Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fresh Pineapple: Possibly Evil?

Has anyone else ever had this happen before? I was eating dinner at my parents' house tonight, and they served some fresh, delicious pineapple as a side dish. Usually, I don't like pineapple enough to get past the first couple pieces, but this stuff was surprisingly good. I ate a ramekin full of it, and afterwards I started feeling pretty crappy.

"What?!" you say.

Yeah, I had to burp but couldn't, which made my stomach feel kinda queasy. And this feeling continued even after I finally did burp. Even now, hours later, I still don't feel quite right.

Have any of you had this happen to you before? Any idea what's going on here? I can eat grilled pineapple just fine, but fresh, uncooked pineapple is apparently off the menu for me (beyond a few stolen pieces ... though the thought of it is slightly nauseating).

Sleepy Time Routine: Wait, What Just Happened?

This deserves all caps ...

HE CRIED FOR LESS THAN A MINUTE!

Whoa.

Just had to share. Hope you're having a wonderful night!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sleepy Time Routine: Possible Misstep?

I had a possible misstep today on the way to teaching my son good sleep habits. We had some errands to run this morning and he got up a little earlier than usual (9:45 instead of 10:30), so things were a little off-kilter to begin with. But when he hadn't gotten a nap in by about 3:00 in the afternoon, I knew I had trouble on my hands. I decided to put our nighttime routine to the test ... and it backfired. Really, really backfired. He cried longer, harder, and more sorrowfully than he does when he gets his shots at the doctor's office. He cried like I abandoned him, in an alley, without anything to eat, and I killed his puppy (no, he doesn't have a puppy, but if he did and I killed it, this is how he would cry).

Luckily, my husband came home right as this fiasco was ramping up and gave me a much-needed hug. We talked for a bit and tried to just let him cry to sleep, but he got more and more frantic as the seconds ticked by. Finally, my husband went upstairs, found him standing up, and tried to lay him back down. My son freaked out the moment his feet touched the mattress, and soon he was gasping for air between screams and tears.

With my son sobbing beyond control, I decided to abort the nap abruptly and told my hubby he could scoop our baby up. As he did, Little B saw me and wanted nothing to do with Daddy, something he hasn't really done before and surprising since I was the one that left him there in the first place. He finally calmed down, but he wasn't himself for an hour or two after that and I wondered how it would affect our nighttime routine.

Well, we got down to business tonight with a bath (tomorrow we're going to a baby shower so I had to have him smelling delicious for the ladies), and then pajama time. I nursed him and he fell asleep, but I burped him a little more vigorously than usual and he woke up a bit. Still very drowsy, he sat on my lap as I "read" him The Very Hungry Caterpillar from memory. Then ... the moment of truth. I stood up with him and as we blew out the light he started to squirm in my arms and whimper.

Uh oh.

I hugged him close and whispered in his ear that it was bedtime, that I love him SO much, that I have faith in him that he can get himself to sleep, and that I will be right across the hall. Apparently he didn't buy any of that because the instant I set him into his crib he cried ... just like he did during his nap. Again, I reassured him that he was okay, blew him a kiss, gave him Mr. Bear, then left the room. As I slipped out of sight, he went into hysterics, but I decided to give him a minute to try to calm himself down. Five minutes later, I could still hear him sobbing from his nursery, so I went upstairs to help.

As usual, he was standing up chewing on the side of his crib, tears streaming down his face. Without lifting him out of the crib, I laid him back down, gave him Mr. Bear, put my hand on his chest, and told him in my calmest voice* that everything would be okay and that it was time for bed. After laying him down once more, he seemed to be okay enough for me to leave ... so I did.

He only cried for a few more minutes, then he fell asleep. We'll see how tonight goes ... (knock on wood).

*On the inside, my heart was breaking at the thought that he either a) couldn't do this without me anymore or b) didn't trust that I would be there for him.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sleepy Time Routine

Recently, I have been thinking about the end of this first year of my son's life and how that will mark the end of breastfeeding. I'm sure weaning will go okay - Little B is a champion eater of all foods - but bedtime is another matter. I am ashamed to say it, but I have been feeding my son to sleep for the last few months. (cringe) Sound asleep, dead-to-the-world, la-la-land ... asleep. Which is fine for now, but at the end of this first year it would pose a MAJOR problem.

So, last night when my son's feeding was interrupted a bit, I decided to switch things up. After he finished eating, he was still awake; ordinarily this would have meant he got the other side and would have fallen asleep that way. Instead, I burped him, sat him on my lap, and "read" him a couple stories from memory (since I didn't have any on hand). Then I told him I loved him, that it was night-night time, and that he needed to get to sleep. And I set him in bed totally awake. He responded, in turn, by sobbing. I handed him Mr. Bear (thanks, Jocelyn!) and laid him back down when he sat up, told him I loved him, and left the room. He cried pretty hard for about two or three minutes, then he quieted down and went to sleep.

What? What? What?!

Yup, asleep. All ... on ... his ... own!! I can't even tell you how proud I was of him. Even better, he slept all night long - 'til 10:30 a.m.!! (Yes, all these exclamation points are necessary. This is how I talk.)

So tonight, we did a variation of the same thing - tried a little something different with the lighting (we'll still need to tweak that a bit ... our lamp isn't set up just right for this routine) - but he responded the same way; cried pretty hard for two or three minutes then quieted down to sleep.

I am anxious even writing about this for fear of jinxing myself and my son, so I will not say that we have things worked out. I am knocking on wood as I type this. But I am hopeful. And, of course, I'll keep you updated.

Have a wonderful night!

Mama's Little Helper

I had TONS of laundry to do yesterday, so I plopped my son in our room and let him wander while I was sorting the dirty laundry into color-appropriate piles. He loved watching the clothes get tossed into piles and hearing the soft thud they made as they were stacked up. Then he noticed that Daddy's drawers were open and ripe for the picking. Cuteness ensued.





He's such a funny, curious little man! I just love him to pieces! And he was sooooo good yesterday while I worked on the laundry. How on Earth did I get so lucky?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finger Foods

I can't believe my son is actually old enough to be eating finger foods. Yes, we started trying out some bite-sized morsels for him this weekend - with varied success, of course. We started out on Saturday giving him peas and peeled, cut up grapes with dinner. Those didn't go overly well; they were a little difficult to pick up and stayed in his mouth for a very long time.

Then Sunday morning we shared a banana with him ... here are the pictures from that endeavor:



Apparently the fresh banana is a little less sweet than the Gerber variety. Oh well, it made for a cute face (and picture).
We'll keep trying. Any advice? Foods to try? Ways to prepare them?

Memorial Day 2009

Ah, it was gorgeous weather this Memorial Day, albeit a little windy. We had a lovely, relaxing day and got to spend a little time outside at the park. It was my husband's first trip to the park with us (and I love me some pictures) so I documented it! Surprise, surprise.

Ah, father and son enjoying the swings!

In truth, my son wasn't all that interested in swinging yesterday. He just wanted to look at the other kids at the park. Isn't he cute, though?

His first time down the slide, with help of course. My husband hates static, though, so it was my son's only trip down the slide yesterday.

Trees in blossom against the blue sky ... gorgeous!

My husband put my son in his walker and made a dessert for us (it didn't turn out that well, but I think his next attempt will be delicious). While cruising around the kitchen, my son pushed the rooster mat under the stove ... this is what I found when I pulled it out. About a foot of the former owners' dog's hair all woven together in a horrific nightmare of fur. And this is why we probably won't ever have a dog. Just my opinion.

Hope you all had a lovely day!



Calling All Green Thumbs!

I'm not sure if any of you out there reading this are green thumbs, but I need a little help. First off, I should tell you that I am not much of a gardener. I prefer things that are low-maintenance and gardening isn't often one of those things. Yes, I grow some mean crocuses, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, but those are bulbs I planted years ago and only have to trim up once they are dead for the season.

So, when I found this ...

growing in our daylilies, I figured it was a weed. At the time it had no leaves and was probably another foot taller. My husband hacked off the top, and then we figured out it might be an offshoot of our maple tree about twenty feet away. Since my dad loves trees and is always up for a free addition to his little arboreal collection, I thought we could give it to him. But now that it has leaves, I am wondering what the heck it is.


Not a maple, that's for sure. Any clues? That tree-like stem in the middle is part of the plant. If anyone could shed a little light on what this plant might be, I'd be very grateful. I'd hate to give my dad a weed ... that'd just be mean.

Alright, on to problem number two ...

A couple years ago, probably around the time I planted the bulbs, I planted a little sweet pea plant that I hoped would grow up our faux wrought iron fence and give our front walkway a little romance. What do they say about the best laid plans? Grrr. Anyway, my sweet pea (that I thought was dead the first year) is now a monster of a plant and, like my weirdly wavy hair, is incredibly unruly. It grows every which way but up the fence, choking out most of the plants around it. My husband, bless his heart, tried to deal with it by just lifting it up and through the fence, but there are other plants back there it could choke so that wasn't a long-term solution.

Here is what I came up with ...

(Yes, that is a gnome ... his name is Gerome.)



The brighter, kelly green you see criss crossing the plant is a long line of twisty tie. I basically made a fence out of twisty tie ... anybody know of another way to encourage such a head-strong vine to grow on a fence?
I should have taken pictures of my bulbs when they were prettier so you'd know I am at least a half-way decent gardener. Oh well ... not a biggie. If my hydrangea blooms this year I'll try to snap a picture or two to share with you.
Have a wonderful day! Thanks for the help!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mmm ... Monday: Potato Smashers

This recipe comes from the Kraft Food & Family magazine, but the pictures come from me! Yes, I finally remembered to take a few pictures for the blog, and yes they are sideways - I corrected the orientation in our computer, but blogger seems to think they should be portraits. Whatever.

These are a fantastically yummy, super easy side dish that I have recently fallen in love with. Part of their appeal is that they are easy to customize ... an attractive feature to those of us who happen to be picky eaters. I'll share my ideas on this below the recipe.

Potato Smashers

8 small new potatoes (3/4 lb), about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
1/2 cup water
4 slices Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon
2 Tbsp. Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1/2 cup Kraft Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Place potatoes and water in 2 qt. microwaveable dish. Microwave, uncovered, on high 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp, turning frequently. Drain on paper towels.

Drain potatoes; place on work surface. Press each potato with bottom of small bowl or saucer to flatten to 1/2-inch thickness.

Heat dressing in skillet on medium heat. Add potatoes; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Meanwhile, crumble bacon. Turn potatoes over; sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon. Cover skillet with lid. Cook an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 4 servings, 2 topped potatoes each. (Though I found that two potatoes per person weren't exactly enough ... three was more like it.)



As you can see from the pictures, I omitted the bacon (because we didn't have any and I'm not a fan anyhow), and added chopped red onions to my husband's. Next time I think I might caramelize some yellow onions and top with those. Just add whatever toppings you like when you are supposed to add the cheese and bacon. Also, for a little more flavor, you can add minced garlic to the dressing ... we did that the first time and it was delicious!

I hope you enjoy these! We certainly have.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Smushy Face

He was so excited to see me coming back from the bathroom that he smushed his face up against the side of his pack n' play. Isn't he cute?!

You're Safe!

My husband figured out the gate situation ... we ended up sticking with the Safety 1st Lift & Lock Gate for the top of the stairs, and while it isn't perfect it might be the only one that will fit in our particular space. With the installation of that gate, Safety 1st Press & Pivot latches on our drawers and cabinets, a wooden Evenflo gate in our living room, outlet plugs, and other assorted safety accoutrement we are now (almost) fully babyproofed. Here are some pictures from our adventures ...

My hero.

The upstairs gate.

My son strength testing the living room gate (that we are using in lieu of a bottom-of-the-stairs gate).

So far, so good.

Testing out the outlet plugs ... no shocks! Ah woo hoo!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Troubles at the Gate

Last night we tried to install a safety gate at the top of the stairs. It didn't go so well (we could really use some recommendations if you guys have any), but we got some cute pictures out of it!

My son inspecting the box to the gate that will probably go downstairs.

Helping Daddy with the tool box ... that sucker is heavy!

Gotta select just the right tool!

Cute break!

My son snuck away from us to check out the tower of diapers and wipes in his room. We were shocked to find him standing up next to it after less than a minute away.

The Land of Tulips and Wooden Shoes

Yesterday, my son and I traveled with my mom and sister to Holland, Michigan. Located on Lake Michigan's eastern shore, it is a lovely town filled with tulips and Dutch-ness. The downtown area is great for shopping and walking, so that's what we did.

There is a great picture of me as a baby in Holland asleep in front of a bed of tulips. If I can find it and somehow get it into my computer, I will post it sometime. Until then, here is a picture we took of my son trying to recreate the picture of me. He is not asleep, as you can plainly see, but he certainly is adorable!

Here is my son practicing his new smile. He did it just about any time he thought I was taking a picture of him. It was quite adorable and hilarious.

We had lunch at the New Holland Brewery and my son desperately wanted to either suck on the table (yuck!) or join in on the conversation.

My son, mom, and sister at lunch. Notice the smile practicing/scowling ... almost like he's smelling a dirty diaper or something.

He's doing really well eating Cheerios and puffs using his pinching skills. Nonetheless, he still tossed a bunch of them on the floor. My little Newton is figuring out gravity on his own.

Grinning with Aunt Christine. She seemed to get a kick out of it.

He got to eat his lunch outside (eat your heart out, Grandpa E!), watching dogs, trucks, and the elderly as they passed him by.

We amused ourselves in a clothing store by looking at a three-way mirror. He was smiling before I took out the camera for the picture, then he clammed up. Go figure.
All in all, we had a great time in Holland with the ladies. The economy is taking its toll on the downtown area shops, but there was still lots of great shopping to be had. Hopefully we'll get to take a nice stroll there again soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Within a Year's Time ...

I saw some pictures from this past year scroll by on our Google ticker thingy and I felt compelled to share them with you guys. I can't believe these were all taken less than a year ago!

This was the Fourth of July last year. Yes, we are standing in front of the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Memorial. We took a trip to Fairfax, VA to visit my college friend Katie and her husband Ben. It was particularly hot this day and my firecracker popsicle was melting EVERYWHERE. You can't really see it in this picture, but my hand is covered in blue and I have drip stains all over my shirt and pants. Also, yes I was huge and I still had two months left to go before I had the little nipper. Whoa.

Here is my son when he was less than a week old. He looks tiny, but compared to other babies his age he was a giant at 10 lbs. 10 oz.

Just over a week old in this picture ... it seems so long ago that I could cradle him in my arms like that. If I tried to do that now, he'd squirm and look at me like I was crazy.

This photo was taken on his one month birthday ... note the tiny smile. He's been a stunner from the get-go.

And here he is, just a little over a month old. He couldn't even hold his head up, and he still slept most of the time. Crazyness.
I miss my little baby sometimes, but I have to say I am having SO much fun with my little man. Watching him grow and change has been the experience of a lifetime and I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Oh ... My ... God ... Yay!!!"

That is exactly what I thought last night when I suddenly found myself walking in front of my perennial favorite ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins: daiquiri ice! Last year, swollen and pregnant, I waddled in front of the case, broken-hearted, hearing the ice cream lady tell me they had revamped the flavor. Did I like it? No, I did not. So when I saw it last night, I had to taste test it first to make sure it was back in its original form.

And it was.

Hallelujah!

I got the kid-sized scoop because it was $1 scoop night (all Tuesdays are), but I really wanted more. And as it's the flavor of the month, I can guarantee you I will be back very, very soon to get it.

(Sorry if this already seems scatterbrained ... my heart actually quickens a bit when I think about this delightful flavor. Ah, true love!)

What is daiquiri ice, you ask? Well, here is what Baskin Robbins has to say about it ...

"First created in 1962 and back in 2009 by popular demand, lime ice blends with a splash of rum flavoring for a taste of the islands."

I have no idea how I came to discover this wonderful flavor, but I have loved it since I was a child. Shocking, I know. And even weirder, perhaps ... I often get it with hot fudge on top! I know you are probably recoiling in disgust right now, but don't knock it until you've tried it.

Alright, enough waxing rhapsodic.

I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do (though I doubt that's possible).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh Boy ...

Yeah, my son is mobile ... WAY mobile. Here are some pictures to prove it ...

In the kitchen, taking down all the decorative towels along the way. Must investigate the dishwasher!

Helping Mommy with my laundry! I am sorting through EVERYTHING ... quality control, you know.

These curtains are great for playing peek-a-boo. Good choice, Mommy!

Ah, the staircase ...

Here I go!

First step, all by myself. Jealous?

Mommy and I made it up four more steps, taking pictures along the way. Awesome!


As you can see, my son has mad skills. Also, some serious babyproofing of the house is in order. We went out today and got a gate, so hopefully that'll keep solo trips to the staircase to a minimum. We'll see.

Tasty Tuesday: Beef Taco Skillet

I know I posted two recipes yesterday, but I made this for dinner last night and it was sooooo good I had to share. That, and the fact that I'll probably never make it again. Why? My husband didn't like it.

For those of you that don't know my husband, he will eat just about anything. Seriously. He loves concocting weird combinations and eats whatever I put in front of him. EXCEPT goulash. (Oh, and he doesn't like it when I mess with mac n' cheese ... he feels that Kraft got it right so why bother?) And if I was forced to rename the meal from last night it would be Mexican Goulash. Grrr! Of course, I didn't really realize this until I was spooning this delectable meal onto his plate.

So anyhow, here it is ... enjoy it for me, would you?

Beef Taco Skillet (from CampbellsKitchen.com)

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's Tomato Soup
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
6 flour tortillas (6"), cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (though I used Mexican and it tasted amazing)

Cook beef in 10" skillet until well-browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat.

Stir in soup, salsa, water, and tortillas. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Stir. Top with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

It is awesome. Seriously. Ooh, and I added about a half cup of chopped white onion to the meat while it was browning ... excellent! Also, don't let it cook for too long past the five minutes; the tortillas get perfectly done in those five minutes and I imagine they get a little soggy if you let it go too long.

I hope you like it as much as I did!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My First Mother's Day!

(Sorry, I know this is over a week late, but I finally got the rest of the day's pictures from my mom yesterday.)



I got to have my first official Mother's Day on May 10th, and it was lovely. I can't even tell you how proud I am to finally be a mom, to have the responsibility and joy of it all in my life. I love being a mother, and though this first Mother's Day was a bit hectic it was a great reminder of how happy I am in my life now.

We spent the morning getting ready, then we headed to my in-laws' for lunch and my parents' for dinner.


My Mother's Day gifts from my boys ... flowers from the hubby and Junior Mints from junior!

Playing a bit in the living room before the festivities started.

First time in a kid-sized rocking chair at Grandma's house.
Giving some lovin' to Dressy Bessy ... I think my son's in love with a blonde!

Off to Oma's for some Mother's Day fun!

"I can't get enough of Oma!"

It was the Year of the Green Purses. My mom with hers ...

And me with mine!

Me and my beautiful boy. His expression sums up my feelings for the day.

And possibly the best part of my day ...


video