Friday, April 30, 2010

Well, crap

We have a sneaking suspicion that there is a green, flashing toothbrush in our toilet. Despite hubby's best efforts with a plunger, coat hanger and nifty toilet snake, the toothbrush is holding on for dear life. We may be removing a toilet/buying a new one this weekend. We kind of have to get it taken care of before Sunday afternoon, since Ry is leaving for San Diego for a week. Sigh.

It's so peaceful

I never knew how peaceful mealtime with a baby could be. We've been giving F soft things that he can eat himself. If it's something that needs to be spoon fed (like applesauce), we give him a pre-loaded spoon and let him have at it. T always wanted to feed himself anyway, so we figured we'd just let F do that. The results have been adorable ... and peaceful. We sit down to dinner, we give F food, he eats (or doesn't), and then we clean him up.Applesauce with a pre-loaded spoon.


Bagel -- he totally loved the bagel. Wonder where he got that from?


Cucumber and zucchini.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chipping Away

I am ever so slowly accomplishing my list for nursing school in September. Thus far I have taken my CPR class, gotten my health screen and physical, gotten scrubs, a stethoscope and a watch and am working through my online class. When I went to get my health screen, the hospital wouldn't give me my tuberculosis test or the hepatitis B vaccine because I was nursing. I looked into both and didn't think there were any counter-indications for either. The nurse kind of rolled her eyes and said "there's no reason you can't have them ... it's just the hospital policy." Hooray bureaucracy! I finally got my note from the midwives and now have to schedule another appointment.

On the other hand, my physical today was super smooth. Carle sent over my immunization records, as requested. The doctor I was scheduled with had another appointment, so I saw the nurse practitioner instead. She was warm and funny and it felt like I was having coffee with a friend more than getting a physical. She was also efficient, organized and everything that is right about nursing.

Now I just have to keep all my various records and paperwork together to submit in June. Why isn't this all electronic now?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#13 - Sustainable Farming

I read the Omnivore's Dilemma not too long ago, and finally got around to watching Food, Inc. last week (streaming Netflix on the Wii rocks!). Both are about agribusiness and our food production process. I highly recommend both. They'll make you think, if nothing else.

As a result, I am making an effort to buy as much of our family's food at farmer's markets and local farms stands as possible. I buy organic when it's available and not outrageously priced. Caring for two small humans really changes the way you shop. Living on one income also really changes the way you shop. While we just can't afford to make everything we purchase organic, free-range or sustainable, we are trying to do our part in voting for better business with our food dollars.

All that being said, I loaded up the boys last week and visited Cherry Grove Farm. It's a little working farm with a darling farm store. The man who sold us our grass-fed beef, cheese, chocolate bars and free-range eggs popped in from the creamery next door where he was making brie. It wasn't fancy or commercial, but T loved the baby cows and tractors and I loved knowing that the food we purchased there wasn't brimming with antibiotics, hormones or nasty lil microbes. Our pound of ground beef, sweet italian sausages, dozen eggs, 2 pounds of cheese and chocolate bar cost us nearly $50. It's not a food choice we can make every week, but we can swing once a month.

It was also cool to see how farming probably used to be. The cows and lambs at Cherry Grove are driven from grass field to grass field, where they trim, fertilize and aerate the land. The pigs get the whey from the milk cows and the chickens eat the bugs living in the pastures. It's a cool little ecosystem where there is no manure pond, no dark, closed-in chicken house or cows standing in mud pits. You can't even smell the farm coming. Neato.

Sustainable Farming: AWESOME!!

Unintended consequences

Since we started giving F table food a few weeks ago, he has been steadily getting more and more into his belly. Yesterday he ate about 1/3 of a kiwi. In general, I'm pleased as punch with the whole baby-led weaning business. It makes F happy to feed himself, it makes me happy to not try and shovel food into him with a spoon while contending with a hungry 3 year old, and it makes both of us happy to let him explore food and eat at his own pace.The fact that he's eating more solid food means that he's drinking less milk. Of course, I knew that would happen. I'm nursing him less often during the day and he's nursing for less time. Because he's not starving when it's time to nurse, however, he's taken to biting me. Hard. And then jerking his head away. Then I sternly tell him "no" and that's the end of that particular session. Of course, he smiles up at me like butter wouldn't melt.

I guess I should just be grateful he doesn't have any teeth.


Monday, April 26, 2010

#12 - Conversations with Preschoolers

One of my favorite things about parenting a young child are the conversations we have everyday. It just never gets old. Here are a few glimpses into our recent life:

Me: What are you doing babe?
T: I'm trying to take my head off.
Me: Why?
T: Because I don't need it anymore.
Me: You don't need it anymore?
T: No, I'm finished with it.
. . .
Me: Can you please take the alligator off your brother's face now?
. . .
Me: Do you think F likes it when you put your feet in his face?
T: No.
Me: Would you like it if someone put their feet in your face?
T: No.
Me: So what do you think you should do?
T: Sorry F.
Me: How about you take your feet out of his face too?
. . .
Me: So, T told me today that he was going to take his head off because he didn't need it anymore.
Ry: Really?
T: Yeah, I'm done with it! I don't want to smell anything any more.
Ry: But you also can't eat or talk or hear or breathe without your head!
T: Yeah, but I don't want it anymore.

Conversations with Preschoolers: AWESOME!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meander for Babies

Today a friend and I walked in our local March of Dimes - March for Babies. I raised over $300 dollars, thanks to my wonderful family and friends. Thanks, wonderful family and friends!

The day dawned rainy and cool. While I decided to leave F at home, I never considered not walking. I picked up my friend bright and early at 8:30 and we left for the March. The beginning of the event was at a local ice rink. We got there, got parked, and got registered. Then we waited for the beginning of the walk. Around 9, we glanced onto the rink and saw a herd of people ever so slowly meandering around in circles. Confused, we rushed into the rink and joined the herd. I had to stifle my urge to mooo. After one loop, I stopped one of the event's organizers and asked her what was going on. She told us that they were holding the walk inside.

Really? Do you have any idea how long it would take to go 5 miles at .5 miles per hour? (Right, I know, 10 hours you smart asses.) We decided to brave the weather and make our own march. As it turns out, about a quarter of the participants had the same idea. We had a lovely walk. The weather was cool and misty, but not unpleasant and we got to talk about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

We finished our tour in about an hour and forty minutes and stopped back at the ice rink to collect our T-shirts. All-in-all, it was a lovely day, a silly event, and a great cause.

Honestly, what have Americans come to when we can't take a walk in the rain for a good cause? My friend, who is a British expat said that she's always amazed by how little time Americans spend outside. It's always too hot, too cold, too windy, too still, too humid, too dry or too sunny. She said it was a great day. It reminded her of England. So there. I took a walk in England this morning.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#11 - Summer Food

Perhaps my favorite part about summer is summer food. Watermelon, corn on the cob, anything grilled, fresh tomatoes. There is nothing like the food of summer. I realize it's not technically summer yet, but the weather had been warm, the grill has been hot and I've been buying produce like it's going out of style.

This strawberry salad is my new favorite. It has romaine lettuce, strawberries, blackberries (or raspberries, whatever's cheaper), feta cheese crumbles, pistachios and Ken's raspberry walnut salad dressing. Yummy.

Summer Food: AWESOME!

Monday, April 19, 2010

#10 - Sloshing Preschoolers

Today after T woke up from his nap he was extraordinarily thirsty. He got his milk from lunch out of the fridge and finished it. Then he drank a glass of juice. We sat on the couch together while he nibbled a snack. When he got up, he stopped and looked back at me. Then he did a funny little side-to-side wiggle and I realized he was sloshing. Like a bucket of water. I have never actually heard a human being slosh, but believe me when I say that it was the funniest damn thing I've heard in a long time. He spent the next 20 minutes running around, giggling and sloshing.

Sloshing Preschoolers: AWESOME!

Online course fees. Seriously?

Today I logged into my college's registration portal to double check on the tuition for fall semester. To my surprise, I found I had been re-billed for my summer tuition. I called the bursar's office and found that the re-bill was a mistake caused when they added a $40 "online course" fee. Seriously?

I don't know what experience you all have had with online courses, but the two I've taken so far could have been correspondence courses. Read a few chapters, take an exam. Repeat. The online portion of the course has been practically nonexistent aside from taking the exams. What's the extra $40 for? We aren't using class space. The professor's contribution has been minimal (I'd love to "teach" some online classes. Where can I sign up?). I understand someone has to maintain the online portal, but believe me when I tell you that blackboard could do just as good a job. $40 x 25 students per class = $1000. Seriously?

Online courses: one more way for universities to get in your pocket.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mmmm. Banana.

Just. Like. Daddy.

Until this year, Ry always mowed the lawn when T was napping. It was just easier to do while he was out of the way. Since T moved downstairs, Ry is afraid that the mower right outside his window will wake him up. For the first time, Ry mowed the lawn while T was up and around. What happened next is in the Top 10 all time cutest T moments. He wanted to mow.Just.



Thursday, April 15, 2010

#9 - Dinosaur Sandwiches

It's amazing what you can get a 3 year old to eat if it's shaped like a dino. I generally have a hard time getting T to finish a half of a sandwich these days. Enter dino-shaped bread cutter and viola! He'll eat 3 half sandwiches.Dinosaur Sandwiches: AWESOME!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#8 - The day your Dad beat cancer

It's been a long year for my Dad. He was diagnosed with metastatic renal cell cancer about 14 months ago. In the past year, he's been through surgery to remove a kidney and 6 hospital stays for interleukon cancer treatment. Through it all he has remained upbeat, positive and prayerful.

Yesterday he found out that his last scan showed no evidence of remaining cancer. His oncologist called it a "complete response." This means that while he won't call it a cure (yet), they have looked and can't find any cancer. Aside from scans every couple of months, my Dad gets to resume his regularly scheduled life.

We all breathed a sigh of relief and joined in joyful celebration last night. I love you Dad, and I'm glad you showed that cancer what's what. God is good, and we're all awfully glad he's letting us have you for a long long time.

The day your Dad beat cancer: AWESOME!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

#7 - Dandelion Bouquets

There's nothing sweeter in this world than having your son treat you to a Dandelion Bouquet. You go on a walk around the neighborhood and he determinedly plucks every dandelion he can spot. It doesn't matter that they end up sweaty and crushed, it's still the sweetest present you could get.

Dandelion Bouquets: AWESOME!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

#6 - Random Genetic Quirks

We've all got them. I, for example, can crack most of the vertebra in my back simply by twisting at the waist. I also have strangely tough feet. I walk around barefoot as soon as it's not freezing outside anymore. Ry makes fun of me for not really needing shoes come summertime. Of course, he's got delicate flower feet. He barely walks in the basement without shoes, let alone outside. I'd be a great firewalker. Or a hobbit. I'm also a sun sneezer, a trait which both boys have inherited. Ry thought I was a little crazy when I told him that the sun makes me sneeze, but I'm not! It's called Photic Sneeze Reflex and about a quarter of the population has it.
You know how people can roll their tongue? Ry can make shapes with his. It's sort of creepy.
It also appears that we are raising little carbon copies of our fathers. In fact, had T not inherited Ry's skin pigmentation birthmarks, I might think that I was, in fact, raising my Dad and my life was some bizarro episode of the Twilight Zone. T also has unusually sweaty feet, which leads to unusually smelly sandals in the summer. Lucky for him, he seems to have inherited my hobbit feet. Sadly, he also inherited my lack of hair and to this day (at 3 years old) has never had a haircut.
F shares only one of the birthmarks his brother and father have. He also shares the ability for the perfect pinch with his father. You know the one I mean. It's the pinch that gets just the right amount of skin to both hurt like crazy and leave a bruise. F also has really smelly ears. When we first noticed it I actually took him to the doctor, thinking he had an ear infection. Nope, just stinky earwax. I fastidiously clean his ears at every bath to no avail. The smell comes directly from his ear canal, and is usually worse for about 24 hours after a bath.

Random Genetic Quirks: AWESOME!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Standoff

T is a stubborn, challenging little man right now. He often needs to be reminded that he's not in charge, that he gets a lot more flies with honey than whining and that his life would be much easier if he just listened to his parents.

At Mount Vernon Friday, we had several such lessons. The walk from the wharf back up to the mansion is about 1/2 of a mile at a 15% grade. I had 18 pounds of F strapped to my front and was pushing the stroller. It was in the mid-80s. T walked a few minutes up the hill and then decided that he was going to get in the stroller. Um, not so much.
I wasn't trying to be mean. I just wasn't carting 35 pounds of high-energy preschooler in addition to F and stroller. T is one of those kids who wants to walk everywhere ... unless it's not fun. And so I asked him to get out of the stroller and walk.
"No!" he said. "Ok T," I said, "then we'll just stay here until you're ready to get out and walk." "Fine!" he said. And so we did. About 5 minutes passed while I read the brochure, checked my phone, and chatted with F. "Mommy, I want to go see something else!" "So would I! As soon as you get out of the stroller and walk, we can go do that." "No!" And so we waited. Every once in a while we had the same conversation. I got nothing but time kiddo.

Finally, after about 15 minutes he decided to get out of the stroller and walk. Wouldn't you know it, he didn't get back into the stroller until we left the estate. Sorry kid, I'm still (a little) more stubborn that you.

Washington. Boat. Science

The boys and I spent our last day in DC at Mount Vernon, George Washington's home and farm. The estate is only about 20 minutes away from where we were staying. While we didn't actually make it inside the mansion, we wandered most of the rest of the estate, and T had a great time.

T helped to make a fishing net. He was tickled to work with the lady in the costume.

We also took a 40 minute boat ride on the Potomac. While T had a great time, by far his favorite part of the experience was getting to have a smoothie on the dining level.

And enjoying the "bubbles" on the back of the boat.

On Friday, Ry's meetings were over, so the whole family headed to the Maryland Science Center. The center was everything you could ask for from a kid's museum. Everything was really hands on and it felt like the kids were actually learning something.

As always, anything with water and construction is a big hit for T. He and Ry spent a good 20 minutes making a water cannon out of the PVC piping.

And here he is, in the Inner Harbor. At this point he was several hours past his nap and he was a kiddo on the edge.

Our trip home was uneventful. T and F are really starting to be friends. Sometimes T still scares the poo out of his little brother, but more and more he entertains him and makes him laugh. I look forward to that time when they will play together.

Overall, the trip was a great success. T and I had some power struggles, but we saw lots of fun stuff. I also proved to myself that I could handle both boys in some pretty challenging situations (metro, museum).

#5 - A Really Good Book

You know the Book I mean. It's the one you've been waiting to be released, or maybe you just happened upon it at the bookstore. Either way, it's the Book you can't put down. You stay up late reading it. You ignore your family until it's finished. It's the kind of book that you would read under your covers with a flashlight as a kid, breathlessly turning pages so your parents wouldn't catch you and make you put the book away.

It's probably not an Important Book, likely not even Literature. It does make you love the characters, cry with them, laugh with them, and get angry with then. You turn the last page, sad to see the story end. You blink your eyes, shake your head, and re-emerge to your ordinary life.

A Really Good Book - AWESOME!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

DC: A bipolar tale

Day One: We intended to meet a friend of Melydia's at the National Zoo metro stop around 9:30. Cookie has a 3 year old son, and we figured they would have fun playing together. T was a bit of a chore all morning and so we were running late. Then, I couldn't find the elevator entrance to the metro stop. Once we finally made it into the metro station, the handicapped gate was closed and I couldn't get the stroller through the regular ones. I had to alert the attendant, and we ended up missing the train by about 30 seconds. We had to wait another 15 for the next one. We did finally make it to the Zoo about 30 minutes late.

We hooked up with our new friends and wandered around for a while, where I managed to get this one cute picture of T and his new friend, lilgrovers. Aren't they cute? They got along pretty well and it seemed that our day could be salvaged. That is, until T had a total meltdown about riding the wagon, eating his lunch, getting back in the stroller. You name, he cried about it.

We ended up leaving the Zoo less than 2 hours after we got there. I was hot, cranky and tired by the time we finally got back to the hotel. I'm more than a bit embarrassed by T's behavior and can only hope that Cookie can forgive us.

The day ended pretty well, since both boys took a 3 hour nap and we had dinner with an old friend of mine and Ry's. She lives in the DC area, and the last time I traveled with Ry we got together for dinner as well. We finally got to meet her husband, who was sick the last time we were in town. It was a really nice time. In addition to being a really old friend, I feel as though she would be one of my current friends, if only we lived in the same area. As my dad would say, they definitely pass the beer test.

Day Two: I thought it was going to be a deja vu kind of day, when T and I had a little come to before we left the hotel. It seems the corner time did him some good though, because he was good for the rest of the morning.

We headed off for the metro, intending to spend the day wandering the mall, visiting the museums and generally running off some energy.
Look how happy Little Bit is in the stroller! That lasted about 15 minutes, but hey, it's a start. As he's getting heavier, I'm trying to wean him out of the baby wrap. Carting 18 pounds of baby up hills in 88 degree heat is not my idea of a par-tay. F could care less how I want to par-tay. He wants to be slung. Sigh.

We went to the carousel on the mall. We got the first ride of the day. As many times as I've been to DC, I have never ridden the carousel. T got a big kick out of it, since it gets whipping around pretty good. Here he is telling me that his horse is sad. I'm not sure why.

And here's the cutest ever picture of a baby riding a carousel. Well, he wasn't riding so much as being propped up, but look at that face!

Next we went to the Natural History Museum, where T was disappointed that the dinosaurs were "just skeletons." Here he is counting the skeletons, which is kind of how the day went. He was pretty unimpressed by the exhibits unless they had TV or computer components. We had lunch, chatted with some nice folks who were blown away by the food prices in the cafe (which is why I packed a lunch) and headed off for the Air and Space Museum.

T was really excited by this museum until he realized that he didn't get to actually ride the airplanes. After 45 minutes or so, he was done, Little Bit was tired, and I was ready for the boys to nap. We took the metro (perhaps T's favorite part of our adventures the last 2 days) back to our hotel. Mercifully, the boys are once again taking a good nap and I'm surfing the web.

I think Mount Vernon may be on tap for tomorrow if it doesn't rain. We're planning on the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore on our way home Friday. The score so far? 1-1. Here's hoping for a winning record for DC Adventure.

#4 - Old Friends

Old friends. I'm talking OLD FRIENDS. These are the friends who knew what you looked like before puberty, who performed the complete (abridged) Miss Saigon with you during sleepovers, produced countless hours of fake radio and rocked out at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles concert with you. These are the friends who know how awful those junior high years were, and still like you.

Even when you haven't seen them in years, you can still slip right back into the friendship like the well-worn Garfield nightgown you wore when you were 10.

Old friends: AWESOME!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

#3 - The day your baby finally sleeps through the night

So it's been 5 months since you had a full night of sleep. No big deal, most nights you're only up once or twice (or 5 times). Still, that 30 minute feeding means about 45 minutes of awake time and you just never feel caught up.

And then one night you go to sleep, and sleep and sleep and sleep and at 5:30 am your baby awakens. He slept from 8 pm to 5:30 am. Nevermind the fact that you have rock hard boobs (a great name for a band, BTW). Nevermind the fact that instead of going back to sleep after nursing he pokes you in face for an hour. Nevermind the fact that he only nurses on one side, leaving you with one rock hard boob (great name for a politician). None of that matters, because you just got 7 hours of sleep ... in a row!

The day your baby finally sleeps through the night: AWESOME!

Monday, April 05, 2010

#2 - Poopy diapers that almost explode

If you're a parent, you know the diapers I mean. You hear it the moment it happens and know it's going to be bad. Maybe it's the look on their little faces. Maybe it's the volume or duration. You know, this one is going to be huge.

And so you pick them up as gingerly as possible, being careful to hold them by any part other than the bum. Maybe you stand them up on the changing table and carefully peel away their clothing, all the while, holding your breath that you don't see the telltale yellow stain creeping up their backs.

And then you finally open the diaper and see an enormous poo. It's everywhere, but mercifully contained a mere millimeter from the edge. And then you breathe a sigh of relief. Not only don't you have to try and take clothing off without getting poo all over the blessed place but you know that you're safe from explosions for a least a little while.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

The tiniest Easter bunny

We bought the Winnie the Pooh Easter basket for T for his very first Easter. We've taken pictures with it each Easter. This year, it was F's turn for the basket. Cathy reminded me today of how tiny tiny T was for his first Easter. As you can see, he fit completely inside the basket. I think he was around 6 pounds and less than a month old. He made the cutest little Easter bunny.I suppose you really can't compare, since F is 4 times older than T was ... but it makes for a cute compare and contrast.
Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

We had the best of intentions to go to Easter service this morning, but F decided that 5 was the correct number of times to wake up last night (and the night before). Ry took pity on me and got up with the boys this morning and we didn't quite make it to church. We did, however, have an awesome egg hunt and get some darling pictures of the boys.

Today is also, coincidentally, F's 5 month birthday, so here's his 5 month picture.

Jube's list of Awesome: #1

I've been inspired by this website to make my own list of Awesome Things. Without further ado, here is my 1st awesome thing: my first tulip of the spring!I'm going to try and post one Awesome Thing per day. Don't expect any organization or coherence, they are just going to be whatever strikes me as awesome that day.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

New Jersey Cesarean Rates by Hospital, 2009 - The Unnecesarean -

Sad. The c-section rate in NJ is 40%. The hospital where I gave birth to the boys was 39.1% ... down 2 points from 2007. At least it's trending in the right direction.

New Jersey Cesarean Rates by Hospital, 2009 - The Unnecesarean -
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