Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Joseph!

In honor of Joseph's first birthday, here are a few of his favorite things:

- Reading books, books, and more books!

- When big brother plays "I'm gonna get you!"

- When Daddy tosses him up in the air!

- Lights! Lights! Lights!

- Gazing at Grandpa's fake fireplace!

- Being outside!

- Eating pumpkin pie!

- Listening to his Pandora station!

- Banging on the keyboarjuyfdkjho;l

Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet baby!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Slayer of colds: the Ginger Dragon!

A local coffee chain has this amazing drink called a Ginger Dragon. It is simple - steaming hot ginger, lemon, and honey, and is not for everyone, as it is quite potent. However, my husband looooves this concoction, and I have to admit that it is just the thing if you have a cold, or if you are cold. The ginger has a fabulous warming effect, and it'll definitely clear out your sinuses! So, inspired by this cool summer beverage - Jamaican Ginger Beer - over at the Common Room, I decided to try making my own. (I scaled the recipe down, so if you'd like a larger batch, try their proportions.)

Ginger Dragon

a decent-sized chunk of ginger (mine was about 6 ounces), peeled and chopped into chunks
2 cups water
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup honey

Put the ginger chunks in the blender with a cup of water and whirl it all up. Strain out the liquid into a container, and put the pulp back into the blender with a half-cup of water. Blend and strain again. Blend one more time with another half-cup of water, and strain again. Now you have about 2 cups of super ginger-infused liquid! Add the lemon juice (fresh-squeezed is superior, but I used bottled 'cause that's what I had) and honey. 

What you've just made is STRONG. Trust me. My ginger-lovin' husband likes this mixed about 50-50 with boiling water, but I like it a bit weaker. I think it would also be good added to hot tea in even smaller amounts.

Hope it helps you stay warm from the inside-out this winter!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My visit from the Poop Fates

Never heard of the Poop Fates? Read the origin of the Poop Fates here at Conversion Diary. Got it? Now read on.

In the middle of brunch today (why is it ALWAYS in the middle of a meal?) I caught a whiff of something suspicious coming from the baby on my lap. A peek down the back showed that it was very close to breaching the diaper wall, so I hurried Joseph upstairs. I was fully prepared for poop smushed all up his back, but was not expecting to find it COMPLETELY up the front as well. He immediately plunged both hands, including his useless "distraction toy", up to the wrists in poop. I snatched the toy away before he could throw the poop-smeared thing, and started to attempt damage control, but it quickly became apparent that a bath was in order. I mean: poop under the fingernails, in the wrist creases, on the sleeves of his shirt, OH MY GOODNESS IS THAT POOP ON YOUR FACE??? 

Oh, and did I mention that he was already sobbing hysterically?

So, I hauled him to the bathroom and put him in the back part of the tub so that he would be quarantined while I got the water the right temperature. He didn't take it very well. He was freaking out, clawing at the sides of the tub (now smeared in poop) and my clothes (ditto), while I frantically tried to calibrate the water temperature and keep him away from the alternately scalding and freezing water. Finally, I got it right and let him get wet, which he usually loves, but there was just too much trauma at this point, and it became clear that I was going to have to get in, too. Well, why not? I was already going to have to change clothes and his clutching hands had deposited poop up to my elbows by this time.

It was at this point that my eldest apparently noticed that something was awry (what, 10 minutes of screaming didn't tip you off?) and poked his head in to see if I needed anything. Um, no, thanks, I got it.

So, into the tub, which quelled the screaming somewhat, but now the baby was so traumatized that I got to figure out how to clean us both up while keeping as much of him squished up against me as possible. An inch of space between his skin and mine was NOT permissible. Oh, and he wanted to nurse, of course, but until I got his face washed, that was NOT happening = more screaming. 

I eventually got all the visible poop cleaned up and decided that I'd better get his hair to be on the safe side, which reignited the freak-out. Washing the shampoo out of a baby's hair when he is making a frantic effort to climb onto your head? Easy! Not.

At long last I bundled him into his towel, sort-of dried myself one-handed while holding Mr. Clingy with the other hand, and waited for him to fall asleep while blogging this in a towel. My grapefruit and coffee still sit abandoned downstairs in the hopes that I can detach Joseph for a while.

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Seven Quick Takes: Lesser-Known Developmental Milestones Edition

These aren't in any baby books that I'm aware of, but they are important nonetheless! Now most milestone lists will give you an estimate of when each should be achieved by your little genius, but I really don't know when to expect these accomplishments. I think I can safely say: not in the first 11 months.

1. Ability to lick one's own lips to remove wayward food instead of needing someone to scrape it off with a spoon.

2. Ability to nurse without fiddling with... something. You nursing mamas know what I mean.

3. Ability to touch something without compulsively sinking one's fingers in like a hawk's talons into a mouse. This habit can be annoying (your peanut butter sandwich), painful (your face), or dangerous (a bowl of piping hot oatmeal).

4. Ability to suppress insatiable desire to shove all paper products within reach directly into one's mouth.

5. Ability to estimate the distance to the edge of the bed when sitting up with one's back to it, so that he does not gracefully twist from a crawling position to a sitting position only to land flat on his back on the floor because he accidentally sat with half his hiney hanging off the bed.

6. Ability to understand that, "Mama will be right back! Mama is going to the bathroom now because she's been waaaaaaaiting for you to stop nursing and now she's about to die! But she will be very quick! SHE WILL BE RIGHT BACK I PROMISE," does not mean the same as, "Ha ha! Mama is leaving and despite that fact that she has returned quickly every single other time, THIS TIME SHE'S OUTTA HERE FOR GOOD!"

7. Ability to suppress desire to bang on keyboard from one's mother's lap while she attempts to bloaehgkjaglakpew ag   earalrgoahg hjjjkvg;pa

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bedclothes theory 101

It's that time of year! The time when the blankets and comforters are pulled from their summer storage in heirloom cedar chests off the guestroom bed where they've been laying since May. And, once again, I feel the need to explain how to use them. 

What? I know, seems pretty straightforward, right? HOWEVER. Some people apparently do not think about what each layer is actually for. We typically just use a sheet when it's warm, then add layers as it gets colder. (Duh.) But, why keep the sheet when you have blanket and comforter piled on? It's not really adding that much in the way of warmth, right? Isn't it just one more thing to get tangled up in?

NO. The purpose of the sheet is TO KEEP THE OTHER LAYERS CLEAN. Because, while you can easily wash the sheet each week, and maybe the blankets, depending on your washer capacity, most comforters and quilts need to be dry-cleaned or taken to the laundromat.

Most of you with ovaries are probably sighing and wondering why this needs to be explained. Those of you in possession of a y-chromosome, read on.

Correct sleeping position:
Note the correct placement of the sheet, insulating the comforter from bodily contact.

Incorrect sleeping position:
Note the DRY CLEAN ONLY comforter stuffed up under the gross armpit AAARRRGGHH!
 Class dismissed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Facebook Roundup 10/15/12

Samuel, sitting with Joseph in his lap: "This is the best part of the day." And, earlier: "Never trust anyone who doesn't like babies."
Samuel won't start his school work until his "school time" station is playing on Pandora. In case you're wondering, it's mostly movie soundtracks. I guess math problems are better solved to the Imperial March.
At ten months, Joseph: has three teeth! says "Yay!" while clapping! pulls a blanket over his head to play peek-a-boo! might be a little spoiled? ;)

Used up the last of the disposable diapers we got for our recent trip, so we switched back to cloth today. Joseph laughed and kicked with glee when he was wrapped in nice soft cotton instead of... whatever those other ones are made of. Guess we know his vote in the cloth vs. disposable debate! 

Shawn just hung up the pumpkin lights and Joseph was soooo excited. "Yi! Yi! Yi!" (That's "light".) He is going to freak out from sheer delight at Christmastime.

We took our light-obsessed baby through the Christmas display at Lowe's. He first stared in open-mouthed astonishment at the pre-lit trees and then he could not stop grinning and laughing!

Aaaaand now he's developed a fear of the vacuum cleaner. I know what you're thinking, Mom, but no, this is not the first time he's seen it in his 11 months of life. So, to review: artificial lighting = utter mind-blowing joy; vacuum cleaner = scary-scary-scary-mama-hold-me-we're-all-gonna-die. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Let's catch up: Wisconsin edition

We've been wanting to take a trip to Wisconsin Dells FOR-EH-VAH. Finally did it! Also, swung north to visit Shawn's extended family, and his parents made the trip with us.

DAY 1: Drove to the Dells! Went to MagiQuest at the Great Wolf Lodge. (Not where we stayed, because hoo-boy! $$$!) We had gone to one of these during our summer trip to Gatlinburg, and Samuel had a blast, so we decided to try a different location. It was fun, but very very tiring because unlike the one in Tennessee, this one spans 4 stories, and you have to visit them all repeatedly. That is a LOT of stair-climbing! Of course, I mostly followed my little crawler around one the main level.

DAY 2: Took a tour of Lost Canyon. This was a fairly short, but very fun tour, and the canyon is beautiful. The tour is conducted via horse-drawn wagons.

Grandpa and Samuel got their picture taken with President Obama

Then we sampled the local cuisine at Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty.

at Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty

And, my favorite part of the trip, we took a boat tour of the Upper Dells. (Would have liked to do the Lower Dells, also, but didn't have time to do it all!) This tour was about 2 hours, and included a couple of stops where you could take short trails.


walking through Witch's Gulch

Walking through Witch's Gulch

view in Witch's Gulch

me and bebe

Samuel in Witch's Gulch

Stand Rock and the jumping dog

bad picture of me and the kids and a drainage hole

fam pic - thanks, passing photog!

Samuel and I determined that this was definitely certaintly some kind of rock

spot the sideways tree!

DAY 3: Played mini-golf! We love mini-golf, and it was a treat for us flatlanders to play somewhere that actually had an interesting terrain! Then we had our lunch delivered to us via train at Buffalo Phil's and stayed to play at the gigantic arcade.

DAY 4: Trekked up nort' to see the relatives. First on the agenda was a "hay ride" up to Butler Rock, but when we got there, there was a distinct lack of hay. That's okay, because what was on the wagon was better: couches. Definitely the way to go. Shawn's uncle towed the wagon with a tractor, and we had a fun crowd with his aunt and cousins and other family and friends on the ride and subsequent hike up the hill.

Me and Joseph

Me and Joseph

Me and my boys

Samuel and Grandma

Joseph's favorite toy: empty water bottle

pretty pretty trees

Samuel found a stick, as usual

Samuel and Grandpa check out the view

Samuel + trees

This lovely fall excursion was followed by dinner at the famous Shaffer's!

DAY 5: We went out for pizza (including reuben pizza, which sounds disgusting to me, but Shawn loved) at the Brothers Three with Shawn's cousin, then headed out to the family farm. All pictures taken that day were captured on Grandma's iPad, so you'll just have to imagine Samuel getting a tractor ride in the field, playing with the barn cats, goats, and calves, watching the cows getting milked, and getting splattered with cow poo. (Only a little, but it was a Very! Dramatic! Event!)

DAY 6: Embarked on the epic journey back home. By this time Joseph was really really really done with being in the car, and I was really really really done with the contortions necessary to nurse him in his carseat. He's still recovering. But, all in all, it was a great trip and we can't wait to do it again!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Let's catch up: Feast edition

So, every year, we go to the Feast of the Hunters' Moon in West Lafayette, IN. This is pretty much our favorite event of the year. We don't dress up or anything (well, Samuel has a shirt and hat, but that's it... so far) but we love love love all the historical garb and food and fife and drum corps and food and muskets and cannons and did I mention the food? Here are a few pics from this year:

On the way to Feast!
got up at o'early that morning, but we're still excited and ready to go!

breakfast bridies
despite the look on Samuel's face (didn't want to be photo'd that early, apparently), this is his fav thing about Feast: bridies. (Scottish meat pies)

snug as a bug
baby carrier + fleece baby-wearing coat = toasty baby (and mama!)

I think we probably have more pictures of this guy than he does - snap him every year during the flintlock competition
We end up with pictures of this guy every year. Guy, if you happen upon this post, I promise we're not, like, stalking you or anything. You just look really cool with your uniform and musket. Let me know if you need any pics for your Christmas card this year.

sawing wood, crosscut style
a little taste of the tough times of yore

mmm, camera lens
my photography assistant, always happy to moisten the lens cap

whatchyou lookin' at?
"Don't take away my lens cap, punk."

Samuel in his Feast garb
18th century Samuel
Looking forward to Feast of the Hunters' Moon 2013: October 5-6. See you there!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let's catch up: State Fair edition

We went to the State Fair this year, since it wasn't TOO terribly hot. Well, it was terribly hot, just not as bad as the year that temps were around 100 degrees and I almost died. This year, I only almost almost died, courtesy of the hot little baby who spent the day napping (smart) while smushed up against me in the Ergo. Despite that and the pictures you are about to see, we had a great time! We really need to go more often than once every 5 years!

We were hot:

Samuel sweltering while waiting for the diving show

So hot:

Samuel crabby because he was SO HOT

And if you're wondering why I'm even blogging the event, since all I seem to have to show for it is pictures of crabby people, it's because I did get one cute one of baby and daddy:

Joseph and Daddy

Friday, September 14, 2012

Facebook Roundup 9/14/14

Yes, I am forcing myself to post at least one "real" post in-between these FB roundups. Can't let myself cheat TOO much.

Took a bath with Joseph, had the following conversation.
Me: "Let's not kid ourselves, you most likely peed in here. I'm okay with that. But do you have to keep trying to drink the bath water?"
Joseph (What he actually said was "AH BAH DAH BDAH BDAH!" but I'm pretty sure my maternal Babelfish is working here): "Yes. Yes, I do."
Me: "Fair enough."

 Clingy baby required that I dig out my old ring sling from Samuel's baby days to make breakfast this morning. How did I ever wear a baby in that thing so much??? My back is killing me! I don't care how much Joseph wants to watch the bacon sizzle next time, he is going on my back in the Ergo or Didymos!

If you'd like to hear Samuel embark on a fairly entertaining ten-minute rant, ask him what he thinks about that "Call me, maybe" song. "She even SAYS it's crazy! She JUST MET HIM. But she's going to give her phone number to a COMPLETE STRANGER and tell him to CALL HER? Is she STUPID?"

Bad idea: on your way home from a weekend trip, drop husband off at work and head home, forgetting that when we leave for a weekend he always locks the storm door... and you don't carry that key. Oops. Glad my in-laws live nearby and were happy to provide refuge.

Kids are playing "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH". Why yes, it's played exactly how it sounds.

And, you've got to see this:

I actually have more to say about that, but I'll save that for another post! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hints from Heloise (or, um, Stuff I Figured Out)

The following are snippets of my genius that I wanted to share with the world. Okay, actually they are lazy shortcuts that you probably already knew, so stop rolling your eyes already. If YOU'RE so smart, feel free to tell me how you invented cold fusion or figured out how to remember that those clothes in the washer are not going to dry themselves and you actually have to go move them to the dryer or you will have to rewash them and WHY does my washer not have a buzzer??? Ahem. Moving on.

- When washing a baby's hair, sometimes you need a full-fledged lather. You know, like when you're trying to remove cradle cap and you fell for the vegetable oil trick (ha ha!) or there is poop involved. We've all been there. However, for routine maintenance, when really you just want your baby to SMELL like you washed his hair, the following method is much easier to perform on a squirmy baby who Does. Not. Like. Water. On. His. Head. Put a little squirt of baby shampoo (all-natural, of course, because you would NEVER put scary toxic chemicals all over your delicate fragile ba- oh, whatever. I like Burt's Bees because it smells like honey, but if you have a thing for good ol' J&J, I won't tell.) in a cup, and add an inch or two of water. Swish it up, and rinse that through your baby's hair. The diluted stuff works just as well, is easier to distribute, and rinses out MUCH more quickly. In fact, if baby is acting like you just poured sulfuric acid on his head, you can probably even skip the rinse and get him the heck out of there. Less effort + nice-smelling baby = WIN.

- Your son has suddenly switched gears and now WON'T eat PB&J but ONLY wants heretofore snubbed deli-style sandwiches? And lunchmeat is expensive and full of nitrates or whatever? Throw a turkey breast in the crockpot in the morning. It can even be frozen, just come back in a little while and pull the gravy pack out of it once it's thawed out a bit. I suppose you could season it or something, you Fancy-Pants. I don't, though. If you forget until later, or you need it by lunchtime, put it on high, otherwise low is fine. When it's done, use a pair of tongs to peel back the skin and pull off all the meat. It will all fall off pretty easily, I can do it in a matter of minutes with a baby in one hand. Voila sandwich meat! Now take a look at all the mess left in your crockpot. You can dump it OR if you're ready to put on your supermom cape, you can fill the crockpot up with water, a splash of vinegar, and anything else you have handy: carrot scraps, celery scraps, peppercorns, onion skins, garlic, bay leaves... whatever. Just water is fine, too. Leave El Crockpot on low at least overnight, until lunch or dinner the next day. Strain out the magically wonderful broth you just made, and you've got another meal or two. Of course you can make soup with it, but it's so good that I even just drink a mug plain. If it's too hot outside for soup, use it instead of water to cook noodles or rice, or stock your freezer for the next time illness strikes.

- When writing a post to show off all the smarty tricks you've come up with, maybe think of more than two. Oh, well.

(Seriously, someone tell me how to stop forgetting the wet clothes in the washer.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Facebook Roundup 8/20/12

To celebrate being nine months old today, Joseph learned to clap. Yay!

Samuel, reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to Joseph in a cowboy voice: (after the Saturday binge) "Gosh dangit! Did I eat all that food?" (when he wasn't a little caterpillar anymore) "He was the fattest caterpillar you ever did see!"

At almost 9 months old, baby has gotten VERY good at climbing the stairs. We generally allow it (with a spotter) but he's SO fast that sometimes he's a good way up by the time I sprint over there! #mamaneedsadrink

Joseph's favorite book is Sandra Boynton's "Moo, Baa, La La La". We read it aaaaaallll the time. Went to the State Fair yesterday, pointed to an ACTUAL cow, and said, "The cow says, "Moo!" Blew his mind.

Sitting here listening to Pandora and web-surfing while Samuel sweeps the floor and washes dishes: BWAHAHAHAHAHA! This is why you have kids: free slave labor! Oh, relax, as soon as the baby quits nursing and wakes up, I might consider accomplishing something, too.

How am I supposed to get anything done when I have this baby to tickle?

While not always convenient, Joseph's current neediness stage IS cute. He will be happily playing UNTIL he catches a glimpse of me and then his thought process apparently goes something like this: "Hey! That Mama-person still exists! Who knew? Mama! I NEED THE MAMA! MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMAMAMAMAMA!"     

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The latest in baby fashions

Since it's summer (and a hot one, at that) I'm pretty much on board with Amber (Crappy Mama)'s opinion that cloth diaper = complete outfit. See?

trying to breach the portal to the Land of Lego (brother's room)
I break into Forbidden Playland, A.K.A., big brother's room!

However, Samuel decided that he needed a little more. With the scraps from my T-shirt refashion, he produced this:

Samuel + baby + fabric scraps =
I play air guitar!

And now he looks like a refugee from an 80s music video in which rival gangs of street ruffians learn to get along through the healing powers of choreography.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Facebook Roundup 7/28/12

Still cheating instead of blogging.

When Samuel and I first watched this, he said, "I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO THOUGHT THAT ABOUT COLORS!" and I said, "ME TOO!"

Samuel, pushing Joseph in a laundry basket: "Look Mommy! It's the Pope in his Popemobile!"

Dear Everyone,
Ownership of an iPhone does not make you a master photographer, and posting a filtered picture of every taco you eat to Instagram is not art.
Sincerely, A Crabby Friend

Earlier today at Cracker Barrel: "Samuel, what are you going to get?" "Pretend you're the waitress." "Okay, what will you be having, sir?" "Chicken-fried chicken." "And your sides?" "Fried apples, dumplings, and hash brown casserole." "How about something green?" "You're the waitress, not my mother!"

Got to play "Spot That Roadkill" on 45 today, trying to figure out what Shawn hit coming home last night. Answer: the world's largest raccoon. Which may have been decapitated. You're welcome, local farmers.

So the Cranberries' "Zombie" just came on Pandora, inspiring my husband to lurch into the room and pretend to eat my brains. #imarriedaweirdo

Isn't it odd how certain words sound funny to different people? I remember laughing hysterically as a child when my father referred to someone "wolfing down their food" and now Samuel dissolves into giggles at the mention of the word "dollop".

Shawn and Samuel were reading about mythology (something about runes) in the other room, with Joseph. Apparently Joseph spit up, because suddenly I heard, "AAAAAAH!" "Oh no!" "Ewwwwww!" "Where's the rune for that?" "We need a vomit rune!" "Ohhhhhhh!" "Ick!" "Let's give him to mommy!" "Can I take this shirt off first?" Shortly afterward, a shirtless Samuel delivered a bewildered Joseph to me. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Joseph eats!

And, he alternated horrible faces with stuffing more avocado in his mouth. Probably just like every other baby in the world, BUT I'M POSTING A BUNCH OF PHOTOS ANYWAY.

wait, after all the time you guys spend taking grass and paper and stuff OUT of my mouth, now you're putting stuff IN?


um, maybe...


what have you done to me?


this is weird

you guys actually eat this stuff?

let me do it myself

it's everywhere!


i think it would make a great art meduim, though


i'm still deciding whether to ever try this again

It's okay if you're not too sure about food right now, Joseph. Neither was your big brother, but he's a big guacamole fan now!

that's okay, big brother wasn't too sure the first time, either. :)