Thawing Out, Stockpiling, and Getting Organized for Baby! (SQT)

-1-

After an epic trip to BJs on Monday, where we discovered that a plow had dug out a lane and a half and zero parking spaces, and almost two hours and two cart-loads of groceries later, we are more or less ready and stocked up for the next month or so and the arrival of baby. It looks like the weather for the next two weeks is going to be a bit warmer and less dramatic, though the actual due date is the only one calling for the possibility of snow. Go figure. I’m hoping we’ll go just slightly earlier than DD, though. Lucy was born at just shy of 38 weeks, which is tomorrow for me so we’ll see what happens!

-2-

For my birthday, Tom got me this e-course to help us both organize and streamline our mornings, since that time of day seems to be the most intense/chaotic. Neither one of us is a morning person and struggles with the whole waking up process while both offspring have so many needs (all of which seem to be direly urgent) immediately upon waking.

 

IMG_0201

An atypical morning moment!

 

So it’s been a helpful tool for us to figure out what we can do the night before, or just ahead of time, in general, to make it less crazy, and prioritize important tasks. For me, that’s basically get the girls fed (which is always such a long and often tear-filled process), hopefully, get me fed and eventually caffeinated mid-morning, and get the girls changed and dressed. Since our mornings revolve around food, I’ve been attempting to make pre-made breakfasts that take a really short amount of time to actually toss at the ravenous beasts serve in the mornings:

Now we’ll just see what happens when we throw a little newborn nursling into the mix! Either way, getting more intentional and organized can’t hurt.

-3-

Part of getting ourselves more organized and on the same page has been using a handy little list-making app called Todoist. The free version is awesome and allows Tom and me to share chore lists, shopping lists, home projects, and various and sundry little things we need to get done. I like that you can make everyday tasks recurring and it feels really good to be able to swipe away the tasks as you complete them, even if you are doing a variation of the same dang things every day. It also eliminates the need to remind/nag each other to do certain things around the house, since you can assign tasks to each other and the app reminds for you!  Highly recommend if you are list-loving choleric.

-4-

We just finished Poldark and enjoyed it, despite its tendency to the unbelievable and dramatic plot-lines. But the scenery was stunning and the acting and dialogue pretty good. What can we binge on next? I need some ideas for the stuck-on-the-couch/bed and up-at-crazy-hours postpartum phase!

-5-

Experience is the best teacher ever, especially when it comes to birth, breastfeeding, and what stuff I really need postpartum. I still cringe a little inside when I remember how terrible breastfeeding Lucy was and how ill-prepared we were for just everything.  

My plan this time is to stay in bed for a week while Tom is off, so that when he goes back I’ll be as rested and recovered as possible. This will be very, very hard for me as I hate sitting still and letting people take care of me, and will want to “just” throw in a load of laundry or help with “little things” here and there. All I am letting myself do is nurse, drink copious fluids, read/watch Netflix, change diapers, and… at least, I can fold all the clothes sitting in bed! To this end, we’re about to fill all the landfills as we only eat off of paper/plastic, our floors might not get swept or vacuumed, and the clutter might get overwhelming. But, at least, we’re mentally and (mostly) physically prepared this time, so it’s gonna be ok! (This article, while a little off the crunchy deep-end even for me, made some great points and suggestions).

-6-

Links!

“12 Things St. Zelie Martin Taught Me About Sainthood as a Mother”

My sister-in-law/mom-in-the-trenches with me sent me this great article highlighting St. Zelie Martin’s path to sainthood through her motherhood. I guarantee you it will make you breathe a sigh of relief as you realize saints had crazy days and toddlers who threw themselves on the floor and screamed repeatedly.

Farmer Boy and the Value of Handing Down Stories

S0 important for us to hear about the past and how our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, grew up! My Nonna will tell you stories of her childhood in Italy and her early years as an immigrant mom in the US until she’s blue in the face. It’s so good. We recently read an interview with a woman who’s almost 100, who basically came to our neighborhood when it was first built in the 1940s. My word, it was fascinating to read about how very, very different life was such a short time ago and how the neighborhood has changed immensely! I wish they’d bring back the neighborhood groceries, the milk-man, and the drive-in movie theatre just down the street!! Anyway, the collective memory is important to preserve. I would have known nothing of our local history before reading her interview.

-7-

Photos!

IMG_0202

With her beloved paci, may it rest in peace. She bit the top of the nipple clean off. She’s now borrowing the Wubbanub set aside for the baby until we can get to Target. Her love for paci is a force to be reckoned with.

IMG_1910

Snow day fun with all the cousins (so far!)

 

IMG_0204.JPG

Unintentional Montessori win. She spent a good 25 minutes scrubbing down her little table and chairs to get the stamp-pad ink off, and loved it so much that I had her get all the coffee splatters off the cabinets. Next up, tile grout.

Linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes!

 

Advertisements

Currently, Vol. 7

Listening:

To the rare sound of silence as both girls are simultaneously napping. Rare, as of the last week or so. You see, our dear resident 2.5 year old has been throwing some crazy curve-balls into her normally completely predictable and beautiful napping routine. This is the baby who never napped, then finally learned to sleep on her own at about a year, and from then on took about 2 two-hour naps daily until 16 months, after which time she has slept nearly 3 hours every afternoon, not just willingly but joyfully, often requesting nap time.

Until last Sunday. In the last 7 days, she took 3 total naps. Ensue hand-wringing, apocalypse-is-nigh texts to Tom every sleepless afternoon, and a general feeling that my world was crashing down. It’s safe to say my sanity rests heavily on my children’s sleep patterns.

I guess that all of the sudden she’s just an older toddler, and for some reason, her normal 12:45- 3:45 nap time of bliss isn’t working anymore (sob). The extreme and sudden sleep loss made her exceedingly peevish the last week, which meant a vicious cycle of wanting to “sleep” around 10:30 am (really just an excuse to liaison with her beloved paci [only allowed in her bed] while she fooled around in her room), scream and whine and refuse lunch, sort of agree to lay down around 1, and then never fall asleep. The handful of times she has napped, it has been much later than her previous naptime, so I’m trying to really keep her occupied with playing and activities until about 1:45 so she won’t fight her nap for hours. All I know is, she’s way too young to drop a nap altogether, and as previously mentioned, my sanity depends on it.

Eating:

2015-10-25_220042657_EAB18_iOS

Lucy’s undying love for chicken soup, documented in this photo she asked me to take.

Lots of soups. I make a chicken soup about every other week, which both girls (but especially Lucy) really, really love. Then I use the broth to make another soup, a risotto, or whatever.

I made this Homemade Instant Noodle Bowl for lunch (with rice) and it was awesome. We also make this frequently and this too (add cheddar cheese!).

I’d like to start making more of our snacks as opposed to buying them but…y’know. Ideal vs. reality and all that.

2015-10-23_215543419_61F07_iOS

We did finally bake the requisite fall pumpkin muffins

We did finally bake the requisite fall pumpkin muffins

Planning:

September and October have officially been the craziest, busiest months for us, with every weekend booked. That is typical I guess, with the new school year for Tom and the thousands of extra tasks it entails for him (multiple back-to-school nights, tons of parent meetings, tons of student advisory meetings, first progress reports and the inevitable insane parent fall-out…ahem…concern, Open House, etc). Glad to be done with these months. Also glad to see a much emptier November calendar so far.

But we still try to sneak in small family "adventures" and outings, like this pre-grocery shopping visit to the newly opened gluten-free bakery down the street.

But we still try to sneak in small family “adventures” and outings, like this pre-grocery shopping visit to the newly opened gluten-free bakery down the street.

Gestating:

A 24 week baby. About to buy this. Thinking about investing time in doing yoga stretches. Avoiding bending over as much as possible, which isn’t really realistic with two toddlers who leave a trail of clutter behind them at all times.  Finding that napping is pretty much never an option since they girls now are back on opposite sleeping schedules for the most part and I just can’t do a 15 minute nap (it would take me at least that long to even fall asleep). Feeling lots of kicks and rolls and the occasional weird elbow scraping (it is such a weird feeling. And uncomfortable. Lena was the queen of doing that in utero).

Clicking:

Before You Even Ask from Barista Mommy. Couldn’t have said it better!

And a sweet gum ad (I know, but just watch), which reminded me I’m pregnant, as it made me tear up.

And that’s all I’ve got time for, since it’s now two days after I started this, and Lena is waking up from her nap. I’ll leave you with a very mild example of Lena’s new favorite skill: self-feeding-whether-you-like-it-or-not-Mom!

2015-10-22_122800461_C11E2_iOS

Ready for Fall (goodbye September!)

What’s up, world? We’re just over here, doing our usual, and getting a little a lot excited for fall’s recent tip-toe into our neighborhood. (Does anyone else get inordinately pumped about switching out most of the summer wardrobe for fall’s?? Or is that just me?).

I feel that over the last couple weeks, we’ve finally reached the point where our daily lives have some semblance of a predictable rhythm. Since Lena has officially and forevermore dropped her morning nap (for better or worse), it means we can actually have a bit of a schedule.

It’s nice to know we wake up at roughly the same time every morning, give or take 15-20 minutes, have the whole morning for breakfast, clean-up, second breakfast (Lena), and outside time or a short outing somewhere before the lunch/nap flurry. And since Lena’s only napping once, the girls’ naps overlap almost all the time now, which is the game-changer. I think the hardest thing about two little ones is having one go down to nap and the other one wake up 20 minutes later, leaving you in a deeply desperate place of no time alone whatsoever. So this is nice. And then the afternoons are good for walks, more outside play, or whatever the girls like to do in terms of destroying playing inside. I won’t go into the Witching Hour that follows, but I’m happy to emerge every evening with (most of) my sanity intact and something edible to serve for dinner.

For the end of our summer, before Tom had to return to work and the craziness that is September for teachers, we did a few fun summery family things like…

A humid afternoon in Georgetown, where we took the girls to the park where we got engaged

2015-08-30_203300539_7F986_iOS

Still got the fat rolls on her thighs. Love it! And check out what the humidity does to those curls!

2015-08-30_203245231_43625_iOS

Not sure Lucy understood our explanation of, ‘This is the gazebo where Daddy asked Mommy to marry him…” etc.

2015-08-30_203257310_F0EEB_iOS

What a difference 3.5 years makes!

A couple of local nature centers, replete with as many turtles, frogs, snakes and even OWLS a toddler could possibly want:

2015-08-23_193400527_489DB_iOS

A lot of popsicles and outside play:

For Want of Wonder

Her favorite spot: INSIDE the flower bed…

For Want of Wonder For Want of Wonder

And some sisterly bonding over breakfast:

For Want of Wonder

Curls+jammies+love

And after tragically/stupidly forgetting to reserve some sourdough starter a few weeks ago before making my loaves, we went a few weeks with no homemade bread. The stuff is so, so delicious, and I’d managed to keep my starter alive and thriving for over 1.5 years. Thankfully, I’d given a stranger in my farm coop some extra a few months ago, and she paid it forward/back by giving me back some of her extra. All is now right with the kitchen again.

For Want of Wonder

Currently

Listening to:

The lull of two sound machines. Synchronized naps, be mine forever!!

Eating:

All the glorious snacks that Costco provides: mango peach salsa, sweet and salty trek mix, Food Should Taste Good brown rice crackers, etc.

Tonight we’ll be feasting on Ziti al Forno in honor of St. Catherine.

Watching:

Anne of Green Gables, in 30 or 45 minute intervals after the girls are asleep. It’s only fitting to commemorate Jonathan Crombie’s death. It is SO GOOD, and Tom has never seen it! (Thankfully, he rectified his sad situation of never having heard of/read the series shortly before we started dating. Otherwise, I would’ve gotten him on that train post-haste. AOGG is probably one of my very favorite childhoold/adolescent/adulthood series ever). Seriously, though, the acting in this mini-series is top-notch and just so enjoyable. We’ve been researching our future PEI road trip.

Who can resist Gilbert Blythe’s impish smirk?

Mostly, though, we cannot WAIT until Gran Hotel’s next season is finally released in the US! We thoroughly enjoyed the first seasons on Netflix back in February/March, and keep our eye on Netflix for the moment it arrives. C’mon, Netflix, ándale!!

Reading:

Finally finished The Betrothed last week. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood to get into a longer book with a fascinating plot and historical setting.

I just got this book, which is proving to be super interesting, and will get its own review when I finish (which, given my motherhood-induced track record, could be months).

And, since I’m on an Anne kick, I’m listening to the series, starting with the very first book, on Librivox (this is the version you want). Lucy Maud Montgomery is laugh out loud funny, and just such a darned good writer. I was captivated by her stories as a kid, but I really appreciate her humor and subtlety as an adult. I put it on while I’m getting meals prepped or cleaning, or anytime I think I’ll be able to hear the recording over the clamor and hubbub around here.

Planning:

May will be busy! A blogging conference this weekend in rural Maryland, my sister’s graduation and our second big road trip with the girls, Tom’s birthday, lots of end-of-the-year school trips/stuff for Tom, my high school’s 40th anniversary Gala, and probably more that I’m forgetting!

Playing:

Outside, as much as possible. It’s classic spring: rainy one day, up in the 80s the next. Lucy has discovered digging in the dirt, and her life is now complete.

 

 

Sweet little girl (most of the time...)

Sweet little girl (most of the time…)

Glorious crabapple tree outside our window.

Glorious crabapple tree outside our window.

Clicking:

Some good perspective on dealing with sibling rivalry (not that we have ANY of that round here…):

“Remember that in an infant’s or toddler’s eyes, older siblings are akin to movie stars.  And to think, for one moment a celebrity actually looked at me while taking that object from my hand. In was in my hand, and now it’s in her hand. Wow! She noticed me!”

Hilarious lessons to be learned from Kristin Lavransdatter!

This may make you tear up (or maybe that’s just me + hormones).

I intend to make these soon and very soon!

Just in time for swimsuit season!

Well, I hear some stirring upstairs, so free time is up!

Michaelmas Day!

Yesterday was the Feast Day of the Archangels, which was traditionally celebrated as Michaelmas. This day was a big deal, especially in the British Isles, where the harvest was being gathered. I wanted to start a tradition of celebrating this feast, and came across several hilarious/weird old tradition in my research, including unmarried girls digging a triangle shape out of the ground before pulling out carrots to present their beloved (Scotland), picking all the blackberries before Satan could “spit” on them (Ireland), and Queen Elizabeth allegedly proclaiming goose should be eaten on this day every year, as she was eating goose when she heard that the Spanish Armada was defeated (how this was attributed to September when the battle actually happened in July no one can account for).

Tradition calls for a roast goose, carrot and apple dishes, blackberry desserts, and whatever other fruits of harvest you have. Our gardens are going to be barren until next spring, and I’m not in the time of life where roast goose is possible, so we made do with the following:

*Apple-Mustard Chicken

*Ginger-Honey Glazed Carrots

*Homemade Sourdough

*and a Dragon Cake!

One of Tom’s college friends used to make this for them at Michaelmas, so we decided to give it a try this year. He looks a little sad…

IMG_1222

…but so would I if the Prince of the Heavenly Host had just routed me. By the way, he tasted really delicious, as only something that is made of lots of buttery dough stuffed with sugar and dried fruit can.

IMG_1225

Lucy with our feast, as Daddy tries unsuccessfully to get her to smile at the camera…

IMG_1227

Magdalena is a slightly better subject

IMG_1229

We had both soft and hard cider, so you know it was a good meal.

It was a great start to this week which is filled to the brim with great Saints’ days. We’ve got some more planned for those, so stay tuned!

Lucy holding her "Happy Michaelmas" sign...expertly decorated, obviously.

Lucy holding her “Happy Michaelmas” sign…expertly decorated, obviously.

Lifehacks and Survival Mode Prep

Lucy’s faucet nose finally turned off. Hooray! She’s so much happier. And thus, so are we. Then I got sick last Thursday with a pretty hellish head cold. A few life/health hacks later though, and I think we are both going to make it, totally sans any over the counter meds and definitely no antibiotics.

First Miracle Worker: Homemade Vicks

This stuff, it’s really miraculous. Even Tom, skeptical and wary, tried it a few months ago when we were all congested. He was forever converted. You rub it all over your feet, put socks on, and wait just a few minutes before you feel your nose and sinuses un-blocking. It took me about 5 minutes to make, it smells heavenly, has no chemicals or menthol (so safe for babies!), and it WORKS. I used this recipe, but also added lavender essential oil which is mostly what makes it smell so amazing. So go order some beeswax on Amazon, because you’ll want this the next time you can’t sleep due to severe congestion.

Second Helpful Recovery Aid: Elderberry Syrup Gummies

The doctor told me Lucy could take elderberry syrup, and not to bother with the children’s version (elderberry helps cold/flu recovery as it boosts the immune system). She took the syrup willingly a few times, but I think the thick texture eventually turned her off. So, knowing her love for the vitamin D gummy bears, I thought I could make the elderberry into a gummy too. And guess what? Instant success. 100% rate of smiling and scrunching nose in excitement upon the proffering of said gummies. Here’s the recipe I used, except I just used the store-bought bottle of Sambucus, not a homemade elderberry syrup. I also have no cute little molds, so I just let it set in a tupperware container, and then cut into little squares when it had solidified. They’re delicious, and not just the toddler thinks so. (Also, for anyone that cares, it’s best to use gelatin from a good source, because normal gelatins from the grocery can have all sorts of nasty ground up animal parts and chemicals. I use this kind.)

And of course…chicken soup.

Bone broth is super healing due to the minerals and gelatin from the chicken bones. It also makes your nose run like crazy, so it helps with the congestion issue. A huge pot of soup or broth is one of the best home remedies. I also put some sliced shitaake mushrooms for extra minerals, some green onions, and a TON of raw garlic in my broth to make it even more effective.

So that’s that. Extra vitamins C and D, and cod liver oil if you can stand it can help too. Oh and sleep, they say. But I wouldn’t know about that…

Anyway, as the due date approacheth, and I stare down the -6 weeks left, I’m starting to gather up an arsenal of tricks to ensure that we all stay alive each day between the hours that Daddy leaves and returns. I’ve long been wondering how I’ll fit in a shower. I could barely manage it with Lucy as a newborn (and 4 month old, and 7 month old, and…), so I just figured I would do it throw-back style, and bathe once a week like our forefathers did. But then Jenny posted this guide to showering with multiple babies/toddlers, and I think I can do it.

I’ve also planned out about 4 weeks worth of meals for when we move out and I am required to plan and execute a dinner every night. For me, it’s just thinking ahead about what to make that is the hardest, but once I do, I just make a quick grocery list, and we only have to grocery shop once a week. On Saturday, when there’s a husband around, of course. So that makes me feel like I have at least one thing under (theoretical) control. No one can say how the plans will pan out, since there’s this highly intriguing phenomenon called “The Witching Hour” which involves crying and whining and clinging of small persons and babies, and often derails the best-laid dinner plans. But the plans are there, so we’re more than halfway done. I’m also hoping to make a lot of ready made things (breakfast muffins/omelette muffins, etc.) to have at the ready with no prep. I’ve pinned some cool ideas here. 

Lucy’s constant need for stimulation and entertainment is my biggest concern when I’m going to have a consta-nurser around. I’ve been pinning a million pins on activities for toddlers to do, especially ones that require little supervision. She’s very into fine motor activities these days, and I’m a huge fan of all the “natural materials” (ahem, junk from around the house) that she can use to fulfill that need. Por ejemplo, the yogurt container with a slit cut into the top, and some oversized checkers pieces:

Keeps her busy for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Miraculous.

Keeps her busy for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Miraculous.

IMG_0836

Also, putting straws into the top of an empty water bottle is a huge hit, stuffing her fridge magnets into any and every small cranny (so far, they’ve been found in the watering can, the crack of the oven door, the paper waste basket, various cabinets, and the metal slot that holds the trash can inside its drawer).

Here’s my Pinterest Board with oodles of other ideas we will try to set up for her so that she doesn’t go stir crazy with the sleepy newborn! I think between Pinterest, advice from veterans, and Divine Providence, we will survive!

Happy Thursday, and have a great Memorial Day Weekend!!

Spring, Sourdough, and more (Five Favorites)

Excuse the long silence…Tom and I were simultaneously struck down by a violent stomach flu all weekend. It could have been much worse– Lucy never got it, thank God, and my parents were there so Lucy didn’t starve or go without sleep, as she surely would’ve if we’d been alone with her. I hope we never experience both of us being slammed like that with multiple children to take care of… Sadly, we missed a day-long parenting conferencing we were very much looking forward to, but our brother and sister-in-law gave us the run-down, and the talks should be online, so hopefully we won’t fail as parents completely.

Anyway, we’re better, and enjoying the finer things of life:

::one::

The weather has turned! We did have a freak snow shower on Sunday, but since Monday it’s been awesome here. In the mid 60s, frequent sun, birds singing, and flowers popping out. Lucy has finally decided to enjoy the baby swing on the deck. We’ve tried for the past couple weeks on random warm days, and she freaked out massively. Something about feeling herself swing away from us, I suppose. Well, on Monday she decided to love it, and never looked back. She’s also enjoying bubbles.

Enjoying the sunny deck

Enjoying the sunny deck

Swing and bubbles

Swing and bubbles

Yay for spring!! It’s a huge favorite.

::two::

We got this sound machine a couple weeks ago for the bedroom. I have NO idea why we waited almost a year to purchase this life-saving device. It has about six different sounds, but we prefer Ocean. We turn it up loud, and keep it going allll night (and all through Lucy’s naps). It is wonderful, and we will pay $20 for replacements many times over the years with pleasure.

::three::

Well, when you cloth diaper, anything that makes it easier and less messy is a favorite. At our apartment, we had a great diaper sprayer, but it doesn’t attach to any of the toilets at my parents’. So, these flushable diaper liners save my life. I can just dump it all into the toilet and flush away, without touching anything. Huge blessing.

::four::

Sourdough! I have an interesting history with sourdough. Tom got me a starter two Christmases ago, and I made a couple batches of bread. They were so-so, and I didn’t have enough time to really research and understand how maintaining sourdough works. And then, Lucy was born two weeks early. My sourdough starter was on the counter. And on the counter it stayed…until we noticed it sometime in June? It was a brick. 😦  I decided to try again this year, and my sister got another starter for me. I finally got to it a few weeks ago, and did more homework. Our bread is much better. Lucy devours it! We’ve also made delicious waffles and I tried biscuits last night. Fun, delicious times. I also received a kombucha starter today, so we’ll see how that fermentation adventure goes!!

First batch from the new starter. Cute and yummy.

First batch from the new starter. Cute and yummy.

::five::

Tom and I finished Kristin Lavransdatter on Monday. We have been reading it aloud (sporadically) since about January of last year. It’s a tome, but so, so worth reading. It has gained a well-deserved spot among my absolute favorite books. It is such a well-written saga that paints human nature just about perfectly, and emphasizes over and over the heart’s longing for God and the need for redemption. We read Tiina Nunally’s translation; please do yourself a favor and read that particular one, NOT any of the older translations (they are very dense and heavy, with archaic language not intended in the original Norwegian). There is much to be thought and pondered and discussed about this book, and we both heartily recommend it to anyone and everyone. There is really something beautiful and profound about it. It is also thoroughly Catholic, as the life of the Church pulses through the daily life of medieval Norway, as well as through the heart of Kristin, as she grows from little girl to old woman throughout the books. (It’s three volumes in one book). Reading it felt like part romance/adventure saga and part spiritual reading.

 

We were sad to close the cover for good, and are searching for our next read-aloud. We’d love suggestions! We’re looking for something not as long this time, a novel, and relatively easy reading so we can get through a few pages at night before collapsing into oblivion. 🙂

This post is linked up with Five Favorites at Moxie Wife!