Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lily - 5 months

five months

approximately 13.2 lbs
(according to the bathroom scale)

Likes:  tickles, peek-a-boo, "this little piggy," "airplane" above Mom's head, grabbing and shaking toys, chewing on Mom's finger, flirting: catching anyone's eye and smiling, playing on the floor, pulling the musical toy on the bouncer, standing, diaper changes, music, pulling Mom's hair, giving "kisses"
Dislikes: going to bed, being swaddled (although it's necessary to stay asleep), being left alone for even a minute or two, being held by anyone other than Mom, Dad, Katie or Isaiah, sitting in a "seat" (car seat or bouncer) for more than a few minutes, loud noises/commotion
Milestones: first illness (RSV), rolling front to back consistently, scooting/rolling to turn while on back, first tastes (soft food from Mom's plate)

Lulu, we've had a hard month.  You were so sick with RSV, and it was the most scary thing to hear you wheeze and gasp for breath.  It was really hard to hold you down at the suction clinic so they could suction you out, and so sad to listen to you cry all the way there and all the way home so many times.  In all, we went for 10 days, and 3 or 4 of them we went twice.  The good thing was that you never had a fever or an ear infection, so you didn't have to have medicine (you really hate medicine!), and you never stopped eating or got dehydrated.  I'll never forget how kind the people in the bronchiolitis clinic were, even the other parents in the waiting room. 

As sad and scary as that was, we've also had some fun.  You haven't had too much opportunity to play on the floor at all, let alone have tummy time, so I've been making up for that the last couple of weeks.  It definitely means I have to watch you more carefully to keep you safe from your brothers and sister (especially Max), but you are finally getting a chance to roll around and play.  You like to look in the mirror, and you roll onto your side to turn yourself to a different position from the one I lay you down in.  I was so surprised to pick you up from a nap one day and you were perpendicular to the way I'd laid you down to sleep! 

I love you, sweet girl, and I'm looking forward to more milestones as you keep growing!

P.S.  For a laugh, compare Miss Lily at 5 months to Mr. Max at 5 months

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Favorites: Our Best Bites

So I was reading Make It and Love It almost a month ago and there was something really interesting going on. The bloggers from Our Best Bites started a miniseries called Kids in the Kitchen.  You really should check it out, there were lots of great ideas for getting kids involved in cooking, and a bunch of fun recipes featured throughout the series.  (We tried the "One Ingredient Ice Cream" and it was pretty good!  Next time, though, it will be with Nutella.)  What happened, though, was that I went to the Our Best Bites blog and started going through recipes like a mad woman.  There were a lot of great ideas...yummy ideas...

Here are two of our new favorites:

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

So yummy and addictive.  This made a ton, really a lot of taquitos.  But they went really, really fast.  I think we had about 4 left over, and Adam wasn't even home for dinner that night.  So, so good. 

Chicken-Bacon Stuffed Pizza Rolls

These were also really good.  I am not a dip-your-pizza-in-ranch girl, but these really must be dipped.  I am well aware of the common opinion that Hidden Valley Ranch made from the packet is superior to Hidden Valley Ranch in the bottle, but our family will just use it from the bottle next time because we like it better.  Just sayin'. 

So, happy cooking, all! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Playtime with Lily


P.S.  I'm not sure how video rotates itself from iPhone to computer to blog...but this one did.  Weird. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taste of Maui

So, Anne was telling me several weeks ago that they had had a "Taste of Maui" night, reliving our vacation (which you can read about here, here, and here) for family and friends through dinner and slide show, and I had to steal her idea.  Last night we had our own Taste of Maui night, thanks to her suggestions, and it was so yummy.  It was also fun to spend time with Echo and her family, and pretend we were eating in the tropics after a cooooldd day with snow! 

If you're tired of soups and hot cocoa, or just wanting a taste of Hawaiian culture, here are the recipes we made.  (I promise, next time I'll remember to get the camera out.  I am so out of the habit of taking pictures, it's sad!)

Kalua Pork
I actually only cooked this for about 8-8.5 hours.  It tasted perfect, though, just like what we had on Maui! 

Chicken Katsu with Katsu Sauce
Okay, so this is Japanese, but they serve it at Da Kitchen and Honolulu Grill, and because it's basically chicken nuggets with a fancy sauce, my kids (and I) like it. 

We also had sticky rice, macaroni salad (not nearly as good as Honolulu Grill's, though, you should try it...) and fresh pineapple.  Yum! 

And for dessert, haystacks.  I found lots of recipes online for these, but I kind of made up my own (Anne gave me the inspiration, though!), and they turned out pretty yummy.  I took a half a bag of sweetened coconut flakes, spread them on a baking sheet in an even, thin layer, then carefully toasted them under the broiler (I actually burned some--this only takes about a minute!).  Then I melted a bag of chocolate chips and a little less than a half a bag of butterscotch chips in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.  I stirred it all together, and added a couple of handfuls of chow mein noodles (those little crunchies, those are chow mein noodles, right?).  Next time I'll add some peanuts or something for a little more substance and crunch. 
Stay tuned for some more yummy recipes, and a new favorite source of recipes, later in the week!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Exercise #7: Understanding Men

I just want to thank you for all your sweet comments, phone calls, and prayers as we've been sick.  Everyone is healthy once again, and Lily is no longer going in for suctioning.  It means so much to me that you all were thinking of us, thank you again!
Exercise #7: Understanding Men

The next time you're frustrated because you don't seem to be getting a response from the man in your life, remind yourself that he's not being deliberately obtuse. It's just the way he's wired. Communicate your needs clearly and directly, and don't forget to express gratitude when they are met.
I loved this chapter.  Watts described how difficult it is for the male leaders to plan something special for Mother's Day in a ward (LDS congregation), how they are constantly afraid of offending someone, leaving someone out, or making someone feel less than special on such an important day.  I had to laugh, I have sat in ward councils and heard the planning for Mother's Day, and there is just no way to avoid offending every sister in the ward!  And then she went on to point out the difference in how Father's Day is celebrated in a ward, and how that just shows you how men and women are just different:
Contrast this with Father's Day.  For many years, we didn't even observe Father's Day in our ward, and no one ever complained.  (That should be a clue right there as to the difference between men and women.)  Now we have a tradition that during the last ten minutes of priesthood meeting, they gather all the classes from deacons to high priests together in the multi-purpose room and present them with FatBoy ice cream sandwiches. Everyone is happy.  No one tries to probe for subliminal meaning in the choice of FatBoys.  They eat their ice cream and yuk it up and go home happy. 

What would happen in your ward if they tried to give FatBoys to the women on Mother's Day?  Almost too horrible to contemplate, isn't it?
Isn't this the case?  As a woman, I am constantly over-analyzing, thinking about a million things a minute, worried about every little thing, especially others' feelings and perceptions.  While Adam, as a man, sees a problem or an obstacle, works out a solution, and moves on. 

Case in point: This last Monday, I have taken Lily back to the doctor and received frustrating news that she needs to go back to the suction clinic.  We get home and put little ones down for naps, and because it's an early-out day the kids are playing with neighborhood friends.  I am exhausted, but it's Valentine's Day and Katie wants to do something special, I have plans to do an art project and we have sugar cookie dough chilling in the fridge to roll out, bake and decorate.  I have less than an hour before I need to start dinner, and somehow I need to fit another trip into the clinic into this day.  I start to cry to Adam about how tired I am, and he proposes a couple of solutions.  Instead of taking him up on his offers to help, I immediately start to complain that I don't want him to "fix it," I just want him to give me a hug and offer sympathy.

The crazy thing is, minutes before I had sent an email to Anne about this week's exercise and typed: "I loved this chapter, it's the one where she talks about the difference between how wards celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day--do you remember?  I'm hoping with today being Valentine's and all there will be opportunities to thank Adam for all the things he does for me." Yeah, it took me less than a half an hour to do completely the opposite. 

When I realized this, I tried to compose myself, thank Adam for coming up with some great solutions, and ask for his help in accomplishing all that needed to be done. And it turned out to be a pretty good evening, despite how exhausted I was.  I had an amazing hubby to help! 

This is something that I need to continue to to work on because it is easy for me to forget that my man is just that--a man.  And when I remember that, I am so grateful he is the way he is because we complement each other so well.

Preview for next week: Rethinking Assumptions

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Big Brother

Lily and Isaiah, February 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sick Days

Have you been wondering where I've been after I promised I was going to blog more?  Well, two weeks ago Max got sick.  Fever, nose running faster than an Olympic sprinter, cough like a seal barking.  Wanted to be held 24 hours a day.  He had a bad ear infection.  So, we got some antibiotics and, because he has sensitive little lungs, started breathing treatments:

Now, despite the fact that my skin was cracking from all the hand-washing, the snot was everywhere!  It was no surprise to me when Lily started getting stuffy the following weekend.  It did surprise me, however, how quickly it progressed.  She started being a bit stuffy on Saturday.  By Monday morning she was wheezing so badly I was prepared to take her to InstaCare if the pediatrician couldn't fit us in.  He did fit us in, and Monday afternoon (a week ago yesterday) we started taking her to the bronchiolitis clinic at the hospital to be suctioned.  And...we started breathing treatments for her:
We had that nebulizer humming, up to six breathing treatments a day between the two kids (and let me tell you, I do not like doing breathing treatments!).   Then early Wednesday morning Isaiah, who was due for an orthodontist appointment later that day (already rescheduled once), threw up in his bed.  He had been complaining of an upset stomach the night before, but I really didn't think much of it.  He stayed home and the kids played games all day:

Luckily it was a quick stomach bug and he wasn't sick (and didn't act sick) again.  Katie has also had a runny/stuffy nose and a cough, but has been a trouper and kept going through it all.  Max is doing better this week, but we're still working our way back to normal. 

It hasn't been fun.  I was feeling like I was handling it all pretty well until yesterday, when I took Lily in for her follow up.  The PA told us we needed to keep taking her to be suctioned, and it kind of broke my heart a little.  So, in my effort to be positive I'm going to tell you the (small) blessings I have noticed in all this:
  • It has been so nice to see how easily we can just cancel things and stay home in our jammies.  I think we may have to cancel our chaos a little more often, just to enjoy more quiet at-home time. 
  • Everyone who sits in the waiting room at the bronchiolitis clinic is going through the same thing, and is so kind and friendly.  There is nothing like listening to babies screaming in the next room and waiting for your turn in the torture chamber together to form an instant bond with other parents. 
  • I have the most patient and helpful husband.  I know it's been hard to work with a little snot-blowing leech attached to him at all times, but he hasn't gotten upset over it once.  And let me tell you, Max only wants Daddy!
  • Despite Adam and I putting 90% of our attention into the littles, the bigs have been getting along amazingly well.  Isaiah and Katie are due for some extra attention and are asking for it explicitly at this point, but they have been so super helpful and cooperative for the last couple of weeks. 
So, we've been kind of busy.  Running the nebulizer, running to the suction clinic, holding sad babies.  Thank you to everyone who has called to check on us, or offered to help, or listened to me talk about snot and/or vomit, or watched my children, or run errands for me. You know who you are.  And if I haven't taken you up on your offer...just wait.  I may have to yet. 

Exercise #6: Returning Thanks

Exercise #6: Returning Thanks

Write a thank you note (or even an e-mail) to someone this week.  Tell the person specifically what he or she did that made a difference to you. 
Okay, so I may or may not have written my thank you note this week . . . but I definitely did not get it delivered.  Sheesh.  I actually had several people that I thought of with this assignment, though.  So, if you're reading this, you're probably one of them.  Thank you.  For being a good friend, sister, neighbor, mentor, or example.  Anne wrote a thank you note to a sweet sister in her ward who touched her when she bore her testimony in church.  (She's also a pretty wonderful friend and neighbor, I hear.)  What I came out of this one with was a feeling of gratitude that there are so many wonderful people in my life that make it fuller and more blessed. 

In this chapter, Watts described a teacher, Mrs. Silcox, her AP English teacher, who was instrumental in her life choices, and it reminded me of a couple of really great teachers I had in school.  I don't think it's a coincidence that all of them were talented language arts/English teachers--I am a bit partial to reading and writing!  Of course, the first I thought of was JJ Abernathy, my AP English teacher.  She'd probably be appalled at the degeneration of my writing skills, but she was such an example to me.  Watts described her Mrs. Silcox and how she "didn't just read the papers we turned in; she commented on them, sometimes at length.  She always made me feel like there were things she and I understood differently from the rest of the students in our class."  As I read this passage, I was struck by how like my Mrs. Abernathy she was!  Her interest and encouragement in my writing added to my self-worth, both in high school and as an adult. 

I also thought of my 7th grade English teacher, Kaye Bair.  I specifically remember her spending extra time giving me input on a story I was writing for my own enjoyment.  And, coincidentally, this week I've thought a lot about an assignment she gave us to write a thank you letter to someone that had influenced us.  I don't remember if it was part of the assignment to write a teacher, but I did.  I wrote my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Ashton, who gave me the opportunity to be one of two students from my school to attend a special creative writing conference, and who encouraged my aspirations to become an author.  Mrs. Bair sent that letter to Mrs. Ashton, and I remember receiving a response.  I don't remember what she said, but I do remember the feeling it gave me. 

And with the memory of that feeling, I am recommitted to get this week's thank you letter sent!  

This week's exercise: Understanding Men

Friday, February 11, 2011

Strategies for Moms

I'm having one of those days where I'm feeling pretty inadequate as a mom.  Over the last while, and in earnest since the beginning of the year, I've been trying to focus on being positive instead of getting into rut of negative thinking, so I thought I'd use this bad evening I've been having as inspiration for a (positive) blog post, or even a series of them.  While I know I'm doing plenty wrong as a mom, there is also plenty that I'm doing right, and I thought we all could chat about what we're doing that works. 

I know this may feel counter-intuitive (at least it does to me), but be honest here about your own strengths and share with me some things that you've learned that are helping your family.  It can be about teaching your children, feeding your family, discipline, keeping your home clean, juggling the needs of more than one child, caring for your husband, setting an example for your children, keeping the Spirit in your home, etc.  Leave me a comment, email me, or send me a Facebook message.  You could even send me a link to your blog.  I'd love to ask you some questions and include your thoughts in a blog post geared toward helping me...I mean us...get ideas from each other's successes. 

Here are some things I feel I'm doing well at today:
  • Making a nightly family dinner a priority
  • Nursing my baby
  • Laundry, my favorite household chore
  • Reading one-on-one with my kids
  • Daily family prayer
  • Setting routines for keeping our household running
  • Teaching my kids to help out with their siblings
Here are some things I'm hoping to get better at, at least in the near future (there would be too many to list if we were talking everything!):
  • Reading scriptures as a family
  • Making a monthly date with Adam a priority
  • Cooking with my kids
  • Reading with my kids (just because I'm not sucking at it doesn't mean I don't want to do better)
  • Teaching my kids to clean and do chores
  • Making our breakfasts and lunches more healthy
  • Making our recreation more meaningful
Do you excel at any of these things?  Or do you have other things you're particularly good at as a mom?  Come on, you know you do!  I want to know about them.  I promise I'll share how I'm doing it if you do!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Exercise #5: Understanding Perspective


You can do that when it's your own blog, you know.  And this week, I'm going to do it.  Here's the exercise, in case you're following along and interested.  It is a really good one.  I recommend it, even if I'm not going to share our experiences this week. 

Exercise #5: Understanding Perspective

Pick a tree, or a building, or something else in the distance that you know is large.  Close one eye and hold your thumb up to the open eye in such a way as to block that large item from your view.  Is your thumb as big as a tree?  Of course not, silly!  Now think of some eternal blessing you hope one day to receive.  Put all your mortal challenges between you and that blessing in your mind, and say to each trial, "You're no bigger than my thumb!" See how perspective works?
Preview for next week: Returning Thanks