush him back to sleep. 

I did this for 3 weeks. 

Sure, I was able to shush him back to sleep, but it would take a full 15-20 minutes, and he would ALWAYS wake up within 60 minutes of going back to sleep.  ALWAYS.  He would also ALWAYS wake up hubbers when he was home.  Since I was now out of bed and standing up in my cold a$$ room, I would be absolutely wide awake and would have difficulty going back to sleep, but it didn't really matter since Loki would wake up again so soon.  One morning, after another difficult night, hubbers took Loki out of the room at 5am so I could get  little sleep.  He brought Loki into the living room and put him in the playpen which is next to the couch.  Loki was standing in the play pen and every time he fussed, hubbers put a cheerios in his mouth.  He said he did this for almost an hour.  When I got up, hubbers looked at me and said, "I think the kid is just hungry Crystal.  I think he really does need to eat/nurse".

So now, I am back to nursing him, all. night. long.  This makes for a quieter Loki during the night, it allows my husband to sleep longer, and doesn't wake up my daughter.  It also leaves me frustrated and annoyed by the morning.  I feel like a small leech lives in my room.  It doesn't matter if I sit up with him, nurse him then put him back in his crib or if I bring him into bed with me.  Either way he wakes up at the 4th hour, then 3 hours later, then 2 than 1.  It's like he knows all he has to do is SCREAM and I will lift my shirt.  I live in a 3 ROOM apartment.  Allowing the only person who brings money into this apartment to sleep is important.  Allowing my daughter to sleep is important.  Her potential for grumpiness and being loud when tired is high, and I rather she sleep and be well. 

My son, is a needy, weak, fragile little boy and there is just no changing that. 

My husband recently remarked that he is glad we didn't name him Leonidas (it was a favorite of his for a short time).  That would have been hilarious.  Loki, though, fits him perfectly in every way.

This is my life.  I nurse.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The people in my life who make me sane.

 I have the best Mom in the WORLD. Knowing I had a truly horrible day yesterday, she came over with ice cream. Although, I didn't eat any, since I had already finished half a pan of brownies, but there is always tonight. 
THEN, she came over at 6:30 this morning so I could do dishes, laundry and YOGA without having to watch the kids. Breakfast was enjoyed by the whole family by 7:30. Ah.
It goes without saying, that my everyday is made easier by my amazing, supportive husband.  I am a very lucky woman to be so loved.  We miss you babe!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An amazingly bad day.

So I was super amazed that both my kids were great yesterday, considering they woke up at 4am.  We were going to wake them around 5 to take hubbers to the airport, but you know, they woke early (uncomfortable laughter).

But today, today they are both HORRIBLE.  Yes, I said it.  Nasty, cruel, crying, whiny, hitting, screaming children.  UG!
I think Jeanne was put in time out at least 5 times by 7am.  That kind of bad day.

By the afternoon, and a short visit from a friend, I knew I needed to get them out of the house.  I bundled them up (its windy) and took them for a walk.  I expected Loki to be crazy since he decided he wanted to skip his afternoon nap, but Jeanne had other plans.  Jeanne kept pulling Loki's hand (he was in the stroller), stepping on me and pushing the stroller over.  Finally, after the umpteenth correction, she screamed at me and hit me.  Okay.  We're going home.

(cue screaming crying child the whole way home).

Then, its as if she knew what I was thinking (I didn't say it),  she started crying, "I'm not tired, I'm not tired".

Uh huh.  Right, Your taking a nap little lady.

A small cup of vanilla almond milk, and a book and she went out.  No fuss, no muss, no fight.  Same for Loki (although with the almighty boob, not almond milk).

This was at 4:00 pm.
I open a beer and start making chocolate peanut butter brownies.
Oh yes I am.
*ahh*, and the beer was done by the time I finished writing this.

I love you hubbers, I really do.  You are my rock and my strength.   I miss you, and know this is important for your job.

And now I will sit on the kitchen floor, in my quiet house and go through the three bags of clothes brought to me by a friend and with kindness.

And maybe one more beer, you know while I'm waiting for the brownies to cook.

My head aches.

It started last night around 4pm.  I took Tylenol around 5 because it was getting worse.  The kids ate dinner, took their baths and went to sleep easily (THANK YOU).  I spoke to my husband for a bit, made breakfast, put dishes away and got ready for bed.  I read 5 pages in a new book "The Rook" that came highly recommended and had to stop.  My headache came back.  I really wanted a bowl of ice cream before I went to bed, but the sudden pain was too much.  I brushed my teeth, took more Tylenol and went to bed at 9pm.

Thanks in large part to my recent yoga habit I was able to remain calm until the Tylenol began to work.  The sudden migraine was extreme and making me feel nauseous. I focused on breathing in, and breathing out.  I focused on feeling my belly move up and my belly move down.  I counted each breathe.  Wow did my head hurt.  I eventually fell asleep.

Loki woke at 11:30, I nursed him and put him back in his crib.
Loki woke at 2:22, my headache was back, it hurt, but not as bad as before I went to bed.  I nursed Loki and put him back in his crib.  I got two more Tylenol and a large glass of water.
Loki woke at 4:22, I don't know what his deal was with twenty two past and I don't care.  I nursed him and put him back in the crib.
Loki woke at 4:50, I brought him into bed with me and rubbed his belly until he gave up his fight to sit up and he went back to sleep.
Jeanne walked into our room at 5:39, stood next to our bed silently for a moment.  I turned over and invited her into bed. 
"Where is Daddy"? 
"He's away at work Jeanne".
"It's just mommy, Jeanne and baby"?
"Yes, Jeanne, now shush and go back to sleep".

(loudly, or in a normal day volume voice)
"OK, Mommy".

Loki jumps, spins around and starts jumping up and down on me.

I let them both jump and slap me for the next 10 minutes, then we get up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Crafts, parties and SODA!

What have we been up to?

Well, not much really.  We spend some time at home and sometime out with friends.  When we stay home, I try to do some kind of craft with Jeanne.  I don't get to do this everyday, but I'm happy (and she's happier) when we do.

Mixing paint is fun, but painting your own body is much more fun.  Thank you washable paint!

 Here, I put paint inside ziplock bags and taped them to the window and different heights so Jeanne and Loki could squish and mix the paints together without making a mess.  They didn't think it was as cool as I did, but they still played with it a bit. 
Jeanne making faces in the paint.

I needed to find another use for this table, time for BOOKS! This allows Loki to walk around the table and check out the pictures.  Sometimes Jeanne will read to Loki.

While picking up dinner, I got Jeanne a soda, her first.  Root beer, she really enjoyed it, and in classic Jeanne fashion, she barely had a third of her cup and was done. 

We went to a birthday party for a friend. 

BIRTHDAY BOY!   Happy 3rd birthday!

 The kids enjoying their "Blue's Clues" cupcakes.  Jeanne is the youngest of the 'big kids' but she does all right.  There is a 3, a 4, and at least two 5 year olds in this picture.  There were more kids, around enjoying cake, and I was trying not to step on them.  In this I succeed.

While the birthday boy was opening presents, all the kids gathered around him to see all the cool new toys he got.  While they were occupied, they left their cake and ice cream on the floor.
This little bugger is birthday boy's little sister.  She's (I think) around 16 months old.  This beautiful girl, walked over to the cakes, sat down and grabbed a fork, and a bite or two, or three while none of the kids noticed.
When I see this picture, this is what I think she is thinking: 
"Hey lady, don't tell that kid over there alright"?

Ahh, beans.  Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, I ADORE heirloom beans.  I get them from "Rancho Gordo"  These here are called Good Mother Stallard.  They have a beautiful color. Deep purple and maroon with white speckles.
Here they are dry.

Then you soak them in water for about 6 hours.

 6 hours later.  See how much they expand!
Look at their skin, all wrinkled and juicy.  Plump little jewels waiting to be EATEN.
  This particular bean has a thicker skin, and an amazing flavor. 
Not like anything you buy in the grocery store.  
Goya beans are tasteless fiber fillers, these beans are heaven.

Put them in the slow cooker, and cover with 2 inches of water over the beans. 
Cook over night or about 6-8 hours.
Let cool, and separate into 3 bags, and cover with the broth (this helps against freezer burn, and you can use the broth for seasoning and further cooking with).

Then, season or eat plain.  Either way is sure to bring a smile to your face.

And her are some photos of Jeanne and Loki playing with the kitchen.  Loki loves to bang open and shut the doors.  While he does this Jeanne talks to him about doing the dishes and cooking.  
It's usually quite adorable.


And here is when the kitchen first arrived in our home.
May 2010, Jeanne gets her kitchen!   Check out how tall she has grown! 
 Now, she's taller than the 'fridge'!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Loki's 9 month check up.

December 21st was Loki's 9th month.

He is 29" long and weighs 18 pounds 10 ounces.  His weight dropped from the 50th percentile to the 25th, but he is thriving and healthy.  The Doctor and I spent most of the time talking about sleep or lack there of, and she seemed to repeatedly suggest just letting Loki cry and leaving him alone.  Eh.
Perhaps its easy to suggest when it is:
a) not your kid
b) not in your ear
c) you don't fear the screaming to wake your toddler

Yeah, I'm posting this video again.

I love you Loki.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

For Mom.

Yes, this uses the slow cooker, you silly.

This is for a 1.5 - 2 quart slow cooker.   Serves 2
From: The Vegan Slow cooker by Kathy Hester

It is important to keep your slow cooker 1/2-2/3 full.  You can either double the recipe or use a pyrex pan or measuring cup inside a larger slow cooker, filled with water 2/3 up the side or your pan.

Night before put the following into your oiled slow cooker (or pyrex)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of cloves

Set to low for 6-8 hours

In the morning:
Stir and top with brown sugar and pecans if you wish.

This was so amazingly GOOD!  Hubbers, Loki and I loved it, only Jeanne was un-pleased by it.  This is a new staple in our house.

Mom, I also found these recipes that also sound cool:
Lemon Blueberry muffin oatmeal
Banana pudding oatmeal
Maple pear oatmeal
Carrot Cardamon (can't wait to try this one!)

If your not vegan or don't want to buy special milk for these recipes, you can use cow's milk or water.

Post Holiday days: Trains, a walk, and the Museum of Life and Science!

On one of the days Daddy took off, we went to the bounce house.  Here is Loki chilling out with Dad.

Breakfast time can be some of the most stress filed times or most fun filled.  It all depends.  
This was a good day

Jeanne practicing her menacing villain face.  She's really been into superhero's a lot lately (think MegaMind, Despicable Me and The Incredibles).  She loves the 'bad guys'.  Go figure.

Look at this chick and think of Austin Powers....

We dig into our Christmas gifts and pull out the Olivia dress up outfit.  Here is our new little ballerina.

So, we had been in the house for many days now, with either one of the kids having a mild cold or holidays, so I wrap those buggers up and take them out.  It wasn't too cold, just windy, which Loki apparently does not like.  At all.  Not even a little bit.

We spent a lot of time playing with trains or Legos.
How does she do that!?

Hubbers took the whole Christmas week off at home, so when he went back to work the first day, this is how he was greeted as soon as he came home.

Then the obligatory playing with trains while we both sit in your lap.

The Museum of Life and Science, a gift from Eileen, James and Laurie!

The first place we check out is the "North Carolina Wild" room.  
Here they are checking out the snakes.

This one is apparently sleeping.

Loki gets a chance to explore and play in a gated playroom.  Jeanne was very sweet and kept bringing him more toys to play with.

We don our coats and hats again to go play outside.


Make our way to the Butterfly house to warm up and relax.
Loki tickling himself with a plant.

The kids pause just long enough for me to take a picture of them. This, in and of itself is amazing.  
I'm just so curious at what they could both be looking at!  Why not at the CAMERA!
I feel like we see a glimpse of Loki's grown up face in this picture. 
His face looks longer, he looks more serious, less like a baby.

The bug room has a dissecting microscope hooked up to a camera so they can look at live bugs within a petri dish.  Today, she just looks at her fingers.

The play with bug puzzles together.

They both had a really great time, and despite Loki being in the stroller more than I wanted (it was crazy busy that day), he was worn out from all the looking and listening he took a super long nap.  Lucky me, Jeanne did too, without a fuss too.  Thank goodness.

 If you read parenting books or go to sites to look at milestones, you can find such tidbits as, "child can name 4 body parts" or "Begins to bang objects" etc.  I remember reading some where that Jeanne age should be able to stack 4 objects or some such nonsense. 
Here, she stacked all of Loki's blocks, even the half circles.

And I leave you with these videos: