Unafraid possum on the back porch.
February 1, 2012 :: 4:56 pm
August 30, 2009 :: 3:18 pm
In early August, we drove to Wichita, Kansas, to visit Doc’s mom, great-aunt, and sisters and their families. Great-Aunt Patty is in poor health and so it was especially nice to get to see her.
The long car ride (7+ hours each way) taught Jamie an important lesson: the car seat is not so bad. The first half of the trip up was pretty bad; he screamed and cried for about two hours straight, until he fell asleep out of exhaustion. And then when he woke up an hour later, he was STILL in the car seat. You could almost see the wheels turning in his head: Hmmm. I’m still here. Crying did not get me what I wanted.
And on the way home, although he didn’t scream the whole way, we got tired of acting like clowns on crack and so we eventually just let him cry for a while. I think that those are important lessons for him: he doesn’t always get what he wants, and we can’t entertain him 24/7.
He still isn’t a huge fan of riding in the car, but since that trip, he seems to be a little more content with it.
On this trip, I learned that it is very difficult for me to share a room with Jamie at night now. I hear every little noise he makes and I wake up. I guess that’s my “mom ears.” Also, I have a hard time getting to sleep in the first place for fear that my snoring will wake him up.
On our last day, we took Jamie to the Sedgwick County Zoo. Normally I don’t like zoos, what with all the animals in little cages and all, but the Sedgwick Zoo is a very nice place, built from the ground up as a natural habitat zoo. Very few parts of it made me feel squicky and sad. A rainstorm blew through just before we got there, so the temperature dropped about 20 degrees into the mid 70s. Jamie seemed to enjoy being out in nature and he liked riding in the zoo stroller.
Next time, Jamie will be older and have a better attention span; hopefully we’ll get to stay longer and see more exhibits.
We picked up this recipe from Doc’s mom and Aunt Patty while in Wichita. I think it will become one of our weekly staple vegetarian meals.
8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons capers
1 small can sliced black olives (or use Kalamatas)
1/2 cup sliced red onion
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook pasta to al dente. Drain, place in serving bowl, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes and place into another serving bowl along with any juices that the tomatoes release. Add the garlic, capers, black olives, onion, and olive oil (about 3-4 tablespoons, or to taste). Toss to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve tomato mixture over warm pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
We’re taking it slow with the progression of Jamie’s diet. After running through a bunch of different fruits and veggies to make sure he didn’t have bad reactions to them, we have sort of “started over” again. Currently he is eating only brown rice cereal, oatmeal, yellow squash, avocado, and applesauce. All of those seem to work just fine with his system. We learned a couple of weeks ago that yams do not agree with him, and an encounter with some pieces of banana in early August left him with a bad rash on his face and arm that is still visible, even now. (But then, we rubbed some banana on his neck about a week later and he had no reaction at all.)
He’s eating really decent quantities now, too. He has three meals a day, consisting of at least one veggie or fruit and a grain. He typically eats about 1/4 cup each of grains and veggies/fruits at each meal. He has watered-down apple juice every morning, and water from his sippy cup as well as formula throughout the day.
I’m hoping that we’ll soon be able to stop feeding him Nutramigen AA. It’s insanely expensive. Even regular Nutramigen is expensive, but at least it’s available in stores and about 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of AA. I also think that he’s ready to start eating finger foods. Since the banana incident, though, we’re just not sure what to give him. We tried peaches but they’re a bit slippery and he wasn’t fond of the texture. Maybe super-ripe pear? Grape halves? Pasta spirals? And I know he ought to have some protein soon; I just don’t know where to start with that. I probably need to call his doctor to get some advice.
Here are some photos of me and Jamie, goofing off, from a few days ago:
Yesterday, we took advantage of the less-boiling-than-normal weather and went to the Arboretum in the afternoon. We have a membership (thanks, mom and dad!) and so can go whenever we like and stay as long (or as short) as we want to. We planted ourselves and Jamie on the grass under a big shady tree and hung out for a while. There’s a fountain plaza with four giant frog sculptures that spit water into the middle of the plaza. Next time we’ll be sure to bring along Jamie’s swimsuit!
April 27, 2009 :: 4:06 pm
Tried on a cute dress today. Made me look like curtains from the 70s.
It was green and pleated, and looked cute hanging on the rack. Not so much on me. I had to go clothes shopping and get a few things in a (horrors!) larger size. I keep telling myself it’s only temporary. But the numbers on the scale don’t seem to be moving much. Making milk for Jamie makes me seriously hungry.
The other thing that happened today: Jamie tried his first solid food, rice cereal. He wasn’t that into it. In fact, he got kind of upset. I guess we probably shouldn’t have tried to give it to him when he was super hungry. We tried again before bedtime and it was a lot easier. We made the cereal thicker, and he very quickly got the hang of eating off the spoon, even going so far as to grab the handle to help shove it into his mouth. Unfortunately, he had a really bad night and a bad day the next day so we decided to wait a while before giving him any more.
Breakfast: organic yogurt, strawberries, and coffee. Mmmm.
The Infant Commander had a good night last night.
I can’t really remember the specifics about this night, but I think it might have been the night he woke at 8 p.m., midnight, and 4 a.m. Four hours between feedings, consistently!
I wonder how to make a 4-month-old nap when he is clearly tired but won’t go to sleep…
This is one of our greatest challenges: getting the baby to nap. He is way more interested in interacting with us and with his environment than he is in going to sleep. We are finding that sleep begets sleep, though. It seems counterintuitive, but if we can get him to nap and to sleep longer at night, then it’s easier for him to continue napping and sleeping longer. An overtired baby is a cranky baby who doesn’t want to sleep. He won’t drift off on his own, though, so we are on the lookout for new soothing methods.
I just got stung by an f-ing bee, or wasp, or fire ants. On my toe. F!!!
That hurt like hell. I was outside with Jamie at twilight, showing him the plants on the back deck, and I must have stepped on or near a bee or wasp. Of course I was barefoot. It got me on the side of my 4th toe, and what started as a little stinging sensation quickly blossomed into a full fledged foot-on-fire feeling. I quickly checked Jamie to make sure that there weren’t any bees on or near him, and hopped inside. I stuck him in his bouncer and hopped around the living room, cursing to myself. Doc was out running errands and I called him to let him know that I’d been stung, Jamie was in a safe place, and I didn’t know if I was allergic or not since this was only the 2nd bee sting I’ve ever had. I figured that in case I passed out, he ought to be aware of what was going on. I did not pass out. Soaking my foot in a bowl of ice water helped. I was sore for a few days.
I am very pleased by the dinner I whipped up tonight: club sandwiches, tomato soup, and spinach salads.
It was good! I didn’t find out until later that the spinach was a bad idea… Read on.
I am kinda surprised and annoyed that my love for red meat, acquired during pregnancy, has not gone away.
Beef! Sausage! Bacon! (Is bacon red meat?)
In honor of Earth Day, I have stopped eating green leafy vegetables. Save the spinaches!
So I stopped eating green leafies. Out of desperation, we called our lactation consultant, who determined that all the spinach I’ve been eating might be the cause of Jamie’s gassy uncomfortableness. And so it seems to be the case! I’ve been off spinach, greens, lettuce, cabbage, etc. (and broccoli for good measure) since the 21st, and the difference is remarkable. He is so much more relaxed now. The ironic thing is, I increased my spinach intake while pregnant and continued after Jamie was born, because it is so chock full of nutrients. If only I’d known… we could have saved him (and ourselves) months of agony. I’m trying not to let the guilt get to me.
I am kinda weirded out by how green beans squeak against my teeth. Perhaps a generous serving of butter on top would fix that problem…
Really, they do squeak if I just eat them steamed without butter. It’s odd. Rachel suggests eating them with bacon, and you can bet I’m going to try that next time.
I am grateful to Doc for last night’s 6 hour sleep block and to Jamie for sleeping till 7:30 this morning.
A breakthrough! Jamie had his bottle at 1 a.m. but woke up at 3:30 crying. He’d had something like 7 ounces of milk, so it’s not that he was hungry — but I’ve always nursed him on demand when he woke, because that was the only surefire way to get him back to sleep. This time, Doc gave him a pacifier and rocked him for about an hour and a half. Every time he tried to put him back in his crib, he started to come awake again. At 5 he handed Jamie off to me so he could get some sleep. I sat in the rocker with him for another hour, then decided to bring him into bed with me. I fed him a short time later (5-1/2 hours between feedings!) and then he slept until 7:30. Doc won me six hours of solid sleep and since Jamie’s been consistently getting up around 5 or 5:30 a.m., I was quite pleased at how late he slept today.
‘Tis easier for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is to thread a greasy baby through a onesie.
That boy does not like having cream applied, but he gets rashy on his neck and chest where drool-soaked onesie fabric sits against his skin. So we rub him with Boudreaux’s Baby Butt Smooth Dry Skin Ointment after his bath, and that usually makes him upset, and then our next task is to try to get a crying greasy baby into his jammies.
A coworker showed me a link to this circus-themed growth chart. I love it! It’s kind of expensive so I might ask for it as a birthday or Christmas gift instead of just buying it. I like the idea of having a permanent record of Jamie’s growth. When I was growing up, we made marks on a doorframe (as I suspect so did many of you).
Last night was another good night as far as training Jamie that he really doesn’t need to eat every 2 hours at night. He woke up a mere 2-1/2 hours after his last bottle, and instead of feeding him I gave him a pacifier and rocked him. He wasn’t too happy about it at first, but succumbed to the sleepies a short while later. He then slept another hour and a half before waking to eat. I hope this is a trend, and eventually he just won’t wake up for that feeding anymore. Doc has been working so hard to make this happen. I was glad I could pitch in a little bit last night.
So in addition to spinach, I am also off of caffeine. Although my caffeine intake isn’t enormous (one cup of coffee plus several diet Cokes per day, usually), I suspect that Jamie might be somewhat sensitive to it, so I have cut it out of my diet completely. I went cold turkey and have had headaches for the past three days. I wonder why they call it “cold turkey.” Perhaps suddenly quitting a habit is about as appealing as a cold plate of turkey. I can dig that.
Jamieson has crossed another milestone in his young life: He is now sitting up like a big boy! This means that, if we put him in a seated position, he can usually stay sitting by himself for a short period. If he begins to fall to one side, he’ll put out his hand to steady himself. Often he leans way forward for balance, but now I am seeing him sitting upright with good posture, more and more. Yesterday we had him sitting on his playmat, and he was gripping Doc’s fingers for balance. And then, he let go. On his own.
Here’s a few recent photos…
July 15, 2008 :: 9:36 pm
Dragonflies frequent the plants in my backyard. The little guys come in so many colors. I’ve seen tan, red, purple (like this one), bright blue, bright green, and black. This little guy was resting on top of a plant stake and he let me get close enough to take one macro shot before he flew away.
February 12, 2008 :: 10:02 pm
I realized tonight that I’ve only made three short posts in the past three weeks that AREN’T about my miscarriage. Part of me is tired of thinking about it, and I am sure that my readers, all two of you, are tired of reading about it too, so I’m going to try to move on to other topics now for the most part. I can’t promise there won’t be the occasional “woe is me” post, but I am trying not to let the woe engulf me and writing about normal things will be an exercise in getting my head out of that sadness.
Doc turned me on to this cool site called Last.fm. It’s a free service (similar to Pandora) that keeps track of what music you listen to, streams music that it thinks you’ll like on your own personal “radio stations” (and does a darn good job, by the way, of choosing music that I like), connects you with people that have similar tastes, and introduces you to independent artists and music you may not have heard before.
Try it! It’s very easy to install and operate. It imports your iTunes listening history and then is able to custom-tailor “radio stations” for you.
The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You
I absolutely love Cracked.com’s lists. The people who write them are hilariously witty and razor sharp. Even if I don’t have any interest in the topic, although I usually do, I still read them for the quality of writing. Here are just a few choice quotes from a recent article about six adorably cute animals that can fucking kill you. This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
If animals could talk, they would spend most of their time calling us dicks and telling us to get off their land. The traits we think of as “cute” are often simply tricks animals have developed to get tourists to throw them food.
There is no way you could look at a big, fat, happy, squishy, huggable hippo and not think, “If she could talk like a human, she would sound just like Jada Pinkett Smith and be oh so sassy.” You would totally name her Sassybaskets and she would be your tutu-wearing, ballet-dancing, strut-walking pal for life. Just you and Sassybaskets against the world! Look out, New York, here comes Sassybaskets!
The platypus is mother nature’s way of saying, “I made this thing out of spare parts I found on the workshop floor, and it can still fucking cripple you.”
It turns out swans are now and have always been vicious, mean little motherfuckers who will not hesitate to snap your fingers off one by one for daring to pollute its presence. And then going off to laugh with all their friends about what a huge loser you are.
Orange Almond Cake with Caramel Sauce
A few weeks ago I made a delicious cake. It is in no way low-calorie or low-fat, and it tastes utterly decadent. Here’s the recipe:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/3 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces almond paste, crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon rum extract
1/3 cup orange marmalade
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly butter a 9″-round bundt cake pan; set aside.
With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the apricot preserves, sour cream, and vanilla extract; beat for 1 minute more.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt; lightly fold into the batter along with the almond paste.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan . Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm when the pan is lightly tapped.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more. Drizzle over cake slices.
Last Friday night we went to an art show and dinner with Kathryn and Brett. Even though I didn’t particularly care for most of the art (a student show, watercolors), it was nice to get out and do something cultural with friends. I don’t know why we don’t do that more often. Recent events have got me thinking a lot about priorities and free-time activities, and I’ve realized that I miss actively making art and actively going out to look at other peoples’ art. I want to start doing that more often. We need to force ourselves to find the time…. maybe by just writing on the calendar what we are going to do, and then sticking to it. For someone who’s supposed to be an artist, I sure avoid art a lot of the time. I don’t understand myself sometimes.
January 23, 2008 :: 4:58 pm
I thought I was afraid of bees and wasps BEFORE I read this. Did you know that the Japanese hornet can reach up to 3 inches in length and can fly 50 miles a day? Did you know that 30 of them can decimate a colony of 30,000 honeybees in just a couple of hours (“In three hours, there are piles of limbs and heads and just fucking bits of things that could possibly have been alive at one point, and the hornets have stormed the hive and flown away with all the bees’ children. Who will then be eaten.”)? I swear I’m going to have nightmares.
From the article “The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World:”
It’s the size of your thumb and it can spray flesh-melting poison. We really wish we were making that up for, you know, dramatic effect because goddamn, what a terrible thing a three-inch acid-shooting hornet would be, you know? Oh, hey, did we mention it shoots it into your eyes? Or that the poison also has a pheromone cocktail in it that’ll call every hornet in the hive to come over and sting you until you are no longer alive?
Think you can outrun it? It can fly 50 miles in a day. It’d be nice to say something reassuring at this point, like “Don’t worry, they only live on top of really tall mountains where nobody wants to live,” but no, they live all over the goddamned place, including outside Tokyo.
Forty people die like that every year, each of them horribly.
The article features more horrifying stories about insects, including army ants (“There are reports of animals the size of horses being overwhelmed and shredded by them. Go stand next to a horse and then think about what that means for you.”), botflies, bullet ants, and Africanized honeybees.
November 13, 2007 :: 9:13 am
Saturday evening, Doc made me laugh so hard I literally fell out of my chair! I was doing some work on my computer and listening to Genesis’ Fly on the Windshield, and he waltzed into my office and began performing interpretive dance to the song. At the very end, when he mimicked the fly stuck on the windshield, wide-eyed and one wing flapping in the wind, I completely lost it and doubled over laughing, lost my balance, and slid to the floor in hysterics.
I love just laughing like that. He makes me laugh all the time. It’s great.
Speaking of things on the windshield, this morning while driving down Skillman at 45 miles per hour, a little gecko appeared on my windscreen, fully alive and clinging on for dear life. I don’t know if he’d been sleeping in the windshield-wiper area (which is full of leaves, as we park the car under a tree), or if he dropped from a passing tree and just happened to land on my windscreen, but in any case he looked terrified—to the extent that geckos can—and every few seconds, buffeted by the wind, he slid another inch or two up the windscreen. I was in heavy traffic and couldn’t immediately stop, but kept saying “Just hang on a few more seconds, little dude!” I pulled into the first parking lot I could find in hopes that he was still attached to the car, but alas, he was gone. Poor little guy. Hopefully he flew off and landed lightly on the pavement, and was able to scramble off the road before being smooshed. I’m telling myself that’s what happened, and that he’ll go on to lead a long and fruitful life, making many baby geckos to help control the mosquito population.
September 19, 2007 :: 2:04 pm
I’ve been thinking a lot in recent years about off-the-grid living. I think it would be really hard, and really interesting, and I’d probably eventually return to The Grid but have the knowledge to make a lot of changes and seriously reduce my “footprint.”
I just read about a family living in an apartment in New York City who are entirely off the grid. No electricity in the apartment, no carbon-consuming personal or public transport, no commercial cleaning products, no shampoo, no packaging on any products purchased, no toilet paper.
That’s right, no toilet paper.
I could give up (and have given up) a lot of things, but toilet paper is not one of them. Of all the modern conveniences we enjoy in 21st century America, this is right up at the top of my list. I recycle absolutely everything that’s possible to recycle, I don’t run the water when brushing my teeth, I don’t use disposable feminine hygiene products, I only run full loads in the dishwasher and clothes washer, I compost my food scraps, I don’t put chemicals on my yard, I drive a hybrid car, I open the windows instead of using the air conditioner when it’s cool enough (hard to do in Texas, but I try).
So I’m not giving up toilet paper. Call me extravagant and wasteful if you will, but I think that the karma I gain from the abovementioned lifestyle practices is more than enough to make up for it.
One thing that I am interested in doing is substituting environmentally harmless substances for the cleaning products I currently buy. We have 409 spray, bathroom cleaner, Windex, carpet foam, etc, and I would like to start using home-crafted formulas using ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, borax, and bleach (although I’m not sure about bleach… must do more research).
Ideally I’d love to live in an underground house made largely of natural and recycled materials (cool in summer, warm in winter, without an air conditioner) with a huge vegetable garden, sunlight reflecting tubes, an outdoor shower, giant arrays of solar panels, and use a stationary bike to help charge up batteries.
August 5, 2007 :: 7:05 pm
So here’s the deal: I hate cucumbers. Hate them like no other food on earth. Given the choice of starving to death or eating a cucumber, starving might win.
However, I looooove pickles and I want to make my own. So I planted cucumber seeds this spring. My plant has so far produced exactly ONE cucumber, and this is it. It’s about two inches in diameter, and one end has turned orange and swelled to enormous proportions.
Now I don’t claim to know everything about how plants work, but I’m pretty sure cucumbers are not supposed to mutate like this while growing. Needless to say, I will not be pickling and eating this little alien fruit.
Oh, by the way, this is part of my Modified Project 365. For the next six weeks or so I’ll be taking photos and uploading as I have the time and energy. Hopefully around mid-September I’ll be able to return to doing this daily.
August 4, 2007 :: 6:00 pm
My friend Stacey lives in Minneapolis and luckily was not on the bridge over the river at the time of its collapse.
Which reminded me of the footage I’ve seen of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (also known, ominously, considering its fate, as “Galloping Gertie”) tearing itself to pieces in a high wind in 1940.
July 11, 2007 :: 8:59 pm