Sunday, July 31, 2011

I did it!

During the summer, my MOPS group meets at the park every other Friday for a playdate.  This past Friday I finally felt up to taking two kids.  I looked at the schedule to see what park we were going to and saw this week was the zoo.  The one week we weren't going to a park!  It seemed like a bit much with a two-year-old and a one-month-old.  What if I stopped to breastfeed and Meg ran off?  I told myself I’d see how things were going Friday morning and decide then, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to manage. 

However, the baby slept from midnight to 7 (!!), so I was feeling ready to take on anything and had plenty of time to get ready.  When Meg got up I told her we were going to the zoo, which made her SUPER excited and totally committed me.  We were going.

I got everybody in the car and to the zoo ON TIME.  Where I discovered there was almost no parking and a line to get in stretching the entire length of the parking lot.  When we got to the front of the line we found out it was free admission day.  The place was completely packed.  I waited just inside for 20 minutes, but didn’t see anyone, so I found myself walking into the zoo by myself with two children.  Yikes!  Meg did wonderfully, though.  She likes to walk along holding the side of the stroller (pretending she’s pushing it).  She had the best time and I even managed to take pictures.

An hour later, we ran into two of the moms we were supposed to meet.  We walked together for a few minutes, but then they stopped to feed the goats for a while and we decided to keep moving so we could get home before Paul’s feeding.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle anything like that for a very long time, but we actually had a wonderful day at the zoo by ourselves five weeks after the baby was born!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Peach baby food

Thomas and I made our own peach baby food today and I have to say, I don’t think it was worth it. Peaches were pretty cheap at the grocery store this week, so we picked up a bunch of them. I looked up how to process peaches into baby food and found this:

Scrub fruit clean and carve an X into 1 side of the fruit
Place X side down in a pan with an inch of water
Bring water to a boil and steam until soft and tender
Allow the fruit to cool and then peel the skin from fruit - the skin should slip off very easily.

It took a lot of trial and error to figure out when the peaches were done. You’d think “soft and tender” is self-explanatory, but the part on top seemed to never get done no matter how long we let them boil (or how soft the rest of the peach got). I started turning them over halfway through and that didn’t work well, either. Also, an inch of water was not enough. The water would boil off before the peaches were done. I found that the cooler the peaches got, the harder they were to peel, so I started peeling them piping hot and burned my thumb. I’m sure I did almost everything wrong and with some practice it would go better. But I don't think I'll be practicing.

We used 17 peaches and got about 24 4-ounce jars worth. If you’ve been around for a while, you know I enjoy couponing and try to find the best deal on everything. Two years ago, when buying food for Meg, I got Earth’s Best jars half off, making each 4-ounch jar about 40 cents. (It was Black Friday. I bought enough to last us for the entire time she ate jarred food.) If I use that price for a comparison it cost about half as much to make it ourselves - $4.92 for 24 jars worth instead of $9.60. Plus, as Thomas said, we didn’t factor in the cost of using one of the gas burners for over an hour to boil peaches. Also, Earth’s Best is organic and the peaches we used were not.

Now, I know I might not be able to get jars for 50% off this time around. Right now on Amazon, I could get them for 64 cents each of I use subscribe & save. I recently bought some of the fruit & whole grain jars on one of Amazon’s Friday grocery sales and got them for 55 cents each. At this price, making our own cost about a third as much. Again, all these prices are for organic, and I bet I could find plain old unorganic Gerber for cheaper. (Huh. Maybe not. I just checked and the regular Gerber is the same price per ounce on Amazon as the Earth’s Best.)

I’m just not sure what the benefit is to making it yourself. Do most people do it to save money? Because they think it’s better than jars? Better in what way? If you make your own baby food, why do you do it? I didn’t do it to save money, though I was hoping that would be a nice side effect. I also didn’t necessarily think it would be healthier, because we didn’t use organic peaches and while the baby food companies say stuff like “picked at their peak and minimally processed to retain nutrients” I can’t necessarily say the same for my own. I have no idea if they were picked at their peak and I probably boiled them too long. (Then again, it also seemed like it wasn’t long enough.) For some reason homemade seems better, but I honestly don’t get what the problem is with jarred. So…what WAS the benefit of making my own? I guess just money?

I suppose five months from now when we start using the peaches I’ll have forgotten what a pain it was and think it was worth it. In fact, I’ve almost talked myself into trying it again. I’m worried, though, that I’ll get into halfway through the process again and find myself in the same “this is NOT WORTH IT” frame of mind. If I do try again, I’ll wait until the peaches are softer, put more water in the pan, and give letting them cool down before peeling another try. Some people bake the peaches in an inch of water instead of boiling, right? Should I try that?

We’re definitely going to make all of our own vegetable baby food, but it seems like the fruit might be more trouble than its worth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

As soon as I hit "publish" I'l be officially jinxed

I’m always bummed when a blogger has a baby, then drops off the face of the earth for a few months. I love babies! Tell me all about the baby! Tell me about having a baby and a toddler! Is it hard? How hard? Do you have tips? I repeat, TELL ME ALL ABOUT THE BABY.

I now know why that happens: there’s nothing to say. Having a newborn is boring. I love it. LOVE. But it doesn’t provide much blog material. I barely ever leave the house. I know some people go insane in the newborn period because they’re stuck at home, but I’m not “stuck” at home. I get to stay home. I’m anti-social and I love everything about being at home – wearing pajamas, DVR, kitchen full of food – so why would I leave?

So. I stay home. I feed the baby. I feed the toddler. I read books. I watch TV. That’s pretty much it.

To answer the questions above:

Tell me all about the baby! Um, he’s a baby. He eats. He sleeps. He wakes me up at night. That’s it. Oh, except I have to brag that if you consider “sleeping through the night” to mean 5 hours, then he slept through the night for the first time at 4 weeks exactly. He’s done it twice now. It confuses the heck out of my boobs, because he’ll eat every hour and a half for six hours, then crash and go 6 hours between feedings. It’s rather painful. But the sleep is amazing. Meg ate every 2 hours, 3 if I was lucky, until she was 7 weeks old. I’d thought since Meg didn’t have colic or reflux, taking care of her was as easy as it could be, but no! I think I have the easiest-to-care-for baby in the world right now so I probably shouldn’t have more. My luck has got to run out sometime. (I still want another one.)

The other thing that has surprised me about Paul is how big he is. After the first week, he has gained about a pound a week (usually a little more) every week. According to my unscientific bathroom scale weighing he’s a little over 12 pounds now at almost 5 weeks. Back when I thought he’d be born around 37 weeks gestation I decided he was unlikely to be a bigger baby then Meg, so I used her weight history to determine how many size 1 diapers to buy. I have way more than we’ll be able to use. The upper weight recommendation on those is 14 pounds. Meg weighed 13 lbs 10 oz at 4 months old. I keep waiting for Paul’s weight gain to slow down a little, but it hasn’t. The size 1 diapers are already not overly large on him and if he hits 14 pounds two weeks from now, I’ll have 2 cases of diapers left over.

Tell me about having a baby and a toddler! Is it hard? How hard? Again, please don’t hate me, but having both a baby and a toddler hasn’t been much harder than having a baby and a toddler separately would be. That is, having the baby hasn’t made it harder to manage the toddler. Meg has done just fine. I haven’t wanted to say that, for fear of jinxing the whole situation, but since we’re over a month in now with no problems, I think if we start having problems we can no longer blame it solely on the fact we had a baby.

Do you have any tips? Nope. The secret to my success is an easy baby and a toddler who loves babies. I got lucky.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Last Wednesday Meg spent her first night away from us. She stayed over at my parent’s house. It was the day we went up to my Grandparents’ house and took some stuff with us. Meg got an old wooden horse you pull around. Apparently every stuffed animal (and there are a lot of them) had to go for a ride, then get their picture taken.  (The gold purse is also from my grandma.)

To get her to go to sleep, Mom told her they would go to the park when the sun was out again. Five minutes later she asked “sunny now?” The first words out of her mouth the next morning were “park now!!” She told mom she never wanted to go home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You think I'd catch on...

Every time I buy a Kindle book, then later check my email and see “your order” I FREAK OUT. I didn’t order anything! What the heck is THIS? Did I order something by accident or has my account been hacked? Can I cancel the order? What if stuff I didn’t order just starts showing up at my door?


I bought an e-book.

Never mind.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

52 Years

My grandma had a doctor’s appointment the other day. They asked her if her address and phone number were still the same. She said they haven’t changed in 52 years, but they will soon and joked “we’re moving to Arizona because it’s just not hot enough for us here.” (Like everyone else, we’re in the middle of a nasty heat wave.)

My grandparents have been going to Arizona for the “winter” for a long, long time. I know they started going before my cousin was born and he’ll be 17 soon. I put winter in quotes because by the time my sisters and I started graduating from high school they were complaining about having to be back in Iowa by June to attend graduation ceremonies.

They decided this would be the last year they come back. They’re emptying out the house they’ve lived in for 52 years and selling it. Yesterday I went with my mom to visit. It was weird – the upstairs was almost empty, the downstairs full of boxes – but it was still Grandma and Grandpa’s house and it was hard to fathom that was probably the last time I’d see it. I can’t imagine how it is for my mom and aunt. They’re relieved, I know, to have the house emptied and sold, since Grandma and Grandpa were barely living there anyway and it was getting neglected, but it must still be hard to have the house you grew up in sold. I was going to say this is the only house they can remember their parents ever living in, but I guess that’s not true since they’ve had a house in Arizona for years and that house has slowly become where they live. Still, the house in Iowa has always been there. I suppose my aunt might be relieved, because her family has always been the ones to maintain it – checking the pipes, raking the leaves, and shoveling the snow.

I took a few of the dishes I remember always using there and Grandma had everyone pick out one of her P. Buckley Moss prints. My mom has a ton of their stuff at her house now, including the play kitchen my great-great grandpa built for my grandma when she was little. She played with it, then my mom and aunt and uncle, then my sisters and me, now Meg. I suppose this way I’ll see more of the items that bring back memories than if they were keeping the house.

When we bought our house 2 ½ years ago, one of my criteria was that we’d never have to move again (unless we leave Iowa). We intend to raise our kids in this house and grow old together. I assume we’ll still live here in 50 years. I wonder what it will look like then.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I’m working on a post about daycare, but first I need to give some background info. I don’t believe I ever mentioned the biter at Meg’s daycare. Near the end of May she came home one day with a bite mark on her stomach. Apparently she’d been riding a play car outside. Another kid wanted it. She refused to get off, he tried to make her, they struggled a little, and he bit her. She had a pretty bad mark/bruise, but I figured it was just a one-time thing. At least my kid wasn’t the biter, right? I was relieved I didn’t have to try to deal with the behavior.

The next week was Meg’s birthday. I really didn’t want to drop her off that morning. I knew it didn’t really matter to her what specific day was her birthday, but it mattered to me. But I put her in a special outfit and dropped her off with mini-cupcakes for her whole class. When she came home that night she had red frosting all over her outfit (what were we thinking sending red frosting?), tons of sunscreen in her hair (better than a sunburn I suppose, but I’d sent a sun hat), and two WELTS on her arms (complete with teeth marks). It didn’t exactly make me feel better about sending her to daycare.

The incident reports made me feel worse. At 9:30, Meg was “sitting at the table when another child bit her.” At 10:30, she was “standing in line when another child came up and bit her.” We were furious. This was beyond a one-time thing; now she’d been bitten three times by the same kid and he’d been the instigator all three times. I realize how hard, maybe almost impossible, it is to stop a kid from biting, but something needed to be done. What made us even more upset was that she had been bitten hard enough to have a full set of teeth marks on both arms and we weren’t called. I would have picked her up immediately.

Everytime I thought about her sitting (or standing) there, minding her own business, then having another kid run up and attack her, on her birthday no less, made me furious.  I tried several times to write about it here, but thinking about it would make me so mad I'd have to stop.

The next day, Thomas called and talked to the director. She said the kid was biting everyone in the class. Repeatedly. They were giving him one last chance before kicking him out, because he had been put on medication they thought might help. (Sounds weird to me – what kind of medication? ADD, maybe?) She also said that the next week Meg was moving to the two-year-old room, so she’d no longer be around the biter.

I don’t know whether he got kicked out or not. The next week Meg moved to her new room and she hasn’t gotten hurt at all since. But she now hates going to daycare and cries every time I drop her off.