Growing Out On A Limb

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Deuce update

When I went to my prenatal appointment two weeks ago (at 32 weeks), the doctor felt around my belly and said: 

“Oh… the baby is transverse (laying sideways).  That’s not good. 

But don’t worry, there’s still lots of time for it to turn.  We’ll worry at 34 weeks.”

I thought, “34 weeks?!  That’s just two weeks away!”.  I tried not to worry about it, but of course it stuck in my mind a little bit (the doctors here won’t even consider a vaginal birth if the baby isn’t head down) and I found myself googling ways to help the baby turn. 

34-week update:  Baby’s head is nestled down in there, right where it’s supposed to be, and the doctor says there is little chance it will move now.  Yay! 

Here are a few pregnancy items of note: 

  • Baby Deuce is very active.  Did Oliver move this much or am I just forgetting? 
  • My hips and lower back ache (next pregnancy massage booked for Wednesday).  It prevents me from keeping active, which I hate. 
  • I’m not sleeping so well, which wasn’t a problem the first time around. 
  • Pretty much everything I eat gives me a bit of heartburn but not bad enough to take anything stronger than tums. 
  • My mat clothes are not fitting well and I still have six weeks to go (but I refuse to resort to leggings and gym pants full-time and will refashion more mat clothes if I have to). 
  • Even though Oliver’s room isn’t ready and the newborn things are still in storage, I’m getting anxious to meet the new little one. 
  • I have no maternity photos (mostly because it’s painful to look at myself in photos these days) and need to fix that. 
  • Names are difficult… Brian is too opinionated!  🙂 
  • Everyone … and I do mean everyone … has something to say to a pregnant lady.  Seriously, you should all just stop and think about how much pregnancy talk that means for me! 

I know most of that is complaining but even after saying all of that, I know I am luckier than most in that I can get pregnant and haven’t been sick the entire 9 months.  I do realize that and remind myself of that often. 

And I already have a wonderful little boy that I am sure is going to be an awesome big brother and sail through this change just like everything else… with a smile and a giggle and a “big jump”.


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Mastering the Art of the Spoon

I think we’ve hit a new (encouraging) stride with mealtime. 

Oliver has always been pretty good at trying new things so let’s put aside food content for now.  I, like many new parents I’m sure, really want Oliver to enjoy food and mealtime, even though it’s the end of the day and we’re all tired and hungry – the perfect storm for a war zone.  I want eating to be enjoyable, not a chore, and food to be appreciated and fun – I don’t want arguing while pasta zings past my head; I don’t want to have to coerce every bite out of my kids; and I don’t want to be feeding our children from our laps every night. 

Of course there are always exceptions… there will be tired/cranky/fussy nights when nothing satisfies … but it’s not that much of a stretch to have a well-behaved child that enjoys his meals, right? 


Oliver does really well with eating for the most part, but there are still nights when it becomes a struggle.  And we’ve had to adapt to his personality along the way.  I’ve seen some moms that are able to fill the high chair tray with little nibbles of food and then let their baby just pick away at it, happy as can be, but Oliver never seemed to have that patience – he has always a) stuffed his face with as many pieces as he could and/or b) thrown the waiting bits on the floor while he chewed what was in his mouth.  So it became one piece at a time and that was fine. 

And he’s mostly eaten with his hands up to this point.  We’ve done baby-led weaning, which basically means you skip the pureed gunk and give him hunks of food that he can hang onto and nibble on himself (strips, fingers, etc), right from the beginning.  It puts him in charge of mealtime, encourages independence, and encourages more diverse food choices, among other things.  It’s just a big mess at first but, as he learns to chew and swallow, and more and more food gets to his stomach, he needs less and less from the breast (hence the “baby-led” part).  It’s worked really well for us but it means he hasn’t had a whole lot of exposure to silverware up until now.  It’s not a big deal really but, as a result, we don’t always think of forks and spoons at mealtime … he’s always eaten with his hands. 

Anyway, a few days ago, during a foggier-than-usual morning when I was tired of having the spoon pushed away, I put the whole bowl of cereal in front of him and handed it over.  He knew how to work it but I guess the idea of being in charge of the meal put a new slant on it.  He loved the independence of being in charge of every “big bite” and the challenge of getting those bites to his mouth (and of course the clapping and singing and dancing from mommy didn’t hurt either).   I’ve seen a real difference with how much he eats the last few days when we do it this way.  He gets really into every bite and, although there’s still a chance, I think he’s less likely to pitch the whole plate onto the floor when he’s so zeroed in on it.   

That and dipping … I thought he was too young to care about dipping but he’s loving it lately!  Most nights I can’t make him eat a carrot but he’s all over them, now that he knows how to dip them in ketchup.  Note to self… find some good dipping sauces! 

Of course, maybe it’s a growth spurt and it’ll all go to hell tomorrow but, for now, I’ll take it.  If nothing else, I really like watching him learn and challenge himself.  I swear I can see the gears turning sometimes.  Sometimes it really is the simplest things when it comes to kids. 

Here are pics from breakfast this morning, complete with oatmeal and berries (“bee bees”).  He scooped every bite himself and loved every minute of it. 


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(Too) Busy Weekend

This weekend was, sadly, quite sparse on the Oliver for me. 

On Friday night and Saturday I was the pianist at a friend’s rehearsal and wedding.  It was a lovely little wedding but, with piano lessons taking much of Saturday morning and the wedding taking all afternoon, I didn’t get much face time with Oliver. 

On Saturday night I put him to bed at Nana and Papa’s so Brian and I could go on a Christmas shopping trip on Sunday.  (I know it’s really gross to think about Christmas so early but with the next bambino coming the first part of November, I know the usual last-minute christmas gift whirlwind will be difficult (if not impossible) so I’d rather just avoid it altogether).  So the little O got lots of quality time with the grandparents (and of course he always has a blast with them!) but not a lot with mommy. 

So now I start Monday feeling like I’m missing him and already looking forward to 5 pm and, even more, the weekend.  I guess some weekends will be like that and I’ll just have to make the most of the time I get. 

And because every post is better with a picture, here’s one of the little guy at about 8 months old.  One of my faves. 

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Nice day for a walk in the park…

On Sunday, Oliver and I headed to the park.  It wasn’t the warmest day – fall has definitely fallen – but we needed to get out and blow off some steam and energy.  “Blow the stink off ya” like my dad always said. 

First, we were distracted by two girls riding their bikes in the parking lot.  Never mind the slides or the swings… he was all over those little pink bikes.  When I finally got him steered to the park, he took one trip down the slide and then just wanted to wander.  That’s pretty usual actually – nothing at the park holds his attention for long.  He’s an explorer.  A roamer. 

So what did we get up to that day…

…Building my muscles on “big rocks”…


… Practicing my balance …


… appeasing mommy with the occasional big smile and “cheese!” …


… a bit of swinging …


… just being a boy in the sand …

… and a final touch of cuteness for mommy! 


I can’t wait to see how much fun he has in the snow this winter!

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Onesies for Olivia

Here is more freezer paper stencilling, this time for our friend Olivia who is turning one this week. 

I’m loving this stencilling technique… an $8 pack of long-sleeved onesies and a bit of time allowed me to create two one-of-a-kind and personal wardrobe pieces that Olivia will be able to wear all winter.  Sweet! 

The first one is paying homage to her daddy, the potato farmer.  I found the image online and just freehanded it but it would have also been easy to print it out and go from there. 


This onesie is geared more toward mommy Jill.  She’s always saying, “Come here and let me squeeze ya” to Olivia so I thought this saying was just perfect!  I love it the way it is but I think it could have used something more … maybe an image of orange segments behind the letters? 

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The Great Pumpkin Cheesecake

Over the weekend we hosted a family potluck dinner at our house on the weekend for 13 adults and 4 kids on my dad’s side.  We hope it to be a re-occurring event and, since the first went smashingly, will probably see that realized. 

The only rules are:  The host provides the house, dessert, and beverages.  Everyone else brings a main or side of some sort. 

So dessert – I wanted something to speak to the season and could think of nothing better than pumpkin.  But pumpkin roll, pumpkin spice cake, what?  In the end my pregnant belly ruled and it wanted cheesecake.  Pumpkin cheesecake. 

This recipe is such a winner.  Don’t let the ingredient list seem daunting.  This may have been a bit more involved than a regular cake recipe, but there was nothing difficult about it. 

The only modifications I made were to substitute nutmeg for the mace and lemon juice for lemon extract and that was only because I didn’t have those things in my cupboard.  As if the cheesecake itself wasn’t decadent enough, I followed one reviewer’s lead and mixed up a quick maple cream glaze to drizzle over it.  Oh my. 

I wish I had a picture! 


3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup ground pecans

2 Tbsp white sugar

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground mace (I used nutmeg)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

3 8-oz packages cream cheese

3/8 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 Tbsp whipping cream

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp lemon extract (I used 1/2 tsp lemon juice)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, 2 Tbsp white sugar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and the melted butter.  Mix well.  Firmly press mixture into a 9-inch springform pan. 

Combine 3/4 cup of white sugar, pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, cinnamon, mace, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix well and set aside. 

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually add 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp white sugar and mix well.  Add the whole egg, remaining egg yolk, and the whipping cream.  Beat well.  Add cornstarch and vanilla and lemon flavorings, beat batter until smooth.  Add pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Pour batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Let cheesecake cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate. 

I sprinkled a few more chopped pecans to decorate the cake, then let people pour on their own maple cream glaze (but you could also spread the glaze over the cheesecake before serving). 
For the maple cream glaze (from here):  Combine 3/4 cup maple syrup and 1 cup whipping cream in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Boil rapidly for 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in 1/2 cup chopped pecans.  Cool completely.

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Word of the Week


… but this isn’t the “no” in the sweet little voice that we’ve been accustomed to, the “no” that is more tongue rehearsal than sentiment. 

Apparently we’re all through with that cuteness. 

This “no” has legs.  It’s chock full of attitude.  The emotion runs very deep and you can tell by his tone and facial expressions that when he says “no”, he means it! 

So … he’s obviously grasped the concept of the word, since we can see him learning and obeying us when we use it.  I guess at some point in the last week it just clicked that, if it’s good enough for mommy and daddy, it’s good enough for me.  It seems so odd coming out in his little voice! 

Why do I get the feeling this is more likely to be the word of the year?!