Friday, February 29, 2008

Boys & Girls

A few weeks back, Caitlin came up to me after school, during one of the rare occasions when I went to pick her up alone, and asked if she could have a playdate with E.

Now a request for a playdate after school is not unusual. What was unusual was that E is a boy.

I've got to tell you, I was surprised. Stunned even. At a temporary loss for words. Then E, standing tall next to Caitlin on his scooter said, "Yeah, Caitlin's mom! We'd like to have a playdate! Can we do it now?" I stuttered and then hedged by asking, "Where's your mom?"

This was the first time since Caitlin was in preschool (the good one) that a boy wanted to have a playdate. I wanted to make sure he was serious and to eyeball his folks before I either handed my daughter off to a stranger's care for two hours or took on a boy I'd never met until that moment. Turns out his mom is quite nice and was just as surprised as I was. Both of us, however, jumped all over the chance to have our kids mix it up. For me, anything that would get her hanging with her peers and having fun for a couple of hours was the big draw as well as the possibility of an actual friendship with a boy again.

When Caitlin was in her fabulous-yet-seriously-expensive preschool, the teachers referred to everyone in the classroom as "friends" instead of students and they worked on being inclusive instead of exclusive, especially when misbehavior would occur. (They would essentially stage little love-ins when someone got in trouble.) I loved the place, Caitlin loved the place and the staff loved her. However, eventually we had to say goodbye and started going to an inexpensive and more mainstream (and cheaper) preschool conveniently located down the street from our house. And did I mention it was cheaper? Yeah.

It was in that preschool that Caitlin discovered the division between boys and girls. The kids there all seemed to have siblings and were very serious about sex-based separations. Boys couldn't play with girls and girls couldn't play with boys. All of the standard irritating sayings were trotted out as evidence: "Girls rule and boys drool!". When those words dripped venomously from Caitlin's mouth, we had a long talk.

"You know, Daddy's a boy and cousin Max is a boy and Grampy is a boy. Do you think they drool?" Are stupid? Ugly? Mean? Etc. Ad nauseum. OMG do they hand out pamphlets on the differences between boys and girls and the ways to make either sex feel smaller than the belly of a grasshopper? Honestly! I have to tell you, it made me very sad to see Caitlin rejected simply because her plumbing didn't match theirs. Then it happened again in kindergarten. At least until she tamed The Angry Young Man with her uber friendliness. Weird, but good.

Today, however, was the second playdate for Caitlin and E.

Apparently the first one wasn't a fluke, they really did enjoy playing together. So now we're getting ready to set up a third.

Interestingly (Where interesting = hair-pulling-frustrating.), when one of the other boys in their class heard of it, he tried to convince Caitlin that it wasn't going to happen. This pronouncement upset her terribly. Clearly she was violating the social norms by actually expecting to have a playdate with someone of the opposite sex.

Can someone explain to me why my kid would believe some other kid's word on anything over my own? It took awhile, but after the storm of crying was over, she believed us that they really were going to have a playdate no matter what that other boy thought. And so they did.

Someone please tell me that this generation can actually be friends and fill in the chasm of differences that separate boys and girls? Someone?

Anyone?

Please?

Bueller?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tiny Green Babies: First Up!

Today as I was obsessively checking my seedlings, I saw this:
First tomato seedling up! It's a Pineapple tomato.

"A what?" You ask.

It's an heirloom tomato. One day it will have fruit that look like this (IhopeIhopeIhope!):
Image from TomatoFest.com. Where they say:
An heirloom garden favorite that grows to 2 lbs. This bi-colored, slightly flattened, yellow beefsteak has a red blushing and streaks on the outside. It's yellow interior contains few seeds and a red star-burst in the center. Taste is wonderfully mild with tropical fruity-sweet flavors. This is a show stopper!
Yum. Go on, tell me you're not hungry now?

I also have these popping up as well:

Which one day will look like this:
Image from here by Garden Stuff.

BTW, for those of you counting, that was four days for the tomato seed and three days for the basil seed to germinate. Yowsa! Did I mention the green thumb? Did I mention the passion, nay obsession!, with gardening?

All we need now is some buffalo mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper and we've got Caprese Salad! You can see a lovely picture of a complete salad here.

Summer can't come fast enough.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Five Months

"Emma, what's it like being 5 months old?"

"I don't know. Not much different from 4.75 months old. Should I feel different?"
"My turtle. I show you it."

"Maybe. You know, Mommy looks different. She's got more silver in her hair and big chunks of her hair are missing. Daddy says she's shedding or something. Also, she has bags under her eyes all the time."

"Huh. Do you think her hair went silver when we were born?" Looks nervous.

"Naaah. I think Caitlin probably started it. I wonder what Mommy used to look like?"
"What?!"

"Probably worse."

"I think you're right. I think I'll go get some milk."

Five months brings us back to the "normal" sleep pattern. Emma and Logan are now falling asleep at 8:30 pm and Emma sleeps until 4 am. Logan, on the other hand, wakes at 10:30, 1ish, almost 4 and then I have to wrestle with tandem nursing while flat on my back in bed. My back, in response, has been killing me! Or at least maiming me.

On the bright side, they've been napping more regularly during the day. It started while I was at the conference and makes me wonder if that was coincidental or serendipitous. That separating them for a few days got them both interested in/used to napping in the mid-morning and again in the afternoon. At home it doesn't seem to last as long, but at least they're laying flat, in a crib or co-sleeping and knocking out long enough for me to catch a shower. And I...I'm really fond of showering!

Everything goes in their mouths. Napkins, toys, the cats, my head, their siblings. Everything. It's both cute and drooly! Domino is handling the attention pretty well, far better than I would have guessed. I am very grateful for this.
Nom!

Must. Chew. Napkin!

They're both still falling over when placed in a sitting position, but they really want to be in a sitting position. I feel like they're losing millions of braincells every time they slip over and go Thunk! onto the floor. Poor little noggins!
Remaining braincells focussed on figuring stuff out.

Logan is really enjoying solid food. The rice cereal makes him very happy. Unfortunately, his poop now smells...like...poop. Bleah! Emma says she is happy to have any extra shares of milk laying around on his side of the boobs. Waste not, want not!
"Maybe...

if I suck really hard...

rice cereal will come out of this thing."

Toes are very exciting to both of them, but Logan has been kicking his feet up and grabbing them like Emma was a week or two ago. I suspect he'll be flipping over from back to tummy pretty soon.
Feet!

Last night something was up. Emma woke up around 11:30 pm and decided that it was time to Paaaaaarty! She started singing, bouncing and chatting up a storm. It lasted for hours. I swear, I had one mug of Earl Grey tea and it was at 9:30 AM. Like, the morning! This should not have had such a profound effect at midnight, but I can't fathom why else she would have been so relentlessly awake. I read this and wondered about it some more. It's also possible that it's not tea related but is instead a sign of big changes coming. Like crawling.

Dr. Sears says:
Major developmental milestones, such as sitting, crawling, and walking, drive babies to "practice" their new developmental skills in their sleep.
-- #8 of 8 INFANT SLEEP FACTS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW
Hold me!

Wordless Wednesday

Why are there tumbleweeds in my yard? Do I live in the Wild West or something?

Oh...wait. I do.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

OMG!

Assimilation complete.

The internet wins. It cannot be stopped.

Proof? You want proof?!

My mom just sent me an email and in it she said...

LOL.

Aaaaaarrrrrrrrgh!

And then my head exploded and I died.

Emma says...

*Chomp!*

Mommy says: OW!

Mommy stomps upstairs holding offending chomper at arm's length, sensitive body part sending out pain messages frantically. (It's OK, body, I got the message loud and clear!)

Mommy places vicious beast into crib and turns on the mobile, exits the room and shuts the door. Mommy stomps downstairs, restraining urge to curse like a sailor.

Emma, eventually figuring our that she's all alone, says "Waaaaaaaah!"

"Is Emma in trouble?" Caitlin asks, delighted that it's someone else's turn.

"Yes. She's in a baby timeout." Eric explains.

The first of many, I'm sure.

I'm so not looking forward to teeth. Do they make mouth guards small enough?

Quiz Time!

Today's topic: Naps.

You're sitting on the sofa, nursing your child. Do you:
  1. Nurse the baby to sleep and pass out with it.
  2. Nurse the baby to a certain point of sleepiness and then put it into its crib and let it fall asleep there.
  3. Nurse the baby to a certain point of sleepiness and then lovingly pat and soothe it until it falls asleep, then place it into its crib and nap in your own bed.
  4. Nurse the baby. Continue nursing the baby. This baby has no Off switch.

The sound of the phone wakes you. Do you:
  1. Wake up, startled, completely unsure of how much time has passed. Five minutes? Thirty minutes? Two minutes, four seconds? Long term sleep deprivation has shattered your internal clock. You do not actually answer the phone because you can't get your brain to engage your legs.
  2. Answer the phone, then return to whatever you were doing.
  3. What phone? You have the ringer turned off. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  4. Nurse the baby. Curse the caller under your breath. Consider getting caller id (if you don't have it) or consider calling whomever it is back at 3:05 am. Baby might be sleeping then.

You notice that your arm is going numb from holding the baby. Do you:
  1. Gently switch the baby's position to be more comfortable for you and then curse your folly. You have woken the sleeping baby.
  2. You're busy getting stuff done. That baby is sleeping on its own. Sucker!
  3. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sleep is blissful, is it not?
  4. Nurse the baby. Let arm, legs, and feet go numb. Do Not! Disturb! Potentially! Slee--! Crap! Baby heard your thoughts and is fully awake again. Thanks a lot. Curse the world for existing.

Your baby is now awake. Do you:
  1. Lie there and pretend to be asleep, hoping baby will buy it and fall asleep again while you silently cursing your stupidity and you mentally prepare a blog post about it. Too bad the computer isn't nearby.
  2. Pat and soothe the baby back to sleep. Nap time isn't over yet, Junior! Continue with your day.
  3. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Now you're getting to the really good part of your dream. Baby is, too. What an angel!
  4. I hate you! I hate you and all of your little sleeping buddies! Devise evil plans for those that answer C.

Your baby latches on again and falls back to sleep. Do you:
  1. Thank your lucky stars and pass out for another unknown time period. Determine you can't fall asleep (Why?! Why?!) and go make up a blog post.
  2. Your house is clean, your bills paid, your dinner planned (and possibly even cooking in the slow cooker), your laundry done and you are showered and perky. Must be time to go pick up any other kids from school!
  3. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Roll over and sigh happily. Get more comfortable. Someone else is taking care of your child in the afternoon while you rest.
  4. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Wonder how much sleep you'd get if you offered your soul to an unspecified supernatural power? Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

If you answered:
  1. You are me. Hi me!
  2. You are so darned organized! Give yourself a big hand and take a bow!
  3. You are a Sleep Swami. Teach me your ways, O Wise One!
  4. You are exhausted. I'm sorry. I'll think quieter next time. Hi Ali! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)
This quiz brought to you by Logan and the Power of the Sleep Deprived Brain. It's a lot like insanity, but a lot less fun.

My last quiz is here.

Updated to add: Wow! That was exactly one year and one month ago! I'm goooood! Or exactly eleven months ago. Whatever! My math abilities are just as wrecked as my time sense.

Monday, February 25, 2008

On Locavores and Other Tasty Issues

Food. We all need it to survive. Some of us love it, some of us hate it, but we all need it. As the old adage goes: some eat to live while others live to eat.

I am the latter.

Your surprise is complete, is it not?

There's a hierarchy in the organic food movement, that you may have heard about:
  1. Local and organic.
  2. Local, but conventional.
  3. Organic, but not local.
  4. Conventional, but not local.
The idea behind it is that anything that cuts down on the amount of transportation it takes to get food to your plate is good for you, the freshness of your food and the environment. The emphasis on organic has led to the Sustainable Agriculture movement and the Slow Food movement. This collection of thought processes has led to the rise of the Locavore.

Today's SixChix comic. Love it! Click to enlarge.

Now the interesting thing about the locavore is the fact that it is a rising trend in agriculture today. So much so that it was the first item mentioned by the keynote speaker at the Ag Conference I attended last week. People that want to eat locally are also, in effect, required to eat seasonally. Suddenly (or not so suddenly, really), we've come full circle and have returned to old fashioned agriculture. Shopping at the local farmers' market returns us to our roots and gets the individual shopper in touch with the people responsible for growing the food they eat: the small family farmer. It's a very good thing to know your local farmers, they're good people.

Eating what is grown on the land around you also reduces your carbon footprint (Calculator here.) and has the added benefit of keeping your money circulating in the local community. Both of these things benefit you and your community in both the short and long term. By purchasing local and organic food, you will improve your family's health and welfare and also help to drive more farmers into the organic market. By keeping small family farms in business, you help to employ more people locally.

The effect of organic food on the health of our children is significant:
Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children's Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides

...
We substituted most of children's conventional diets with organic food items for 5 consecutive days and collected two spot daily urine samples, first-morning and before-bedtime voids, throughout the 15-day study period.
...In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production. We also concluded that these children were most likely exposed to these organophosphorus pesticides exclusively through their diet.
--Abstract from Environmental Health Perspectives, February 2006

As more folks purchase organic food, more farmers will move away from conventional growing. Then, as the laws of supply and demand tell us, the price of locally produced organic food will drop. Just in time, too, since with the rising price of gas we'll soon see rising prices in the grocery store. If we haven't already, that is.

As a small farmer, I'm delighted by this trend. Yes, we'll be out there this summer at our local market, selling to the general public, meeting people, making friends and gaining new customers. We'll be doing our part to change the world around us via food. And we won't be alone.

According to an article in the NY Times, a study found that (Gasp!) when offered vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables, low income women actually bought and ate them.
Effect of a targeted subsidy on intake of fruits and vegetables among low-income women in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

Intervention participants increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables and sustained the increase 6 months after the intervention was terminated (model adjusted R(2)=.13, P<.001). Farmers' market participants showed an increase of 1.4 servings per 4186 kJ (1000 kcal) of consumed food (P<.001) from baseline to the end of intervention compared with controls, and supermarket participants showed an increase of 0.8 servings per 4186 kJ (P=.02). CONCLUSIONS: Participants valued fresh fruits and vegetables, and adding them to the WIC food packages will result in increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
-- Publine entry from the American Journal of Public Health
Bolded entry was my emphasis.

The only problem with the vouchers? Not enough money. Surprise!
The U.C.L.A. study gave women $10 a week, while the W.I.C. program will provide monthly vouchers worth $8 to each recipient and $6 to each child. Breastfeeding women will receive just $10 a month toward fruits and vegetables.
-- NY Times The Farmers' Market Effect
So here's the thing: if we're all so darned concerned about women and children and making sure that babies are born healthy from healthy women, why wouldn't we make that a more reasonable dollar amount? Eight dollars a month?! Ten if you're pregnant?! Did you know about the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge where congress people vowed to live on $21 a week? Now imagine if you had an additional $2 every week for more fruits and vegetables. Wow! Now there's a balanced diet! We'll have obesity and nutritional diseases amoung low income families licked in no time at that rate!

The problem that you see is that for $21 a week, you want to get the most caloric bang for your buck and it's not going to be in fruits and veggies. They are good for you, but the small portions you can buy for $2 a week (Extra! Whoo!) are not going to fill you up and stop you from feeling hungry. That's where cheap junk food comes in, repeatedly: it's very very cheap and calorically dense. The problem is that you pay with your health and in the long term, your life.

This pittance for fresh fruits and veggies is in complete contradiction to the cries of:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
-- Unhappy Meals, NY Times
Read it, it's a really good article. However, it puts everything into stark contrast. Unless you're rich, you can't afford to be healthy in our society. We're a First World country! What the hell is going on?
A little meat won’t kill you, though it’s better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to eat “food.” Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.
-- Unhappy Meals, NY Times
What do they mean by food products? They mean this:
-- SixChix comic from February 13th. Click to enlarge.

So what do we do? How do we get healthier, live longer, reduce our carbon footprint, keep money in our own communities and encourage responsible, sustainable agricultural practices? We either grow our own food or buy it from our local farmers' market or join a CSA. We also fight back against Big Ag (See the OCA website for more details about issues that affect your food and find out what you can do to help.) when they try to lobby for changes that only benefit them in the marketplace. We buy our meat from local producers that we trust so that we can know that our food is safe, because this is horrifying.

And we do it because we know that a real tomato, one grown either in your own backyard or by someone that actually cares about the food they make and sell should never be on the Untasty yet Easy side of the graph.
Today's XKCD comic. Click to enlarge.

Grapefruit shouldn't be there either, but it requires you to get a fresh picked one to realize they can actually be sweet. Something I didn't know until I had one while in Jamaica. Just imagine the local markets there. Yum!

So get out there and get growin'!

Me? I just started 420 340 tomato plants (too tired to do math properly) (15 16 different heirloom varieties) last night (and I haven't even started the 6 8 different basil varieties, 192 plants...). I'll see you at the market.

For more information on finding your local farmers' market or CSA, go here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Logan says...

"Brown rice cereal? It's what's for dinner!"

After trying bananas out for the last week, we decided to give rice cereal a try. Following the directions at WholesomeBabyFood.com, I made some. You know, from scratch, from this recipe. By the way, brown rice is better than white rice since it contains the bran and the germ while the packaged stuff is usually just white rice, since it has a better shelf life that way.

Swistle would be so proud! I was reading her site when she talked about making your own babyfood and she made it look so easy that it would be kinda silly to not do it. Misty also made Oliver's food, so between the two of them I guess it's gonna be home cookin' for the wee ones.

Of course I photographed it for you!

First, I pulverized the brown rice in a coffee grinder that I use as a spice grinder until it was a fine powder. Then I sifted it into a bowl through a strainer, just to be certain I didn't have any large grains left behind. Turns out that there were some, so I recommend that step.

I took 1/4 cup of the rice powder and tossed it into a pot with 1 cup boiling water and whisked away for about 12 minutes. Whisking means few to no clumps and a nicer texture. I also added a few tablespoons more water as it appeared to be getting quite thick and since everything takes longer to cook at this elevation, more cooking time seemed to be a good idea, too.

At this point, I had a pretty thick porridge that appeared to be ready. I removed it from the pot so it wouldn't burn from residual heat.


A fair amount of it, too, so I just scooped about a tablespoon's worth into a small glass dish and thinned it out with breastmilk.

Then I got my test subject ready with a bib. He seemed game to try it.

Did he like it?

I'd say so!

After a few more of these faces,
our bowl looked like this:

He liked it so much that I gave him a second helping, but stopped there, so that his tiny tummy wouldn't explode.

Then we thinned out the remaining porridge with fresh (not previously frozen) breastmilk, poured it into ice cube trays and stuck it in the freezer. Tomorrow, we'll just pull a cube out and let it defrost in the fridge and be ready to go. Logan will appreciate it.

Here he is, pondering his future and how long he will have to wait for more yummy cereal.

Tomorrow, little hungry one. Tomorrow.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Twenty one weeks

A year ago I attended this very same Ag conference while pregnant and starving. I had no idea it was twins (found that out a month later), but couldn't get over how different it was from my first pregnancy.

Now, a whole year later, I brought Emma to her very first Ag conference. Two days of water rights this and soil web that, leaving Logan behind with Eric to work on the bottle training. Two and a half days of sort of feeling like I only had one infant instead of two.
Two! Two infants! Aiee!

Know what I learned?

Breasts that are producing somewhere in the vicinity of a gallon of milk a day really miss that second twin. Even with sporadic pumping and trying to get the local twin to nurse like mad (She wasn't interested), it's gonna hurt. Ow! Ow! I sat in the bathroom, on a ledge/seat that was slowly collapsing, with breasts that considered exploding and taking the entire conference with them or jumping in the car and racing back to the other twin that surely loved them and missed them and understood their pain. Meanwhile, in a house far far away from said conference, a little boy was taking a little more milk than previously out of a bottle so long as it was cold.

And eating bananas.

Yummy!
Crying and eating bananas. Not crying because of the bananas, but because I wasn't willing to hold him in my lap at the same time. As if!

Yummm! Bananas! And crying. Two great tastes....

I like it! Gimme!

Logan has started eating solid food. And by solid, of course, I mean squished up bananas that if looked at too long make one want to hork up lunch. Do not look directly at the bananas. Consider this a safety tip. We knew Logan was ready from all the grabby grabbiness he's been displaying for us. No, that plate of Crab Rangoon is not for you, little boy! Eating solid food does not mean starting off with steak and ice cream. You'll just have to build up to those items slowly, just like your big sister.

Emma, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with solid food and is very happy still drinking her breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, tea time, snack, dinner, snack, snack, snack, and early morning pre-breakfast snack. She did, however, enjoy licking Heather's golden delicious apple this morning at the conference. She jams everything she can into her mouth, and when the apple was offered, jammed it into her mouth willingly and then pulled back to consider this bizarre non-finger offering. Determining that it was a Good Thing, she jammed it back into her toothless cavern and proceeded to squick me out by the contented licking and gumming she engaged in.

I have a messy hands "thing", so I'm really glad that I wasn't holding the apple, just the happy apple juice and drool covered baby.
Bananas: Do not want!

I'm thinking...I'm thinking...

Are you people serious? This is "solid" food?

Nah. I'll wait for steak.

Bleah!

Likes bananas juuuuust fine.

The twins have finally gone back to something approaching their normal sleeping pattern. Both will fall asleep around 8:30 or 9 pm and Emma will sleep until 4 or 5 am. Logan, unfortunately, will still wake around 12 or 1:30 and then twice or thrice more (2ish, 4ish and 6 ish) before we just get sick of it and get out of bed for the day.

Where's my baby brick?!

Both babes are working on sitting up on their own, but Emma seems to be leading the way. She has slid over and gone Bonk! before I could catch her plenty of times, but considering how close she is to the floor anyway it's never as damaging as it sounds.

Alternatively, I could be entirely wrong and she's killing off vital baby brain cells and now won't be smart enough to cure cancer by the time she's 18. If that's the case: I'm sorry World!

Emma enjoyed her 2.5 days away from home and was the recipient of much admiration from the other Aggies. When we returned home again, Logan was so excited to see her that he freaked out and did the electrified baby boogie. He smiled and smiled and smiled at her and was more interested in looking at her than in nursing. I think he missed her!

And I have to ask you this:

Since when did "good baby" become equivalent to "silent baby"? I got more compliments over how "good" she was than nearly anything else. She definitely received her share of "sweet", "cute", and "happy" compliments, but the good baby = silent baby comments made me feel kinda funny. She did squee and squeal from time to time, but that only got us indulgent smiles. When she got upset (i.e. hungry), we'd leave the room to go nurse. Is that weird? Am I weird to think that was weird? Am I weird to wonder if I'm weird to think that was weird?

Weird, huh?
My cuteness goes to eleven.

My cuteness goes to...uh...twelve!
(Thanks to Dan for the shirts.)


Yes, I am the "good" baby. I have a Squee! setting. Let me show you it.

Yup. we're just like that

Advanced Technology


Today's XKCD comic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Things to do when I grow up

We should totally do this at my next birthday party!

If you read this on the wrong date (i.e. not today), look for the entry for Thursday, Feb 7th.

Eric says...

After a long, hard day alone with Logan and a sick Caitlin (whilst Emma and I were off at an Ag conference),

"I'm going to the store for chocolate chip cookies. I deserve cookies."

Sez me: "OK. Oh, and pick up orange juice and mint chocolate chip ice cream"

As he exits into the garage, Eric cackles "Bwahahaaa! You fools! You should never have let me go! I'm free! To Mexico!"

Umm...should I be worried?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bite me!

Not you. Logan.

He bites and pinches, and frankly if you were to do that, the friendship would be over! Tonight he pinched me so hard, on either side of my breast, that I am now bruised. He pinched me so hard that I had a hard time unclenching the tiny fists of pinching power to release my mangled mammary.

Breastfeeding is so fun. So fun that I've made you a list.

Things I Love and Hate about Breastfeeding

Hate:
  1. The 6-8 week "break-in" period. Don't try and tell me that it won't hurt if I get in some magical position that is somehow unattainable by mortal woman. Breasts are sensitive and those that have never performed actual work before and are suddenly required to hit the ground running with twins are going to hurt.
  2. Thrush. May I never have that again. You neither. That sucked. Although the gentian violet purple mouth thing was pretty cool looking. In a weird sort of way.
  3. Biting. Thank goodness no one has teeth yet.
  4. Pinching. Dammit! Stop!
  5. Poking. Ow!
  6. Pulling. What am I, taffy? Stop it!
  7. Spraying all over everything. Apparently my children, Logan especially, like to take milk baths and I am to provide the milk.
  8. Leaking and dripping. In bed. Out of bed. Doesn't matter. I'm soaking in my own puddles. Bleah.
  9. Vomit. Milk that goes in too fast, comes out too fast, as well.
  10. Paranoia. Am I making enough? is the perennial question of newly breastfeeding moms. Makes you crazy.
  11. Being on call 24/7. No one else around here is lactating so I'm always on duty. Eric's not trying very hard to lactate, either. I've suggested it to him but Noooooo! he says. Phooey. The flip side, of course is #8 below.
  12. No chai. Sniffle!
  13. Being exposed in public. I'm all for breastfeeding whenever and wherever you need to, but Logan has this terrible habit of suddenly pulling and then popping off just to take a look around. Dude! You're 4.5 months old! Ain't nothin' to see that won't be there when you're either a) no longer nursing or b) old enough to actually know what you're looking at!
  14. Having a cold belly.
  15. Tandem nursing. When the twins are awake and I try tandem nursing there are often one handed wrestling matches that take place on my chest. These often lead to the popping off and crying of one or both twins with twisting and arching of backs. Nursing is over when that happens.
  16. Feeling trapped. Whether I'm tandem nursing or just one, I often feel as if I'm stuck to the chair.
Love:
  1. Getting past the "break-in" period. Suddenly you feel like a pro and that maybe this breastfeeding thing is just as cool as everyone says?
  2. Being patted and stroked.
  3. That fuzzy sleepy feeling you get when everyone is nursing well.
  4. Looking down at happy, sleepy nursing babies. They're so cute! Too bad I can't photograph the specific look I'm thinking of. My camera is too heavy to work one handed at arm's length.
  5. Watching the twins grow on breastmilk alone gives me a powerful sense of accomplishment. That fat roll? Yeah...I did that!
  6. Weight loss! Duuude! I've lost 61 pounds in 4 months and while I seem to be stuck on the last 4 pounds, I'm wearing my regular clothes again. Yeeha! As the weather warms up I'll be out walking more and more and the last few pounds will come off. Assuming I don't go crazy with the scones, that is.
  7. No bottles to wash. The flip side is #11 above.
  8. Being able to knock an exhausted baby out with the Power of the Boob is a super power every nursing mom can claim.
  9. Non-stinky poops. Won't last long before they're on solid food, but until then their poop doesn't stink.
  10. Being able to fall back asleep while someone is nursing is awesome!
  11. It's free!
  12. I've learned to type one handed.
  13. Nursing frequently leads to frequent blog posts. You're welcome!
  14. It also leads to reading lots and lots of stuff online. For reasons I don't understand, it's easier to nurse and read on the computer than it is to read a book.
  15. You can often soothe an upset baby by offering a warm and pillowy breast.
  16. Warm, cuddly babies. Makes you wanna hug 'em and squeeze 'em!
Well, I'm off to bed. Time to rest before the hungry hordes awaken again!

Anything else I should add to my list?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dieter's Dilemma & Crockpots Ahoy!

My cousin in NY sent me an email about a bit of furor that I caused her dieting group:
I am very active on the email support system from my diet.

Anyway.......there are always new people coming on thinking they have a better way to format the email forum. This week someone suggested a blog type. Many of us were saying they don't see how a blog could work, & several people my age, didn't even know what a blog is (sort of like me a year ago). So I said "My cousin has an incredible blog, so if anyone wants to see what a blog is, go to www.hatchet........" Well I hadn't been on since Thursday or so. Well you wouldn't believe the amount of poor deprived people who are only eating veggies, fruit & milk, that went on to read the whole story of blueberry scones. They were freaking out!!!! "Why did Janet tell us to read about heavy cream and sugar & blahblahblahblahblah.............." I felt so bad but it was sooooo funny. Thought you'd get a kick out of it.
And to those poor folks, after I stopped laughing at the email, I humbly apologize. I hope the scones didn't traumatize you too much and to make it up to you, I shot a few pictures of food that are probably on your allowed list.
Celery. Celery is good, right?

Pears are also very nice. A good shot to your sweet spot, as it were.

And, um, a little subliminal advertising. The carrots, they're good for you! The celery got lonely.

Just, whatever you do, don't search my blog for cake. It may break you. And I don't want that to happen - Janet would probably never forgive me.

Uhh...and you may want to skip this, too:
Old fashioned chili with salsa cruda from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. No, really, that's the title!

I've got a crockpot, I said. Send me recipes, I said. Get a book, you said. So we went shopping.

We did look at the Fix It and Forget it book. I picked that one up first and flipped through it. Then I handed it to Eric and he ixnayed it. You were right in that it has very easy recipes and they do look really fast to put together. The problem is that many of their recipes rely on "convenience" foods and convenience foods often contain MSG (and other multi-syllabic unpronounceable ingredients), to which I am horribly allergic. Gives me migraines which sucks mightily. Eric also complained that there were no fresh ingredients listed and that was the end of that.

It's not that we're not willing to cook dinner, it's that we're not allowed to cook dinner by the tiny twin tyrants that run the house currently. What with the screaming, nursing and crying, it has put a damper on the cooking. Add in Caitlin's end-of-day shenanigans and it's no fun at dinner time.

The other problem is that we're food snobs.

I totally admit to it.

I, Hatchet, am a food snob. [Insert sound of crickets.]

I'm sorry, you...you weren't surprised? Oh. Yeah. Well, I guess you've been reading some of the food entries, haven't you?

Dieters:
Don't follow the links! Nooooo! Hey! What are you doing down here anyway?!

So, there we were: Eric ready to call off the search for a recipe book and I, determined that there must be a crockpot recipe book that was meant for us. And there was! And is! And it's a tome, I tell you! Unfortunately, other than the images on the front, spine and back cover there are no pictures in this cookbook. What's up with that?! I like pictures. They make me think either Yum! and they sell me on the book. I'm visually oriented (also not surprising to you).

After flipping through it, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook received the Eric stamp of approval and we were out of there. I paged through it on the way home and started making plans. Eric, however, got to choose the first item we made in the crockpot and he chose Old Fashioned Chili with Salsa Cruda. That night (Saturday), he ran out to pick up the ingredients we were missing and on Sunday morning while the twins were happy hanging out in the dining room, I put it together and into the pot. Yummy smells filled the air all day long. Eric made up the Salsa Cruda (raw salsa) after I was done with the first part and tossed it into the fridge.

Sunday night, with Pop-pop and Nana-Sue over for a visit, we feasted.

This is the final product:
It was so good, you needed to see that picture again.

Chili is on the bottom of the bowl, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, then the salsa (the whole dish is very mild) and a few slices of avocado. Not exactly dieting food, but not too bad, either. At least, not in a scones and heavy cream sort of way. Heh!

Caitlin had it tonight over potatoes that were partially scooped out and she loved it, too! Good for the whole family. Not hot, though, so if you like chili that sets your tongue on fire, this won't be the recipe for you.

Want to make it? Here's how:

Cooker: medium round or oval
Setting: Low for 8-9 hours, add salt during last hour (Unless you are at high elevation, like we are, in which case set it to High for 8 or so hours.)

2 lb ground sirloin
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 med. green, yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves (or more!), minced
2 15 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 14.75 oz cans diced tomatoes, with their juice
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups beef or chicken broth or water
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt to taste

Salsa cruda:
3-4 large ripe tomatoes, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime (or more!)
Garlic powder to taste
Salt to taste

For serving:
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Sliced avocado
  1. In a very large skillet over med-high heat, cook beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is no longer pink, breaking up any clumps; drain off fat. Transfer to slow cooker and add kidney beans, tomatoes, sauce, broth, chili powder, oregano and cumin, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW (or at 3000' and higher: HIGH) for 8-9 hours, stirring occasionally (I didn't.), if possible. The last hour, season with salt.
  2. To make the salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until serving. If you must make it the night before, add cilantro and lime at the last minute. (Note: to save time on all that dicing, you could just chop the ingredients into quarters, toss it into a food processor and give it a few one-second pulses. Not too many, you don't want mush.)
  3. Serve chili in bowls topped with salsa, cheese and avocado slices.
Now I know that they say crockpots maintain moisture, but seeing is believing. Even here, in the land where it is unusual to say, "Wow! It's humid today!", the crockpot had a fair amount of liquid left in the chili when we were ready to eat it, so we took the top off and let it continue to cook down for awhile longer. We also didn't wait for 8 hours, probably more like 7, but it was gooooood! And it was easy! And it made dinner time a thousand times easier than normal. And there are leftovers, so we had food instantly ready for dinner yesterday and tonight as well as for lunch tomorrow.

Tomorrow night? Potato and Leek Soup.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Twenty Weeks

Twenty weeks has kicked our butts.

No, seriously, 4.5 months old and there's a growth spurt going on and there's no sleeping going on around these here parts. For the last week, they've been waking every 2 hours all night long. Both of them. Not much napping during the day, either. Today, they finally started napping again.

Bad enough when it was just Logan every 3-4 hours. Nowadays, 3-4 hours of sleep is looking really nice! Funny what perspective will do for ya, huh?
"Emma! I honk your nose. Honk! Honk!"

Let's see, other than that there isn't a lot of big change that happened from last week to this week. Logan still hasn't rolled over the hard way and neither one sits up on their own for long without toppling over and going Bonk! They both love being swung into the air and turned upside down. And they're still absolutely crazy about this girl:
Caitlin tries on her new swimsuit.

Too bad she's gone away for the weekend. They're gonna miss her! She's off galumphing about with her cousins in the mountains for the three day weekend. Us? We'll be practicing sleeping. We drove her to Denver to meet up with Aunt Jenni and I got to do a little shopping for a cute pair of jeans, two shirts and a necklace. We're calling the necklace an early birthday present from Eric. My birthday? Not until next month.

Well, I said it was an early present, didn't I?!

Before she left, Caitlin got some snuggling in with the twins and I got some cute pictures of the three of them. Yay!

[In a sing-song voice] One of these expressions is not like the others!

Logan started to get grumpy, so then it became an all girl shoot.
Emma says, "Nom nom nom! Dis Caitlin taste good!"

I will hug her and squeeze her and call her My Sister.

Oh, actually there was a new thing: Logan is trying to convince us that he's ready for solid food.
"Dis my eatin' face. Nom! Nom! You gives me cake now. I ready."

We dropped by Sara's to chill with her, The Hazel-Who and Katie and she offered us a slice of ice cream cake. Who are we to refuse ice cream cake? Eric, who had Logan in his lap, had to fend off the blighter from snatching his cake. Logan kept making these incredibly loud lip smacking sounds while watching Eric eat.

Eric, being the soft touch that he is, offered the tiniest amount of whipped cream on a finger-tip to Logan who slurped it down and got really wide-eyed.

I guess we'll be breaking out the mashed bananas this weekend.
Could he look any smaller in that high chair?!

"Now I play da air piano. You like? I play Mozart for you."

Maybe I'll even photograph it. Who knows?

Heh.
Peace, y'all!
(Note that Logan is trying to give you the peace sign, too.)

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