Friday, April 30, 2010

Falling Asleep While You Pray

I had a funny moment tonight as I was praying out loud for Sawyer. I began falling asleep, and my prayer continued as I drifted off. Here's how it went, and you'll appreciate this especially if you are a christian.

Me: I pray that he would come to know you, and that you would give him a new heart...with new blood...

Sawyer: Mommy?

And then I woke up and thought--new blood? What are we, vampires? Transfusionists?

Kind of Like Getting a Bigger Closet for Your Shoes

I just had to buy more storage from Google in order to post the most recent batch of photos. I am really proud of myself, somehow. What a feat! I used up ALL my free storage. Good for me.

K-Cows Are Everywhere

When my parents were last here, Saw started saying this new word that took us forever to figure out. It sounds like "k-cow" but is really playground. (Today I worked with him on the "p" part with him. If he can say popsicle, he should be able to get playground.) In any case, any and every k-cow he sees in the car involves a lot of shouting and an explanation of why we aren't stopping the car. Sometimes, however, I do stop. Like yesterday, when we played outside until we were super hot and then stopped at Sonic's happy hour for half-price drinks.

Linc had fun, too! See?

Photo of the Day

There are so many things about this that make me laugh. I couldn't get Saw to sit still on this statue for a picture, but when I told him to give her a kiss, he swooped right in. And check how the other two statues are smiling in approval. Love it!

Four Hours of Sleep Is Too Little

The only problem with making my writing hours from 10pm-midnight is that sometimes the midnight to morning hours aren't the best for sleeping. Take last night. I was getting into bed at 12:30 when I heard hysterical screaming from Saw's room. I went in and sat next to him, which often comforts him enough to sleep. Sometime after 2am, with crying, crib-escaping, bottles, Rob and me both getting involved, he fell asleep. Until 6am, which is when Lincoln also work for his first feeding.

I do not understand why Sawyer isn't sleeping (he also did not nap at his school yesterday), save another ear infection. I have no idea how to get him to sleep or stay in his room all night, save tying him down. I'm pretty sure that's illegal. But you know, it might be preferable to what I'm like on four hours of sleep.

Don't Forget Your Bearings

Thank you to my Boss ladies who let me come skate at practice tonight! It was much more encouraging to skate indoors and I felt a little less out of shape, though my legs were definitely heavy and my back is killing me. You don't realize how much skating hurts your back if you're doing it correctly. It felt so good to be with my team, even though I'm not technically ON the team anymore. (Stupid C-section.) In my excitement to get on the floor, I somehow lost a wheel bearing, so when I tried rolling, I about ate it. Great re-entry, Kiki. The bonus is that I DIDN'T eat it, and then found my bearing and got to skate for an hour before Rob texted me that Lincoln had been crying since I left. I think he wanted a top-off before bed, but of course was sleeping soundly when I got home. All in all, not the smoothest re-entry to derby, but I was so glad to be back on wheels.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

He's Waking Up, People

We are just about to hit the two-month mark with little Linc. In fact, he is 8 weeks old as of yesterday. Way to live, little guy! About this time with Sawyer, I was traveling to Ginny's wedding in Tennessee where I spent most of the time on the toilet being super sick and missing out on the maid of honor duties. During that trip, Sawyer woke up. I was unaware that babies tend to sleep for something like 20 hours at first. This goes away and they start to develop a normal schedule at some point, and for my kiddos this seems to be about at 2 months. The trip TO Tennessee was easy. The trip home was a challenge, because suddenly my baby was awake and did NOT want to be in a car seat for 24 hours.

I've noticed this week that Lincoln has been spending more time awake during the day. Thankfully, our nights are consistently about 10-11 hours of straight sleep. If only I went to sleep when he did, I wouldn't be so tired. That's my challenge. In his awake periods, he wants to look at everything and is starting to talk, as you can see by his video. He smiles more, though you really have to impress him to get one. You can see from this photo that sometimes he looks just a wee bit drunk when he smiles. It's endearing. I am excited to see how his personality continues to emerge now that he's really joining the ranks of the real world, and I'm attempting to let the natural napping and bedtime schedule continue in hopes that we'll have a great, consistent set of days here pretty soon. For sure, every day is a joy, and every day I get a little more confident and better at the challenges and stresses of having two little men to love.

Wake Up and Smell the Vaccines

It's too early in the morning for the vaccine debate, I think. Still, if you want to read an open letter to the makers of a recent PBS documentary by a doctor whose vaccine-cautious interview was totally omitted, here it is. I didn't see the documentary, but it did what documentaries tend to do. It picked a viewpoint and then tailored its interviews to suit that viewpoint. Honestly, I think there are a lot of questions that have not been answered, and my pediatrician (who recommends vaccines but is okay with my informed decision to abstain) told me she thought it would be almost impossible to do a real study that actually proves anything about vaccines, specifically regarding the purported link to autism. There are just too many factors, she said, to be definitive in the matter, either way. I appreciate open viewpoints. I appreciate people who ask questions and listen and don't scream at one another about how much they KNOW to be true, no matter which side they are on. Don't read the comments to the article if you feel the same way. There are lots of experts in there who apparently know more than most doctors about the goods and ills of vaccines.

Wait--didn't I say it was too early to talk about this? Yawn. Mommy needs coffee.

Thursday Tip: The Just After Midnight Edition

It's technically Thursday, though I still think of this as Wednesday since I haven't gone to bed. I figured I would go ahead and post a tip so I won't forget tomorrow. (Please keep sending me tips, by the way--I love them!) This one is from Erica and if I'd only had it years ago, I would have saved so many burners from extinction.

When boiling potatoes, rub butter (or even the butter wrapper) around the rip of the pot to keep it from boiling over with the starchy foam. Does this work with pasta, I wonder? Erica, let me know!

I am always boiling things over on the stove, which is why, anytime I turn on a burner, it smells like something is on fire in my kitchen. This is a tip I'm excited to try. And did anyone else try the baking soda in the hair? I keep forgetting, but plan to do it this week. If I have time to shower, that is...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Because I am not remotely a web person, I just now figured out how to add pages on my site. Yeah, I know. I started small--check out my "About Me" page. I'm pretty sure nothing will surprise you there if you've ever read my blog. I'll probably be cleaning up my sidebars and adding things like links as a new page, so be watching for small changes. It's amazing how accomplished I can feel about this--especially when I should feel guilty for using valuable writing time on my blog...

Dark Chocolate Rum Yum

Here is the recipe that Jenna made me when she was here. I think it's from Better Homes and Gardens or one of those places. (Jenna, help me out?) Whatever it is--delicious. Not the real name for it, but this is what it should be called. You can definitely eat the "pudding" by itself, but the cinnamon toasts are fabulous and a must-have, though I doubted it. Don't doubt it!

It must be made the night before so it can set in the fridge, so be advised. Oh, and Jenna said not to worry--it WILL thicken. Just keep stirring.

Dark Chocolate Rum Yums

2/3 c natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 c whole milk
1/2 c whipping cream
10 oz bittersweet chocolate (at least 60%), chopped
2 T dark rum
2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 T butter, melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
12 baguette slices (about 3/4 inch thick)

1. In a heavy saucepan whisk cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add 1/2 c of the milk; whisk to a smooth paste. Whisk in remaining milk and cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until pudding thickens and begins to bubble at edges. Stir 30 seconds more. Add chocolate; stir 1 min to melt. Remove from heat. Add rum and vanilla.
2. Transfer pudding to lightly oiled 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. cool, uncovered for at least 2 hours room temp. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. For cinnamon toasts, in small bowl combine brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, and salt. Spread on one side of each baguette slice. Place on baking sheet and broil 5-6 inches from heat for 2-3 minutes or until it's toasted and the sugar mixture bubbles.
4. Sprinkle pudding with additional cocoa powder. You can cut in wedges or spoon it into free form wedges. Serve with the cinnamon toasts.

Will Bedtime Always Take Two Hours?

I thought a few days ago that I had started to get a handle on this bedtime thing. Often I'm putting both boys down alone, since Rob has lots of night work. Since Linc started scheduling himself for bed around 7, I began putting him down, then putting Saw down, since Lincoln pretty much falls asleep when you put him down and Saw fights it like he's fighting for his life. Getting Sawyer to stay in bed has been the trick, since he climbs out of the crib whenever he feels like it. But even that has been getting better: tonight, only once!

Here's the new thing--Linc doesn't stay asleep when I put him down at 7. In fact, I think I hear him in there now fussing a bit. I put him down at 7, then had to get him back up to nurse at 8. Meanwhile, Saw chose that time to get out of bed and run in. It's chaotic. And the lovely Mommy-time I had looked forward to that used to start at 7ish, now is barely starting at 8:45. Last night, I had a night off from Rob, but didn't get out of the house until 9 because Linc kept wanting to nurse. These super-long bedtimes are crazy!

I'm hoping that A. Linc is having a growth spurt and will stop waking up to nurse after I put him down the first time, B. Saw will stop climbing out of his crib and fighting sleep, and C. it will get easier or I will get used to it. I'm already doing better as a mom of two, though it's challenging still making that transition, but this extended bedtime makes it very hard. Maybe I should start putting them to bed at 5pm??


Lincoln-Speak, originally uploaded by Kiki Mojo.

Lincoln is starting to talk! He has a lot to say...

Photo of the Day

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Confession

I am one of those people who reads Us Weekly in line for groceries and leaves it in the wrong place up by the registers and the gum.

Wheels: Lost and Found

Yesterday I got back on skates for the first time and hit the streets. Or, trails, rather. I have been looking forward to this moment since I stopped skating a few months into my pregnancy, but I had definitely underestimated how out of shape I was. Oh, man. It felt great, but kicked my butt. My legs are weak, my lungs are shot--I'm just what you'd expect after having a baby, I guess. I pretty much assumed that I'd get back on skates and be right where I was, or only a little behind. I did, after all, work out until the ninth month, even if not as hard as when I'm not pregnant. The good thing is that it inspired me to take no prisoners--I came home and went immediately to the gym where I did more cardio and some tough weights. Take that, wobbly legs!

I think I also inspired Rob, because he went blading with Sawyer later that day. His time didn't go as expected either. He came limp-rolling home with Sawyer holding the wheel plate from one of the feet, as seen here. Guess it's time for a new pair??

Monday, April 26, 2010

No More Books to Burn?

As a writer and lover of books (I refuse to call myself a bibliophile--it sounds too pretentious), I have been keeping my head in the sand way too long regarding e-books. Personally, I scorn these devices. They are pretty and slick and it's fun to play with electronics. But I love books--not just the reading of them, but the physical feel and smell of a book in my hand. In fact, I will debate in a bookstore over two editions of the same book depending on things like smell, font, and the feel of the pages. (Nerd alert!!) The idea of selling books electronically has been around for some time now, and I've hated it. In my publishing course during graduate school, the danger of e-books taking over seems far off since so many of the readers were just lame and problematic. So I ignored that whole arena.

Fast forward to 2010 with the Kindle and the iPad.

In a number of months, Apple will be launching iBooks, where you can download a whole book the way you can a CD. It will be digitally delivered to your iPad without you ever having to leave your home. We all know what iTunes has done to the CD market. Google will soon be selling e-books through its own Google Editions this year. Kindle has been, it seems, wildly successful, with Amazon reporting that people buy digital books 40% of the time when there is a choice. I do not relate to these people. I mean, I can see where this would be helpful, like when I'm about to fly somewhere and don't want to take three paperbacks in my bag. But in bed at night, I want to hold a BOOK. Of course, I felt the same way about holding a CD, but now buy from iTunes and have my CDs boxed up in the attic. (Where they are probably melting since this is, after all, Houston.)

So, I was a little scared reading this article from the New York Times. It's very dense and long, but has a lot of great information in it if you are like me, just catching up with what's happening with all these electronic readers, or if you are also a lover of books. (Or just a nerd like me!) At one point, there is a quote from a major player in the publishing industry who mentions that the "digital transition" will take 5-7 years. Um, what exactly does digital transition mean? Will we see the death of bookstores? The publishing industry? Of real printed books? To me, that's just BLEAK.

There are also a lot of other ideas in the article I'm still mulling over, such as the possibility for cutting out the publishers and having authors sell directly to online e-book sellers like Amazon, who was rumored to be setting up an acquisitions department for that very reason. If you care about books and writing and the whole electronic world, what's your take on this idea of e-book v. real book? Do you own a Kindle or iPad? Does it replace your real books? Do you want it to??

Talk amongst yourselves. And if I don't see comments on this post, it will simply be evidence of my nerdy-ness.

Future Sleep Olympian

I've mentioned that Lincoln is sleeping well, but I am completely astounded and confounded by his habits. On a typical night now, he goes to bed around 7pm, just before Sawyer, and then wakes up around 5-6am to eat. Yes, that's right, my 8-week old is sleeping close to 12 hours straight. If you ask me what I did, I'll tell you that we did the exact same thing we did with Sawyer, and he woke up every 2 hours to eat for like 9 months and then didn't start sleeping 12 hours until he was 14 months. And often, he still wakes up. In fact, Lincoln slept from 7:30 to 6am last night, while Sawyer went down at 8:30 and woke up at 3 and 5 before getting up at 7am.

I'm very thankful for the sleep and hope that this lasts. I'm doing everything I can to encourage it and keeping us on the same schedule nightly as much as possible. We'll see how it goes, but I am definitely enjoying the surprise sleep. I think that Lincoln could take his game pro.

Life Lessons from the Muppets

While my parents were here, they bought Sawyer The Muppets Take Manhattan, which we've watched a few times with him. If it's been a while since you've seen the movie, Kermit gets hit by a car towards the end and has amnesia. While watching the movie, I felt this was a good time to continue teaching Sawyer about the dangers of the street. I told him that Kermit got hit by a car and that's why we are so careful in parking lots and in the street. He didn't say anything at the time, but for DAYS now, he's been talking about it when we're near the street, driving, or in parking lots. "Muppets," he'll say. "Bump the head. Hit by car. Kermit."

I was kind of afraid I may have scarred (and scared) him, but it seems to be a good thing. He knew not to go in the street before, but now he will stand at a greater distance and go through that dialogue about the muppets. The other day in a parking lot, a car drove by and he did the same. He is definitely more aware now of the dangers of cars. Life lessons, people. They can come from the muppets.

Big Boys Pee in the Floor

An astute reader left a comment on my post about Saw peeing out on the plants, saying that he was going to think it was okay to drop trou inside the house now and go to the bathroom. I scoffed, thinking that Sawyer was well aware of the limitations of where he should potty, since we have discussed this at length. Only an hour later, I walked out of my bedroom, found a diaper on the stereo, poop on the floor and pee in his tunnel from Ikea. Well, anonymous reader, you were right!

It wasn't an act of defiance or anything, because when we found him, he said "Poo poo the floor." So we went through a lesson of proper places to potty and poo-poo (though we have done this before). It made for an exciting morning, that's for sure. And as we grow closer to the time when we're trying potty training (next month while his school takes a two-week break), I am getting a little taste of the fun we have in store. At least we have a head start--on both the learning AND the mess...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Big Boys Go Outdoors

Doesn't Sawyer look huge and old? I love his Converse shoes, but alas, they're still too big and fell off a few minutes after this photo. I bought them about a year ago at a thrift store because they hadn't been worn and were only $3. I think he looks like trouble in this picture, mostly (maybe) in a good way. A very cute way. But still. Trouble.

Today he had a fun new first related to potty training. He's been telling us before he goes potty for a while now, but we haven't succeeded at getting him to go ON the potty. He likes to squat, so that's not super conducive for the potty. Rob's been working with him on peeing standing up. Today, just after his nap, I was changing his diaper and he said, "potty" and proceeded to start peeing all over me. I threw a diaper over him and said, "Stop!" and he did, thankfully. I asked him if he wanted to go potty outside (since we weren't super close to the bathroom) and he said "yes." So I put him outside the back door with instructions to go potty wherever he wanted since he was boy. He proceeded to walk over to one of our potted plants and tried to pee on it while standing up. Long story short, he peed in a huge puddle that he was soon standing in, so had to be washed off before we got him dressed. But I was really proud of my little man learning to pee stand up! Even if he did happen to pee all over himself. We're making strides, people! My little boy is growing up, and is definitely a BOY.

Sorry, Officer--My Baby Made Me Speed

I can't remember if Sawyer ever went through a car-hating phase, but Lincoln is certainly there right now. The secret that sometimes works is keeping him plugged up with pacifiers, which calms him down. Problem being that he spits them out almost immediately, so I have to keep a stash of like five up front with me, then lean at a very odd angle while driving to pop another in his mouth. That lasts for a little while and then I can hear the sound of it popping out, then the heavy breathing, then the eh-eh-eh, then the WAAAAAAH! When I'm out of pacifiers, I'm out of luck. And sometimes those don't even work, and he screams until we get wherever we are going and stops as soon as he's out of the car seat.

This makes me not want to leave the house. Or plan vacations any time in the near future. I wish there was a reason, or a solution, but it seems like he's just not a fan. If he falls asleep, everything's golden--at least until I hit a pothole and then he's up again. The best is when Linc is screaming and then Saw decides to mimic the screaming on his side--a veritable chorus of crying from the back seat. I've found myself in serious driving mode--get there quickly and safely, but really QUICKLY. Which has made me wonder, if I get pulled over and the officer hears the screaming baby as he's asking why I'm speeding, will it get me out of a ticket? Hm.

(Ps--Dad, I'm not really speeding very much.)

The Worst Part of Visits Is the End

Sadly, I'm about to take Jenna to the airport to fly back to Richmond. Sigh. We had a great time, and here's a sweet photo of Linc and Jenna bonding.

And here we are...but where's my neck?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chirp, Chirp--The Sound of Me Having Fun

If you're concerned by the chirping of crickets over here, it's only because one of my greatest friends, Jenna, is here for a visit. She came right after Sawyer was born and is now repeating that tradition with Lincoln. We're already having a great time and it's already half over, since it's just a weekend visit. Sad! She has her own little guy, Liam, at home, as well as her big buy, Buck.

So far we've indulged in Mexican food, caught up on our lives, done lots of baby/little kid time, and gone to the zoo. (Don't worry--we skipped the monkeys.) When nap time is over, we're headed to the derby crawfish boil, and then she's making us some kind of risotto for dinner as well as a chocolate and dark rum confection for dessert that's been setting in the fridge. Yummmmm....

It's starting to finally get to Houston-sticky-hot, so I feel damp and dirty, but it's great to have sun after our gross and cold winter. And great to have friends here!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Photo of the Day

Thursday Tip: Almost Midnight Edition

I have had NO blogging time today. Why? I took a NAP. First, I had to have someone tell me what a nap was, because I didn't know. They should have told me to set an alarm just in case you sleep for longer than you had planned. Anyway.

Thanks for all the great tips via email and comment. There are a few in the comments of the post where I asked for tips--definitely check those out! I'm filing away the ones I got via email and will share one or so a week. Please keep sending them!

Tip from Sharon: This one came from her Dad and relates to cars. If you're having that crusty battery acid stuff on your battery, pour some Coke on it and it will disappear. Apparently because of the acidity of Coke, but it makes me think: really? We're drinking that??

Tip from Stephanie: Once a week, she uses Baking Soda as a clarifier for her hair. Mix 2 Tbs in a cup with water, then work through your hair in the shower and rinse. It removes product build-up and makes your hair super soft.

Thanks, guys! I totally didn't know either of those and plan to implement, as I have both battery acid and shampoo buildup.

And...a freebie tip from me: Don't decide to trim your bangs yourself at 11pm. If you've been drinking any alcohol, this is an even WORSE idea.

Lincoln at Seven Weeks

I waited a week to do an update because we saw the midwife and the doctor today. Busy morning! I need a nap.

Lincoln is now 13 pounds, 1 ounce and 24 inches long. Yowza! I need to look and see how long Saw was at this point, but he was about a pound less, which makes sense, as he was half a pound less at birth. Lincoln is in the 90th percentile for length. That cracks me up. Did we make a tall baby??

Also, I was telling the doctor how Lincoln will push himself, sometimes several inches and in different directions than the one you point him in, and she just kind of mm-hmm-ed like she wasn't listening or didn't believe me. And then when she put him on his tummy, he dug his feet in and moved a good inch, and began turning and moving toward me. I refrained from saying, "I just told you that," when she seemed shocked and said, "You're not supposed to do that yet!" I think he just wants to catch up with his big brother. At this rate, maybe he'll surpass him in baby feats of strength. I guess we'll see.

Overall, everything is great with him! Yay for healthy babies!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

...Or No Tips at All

Did my post about tips get lost? Because I have received not one email with a tip for tomorrow. Not a one. I thought you'd all want to share that great secret grandma showed you for how to get wine out of a white sweater. No? Maybe Thursdays will have to be something other than tips. Because I certainly don't have any.

You still have time to save Tip Thursdays. Shoot me your tips! istillhatepickles at gmail dot com

My Prom Wasn't THIS Cool

Lynn and I were just trying to figure out what relationship I have with Michael, who is Rob's Mom's brother's son. Which makes him...a cousin of some kind? I can never figure out the confusing family things. In any case, here is a photo of Michael and his prom date, who made their own duct tape outfits down to the shoes. Pretty amazing, no? Way to go, Michael!

The Laughter Is Back

The hardest part for me adjusting to two kids is the difficulty I had with Sawyer so far. The combination of recovering from surgery with his new, rebellious attitude made him exhausting to me, which in turn made me so sad, since he was my best buddy up to that point. Things are getting better gradually, and the other day we hit a wonderful milestone.

I said to him, "Guess what?" I'm sure I had an actual thing to tell him, but was also going to teach him to say "what" when someone says "guess what." He looked at me very seriously for a moment and then said, "Strawberries." This made me laugh in its randomness, so I said again, "Guess what? Now you say, 'what.' " Sawyer looked at me again and said, "Strawberries." No matter how many times I tried, he responded with strawberries. Please don't ask me to explain why this was so funny to me, but it was, and I laughed and laughed, and the pleasure that lit up his face seeing me laugh at him was something I had sorely missed. He used to make me laugh all the time, and he loved it. I loved it. But that was the first time in six weeks that Sawyer had really made me laugh. I feel like we turned a corner.

This week, Saw and I have gone alone to the playground at McDonalds and on a bicycle ride to a playground where we played and climbed and found the remnants of robin's eggs among the grass. It was lovely and fun, and I'm so glad to see our relationship restoring itself through time.

Scheduling, Au Natural

With Saw, one of the things we didn't do in the beginning was schedule. At all. We aren't Babywise-ers, and really liked our lifestyle, so we'd just cart him around to our events at night and stuff, not thinking too much about it. Getting him a normal bedtime came way later and was really challenging. In a way, I'm glad we did it that way. It was an easy transition into parenthood and didn't mean we had to drop our entire lives. In another way, I think that starting him on a routine earlier would have helped. I'm not sure how much, though, honestly, as Sawyer is sleep-challenged. I've come to face that now, since he's going to be two in a few weeks and the nights he's slept all night are not even worth comparing with the nights he's woken up crying or gotten out of the crib to come visit us in our room.

In any case, I did think that I'd like to start a routine earlier with Lincoln, just to help ease him into a normal bedtime. The first two months are mostly sleeping for babies, so I hadn't even thought about starting yet. But I realized this week that Linc is basically setting a schedule for himself.

The waking up part is variable, as sometimes when he wakes for an early feeding at 7am or so, he'll stay up, and sometimes he'll sleep in a little longer. Whenever he does get up, he eats and then has some quality awake time before taking a shorter morning nap. After lunch time, he typically goes down for something like a 2-4 hour nap, and then has awake time until 7 or so, when he's down for the night. Right now, there's not set number of feedings or night wakings, but I was blown away realizing that he really does take pretty much two naps and has an almost regular bedtime. All by himself.

Again, the differences between our two boys is staggering to me. I wonder if their personalities will be as different as these early sleeping patterns and routines are...

Yup, I Jinxed It

After blogging about my boys' great sleep, let's just say I was up almost every hour last night with one or both of them. Mommy tired.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Writing with Two Kids

Do you think that writing a novel while having a baby rest in your lap will inherently change what would have been written without said baby in lap? Discuss.

I never thought I'd be able to be productive in this situation (and truthfully, I wasn't SO productive--Lincoln is just too darn cute), but when you have two kids and want to write novels and can't afford to have child care to give you have a REAL work schedule, you do what you can. In my case, this is writing on Tuesdays and Thursdays while Sawyer is in school. Before Lincoln, this time was peaceful, more so than I realized, which is why I wasted it so very frequently by repeatedly checking my facebook notifications. Now my Tuesdays and Thursdays are a little busier, as I'm trying to write while watching, feeding, and diapering a baby as well as trying to cram in all the housework and errands I possibly can while I only have one child at home. I've also added 10pm-12am as additional office hours whenever possible. Surprisingly, I'm getting a lot done.

I have to. I mean, I HAVE to. If I ever want to finish this beast and send it off to the agent, where hopefully it will be loved, then passed on to publishers, where it will be loved and fought over and then published to acclaim and fat paychecks. Ahem. Not so likely. In any case, to even have a chance at that dream coming true, I must finish editing and re-writing, and today marked the 1/3 of the way journey. Yippee! I tend to get faster as I go, accruing momentum like a stone tossed down a child's metal slide (a metaphor from the playground with Saw today), so hopefully in a month or two, it will be done. The rest is out of my hands.

My ideal writing situation (either in a quiet and empty home with never-ending coffee refills and great moody music playing, or basically the same but in Borders or a great coffee house somewhere) is so far from my actual situation, and yet--I CAN work. I have no choice. This is my situation. If I want to write (and I crave it now, possibly because it is a remnant of a grown-up thing in my life that does not somehow relate to dirty diapers), then I must write when I can, and how I can. Forget how I want to or when I want to. Wants go out the window when you have kids, unless you have the money to send them away so you can work. Obviously, we don't. And would I want to send them away? If I ever made money publishing, maybe I'd be willing to pay someone I knew to watch the kiddos for a few chunks of time a week. But I want them to be my number one occupation.

You never know how much you can get done in a non-ideal situation when you really, REALLY want to. This is what I'm learning about writing novels and having two kids.

Harness That Anger and Use It For Good

Thanks to Sharon for sending me this link! It's an article over at the Huffington Post about breastfeeding in our country, and though the content was not surprising, the writing is very powerful, and her message is fantastic. Go read!

Tuesday Confession

I want to hate TV. But really, I LOVE TV. If we had cable, I think I would be watching TV every hour. There is always something on that I would watch, from shows like Top Chef and Project Runway to America's Best Dance Crew or re-runs of Law and Order or Criminal Minds. I have pretty low standards, really. Even though we have about eight channels (plus five religious channels and like ten non-english-speaking channels), I can still find something to watch most of the time. It's sad. And it usually means that at night when the kids are asleep, instead of being productive, I let my brain go limp.

Which is why I'm instating 10pm-12am office hours for myself. Rob and I will try to have some time together around 9, and at least snuggle in bed to pray, and then he can go to sleep (since he requires like 10 hours) and I'll make a pot of decaf and get to work. Must. Finish. Book.

In any case, I am a TV slut. That is all.

Big Smiles! And the Bird.

The biggest smile I've caught on camera so far. I love it!
I thought this one was really cute too. And then I realized that Lincoln was flipping the bird. Nice.

Hammy Egg "Muffins"

That's what I've decided these should be called. The recipe came from YumSugar, which I linked to in my last post updating my post-baby body. Basically, you grease muffin tins, line them with one or two (ideally you want two) slices of ham, then add eggs and cheese and maybe things like tomatoes. I was feeling simple, so just put in some cheese and then beat eggs and a little milk, salt and pepper and poured it over the top. I should have put more cheese on top as well, since I'm a cheese freak. They were good and fun and pretty easy. Took five minutes to make, 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven to bake. Yum! And they look pretty on a plate if you want to make breakfast look special.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Besty's Sticks

My best friend and I met just a few weeks before our freshman year of college, and I still remember that she made a poster. I don't remember what it said, but basically it was something like, "Welcome new roommate!" We were placed together randomly, you see, as freshman roommates in an all-girls dorm. (I don't really believe in random, for the record.) The poster freaked me out a little bit, I will say. My Ginny is nothing if not enthusiastic. Which is one of the things I love about her. Another thing: her stick figures. She draws stick figures with the most personality, and has made me countless cards and notes and gifts with them through the years. She has started a blog with her sticks and is also taking orders if you want any fun stick figure things--stationary, invitations, note cards, etc. Head over to Stick by Ginny and check out the first few! I love them. And her.

Another Reason I'm Sad We Don't Have Cable

In addition to missing Top Chef Masters, I am sadly unable to watch Gator 911 a new CMT show that takes place just up the road in Beaumont and is all about alligators. Seriously, my parents told each other that I would probably switch from derby to alligator wrangling if I could. Why not both, is what I say!

In case you're just tuning in, I hate monkeys, but LOVE alligators. Even if that love is not requited. I've only been bitten once by a 3-footer, and once was enough.

Have You Been at the Benadryl Again?

I'm sure many of you are already aware of I Can Has Cheezburger, a site that invented lolcats. They have a builder where you can create your own, and this photo I took of Lincoln this morning begged for one. I was making dragon sounds for Sawyer and Lincoln loved it, but he was in my arms, so the pictures just made him look kinda drunk. Love it. Ladeez, how YOU doin
moar funny pictures

Tips for Thursday

Okay, so we have confessions on Tuesday (when I remember and want to admit my weaknesses), and I was thinking I'd love to start posting helpful tips. I love getting tips about how to make something easier, or clean better, or cook something. You are a vast pool of knowledge, readers and stalkers, so I'm going to start asking for tips that I'll post on Thursday. Just shoot me an email and I'll get a list going, then post one tip each week.

If you're thinking "tips" and are stuck on the part of Say Anything where Lloyd offers to give many tips, English tips...or no tips at all, here is an example. After Sawyer was born, Jenna came to visit (and is coming this weekend--woo hoo!!). She was amazing and cooked me a dinner inspired by Giada Big-Head on the Food Network. It called for lemons, and after cutting them and using the juice, she tossed them in my garbage disposal. I grew up with a non-working garbage disposal and I still freak out about actually food in my sink. I tried to stop her, but she explained that lemons sharpen the disposal blades and freshen up down there. Sure enough, after all the noise, the smell of lemons wafted up. And my sink still works. Thanks for the tip, Jenna!

Now, my lovelies, start sending me YOUR tips! istillhatepickles at gmail dot com

One Week of Work

After a week of doing South Beach with (almost) no cheating, I've lost about 7 pounds. Feels good! And I haven't been hungry, so that's nice. Did you know that Pei Wei's Lettuce Wraps (the WHOLE thing) has under 400 calories? And is delicious. Anyway, there have been times I really wanted to eat a whole carton of my favorite ice cream (Extreme Chocolate Moose Tracks) but I did have a few sugar free chocolates when I thought I wouldn't make it and that helped. I feel very good and very encouraged by seeing a difference, both on the scale and in the mirror. Here's a great little recipe I found this morning that I'm trying this week.

The weird thing is that since I'm weighing every day (trying to keep me accountable and on the course), I've noticed one day it will show loss of a few pounds, then the next I'm either back up or no change, then the next day a huge drop. I'm sure it has to do with how much I eat or drink before bed (since I'm weighing at the same time in the morning) or maybe if I've fed Linc or not. Who knows. It is very confusing to know how much I actually weigh, but I've stayed down at my current area for several days, so know I'm around 7 pounds lighter for sure. 10 would have been great, but this is one week after all--I'll take 7.

Now if we can just find time for exercise...

I Didn't Jinx It

Lincoln went down at 8pm, woke up at 6am. Sawyer went down at 9 (after a fight) and is still sleeping right now at almost 8am. Aaaaaaaahhhh...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Photo(s) of the Day

Different Kids, Different Sleep

So, I am shocked that Lincoln is already sleeping 8-10 hours straight a night. What is this? I always heard about kids that slept and wondered what that was like. I guess it's a good thing that at least one of them is sleeping. Saw slept over at Rob's parents last night so we could stay out late for derby, and he was better. Fever all gone, so that's good, but he still woke up three times for them. When he was waking up with a fever, he was singing, climbing out of bed, crying and being delirious. It was sad and frustrating at the same time because we were SO tired. Buck and Lynn just told him to go back to sleep and he did. Improvement.

It always takes a week or two to get him back to sleep after something screws him up. So even if he's better, it will take a while to get him sleeping all night again. Sigh. But I am thankful and happy to have one little man who sleeps. The key is tummy sleeping, I think. More and more I'm believing that a lot of sleeping is just personality. Not training. Not methods. Maybe they help, but from the get-go, our boys just are the way they are. I'm sure the way we handle bedtimes and things can make a difference, but Lincoln is right now sleeping stretches Saw didn't sleep until he was over a year old. And I've done nothing differently.

Once again, let me say I'm thankful. (As I knock on wood that I haven't jinxed this...)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Little Kid, Big Slide

We had a great time yesterday at Monkey Joe's again, this time with cousins and neighbor friends. Here's a short video of Sawyer going down a massive slide. He's probably one of the youngest kids to do it, as it's supposed to be three and up. He got to the top and then sat there for a long time, thinking about it. I couldn't hear him because it was so high, but could see him go, "Help!" We sent Jackson up to the rescue, and after he stopped trying to push Sawyer down the slide, he slid down himself to show Saw it was okay. I think Sawyer enjoyed it, but he never tried it again. :)

Catching ZZZs

Why is it that sick kids don't sleep well, but look super cute somehow when they're doing it?

The Ultimate Job for the Ultimate People

Remember Rob's brother Tim, the one who happened to win that tiny little competition known as American Gladiators? Well, he and his wife Lauren have applied for this job/contest that makes me jealous in a happy way. It's basically a six or so month trip where they review and experience different wedding and honeymoon destinations and then blog about them. Sounds amazing, right??

If you want to see more about this job, please follow this link where you can watch the fantastic video Tim made and vote for them. The voting closes tomorrow and every single one counts, so if you feel like they deserve it (and they do!), please go watch and vote!

Never, EVER Pray for Patience

If you're a christian, you may have heard this inside joke before. Why not pray for patience? Because God will answer in the form of something in your life REQUIRING that you have patience. As in, showering you with the things that make you most impatient.

On Thursday morning, after enduring a very long and hard Wednesday with a sick Sawyer and Rob working until 9pm, I prayed for patience. I found myself Wednesday night and Thursday morning getting to that point where I just wanted to stand in the room and pull at my hair and scream. You know--that point where you just kind of lose it. As soon as Saw left for school, I was thinking about those moments and feeling ashamed and disappointed that my tolerance level wasn't higher. I don't want to lose it, whatever "it" is. I hate that. Yes, it's stressful, especially with a sick child and still adjusting to having two kids. But really? Couldn't I just handle things with a little more grace and patience?

So, I prayed for patience. Here's what happened.

I was getting some great writing done later that morning and enjoying the peace while Lincoln slept and Saw was at school. About 11am the school called to say that Sawyer had a 103 temperature. That morning I had sent him since he seemed to be feeling fine and was down to 98, without the aid of Tylenol. I remember thinking, Uh oh. I prayed for this, didn't I? His temperature was down a little when he got home and Rob put him down for a nap, which lasted basically until Rob walked back out the door to return to work. A few hours later, his temperature was 104, so to the pediatrician we went. Yup--another ear infection. Apparently this can also make their throats sore, though in the past it hadn't. This time, his throat is red and irritated and he's pretty congested. They tested for a bunch of other things (strep, flu) but it's just the ears.

From then on, it was like a comedy, kind of. You know--the sort of movie where the heroine has one thing after another come crashing down so that you laugh as she muddles her way through the day to a great soundtrack and a happy ending. Except there wasn't really music, and so far, I don't see the ending. From the big things, like Saw not sleeping since Tuesday night, not even for naps, to the little things like having ten things fall out of the fridge and either break or fall on my toe or spill everywhere, it's just been that kind of week. Rob's had to work a lot, so I've had several bedtimes with both boys, which often means two hours of going back and forth soothing someone who's crying, only to have them wake up 30 minutes later. Forget little things like personal hygiene or meals. (I'll be honest--I smell.) It's been hard.

And yet, since I know that I asked for patience, every little and big thing has been a reminder that I want to be growing in this area. That, in fact, I REQUESTED that God help me in this. I definitely do feel like I'm at the end of my rope, and called in for reinforcements today. Buck and Lynn have Saw for the morning and afternoon, and then he's spending the night there while we go to roller derby--a much-needed relaxation and treat for me. Even though it's been maybe the hardest week I've had since having kids, I feel that I'm in a better place than I normally would be. Not that I'm in a great place, because I definitely feel like I could dissolve into tears (or pulling my hair and screaming) at any moment, but I do feel aware that God is with me and can sustain me and is helping me to grow. In a kind of sick way, I am thankful for all these things, despite the fact that I'm utterly exhausted on every level. When I've found myself reaching that point with Saw where I'd normally unravel, I'd remember that I prayed for patience, and then I would find that I really could make it through.

The moral of the story is, I guess, that you should only pray for patience if you really, REALLY want that prayer to be answered.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't Look If You Don't Want to See Green Poop

No really...I'm giving you a chance to look away by writing a lot before the picture. If you don't want to see it, scroll fast and skip it!

Are you scrolling?

Do it! Don't look if you don't want to see neon green poop!

I mean it--it's neon.

Are you still looking because now you're curious??

It's really green, isn't it?I think it's a result of off-brand fruit snacks.

Photo of the Day

Human stool. Wait--that sounds like poo. Human...stepladder. That's better.

March of the Peacocks

Today we drove by to see the peacocks, and they were out in full force! There are a few like this that are semi-albino and have an enormous amount of white. This one was shaking it for us. Sawyer said, "Shake it!" which made me laugh.
Here is a whole group marching across the road together. Would you love or hate living in this neighborhood?

Do You See What I See?

When I ran across these photos of Robbie as a baby, I thought immediately of how much they look like Lincoln. Now that I have the photos next to them, maybe not. But in person, looking at these photos and seeing Lincoln--there is a huge resemblance! Especially that second one. What do you think?

Grow Much?

First of all, Rob informed me that these are misleading, because Linc appears bigger in the photo on the right because it's more zoomed. But check where his head is and where his legs are on the seat to see the difference!

I should also add, "Bald Much?" The photo of Lincoln on the left was today and the one on the right was from a few weeks ago. Less hair, more baby.

All Quiet on the Blogging Front

I haven't been posting much, though I have a lot to say, and tons of cute photos. This week can be quickly summed up like this:

-Lincoln is almost sleeping through the night
-Sawyer slept three nights all through the night
-Sawyer got an ear infection (again) and has had fevers up to 104 and is absolutely not sleeping
-Rob has had a busy week and I've had both boys at bedtime for four nights, which mostly means two kids crying at the same time and no one going to sleep

I am utterly and completely exhausted, but still feeling content for the most part. I'm surviving, but having a really hard time of it. I've been praying and definitely know that God is answering my prayers, but also that this is just how it is sometimes in life. It's not so bad--other people have it worse. But I'm not those other people; I'm me in my life right now and it's been a very challenging week.

More when I feel like I actually have time and a quiet head.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Free Tax Day!

I wish I could say tax-free day, as in we don't have to pay them, but unfortunately, that's not the case. But thanks to Tricia over at Reston Mom for this link to free things today!

Mary Kay Blowout

Remember when I thought it was a good idea for me to sell Mary Kay? Yeah, it wasn't. I am not a salesperson. The products can be great (and they are) but I just don't sell. Thankfully you can return your unused inventory to the company, which will help offset some of the start-up cost, but before I do that, I thought I'd offer out the products here. Anything in my stock is 40% off, so I'm listing what I have here. Please email me if you're interested, even if you're not local! The products are great, and at this discount, they're comparable or LESS than department store and even drugstore products.

The majority of what I have is the TimeWise skin care line, which I use on a daily basis and think is fabulous. I was once asked when not pregnant if I was pregnant, because my skin had that glow. Mary Kay did that.

TimeWise 3-in-1 Cleanser (both normal and combination/oily): $10.50
TimeWise Moisturizer (both normal and combination/oily): $13
TimeWise Night Solution: $18
TimeWise Day Solution: $18

1 Mineral Eye Color in Sweet Pink: $4
1 Mineral Cheek Color in Cherry Blossom: $6
1 Lip Liner in Chocolate: $6

I also have a bunch of medium coverage foundations, and I'm selling those off at less than 50%--they are between $2-$5. Let me know your color and I can check to see if it's in stock!

istillhatepickles at gmail dot com

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coupons, Anyone?

I've talked before about the coupon class held here by a few ladies I know. I really wanted to go, but missed out because of being sick and then having a baby. Boo! There aren't any more on the books, but will be if I can drum up interest. So please email me if you are interested in saving boatloads of money. A friend who took the class said the first time she went to the store afterward, her bill was originally $140, then the coupons knocked off $80. I'm not excited about using coupons, but I will do anything to save money at the grocery store.

Email me if you're interested--we need like 8 people locally, and I think we can do it! istillhatepickles at gmail dot com

Mantel Change #1

So, in my slow and steady mantel changes, I began tonight by repainting the shelf itself to a deeper brown. I always hated that chesnutty color, especially against that brick. It took only about five minutes and a little paint: two browns with a little black, barely mixed. I'll probably add a finish coat of polyurethane, but only if it looks weird. Now it reveals how unfinished the window looks with its lazy, half-finished paint job.

Sometimes All You Need Is a Good Drive

I've always loved a good drive. I remember once driving for like five hours up and down River Road in Richmond blasting mix tapes and eating Peeps with my best friend Emily just as it was turning spring. There's something soothing and wonderful about being in the car--speed, music, movement. I miss road trips now that we have kids, but sometimes with kids, a little mini-road trip is a great break. Because Saw hasn't been feeling good, he didn't really nap or sleep last night, and I decided Mommy needed a break from being hands-on and he needed a nap. So we jumped in the car and were off. The thing about Houston is that it's a huge city, but it's not long before you can see views like this. When I first moved here, the flatness really freaked me out, but I've always loved how huge it made the sky. Enjoy this little picture of my afternoon drive with the boys.

I'm Only a Good Mom When I Get Breaks

I know myself well enough to admit my weaknesses. And this is a big one: I really don't handle motherhood very well without breaks. I know many of you are thinking "me too!" but often when I talk to people about their normal days and weeks, I find myself thinking, There's no way I'd survive that. Rob works a lot and weird hours, but he's home a lot and is a super hands-on day. We have Sawyer in a mother's day out program already for two days a week. I have my parents come every few months to stay for a week or a few and they help enormously, and I have Rob's parents nearby who are amazingly helpful and willing to jump in when we need a hand. That's a lot more than many people I know.

And yet. On days like today when I have both boys for a number of hours, I find myself winding down. It's like I realize there is a limited number of hours I can handle this. I'm not sure what would happen at the end of them, and I've had to stop saying I am going to go crazy, because Rob took that too literally, and I don't mean literally. I do, however, become a bad mom. Impatient. Stressed. Frustrated. Angry. Not who I want to be around my kids.

I know I'm still adjusting to two, but even with one I got this way. It simply happens faster now with two. I hate this, and am sure that years of parenthood will change this. There are times I won't have choices to call for help, like I did today, asking Rob to come home after Bible study instead of going out with the kids the way he normally does. I love motherhood, I really do, but I definitely feel like those breaks are the only things that allow me the ability to be a good mom.

What a Non-Nap Looks Like

Sawyer said he wouldn't take a nap today.

Can You Really Love Your Second Child as Much as the First?

With both boys asleep for the moment--whoops, make that ONE boy--I wanted to write this post I've been writing in my head for a long time. I worried before Lincoln was born that I wouldn't be able to love him as much as I loved Sawyer. People assured me that I would, but I just didn't know. He is a special guy and our relationship is very special. And as much as I love MY babies, I'm not much of a baby person, so I thought it would be a struggle or adjustment.

Six weeks later--what's the verdict?

You can't really imagine that you'll love your second as much as your first before it happens. You can rationally think that it's probably true, but since you don't have that second one yet, you can't feel it and it's not real to you until it happens. For me, in some ways the difficult period Saw has been going through with the tantrums and rebellion has made it easier for me to bond with Lincoln. It definitely hasn't changed the way I love Sawyer (or even the way I like him), but it's made my time with Lincoln so peaceful and so much of a refuge, that I really do think it eased the transition I was worried about. I LOVE having a baby again--me, who never has been drawn to babies the way most women seem to be. I appreciate the fun and the wildness and the precociousness of Sawyer, and I also appreciate the sweetness and quiet and bobble-headedness of Lincoln. It's so sweet also to see how Saw loves him. I can't wait for Lincoln to be old enough for these two to play together--I'm going to love those moments.

So all in all, though I KNEW I would probably love my second as much, I could not have imagined how much I would love him, and how quickly, and how much our family dynamic has already changed with him around. There's just more love to go around.

Sick Days

Here's what it looks like when we have a sick boy in our house. The couch is our home. Movies are our friend.

Body After Baby: Week 1 Update

It hasn't been a week, only a few days really, but I am encouraged to have lost four pounds! And I'm eating a ton, so don't get all concerned. Here's a look at my meals this week:

Breakfast: Frittata
Snack: Cheese and almonds
Lunch: Part of a Pei Wei Chopped Chicken Salad and some actual Chicken salad
Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with artichokes and turkey sausage (Thanks Holly!) and cheese
Snack: Sauteed zucchini with goat cheese

Breakfast: Frittata
Snack: Almonds
Lunch: Whole wheat pasta with artichokes and turkey sausage and cheese
Snack: deli ham wrapped in a slice of cheese
Dinner: Rotisserie chicken and green beans wrapped in bacon

Not all of this is actually South Beach friendly (they'd tell me to eat all low-fat cheese and no bacon) or even on their first phase, where I couldn't have had even whole wheat pasta. So I am, in a sense, splurging. In any case, I feel very full and content, but happy as well that I can eat a lot of stuff I like and see the scale go down. That definitely motivates me to press on!

A Fun Fever

Last night when I was holding Sawyer, I realized that he felt really hot. Sure enough, he had a fever of 101.5. He didn't seem to feel bad, so we put him to bed like normal, hoping the fever would run its course. A few hours later, he came out of his room, babbling. Rob put him back to bed, but when he came out an hour later, we tried the Tylenol to maybe bring it down and help him sleep. Not so much. He ended up sleeping with Rob and me and Lincoln (and later, Tex), if you can call what he did sleep.

He was in a great mood with this fever, and almost sort of delirious: chatty chatty chatty. Rob and I are exhausted, but I am really amused by the stuff Sawyer was doing. He talked about Bob and and Olympics and sang Hallelujah and babbled about Jesus and nothing and said Touchdown! a lot and sang "Rain, rain, go away." Needless to say that Rob and I did not sleep very much. But on several occasions I did laugh. Right now he is playing with his cars and talking to himself and seems to feel fine. The fever isn't gone, but it's dropped (I can tell just by touching him) and so we'll just hope he recovers and we don't need yet another trip to the doctor.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Construction of a Mantel

After visiting the Nesting Place and seeing a post where people shared photos of their fireplace mantels, I got really embarrassed, and also inspired. As I said, I'm terrible with design. I love a log of things about our house, but there are about a million things that I'm "working on," like half-finished paintings that I hang on the wall anyway. My fireplace mantel was too embarrassing to even photograph: it had an old clock (which I like), a few candles, and some pine cones I'd thrown up there at Christmas. (Hey--at least I took down the greenery and stockings!)

So I'm in the process of thinking about what I want up there and building a new look. I will say that I am never going to be the kind of person who changes it for seasons, other than Christmas. I also will NOT spend money, so I'm mostly finding things around the house and buying a few if I need to. I did find one piece that I am definitely going to use. Here it is.

And open.
Hey--already we've found a half-finished project. I never got done painting it black. I also need to paint the mantel, as I really can't stand that color wood. It's too orangey for me. I also would love if it were lower, but I checked how it's attached and there is no way. There are gaping holes in the brick through which are shoved giant wooden posts attached to the mantel. So I think I'll need some things that maybe hang over the edge a bit, just to take out some of that huge space below. When you stink at imagining things in your head you haven't seen, figuring out how to decorate is a challenge. But I'm going to keep looking at photos, rummaging through my house, and heading to clearance and craft stores. Thanks to those of you who have shared neat sites for design! I'll post again when I make some progress.

Probably next year.

Tuesday Confession: Photo Edition

And there's still a load in the dryer. But at least they're all clean, right?

Houston Roller Derby--This Weekend!

If you're in Houston and want something to do Saturday night, might I suggest going to see Houston Roller Derby? It's going to be a great night, with the Brawlers taking on Beaumont's Spindletop Roller Girls followed by the always-great match up between the Psych Ward Sirens and the Bayou City Bosse$. Though I'd rather be on the track, I'm excited to be on the sidelines cheering on my Bosse$!

Last month we sold out, so get your tickets NOW at Houston Roller Derby's site. They're $12 presale and $15 at the door--if there are any at the door. Doors open at 6pm at Kicks Indoor, so if you want good seats, get there EARLY! And bring a camping chair unless you want to sit on the floor or stand. If you have not been to see a derby bout, you are missing an amazing night of athleticism and entertainment. For those of you not in Houston, check the Women's Flat Track Derby Association for derby in your town!

Better Burp...Or Else

Last night I discovered what happens if Lincoln doesn't burp after nursing. Sawyer wasn't a big burper, or a big spit-upper. He definitely spit up little bits, more than Lincoln, who never does, but did have three giant spit ups, usually on my Mom. Lincoln has the most amazing burps, and seems to get very fussy if he doesn't burp after eating, so I usually work until I get at least one. Last night I was watching him and Saw and got distracted, so gave up after a few minutes of trying to burp him. About twenty minutes later, after I'd changed into my pjs and gotten both boys into theirs, there was a sudden explosion. It was rather anticlimactic in some ways--Linc just opened his mouth. No sound. Sawyer didn't even notice. But gallons and gallons of spit up poured out all over Lincoln, me, and the sofa. More than would ever seem possible, requiring a bath and two changes of clothes.

Moral of the story: wait for those burps, even if they're a long time coming. Otherwise: regurgitated milk bath.


After two weeks of trying, I finally caught smiles on camera! Now, please note that these are not the happiest, wide-open mouth smiles that I coax out of him sometimes, but definite smiles! I was telling Ginny last night that the best way to get him to smile is to make that happy gasping kind of noise, and after trying that for a few minutes, sometimes I get out of breath. :)

Also, how cute is this snail applique onesie? The color isn't my favorite, but this was $2.50 at Walmart. Got it while waiting with the boys for my oil to be changed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nesty Nesting

I found the link to The Nesting Place over at Erin and Tanner's blog and have been rethinking my whole house ever since. I don't do well with things I can't see in front of me, so often design baffles me. I know what I like, but I can't really picture it first, I have to see it first. So this involves me hanging a lot of photos and painting a lot of walls only to undo it later. I'm really enjoying the inspiration of looking at other people's ideas and styles to figure out what I want to do here in my own.

There's a fun giveaway right now over at The Nesting Place from Dayspring-Danielson Design Studio. I played around with the custom signs you can make and this is what I came up with:

It's pretty fun! Go play with your own custom designs and get some fun inspiration at The Nesting Place. I'd love to get links to your favorite design blogs if you have any. I'll share some more of my faves later in the week!

Chaos and Cleanliness

I've found lately that cleaning has actually become something I enjoy. I crave it. This from the girl who was almost fined freshman year of college for the smell in my room upon moving out. (Ginny and I had a massive food fight IN our room and the smell of Papa John's garlic butter and Joe's mom's ambrosia never quite washed out.) Having the Shark vacuum really helps--I kind of want to vacuum every day. I don't, but I do vacuum 2-3 times a week, which is 2-3 times more than I used to vacuum.

Here's what I think it is: having a clean space combats the chaos that is a two-child household. It gives me a little bit of space in my head and some peace. It only lasts about as long as it takes for Sawyer to walk into the room, at which points it reverts back to chaos, but for those five minutes, I have peace. I kind of like the new, clean me.

Oh, and I should point out that when I say that I'm clean, it's only in relation to the before-me and my level of cleanliness. I am definitely not comparing myself to you really clean people, so if you walk into my house and wonder what "clean" I'm talking about, that explains it.

Breakfast Today: Frittata

Frittata is really fun to say. Friiiitttataaaa! Sounds like the battle cry for, like, mice. In any case, a frittata is the Italian version of an omelet. A little less fussy, and easy to make for a bunch of people. Sawyer calls it egg pizza, which is much less fun to say.

I'm not much on recipes, but to make one, you start out with lots of non-stick spray (or grease with real oil) in your normal stovetop pan (unless the handle is melty plastic), layer in whatever filler you want, then add beaten eggs and let the bottom set. Top with cheese, then transfer to the broiler and broil until it's set. Ta da! Friiiiittataaaa!

Today I made mine with spinach, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes, topped with a mix of mozzarella, parmesan, and goat cheese. Mmmm. It makes a big pan, so we have three days' worth of breakfasts. Best thing? It's on the South Beach. Oh, and it's delicious.

***Make sure you don't forget that the pan handle is hot whenever you take it out of the oven. I tend to forget after a few minutes and burn the heck out of my hand.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And the Banner Over Me...

Okay, that post title is a really bad reference to a verse in Song of Solomon...but anyway--check out my new banner! I am still working on changes to the layout, so it may change a bit. Be warned! I am terrible with design, so had to shop out. Thanks SO MUCH to Ken over at Momentum Design Studio for creating the banner I could never have imagined, but always wanted. I am so pleased.

Funny story about Ken, whom I must refer to now as Kenny, since that's how I knew him in high school. One snowy morning we were supposed to have this fun breakfast at my church before school (TBC 4 EVA) and I was giving him a ride. On the way, we discovered (much to our delight) that school was cancelled due to the snow. I don't know whose idea it was, but we stopped by this big private school parking lot on the way back to his house and did donuts in my car in the snow and it was AMAZING. Also, we didn't crash my car, which was a bonus.

We have real jobs and stuff now, but he and I both agree that we still have that much fun. THANK YOU!!

Okay, Rob Was Right

Before having Lincoln, I predicted that Sawyer would not handle a new baby well. He didn't even like it when Rob's mom held another baby in front of him, much less me. But Rob insisted that Sawyer was going to be a great big brother.

Rob was right.

I mean, there's definitely still time for him to be horrible, and I'm sure we'll have some boyfights at home (though I won't video them and sell them in Mexico), but for now, he's been great. Sawyer still loves to hold Linc ("have it?") and comes up and pets him on the head and says, "How are you?" and then tries to hug him really hard. The only thing that's scary is that he doesn't realize how strong he is and how fragile Lincoln is, so when he tries to climb on top of Lincoln for a full-body hug, he doesn't get that he's practically killing him.

Here's a great example of sweetness this morning, totally unprovoked and unsolicited by me. I was changing Linc's diaper on the couch and Saw walked up and got close to Lincoln's face and said, "I love you."

Aw. I'm okay being wrong on this one.

Body After Baby: FAIL

We're approaching the six-week mark and I can't wait to exercise! I feel like a lump. I plan to hit the gym as much as possible (which will be a challenge since I can only bring Saw to their daycare, not Linc) and also Rec league and speed skating to get back my derby skills. (And derby legs. The nicest legs I've ever had were during derby.) I don't know how it will feel, as I'm still getting used to weird sensations around my incision. I move a certain way and wonder: is that pain? Or is that just the discomfort from scar tissue? It's hard to know. I'm not bleeding or ripping open, so I guess I'm okay...

In any case, after my first big weight drop, I don't think I've lost ANY weight. Which is nuts. Maybe a few pounds. I still look probably four months pregnant, and my stomach is not something I want to even look at. And what happened to my legs?? I mean, seriously. I worked out until the ninth month, but you'd never know it from this body I'm walking around in. It's sad and bad. I'm not trying to beat myself up here--it's just an honest inventory. Backed up by the fact that clothes I wore in transition after Sawyer STILL don't fit. I was told recovering after c-section is much harder than after a vaginal birth, but this is ridiculous.

So we're kicking it up with workouts starting this week and also the South Beach Diet, which is one of my favorite diets. I don't want to call it a diet--can I call it a meal lifestyle? Because really it's the only "diet" I've found that is actually a healthy and good lifestyle choice. There are three phases of it, and the first one maybe isn't so livable, but helps kick of your weight loss. I'll probably stick to the second, since I'm nursing and don't want to be extreme--you still lose weight there, but not as quickly. The third is maintenance. Basically, it's a whole grains and meats and veggies plan. That's not a diet--that's what you should be eating anyway! I allowed myself lots of indulgences while pregnant, and then as a reward after, but I'm so sick of maternity pants and feeling gross. It's time to kick out the sweets and kick start the getting fit.

I officially declare this the beginning of the Kiki-Get-My-Body-Back campaign. (Oh, but I mean tomorrow...because this dessert does not count right now...)

Six Weeks, Yeah Right

When you have a c-section, they tell you not to lift heavy things (specifically: Sawyer) for six weeks. Here's the thing--if you have an older child at home, unless you have live-in help, you WILL be lifting that child. I know I'm not supposed to and people may fuss, but the reality is, once my parents left, there was no way around lifting him. I'd often try to avoid it, but now I've just given in and decided that it's too bad if I bust my stitches--it can't be helped.

Who else is going to put him in his high chair and get him out? Or put him in the kitchen sink for a bath? He can't be trusted to get in his car seat himself--the horn in the front seat is just too tempting--so who else is going to lift him? He is able to climb into his crib with a step-stool, but who am I kidding? He doesn't want to get in bed at night. Who else is going to put him there?

I've had some great help from Rob's mom this week as well as Rob, and honestly, even when my parents were here they caught me lifting him every now and then. It's just NOT A REALITY that you won't lift up your child for six weeks. I'm almost there, so I'm justifying, but it's frustrating to know that I shouldn't be doing it, but can't get around it. I'd be curious to know--if you had a c-section, did you disobey this (or other) doctor's order??

New Baby Fog: It Will Eat Your Brain

I've been realizing lately that having a new baby totally ruins my sense of time and its passage in the same way that living in Texas ruined my sense of seasons. I'll explain.

I grew up in Virginia. There are four seasons there: winter, spring, summer fall. You can know these seasons by the feel of the weather and the way the vegetation looks outside. Or, at last resort, by what everyone's wearing. You don't have to really consciously think about what season it is--you just kind of KNOW. Texas has two seasons. There's a definite summer, and then there's everything else. The first four years I lived here, I did not have a coat, if that tells you anything. This year was an exception as far as being really cold, but usually the rest of the year is kind of balmy. There is one week in December where any maple trees turn bright red and yellow, but other than that, the trees kind of just shed for a few months gradually and then suddenly are full and green again. People wear flip flops year round here. (I am one of them. My feet get hot in socks.) As a result, I've caught myself on more than one occasion thinking that it's the wrong season. Like the time I was frustrated more bathing suits weren't on end-of-the summer clearance only to realize that it was MAY.

In a similar way, having a new baby rocks my innate sense of when I am in time. The other day I caught myself having absolutely NO IDEA what month it was. I really had to think, then count back. Someone asked when Lincoln was born and it took me three or four seconds to remember: March. Even with a calendar in front of me, I forget when things are that I'm supposed to go to or do. The days of the week I'm pretty good at, only because Rob's schedule kind of informs me. Though this past week I definitely thought it was Friday on Wednesday. I think it's because those first few weeks are so intense, no matter if it's your first or second (or, I'd guess third or fourth or whatever). Plus you're not sleeping that much (and I won't even get INTO my middle of the night confusion or my talks with Rob at 3am) and so your body and mind are stretched a little thin from that. It's not just a blur--it's a fog. Kind of like one of those man-eating kinds from the horror movies, except it eats your brain.

So be gracious with me, and with other new Moms. We're not ditzy; we're just in new baby fog.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

More of Lincoln's Newborn Photos

Here are a few more of the great shots Marianne took for Lincoln's newborn shoot. I love them! If you are interested in seeing more of her work or want to talk with her about photos, you can check her site, Charade Photography. We are super happy and had a fun time shooting. Thanks, Marianne!

Maybe my favorite...
He practically crawled away during this pose...

And then there's this one. This photo CRACKS ME UP. This pose did not work as he kept trying to look up at the ceiling (one of his favorite things to do) and was practically falling out of the basket. Then he pooped in it. You can see by his look here that he is not having any of it.



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