Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out: Food Input Requested!

Yesterday a friend said in an email that her 16-month-old has 17 teeth. I replied that wow, she must be able to chew even rocks and tires, while I still have to blend them for Ms. Anna Eight-Tooth. And she said Don't tell me you're still blending food?

And I knew I'd been outed: I am clueless about kid food.

Really, the formula was brutally expensive, but at least it was simple. Now it's all "2 1-ounces servings of this, 4 2-ounce or 2 4-ounce servings of that..." I had a good system worked out with the blended veggie cubes, but my friend is right: it's time for the girl to start chewing more and eating more table food.

She will eat quite a few things we eat, but she is funny about textures. Too chewy or too much of a skin and at least some of it comes back out. So I cop out and feed her the blended slop so I know she's getting her veggies. For example, usually (non-pureed) green beans are rejected although, go figure, peas are fine. Cooked carrots and sweet potatoes, she could eat all day; corn, broccoli, forget it. Lunchmeat, yes; chicken, no (unless it's a McD's Chicken MushNugget--sorry to say that I even know that). She will eat ground beef in spaghetti or Mexican but not in hamburger form. She likes chili beans and the like as well as baked beans (we don't call her Fartypants for nothing). She loves fruit, cheese, crackers, bread any time, any where.

I think perhaps I have been worrying a bit too much about "following the rules," getting her the exact number of servings and such, but obviously she does need her protein and it would be good if she did continue to eat vegetables, not just fruit, and maybe even something other than the ever-popular sweet potato. So my questions to you are:
  • What does/did your toddler eat? (Anna is 18 months.)
  • What do you suggest for meat and veggies in particular? Cooking tips?
  • What are some favorite easy things you give your kid when what you're eating won't work, or a couple favorites for breakfast, lunch, dinner?

And for bonus points:
  • Why is a zucchini a fruit, not a vegetable?
  • Which one is an avocado, anyway?

Thanks for playing, and stay tuned for future episodes: taking away the nap time bottle and potty training!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the Vacay

Tooth #9 seems to be migrating to make its grand entrance into Anna's mouth, since she had us up in the night and up early with that lovely UNNNNNNNNNGH sound which persists until you haul yourself out of bed and downstairs, ceases when you are present, and resumes upon your attempting to leave her room and/or your head touching your pillow. She also has me singing everyone's favorite hymn, O Thou Fount of Grody Snotness. Who wants to bet when diaper rash adds to the fun?

Given that this kickoff to the day finds me just having finished her hair at just before lunchtime, it seems like a good time to reflect on our vacation. Was that just days ago?

Things we did not do on our vacation:
  • appreciate high humidity
  • pack light enough
  • get up early
  • go to bed early enough to make sleeping in count
  • work
  • see enough people
  • spend enough time without people

Things we did on our vacation:
  • wedding festivities
  • birthday festivities
  • go boating on Lake Michigan
  • stop by old workplaces
  • visit the zoo
  • coo at my nephew
  • blow bubbles
  • wading pool
  • slide and swing set
  • sandbox
  • remove sand from hair
  • moo at cows
  • donate blood to mosquitoes
  • dodge orange construction barrels
  • smell the flowers
  • enjoy the sun
  • eat a lot at every meal
  • eat ice cream late at night
  • do a lot of dishes
  • see some friends
  • miss some friends
  • take a lot of pictures

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Now Reverse

All good things come to an end.

So do family visits. (Ba-dum bum! Rim shot!)

We successfully reversed course across the U.S. yesterday. We got up and out on time (early) and had a relatively short flight to Minneapolis. Anna was squirrelly but it was just our two seats in our row so let her wiggle, it's only an hour. Short layover before the long flight, but filed under Epistemology we found our Free Miracle! card and redeemed it for an extra seat in our row and a comatose-for-three-hours baby.

However, this nap did simply defer all the protesting about being confined (and I don't just mean Aaron's opinions on coach legroom) to the three-hour drive home. At least our fellow plane passengers were spared Anna's insanity-inducing pitch. It would have made that little carry-on dog someone had howl in pain. Like we did.

We all went to bed early, by Pacific time standards, but today Anna almost fell asleep on the 1.1 mile drive home from church and between bites of lunch. No naps for us grownups, though--duty calls.

I will try to get some of the four billion pictures taken last week up here and emailed to those of you who need them soon, so just hang on, they're coming. But in order of importance I first have to (1) pay bills and (2) get some other papers out of the way so I can (3) work like a mad fool to make up for lost time. Don't be fooled: the freelancer's vacation is really only work deferred to a late-night purgatory of procrastination payback the next week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

All Play

We have been enjoying our time in Michigan. My brother and his wife arrived with their four-month-old boy "Tobo" the night after we did, so there has been lots of playing with and staring at the little ones. Anna is having the time of her life here with the small slide/swing set, kiddie pool, sandbox (aka hair nemesis...I was not home when this occurred...), deck steps, music table, five billion toys, and cows (bmoooooo!). My favorite game is her rocking me while I'm on the hammock!

We arrived just in time to be reminded that: (1) it's stinking hot here and (2) it's FREAKING HUMID here. However, Aaron loves the heat anyway and my dad wisely and mercifully got an air conditioner for upstairs where we kids and our kids sleep. After a couple days of extreme heat it has found the perfect spot--warm and sunny but not humid. And we spent Sunday afternoon on Aaron's parents' boat on Lake Michigan. Ahhh, summer!

We have had some relatives and friends here to visit, and Aaron successfully officiated Sami's wedding Friday night. Now we're relaxing a bit more and as a day early birthday event for me, I guess, planning to all go to the zoo tomorrow to show Anna the lions (raar!) and tigers (kitty!) and bears (baba!), oh my!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15, 2007

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love? Measure in love

"Seasons of Love" from the musical Rent

Monday, July 14, 2008

On Our Way!

Bags are officially stuffed dangerously close to the overweight fee zone. House is ready for housesitters (the bummer about that is that you can't leave it a disaster zone). Must balance checkbook, check fridge for nasties, bring in rest of laundry, and then load up!

See some of you soon in our favorite mitten state!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Survivor: Airplane

Aaron and the kids made it home from YL camp safe and tired. They arrived early enough that Aaron could throw Anna around giggling for an hour or so before bed. They both slept in today.

I will soon commence the art of packing to survive 271 minutes of flight plus X minutes on runway with an 18-month-old, 23-pound wiggle worm on my lap. For the airports we got her a cute bear backpack with a long tail. Yeah, it's a leash. Cruel, demeaning us. But she loves her "baba," and isn't it actually more freedom than five-point harnessing her to things the entire time? I'm over it.

Some things I have in mind for in-flight entertainment: mini magnadoodle; a couple books (lift-the-flaps are good, I figure, to take as long as possible on each page...); her toy camera with the animal pictures; plastic bead necklace she's enthralled with; snacks like Cheerios, Goldfish crackers, string cheese, yogurt-covered raisins. And Aaron can play VeggieTales and Muppets shows on his Palm Pilot. For me, of course.

Then there is all the other stuff: diapers, wipes, cup, bib, spoon, milk, other food, change of clothes...

And my stuff: laptop (probably), camera, wallet, toothbrush, book I'll never even open, copious amounts of Dramamine...

So what am I forgetting? And the flip side: how can I lighten my load? (Answer: make it your husband's load!)

Aaron says she's going to be on my lap the whole time. But he also takes the aisle seat, so God help the poor soul on my left. I feel more sorry for them than me.

Meanwhile, here on the blog, as you can see I've finally done a little housekeeping. If your blog is not on my blogroll but you know I stalk you and you'd like it to be, let me know. (And if it's on there but you don't want it to be, that's cool too.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Twenty Twenty Twenty-Four Hours to Go...


Just kidding. This week with Aaron gone has not been that bad--but I am ready to have him back. Anna was very good until today when she had some inexplicable crying/crankypantsness. She apparently was quite freaked out by the sight of me dusting--perhaps I haven't done it in a year?--and was shocked by my timely removal of Easter decorations. As in, WHERE ARE YOU TAKING THOSE BUNNIES? NOOOOOOOO!

But tonight we had a wonderful dinner at friends' gorgeous house and rolled on their amazing lawn. Few things are better in life than rolling on thick green grass. Strawberry pie may be one of them.

We will go to Portland Monday night to fly to Michigan early Tuesday. That leaves little over 48 hours after Aaron gets home to deal with all his sweaty laundry, pack, prep for the housesitters, make sure bills are paid and cloth diapers are all clean, make a bank and Dramamine run, etc.
Just get me to the airport, put me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go insane . . .
. . . and agree to go paintballing Friday afternoon. Yes, freshman and sophomore girls are going to shoot balls of paint at me in the middle of the woods. And you know I'm a target since I'm old, though I have the advantage over Bubbles for being (1) not as old as him and (2) not their eighth grade media teacher upon whom they'd like to exact revenge. Still, what was I thinking?
I can't control my fingers, I can't control my brain
Oh no no no no no
I'll let you know how the bruises look and if I can still walk.
Just put me in a wheelchair, get me to the show . . .
I wanna be sedated!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

“Let’s just do it, and be done, and get on with our lives, and then it will all be just a memory.”

Four hundred and something days ago we made that decision, one of the hardest ones of our life.

Three hundred ninety-eight days ago they cut open my husband’s chest and let a machine breathe for him and pump his blood. My husband was Darth Vader for six hours.

It seems so much longer ago than a year. It feels like it happened in some other dimension, a fuzzy place we can barely bring before our minds’ eyes, a place called not June but Before Anna. A barely perceptible speck in life’s rear-view mirror.

I think of it every day, of course, and yet give it little thought at all. I thought this anniversary would feel more significant—though I’m glad it didn’t since that’s a sign that all’s well and we made the right decision.

Still, I thought about it as the dates passed and as we walked around doing the things he struggled to do last year. I remembered how it felt last year to have to cajole him into going, reminding him it would be good for him to get out of the house, and how it felt to walk as slowly as he had to and try not to show I was keeping a nervous eye on how hard he was breathing. What a contrast between that and how now he says, “I’ll get the little girl!” and swoops her up to his shoulders, carrying her proudly to greet people and point at dogs, skipping to make her laugh.

Like the physical scars, the memories and feelings of the June lost to surgery are hidden most of the time. They are a new feature of our history that we don’t examine much now that they’re healed over. You have to pull back some layers to see the scars. But once in a while they catch my eye. They surface in the dull ache in his chest some days, the tick of his mechanical valve at an unexpected moment, the familiarity of hospital waiting rooms, the taunting what-ifs of concerns over health insurance. But they are covered most days by the proof we reached the other side—the joy that was set before us, in a picture on a bedside tray, that got him up and out of bed and all the way to Ethiopia—the living, running, giggling proof of life beyond surgery, beyond Marfan’s, beyond ourselves.

Even though they have faded, those scar-memories are with us. And they are good. They have changed us and taught us much. So it is good to remember.

But it is better to go out and live.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Freedom Fog

Home alone (with Anna) again. Aaron left for Young Life camp early this morning. Since I'm not swamped with work this time, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself so far. Maybe it's just that I'm tired and this blah marine layer of clouds, but I can't quite get myself going on any of the many small tasks and decluttering projects I'd like to tackle. Need to find the zone.

We have had a busy couple of days. Aaron had a lot to get done before camp and it seemed like kids were being extra flakey about not committing, then telling someone else they wanted to go, then not doing anything at all to make that happen. You might think we could just ask their parents to make a decision and stick with it but around here a lot of parents are just as flakey and some of them don't have working phones (and I do mean at home or anywhere, not just not having cell phones) so getting ahold of them and getting signed health forms to them and back was a headache (not that said forms include any information anyway since there is often no health insurance).

SmallPort always has fireworks on the 3rd, and nearby Hippieville has them on the 4th, so you can get a double dose if you want. On Thursday, the 3rd, we parked our friend's truck down by the bay and planned to car pool from our house to that base point. It was a really nice day until about 5:30 when a horror-movie-esque fog swallowed the town. (I really like using my horror movie voice: "It's . . . THE FOG . . . Nooooooo!") Here is the scene at 9:00 p.m.:

And here is where they shoot off the fireworks. See it? It's right there, in THE FOG.

A little less summery than last year.

When the fireworks started you could only see the bottom half of them. They were half-circles instead of full circles. But five minutes into the show, a little breeze kicked up, just enough to blow away THE FOG enough for a nice show. Chilly though!

Anna quickly learned to say "Oooooooooh" with us, although she probably didn't know why (are there owls?). She liked watching the fireworks and dogs ("Whoof!") and kids ("Babyyyy!") and was not freaked out at all by the fireworks. Not even the cannon sounds of the can't-be-legal ones somebody set off by us on the beach. Of course the real fireworks aren't very loud since they're set off basically over the ocean and we were across the bay.

We opted out of the Hippieville parade and fireworks display on the 4th, but in the afternoon I did go with a friend and Anna down to Hippieville to see one of our students/friends sing. Now that town is a display. A public display of affection . . . for tie-dye. And long skirts. And beads. And hemp, in all its many forms. We saw:

(1) A cool chick grooving on the guitar. Yay Jul!

(2) Pirate hippies and (3) Marge Simpson?

(4) Colonial pirates? and of course (5) fairies! (Duh, where do you think the La De Da Parade came from?)

Ah, Hippieville, USA--home of the fashion free and brave!

Yaaaaay, freedom!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Incredible Non-Sleeping Baby

We jinxed it.

Monday night remarked how lucky we are that we can just put our kid in her crib, say goodnight, and let her put herself to sleep. We smiled as we listened to our daughter softly recite her growing vocabulary in her crib before drifting off for twelve straight hours of sleep. Mama. Dada. Diddie. Baba. Baby. Baby! Babeeeeey! Whoooooo.

Tuesday she fought me a bit for naptime and vigorously battled nighttime sleep. After a couple rounds of crying for us, I had to hold her until she was essentially out.

Wednesday night—an epic battle for the ages. She had slept in late and napped a little late and probably too long (things I allowed because I was trying to hammer out a project). We usually have her up until at least 9:00 anyway (hey, it keeps her cribbed past the 8:00 a.m. hour), but this night, 9:30 was just the beginning.

Aaron did a couple rounds with her and then tried letting her cry. We’re not big cry-it-out people, but sometimes we’ll let her cry a bit if it seems she just wants to try to get you back in there. She usually gives it up in a couple minutes anyway. Well, after a good ten minutes of her crying, screaming bloody murder, and hacking (from crying so hard, plus she’s had an allergies cough), my brain was splitting open and I couldn’t possibly get any work done anyway, so I went in there. She seemed truly beyond the point of calming herself down.

Oh yeah. You would be too if you had that puke stench on you.

She’d only thrown up a little bit of milk, but it was nasty. So it necessitated lights on, wiping up, a change of clothes. And . . . let the cycle begin again. I went upstairs and heard Aaron reading to her. Rocking her. Singing to her. And the pitter-patter of tiny, hyperactive feet escaping from her room.

Eventually my turn again and I wasn’t taking any chances trying to put her down half asleep. I mean, don’t be a hero. I had to get this girl into her usual semicomatose state before I could so much as think about shifting her horizontal or taking a breath in the middle of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I thought I’d ruined it when I put her down and she started grabbing at blankets, but the kid is like a T-Rex: she can’t see you if you don’t move. I froze until I was sure she didn’t know I was still there and was just getting comfortable to sleep like she usually does, you know, two and a half hours earlier.

So we all went to bed close to midnight, and only one of us woke up before 6:00 to get some work done. We should all be up late again tonight for fireworks over the bay—but a huge fog bank is enveloping our town as we speak. In case our night reverts to a quiet night at home, I need to get the once-again-late napper up now to avert a potential repeat!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008