Sunday, December 29, 2013

Be yourself

C and I were at Justice (the tween girl clothing store) a couple of days ago and spotted a pj top that says something like "Be yourself, but if you can be a unicorn, be a unicorn."

I really like that.  The graphic design was terrible, though.

Bike for me!

We're getting a bike for me so that I can ride with the big kids on campus!  (We had to get rid of my old bike when we moved to the duplex and didn't have a garage anymore.)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Post-Christmas

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Everybody has finished their antibiotics.  Yay!
  • I got C a Minecraft t-shirt on sale yesterday and she is thinking about sewing a stuffed creeper.  (The instructions are pretty funny, even to a non-aficionado like me.)  
  • D is very pleased with his big cardboard castle, I hear.
  • I think we are all stocked with enough dinner provisions to get us to Jan. 1, although I hesitate to say that.  During these long breaks when the cafeterias are closed, the struggle for survival (i.e. dinner) looms foremost in our minds.  (Imagine that said in a Werner Herzog voice.) 
  • I've done the new elliptical machine two times so far:  Christmas Day (25 minutes) and yesterday (30 minutes).  In the past, I've done a lot of walking and treadmilling, but my podiatrist is encouraging me to explore modes of activity that will be easier on my feet.  The elliptical was one of his recommendations.  It's HARD, but it is very efficient.  
  • I've finally started watching Parenthood,which all the cool kids started doing years ago.      

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, as always, is very busy.  Today, we did last-minute grocery shopping, wrapped presents, decorated the tree and made a holiday dinner.  The big kids did the bulk of the tree decorating and as we've done the last few years, the big kids helped wrap gifts for other people.  My husband made a cheesecake (a sort of Eastern European-ish version made with ricotta and a shortbread crust) and grilled salmon on our George Foreman grill.  We also had sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, baby carrots and grape tomatoes.  The salmon cooks lightning fast on the grill and is OK.  (The grill is a bear to clean up, though.)

We opened presents and Baby T carried around the farm animal dishes she got from grandma.  I'm a little confused as to who gave us what and what was intended for whom, as everything comes from Amazon and there weren't a lot of gift notes, but I have some guesses.  We gave C a new bicycle and D got a Star Wars origami set from somebody as well as a cardboard castle play house.  I had gotten Baby T a lovely little red corduroy party dress from Old Navy and she toddled around in it while we opened gifts.  We also have a new red table cloth and matching napkins, which is very bright and Christmasy.

After gifts, we had cheesecake topped with cherry pie filling.  The recipe has a lot of eggs in it, and so with one thing and another, it actually tastes a lot like yellow cake or bread pudding.  It is very good, but it isn't what we think of as "cheesecake."  Baby T had some, and she was licking the crumbs off her fingers.    

So tired!

OK visitors

We just had a visit from some friends of the blog this Sunday and Monday.  It's a family with six kids ages 11 on down to an infant and currently living in OK.  We played at home, had dinner at Panera's, came back home and made cookie houses.

Cookie houses are a Christmas tradition in our family.  We did one several years ago, based on a recipe in an old-time kids' cookbook (gifted, coincidentally by that very same family years ago), and C decided from that point that that was our Christmas tradition.  We have done cookie houses every year since, occasionally with visiting kids.  This year's cookie houses were constructed with chocolate-flavored wafer cookies (always a good brick substitute) stuck together with cream cheese frosting (store-bought).  We also had Fig Newtons (excellent roof tiles), Oreos, green-frosted sugar cookie trees for landscaping, animal crackers and spicy gum drops (good for chimneys).  D built a cookie castle.  One of our visitors built something reminiscent of Falling Water and a consortium of bigger girls cooperated on a larger building, but struggled with the engineering problem of how to put a roof on it.

In the morning, we met our friends at the children's museum and did the bulk of the exhibits.  Then we had lunch (good, but terribly served) at a Thai restaurant downtown, saw a historic bridge downtown and didn't fall into the river.

Have a good trip!    

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baby T's doings

I forgot to mention what Baby T is up to:

  • Baby T has been enjoying her stacking cups.
  • She loves Are You My Mother?
  • We believe that she yanks at her diaper when it's time for a change.
  • Looking at her old photos from the past year, it's obvious that as a toddler, she's lost a lot of her old infant pudge.
  • Baby T has been enjoying sitting on and riding C's huge stuffed horse.

Hello, strangers!

Sorry for disappearing.  Here's some of what's happening:

  • I went on antibiotics Wednesday, my husband went on antibiotics Friday, we pulled C from her play Friday night, C saw the doctor Saturday, and by Monday both she and Baby T were on antibiotics, too.  C tested positive for strep and Baby T didn't, but they are both on antibiotics, just in case.  This is C's last week of school, and it looks like she is going to miss 3 days out of 4.5.  All of us who are on antibiotics are presumably safe now.  D is the only one who hasn't gotten sick, though, and I wonder when that shoe is going to drop.
  • My husband did our photobook all by himself!  He sorted through about 3,000 photographs from this year to do the book.  A disproportionate number of them were of one small individual.
  • Campus is starting to close down.
  • We're on track to do a very, very basic Christmas.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Molars

After a number of months of sitting in big lumps under Baby T's gums, her molars are finally starting to emerge.  The past couple days, I've been feeling little points poking through her gums.  This is good news, as her teething may be over soon (at least for the moment), but the bad news is that brushing her teeth is going to be more of a chore.  She's lately gotten very bite-y when I try to clean her teeth with the little rubber toothbrush that you wear on your finger.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Water Park

We just bought four (FOUR!) season passes to our local water park for next summer.  We'll get probably 8 buddy passes for friends, plus various coupons.  Yay!  It will be tricky running around with Baby T at the park, but we are also plotting to do a date or two at the water park, minus our adorable children.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cell phone?

My husband notes that Baby T was walking around holding a LEGO pressed to her ear in a manner very reminiscent of a cell phone user.  We're not totally sure (she's not "talking" into it) but if that is what she's doing, it's so cute!

Poor Baby T has a cold right now.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving

We are just finishing up Thanksgiving break.  Here are some notes:

  • We had store-cooked turkey breast, cornbread stuffing from box mix, totally homemade cranberry sauce (very easy--boil water and sugar and add cranberries), microwaved sweet potatoes, probably some other veggie and a store pecan tart.  It was great and lasted us two meals.  Baby T slept through Thanksgiving dinner, but enjoyed all of the less sweet and less messy items.  She's eaten a lot of our break dinners right along side us.  
  • The fridge stopped working Thanksgiving morning, but turned on when we followed our home sellers parting advice to turn it off and on.  We were this close to buying a new fridge on Black Friday, but will wait until the next event.
  • D, Baby T and I met some friends at the zoo and I got sent home with a box of homemade meatballs.  Yum!
  • We had crepes, cheese filling, cherry pie filling and fresh strawberries on Saturday.  Yum!
  • Baby T has had a little temperature and a runny nose.  Poor Baby T!
  • Without planning to, we wound up doing the Black Friday thing.  It was OK--no trampling at all, and a reasonable selection.  We got D his long-awaited bike and C had a little spree in the flannel section at Joann's.  I don't know what she's going to do with it, but she's got a very pretty pink satin along with a matching pink zebra stripe.   
  • C snookered me into revealing her Christmas gift from us (a bicycle).  Apparently, hollow core doors aren't quite thick enough to prevent an inquisitive 6th grader on the other side from hearing me attempting to whisper the news to an elderly relative on the phone.    
  • The reason why we're finding ourselves buying two bikes is that 1) both kids have outgrown theirs and 2) the two old bikes spent a year out on a balcony and are in poor shape.  
  • I am plotting various social events.

Good news/Bad news

Good news:  Baby T can drink from a normal cup!

Bad news:  She was drinking her soapy bath water from a stacking bath cup.

Time to declutter!

I was just prowling the Dallas Craigslist and came across an ad for a 48-piece set of Blue Willow for $250.  "Bought new in 1967 but has never been used."  46 years, people!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Communication

My husband informs me that Baby T just communicated to him that she wanted to leave her nursery.  She went to the door, went back and collected her daddy and then took him to the door.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving break

Here's some of what's happening:

  • After a couple of days with highs in the mid-80s, we had rain today and temps in the high 30s.  Brrrr.  Horse riding is cancelled tomorrow, due to weather.
  • Baby T loves her stuffed monkey.
  • Baby T is all weaned and has been for some time now.
  • The big kids are off of school for the coming week, so they have 9 full days at their disposal.
  • The cafeterias are closing down after lunch on Tuesday. Waaah!
  • A day or two ago, Baby T was trying to get into her playpen to get a toy hammer.  Once in, she grabbed the toy hammer and asked to be taken out.  It's interesting how well she communicates nonverbally.  
  • Baby T has been enjoying pushing, climbing into, and sitting in her LEGO bin.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

K-cup review

I have been enjoying my Keurig machine A LOT, but as I've discovered, the little k-cups really add up in cost.  If you use the kind that are $1 each and use 4 a day, uh oh.  So I have been exploring HEB's store brand k-cups.  I recently bought a box of HEB's decaf  "Cafe Ole" "Taste of San Antonio" (which run about 50 cents each).  They don't mention it on the packaging, but it's an interestingly coconut-y flavor, very good with milk.  If you like coconut at all, this is a great option.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Walking well

Here's some of what's happening:

  • C has a mild fever.  Poor C.  
  • D has his pull-up bar installed in his doorway now, so he can (under supervision) do all sorts of neat gymnastic stunts.
  • We walked across campus to and and from church today, with time-outs for frisbee tosses and bubble blowing.  It probably requires about 35 minutes one way with all of us walking none-to-briskly.  We had lunch at a cafeteria on the way back and they had FRENCH TOAST (we take French toast very seriously at our house).  Baby T ate 1.5 French toasts all by herself and then had a huge nap once we got home.     
  • Baby T is walking very well and has adopted walking as her default transportation mode.  She might crawl, but just for speed (for instance if a normally forbidden door or gate opens up and she has limited time to get through it).
  • Baby T can bend down from standing and pick up a toy.
  • Baby T is suddenly interested in her Little People and finger puppet animals, in the names of the animals and what they say.  She often hands us animal toys and asks us to name them.    

Friday, November 15, 2013

Busy Friday

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T had a somewhat inappropriate nap this morning.  She fell asleep in her Pack N Play while I was putting the ingredients for kheer into my Crock Pot.  It only lasted an hour, which is about an hour or two shorter than normal, but I managed to set up the rice pudding, deal with email relating to board game club, and have lunch.
  • The Indian rice pudding was a real cliffhanger.  I have made it a number of times, but I've been wanting to try it with brown rice for a healthier version, so today I used brown basmati.  I kept stirring and sampling the rice, hoping that it was going to soften up, but after nearly 3 hours in the Crock Pot, there was no sign that the brown basmati had softened at all.  Also, I was running out of time.  I kept it in the Crock Pot on low for another hour and then put it in the microwave for about 10 minutes, but nothing much happened and it was time to leave for board game club.    
  • My husband, Baby T and I went to school.  I handed out name tags to the nine children (grades 2-6) in attendance and my husband explained the rules for Quiddler to the kids (it's a word-building game).  We had two tables of players--a table for 2nd and 3rd grade and a table for 4th-6th grade (it was a very even split).  I followed along as best as I could while wheeling and toting Baby T around.  Challenges to words were resolved with the help of dictionaries on the kids' Kindles.       
  • We drove home and my husband put pumpkin muffins in the oven.  I fed Baby T and tried to resuscitate my Indian rice pudding.  I microwaved it another 15 minutes, having pretty much given up hope.  But finally, my efforts paid off--finally the pudding emerged with the rice finally edible and the milk nicely thickened.  Success!  I sprinkled on the finishing sliced almonds, we packed up our stuff and drove to the potluck.
  • We only stayed about an hour, as Baby T (who had had an abbreviated nap) was starting to wilt.  It was fun, though, and we managed to get through a long day, and Baby T enjoyed the baked beans.  We rushed home and I put T to bed in her day clothes.   

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Words

My husband thinks that Baby T is saying the following words:  give me, done and daddy.  She also seemed to be saying "s" for sheep and responded with a smile to her daddy saying "Smile!"

Monday, November 11, 2013

Playing it safe

 I forgot to mention a funny story about Baby T and her sippy.  As I have mentioned, I put Baby T down for the night with a sippy.  Normally, anything you put into a crib or playpen with Baby T tends to come flying out moments later, but I have been opening the door in the morning to find Baby T standing up in her crib and holding her sippy.  However, as soon as she sees a parent in the morning, the sippy goes flying out of the crib--but not a moment before.  She holds onto the sippy until she's convinced that it's safe to let go.

(I have been alternating sippies, just to make sure that she doesn't get attached to one that we then lose.)

72 hours

Here's some of what's happening:

  • It's been nearly 72 hours since I last nursed Baby T.  She's doing fine and eating LOTS of solids, but still dislikes cow's milk.  I'm about half-way through my antibiotics and doing OK.  
  • Over the weekend, C rode in a local equestrian competition and got a 1st and 3rd place (in a class of three).  She rode a very balky horse, which increased the difficulty level.  At the last moment, I decided to buy a ticket for the stuffed horse they were raffling off and that C had been coveting for some time.  We won!  It's huge and C loves it, but Baby T finds it terrifying.  If I carry Baby T into a room where the horse is, I can feel her grip tighten.
  • Baby T took 25 consecutive steps on some grass on campus tonight.  
  • As I have the last several nights, I put Baby T down for the night with a sippy cup tucked in the corner of her crib.  She, as has become her habit, grabs the cup as soon as I put her in the crib and lies down with it tucked under her hand.  Her bed tends to be pretty damp in the morning, but she has been sleeping through the night.  Also, thanks to daylight savings, she's going down for the night at around 8:30.  Tonight, we even got her down around 8 PM.  This is very exciting for me, as her previous bedtime of 9:30 or 10 PM left me with very little post-bedtime recreational time.   

Sunday, November 10, 2013

36 hours

Here's some of what's happening:

  • It's been 36 hours since I last nursed Baby T.  She seems to be holding up very well.  I'm feeling uncomfortable, but I slept OK.
  • Baby T still hasn't taken to cow's milk.  She loves her yogurt (Brown Cow's plain cream top) and cheese in pizza and grilled cheese and quesadillas, but she doesn't like cow's milk yet.  I'm trying to give her a taste or two from a sippie every day, in the hope that she will change her mind.  C and D drank huge quantities of cow's milk from a bottle, but that's not ideal, either.  (Baby T is going straight from the breast to the sippie cup.) 
  • At bedtime, I've been sticking a sippie with a little water in the corner of Baby T's crib.  Last night, Baby T grabbed the sippie from the corner and tucked it under her arm as she lay down, which was very promising.  Now, generally speaking, stuff that is put into her crib with her tends to go flying out pretty fast, but this morning when I came to get her, she was holding onto the sippie and the blankets were still there (damp, but there).     
  • Baby T gets excited whenever I show her a little mandarin.  
  • The big kids went to a skating party yesterday and then got to use their scooters for the first time in a very long time for a long walk to the cafeteria last night (the scooters went on hiatus when we were living in an apartment).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Weaning for real

I had been planning to slowly, judiciously taper off my breastfeeding with Baby T, but it is not to be.  The day after I cut down to 16 minutes total, I started getting unpleasant symptoms, and the next day when I was able to get in to see the nurse practitioner, she told me I was well on my way to mastitis...again (I did a course of antibiotics back in August, also when I was trying to cut down).

The nurse told me that my course of antibiotics may upset Baby T's tummy if I keep nursing.  There's also the issue that if I keep nursing through the course of antibiotics (which is an option), then I'll have to start weaning again directly afterwards (because weaning is my plan anyway), which may lead to mastitis again, which is kind of dumb.  If that keeps up, I'll never be able to quit, and I subject Baby T to several rounds of having her gut flora massacred.  So I'm taking the opportunity of my course of antibiotics to quit, fast but not cold turkey.  I cut down quite a bit last night with the intention of from then on just doing a couple of bedtime feeds and then quitting for good, but we had a gut check when Baby T woke up last night around 1 AM.  This happens pretty rarely, so when it does, I would normally just feed her back to sleep and plunk her back in her bed.  Easy peasy.  Last night, however, I gave her Tylenol, did a very minimal breastfeeding, offered Baby T some water from a sippy (she had very little interest in it), set her back in her crib, placed the sippy in the corner of the crib, and was dismayed to see that rather than agreeably rolling over onto her tummy and sticking her thumb in her mouth, she was SITTING UP.  I left her bedroom, shut the door, and stationed myself outside her room.  I heard restless noises for quite a while, but no crying.  When I was pretty sure she was down, I went back to bed.  This whole process took an hour and 20 minutes, which is at least an hour more than nursing her back to sleep would have taken, but it did work.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Still weaning

I've been working a schedule to cut down on Baby T's feedings, but we've had to go back to moderate breastfeeding due to illness a couple times (Baby T had a 102.5 degree fever around Halloween).  As of today, though, we're back to serious weaning and I'm doing a total of four minutes per feeding and aiming to do only 3 or 4 feeds a day (first thing in the morning, before nap, bedtime, and maybe one after the nap.  I've cut down so far that it's going to be tough to cut down further, as I'm going to have to start dropping feedings, but so far so good.  The really tricky thing is how to keep sleepy time happening when I stop breastfeeding her before her nap and before bedtime.

The good news is that my husband pointed out to me that Baby T has adopted the self-comforting strategies of thumb-sucking and tugging on her hair with her free hand when she's sleepy.  In fact, she's so into the thumb-sucking that a couple times, I've had to remove her thumb from her mouth in order to get her to finish breastfeeding.  That's very promising.    

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday update

Here's some of what's happening:

  • The kids trick or treated at the dorms as a ninja (C) and a knight (D) earlier in the week.  Then they went to a party at the Catholic student center as St. George with dragon (D--we have lots of stuffed dragons) and a Japanese martyr (C--who owns a kimono costume).  The pastor (who is Chinese-American) was a Chinese martyr.  The Catholic student center encourages edifying costumes.  Later, both C and D trick or treated in the neighborhood both as ninjas.  Why, yes, we do own a lot of dress up stuff.
  • We had only one set of neighbors as trick or treaters and then one pair of older trick or treaters in scary costumes that I just gave a (hopefully) friendly wave to and didn't open the door to.  It was 10:40.  In my book, trick or treating ends at 9 sharp.  
  • The kids have been enjoying a three day weekend.
  • Our dryer is acting up, we've had a repair guy twice, and we're expecting a part on Monday or Tuesday.  Also, our kitchen faucet is leaking.  I'm hoping life will be much better starting Monday or Tuesday.  
  • The big kids are suddenly big into Minecraft.
  • My husband told Baby T to go get a book.  Baby T crawled off to get it, saving "give" to herself, but once she got to the book, she got stuck looking at it and forgot her mission.  And this is why 12-month-old babies do not get tapped for Navy Seal duty.
  • Baby T now often repeats things she hears.  She indicated to my husband that she wanted the word for the TV.  He told her "TV" and she repeated, "TV."
  • Baby T can take up to 10 steps at a time.
  • The kids often beg to have Baby T on their laps at church by miming a rocking cradle motion.
  • Yesterday Baby T lifted up a light baby chair while standing on her two little feet.
  • Yesterday, the kids were doing BB gun target practice at Cabela's.  All the taxidermied critters made C sad. 
  • Thanksgiving approaches!      

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cottage Cheese

Did you know that cottage cheese is a finger food?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Baby T standing

Baby T still only walks at most a few steps at a time, but her standing is becoming increasingly casual.  She also will take a leap of faith between two supports.  She is showing more and more confidence about her ability to stay upright.  But crawling still has its uses for rapid locomotion.

Baby T loves books

Baby T has lately been crawling over to us with board books, wanting us to read to her.  She doesn't stick around for the whole book (just two pages is enough for her), but she LOVES books.  She's sitting and squealing on a big pile of them right now.

One of her favorites is the Hungry Caterpillar book.  She gets impatient about sitting through the text.  What she wants is the "beautiful butterfly" at the end.

Now she's eating a Max and Ruby book.  Yum.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The elliptical machine came!

The long-awaited Schwinn elliptical machine we ordered has arrived!  I hear the rustling from downstairs as my husband takes it out of the box.  We have the college gym nearby, but we ordered this for the following reasons:

  • The college gym shuts down over Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other breaks when we really want it.
  • I think an elliptical machine will be safer around children than a treadmill.
  • My podiatrist encourages me to crosstrain (for instance with an elliptical machine) rather than to over-do walking
  • Back when we lived in our college rental (from 2007-2012), I ordered a terrible cheap manual treadmill for me, and despite its terribleness (it was like a big me-powered gerbil wheel), my husband got a lot out of it.  I think we'll do even better with a good elliptical machine.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Baby T likes a doll

Previously, none of our kids had been into dolls (C at one point preferred to wrap trains in blankets and baby them).  Baby T, however, really likes the baby doll in a pink sleeper that I've allowed her to play with.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Big weekend

Here's some of what's been happening:

  • On Saturday, my husband and the big kids went to a parade on campus (briefly) and then he took C to her riding lesson.  D, Baby T and I walked to a hair appointment for D.  C finished her dress at a sewing machine store in the afternoon.  Later in the afternoon, we went to confession, bought shoes for D, had dinner at a Harley-themed burrito place and then in the evening, my husband put a new alternator into our car.  Big day.
  • Baby T had her 1 year doctor's appointment this morning.  She is 21 pounds 7 oz. and 29 inches long. Poor Baby T got four routine vaccinations today, a flu shot and a blood draw, for a total of six sticks.  Ow!
  • Baby T has been doing up to six steps.  She is more and more confident with her standing, but she'll often get down and crawl when it's more convenient.
  • Baby T has been enjoying her Very Hungry Caterpillar Book.  In fact, one week after getting it for her birthday, it is already noticeably chewed and bent (this is our second copy of the book).  She has been asking to have it and a Lord's Prayer book read to her, but she does tend to lose interest mid-way.  With the caterpillar book, though, it is clear that she is eagerly anticipating the butterfly page at the end, which is a big favorite with Baby T. 
  • I am continuing to wean Baby T.  I have a very exact schedule to help with tapering down and am trying to cut down at least 2 minutes every day.  I'm still breastfeeding just over 30 minutes a day, split between about 4 feedings.  Hopefully, we'll be down to 3 in a few days.  The trickiest part will be when it is time to drop the bedtime feeding, as up to now, I've been mostly just nursing Baby T to sleep.           

Friday, October 18, 2013

C works on her dress project

Here's some of what's happening:

  • After school, I took C to the quilt shop with her unfinished dress project (she missed 3/5 of the course due to illness) and C worked on it with a quilt shop lady for over 90 minutes.  If we can get in one more session, the quilt shop lady thinks C will finish.  Yay!  C has had the pieces in a box for the past three months.
  • During C's dressmaking, D and Baby T and I walked around the strip mall plaza.  We went to the Halloween store and D LOVED pushing the buttons of creepy animatronic ghosts and zombies.  Baby T was scared, though.  She hates near-human things that aren't human (like a decorative scare crow at the cafeteria). 
  • We went to the departmental potluck tonight.  My husband made pumpkin muffins.  He frosted half of them, which transformed them into cupcakes.  Baby T did a bunch of walking practice at the potluck.  I think she was doing 4+ steps at a time.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baby T is 1 and taking steps!

Here are some things that have been happening:

  • Baby T turned 1 on Thursday.  C had a volleyball game and a major birthday that night, so we confined our celebrations to handing Baby T a cafeteria cookie of her very own.  We (minus C) invited a college family out to the main green space to enjoy homemade stomp rockets, atlatl throwing, and an Aerobie.  There was a 16-month-old boy in the family we were playing with, and  D was SO impressed with his various accomplishments.
  • D really wants to see Baby T walking well.
  • I've started giving Baby T cow's milk in a sippy at meals.  She doesn't think much of it yet.
  • Yesterday, we had our real party for Baby T.  We invited a family of our neighbors and friends to meet us for dinner at the cafeteria.  Baby T enjoyed pizza and banana while wearing a red dress with white polka dots (of the sort Minnie Mouse would appreciate).  We then enjoyed stomp rockets and atlatl at a different green space and tried to get a BIG rocket up into the sky, without success.  Then it was dark and we went home for cake and prickly pear soda (C wanted to make sure everybody had some) and diet root beer.
  • I baked the cake from a store mix, but C frosted and decorated it to say "Happy Birthday T" with a pink and blue border and pink flowers (somewhat cherry blossom-looking).  She is getting to be a very adequate cake decorator.  
  • Baby initially tossed aside her slice of cake without giving it a chance, but we gave her a second slice and my husband mushed it into her mouth a little.  She eventually caught on.
  • My husband took 150 pictures yesterday.  
  • It got to be bedtime for some of our guests, so they went home.  I washed up Baby T, dressed her for bed, and then she opened gift bags (with assistance).  The big kids LOVED Baby T's new xylophone.  Everybody was up late playing with Baby T's toys.  
  • Baby T woke up this morning just after 5.  I fed her, and hung around her dark room with my laptop while she fitfully slumbered for another hour.  I handed her over to my husband once it was a decent hour and climbed back into bed myself.  She fell asleep again at 9:20 and has been down for 2.5+ hours.  I'm hoping this is not going to be a trend and that it doesn't mess with her bedtime.
  • This morning was the first time I've seen her methodically opening the cabinets in her bedroom.  I took some time this morning to move her clothes baskets to a higher shelf, as when she's running loose in her room, one of the first things she likes to do is to spread pjs all over the floor.  
  • Baby T's current feeding schedule is 16 minutes total first thing in the morning, 8 minutes total before nap, 8 minutes total after nap and 16 minutes total at bedtime.  I need to drop one of those middle of the day feedings (probably the after nap one) and shorten the morning feeding a little.  
  • As of yesterday, Baby T is able to stand for extended periods of time.  She has also repeatedly taken two steps at a time.  Most impressively, she can stand up without pulling up.  Once she can walk a little better, we should hit the children's museum.  
  • The big kids are very impressed by Baby T's standing.     

Quiche

I was in the fabulous new HEB grocery store checking out when the checker (for demographic purposes, a young black guy) noticed I was buying a ham-and-cheese quiche.  He asked his two male colleagues who were helping him if that was like a pot pie.  "It's kind of like an egg pie," I explained and added, "Don't worry--back in the 80s, they said, 'Real men don't eat quiche.'  It's OK not to know what a quiche is."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Two steps

Baby T has taken two steps at a time.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Walking with help

This evening, we were enjoying the green space in the courtyard of the new residence hall/dining hall complex.  D was doing cartwheels and T was doing practice walking while holding hands.  I eventually got a turn with her and discovered an interesting fact.  Instead of being towed along by her helper, Baby T is actually quite self-propelled.  She just needs a little help with her balance.  She really enjoys this.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Baby T takes a step!

Baby T is a skilled cruiser and she has been enjoying practicing her stepping while her daddy holds her hands.  She has been occasionally managing to balance while standing independently, but it's not something she can do at will or for very long.  

Today's progress was that she took one step while standing independently.  This is her very first step.  Her birthday is in a few days, so this is nicely timed.  


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

C and Baby T's birthday

C is doing a countdown to Baby T's birthday, which is in just over two weeks.

More standing

I've been seeing Baby T do some more momentary standing.  I believe she's letting go of whatever she's holding onto and then slowly, carefully plopping down.  I've seen her do it several times today.  She's also made some attempts at crossing from one side to the other of her crib.  She's getting in a lot of cruising in her crib and playpens (we borrowed a second one for upstairs).  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Megan McArdle gives pep talk to the Millenials

Here's a nice little piece by Megan McArdle, reassuring the Millenials that life has always been tough.  I like this quote at the end:
 Most people in the generations before the millennials had to struggle. They were afraid they wouldn’t be able to make it. They, too, were woken up in the wee small hours by their own economic terror. The reason your parents’ lives look so carefree to you? Well, in part because Mommy doesn’t usually tell little Timmy that she’s having night terrors over how to get him outfitted for school if the old minivan finally gives up the ghost. But mostly because all this was taking place when you were 6 years old. And everything adults do looks easy when you’re 6.

Business plan

Hey, entrepreneurial types, have I got an idea for you!  How about starting a drive-thru convenience store, so customers can procure basic survival stuff (eggs, bread, milk, Baby Tylenol, etc.) without stepping out of their car?  It may sound over the top, but there are times when that's just what a person needs (like when a kid is sick or asleep, so you don't want to take them into a store).

I suppose that a vending machine setup and some sort of touch screen ordering mechanism would do more or less the same thing.

Come on, guys!  You can do it!

Awww

C decided that for her dinner tonight, she would wrap sausages in leftover phyllo dough and bake it.  She also put fig jam and nuts in some of the leftover phyllo dough.  Awww.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

C's favorite Old Testament verse

For her CCD homework, C is supposed to write out her favorite Old Testament and New Testament verses.  C chose Job 39:19-25 as her Old Testament verse:

Do you give the horse his might?  Do you clothe his neck with strength?Do you make him leap like the locust?  His majestic snorting is terrible.He paws in the valley, and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons.He laughs at fear, and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword.Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear and the javelin.With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.When the trumpet sounds, he says 'Aha!'  He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Feeding the pre-toddler

I was reading a very interesting web article on feeding the 12-month-old.  Here are some quotes I pulled out:

  •  I tell parents that one good meal per day is the expectation, and their job is to balance out the diet as best as they can over time.
  • The most common mistake I see here is too few fresh fruits and (more commonly) veggies. Catering to a toddler’s tastes or whims is usually a bad idea, as well. I’ll occasionally hear, “All he wants to eat is macaroni and cheese, so that’s what I end up giving him.” Going back to the infant pureed veggies is a nice trick that works for many parents. Pureed carrots as a dip with unsalted bread sticks is a fun toddler hors d’oeuvre. Pouring a jar of pureed veggies into pasta sauce is another way to hide them in the diet. 
  • Most pediatricians recommend a diet for toddlers that does not restrict fat or cholesterol. 

Baby T's feeding

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T and I hosted two mommies, two toddlers and a big standing baby for a playdate in T-ville (the playroom off the kitchen) on Friday.  Baby T loves other babies and toddlers and attention in general.  In church, in fact, she has a bad habit of squawking until the other babies or toddlers pay attention to her. 
  • D likes neatening up Baby T's Little People sets.  Baby T, on the other hand, likes messing them up.  
  • Baby T is obviously entering into a new phase of her gastronomic life.  She doesn't care to nurse for more than a few minutes when out and about (she's been known to bite to demonstrate that she's done NOW), and she has been shortening some of her less essential feedings.  This is very noticeable, as in the old days, she wouldn't stop sucking of her own accord.  
  • I've got a sippy with water fastened to her stroller for walks (it's still HOT), and she is very competent with it.
  • I offer her solids probably three times a day, but it tends to be 1) a bagel and a cup of water in the stroller 2) a real baby/toddler meal at home with several different kinds of foods (tonight it was baby peas, slices of avocado (mostly tossed), Cheerios and plain yogurt with lots of fat) 3) pizza or grilled cheese or pancake similar at the cafeteria with cafeteria veggies that will probably be ignored, then tossed.
  • There was a brief window where she was avidly eating the steamed veggies I put on her tray, but she's suddenly over that.  
  • I serve most solids as finger food, but reserve the right to spoon in gloppy stuff (like yogurt).
  • She is surprisingly enthusiastic about the yogurt.  It's Brown Cow plain yogurt, the kind with the cream top.  It's surprisingly mild for plain yogurt and I seem to remember that D also liked it at this age.  
  • Putting the best face on Baby T's switch in dietary preferences, I think it may be because she is making a point of eating higher calorie food.  I was just looking up how many calories a 12-month-old is supposed to get (Baby T is 11 months old) and they're supposed to get 1,000 calories a day!  Holy cow!  No wonder Baby T doesn't have the time of day for mixed veggies (38 calories for 1/2 a cup of peas and carrots).  Given the tiny size of her tummy and her need to get in 1,000 calories a day, she can't afford to eat much of that low-density stuff.

More weaning

Baby T has been cutting down on her breastfeedings, rather than hanging on until I pull her off.

Me:  Baby T is downsizing me!

Husband:  You're not pizza.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cruising well

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We got our new stainless steel microwave and trim and my husband installed it.  It's so pretty.
  • Baby T is cruising well and stands with the merest hint of support from a single hand.
  • Baby T loves her pizza and she had some grilled cheese sandwich today at the cafeteria.  It seems like you can't go wrong with combinations of bread, cheese and tomato sauce.  
  • Our car started emitting burnt oil smells yesterday on the drive home from school.  My husband discovered it was leaking oil.  We had to miss CCD last night and he had to get a ride to the grocery store for some diapers, milk and some oil to put in the car to get the kids to school and the car to the mechanic's.  My husband got it to our mechanic this morning and we cadged a ride home for the kids from some friends.  I also missed a school event tonight.  Tomorrow, my husband will be walking the kids to some friends for a ride to school and hopefully the car will be back home by the end of the day.  We miss the car very much, especially since our neighborhood grocery store has been closed, and we only have gas stations and mini-marts near campus now.   

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Baby T's first (???) joke

I was about to take Baby T out of her crib when she moved away from me and pulled up on the opposite side of the crib.  I changed position again to get closer to her and she moved away again, roaring with baby laughter.  Baby T may have made other minor efforts at humor before, but this is definitely one of the first times, and maybe the first time she's laughed so loudly at her own joke.

(I ran off to blog this right after it happened.  I can now hear little grumbly noises coming from Baby T's room.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

T's bedtime

For a long time, Baby T's bedtime has been around 9:30 PM.  This is not ideal, because it conflicts with both C's and D's bedtime and by that time, I'm totally wiped out.  However, on Friday night she went to sleep around 8:30 PM.  On Saturday, she went down around 8:15/8:20 PM, but woke up again around midnight , which meant that we didn't get back to sleep until nearly 1 AM.  Tonight, she went down around 8 PM.  Fingers crossed.

I would love an 8 or 8:30 PM bedtime for Baby T.  For a long time when he was a little guy, D went to bed around 6:30 PM (!!!!) and then got up at a normal time in the morning.  I'm not asking for that, but a little more evening would be nice.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pizza for Baby T

Here's some of what's happening:

  • The 13-year-old built-in (!) microwave stopped microwaving and started emitting odd burning electrical odors when the on button was pressed, so we stopped using it.  At that point, I discovered that the microwave is (after the fridge) the second most-used appliance in the kitchen.  We microwave our oatmeal in it, our frozen bagels, veggies for Baby T, frozen meals, hot fudge for ice cream, etc.  It gets used half a dozen to a dozen times, every single day.  And right now, we have no microwave.
  • After much research, my husband ordered us a microwave and trim kit.  The old microwave was built-in, so that substantially increases the cost of replacement.  It is a painful fact that we are paying almost as much for the trim kit as for the microwave itself.  We went for stainless steel, as I hope to eventually replace our appliances with stainless, and anyway, the only suitable trim kit was stainless steel.  We have a mixture of white and black appliances, but we have to start somewhere if we're switching over.  (I realize stainless steel may be a little less trendy than 5 years ago, but I like it, and a microwave is not a lifetime commitment.)       
  • Baby T went to bed just now around 8:35 PM, which is about an hour sooner than she has been doing recently.  I really, really like this, as an 8:30 bedtime would give me the option of helping out with D's and C's bedtime.  D is down right now and I am hanging out in C's room lending moral support as she tidies up her room.   
  • Baby T and I went to the zoo this morning with a bunch of grad moms and one grad grandma.  It was hot, but I happened to have a bunch of zoo passes that would have expired tomorrow.
  • Baby T had cheese pizza for dinner tonight at the wonderful new cafeteria.  I am trying to figure out how to feed her at the cafeteria, as we have had her sitting in her nice stroller, and I am struggling with the idea of tomato sauce on the stroller upholstery, but C reminds me that the stroller is red.  We do have a portable feeding seat that may or may not fit into the stroller basket--I will have to see if that works.  There's really good food at the cafeteria and Baby T is currently so open-minded about food that we really should take advantage of it (I realize this window of opportunity is closing).  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weaning?

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Right now, my husband is hanging up a coat of arms and crossed decorative swords in D's room.  It's going to look great.  [UPDATE:  I got to see the preliminary position of the coat of arms and it does look fantastic.] 
  • Tonight, we had store ham and cheese quiche and steamed mixed veggies and grapes for dinner and Baby T had the same thing (minus the grapes).
  • Our recent pattern with Baby T's solids is that Baby T gets one large meal and some starchy snacks at other times (tortilla, bagel, etc.).
  • I'd been wondering what weaning was going to look like, as I've never weaned a breastfed infant before (C and D were bottle-fed pumped milk).  What seems to be happening is that Baby T has taken matters into her own plump little hands.  I think she's had one full-length breastfeeding today (first thing in the morning?), but the rest of the time, she has been cutting her feedings in half.  This has been particularly pronounced when I try to feed her when not in my usual location (church, C's bedroom, etc.).  
  • What I think is going on is that Baby T is switching from treating milk as a meal to treating it more as a beverage. 
  • I had been hoping to start weaning at 1 year and go directly to whole cow's milk with no bottles.  That's six weeks away and I think I may need to revise that plan.  While I would still like to skip bottles, we may well need to start supplementing a bit with formula, perhaps at meals.  Another option is to offer cheese and yogurt and lots of water.  We have a small stash of formula, so we have options.           

Sunday, August 18, 2013

False start

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Three of us are mildly afflicted, each in our own way.  I'm a casualty of the weaning process.  I called in to the after-hours doctor this evening and got set up with some antibiotics, as I didn't want to wait the 12 hours until the office opened.  It's not entirely clear that I have mastitis, but I didn't really want to wait to find out.
  • C did a lovely acrylic painting of an Asian dragon today (copied from a book on how to draw dragons).
  • My husband is working on some decorative swords for D's room (which is decorated in a castle theme).
  • Baby T has been eating some lovely steamed vegetables.  My little microwave mini-steamer is perfect for this and they taste much better than green veggie baby food, which is nasty.   
  • Baby T's passive language is really improving.  She handed her daddy a Little People polar bear and a Little People pig when he requested them.      

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baby T's second breakfast

Baby T is 10 months old and has been enjoying the wide world of table foods lately.  (I am going to have to find somebody to take my stash of Stage 2 baby foods off my hands.  I'm keeping the Stage 3s and maybe the Stage 2 pureed meat--I guess we can try it on toast or something.)  Just now, she's having banana, Cheerios and plain yogurt for her second breakfast.  Yum!  This was the first time she's had yogurt, so she winced a little, but she had a fair bit of it.  She's not as fanatical a nurser as she used to be, but I'm aiming for weaning at one year, if possible.  You're allowed to switch over to cow's milk at one year and it would be nice to avoid the unnecessary expense of formula.  I have a small stash of formula, though, just in case.    

In gross motor news, Baby T pulls up all the time and needs only the very slightest support to stand.  In fact, if you put her in a standing position, she'll stay up not just momentarily, but occasionally for quite a while, sometimes for long enough to clap her hands.  

 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quilt finished

Here's some of what's happening:

  • C finished her quilt yesterday.  Her teacher did some of the piecing, but it's about 75-85% C's work.  That leaves the dress project.  I've told C that if she wants to sew clothing or a quilt for Baby T, that we can furnish material.  I also told C that if she can do a quilt 100% by herself, we will enter it at the county fair.   
  • My husband has been having Baby T climb stairs.  She has done 15 steps at a time.  
  • We had a big playdate this afternoon.  We all had lunch at the cafeteria and then went home.  I did a house tour for our friends, D showed off his block castle and knights and C showed off her sewing machine and projects.  Then the kids got to work building cardboard box castles (we had been saving some really good boxes from the move).  Eventually, my husband was able to help do crenellation with a box cutter.  We had an ice cream break to restore everybody's vitality.  The boys worked on their box castle, the girls worked on their box castle, and eventually there was a big battle.  I eventually declared peace.  I'm hoping that the boys' castle and the girls' castle will eventually be turned into a joint mega-castle.   

Monday, August 12, 2013

C's quilt

C missed three days of a five day quilt-making class and of a five day dress-making class.  We bought a used sewing machine for C and my husband brought home C's projects in a box (her teacher had done some piecing for her), but with neither of us adults being quilters, we were in a bind.  With much trepidation, we gave C permission to finish her quilt project at home (she did do a different quilt last summer in a class, but she ran out of time and her teacher had to finish it for her, so C has never done a quilt independently).  She's doing very well.  It's not perfect, but it definitely looks like a quilt, and I have mentioned to C that I would be very happy to have it as a living room sofa throw.  I asked C how she figured out how to finish the quilt, and she told me that she had been looking at one of the quilting books I gave her.  

The dress is more of a question, as this was the very first dress-making class C has ever taken.  I'm hoping we'll be able to touch bases with C's teacher for some pointers.  

Balanced diet

Baby T is finishing up a late lunch of part of a bagel, some steamed green beans, some fresh plum and some shredded cheese.

Bamboo bowls

Here's some of what's happening:

  • C has been working on her quilt.
  • Baby T had an awful night, which I eventually figured out was due to molar activity.  She fed 8ish,10ish, 12ish (at which point we wised up and dosed her with baby Tylenol) and then again at 1 something AM, at which point she finally curled up and went to sleep for the night.  Between the midnight and the 1AM feedings, I was rocking her, walking her, patting and rubbing her back, etc., but she needed the combination of the baby Tylenol kicking in and a feeding to knock her out for the night.  Up until then, she was waking up every time I tiptoed away.  I think I finally got down for the night around 1:45 AM this morning.  
  • My husband and D have been working on ornamental swords for D.  He's also going to have a wooden shield with coat of arms on his wall.
  • My new blue-and-white Japanese rice bowls arrived!  Squee!  They're 8 oz. and have a bamboo pattern.  On reflection, they would work very nicely for ice cream. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tree down

Here's some of what's happening:

  • On Friday, the tree guys came and trimmed a Chinese tallow in our front yard and fell a scraggly 39-foot (there's an app for that!) larch in the backyard.  The larch was leaning over our house.  They got it down safely, which was a relief.  They sent their lightest crew guy up with a harness and a chainsaw and he cut a bunch of limbs, then methodically worked his way down, cutting off first the crown of the tree, then successive lower stretches of trunk.  They then chipped the stump.  This all took about 90 minutes and cost us $325.  The actual tree-climber was a Hispanic guy wearing a Jesus shirt (done in the style of the famous Che Guevara shirt), with text saying "Viva la revolucion!"
  • C has been experimenting with the embroidery function on her new (used) sewing machine. 
  • C has finished sewing her felt horse from online instructions.  She decided, late in the process, to make it a unicorn. 
  • C seems to be getting better.  D, however, is starting to act a little peaky.  School starts next week.  Get better, kids!
  • Baby T has figured out how to pull up on her play pen, an advanced task.
  • D has been staging elaborate scenes with block fortresses, knight action figures and stuffed dragons.
  • Baby T had a lunch today consisting of Cheerios, Wheat Chex and steamed peas and diced carrots (from frozen).  This is the first time I've used my new microwave mini-steamer, which I like a lot.     
  • I got a shipment of four blue-and-white earthenware Tunisian salad bowls.  The size is perfect, but they're not as nice as they looked in the online photos.  I'll keep them for a while and see if I warm up to them, but I may just send them to Goodwill eventually.   

Morning report

D asked for permission to see Baby T this morning (a frequent request from the kids) and came back with the following information:

  • Baby T was looking at the ceiling fan.  D said "fan" over and over again to encourage her to repeat the word.  Baby T, however, said something that sounded a lot like "give" and D told her he couldn't give her the ceiling fan.
  • D reminds me how many developments Baby T has been through.  Early on in Baby T's life, when he went in to see Baby T, she'd be in exactly the same position she'd been put down in.  The next step was being on her tummy.  After that, he'd find her sitting up.  And now, he has been finding Baby T standing up holding her crib rail. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Momentary standing

My husband reports that Baby T (who has been pulling up like crazy) is able to stay standing momentarily and even managed to clap her hands once while standing.

Baby T pulls up at every opportunity, including in the bath.

Mrs. Lin's Kitchen

I have 1) a thing for blue-and-white Japanese ceramics and 2) a nice little windfall, so we ordered me some more bowls.  I just got my first shipment of four blue-and-white noodle bowls from Mrs. Lin's Kitchen and I'm waiting for a set of ten blue-and-white bamboo-patterned rice bowls.  I really don't need ten, but they're really pretty.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sewing machine

C is about to be the proud owner of a used Pfaff 2030 sewing machine.  Pfaff is a German company, which is reassuring.  We've bought the machine from a Bernina store and it will come with lessons and 2 years of service.

C's had to miss all but two days of her sewing camp due to illness, but we are going to try to make arrangements for her to finish the dress and the quilt she was working on.     

Measurements

Baby T went to the pediatrician for a belated 9 month check-up (no shots--woohoo!).  Baby T is 19 pounds 14 ounces (something like 57th percentile) and 28.37 (?) inches (63rd percentile).  Practically perfect, as Mary Poppins would say.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Good news, bad news

Bad news:  There was a spill during the baking process last night.

Good news:  It was my bottle of rose water.  It smells amazing around the fridge.

I've had the bottle of rose water untouched through two moves and not been totally sure what to do with it, so this is a step forward.  I had been thinking of using it in a birthday cake for me (maybe with chocolate?).  The internet informs me that you can also do a cardamon and rose water kheer (Indian rice pudding), which also sounds amazing.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Third word

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T had her 9 month pediatric appointment this afternoon. 
  • Baby T has a third word:  "poo."  That's actually her version of "spoon".
  • The inside of the house is officially unpacked--not perfectly arranged, but unpacked.  We will leave the garage for cooler weather.  The garage is the last area to be dealt with.
  • Our mover came and got some used boxes from us today.  
  • I was finishing up the master bedroom and some odds and ends in the hall:  baby clothes that need to be given away and a box with a few items of baby memorabilia.  On reflection, we have lots of photos with C and D in their hospital baby hats, so we don't need to keep the actual physical hats.  D's baptismal candle can join the other candles in our candle collection and come out for special occasions and C's first pair of toddler shoes looks serviceable for Baby T.  So, no box of baby memorabilia.  Our photos, baby journals and blog will have to serve.      
  • We've had the bushes and vegetation directly around the house removed (it's for termite and carpenter ant prevention) and are collecting bids for the removal of a nearly 40' larch that is leaning over the house.   
  • Good news:  C was working hard this evening on making baklava with phyllo pastry, nuts, butter, oil, honey and rosewater.  Bad news:  I'm not close enough to hear what's going on, but there's a burnt smell wafting up the stairs.  
  • D went down to sleep around 8:30 PM.  Woohoo!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Second word

My husband and C tell me that when Baby T saw a freshly assembled Rubiks Cube she said, "Give!"  That is T's second word.  The first one is "book" or "gook."

Bad news--I think Baby T may have been getting an allergic reaction to the blackberries in the baby food I was giving her a couple days ago.  She was getting circles around her eyes (as if she'd been crying--but she hadn't been) and then spots at the back of her neck.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What's left

The photos I just posted are of rooms that are officially unpacked.  That leaves D's room and C's room (which are unpacked but not decorated) and the master bedroom.  I will try to do posts for D's bedroom and C's bedroom as we add finishing touches (a horse poster for C, a castle poster for D, various odds and ends).

Upstairs at the new house

This post and the previous one are of unpacked rooms in the new house.  Here are some photos of the master bath and Baby T's nursery.
master bathroom vanity
shell sink (not so yellow in real life--more purplish)
shower with purple swirl cultured marble
purple swirl bath--but very comfy for reading
grand view from top of stairs
Baby T's nursery--lots of built-in storage
Baby T's nursery--shelves and cabinets

Downstairs at the new house


main entry

breakfast nook and built-in cabinet

coffee corner

island

breakfast nook

playroom with foam matting 

Applause

Here are some odds and ends:

  • I forgot to mention that we were all in the playroom when Baby T was pulling up on the low windowsill, and there was much applause and enthusiastic outcry for her efforts.
  • I'm lately noticing that Baby T is very excited about being spoken to and seems to relish speech.
  • She fell asleep after a feeding last night around 6:30 PM, which was supposed to be her second-to-last feeding, rather than her last feeding.  I had a real dilemma as to whether or not to wake her up and feed her for the night.  We let her sleep and she stayed down until around 7 AM this morning.  6:30 PM is early for a bedtime for Baby T (although D really did go down around that time for a while in his preschool years), but it would really be nice if she started going to bed 7ish or 8ish, freeing up the later evening for the big kids.  Up to now, I've usually been putting Baby T to bed around 9 or 9:30, which means I've been mostly unavailable for C and D's bedtime.  Even 8:30 or 8:45 would be good.
  • C did the Mona Lisa cookie recipe in Tattoo a Banana.  We're still eating it.  
  • My husband is replacing an unreliable old powder room toilet with a more standard toilet.  We were going to have the home improvement people install it, but the plumbing department guy sold my husband on the idea of doing it himself.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Clapping!

Baby T is having a developmental spurt right now:  she's clapping, pointing, pulling up, cruising (a little bit), and has a word ("gook" for book).  All of these things happened in just a few days.

Baby T has entered into a sort of pre-toddlerhood that I had previously not realized existed.

Pulling up!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T can pull up now!  She's been using the low windowsill in T-ville for this, which is kind of cheating.
  • My husband is working on a cardboard shield for C, gold with a coat of arms with a unicorn in it (from my MIL's side of the family).
  • C is going to have missed 3 out of 4 days of swimming lessons this week, due to low fevers.  Boo hoo.  D will be able to go back to swimming today, we hope.  Good thing I signed C up for two 2-week sessions.
  • I've been using my new Inglesina Swift stroller.  I like it a lot--it's like the old Maclaren Volos I used to own, except with a lot of recline positions and bigger wheels.  It's kind of tempting to just use it rather than the big jogging stroller but 1) it wouldn't be so good for off-roading and 2) I need to move it to the trunk and part ways with my stroller frame.  Baby T is probably 20+ pounds at this point and the stroller frame is making alarming squeaking noises.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sewing table done!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We think Baby T is saying book (or "gook" in her pronunciation).  There is pretty strong contextual evidence that that's what she is saying.  The book that first evoked it is "Are You My Mother?" and she also seemed to use the word of my husband's Fr. Dowling mystery from the library.
  • The kids were sick today and missed their swim lesson.  Bummer.
  • I had a long late morning/early afternoon at the dentist's today.  I was kind of enjoying the "me time" but at $251 for all the work, it's kind of expensive. 
  • The door for C's sewing table came and my husband finished assembling it.  It's quite a lot for our $110.  We are waiting for C's rearing Arabian horse poster and some sewing and quilting books.  Once C has demonstrated familiarity with the sewing books, we will look into getting her a machine.  
  • She's doing very well with her stuffed horse sewing project (cream felt with chocolate felt accents).  
  • We have one week left of swim classes for both kids, one huge week of sewing class for C (a dress and a quilt--it's sweatshop camp!), and then one week for tidying up odds and ends before school starts.  
  • D is enjoying the cardboard shield (spray-painted silver) with coat of arms that my husband made him.  I think it would look fantastic on plywood as room decor.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

C's bath done

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We finally did C's bathroom today.  There wasn't a lot to do, but it required my husband to line shelves, C to explain what she did and didn't need and me to move stuff around.
  • My husband hung up stuff on the kids' walls and corkboards.
  • C put up a bunch of horse decals on her walls.
  • We are waiting for a part for C's sewing table and some sewing and quilting books for C.  Once the table is assembled and C has studied the books and we've studied some reviews, we will order a sewing machine for C.  (She's doing a very serious sewing camp in just over a week--she's been doing sewing camps for years now.)  
  • We are also waiting for some more decor:  a rearing Arabian peel-and-stick for C's room and a photo of a Spanish castle for D (they're both removable).  D builds a lot of block castles and loves his Crusader action figures, so I figured that a moderate castle theme would be something he would enjoy (he had previously resisted the idea of a room theme).  D eventually warmed up to the idea and now wants a coat of arms on a shield as part of his decor.  My husband is working on it (he does in fact have a coat of arms).      
  • C would also like a Swingasan from Pier 1, although my husband wonders if our glider rocker (which is currently loaned out to some new parents) might not work as well.  I don't know when the glider rocker is coming back, though.
  • C is sewing a stuffed felt horse from a very complex set of internet instructions.  So far, so good.  It is cream with chocolate brown accents, which will look very nice with her horse bedding.      
  • The kids' rooms still are being worked on, but they are unpacked.
  • As of right now, we only need to unpack the master bedroom and the garage.
  • I see that Michael's has real knitting classes for 12 and up.  C has expressed interest on a number of occasions.  It's a 2.5 hour class for $25, which is pretty intense, but a reasonable price.  (I realize that the materials is where they really bite you.)  Next summer?
  • The summer is almost over.  Time to plan next summer!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

C is 11!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • My husband hung up a bulletin board in D's bedroom and has started putting together a sewing table for C.  The sewing table, unfortunately, is missing one large piece, so it can't be finished as is.
  • C's birthday party was at a rollerskating rink.  I invited every single girl in C's 5th grade class last year, plus some siblings, plus a family that helped us move our kitchen when my husband was sick.  The adult contingent that stuck around through the whole party was 5, counting me and my husband.  I'm not totally sure how many kids there were, although I think it was probably around 15.  We had pizza and Black Forest cake (chocolate cake with cherry pie filling on top) supplied by the HEB bakery.  Baby T had a fine time.  C loved her gifts and I was able to write out her thank you emails just by typing out her exclamations over the stuff as she opened it at home.  
  • Thanks to birthday checks, C is nearly half way to getting a sewing machine.  
  • D is loving his new Papasan with the fuzzy chocolate brown cushion.  It's like a big nest for him.  C is torn between the Papasan and the Swingasan, although she feels like she would regret not getting the Swingasan.      
  • I've somehow wound up with prepper type quantities of baby food at home (an entire cupboard shelf devoted to little tubs and jars), which is funny, because I haven't been feeding Baby T much baby food at all.  I'VE GOT TO STOP BUYING BABY FOOD!!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Progress report

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T has almost 8 teeth--four on the bottom gum, 3.5 on the top gum.
  • I gave her a raw banana last night.  She didn't consume it exactly, but she got the idea.  (I offered her one a month or so ago and she didn't do anything with it.)
  • Baby T sits up nicely and my husband thinks she would like to stand up.
  • D got to ride at horse camp yesterday and by the end of it, he was doing some independent riding.  C's dance camp will be doing a show at the end of the week and I got a list of make up from camp (they're going to be working on stage make-up application tomorrow).  C and I visited the makeup aisle at Walmart (a foreign country for me) and picked out what turned out to be nearly $49 in cosmetics (foundation, powder, blush, lipstick, eye shadow--I passed on mascara for C).
  • I took some photos of finished rooms in the house while Baby T was sleeping yesterday and I would like to post them to the blog, but we were experiencing technical difficulties last night.  We'll get them up eventually, with commentary.  
  • I decided that we weren't going to be able to do much with C's room without the sewing table (which will double as a desk for C) so we ordered the sewing table from Walmart a couple nights ago.  C's room needs the following:  sewing table (ordered), corkboard (we have it--we just need to find the right spot for it and install it), horse decals (she may get them as a birthday gift from a friend), horse poster (C needs to choose one--we'll probably put it over her bed).  I'm definitely getting her a sewing machine as soon as the money appears and C would love a Pier 1 Swingasan.  Oh, and she needs to finish unpacking.  I think it's going to be a very pretty room when we're finished.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

D complains

D said (complaining to his dad):  I waited for you an infinite number--too many--moments.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back from CA

Here's some of what's happening:

  • My husband is back from five days on the road to a seminar in California.  Everybody was very excited to see him back, particularly Baby T.
  • On his return, he assembled the IKEA Poang armchair and ottoman that had been sitting in a box.  They have moved to the playroom and we are already enjoying them (we REALLY needed the ottoman).  He also had a look at the two 3' by 4' corkboards that had arrived (one for C's room, one for D's) and discovered that one was broken.  Annoying.  The size is good, though.  
  • I'm thinking that we will be adding a corkboard, a sewing table, a sewing machine and a chair and some stick-on-horse decals and murals to C's room (Amazon has lots of wall decals--Wallmonkeys seems to be the big vendor).  I think C may also want a Swingasan (a suspended wicker chair), but I'm not sure that will fit.  I'm not sure about D's room.  I've told the kids that we will start decorating once they are unpacked.
  • I got a shipment of coffee stuff and unpacked it last night (Torani sugar-free syrups, the pumps that go with the syrups and some K-cups for my Keurig coffee machine).  I installed some of the pumps.  During my nap today, C unwrapped a pump and a raspberry syrup bottle and installed the pump, spilling some syrup.  She needed the raspberry syrup to make raspberry lemonade.  C tried microwaved milk with chocolate syrup and almond syrup tonight and it was amazing.       
  • This coffee nook thing is getting a bit out of hand, but I'm also thinking of getting a milk carafe for company (like they have at Starbucks). 
  • By the way, as far as I can tell, there are two different economical ways to buy syrups on Amazon:  1) get a three pack of a single flavor 2) get a variety pack with six flavors.  I'm not ready to commit yet, so I'm mostly going with a variety pack.  
  • C made cinnamon rolls with the bread machine earlier this week.  They weren't perfect (they got baked too long and needed more icing), but close is pretty good with cinnamon rolls.  
  • Dreyer's no-sugar-added low-fat triple chocolate ice cream tastes like chocolate sand.  Not kidding.  Blue Bunny, on the other hand, makes a very nice Turtle Sundae no sugar added low fat ice cream.    
  • I gave Baby T apple blueberry baby food and she ate nearly the full tub.  I had the rest and it's really good stuff.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The plumber came!

Here's some of what's been happening:

  • A friend, her big kid and baby came over this morning and I got to show off my new Keurig machine. I had hazelnut!  I'm also waiting for a shipment of coffee paraphernalia:  a bunch of decaf K-cups, a pack of Torani sugar-free syrups (vanilla, hazelnut, etc.), some amaretto sugar-free syrup (I think) and  some pumps for the syrup bottles.  How much did all that cost?  A lot, but you don't need to skip that many Starbucks lattes to break even.
  • The plumber came and fixed our sink for $86.96!  So happy.
  • We went to the children's museum and then to Panera's for dinner.  Afterwards, we went to Pier 1 and to Petco to visit the kitties, rats, hamsters, lizards, fish, etc.  D is firmly settled on getting a Papasan with a fuzzy chocolate brown cushion.  C is likewise firmly settled on getting a Swingasan.  The kids have been told that we can start getting them decor after they are finished unpacking.  I would like to get a wicker settee, but am waiting patiently for end-of-season sales.  I even ventured to ask the staff when that might be.  The manager said that the Papasans go on sale regularly and that the wicker stuff should go on sale by the end of the month.  The kids LOVE Pier 1, which is funny.    

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Baby T update

Here's what Baby T is up to:

  • She falls asleep generally around 11 AM (briefly) and again around 2 or 3.
  • She sits up nicely.
  • She has been trying to pull up (for instance, on her bath today).
  • She crawls well.
  • She is scared of the exercise balls when she is on the floor.
  • She is starting to be unhappy about being passively spoon-fed.  We were having a tussle in the Barnes and Noble cafe today where I was trying to spoon-feed her sweet potatoes, and she was trying to wrestle the spoon out of my hand.  Hopefully, not too much sweet potato hit innocent bystanders.  (Normally at home, it's more amicable.  I give her a bagel, Cheerios or Chex on her tray and a spare spoon and she tolerates spoon-feeding.  I need to remember the bagel.)
  • We're working through the fruit and veggie purees in the cupboard.  I'm working toward giving her pureed meat, Stage 3 baby dinners and table food, but it's an awfully slow process introducing her to new foods.   

Waiting for the plumber

The very same day we finished unpacking the kitchen, water started leaking from the base of the kitchen faucet.  Fortunately, there's a water filter spigot that isn't leaking, so we can use that in the kitchen, but it's a huge nuisance.  I'm hoping for a plumber tomorrow morning.  This will be our first big fix as homeowners.  

The kids and I hit Barnes and Noble this afternoon and I got D Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids.    It looks good--really!  D gave it a good look in the book store and said it looked "inspiring."  He is planning a huge popsicle stick house.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kitchen done

Just before lunch, we finished the last messy countertop in the kitchen.  The kitchen is now unpacked.  The following are now unpacked:  living room, play room, kitchen, laundry, entry, powder room, T's nursery, the master bath and D's bath.  We still need to finish unpacking the master bedroom, D's room, C's bath, C's room and the garage.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

On a spree?

Here's some of what happened today:

  • We got a late start, but very efficiently managed some errands on a plaza.  My husband got a haircut while the kids and I got C ballet slippers, tap shoes and tights at Payless and then ordered a birthday cake for C for her 11th birthday (a half sheet of Black Forest cake).  C is going to be doing a dance camp soon and I think she will enjoy it more if she has the appropriate clothing.
  • We then set off for a long-awaited buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant about an hour away.
  • We noticed a big box sporting goods store and we got 1) some dance clothing for C 2) goggles for D and 3) two exercise balls for the kids (in two different sizes).  One of the balls has diagrams showing different exercises, which I think the kids will get more use out of.  
  • We returned to our home town, went to confession, returned some books to the public library and got some more books.
  • We had dinner at the cafeteria and then at home, my husband and the big kids got to work on the packs of foam matting that came in the mail.  They are creating a black-and-white checkerboard floor in Baby T's play room (the former formal dining room).  I had initially wanted grey foam matting but they didn't have enough for the whole floor, so it's a relief to see that the black-and-white is not as stark as I expected it to be.  
  • C's room is slowly progressing.  I have told the kids that once their rooms are unpacked, we will give them a decor budget to work with.  Both of the kids are interested in improved seating.  Last I heard, D wanted a Pier 1 Papasan chair (both kids LOVE Pier 1) and C wanted a Swingasan.  
  • My new Keurig drink machine has arrived (I put all of my birthday money into it), but the kitchen counter where I am planning to put it is not free yet (I am also planning to get some sugar free syrups from Amazon, as I have been disappointed by the availability of sugar free K-cups).  That's a very high priority now, but it will probably be another two weeks before any more unpacking happens as we've got a big academic whooptydo ahead, as well as a very busy week of camps.  We've got an IKEA Poang chair and ottoman coming in the mail and I also plan to eventually buy a Pier 1 wicker settee and cushion as additional seating for the playroom.  I'm kind of waiting for Pier 1 to have some deeper end-of-season discounts (it's already 20%, but I think they can do better).  Our family name for the playroom is T-ville, but I suppose Mommyville is an equally good name for it.            
  • As you can see, I'm kind of on a spree, but we have the money, and it's all being carefully prioritized to yield maximum improvement in quality of life.  

Not a fluke

When I opened Baby T's room this morning, she was sitting up!  So cute!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Settling in

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T can sit up!  Yay!
  • We are on a spree with home improvements.  We are waiting for the arrival of some foam matting for the play room and some cork boards for C and D.  We also finally made up our minds between the Maclaren Volo and Inglesina's Swift as our umbrella stroller for the car--we ultimately went with the Inglesina.  I've never laid hands on one, but that was one of Stroller Queen's top recommendations for me.  We shall see.      
  • We've been languishing with only a desk lamp in our master bedroom, but today my husband bought and installed a light fixture on the master bedroom ceiling fan.  Yay!
  • C made it to swim class today and graduated from the Minnow group.  Yay!  She and D will do a two-week course together later this summer.

The Amazing McMansion Diet

Some years ago, I posted on "The Amazing Jane Austen Diet," which involved me going to the gym and listening to Jane Austen novels on audiobook and losing 15 pounds.  I have a new entry:  The Amazing McMansion Diet.  As I may have mentioned earlier (or not), as of March of this year (that's about five months post-partum), I was nearly 20 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight.  This was largely due to the diabetic diet I found myself on during my third trimester with Baby T.  My weight loss had leveled out at that point, oscillating a couple pounds back and forth.  We moved into our big new house toward the end of May.  We've settled into the house (we're about 75% moved in, more or less) and the cafeteria has re-opened, which is helpful (the cafeteria has a vast array of veggies, helpfully cut up).  Also, I did some blood sugar tests that my primary suggested and thought the results a bit iffy, so I've been re-adopting some of my diabetic diet measures (although by no means all).  The house is the biggest one I've ever lived in and it has stairs, so I've found myself spending a large portion of the day just walking back and forth, up and down in the house.  The house itself is surprisingly good exercise (as my pedometer demonstrates).  

Anyway, I'm down at least 5 pounds since the move.  As of this morning, I am 25 pounds lighter than before my pregnancy with Baby T.  We have lived in TX for six years now.  I have literally never reached this weight in those six years.

How far can I go with this?  I don't know.  We'll see.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sick days

Here's some of what's happening:

  • C and D have been running fevers for days and C has missed two Red Cross swim classes.  C is finally well (I think) and should be able to do one more lesson this week.  Both kids will be doing another two-week Red Cross swim course later this summer.
  • The kids have about a week and a half of more or less no planned activities and then they'll start getting really busy, especially C.  
  • I regret to say that I've been so busy quarantining Baby T and spooning baby food into her and cleaning her up that I haven't really had a chance to do more than just feed the big kids.
  • I'm finally kicking into gear with solids.  I'm trying to follow this schedule for feeding Baby T:  milk, solids, milk, solids, milk, solids, milk.  I'm not sure if Baby T is getting exactly 3 solid meals (it's more like 2.5), but there's a lot of wiping and shoveling.
  • A miracle happened today.  After days of my offering her tiny spoonfuls of pea puree and having her make a terrible face and stopping after less than a teaspoonful, Baby T finally seems to be enjoying pureed peas.  She was agreeably slurping down pureed peas this evening.  She ate an entire tub of the nasty stuff as well as an entire tub of pureed carrots over the course of two feedings.  
  • I've been giving her either Cheerios or part of a bagel to work on while I spoon in purees.  She usually seizes the first spoon and then I have to continue feeding with a second or third spoon.  Good thing I have a lot of baby and toddler cutlery.  I have also been starting with the less favored item (for instance, peas) before offering more popular purees (fruit and yellow veggies).  I'm giving her water in a sippy cup.      
  • Coincidentally, we have finally ordered a new Diaper Genie.   
  • As usual, I have a doomsday store of baby food, but hopefully we'll get through it faster if we use two tubs a day.  Up until very recently, she was eating at most one tub a day.  In a week or so, she can start eating pureed meat baby food. 
  • I'd like to get on to the Stage 3 baby foods (the lumpy ones with several ingredients) and I'd also like to give her yogurt and cheese and soft fruit and table foods, but first we need to get through my supply of purees.  I've also got a long list of things to try on her.  It's going to take forever.  Oh, and we need to start moving her onto cow's milk at around one year.          
  • C found a recipe for an ice cream pie in her 1950s kids' recipe book (Thanks, Pru!).  We decided to make some changes.  We did a crust made out of crushed chocolate graham crackers, butter and sugar (on reflection, we should have skipped the sugar).  You spoon that into the pie pan, cool it, and then spoon ice cream on top, pat it down and then freeze it.  C did a lot of the work herself, with suggestions.  
  • We did 15 minutes of unpacking in C's room tonight.  My husband ordered 3' X 4' cork boards, one for each big kid.  We really need the boards for the next phase of our unpacking. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Living room done

Here's some of what's happening:

  • This afternoon, my husband and I finished the living room (except for the boxes we are keeping for the moving company and a friend who lent us book boxes).  The following rooms are unpacked now:  playroom, living room, laundry room, D's bathroom, master bath and T's nursery.  That leaves the following areas to be worked on:  D's room, C's room, C's bathroom, the master bedroom, one messy countertop in the kitchen and the garage.  We're heading into a busy time, so I've booked my husband for 15 minutes at a time for several days this coming week.  Barring the unforeseen, we will finish this.
  • I went out to dinner at Panera's by myself with Baby T (I got their chicken avocado Cobb salad).  Baby T spent at least half an hour gnawing on my dinner roll.  Then we went and did some serious window shopping at the nice big strip mall that has four stores devoted entirely to children's clothing.  Now that we are unpacked to the point that I can bring stuff home and have a place for it, I allowed myself to hit the winter clearance racks.  I got Baby T a lovely pair of purple corduroy pants with purple corduroy heart appliques and a bright pink sweater dress for a grand total of $13.  So cute!   
  • At the strip mall, I also visited Pier 1 and I was considering something like this settee as extra seating for the play room.  It being Pier 1, they sell practically unlimited cushions to go with the settee.  An IKEA leather love seat is another option, but a wicker settee is more budget conscious.    
  • Baby T went to bed before 9 PM tonight.  Awwww...
  • Baby T enjoyed one of her daddy's homemade pumpkin muffins earlier today.
  • Here is the current list of solid foods that Baby T is cleared to eat:  rice cereal, apple, banana, Cheerios, peas, squash, bread, sweet potato and pears.  Baby T has also had egg and presumably cow's milk in French toast a number of times.  As usual, I have doomsday quantities of baby food in the cupboard.  It's such a slow process introducing new foods and doing a three-day trial for allergic reactions that I'm still working my way through the Gerber Stage 1s (the single ingredient fruit and veggie purees).  Oh yeah, and at least one baby book (What to Expect?) treats it as a given that the 8 month old will be well on their way to transitioning to table food.  Slow down, people!
  • We have next week mostly off, except for several swim classes for C.      

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Entry done

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Our entry is done.  We tidied up the bookshelf there and decided to discard a 17-year-old vacuum that was starting to smell funny.
  • I love our house SO MUCH.  Hope it doesn't have termites (I found a couple suspicious bugs in the bathroom that looked a lot like the termites on the internet).  
  • My husband says that the sad-looking tree leaning over our house is a larch, not a pine, it's way out of its climate comfort zone (it's an alpine tree), and that it's 39 feet tall.    
  • We've given Baby T some chances to sit on our lawn.  Much like C who first encountered grass as a toddler (!), Baby T was initially scared of the grass.  Baby T has a number of new fears, as the child development books say is typical for her age.  She is frightened by loud voices and by our toy accordion.  
  • Baby T loves playing with our hair.  She is no longer the infant who happily sat in her car seat for hours.  She wants to be on the floor, she wants to move, and she wants quality entertainment.
  • One of Baby T's peculiarities is that she has two totally symmetrical cowlicks at the back of her head. The cowlicks run into each other at the top of her head, forming a blonde rooster tail.  Her hair looks a lot like a Kewpie doll's.  
  • Of late, Baby T has been waking up between 7 and 8 (depending on diaper conditions).  I try to give her a real meal of solids once a day (cheerios, baby food and cup of water) and she often has a bagel or roll during our dinner.  Aside from that, she's on a liquid diet.  I'm supposed to work her toward three solid meals a day, although I have concerns about overdoing it.  She often snoozes briefly in the morning (for instance, during our morning walk) and then takes a big nap starting around 2 PM.  I may need to try to adjust her nap a little to cope with the big kids' school pick-up.  While teething often pushes her bedtime later than normal, she has been going to sleep around 8:30 PM the past two nights, which is very convenient.  I'd like that to continue--it was really hard to get much done in the evening or help with C and D's bedtime when Baby T was going to bed at 9:30 or 10 or 11 PM.   
  • C has had three days of swim lessons so far this week and tonight my husband took her to the college pool to work on her form.  C has been complaining about how hard they work in the swim class (lap after lap), but my husband says that she is much faster than before and her form is very good.  Yay!  If all goes well, C is supposed to take two two-week Red Cross courses by the end of the summer.