Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time to Unplug

In the last few months Dr. J has gone to 21 or so interviews all over the country, he's done two away rotations, he's been in an out of the airport more than he's been to church.  Home alone I've been in survival mode.  We've eaten more waffles for dinner than I'd like to admit.  I've done more yelling than I'd like to admit.  I've felt drained, overwhelmed, felt like I've been in the red, in overdraft.  Dr. J is exhausted.  The two of us have been trying to figure out what to do, how to make our life a little more centered, our home a little more balanced, a little more happy.  Then I remember a Peter Walsh Challenge I saw on Oprah last year.  A family was asked to give up all their electronics for a week and just spend more time together.  And so this week we are going to do it.

Step 1 - No cell phone or texting - now our cell phones are the only phones we own.  So we aren't going to completely give them up, but no texting and only calls that are absolutely necessary will be done.
Step 2 - No electronics - no blogging, no Facebook, no Netflix, no Wii, no TV, no I touch, no Plants versus Zombies, no sports blogs.  Working on dissertations will still be allowed as well as the spelling word site Captain E uses.  Everything else is out!
Step 3 - Prepare and eat dinner together.  This one is an easy one for us, but it is nice to have one that won't be a challenge.
Step 4 - Clean and organize the house.  Peter really harps on the fact that disorder and stuff just bring us unhappiness.  As a mom with three kids I'd totally agree.  I bring stuff into the house hoping it will make us happy and then get upset about it not being put away.  Is this some type of crazy mom disease?  With a move coming up it is definitely time to simplify.
Step 5- You must hug and say I love you to each family member in your home every day.  I'd like to think I do this but a great reminder of why we are doing this.

I have some misgivings.  How am I going to get a shower without Sesame Street?  What are Dr. J and I going to do after nine o'clock?  What will the state of the Middle East be like in a week?  Am I going to miss a snow closing?  How am I going to entertain my kids for two days after getting snowed in during said snow closing?  Misgiving for sure, but no going back.  See you in a week :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baby Talk

Peach is a ham that loves to yuck it up for mom, dad, big brother, and sister.  She accompanies her silliness with the words, "I funny, I funny!  Which of course is totally funny.  She also loves the word disgusting.  The toilet, "Ewww, that's disgusting."  Boogers on a finger "ewww, disgusting."  Lint in between toes, "disgusting".  I've got to get on it camera it is so funny!

Gigi is a such a clothes diva.  I couldn't find the pink hat that she adores so instead I tried to get her to wear a cute cream and brown hat her brother used to wear.  She REFUSED!  "My friends won't like that hat."  She yelled at me as she stomped to the car.  Yes I'm in trouble.

Poor Captain E has been sick for a week.  Yesterday he was going crazy in the house, so we sent him to school today.  Apparently he wasn't ready.  He was pretty tired at school and when his teacher asked him what was going on he said, "I just don't feel like doing anything today."  Sad.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Want To Spend My Life With Them

After jammies, teeth brushing, and potty we do scriptures and prayer with our kids before we tuck them into bed.  Part of that routine is to sing a few hymns (mostly children's) as the kids are crawling into bed.  The favorites here are Nephi's Courage, Follow the Prophet, and A Child's Prayer, but I try to sprinkle a few new ones in each week for variety sake.  Last Night I was singing Families Can Be Together Forever

"I have a family here on earth"- G bear pipes up, "Yes I do!"
"They are so good to me." - G bear says, "Yes they are!"
"I want to spend my life with them for all eternity." - and from in between the covers G bear yells out, "NO THANKS!"

Lets just say I had to choke through the rest of the song, I was laughing so hard.

Friday, January 14, 2011

If Other People Saw You....

Peach is a dancing queen and will dance to any music; the radio, nursery rhymes, commercials on TV, elevator music, etc.  Her dance moves are so hilarious that Dr. J and I will often make up songs on the spot to get her going.  Yesterday at the table, "Shake it little Peachie, Shake it."  "Shake your little armies, shake them."  "Shake your little leggies, shake them."  "Shake your little head, shake it."  As I sung I was moving my corresponding body parts with her.  Captain E looked at me and said, "Mom don't do that, it's embarrassing."  I turn to him and say, "What do you mean?  Why is it embarrassing?"  And he says, "Because if other people saw you, THEY WOULD BE EMBARRASSED FOR YOU!"  Six years old and I feel like my world has collapsed a little.  I've gone from being the center of his universe to a social liability :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dealing With Croup and Other Ramblings

A friend of mine recently mentioned her house sounded like it was full of barking seals.  I can totally relate.  When Captain E was just six months old he got a bad case of pneumonia accompanied by a bad case of croup.  Ever since that time we've had to deal with one to two bouts of croup a year.  As a parent croup is terrifying.  Your child wakes up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe, a barking sob exasperating the problem.  I can only imagine the terror of being the one not able to breathe.  It must be horrifying.  A bad case of croup ends us in the emergency room in the middle of the night getting a breathing treatment.  Time though has taught us some tricks, tricks that buy us time, get us through the night.

Four Best Things You Can Do For Croup:
1) Put a humidifier in the kids room.
2) Make a comfy nest in the bathroom, close the door, and turn the hot shower on full blast.  Dr. J will often hold Captain E in his arms, encouraging him to sit up into the steam and relax.  Many a night I've actually found them asleep on the bathroom floor, cold water running into the tub.
3) Ironically sometimes the warm steam doesn't work.  Then we bundle Captain E into his coat and boots and take him out into the cold for two or three minutes.  Alternating between warm and cold air will often alleviate the symptoms.  If it isn't cold and snowy outside you can stick your child's face in the freezer.  It sounds silly but totally works. 
4) Finally, (totally research backed I swear :) giving your child a dose of children's ibuprofen before they go to sleep will help.

These tips let us deal with the symptoms until they finally clear out after about a week, or allow us to wait until morning to get a breathing treatment.  Blast these childhood illnesses that act up during the night!!!

As for the you like the socks I chose this morning?  Really, I gave the choice not a single moments thought, they were just slim socks to wear under winter boots.  What I failed to recognize this morning is that I'd be at E's school doing my Tuesday volunteer day, that my boots would be soaked in snow and sleet, and that in an effort to help keep the school floors dry and dirt free I'd end up ditching those snow boots next to a pile of first grader boots.  And that is how I came to be sporting these babies down the hall of my local elementary school.  Believe me people noticed.  The first graders who all seemed to be in the hall for one reason or another felt the need to comment.  It blew their minds that an adult was walking around school in candy cane socks.  Interestingly enough this also was the case of the fifth grade teachers.  The three at this school all happen to men, all happen to be walking their classes down the hallway today, and all happen to make comments on my footwear.  Their comments were friendly, loud, and silly.  It reminded me of what I loved about my male teachers.  Rarely did they give off the persona of compassionate or even for that matter caring, but they were lively and fun.  They were more likely to us competition to let us learn, teach through humor, and often had a looser set of rules.  They would use a quick loud word to deal with discipline problems but let it go almost immediately.  It is a pity male teachers only make up 9% of the elementary work force.  I definitely enjoyed having them as a teacher as a child and seeing them at the school as an adult. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Motherhood Mastery

Forewarning this post is about breastfeeding. 

I couldn't decide what to title this post:

I Touch Love
Some of My Favorite Things
Extended Nursing
This Too Shall Pass
In the Mouth and Hands of Babes

Perhaps a picture will clear up the title a little quicker!

Here she is, my beautiful eighteen month old.  She has a full mouth of teeth.  She is capable of talking in full sentences.  She tries to dress herself and can name all her clothing.  She dances and tries to do somersaults.  She can use silverware and the potty.  In all ways she has skipped through babyhood into tooderland, all ways but one.  Eighteen months and the girl is still nursing.  I find it shocking.  With my son, my milk dried up at a year and he moved on to the green pastures of a sippy cup.  My first daughters got exactly ten months when a burst appendix put me in the hospital and in one night she went from nursing to formula.  It was a painful way to wean but an arm full of morphine made it easier.  I guess I figured with my third child it would be equally as "easy".  Instead Peach seems in no hurry to give up the practice. 

The irony of course is that it almost didn't happen.  It took two weeks after her birth for my milk to come in.  I was in the breast feeding clinic every day have her weighed, getting advice, having my technique critiqued, measuring poppy diapers, and before and after feeding weights, taking fenugreek that made my body smell like maple syrup, and forced nursing every two hours until all that was left was scabs.  More than once I thought, quit, give up, can this possibly be worth it.  When my milk finally came in I cried out with relief.  Even in my joy though a deadline was set.  Twelve months of this I thought and then I'll be done. 

I know there are mothers out there who feel a spiritual bond to their child while breastfeeding.  I am not one of them.  I love breastfeed because it provides my child with the best nutrition.  It is free.  It involves less cleanup.  It is convenient.  I enjoy holding my child.  In general I don't menstruate while nursing.  With Peach, I did finally at fifteen months out, but fifteen months is nothing shabby. 

I hate breastfeeding because of cracked nipples.  No trade off for nighttime feedings.  The fact that my skin has been broken out for months.  That I can't lose weight because I'm one of those unlucky people who instead of shedding baby pounds just finds themselves in a perpetual state of hunger.  Mastitis.  And the topper, for months now each feeding has been followed by hours of pain brought on by the wringer/shredder called my daughters full mouth of teeth. 

I never imagined I'd be an extended nurser.  Now I just want to figure out how to get painlessly out.  Tonight while the kids watched Olivia on the couch Peach snuck in a feeding.  I was watching netflix on my itouch when I lost sound in one of my headphones.  I look down to see that it had actually been plucked from my ear and my nursing child had borrowed it so she could hear as she watched along.  I may not have mastered my children but at least I've mastered how to entertain them. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zhu Zhu, Boo-Boo

Batter operated pets are all the rage right now.  My kids got six this year, three zhu zhu pets, one Fur Real Puppy, one Fur Real Panda, one Fur Real baby Penguin.  They ADORE ALL OF THEM!  The little noises they make, the movements, they really are commercialized to be exceptionally pleasing.  Add the fact that they don't poop, shed, or bite and they are a parents dream pet.  Two down falls I can see...1)Those bateries are going to run out.  2)The Zhu Zhu pets are little scalping machines.  The company is well aware of this.  It says right on them, "Do not put near hair."  Unfortunately when you get a scrum of kids, babies, and Zhu Zhu pets accidents are going to happen.  Twice now Peach has managed to be on the receiving end of this flaw.  Now she has a three pronged callick.  It is going to be painful watching this grow in for year to come :(

Ekos Cacau - Natura Product

I grew up in of the flip flop and bare feet.  Even now, a thirty year old mom of three flip flops are still my favorite footwear.  Every day of late spring, summer, and early fall I wear flip flops.  I pay the price, bad tan lines and calused heels!  I count on a winter in socks and shoes to soften them up.  Something went wrong this winter though.  My feet have been so dry this summer!  They actually grate the sheets when I slide my tootsies into bed at night.  I've tried lotions but they make my skin feel soffocated and have done nothing to help.  I decided it was just going to have to be scratch sheets for me.  Then I got this stuff.  My sister spent a semester in Peru and this Brazilian company Natura is extermely popular there.  The woman of Peru sell it to friends a relatives, think Mary Kay or Amway, the Brazilian organic, natural product version.  This stuff is for hands but I've been using it on my feet and hands.  It is delicious!!!!  It smells so good.  It goes on thick but doesn't leave me feeling soffocated, and best of all it makes my feet feel like silk.  My major am I going to get more of it!!!!

eshakti review

A friend of mine posted a site eshakti where you can customize clothing, length, sleeves, arms, for a minimum fee.  They also let you order clearance items with no customizing for 35% off.  I need a formal dress for Dr. J's graduation.  The last one I went to the girls looked like they'd walked out of a fashion magazine.  So a fancy dress is a must.  Finding a fancy dress with sleeves that goes below the knee is extremely difficult.  Prom, homecoming, a wedding...believe me I know.  So this seemed like a great possibility.  I read mixed reviews about the site so I decided to test it out on a clearance dress before I had something customized.

The box the dresses came in.

 Wrapped up in tight in two bags.
 The dresses.  Ok so here is the weird thing...they are made out of sweatshirt.  I talked with my sister about this and she says that is the popular thing right now.  Seeing as she is tons hipper than me I'll take her word for it, but I found it a little creepy :)  As weird as it is I liked the cut of dress number one, but I'm unsure of the length.  Believe it or not I don't have a full length mirror, a necessity to know if it is long enough.  So I'm a little torn on it.  The Orange one though...that one is going back.  I love the bow that goes with it.  I like the cut.  I adore the color.  I dislike the sweatshirt material.  The main problem smells like cat pee.  I put it on and was instantly assaulted with a yucky smell.  Weird detergent, icky perfume.  I finally decided it smelled like cats.  Ick!  Definitely going back.  Will I try it again?  Right now it literally is a mixed bag.
My counters are a mess.  Anyone want to come and organize my house for me?

Yummy No Meat Dinners - Lentils with Noodles, Fake Lasagna

In my day I try to eat about 60% raw but that doesn't mean I have any desire to be a vegetarian.  I like meat.  It taste good.  That being said I've watched enough Eating Meat documentaries to have some qualms about the stuff.  So for the most part I try to only eat the best product I can and limit how much of it we eat.  So here are two fun meatless dishes we ate this week.

Lentils With Noodles

Saute the white part of green onions and garlic in olive oil.

 Add broth, either veggie or chicken.

After the lentils are soft add stewed tomatoes. 
Boil water and add ditalini. Boil for 7 minutes.  Strain.

 Put noddles in a bowl, throw lentils on top, add sliced scallions.  For extra goodness throw on a few chunks of cream cheese.  This dish is totally delicious.  It is like something we ate in Egypt that I still dream about.  It is also popular in the Mediterranean. 

Fake Out Lasagna

One of the meals that Captain E really enjoys is stuffed shells.  The problem, I always end up with way to much stuffing.  I decided that I would use the extra to make lasagna.  Imagine my surprise when I realized I only had three levels left.  Ahhh.  So instead I just cooked up some whole wheat penne noodles and my three .  I added a just a plain spaghetti sauce (sauteed garlic, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, a dash of salt, a sprinkle of pepper, oregano, basil).  I added it to the penne noodles, threw the ricotta mix on top, added mozzarella, and then put the three lasagna noodles on top.  More sauce and mozzarella and I was done :) 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lentils, you always take longer to cook then I expect...

Dear Lentils,

You are so darn tiny and skinny and yet you take forever to cook!  Why?  Your package says 15 minutes for ever pound.  Is this some type of cruel joke?

Very Hungry


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