Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brought to You Today By the Letter S

Being the loving, progressive parents that we are, C and I like to focus on our daughter's strengths. She has many, and, interestingly enough, they all seem to start with "S". I'll share some of them with you now:
  • Screaming: As documented here, Little has a great set of lungs, and knows how to use them! She makes sure her opinion is known. Always.
  • Spitting up: Spitting up is one of Little's greatest strengths! She is very good at it -- I change clothes at least once a day (for her, it's often more) as a result of a well-placed spit, and C can instantly recognize the groan/exclamation that accompanies it. She's a happy spitter, so when she's done, we're usually greeted with a huge, happy smile that makes it hard to get too frustrated with another change for both of us. This morning, for example, we were snuggling in my bed post-mom-is-half-asleep-morning-feed and she got a direct hit: down my neck, chest and back. Let's just say that a long, hot shower was a must this morning. Good thing she took a nice, long nap to facilitate it.
  • Slobbering: Slobbering is the newest one of Little's strengths. She is showing all the signs of teething -- drooling plenty, sticking everything in her mouth, really enjoying her wet washcloth during bath time, reddening gums. I can see where the bottom two are going to break through --  but when that will happen is anyone's guess (or is it? -- clearly a first time mom, here). In the middle of it all, she is producing lots and lots of slobber and getting it, well everywhere. If she's not drenched in spit-up, she's drenched in slobber.
  • Snuggling: Who doesn't love to snuggle up with a sweet little baby? Even though she is huge compared to when she was born, she's still so sweet and little. We love to just eat her up, wrap her in our arms, attack her with kisses. We're looking forward to embarrassing her with similar behavior when she's in junior high/high school (not that that is ever, ever, ever going to happen). Bonus: now that the weather is cooling off (for Arizona, admittedly), we can snuggle up with a blanket without cranking the a/c in the process. Double bonus, she's starting to get her arms around me as if she's hugging me back . . . which she totally is!
  • Smiling: Little has the sweetest, gummiest, happiest grin. Who can stay mad at a baby (even one who just spit up all over you) for more than 0.003 seconds with a face like this: 
All dolled up for her 2 month picture

Monday, October 29, 2012

Parenting Moments You Can't Anticipate

Both before and while I was pregnant with Little, C and I talked a lot about parenting. We weren't naive enough to think we knew it all, but we felt like we had a pretty good grasp on some basic principles and approaches.

Fast forward 16 weeks (minus a day -- BTW, where has that time gone?), and of course, there are a million moments that we couldn't have anticipated. I'm glad of it, because they have brought us so much joy (as well as frustration, tears, and the occasional desire to sell Little to the Gypsies). One such memorable moment occurred this weekend.

For a couple of weeks now, Little has been fascinated with her feet. It started out with kicking up her hips to stare at them in wonder. Then came grabbing them. Along the way, there seems to have been a process of confirming that yes, those are her feet, whether covered in footie jammies, or socks, or bare. Then came the attempts to stuff them in her mouth (just like everything else she gets her hands on). All normal, developmental stuff (I assume), but we've been fascinated.

Then came Friday afternoon. Eureka! She did it! We were playing on the couch and Little got her squirmy, germy toes in her mouth for a good, old-fashioned foot chewing! C and I cheered so hard and hugged and kissed her so much, you'd think she scored the winning goal, or got a hard-earned A or sat up by herself. C grabbed the camera. We didn't get a good shot on Friday:

Looks like I'm helping!

Not quite there yet!

but got a great one on Saturday!

Tasty tootsies!

Since then, feet in hands (en route to or from mouth) has been a pretty common pose for Little. It definitely has brought some new questions. For example, is it okay to chew feet during Mass?* (We didn't have to decide; she slept through the whole thing for the first time in weeks.)

I find myself constantly in awe of the wonder that God helped us create this beautiful, little human, with all of her quirks and the obscene number of gifts (especially big, gummy grins) she has given us. Then I wonder what lies around the corner next. The one thing I do know is that I'll cheer her on every step of the way.

*Clearly (I hope), this only applies to those who are so far from the age/ability of reason that chewing feet anywhere could ever have the slightest possibility of being socially acceptable. Andplusalso, they need to be flexible enough to actually get their feet in their mouth successfully. I think this adequately limits the population for whom the question need be asked.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Things that freak me out

1. This video that Jen of Conversion Diary fame posted on her 7 Quick Takes this morning. It turned Little from a screaming mess (I was bouncing and reading) to a sleeping baby while it played. She's still asleep, and I've blissfully been able to eat breakfast, pump a bottle of milk, take a shower, and write this. Is it wrong to bookmark it in case it works again?

2. Speaking of,  Little sat laid on the floor enraptured by and laughing at Curious George the one and only time I let her watch be entertained by the television while I was desperate to get ready to get us out the door.

3. C's current rotation only has him working like 7:30-1. Crazy town, but I think we're both getting spoiled.

4. Halloween is next week. Where did October go?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"It smells like Thanksgiving!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I still have one baby, so I can make things like this happen while Little takes a nap. She has just started taking consistently good naps (as long as we're home to take them), so I feel like I can be the perfect good  decent SAHW that I planned on being when we made the decision for me to stay home with her.

One of my favorite domestic projects is taking apart a whole chicken. Call me sick crazy, but I get a lot of satisfaction from turning that intimidating whole bird (roasting it whole successfully continues to allude me) into useable parts. I started with this (maybe someday I'll use a fancy-pants farm-raised organic bird):
As purchased
After braving salmonella getting the chicken and its juices and innards out of the bag (the innards go straight into the stock pot), there's The Bird.

Mr. Salmonella
I use poultry shears to do most of the dirty work. Best $20 Bed Bath and Beyond ever got from me (and to be fair, they have mostly gotten money from people who gave me wedding gifts -- which I use and appreciate greatly), though I do use a knife to help get the meat, especially the breasts, off the carcass. I feel really accomplished when I successfully deconstruct a chicken.
Tools of the Trade
Officially, you should end up with 8 pieces of chicken and a carcass: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings. However, I cut it into pieces that I know I will use: 2 wings (that have so little meat they go into the stock pot), 2 breasts, some odd pieces of breast meat that didn't cut off cleanly that I can throw into soup down the road, and 2 chicken quarters (leg + thigh). I'll get 3-4 meals out of it.


I freeze what I won't be using right away (for dinner Monday, I used one ginormous breast, divided into two for dinner). I attack the counter with salmonella-killing cleaners. Then comes the best part of all: stock! The carcass, wings, and innards go into a stock pot with an onion (I quartered it), some carrots, some celery, some thyme (I had it on hand), some peppercorns, and enough water to cover. I bring it to a boil and then cover and let it simmer for a few hours (I love that there is no timer: when it looks done and I have a minute, it's done). While it was simmering the other day, C came home and announced that it smelled like Thanksgiving! Score!

The stock pot
Then, I strain the liquid into a large bowl two fairly large bowls and let it sit in the fridge at least overnight. Then, I skim off the fat (you don't want a picture of this, really!), and then portion it into freezer containers. Each one contains exactly approximately 2 cups of stock for soups or stews in the next couple of months. Today, I ended up with 8 containers of stock. :)

Future Soup Yummyness

For the price of a whole chicken, I got 3 quarts of low-fat, no sodium chicken stock, 4 meals worth of chicken meat, a fall-scented house, and had a lot of fun! I definitely call that a win!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Loud Little

I hate the monkey, Mama!
If there is one word you can undoubtedly use to describe Little, it's "loud." I like to say that she's particular. I'm sure if we didn't have fire (read: very, very thick) walls, our neighbors would have other words for it.

For the first 23 hours after birth, she was the perfect, sweet baby.  Then came the hearing test. It took almost two hours to pass her left ear, not because of any hearing problems, but because she decided she hated the electrodes (I don't blame her, really. They would probably annoy me too, and I've been ex utero a lot longer than 23 hours.) and screamed every.single.time. the poor technician got them attached correctly. Nursing didn't work. Sleeping didn't work. Daddy holding her didn't work. Finally, we made it work laying very, very still on Mama's chest -- I don't think I breathed for the full however many minutes and several restarts it took to finally pass the darn test and get discharged from the hospital.

That should have been our warning. The first at-home scream fest happened that night amid an Arizona monsoon thunderstorm. 1.30 in the morning, lightening flashing, thunder clapping, rain pattering on the skylights, baby screaming, and this first-time mama wondering what she got herself into.

Recently, the screaming has subsided some. Now, it's probably similar to normal babies, instead of crazy semi-colicky babies. However, now, she's talking. Not just sweet coos or gahs, but mile-a-minute babbling, seemingly all the time. (Yeah, yeah, I know it's not actually special. But it's special to me, darn it.) Her newest trick is a loud, fire-engine pitched "eeeeeeeh" originating from the back of her throat. It sounds like a "Mama, get here now!!1!" scream, but when I walk in to save her, she grins. "Isn't my new sound the bestest, Mama?!?" (Tween punctuation hers. Yes, she's very advanced.)

The geek part of me excited over the language development! Such a great thing! The sleep deprived part of me wishes she would choose: asleep or awake. And if you're awake, do me a favor and scream so that I can get up and take care of you, instead of listening to you talk to who knows what your Guardian Angel.

At least I know her lungs are healthy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life keeps going, even when the blog stops

First comes

Then comes

Then comes

Baby in a plastic hospital bassinet (what? who has a carriage anymore?)

So now, I gulp down my morning coffee sometime between morning feedings, diaper changes and tummy time. I love it, and since I finally feel like I can take a moment to breathe inspired, I figured I would get back to the old blog. :)