Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lemon Blackberry Pancakes

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes have shown up around the Internet in a variety of places lately, and they've had me salivating. So on Sunday morning, when I realized I had extra lemon to figure out what to do with, it seemed like the perfect time to try this recipe. I would have tried Pioneer Woman's recipe, but it calls for evaporated milk, of which I had none. So I did my typical thing and smelted together some other recipes to come up with this one.

Some recipes out there only call for lemon zest, and not the juice. In my opinion, the I added the juice of half a lemon. It probably added 2-3 tablespoons of liquid, which was perfect because the batter was a little thick. And it added a lemony flavor to the pancakes that was ah-mazing. I also used blackberries instead of blueberries because it was I had available. I'm telling you, these pancakes were the best I've ever eaten. The combination of lemon and blackberries was to die for. I'm sure it would have been at least that good with blueberries.

Here's the recipe:

Lemon Blackberry Pancakes

1 egg
1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
2-3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blackberries

Whisk together egg, zest, lemon juice, milk, brown sugar and butter. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir together just until combined. If your batter is a little dry, add more milk. I added more lemon juice to mine, just because I couldn't get enough. Stir in the blackberries.

I like to heat my griddle to 325 degrees. But if you don't have a temperature gauge, your griddle should be hot enough for water to sizzle when you splash a few drops on it. Butter the pan, and pour in your batter. I poured about 1/4 cup at a time, and it made us about 8 pancakes.

It took me of messy pancake making to figure out the secret of when to flip. If you are still working on it, here are a couple of tips. First, only flip once. Second, wait until the edges of the pancake seem dry, and there are bubbles in the center. Third, make sure your flipper is big enough to get most of the pancake on it.

As soon as I tasted these pancakes, I knew I had to share this recipe. I went around to my family and made them all taste it. It is lemony, and the lemon goes perfectly with the berries. I will be making these over and over again. PLEASE try them. You will not be disappointed.

Simple Beef Stew

Do you believe I had never made beef stew, except from crock pot roast, until yesterday? But I bought some stew beef that was on clearance a couple weeks ago. Yesterday I dug it out of the freezer and started looking for a recipe.

Like most things I make though, I consulted a few recipes without really following any. The end result is usually something I can call my own, and I am usually very happy with it.

I started out with a pound of stew beef sauteed in olive oil. While this browned in the soup pot, I chopped up two potatoes, an onion, two ribs of celery, and three cloves of garlic. I tossed those in the pot along with a pound of baby carrots, coated it in oil and let it warm through. I then coated it all in a 1/4 cup of flour. Once well-coated, add a four cups of beef broth to pot and bring to a boil. Add a bay leaf and a teaspoon each rosemary and thyme. Let simmer for about an hour and salt and pepper to taste.

I was really quite happy with the way this turned out. The beef was tender, the vegetables were soft, but not overcooked. The seasoning was just right. I'll add this to be recipe box.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Salad

I have a hard time taking just one thing to a potluck. For the aforementioned potluck this past Saturday night, there would be a combination of foodies and normal people. So the thing on my mind was something that both would enjoy (and something a little more grown up than jello shots: a simple heirloom tomato salad.

I headed out to the farmer's market on Saturday morning to find a combination of colorful and flavorful tomatoes that would look and taste beautiful together in a salad. I also grabbed some fresh oregano while I was there, since mine has gone to seed.

I basically made Jamie Oliver's Mothership Tomato Salad, which lists all the ingredients, but you add them to your own taste. Here's what I did:

I started with three pounds of local heirloom tomatoes from one of farmer's markets. My tomatoes resembled these lovelies.

As suggested, I cut them in a variety of sizes and chunks to add visual interest. I liked his suggestion of salting the tomatoes and letting them sweat out the extra liquid. I normally don't do this for my tomato salads, and there is a lot of extra juice that waters down the dressing. Of course, he says to discard the juice, but I added a bit of salt and drank it. I will not admit to the juice dribbling down my chin anywhere but here. That fresh tomato nectar was honestly the best part of making this recipe. Chef's privilege!

I added probably 1/4 cup fresh oregano, a diced clove of garlic, 1 part balsamic vinegar to 2 parts oil (I did 1/4 cups) and salt and pepper to taste.

I served this at room temperature, because somehow, tomatoes taste better to me that way. Like I just picked them off the vine and served them up.

I personally felt I didn't add enough vinegar to this, but I got some good comments on it at the potluck. It was enjoyed by both the food connoisseurs and the unwashed masses. Happy day!

Lemon and Lime Wedge Jello Shots

I recently joined Pinterest, and it has given my menu planning the lift that it needed. Many of the recipes I've been making lately were either found on Pinterest, or inspired by recipes found there.

This Saturday for a cookout, I made lime and lemon wedge jello shots. How grown up of me, I know. But how can you resist such an amazing photo? It was time consuming, and in the moment I was frustrated. It didn't help that Malachi kept waking up from his nap and each time I had a mini-freak out that I wouldn't get them in the fridge in time to set. The payoff was worth it though because they were so good and they really do look just like this:

Here's the recipe I used:

Lemon and Lemon Wedge Jello Shots

Dissolve one 3 oz. packet of jello in a cup of boiling water. You can use any red flavor. I wanted to use watermelon, but they didn't have any, so I made one recipe with cherry and one with strawberry. Turn off the water and add 4 oz. Vodka and 4 oz. Sour Apple Schnapps. I let this sit while I wrangled 20 lemons and limes out of their rinds.

For this step you cut each lemon or lime in half, then score between the fruit and the rind with a paring knife. Use a spoon to pull the fruit from the peel, being careful not to break a hole in the peel. It gets easier as you practice.

Set the rind halves on a tray and fill each lemon or lime with the jello mixture. Let them rest for three hours in the fridge. Before serving, Cut each half in half again to make wedges.

Stand back and listen to everyone ooh and aah over your amazing creation. These were a huge hit.

To Do

My goals for today:

Weed the garden. Already did it. Yessssss.

Go to the gym.
I missed my chance to do it this morning, so now I must go after naptime. Around 3pm.

Go to Lowes. I have to re-select a countertop for our kitchen since the one we want is back ordered.

Make dinner. The plan: BLTA's (Backon, Letttuce, Tomato and Avocado sandwiches). I may even decide to add an egg and chipotle aioli inspired by this recipe. Side: corn on the cob.

Buy Malachi some new sandals. I can't find his old ones anywhere. Found them.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Toddler Milk

Today it crossed my mind that we've been nursing for 12 months. I am now nursing a toddler. I hope to continue much longer, so it didn't cross my mind that it is a milestone when his birthday passed a few days ago. But when I think of how hard I've worked to make it this far, I decided we need a mini-celebration.

We made it through the initial weird latch / lots of pain stage. We made it through a low supply and weight checks and visits to the lactation consultant every two weeks. We made it through a visit from a concerned La Leche league leader and emergency donor milk rushed to our aide. We made it through herbs and supplements and medicine and dietary changes. We made it through pumping and pumping and pumping with no milk to show for it. We made it through the SNS and thousands of ounces of milk donations. We made it time and again, when we didnt know where our next donation would come from and I braced myself for the switch to formula. But the day never came.

So thank you to the women who have made it happen. Often when I feed Malachi a bottle I will tell him what mommy his delicious milk came from.

Many women in our situation don't have the resources I have to find donor milk, and don't know that there is any choice but formula. I have been connected with doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, La Leche League leaders, and most importantly, nursing moms, who have made it possible for me to choose differently.

Thank you, moms, who have shared with us so generously: Kate, Rebekah, Micah, Myrna, Danielle, Sherri, Christie, Crystal, Hollie, Rachelle, Jamie, Amy, Melynda, Kristen, Jen Kirsten, Liz, and Another Liz.

And thank you to Julie who helped us figure out our nursing problems and encouraged us to use donor milk; and Leila and Cindy who found us donors; and Human Milk 4 Human Babies!

You all are a big part of why I am now nursing my toddler.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In Which I Remember The Day Malachi Was Born

Today is my baby's birthday. His first birthday. We were never birthday party people in my house growing up. Birthdays were special, but they were family affairs. Quiet. Simple. And I have maintained that. But in contemplating how to "do" Malachi's first birthday, I have been ever-so tempted to pull out all the stops and do something big--really big--to celebrate our boy's life. I get it now. I totally understand why parent's want to capture the moon on a silver platter for their kids' birthdays. You know: ponies, bounce houses, the works. Real Wives style.

Because this is a day worth celebrating. This little boy's Entry Into the World was a big deal. It will forever be imprinted in our memories. He changed our lives forever and I want to make a big deal over him.

It's just like everyone said. The moments have passed too quickly. I can't believe that one year ago he was in his last hours of slumber before deciding he was ready to come out.

What a surreal day. It started around four in the morning. I slept between each surge, for the first hour or two, then called the midwives. Our home was full of quiet energy. I labored in the living room while Joshua and my mom filled the birth pool.

Time passed quickly. Things progressed well. Joshua and I took a walk and with each contraction I held him and swayed. He was so supportive, just what I needed him to be. I love that when I told him "I don't know if I can do this," he said, "you are doing it."

Things are a blur, with distinct images that pop out here and there. I remember it being hard, but energizing. I knew I was doing it. I felt in charge. Like I was owning this moment.

We looked at pictures tonight, remembering that day, and this year. I asked Joshua what stands out to him about that day. He said, "you were grumpy." Thanks for that, Love.

I hit transition around 1:30 in the afternoon. I was dialated to nine. Alicia suggested that I take a shower because pushing would come soon. Joshua and I stood in the shower and let the water run over us. The contractions were hard and strong. We looked at each other in amazement and shared tears over this moment that was happening. We were about to meet our son. In our home. With our family and friends near.

I imagined that moment. I was in the water. I felt Malachi's head and I pulledJoshua's hands to feel it too. The midwife quietly said, "one more push." And with a final roar, he was born, right into Joshua's hands.

But that's not what happened. Transition went on...and on...and on...

After a few more hours, several things seemed not quite right. All of it combined sent us to the hospital.
There were doctors. Procedures. Interventions. Medicine. Surgery.

But at the end of it all, there was a new baby.

Malachi Justice Allen Grasty
There were three of us.

He is so loved. Such a joy.

On second thought...

This day is sacred to us. The day our family grew to three. The day we became parents. The day a whole new person entered the world, all our very own. It's so very...special. Worth lots of italics and hyperbolic language. The very specialness of this day seems to me a reason not to do it up big.

His birthday is special to us because he's ours. The first birthday won't be remembered by him or his little toddling "friends". Our adult friends without children would think a birthday party for a one year old is a joke. I don't want to cheapen it by inviting a bunch of people who don't care as much as we do. Not this year.

This year, these memories feel too precious for Pin the Tail on the Donkey and party favors. There will be other years for that. This first year, we celebrate Malachi with our close family. We'll make a tradition of telling him how we wanted him and waited for him. We'll tell him about the day he was born. He will eat cake and wear a crown and we will make him feel special like we do every day. And we will remember.

Oh, how I love him.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coming Together

I've got a lot on my mind right now. Some things I am considering writing about but I'm not sure yet. It's good though. I feel as if there is a lot that's up in the air now with our life and it's exciting to feel like things are shifting. We've been feeling stagnant in some areas for a while and I can smell change in the air. The future seems bright.

We closed on our house. I was really nervous that with Joshua working on the renovations in his spare time, we would never get to see him. That hasn't been true at all. Most evenings we hang with him a little and when he has a spare moment, he comes over for kisses or a quick wrestle in the grass with Malachi.

My garden is underway. The day of our closing we put the beds into place and started filling them with soil. We've got onions, garlic, leeks, peppers, squash, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes and greens. Not to mention a whole mess of herbs that I'm still not sure where I should plant. I cut off some snippets of sage and thyme to add to our dinner this evening and it was so good.

Our fence will be starting to go up this weekend, which means we are almost ready to get our chickens. Yay! The coop is ready for them.

Things are coming together.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Derailed Life

You know, it just goes to show that what's important in life is not the laundry.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a couple of posts about how I was getting it together and why that was important to me and my family. I still believe everything I wrote...but then it hit the fan and I was in the hospital and I've been recuperating ever since. It's not that I can't do anything at all. I am just utterly without energy.

You how they say, "If it's not one thing, it's another."? Well, if it's not one thing, it's another. Life has been happening this month, and it's been happening so fast that I can't take any time to keep our Life in order. I'll be darned if I've loaded the dishwasher more than once a week in the last month. Or folded the laundry before Malachi tosses it piece by piece onto the (dirty) floor, over and over again. We just started using cloth diapers again this week and I'm thinking I may have jumped the gun a little bit.

I am at the point where, if I could just get caught up, I could stay caught up. But I just can't get there! I even had a mother's helper come over twice to watch Malachi while I cleaned. Both times, shortly after she came, things with the house became so urgent that I had to stop everything I was doing and make phone calls and send faxes and scan documents and send emails and a frantic pace so the whole kaboodle didn't fall through. Good thing she was there.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, "Oh well". Oh well if I can't keep things in order. I've been taking care of my sick-for-the-first-time baby. He sounds like a lifelong smoker with his hack that keeps him up at night. He's been napping in the mei tai, and we sleep sitting up for the first few hours of the night. So needless to say, I am sleep deprived.

Oh well if I step on a block every time I turn around. I don't have time to pick them up for the 15th time today that Malachi dumped them. I'm busy calling my realtor, and my mortgage consultant, and my underwriter (and list goes on) so that we can get this house.

Sometimes, something's gotta give. In fact, most of the time something's gotta a give. And then there are times that everything's gotta give just so that you can keep your life hanging by a thread.

I am so looking forward to closing on Wednesday. This is our 4th scheduled closing but I think it's gonna stick this time (please, God). But I know that just starts another round of crazy-making with Joshua working on the house every spare moment, with me being an almost-single mama for the next four months. Deep breaths. it'll be over soon. And then we'll move on to the next thing. Hopefully that will include a nice long sit on our new front porch (maybe with a margarita).

Here's a cute picture of Malachi to make us both smile.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Long Time, No...Write

It's been a while. It's been a crazy month. I don't think I've written at all about my gallbladder issues that started up in November of last year. We don't have insurance. And I wasn't thrilled about losing an organ. So I tried to heal my gallbladder the natural way. We found out about a month ago through an emergency out-of-state trip to the ER, that it wasn't working. A gallstone had made its way into my bile duct and was making me very, very sick. I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days in North Carolina to have my gallbladder removed.

So the last few weeks have been about healing. And I am feeling so much better.

We still have not closed on our house. It has been a roller coaster of enormous magnitude getting this thing done. One of the most stressful things of my life. But, our final (I am almost certain) close date is scheduled in five days, and I think the we're going to make it this time. WITH the bank. Miracle of miracles.

Malachi is ginormous. He is growing really fast the last few weeks on lots of donor milk. My milk supply took a major hit in the days surrounding my surgery and I was afraid that our nursing days were over. BUT, this little boy loves to nurse, and he wouldn't give up, even when he wasn't getting much. He helped bring back supply and we are now back to about the level we were for several months before I was sick. Still using donor milk, but in much smaller quantities.

So that's the big news around these parts. Oh, and, there is a new frozen yogurt place downtown called Frogurt. It is awesome. Let's just say its a good thing its low fat because I've been eating a lot of it lately. You need to go. Seriously. Go. I'll be here when you get back.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Digs

We are buying a house. We weren't looking to do it. It sort of just...fell in our laps. It's next door to my parents house, which happens to be where we live.

We really want something out in the country with a good bit of land. But since we won't have that for a while (maybe never) this will do quite nicely in the mean time.

It's a gray house with blue shutters and white trim, in the city, and it needs a lot of work. We are getting a construction loan to do the fixing up that needs to be done. If the red tape for a standard mortgage is like the Smokeys, for a construction loan, it's like the Rockies. But it is so worth the deal we are getting. It's going to be a lot of work, but in the end we will have a beautiful finished product. A brand new kitchen and downstairs bath, upgraded upstairs bath, freshly painted walls and refinished hardwood floors throughout. We don't know how long we'll be there, but it's not hard to imagine raising a family there.

We have four months from close to get the work done, which puts us around the middle of August that we will be able to move in. In the meantime, since it's right next door, we already built our chicken tractor. We will hold off getting the actual chickens until we have a fence, which we are hoping to do right away. By that time Malachi should be starting to toddle around, and he will enjoy exploring his new digs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Babywearing Troubles and...the Solution

For the last few months I was a little frustrated in the baby-wearing department. Until a couple of months ago, I used a Moby almost exclusively and loved it. But then we got to a point where It just wasn't working for us. Malachi didn't nap as well in here anymore. He wasn't happy facing in when he was awake. When I put him facing out he reached for everything and the material stretched and it became unsafe. Back carries aren't safe in a Moby. I needed s new carrier.

So I got a ring sling. Love it. But I quickly discovered that it's not right for us at this stage either. The front carry requires the legs to be in, which Malachi is not okay with. So side carry is pretty much it. And he is just to busy and feels too confined for that most of the time. You can do a back carry with a ring sling, but most people prefer other carriers for that, and its kind of tricky to get in place.

So I came to the conclusion that the carrier for us (right now) is a mei tai. It's an Asian style carrier that you can use in front or back. It offers a lot of support and is quite versatile. The are a little pricey, and I had already spent money on the ring sling that we are more or less shelving for now.

I wasn't sure what to do. I was thinking about making a mei tai and started researching that. Then, one awesome day, I remembered was super-productive and sent in the tag for a recalled Infantino bag sling that had been handed down to me. Lo and behold, one of the replacement options was a mei tai! Needless to say, I was stoked.

It came in the mail within about a week, and now we are rockin' out the baby-wearing again.

(Don't worry. I moved him to a front carry right after taking the photo.
Isn't it cute, though? He obviously is comfy enough to fall asleep!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I Am Doing (and Why I am Doing It)

The last post got me thinking. What if I actually tried to do some of this stuff? Well, I already do some of this stuff, but I'm not consistent with most of it. And other things I don't do at all. The other thing that got me thinking was my college friend (I use the word loosely. I don't know if we ever spoke in college, but I read her blog now. I totally have a mom crush on her and we have a lot in common!), Melody, decided to do a 30 Things in 30 Days series, where she tries to...wait for a list of 30 things for 30 days. I know that was hard to follow. Anyway, it kind of motivated me too. I figured if she could do it, with two kids, one of whom is younger than Malachi, so could I.Mine hasn't been as organized as all that. I pick and choose what I want to do day to day. But let me tell you, not having the pressure of *having* to do these things because I said I would has made all the difference. Let me tell you what I've done in the last few days:
  • Cleaned out the fridge (I won't even tell you how long its been since that's happened. I'll just say it was on my Before Baby Arrives to do list, and it never got done).
  • Sorted through a bunch of junk to take to good will.
  • Created a junk drawer instead of a whole junk desk in our living room. Baby steps.
  • Put a little basket in the kitchen for random junk that piles up. So my put-away pile is all in one place instead of a bunch of stuff strewn about.
  • Read to Malachi a lot more --and he's really starting to like it!!!
  • Drank my water a lot more consistently (this one's really important for my milk supply, and I have really seen a difference).
  • Done the shakedown most days before Joshua gets home. Oh, you haven't heard of the shakedown? Well, let me help you. You'll love this, mommies.
  • Started drinking decaf. It's relaxing. It's a treat. It warms my insides. It makes me feel like I've got it together when I can manage to brew a cup of coffee during the day.
  • Worn real clothes during the day and bed clothes at night. (Novel thought!)
  • I have made a few cups of coffee for Joshua, and gotten together a few of his lunches.
  • I have napped during nap time less, bring it to rare instead of occasional. Which is how I've gotten all this stuff done!
  • I have more frequently had dinner on when Joshua comes home, instead of handing him Malachi when he walks in the door and starting it then.
  • I have done a much better job of keeping our living spaces clean and free of clutter. I'm finding myself picking up more throughout the day, but never feeling overwhelmed with the mess.
  • We've had people over several times in the last few days. The house has gotten increasingly more organized each time, and even after a party last Saturday night, I was able to get things back into shape pretty fast.
What else?...
  • More pampering for Joshua.
  • I've been flossing my teeth more. Not twice a day, but once, most days.
  • We've had more music playing.
  • I've done a little better about taking my meds, but it still needs to be more consistent. Maybe I can set an alarm.
  • I tried playing the guitar once, but Malachi was awake and sabotaged it. I'll try again during nap time.
  • I haven't gotten all the clothes off the floor yet, but some days I've been helping Joshua get an outfit together the night before, so that he doesn't wake Malachi up while looking for his belt or whatever.
  • I haven't had my phone on me, but I have found it is easier to locate it when there isn't a bunch of clutter around for it to get lost in. Amazing.
So I'm pretty tickled with myself. Just to be clear, my motivation is not perfection, or praise, or good feelings. It's this guy:

I was reading something a friend wrote on a forum that I frequent. I will summarize. I want my children to see an example of the kind of adult I want them to be when they grow up. I want him to see a capable, strong person with a balanced, well-managed life. I want them to see that I give myself and my family what we need to thrive, not just exist. I want them to see an example of servanthood. I want them to see that my life has the same priorities that I want for their lives. NOT that things should be clean. But that we take care of ourselves. We organize our lives in such a way that we can focus on our priorities.

After being pregnant for 9 months while working full time, and then having a baby, a lot of things fell by the wayside. You kind of get used to living a certain way. But now that season of my life is over (for a while...), I'm learning to make choices that will make us all feel better.

So, with that said, one area that I almost completely neglected in this list, is the self-care area. Aside from the coffee and the daytime clothes, I haven't made much progress in the goals that have to do with self-care.

What I'm realizing is that at this stage of my life, its not that I don't have time. I have managed to clean, organize, blog, watch television shows, hang out with friends, and still have time to spare. It's that for whatever reason, I put myself at the bottom of the list of priorities. I haven't gotten up early, read my books, played my music, had girl time, or incorporated the daily office. I have blogged a little, but I haven't posted what I've written yet. So, I want to work on that area.

This has been a good exercise for me. I thought I didn't have time, but I was wrong. I know there are people who really don't have time, but I'm not one of them. There are others like me, who have the time, and maybe just need to re-prioritize things a little. I have felt very positively about the changes I have made, like I'm really acting in life, not just reacting. That's a good feeling.

What I Would Do

I am always thinking about the choices I wish I made every day. I often make goals for myself, but I don't often keep them. That's not to say I don't change my behavior over time. I do. I'd like to think that I am becoming a better wife and mother. But I fall so short of my goals. The reality is that what I want for myself in terms of goals is unrealistic. So today, when I had the choice to make more goals, I decided against it. I decided instead to think about the ideal me: what I would do if I could. Just for fun. Maybe this will help me see that it is utterly unrealistic to be this person, and at the same time, motivate me a little to meet one or two of these goals.

So, here goes nothing!
  • I would wake up before Malachi and maybe even Joshua.
  • I would spend time in quiet prayer and meditation in the morning.
  • I would sit and enjoy a book with a cup of hot coffee or tea.
  • I would shower, fix my hair and take care of my skin daily.
  • I would get my hair cut and colored on a regular basis.
  • I would get dressed in a presentable outfit instead of staying in the clothes that I slept in and...wore yesterday.
  • I would make my husband's morning coffee and get his lunch ready.
  • I would make my bed.
  • I would spend some time moving every day, whether a walk, a swim, or hooping.
  • I would spend some time outdoors each and every day (maybe not if it's below freezing).
  • I would write on my blog most days.
  • I would plan my dinner menus.
  • I would keep our living spaces free of clutter and spend 15 minutes a day organizing something.
  • I would clean for four 15 minute stretches every day.
  • I would read for 20 minutes a day.
  • I would spend 15 minutes reading to Malachi every day.
  • I would spend 20 minutes playing the guitar or piano every day.
  • I would not nap at nap time. Instead I would work toward meeting the above goals.
  • Malachi and I would bike to the post office and library.
  • I would have music playing most of the day, but not during nap time, when it would be silent except for the hum of the dishwasher or washing machine.
  • I would say evening prayers from the daily office with Joshua and Malachi.
  • I would take evening walks with my little family.
  • Joshua and I would read together after Malachi goes to bed.
  • I would pamper Joshua for 10 minutes each evening (he loves this!)
  • I would unload/reload and start the dishwasher every night before bed.
  • I would take the time to put on pajamas before bed.
  • I would have a bed time and stick to it.
  • I would keep my nails nice (in other words STOP biting them).
  • I would floss my teeth twice a day.
  • I would drink 100 oz of water every day.
  • I would take a multivitamin and other helpful supplements religiously and remember to take my pills at meal times.
  • I would have dinner going before Joshua gets home.
  • I would have coffee or similar "girl time" with a friend every couple of weeks.
  • I would have lunch planned on Sundays so that we could invite guests over after church a couple times a month.
  • I would keep the laundry put away and clothes off the floor so we can always find what we want to wear.
  • I would have houseplants because my my life would be balanced enough that I would remember to keep them alive.
  • I would keep my phone on me at all times and answer it w every time my husband calls (this one is for his benefit).
  • I would have a special place for my keys, purse, cell phone, and iPod, and I would never lose them and I would keep the elctronics charged up.
  • I would put things away when I was done with them.
  • I would go on a date with my husband every week, even if it was just for coffee.
  • I would grow a garden.
So, what would you do? What is the "wish list" in your head that you wish you could accomplish?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Some Light Reading

For months I've been waiting patiently to order some parenting books and the time finally arrived last week! They arrived yesterday, and now the thing is to find spare moments here and there to read them.

I constructed my list very carefully and with a lot of research so I would make the best use of my limited funds. The ones that made the cut were:

1. Families Where Grace is in Place
2. How to Really Love Your Child
3. The Mission of Motherhood
4. The Discipline Book
5. Biblical Parenting

I've a mind to review them here as I read them so we'll see if that happens. If you'd like to know more about why I chose these particular books instead of others, let me know! I'd be happy to share.

Monday, February 21, 2011

8.5 Months

We are in a parenting sweet spot. Malachi is so interested in exploring the house that I have much more opportunity to get things done during the day. Consequently the laundry is consistently folded and the dishes consistently managed for the first time in I don't know how long.

Additionally, naptime and bedtime are going increasingly smoothly, which makes for a happier baby and less frazzled mama.

And finally, Malachi is a particular joy at this stage. At 8 1/2 months, he is a delightful combination of curious and adventuresome. He is becoming a lot more attached to Daddy, which warms our hearts. He doesn't readily go to strangers, which at his age, makes us happy that he knows that he belong to us and prefers us.

Malachi is really into doors lately. He makes a beeline for the open ones with a purposeful wiggly-tushed crawl. It used to bother him if he couldn't see me, but now, he is content to know that I am nearby while he explores. Consequently, as I am trying to form the habit, he's finding more closed doors to keep him out of the messy piles that have been formed while clearing the One Room that I try have baby-proofed. He stands on his tippy-toes at these closed doors, reaching for a knob that is still several inches away. And if ever I forget, sure enough, I will quickly see his backside disappearing through the open door.

Malachi's constant companion today has been a spoon. Yes, he's getting to that age. I think it's adorable. Terrible picture, but it's all I could come up with before the pre-naptime meltdown.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A List

I don't use my computer anymore. My blogging used to be done while nursing, and now Malachi is so distracted that it just doesn't work anymore. My Internet activity occurs 95% of the time on my iPod Touch these days which isn't really conducive to blogging. But I have so much to say! Here is a list of things I want to blog about:

1. We are in contract for the fixer-upper next door.

2. We are getting chickens!

3. Malachi is cute and chubby. I want to eat him.

4. I am hooping now. Well, that's kind if an over-statement since my hoop is still in progress. But we're getting there.

5. I am soooo happy about the warm weather lately! Spring really is coming.

6. We've been spending a lot of time at the park the last few days.

7. I ordered several parenting books online and I am super-excited to get them in the mail on Tuesday!

8. I am also getting 3 free things in the mail! A mei tai baby carrier, a pouch sling, and a nursing cover. Yippee!

9. I have a new little brother. He's 10 and I love him.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Little Green Monster

More to come on this, but I am having to make some pretty drastic changes in my diet. I'm not sure of everything that will entail, but in general, it will involve being a lot stricter about eating only whole foods. I might go vegan. Not thrilled about that, but we will just have to see. Here is a picture of Malachi enjoying his green smoothie this morning. If he can do it, I can too!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Good Memory

I was just reading a friend's birth story and was reminded of a sweet moment after Malachi's birth.

Malachi had just been born via c-section and I was really drugged. They took me to recovery before I held him or even looked at him up close, but I was so drugged that I wasn't upset by that at the the time.

The next thing I knew I woke up and Malachi was being placed in my arms. He hadn't eaten yet. I had been anticipating this first meeting for months. But things had gone differently than I had planned and I was so tired. I was a little worried that I wouldn't have the energy to hold him securely or that he wouldn't latch on properly because of the delay.

I held him skin to skin and we figured it out together. He nursed and I stared and marveled that this little person was finally here. Our bodies snuggled together and we figured it out. It was such a sacred moment. God designed such an intimate way for our babies to receive their nourishment. How amazing is it that they can eat and snuggle at the same time? It's really quite brilliant.

Why I Wake Early

I don't, actually. That's just the name of a poem I like by Mary Oliver. I'm only up early because I was wide awake and starving in what I thought was the middle of the night. So I got up to eat something and discovered it was 6 o'clock. Good time to get up. No one else is awake, and its kind of nice. I can see why people do this.

Life has been crazy lately. It's so long between each post that I feel like each one needs to be an update on our lives, instead of what I'd like to be posting, which is my thoughts about motherhood and life. Maybe I can combine the two.

I have been sick. Just before Thanksgiving I was extremely ill, and it was discovered I have issues with my gallbladder. I am learning to keep it under control, but it is a process, and last week I had a gallbladder attack that I am still recovering from. It takes me about a week to feel normal again, so I was out of commission for a few days.

We are buying a house. It's the fixer upper next door. We got it for a really good deal on auction. We're supposed to close in about three weeks, and then we'll be fixing it up all Spring and it should be done in the summer. We'll probably move in earlier than that but I'm not sure when yet. I can't wait. I understand why people feel like their house shrunk when their baby learned to walk. That's the way it is here. He isn't walking yet, but he is very mobile, and our apartment is an absolute hazard for him right now. That's because...

I have a new brother. I don't want to share too much about him without permission because he is in foster care, but he is ten. His name starts with a B. And he is a sweetheart. He adores Malachi, and I think Malachi is fixin' to adore him right back. B calls him "my baby", which I think is precious. He always says, "Can I play with my baby?" And how can I say no to that.

We've played fast-paced musical bedrooms in the house in order to make room for B, which feels right somehow: rearranging your life to make space for someone new. We ended up with less space, and while we are figuring out where to put all the stuff that is now crammed into every nook of our apartment, it is just one curious reach away from toppling on, poking, or bruising my dear child. So I've been doing everything one-armed lately, to keep him out of it. I hate that, because I want him to be able to explore his environment and practice his mad crawling, pulling up and cruising (walking along furniture) skillz. So we also go up to grandma's a lot, where there are vast expanses of carpet and tile for a baby explore without mishap.

Malachi has two teeth now. Getting ready for more I think. He is officially on the baby schedule, meaning he has an insanely early bedtime and I no longer go out in the evenings. It was bound to happen sometime. It's what's best for him right now. No more late nights for Mr. Malachi. He is a voracious eater. At 7.5 months old, he is eating chunks of food like potatoes and banana and bread and chewing them up with his gums. He just handles them surprisingly well for a baby his age. He's going to be an eater, this kid. He eats lots of our table food, and just a little bit of baby food. We are still struggling with supply issues, but the medicine I am taking to increase my milk is really working. We were down to 0-2 oz a day until I got sick, and we've been having lots more bottles since then. My supply is coming back up nicely though.

Malachi has been surprising me lately with his developing verbal and cognitive skills. Until now, all of his major milestone have been physical. Working on other (more maternal) sounds. He doesn't know what "dada" means yet, but he's been saying it for two weeks now. We are working on other (more maternal) sounds as well. Last night he was "sharing" his apple slice with grandma. When she asked for a bite, he would feed her. I couldn't believe it! This was the first time we've seen him recognize a verbal cue like that. It's hard to believe how fast they grow.