Saturday, March 31, 2012

12 weeks

Benjamin celebrated his 12 week birthday with his first cold. He seems to have caught the sneezy, runny eyed, runny nose goop that I had last week. He looked so pathetic with his watery red eyes. I wanted to dress him warm and we don't have many polar fleeces left that are big enough for them, so I ended up putting him in a duck costume. It was adorable. but it felt wrong to make him look so cute when he did not feel well!! Despite not feeling well he still got excited when Dad came home and started playing with him. If you want to see him laughing, try this video!

He loves odd noises like that rolling R, or "digadigadigadigadigadiga" etc. He also has been grabbing/pinching things. including our arms and arm hair unfortunately! I cut his nails but it does not really help. He makes more noises every day. His favorite seems to be "agooooo", sort of growly. He is adorable really. His cold seems better today, though he is quite grumpy!!

This coming week he will be 3 months old. I hope to get another weight then. post more pics. But for now the video will have to do :)

Monday, March 26, 2012


This weekend I finished my first book of 2012-  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I don't know what it is with me and Charles Dickens. I thought I liked him. I did not mind reading Oliver Twist  and Hard Times in high school, I liked The Christmas Carol, by my last two reads by him have been disappointing. I am thinking I don't like Charles Dickens, I am just so-so about his writing. Anyways, it took me FOREVER to get through  Great Expectations. I thought this was because of pregnancy brain and mommy brain, but finishing the book and looking back, I think it really was because I did not enjoy it, not even an eensy weensy bit. It wasn't horrible for the most part, until the end got really preachy. I ended up giving it 1 out of 5 stars. Pointless and preachy in the end.

I also watched a movie this weekend that I wanted to comment on - Midnight in Paris. It was nominated for best picture. I think it was really interesting. It is really about how we romanticize what has already been created and fail to see the genius in our own time, or in ourselves. I would give it 4 stars (of 5). The thing I would change about it is that there were some characters who were too blatantly unlikeable and it would have been a more clever/deeper movie if they had had more value.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Perfect Moment

With the weather so nice these days (highs in the 60s or low 70s), DH and I have taken to going on evening walks whenever the baby cooperates. Last night we were walking back up the driveway and we were talking about the transition to parenthood and how much I love being a mother and how much he likes being a father and how glad we are to have Benjamin. At that moment Benjamin, who was sitting in my arms facing us, got a huge grin and started laughing. He laughed for a good minute with a giant smile on his face (and of course we joined him). It is by far the best laughter he has given us. I think it was him saying "I am glad you have me too!" It was a perfect family moment.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Irish Food

The best thing about St Patrick's Day is the opportunity to make some great Irish food. Yes, I am very food oriented!! I have to say we out did ourselves this year!!

It started about three weeks ago when it occurred to me that we could probably make corned beef from scratch if we planned ahead. So we did! I started researching recipes and eventually settled on this recipe for brine: because I did not much fancy trying to find saltpeter, a nitrate used in most corned beef. So I bought a four pound beef roast and made up the brine about 2 weeks ago. It calls for some rare spices like whole Juniper and Allspice berries. I found these at the local Whole Food Coop where they allow you to buy loose spices by weight, meaning I could buy very small amounts - enough just for the recipe, and not have a big jar of something I will never use again in my spice cabinet. So we waited for the two weeks, occasionally shaking the brine up and flipping the meat about a week ago.

When it was time to cook it, my Dad advised me that while that recipe calls for boiling, it was his experience from watching the food network (Mostly "Diners Drive-throughs and Dives") that all the best corned beef is baked, so we googled and for the actual cooking used this recipe: . The roast ended up being in the oven for about four and a half hours at 275. To round out the meal we found Colleen's Colcannon Potatoes  -  a mash with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and cabbage. We also had a loaf of sauerkraut bread.

This meal was outstanding. Each piece on its own was wonderful, and the flavors just worked together perfectly. Put a beer along side and it was heaven. I admittedly drank a Belgian style wheat beer with it, which DH says is out of the spirit of St Patty's Day, but it was delicious.

The only thing that could have made the meal better was if I had thought to make a Irish Creme dessert. Maybe next year.

Also, this morning I made what my dad aptly titled "Half Ass Hash". I took some of the leftover mash, cut up corn beef over it and microwaved it, then put an egg cooked over easy on top. Served with coffee sweetened with honey. Delicious!

Friday, March 16, 2012


It is the middle of March. This means Pi day just passed (3.14), dictators should be wary (3/15), we soon will be drinking green beer (3/17), and most significantly, March Madness. March madness is why I am sitting in our living room (my parents living room) with my Dad, DH, and Benjamin. The TV is playing USF vs Temple. It is 10:20pm. I am the only one awake. I am not even really watching, I am surfing the net. Enjoy the humor of the situation! The tournament is going decently. My bracket is a little messed up. but with the upsets of Duke and Missouri, a lot of people's are. I actually have two brackets. In my better bracket I am leading my group with 21/28 picks correct and 159 possible points left. Exciting, eh? Now my dad is snoring, Benjamin is sucking in his sleep (just air... no pacifier in or anything), and DH is all snuggled into his pillow on the couch. Aren't they cute? If I was rude I would post a picture of them, but I am too lazy to get up and get the cord to plug my camera into the computer.

We moved into my parents on January 27th. That means we have been here 7 weeks. We moved in without a definite exit strategy, but assumed we would buy a house as soon as possible and be out of my parents way in no time. It has not exactly turned out that way. We either need more income or less monthly debt commitment to get a mortgage for a house here. In other words, I either need to get a job, or our house in Columbus needs to sell. Until one or both of these things happen, we will stay here. It is longer than we expected and we are hitting the point where I am beginning to feel like a burden, despite everyone's reassurance that they don't mind. The majority of our possessions are in my BILs trailer parked in my parents lawn. Until we have somewhere to move that stuff, he has no trailer for his own use, and it is blocking the view from my parent's window. Yesterday my Mom and little sister had to dig something out of a closet that we put a desk in front of because they had not thought to take it out before we moved in because the event the dress is for seemed so far away when we moved in. My ILs want to come and visit and we have no good guest quarters for them (though that has been resolved at least for this first visit). All in all, it would just be really great if our Columbus house would sell. Even if we got an offer tomorrow though, it would be weeks until we could be out. Sorry!! I am very thankful for everyone's patience and generosity.

Re:pinterest. - I have decided the real problem with pinterest is the way I was using it more than the actual concept/site. I am editing/revising my boards so that I use it in a more productive way. Before I was largely using the site to kill time. Now I am going to concentrate on using it to gather ideas about things I actually want to accomplish. My latest new project is getting into a regular work out routine, so I created a fitness board. I am going to post work out articles, motivational things, and rewards/goals onto it.

I guess that is all for now. Sorry my thoughts are so disorganized. but that is just how they are right now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time Flies

Apparently its been over two weeks since I uploaded pictures... time flies!

Over the weekend DH and I took baby out and about, just ran errands, then went down the lake (Brighten Beach) for a stroll. The weather has been gorgeous. Right now it is 58. If it stays like this, we can go to the Lakewalk this weekend.  (the lake walk is a path along Lake Superior in Duluth. Great for walking, biking, rollerblading, etc). The nice weather is, well, nice. But I admit I wouldn't mind another blizzard before we get spring for good!

I just can't believe how big Benjamin feels now! I just pulled out the rest of the 3-6 month clothing and most of it looks like he will wear it very soon. He likes to eat his own hands now and is drooling more. We should start putting a bib on him but outfits without them are so much cuter! We are about to start using size 2 diapers. I just tried one on him yesterday and it fit quite well, so we will use them as soon as we use up the 1s. He smiles so much more easily now, and so much more. He liked the song "Little Red" about horse racing and the actions I do with it for him. He likes when I pull a blanket up around him and say "baby burrito!!" He is ticklish and you can always get a smile that way. Its so fun playing with him!

And now for what you really want...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Some Unfriendly Firsts

With Benjamin getting his first shots on Tuesday, we also go to deal with his first fever, and first use of baby Tylenol. All went smoothly, though he was fussy all night pretty much. I always thought people who did things like saved baby's first bandaid were psycho, but I have to admit I considered it! The bandaids were Taz (from looney toons), one on each thigh. Poor little boy. And we get to do it again in May, how fun!

I had a job thing on Thursday morning, an "on site" assessment technically. It was weird going in because I was not even sure I wanted to get the job. Not because its a bad job, I actually think I would enjoy it as much as anything else - but I don't feel ready to go back to work yet.  I want to go back eventually... just not yet. The "on site assessment", as I expected, turned out to be a computerized test. I did very well on it (of course... lol). I mean it was pretty basic stuff, it just was showing I could use a computer, learn the new software quickly, learn and follow rules, and not be a jackass to customers. For the record, the job would be handling people who were calling the health insurance companies about appeals on their claims (fielding questions, inputting data, getting their evidence into file, forwarding things to the correct people, etc).

After I finished the guy proctoring the exam told me that their "class" starting soon is actually full and I could either interview to be a backup for that class, or have them hold my scores/application for future classes. I told him to hold my information. Hopefully they will call me in May or June and want to hire me. In the meantime I will continue to apply for jobs. If it was a really good position, like perhaps with the university, I would take it regardless of the timing, but right now I just still feel like I am on maternity leave and can't stand the idea of dropping Benjamin off at a daycare. I am sure every working mother knows the feeling...

Meanwhile, the job thing also meant we had our first non-family babysitter. It was my mom's work friend. He was only there for 2 hrs or so. I was a bit worried. Seems like all the true SIDS stories you hear about happen at the babysitter... but of course she was a great sitter and he was fine. Motherhood certainly heightens your paranoia!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2 Months Old

Benjamin turned 2 months old yesterday! (insert all cliched "time flies" type statements here, because they are all true). He had his two month doctors appt today. He is up to 12lbs 6 oz (66th percentile) and 23.75" (75th percentile). The doctor was satisfied with these numbers! The check up went great. The doctor was very impressed with his head control when he is on his stomach. He holds it up so high and so well now! He also has officially been diagnosed with Eczema - this is what was causing the baby acne. He had the one flare up several weeks ago that cleared up in 7-10 days and he is just starting another flare. She said this is common for eczema and gave some advice on treating it.  He of course got a lot of vaccines today - three shots and one oral. I did not know they have a rotovirus vaccine but was very happy to be getting it for him as it has been going around (not in my family or anything, just has been in the news a lot etc). So, clean bill of health! Of course now he is spending the evening fussy and sleepy because of the shots. He may get his first Tylenol later if the soreness continues.

A normal day for us, if there is one... I get up when Benjamin wakes up and won't settle again, usually around 7:30am. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Sometimes if it was a bad night I bring him into bed with me so he will sleep a little bit longer. It is like hitting the snooze button though- not long lived and not very deep sleep. We change his diaper, come downstairs and I put him in tummy time in the middle of the dining room table while I check my email etc and make some breakfast. He usually starts to fuss right around when I want to be using both hands to eat! I flip him and lay him on his back, sing to him etc, and if he fusses that way then I pick him up in my lap. With this all done he usually is ready to go to sleep again, so we rock him or put him in the swing, or become a human swing. He typically falls asleep on my chest and then I have to try to put him down. Some days he lets me, other days I end up holding him all day.  If he lets me put him down, I have anywhere from 30-90 minutes to do laundry, shower, etc. If he does not let me put him down, it will be an unproductive day! Then he wakes up to eat and the cycles starts all over.

I consider "you are my sunshine" to be his song, because when I sing it to him I replace sun with son.... cheesy eh? I do the same thing when "here comes the sun" comes on his baby Beatles CD. I also sing him "Let it Be", "What a good boy", the lullaby from Les Miserables, and "tin soldier" as lullabies. And the barney song. LOL. I just recently started to add "Your just to good to be true" like from Conspiracy Theory. It popped out one day because it uses the word Baby so much. Of course, these are just the lullabies. We sing even more songs when he is awake and he still loves "itsy bitsy spider". His Daddy likes to play "rocket man" with him and zoom him around the room (Benjamin approves).

The first eight weeks have been easier than I thought they would be. I was prepared for way more sleep deprivation, stress, and sleepless nights. I don't know if my expectations were just really exaggerated, or if Benjamin is an easy baby, or perhaps some combination of both. I love being a mom and it was worth everything we had to go through to get here. He is the cutest little 12 pounds on the planet, though I might be biased.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I read an article awhile back about how Social Media is linked to depression. The correlation is there, people who use social media more are more likely to be depressed. The theory the article offered was that when we see all the good things happening to other people we are more down about what we don't have in our own lives (Jane is jetting off to europe! Susan had a baby! etc). I initially dismissed this idea and assumed that it really was that people who are more depressed are more likely to wile away hours on useless social media. Then within a week of reading this article, a friend whose blog I read posted a post pretty much saying this exact thing, that she felt down because she was comparing her experiences to those around her on facebook and blogs and other people had more the experience she expected about certain things. So it all got me thinking about expectations and I have had the topic simmering in the back of my mind for the last month or so.

Let me say - I am not depressed. I am not remotely depressed. My life is incredibly easy and joy filled right now. But I can see how social media can change expectations in a negative way. For me, the biggest perpetrator currently is Pinterest. I love Pinterest and I hate it. Pinterest shows us what we don't have (cool houses, great trips, etc). It also shows us all the things we could potentially be doing that we are not (recipes, workouts, craft projects). To some degree seeing these things is inspiring (... I am going to try that recipe! redecorate like that! etc), but to a large degree its just setting up this expectation in your head that everything needs to be special.... that a birthday party with cake, icecream, and a few screaming/playing kids is not enough - it needs to have a themed cake and handmade decorations and themed favors. A cake can't just be a cake, it needs to be a double layered lemon raspberry with almond filling and a cute puppy dog design that utilizes candies in a creative way. A nursery can't be a nursery. I can't just take pictures of my baby, I should learn how to use an SLR and find interesting and unique artsy poses, then edit the pictures to perfection and frame it and hang it up as art. I am not living up to my potential as a mother if I don't preserve the precious memories of DS with various scrapbooking, fingerprinting, and bronzing crafts. I am a bad wife if I don't cook gourmet meals and organize the house in amazing creative ways. I am a bad person if I do not fill my waking hours with sewing projects, redecorating projects, exercises etc to seize every moment. This is what Pinterest does to expectations.

I am not entirely sure where I am going with this.... I have no plans to stopping my use of pinterest. I am just trying to say that being in constant contact with all the possibilities that Pinterest offers sets up a false idea about how life needs to be to be happy. I guess I just want to state for the record that you don't have to try to make every little thing in life special. Things that are special in life will be so whether you do anything or not. Also, that we can't live our lives in expectation alone, we have to have open minds and accept what life actually is as it comes to us and who we are. That is all. Parts of this lesson are directed at me, other parts are intended more for society in general.

By the way, Benjamin is 2 months old today. I will post more on that tomorrow after his 2 month check-up.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My New Reality (Loving It)

Benjamin and out with my little sister to play photographer. Okay - I played photographer - she actually has some skill and an eye for it, and knows how to use a camera and edits things and such. Despite the snow and grey appearance, it was not that cold out, above 30 degress. I put Ben in his moby wrap and then put on my older sister's midget suit. She is taller than me and the suits get wider as they get taller, so I was able to zip it up right over him! He was happy and warm with his pacifier in there. All of the photo's below are taken within a couple hundred feet of my parent's house where we are staying. My parent's house, the house I grew up in, is located on 40 acres of mostly fields with some woods around the house. The cat pictured below is not my orange cat, it is my parents. It was following us around despite the snow being deeper than its head! If you are facebook friends with me, I will try to show you a great pic my little sister took of Grim frolicking in the snow. She was using my father's SLR and as I said, knows way more about photography than I do!!!

8 Weeks

I know, I have been somewhat neglecting non-baby posts. I haven't been HORRIBLE, but have not been making as many of them as I would hope. Perhaps sometime I will correct that, but not today, because today Benjamin is 8 weeks old!! He celebrated by sleeping from 11:30pm to 4:00am last night!! It rocked. I hope he makes a habit out of that quickly! When I woke up at 4am I was sure something was wrong, but no, he was just a sleepy boy!

There is not a new milestone to report, but he is as cute as ever! Here is an oddity (knock on wood). There is this big discrepancy between his night time sleep and daytime napping. At night, the vast majority of the time I can just lay him down after a feeding or diaper change, turn off the lights, and we both go to sleep. But during the day when he gets tired, he will not tolerate being left alone or laid on his back. He wants to be held - preferably by me (or another female...  a ladies man I guess, lol), with his face down into my shirt and his legs all pulled up in the fetal position. He gets really fussy when he is tired during the day and it can take coaxing to get him to fall asleep. It also can be difficult to keep him asleep. Yesterday, for example, I wanted to work on the laptop in the kitchen. He was sleeping on my chest. If I sat in the kitchen, he would wake up and start crying, but if I sat in the living room he was perfectly content to stay asleep. He would not tolerate me putting him down (he would wake up within 5-10 minutes and start crying). How weird and picky! Yet at night he typically does none of this fussiness/finickiness nonsense (knock on wood). I would prefer if his nighttime sleep habits extended to daytime, but will be content as long as his daytime habits don't extent to night time!!

When he is not sleeping, he spends a lot of time in the middle of the table. We put him in tummy time as often and as long as he will tolerate it, and he seems to really enjoy it for the first 5-10 minutes. Then if he gets fussy we role him over to his back and play games with him, sing, etc. I think having him on the table puts us exactly the right distance for him to be able to focus on our faces, because we always get lots of smiles this way. When he starts crying while laying on his back, its time to pick him up! This week we have also been using his little chair more. Before we would only use it when he was asleep, but now he is able to be happy sitting in it and looking around. We reattached the toy bar to it so he can look at or reach for those. The bar that is over his chair comes with three attached hangy things. Two of them rattle and one of them has a pull cord to play "if your happy and you know it". This middle song-producing lady bug is the most annoying thing ever. Luckily he is not really reaching for it yet. I am seriously considering cutting it off and hanging a different song-toy instead. I don't mind the toys that play music, but the tone on that ladybug sucks.

Enough rambling about my boy! I will try to post a NON-baby related post sometime later this afternoon.