Growing Out On A Limb


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More on Brothers

It is interesting to see how Oliver’s take on Emery changes as he grows and his personality develops.  Emery smiles and laughs, rolls around, watches Oliver, and is now grabbing onto things a lot, so I think Oliver is starting to see how this little baby might be something he can play with after all. 

He’s now starting to call him “Bwud-dah”, which melts this mommy’s heart.  He loves to help change his bum, get him out of his crib after a nap, and, if he’s fussy and my hands are full, he will go to him and say, “Em-wee, what trouble?  Don’t cry!”. 

And, when he slows down for a minute, he likes to get right in close for hugs and kisses and a little rolling around on Emery’s play mat (although we do have to remind him that laying directly on the baby probably isn’t the best idea). 

A mommy loves seeing these little signs of a budding friendship between brothers!


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Emerald Isle Soup

I guess this is a good post candidate for today, since it is a recipe I found as part of a St. Patrick’s day menu. 

I found this recipe in one of those freebie little mags at the grocery store.  I love stumbling across a recipe that not only looks delicious but also uses up that something something in your refrigerator that has been sitting there a while and at the “do or die” stage.  That was broccoli for me and the fact that it uses all that spinach and carrot was just a bonus. 

It’s such a beautiful, rich green color – perfect for St. Patty’s day – and the little orange carrot specks just make it more special. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, diced

2 Tbsp garlic, minced (3-4 cloves)

5 oz fresh spinach

3 Tbsp flour

3 cups broth, divided

2 cups broccoli, coarsely chopped (additional for garnish, if desired)

¾ cup carrots, coarsely chopped

1 ½ cups milk (the original recipe called for evaporated milk here, which could also be substituted for cream.  I used 1% milk.  Sure, the cream would have made it a bit richer but I didn’t feel like it was missing anything by using plain old milk and it definitely shaves off a few calories)

¼ tsp black pepper, or to taste

4 tsp yogurt or sour cream (optional garnish)

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet, heat oil.  Add onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.  Add spinach and cook just until wilted, stirring occasionally.  Once wilted, add the flour and continue to cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often. 

Meanwhile, bring 1 ½ cups broth to a boil over high heat.  Add broccoli and carrots.  Cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. 

Add remaining 1 ½ cups to spinach mixture, stirring continuously until broth is thickened and bubbly, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Lower heat to maintain a simmer. 

Add cooked broccoli and carrots (with broth) to spinach mixture.  Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.  Stir in milk (or cream) and pepper and gently reheat. 

Serve hot, with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a floret of broccoli, if desired.


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March Randoms

Here are a few random shots that I found on our camera card, victim to the sickly slothiness that has kept me on my sickly butt around here lately.  (I have finally started to kick this sinus infection after seven days of antibiotics – the pharmacist wasn’t kidding when she said sinus infections can be rather tenacious – and everyone else seems okay after a bit of Oliver fever this past weekend). 

Sick sucks but a little less when your little guy brings you pillows and blankets and lays with you a while.  Awww. 

It doesn’t matter how sick I am, this face can make me smile. 

Emery likes checking out the dogs lately. 

Oliver has discovered the Thomas and Friends site… tons of games, pictures, videos, etc.  I hope we haven’t opened a door we later wish we hadn’t! 

Cool.  Always. 

This isn’t just the camera.  This is the speed of Oliver.  Constantly. 

And another shot of little Emery… mostly wondering what a kooky bunch he was born into! 


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My wee techie

A while ago I wrote about how we are using the iPod as a distraction during butt changes.  (It’s still working by the way – if he balks at all, I mention “the game” and his eyes light up). 

In particular, I mentioned the Toddler Teasers set of apps but since then I have downloaded a few others.  To keep the distraction fresh but also because who couldn’t use a fresh look at the ABCs now and then?  Here are a few that Oliver is asking for frequently. 

 

Peekaboo Barn

(Image source and website are here)

Adorable.  An animal makes a sound, Oliver taps on the shaking barn, and the doors open up to reveal the animal.  His favorites are the “woost-ah” and the mouse. 

ABC Song

(Image source and iTunes summary/reviews here)

A train rolls by as a woman’s voice sings the alphabet:  “A is for airplane, B is for big”.  Each train car has an animation representing the letter and its object.  In “Play” mode, Oliver controls how quickly the train goes by and can touch the car to hear that part of the song. 

We call this one “ABC Train” since Oliver is so into trains lately and I think it is his favorite at the moment.  The other day I forgot that my iPod batteries were dead and distracted him by singing the song and letting him fill in the blanks:  “A is for ______”.  He nearly got them all right (and once again blew mommy away with his smarts). 

Doodle Truck

This game moves a truck over terrain while you try to keep boxes in the back.  It is really way over Oliver’s skill level but he can make the truck go and make vroom-vroom noises by tapping the arrows so it makes him happy. 

(Image source and iTunes summary/reviews here)

 

Vola Friends

Lastly, this app is all about recognizing different emotions through facial expressions.  Tap on a face and real-life actors (not drawings) show either happy, sad, angry, scared, or surprised faces. 

(Image source here and at volafriends.com)

It seemed a bit bizarre at first but I like that there are several different types and ages of faces, how expressive they are, and also that they’re real people… isn’t Oliver going to recognize it better on a real person than a cartoon?  I like it. 

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So there… the set of apps that keep Oliver’s attention at the moment.  Am I really saying that my two-year-old has a “set of apps”?  Anyway, they kind of run the gamut from ABCs to animal sounds and it’s nice to have the variety.  And I am always on the lookout for more. 


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Sick

If I had to give the last month a theme, it would be “sick”.  It all started with me and strep a few weeks ago and seems to have been swirling around us ever since.  Oliver had a few bad days with fever and runny nose and no appetite, which then jumped to Emery and I.  We’re still trying to fight back from it.  By the way, is there anything worse than a baby with a phlegmy cough?  I don’t think so, poor thing. 

Being a mommy is the world’s hardest job on a good day but on a day when your sinuses are throbbing and your brain is rattling around in your skull with even the slightest movement, it somehow seems harder.  I’m really lucky (so so lucky) to have a cheap sitter that will take Oliver when I need her to.  It makes me feel for the many many moms that don’t have that luxury when they need it and stand in awe of those who can but choose not to use the option.  But as long as Emery is breastfed, he’s here with me and, with a cold like I had this week, it is seriously all I can handle.  Breastfeeding sucks when every muscle in your body aches and you’re sweating buckets already.  Trust me, Oliver would have much more fun with his buddies at the sitter than with a miserable mom. 

There are people that take the aches and pains in stride but not me… a head cold makes me want to hibernate under the covers with my wool socks, bad tv, and a hot drink (or strip to barely anything with an ice pack on my belly).  And I need everyone in my path to know just how lousy I’m feeling (sorry hubby).  I still get the urge to call my mom when I realize I’m sick and call her every day to tell her how I’m feeling.  I suppose it’s a little because she’s a nurse but almost all because she’s my mom. 

I hate seeing my kids sick but I have to admit something.  When my two-year-old isn’t feeling well, he goes from being constantly-on-the-move-at-the-speed-of-light to crawling into mommy’s arms, laying his head on my shoulder, and sitting quietly with me.  Maybe he’s going to be a needy sick person like his mommy?  Whether he is or not, I love it when he snuggles in like that, sick or not.  Those quiet moments make me remember when that big pile of kid was just a little baby burrito, all swaddled and teeny and cozy in my arms.  And it reminds me how much I love being his mom and giving him the special comfort that I find myself still going to my mom for. 

Here’s some 3 1/2-month eye candy that would make even the sickest of the sick smile. 

p.s. This little fella has been rolling over for a couple of weeks now!


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A down day

It has been one of those days.  I’m going to get real here for a minute. 

I haven’t put my finger on one particular reason but I am feeling really down today. 

I’m tired of feeling sick – after a week of strep and catching something from Oliver this past week, it is old.  I had no motivation for my workout this morning but I went through the mechanics of it anyway (I hate workouts like that, with no drive or spirit).  I have so many little things to do that I don’t know what to tackle first.  I guess I’m feeling a bit tired of the routine. 

A mommy is always “on duty”.  It’s one of the hardest parts of the job to wrap your head around if you ask me.  I love my boys and, after a shaky start with post partum depression, have felt really good since Emery came along,  like I have been hitting my mommy stride.  But today I have been daydreaming about a day or two where no one needs anything from me:  No meals, no laundry, no tidying, no breastfeeding, no phone calls to make or receive.  Just me and a cold drink laying on the beach or me and my ski poles heading up the hill.  Sun or snow, I don’t really care, as long as there is nothing to think about but my glass getting empty or taking a spill off the chairlift. 

Damn the mommy guilt for setting in at the thought of needing a break.  Logically, I know that every parent has these days but, try as I might to have more realistic expectations of myself, I am still sometimes in “super mom” mode, thinking that I should be able to do it all and be everything, all with an apron around my waist and a smile on my face.  I really am getting somewhere with feeling confident and strong with who I am as a mom but beating myself up for falling short has been the way for so long that it’s a tough habit to break. 

I guess the important thing is that I wake up tomorrow and treat it like a new day, right?  A new day with new ups and new downs and a fresh outlook.  I’ll start over with the meals (from the breast or otherwise), the diapers, the fits, and the tantrums.  I will be the best mommy I can be by being as present and in-the-moment with my boys as I possibly can be.  And in those moments, those precious little fleeting moments, I am bound to find many sources of strength to help this mommy smile and carry on to the next day.