Monday, September 29, 2008

Pie Crust, Paper Cranes and Potty Training

I have a question for you: who loves maternity leave? Answer: I do! I do! As I jump up and down, wildly waving my arms. And I have even started potty training Joe. He is doing well, but it is a bit exhausting. So because of the potty training we have stayed home for the past couple of days, and plan to stay home quite a bit over the next few weeks. Any tips on how to encourage him to use a regular toilet? That is probably the biggest issue keeping us at home. I don't want to traumatize him by sitting him on the big potty if he isn't ready.

So in my spare time between potty traing and breastfeeding - which is usually after both kids go to bed - I have decided to learn how to make a pie crust. Every year when Fall rolls round I get the baking bug. So far I have made two pie crusts, using two different recipes, and so far I love the Barefoot Contessa recipe better (of course). Here are some pics of the first pie crust I made. I thought both were fabulous. There is only one thing wrong with me baking, and that is that I want to eat everything I make. I am really starting to pack on the pounds.


I have seen a lot of paper cranes lately. From Pottery Barn to the Songbird Cafe, and I decided I was going to learn how to make them. So with the help from several tutorials on You Tube, I stayed up late one night determined to make a paper crane. Basically, once I started I wasn't going to let myself stop. So here are some of the better ones. I do like to go to craft stores and pick out pretty paper. Because on maternity leave you have time to do things like that.



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pumpkin Butter

Does she have nothing else to do? All day, all she does is post pictures of her kids and write about their to dos around town. Well, my house is a mess, and I probably will not post for a couple days - maybe. This morning Joe had gymnastics. Initially, he was very attentive and followed directions well. But after about five minutes, he randomly ran around conducting his own class. After "nastics", as Joe calls it, we headed to English Landing Park. It has been several years since I have visited this park, but I love the atmosphere, and hope to go back several more times before the weather turns cold. I posted these pics for one reason only, and that reason is the exhausted, far away stare in Joe's eyes. He was exhausted from the zoo (the day before), despite an early bedtime and sleeping over twelve hours straight.





Two men I love to watch walk.
After the park, we met my dad for lunch at the Songbird Cafe. An oh so small cafe, but oh so inspirational. If I ever opened a restraunt it would be reminscent of this java joint. Courtney, the owner, experiments with different ice cream flavors, and I was totally noshing on the Pumpkin Butter. I hope to go back again very soon.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

....And You Look Like One Too

What a good day to go to the zoo. Today, Joe and I headed to the zoo to meet up with our playgroup. Needless to say, Joe missed his buddies, and I missed my "mamas". It felt good to be back. Because there were five moms and eleven kids we didn't cover a lot of ground - only Africa. But the animals we did see were worth the trip and tantrums.
Don't know if you can see, but Joe is clutching his "white car" in his right hand. My heart paused every time we were near a fence, or walking over a bridge. To lose "white car" would have meant sure melt down.

Crazy meerkats basking in the sun.


This was so cool. You probably can't tell from the pic, but it felt like we were literally eating lunch with the giraffe in the background. He was so close.



Most of the boys were climbing on chairs to look at the giraffe and zebra. Not my Joseph, he was too busy eating.

The highlight of the day: the proud mama monkey. She literally came out of the woods of the exhibit, and sat on the cliffs. I think she was surveying the scene. Then, I think it was her and the dad, they brought the baby down to the glass, took it off of her back and sat it down right in front of us. Then she proceeded to nurse the baby and pick bugs from it's hair. I felt awestruck at the humaness of these creatures. Then the mama placed the baby on daddy's back and off they went.

At this point my heart was aching, and I had to get out of Africa and home to my little monkey: Charlotte.







Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long Time

Feels like a long time since I have posted, but really it hasn't been. It was a fairly busy weekend for us. Saturday night, David and I went out with some of his softball buddies and their wives to Dave's and Buster's (usually not my type of scene). Although they do have Skee Ball and Air Hockey, which I love. I knew it was good for the two of us to go out, but the whole night my mind was laden with thoughts of baby girl. After all she is only one month old. Besides, who wants to be around a bunch of loud, drunk adults, when you could be cuddling a beautiful baby girl. I was thankful that my mom was babysitting the kids, or I probably wouldn't have gone.

Sunday, we headed to the Plaza Art Fair. That was a challenging outing for me. I felt very disorganized, and it wasn't a very infant friendly place. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best idea to take little girl down there, but I learned a lot. I only got to take three pictures, and here they are....this is Joseph in the Wonderscope tent

I know peditricians say not to use q-tips in kids' ears, but I have been cleaning out Joe's ears since he was itty bitty. Needless to say, he loves q-tips now. Don't know if you can tell, but he is using q-tips to paint. And, dipping them in water no less, one of his other favorite things to play with.


Two and half, and still has those chubby cheeks.



This is Monday, Joe motivating Charlotte through tummy-time. As you can guess she wasn't very happy. Note, Joe has placed his beloved (dirty) blanket on his sister. So sweet.


Since I posted last Thursday, I have received several smiles from baby girl. Usually morning time is her happiest time.
These are a week late. Since I could never get her to stare straight ahead I decided to photograph from the side. You have to work with your model, you know. She's oh, so pretty.
I thought this was funny, because I had a hell of time with the first sign because Joe kept taking it every time I propped it up. So I let him have the first sign and some crayons so he could color it. Well, as soon as he heard me trying to get the second picture there he was directly in front of the camera. After this picture I gave up.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Let me preface this recipe with a few comments. First of all, if I were just reading this recipe and had not seen it prepared on her show, I would think, eeww-yuck. But the cumin chicken and the creamy coleslaw compliment each other fabulously. Second, this is a very hearty and satisfying meal, all the while when eaten in the right proportions, it is also healthy. Last, there are a few short cuts that I took, that I don't think compromise the nutritional value of the meal.
A. I cook my chicken on a cast iron skillet on my stove with just a little bit of cooking spray. Make sure to pound the chicken to 1/2 inch thickness - this shortens the cooking time and keeps the chicken nice and moist.
B. I buy two bags of broccoli slaw at the grocery store instead of shredding the florets and carrots. Much easier and less dishes!
CUMIN CHICKEN
Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each) pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Spray a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil.
Combine cumin, salt and pepper and rub spice mixture evenly onto chicken breasts. Grill until grill marks have formed and chicken is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.
Remove from heat, let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve over coleslaw, if desired.
CREAMY BROCCOLI COLESLAW
Ellie Krieger

1 cup lowfat Greek yogurt, or strained yogurt
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 pounds broccoli stalks (from about 2 1/2 pounds broccoli bunches)
1 large or 2 medium carrots
If using regular yogurt, place it in a strainer lined with paper towel and set the strainer over a bowl. Let the yogurt drain and thicken for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place sunflower seeds and 1/4 teaspoon salt on a rimmed baking sheet and shake to combine. Toast seeds until aromatic, about 10 minutes. Cool and reserve.
Combine yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Whisk to incorporate and reserve.
Peel tough outer layer of broccoli stalks and trim off 1/4 inch from bottoms of stalks (should be about 3/4 of a pound. tender broccoli stalks remaining). Shred stalks in food processor, then shred carrots.
Combine shredded broccoli and carrots with dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve.

Babies crying - gotta go!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

BOO

I have been waiting a while to post a Halloween themed background, so I am very excited. What a day! Lots of loaded, poopy diapers and temper tantrums, but at one point, I just told myself, "you have got to laugh about this, because there is nothing else you can do".
Charlotte is getting that "deer in the headlights" look less often, and seems to focus on faces briefly. I am hoping for some smiles in the next week or two.
I thought Joe was so cute, playing under the table. Until about five minutes later I realized he was pooping. Yes, I know, hiding to poop, one of the ready signs for potty training.

At Laird's birthday party. Considering Joe had about a thirty minute nap that day, I was expecting some wacky melt downs, but for the most part he did fairly well. I didn't try to make him sit at the table and eat - that just wasn't a battle I was willing to fight by myself, with both kids at a birthday party.


My sweet son probably ate the biggest piece of cake there. My son is addicted to sweets, and will literally gorge himself - that is a tendency inherited from me.

Busy weekend ahead. I love this weather!
Oh, and by the way, I posted links to the two websites I used to construct the layout for my blog; Sweet Shoppe Designs and SJH Blog Design. Also check out the Songbird Cafe link. Can't wait to eat there dad...hint, hint.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not CrUnCHy

Tuesday, I (with David's assistance) packed up the kids, then by myself, took the kids to my cousin Lindsey's beautiful brand new house for a girls + Joseph lunch. It was a different drive with two kids in the car. I don't know how else to say this, but there seemed to be so much more at stake with two little lives in the car, as oppossed to just one. Not that Charlotte is anymore valuable than Joseph. But with two kids I had more distractions and things to focus on, and I was just so aware that BOTH of my babies were in the car, and I alone was responsible for them. There I go, the continual worrier. Anyway, the drive was fine, and the kids were really good. My aunt brought over some toys for Joe play with; army trucks and men, a toy gun (yah!), a Barney book, and a puzzle. You would have thought it was Christmas morning. Aunt Pam did great.
Here is Joe meeting Lindsey's new baby...I mean kitten.
Here I am with Charlotte in the new baby carrier. I love it, and obviously so did she, because she immediately fell asleep. With Charlotte chilling in the carrier, I could sit at the table and eat with both of my hands. I could play with/chase Joe if I needed to. I look like a total hippy with my messy hair, lounge clothes and mei tai (the baby carrier), that is why I titled this post "not crunchy". Because I don't want to look like some granola-ish, au natural hippy. Tee-he-he! I LOVE this fireplace.

An over the shoulder shot of my little (actually big) cuddlebug snoozing in the mei tai.
This morning, Charlotte and I visited Dr. Miller for her one month well baby appointment. She now weighs 12 lbs, and grew two inches this month. She is officially in the weight range for 3-6 month clothes. Yikes! My only issue is, I often find her sleeping through feeding time, and it is very difficult to wake her to eat. Oh, "big deal" you say. Well, I am trying to get her to eat frequently during the day, so I can train her to sleep through the night. Plus, if she doesn't eat at least every three hours, my supply will decrease over time, and that is one of my biggest worries. I also notice that her diapers are not as full after one or two missed or snacking meals. So, right now, I basically strip her down, change her diaper and end up having to rub her head, neck and feet with a baby wipe to wake her up. If that doesn't work I give up and let her sleep. Hopefully, this is just a sleepy spell for the next day or so.
Joe has gymnastics tomorrow morning, and my nephew's birthday party in the evening, which I will have to take both kids by myself again. That ought to be interesting. I will definetly pull out the mei tai.


Monday, September 15, 2008

" " and ( )

Again, we have been hiding out at home for the past week or two. I have yet to venture out with both kids by myself, but I think that will happen tomorrow. We are going to my cousin's new house for lunch, and frankly I am excited about it. To travel with both kids, and do things "my way". Which bringing up "my way", being home with both kids in the evenings has gone fairly smoothly, and for the most part I am not stressed out, and enjoy being alone with both of my babies. With that being said, I am looking forward to this weekend. I think we are going to some type of "work picnic" of David's on Saturday. Then, as a family, we'll go to the Plaza Art Fair on Sunday. I love working weekends, but I do miss going to events around KC that occur on the weekends, which is all of them. It is funny that I say "miss going to events" because before I had kids I never attended any festivals, carnivals, shows, concerts, etc. but having my babies motivates me to get out and do more. I want them to experience everything, and see, and do, and hear, and smell, well... almost everything! I should post some more pics this week, and after looking at lots of other blogs, have thought about posting a weekly recipe. I have been trying to eat healthier, not just for me but to teach my kids to eat healthier, and have found several really good recipes. In fact I think I will start today, and post a really simple one at the bottom. Here are some random pics of Joseph and Charlotte.

This pic was taken after dinner. Joe and I were sitting on the couch, watching TV and eating a pear for dessert. I loved the lighting, the blue of his eyes and the red pear, so I took a picture. The expression on his face is priceless and quite common.

Here is my sweet baby girl after a bath. Like I say, time and time again, she is so mellow, and cuddly. The only time she seems to get upset, is if she is gassy or I lay her flat after eating to change her diaper, or some other reason, and she is refluxing. Her reflux isn't awful, but I definetly know that it's occurring. (Please, don't mind my spelling) I have tested this theory several times, and I am quite certain that my ingestion of dairy products and caffeine does not agree with her. I can't tell you how much I am craving milk. This didn't seem to be an issue with Joe. As for sleeping through the night, again if I ate something that doesn't agree with her, it is usually 11 or midnight before I can settle her to sleep, but then she will sleep for 4-5 hours, and seems to feel better after the next feed. Naps are hit and miss. And the regiment I use to try and get her on a schedule doesn't always work the way I want, but we are trying.

I have made this oatmeal several times, and instead of cherry jam I use Smuckers Cherry Preserves, which I love. They taste like cherry pie. Anyway, cherries have lots of antioxidants and are comparable to blueberries in nutritional value. Enjoy!
Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal
Ellie Krieger
1 3/4 cups of water
1 cup Old Fashioned oatmeal
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cherry jam
1/4 cup lowfat milk
Put water, oats, salt and cherries into medium size saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and jam. Pour two tablespoons of milk over each bowl. Makes two servings.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Lied

I guess I lied. I found a few random pics I took this past week. Nothing breath taking or awe inspiring. But gosh darn it, they are changing everyday. Here is Joe at Monkey Business, basically an indoor play area. We went there on Friday night, just to get Joe out of the house, and running around.
Joe has never really been one of those kids to put things in his mouth. Only on rare occassion have I caught him trying to taste test something. So point being, I let him play with money. He loves to put it in the change jar or his piggy bank, and we talk about which coins are which and then we count them. Anyway, Joe was playing in the living room with his money, and when I went in there he had placed all of it in Charlotte's lap. It was kinda funny.

David makes fun of people who take pics of themselves in the mirror. But I have been trying to hold Charlotte in this sling, when I am busy around the house. I feel like if I am not feeding her, I am having to sit her down in her bed, or the bouncy, and it just breaks my heart not to hold her. So we have been giving this sling a try. She looks smushed, but she is more comfortable than when we started. I still have some manuevering I need to try to get to where I want to be.



RMSF

What is RMSF you ask? Well...it's Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. OMG. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Kids get so freaking sick from RMSF. One of my worst fears has come to be. It was bound to happen some time, but as cool as it has been I was hoping yesterday or today wouldn't be the day. I just found a TICK on Joe's belly - we went to my dad's farm yesterday (Sunday). Surprisingly, he let me pull it off with little to no battle, and also let me do a thorough tick check , but now I need to be on the lookout for fever, lethargy, and decreased intake, something quite common at this stage of the game.
Sorry no pictures lately. Haven't left the house much, and the house has been a mess - so haven't been motivated to take pics. The past couple of days I have tried to focus on completing tasks, such as cooking dinner and getting the kitchen somewhat cleaned while balancing needs of both kids. My main focus has been to ensure I am eating lots of protein/ meeting nutritional needs and drinking lots of water to keep up my milk supply, and paying equal amounts of attention to both kids. And basically, to relax as much as possible and not get overwhelmed, which I tend to do quite easily.
Tonight David has gone back to work. Right now baby girl is asleep, I think, and Joe and I are watching tennis. Charlotte seems to be growing like a weed, and has outgrown a few 0-3 month sleepers. She is such a sweet baby, we love her so much. She does have a fussy period usually 9pm -12am, but once she goes to sleep, she sleeps for 3 1/2 to 5 hours, and during the day eats every 2-3 hours (the majority of the time). As for Joseph, he still clings to daddy, but I am hoping the return to a normal bedtime and "mommy governed" schedule will reduce his whining. I am going to try to get some simple newborn pics of baby girl this week, and am looking forward to gymnastics for Joseph.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gymnastics

Not a lot of exciting adventures around here until today, when Joseph had his first gymnastics class, which really was his first time receiving orgainzed instruction from another adult. It was interesting. But first, I had my two week follow up appoinment yesterday, and everything seems to be fine. The surprising/good news, I have lost thirty lbs., and dieting has nothing to do with it. It was purely weight associated with carrying around baby girl - she is the sweetest little girl in the whole world. Before my appointment I took Charlotte to her doc's office just to check her weight, and she now weighs 10lbs 15oz, which means today she is probably tipping the scales at 11 lbs. So far she's gaining over an ounce a day. Not the best picture, but here she is in her first tub bath. What a good baby! She was kicked back and relaxed, even with Joe playing alongside the tub and splashing water everywhere and hauling bath toys in and out of her little tub.
Now for Joe's first gymnastics class. He didn't start crying until the organized stretching, at which time he began calling for daddy. I am sure I looked like "mother of the year" to all of the other parents. He followed the teacher's instructions probably 40% of the time, and often would say, "no, Joe do this..." and then proceed with either jumping or running or whatever he wanted to do at the time. Several times he seemed hesitant to participate, like jumping on the trampoline and jumping in the pit of blocks. A lot of the kids were like little monkeys, and seemed to have been exposed to this environment before. So I hope the next class is a little more productive for Joe.

Joe has become increasingly hyperactive, and prone to tantrums. I am sure this change has something to do with Charlotte, although he generally seems to care less if my attention is averted towards her. He constantly clings to daddy whenever we go somewhere, or I try to initiate an activity with him. I am not sure what to do. The answer is probably - there is not a lot I can do, except hope that this phase passes. But I so desperately want to play with him and hold his hand, and be the one he runs to - at least once in a while.
On the brighter side, I emailed Parents As Teachers today. I contacted our school district when Joe was maybe a year, and the program had been discontinued. Thank you to my siser in law, Sandy, who found an article that in the last six months the program has been reinstated. So Joe is eligible for another six months, and now Charlotte can benefit from the program.
This week ends David's time off. Not sure what we'll do tomorrow or Saturday, but Sunday we plan on going to my dad's farm for the day. I haven't been to the farm since I was 32 weeks pregnant with Joseph, at which point in the pregnancy I slept all the time. I can't wait for the endless quiet and fresh air.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Dynamic State of Change

I haven't posted for the past week because family life and everyone's moods are in a constant state of change. Charlotte may have a couple good days of breastfeeding followed by a bad night. But the majority of the time she is a mellow, sweet, cuddle bug of a baby. I just love to sit and hold her. Joseph seems to want as little to do with me as possible, and when he seems interested in his sister he ends up assaulting her. One minute I think everything is easy breezy followed by feelings of being overwhelmed, and wondering how in the hell I am going to function in the evenings when David goes back to work.
Tuesday, we headed to Village West, and walked around more than expected. I definetly over did it. Wednesday, I cleaned up the kids and try to get some good sibling/newborn pics. A very unsuccessful adventure. Basically, I tried too hard to get the perfect picture, so I decided to just give up for the time being.
Saturday, we had David's side of the family over for dinner because my sister in law was home from Boston. Sunday, we packed up the family and went to my mom's house, and both kids behaved nicely. I guess behaved nicely with the exception of Joe falling down some stairs onto a tile floor, and only wanted "daddy". It used to be me that he called out for when he was upset. And then as we walked out to the car, and David carried the baby in the carseat, Joe melted down crying "mommy hold Charlotte" because that's what he always says whenever Dave holds the baby, and then Joe refuses to let me hold him or carry him or strap him in the carseat.
So basically you are left with a hodge podge of pics. Oh and baby girl is now two weeks old. It is going by way too fast.
This pic is probably before the one week flower pics.

Baby girl out to eat for the first time. I love her spiky hair, with chubby cheeks.


Joe at The Jazz.



This is typical of Joe at the Legends. He loves the fountain, but what he really loves is playing in the dirt and landscaping. Here he is playing with some random kid who was sitting at the bench next to us.




My naive attempt at capturing quality newborn pics of Charlotte.


See what I mean. Who thought it would be so difficult?

Joe's pics turned out nice, but baby girl looks, well, "a little funny".

BROTHERLY LOVE