Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where is Fall?

One of the worst things about living in Cincinnati (aside from the fact that it's an NL market, which means the Yankees pretty much never come here) is that we don't really get all four seasons. Two weeks ago it was pushing 80 degrees and we were wondering when fall was going to arrive. I daydreamed about pumpkin spice lattes, caramel apples, and wagon rides through the pumpkin patch. Last week the unseasonably warm weather was replace with torrential downpours. This week, it's freaking freezing. It looks like winter outside, all gray and gloomy, and I don't think we'll hit 60 degrees today. Even worse, it's going to drop into the 30s overnight. We're under a frost advisory!

I wanted fall weather, but this is just ridiculous. Get with the program, Ohio!

That said, I feel like the month of September just flew by. The whole year, actually. It's hard to believe that in three months we'll be staring 2010 right in the face. Everyone always tells you how fast time goes when you have a child, but no one ever listens. We got out Baby C's long pants the other day and all of a sudden he looks so grown up! I don't know if it's because he's in jeans, or because he's gotten taller, but he's certainly not a baby anymore.

(Baby C celebrating the AL East Championship)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Memo Monday

Cloth Diaper Victory!

Two weeks ago I submitted a proposal for a cloth diaper trial period to our daycare director. I initially asked for a two-day trial, and she came back offering an entire week to try them out. Last week was our trial run, and I was really nervous about it - kind of that feeling you used to get before the first day of school. I had all of my BG3.0s packed and ready to go the night before, along with a wetbag and diaper pail. I went in early on Monday to give the teachers a quick demonstration. They were all shocked to see how easy they were to use - most of them were expecting the pins and prefolds. On Friday I heard back from the director and we're now allowed to cloth diaper Charlie full-time! This is fantastic news for us, and I feel like I've really succeeded at teaching someone something new and changing someone's mind about cloth diapers.

I'm still not going to be a "CD pusher," but I'm very excited that people are becoming more open-minded about the topic. I can't even begin to tell you how many negative comments I got before Baby C was born, and how many people didn't think I'd really follow through with my plan. I love them, and I'm so happy we decided to go against convention.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mom Goggles

The other night C and I were looking through old pictures and came across the ones that were taken at the hospital when Baby C was first born. I remember thinking that he was such a cute baby, definitely way cuter than any other baby, and certainly not alien-like, as I had so often heard newborns described.

I guess it must have been the mom goggles.

Don't get me wrong, he's super cute these days, but oh my god, looking back at those pictures? Not so much. He was rather yellow and scrunchy.

And the conehead, my good god the conehead. How did I miss that?

He started to improve within a few days

(hey, everyone looks better in a Yankee hat)

A year and change later, he's definitely back to being one of the cutest babies ever.

I guess parent goggles just replace beer goggles once the college days are in the past :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Books About Babies

A few weeks ago I reviewed the books that I read while I was pregnant, which were mostly about pregnancy and breastfeeding. I think it's only appropriate that I also review the books I read (or tried to read) about the first year.

The Happiest Baby on the Block
(this one was also in my original post, but I found myself referring to it often in the first months) - this one helped a lot for us. GREAT suggestions for calming pissy babies! The 5 S's work like a charm on Baby Charlie. Baby C loved being swaddled. We had a few of the SwaddleMe wraps, 2 lightweight ones and a fleece one for when it got colder. Once he was done with the swaddle I was still too paranoid to put a blanket in his crib, so we bought Halo Sleepsacks - they're wearable blankets (he does have a blanket in his crib, now!).

Your Baby Week by Week - Same idea as Your Pregnancy Week by Week, a developmental account of where the average baby is at each week. I really like this one, too. My BA is in child psych and this book is basically an Idiot's Guide to the First Year from every perspective (social, cognitive, motor, etc). We started off reading it every week, but started to slack off as Baby C become more mobile and active. It was much more fun to play with him than to read about him. I probably should have kept up with it, but what are you going to do.

Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood
- I didn't pick this book up until we were on our first outing post-baby and I wish I would have read it before I had him. It's by the same woman who wrote "Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy," and it's written in the same informal but informative style. She's definitely into giving you all the good, bad, and ugly details about childbirth, breastfeeding, and those first few postpartum weeks. I recommend this book to all of my pregnant friends! It's a quick read.

What the Other Mothers Know - lots of good and practical info for the first weeks and early childhood, but probably not a "must read" before the baby comes. It talks about play groups, parenting, potty training, preschools, daycare, birthdays, pretty much everything that you don't think about until you're in the moment. I'm hoping it will be helpful down the road.

I wish that I had read some books on work/life balance, aside from the research materials I read in graduate school. I have a list of books I intend to check out on that subject, so once I get my hands on them I'll certainly put them up for review.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Word of Warning to BFing Mamas

When I stopped EPing I was actually 8 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I know that when you're in "cow mode" you burn a ton of extra calories per day, so I knew that I would have to make some adjustments to my eating habits to avoid gaining back some weight. I must not have adjusted them enough, because I've gained 5 of those pounds back.

Moral of the story: Don't get overexcited and buy pants in your new, slimmer size. All you will get is heartache when you can't get back into them.

I'm not really complaining, because I'm still slightly under my pre-pregnancy weight, but damn were those pants cute.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recipe Wednesday - Banana Pancakes

Baby Charlie LOVES his fruit. He also loves his pancakes. When I was little we had a DC Super Heroes Super Healthy Cookbook.

One of my favorite recipes of all time was Invisible Banana French Toast. I decided to try to combine bananas and pancakes, but not in the traditional sense of blending the fruit into the batter. Instead of mixing it all together and ending up with banana-flavored pancakes, I sliced the banana and dipped each slice into the pancake batter.

Banana Pancakes

Made using King Arthur's Simply Perfect Pancake Recipe

1 or 2 bananas, sliced into "wheels"

For the pancake batter:

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup malted milk powder (or 2 tablespoons sugar)

1. Beat the eggs and milk until light and frothy, about 3 minutes at high speed, using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Stir in the butter.

2. Whisk the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and malt. Gently and quickly mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes to thicken.

3. Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees or heat a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the griddle or pan; it is ready if a drop of water skitters across the surface and evaporates immediately. Drop batter by the 1/3 cupful onto the griddle or skillet per pancake. Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form and break, then turn the pancakes and cook the other side until brown. Turn only once. Serve immediately.

This is where I deviate from the recipe. Instead of dropping batter into pancakes I slice up a banana or two, dip them in the batter, and then stick them on the pan. They usually take no more than 30 seconds on each side. I use the rest of the batter to make regular pancakes once I've made enough banana pancakes to satisfy the Minion.

The best thing about this particular pancake recipe is that it's very simple to make. You can do it start to finish in about 10 minutes on a Saturday morning. I imagine that the banana pancakes would freeze well, but there are never enough left to find out!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The freezer is empty!

This morning I used my last bag of frozen milk. It was a little bittersweet, but I have to pat myself on the back for actually exceeding my goal. If you had told me 13 months ago that I would temporarily become a cow and be able to provide the best nourishment possible for my baby despite all of our breastfeeding issues, I would have thought you were crazy. I'm so proud to be able to say that we persevered and made it all the way through. Husband Charlie is just glad to have his freezer back :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Birthdays aren't as exciting anymore once you pass the 21st. I remember how excited I used to get around birthdays - they were almost as good as christmas. You'd start getting antsy about it the week before, gleefully anticipating your big birthday bash, complete with your bestest buddies and (hopefully!) ice cream cake from DQ with the chocolate crunchies in the middle. You'd get no sleep the night before, as you imagined how cool it would be the next day when you got to serve birthday cupcakes to your classmates and maybe, just maybe, get a shiny iridescent pencil emblazoned with "Happy Birthday" to use for the rest of the month. Just that pencil itself could be good enough, with the unscuffed eraser and the unsharpened point. So much potential for great things out of that perfect pencil! The birthday kid always got special treatment, even if it just meant clapping erasers after lunch or being line leader or kickball captain.

I think companies should include your birthday on the list of paid holidays. That would add some excitement back into the day. I've gone from home birthday parties to roller rink parties to giant sleepover bashes to keg parties, and now I've arrived at the ultimate in adult celebration - a family-friendly trip to the ice cream shop, complete with my other mom buddies and their toddlers. Who needs a birthday tiara when you've got little chocolate-covered hands waiting to give you a birthday hug? I always hated being the center of attention, anyway.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Just when you think you know someone

Have you ever started reading a blog written by someone you know in real life? Sometimes it's weird, especially when it's someone who you thought you knew pretty well, until their blog provides you with a hefty dose of cognitive dissonance. I thought I knew a particular person pretty well, they've been in my life since my undergrad days and I see/talk to them on a regular basis. They went and started a blog a little while ago, and my perception of them has completely changed. Every time a new post appears I discover a little piece about them that I didn't know existed.

It's interesting, but kind of sad at the same time - hard evidence that we don't always know people as well as we think they do, and that maybe we all feel as though we have to hide behind masks at times. I guess that's one benefit of the interwebs - it gives us a place where we feel anonymous. Everyone can find an online niche.

I had a conversation with some individuals a generation ahead of me - they were lamenting the fact that no one communicates through hand-written notes anymore and it's all about IMing, emailing, and texting. Not only that, but OMG! People are making FRIENDS on the interwebs! People are becoming friends with people they've NEVER. EVEN. MET. What is this world coming to? Dogs and cats, living together?

It got me thinking - I'm not big on letter writing or phone conversations. I always feel awkward on the phone, especially when you start running out of things to talk about and then end up with those long pauses. I much prefer email and IM. I belong to a few online communities, too. In fact, when I really stop and think about it, a large percentage of the people I count as "friends" are people I've met through these communities. I've been lucky enough to find a wonderful group of local ladies, and we get together for playdates and gossip. I think the interwebs are a wonderful place for social introverts like myself, who don't do well in crowds and have difficulty making friends. A text-based screen gives us the chance to let our guard down without most of the social awkwardness. When you finally get together in person you already know each other, so there's none of that "will they like me" stress. I think that the interwebs help people make friends, and help people to communicate, regardless of what the older generation says about the "degradation of today's youth."

Of course, that's not to say that I want Charlie v2.0 to spend hours playing WOW a few years down the road. There are happy mediums everywhere.


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