Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where did Baby Jesus go?

I went to grad school for a divinity degree for various reasons I graduated with a theology one instead, but every now and again I have a mini-sermon stirring around in my head, and this is one is the most recent.

A couple of years ago for Lydia’s first Christmas we bought the ever so popular Little People Nativity set.  Each year Lydia, of course, has played with it more. It is safe to say that this year it has been a hit. My first few days back at work, Lydia would go to the door with my mom to wave goodbye and she would insist that I take Baby Jesus with me. Who am I to argue with a 2 year old saying goodbye to her mom who has been home for 6 months? So I would thank her for Baby Jesus and he would ride with me tucked safely in the space on my car door. Every day I would come home and put Jesus back on the shelf.

About a week ago, I notice that the whole holy family was missing from the plastic fisher price manager and I started to look for them and I found them in her backpack that we took over to Gram’s and Grandpa’s last week. So I pulled them out and once again placed them back on the shelf.
This past Sunday we were getting ready for church and I notice that Lydia was gathering the holy family, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, can't leave him behind. I grabbed one of her little purses so she could store her little people and off to church are our little family went. Later we got home, I placed them back on the shelf. This morning Mary and Baby Jesus are missing, again.
All of this, putting Baby Jesus back on the shelf stuff has been bouncing around in my little theological brain. Doesn’t Lydia have a better grasp of this whole thing than I do? Likely. Aren’t we supposed to be taking Baby Jesus with us everywhere we go?  

The concept of faith like a child rings loudly to me but more so the concept of the greater story. The story that starts at the manager (even though so many nativity scenes are biblically inaccurate containing both a shepherd with animals {Luke} and wisemen with gifts {Matthew} ; this is a whole other issue.) There is a reason that there are no more stories about Jesus’ childhood in the Bible (except that one when he is 12) likely because his real mark society (the world) was hitting the streets and caring for the sick, the old, and the disenfranchised. That’s the good part. The part with Jesus giving to the least, and reminding those of us that have plenty to do so as well. It’s a good thing to have a little Baby Jesus with you on the go all the time, just for that reminder.

As I mentioned before, Mary and Baby Jesus are missing at the moment from our manager, surely they are helping out a Catholic brother somewhere, reminding them of the spirit of the season as well.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thank You Cabbage Patch

During almost everyone's childhood there is a toy phenomenon. The toy that comes out that everyone must have. Perhaps it is my complete and total lack of competitiveness but there are two things I remember ever wanting, one was a pair of Guess jeans in the eighth grade which was circa 1989. They were really expensive, clocking in at about $50. At the time that was insane. My grandmother who worked as a seamstress at Maas Brothers downtown St. Pete (which has been turned partly into a theater, hamburger joint and a tattoo shop after being a museum for while.) Mass Brothers was an iconic part of the downtown, which doesn't add anything to the story other than a trivial detail. My grandmother had a mighty nice discount, so for Christmas she got me the jeans. I put those jeans on and wore them only a handful of times but not nearly as much as I should have. It turns out they weren't too comfortable and they were likely designed for people that didn't have any junk in their trunks. Plus the following year grunge hit the street and tight jeans were out.

The other thing I really remember wanting was a Cabbage Patch doll. This was only a few years earlier than the jeans which goes to show how quickly a child becomes an adolescent, but it was about 1984. The dolls were also expensive considering the era, I believe they sold for close to $30. My parents thought this was outrageous. They both worked hard, sometimes working each two jobs. They weren't slouches and they weren't nuts.

During that holiday the grocer, Kash n' Karry that was across town at the time, had a raffle for a Cabbage Patch doll. I won. I couldn't believe it. I was going to have a Cabbage Patch dolls. My mom was amazed at my luck and to be honest so was I. My dad and I arrived at the store to pick up my prize. It was a red-headed Cabbage Patch doll with pigtails. I jumped up and down. I cheered with glee. I hugged it and loved it.

A few weeks later it was Christmas and I got to have another Cabbage Patch thanks to my aunt who gave me one for Christmas. When I unwrapped the box unknowingly and saw that the doll was exactly the same. It was another red-headed pig-tailed doll. I cried. I was so disappointed. I wanted to have two different dolls. I wanted it to appear that I had variety. It was truly one of the only moments I remember of my childhood where I wanted to appear as if we had more (the other being those jeans.) If I had two Cabbage Patch dolls that would be something. Even now, if I try I am not sure why I thought it would be so difficult to explain why these dolls were the same. The dolls, of course, had different names and all. My poor Aunt who always managed to get me things that were cool and my poor embarrassed parents were stunned at my reaction since I had never behaved liked this before. They told me to thank my aunt. I couldn't stop crying. My mom eventually told me that it wasn't the baby's (the doll) fault that her father had red hair.

I got over it. I played with those dolls and loved them. Sat them down in my pretend classroom and graded their pretend papers. I fed them and put them to bed. I made up stories about them being twins that were separated at birth and joyfully reunited. I grew up and had children with a red bearded man and my parents had saved these dolls. We washed and dressed them. Now each one of my daughters gets to have one of my childhood dolls and since they are exactly the same, they can't even fight about them. It 's actually perfect.

My mom got Lydia a Cabbage Patch doll the last two Christmases. The newborn kind which are age appropriate. I thought it would be fun to get Vivian one, since the one Lydia has is so cute. They don't make the one she has with the giggle anymore. So I went to Ebay. In my search, I found Cabbage Patch Sisters. There is an older sister and a little baby sister. My 12 year old heart almost busted. I want to give these dolls to my girls, especially this year. It would be perfect for them to have the sister dolls big. So the bidding has begun. I hope I have the same dumb luck that I had 28 years ago with a much deeper understanding of thankfulness. Even though this is different, the emotions are interwined together and I want to be sure to deeply thankful this time, even if I don't win these dolls.

Thanksgiving Foods: The Sequels

Every year we make a crap ton of food and every year we have a crap ton of leftovers. This year I wanted to be sure to reinvent our leftovers so we wouldn't grow tired of them and we would use a vast majority of them. Of course the first post night we ate simply left overs, the second turkey sandwiches with nice Italian bread. After that the creative juices were a flowing.

 My mom and grandpa have been using my homemade cranberry sauce as a jelly. So on toast, bagels, sometimes they add a little butter or cream cheese. My mom even used some as a topping for a bowl of ice cream.

My dad took the shredded turkey that is peeled off the bird and turned them into croquettes. I made a very tasty turkey, vegetable and orzo soup in the crock pot. My hubs which is not a huge soup fan loved it. And he bragged so much about it that several co-workers of his asked for the recipe. Here is the recipe I created:

16 oz Organic Chicken Stock (next year I will make my own)
can of diced unsalted tomatoes rinsed
2 cloves of garlic
half of a large onion
green peppers
salt and pepper
basil leaf

I threw it all in there. I wish I had more specific amounts to share but I don't really roll that way. It was on high for 4 hours and then I clicked it down to low for another 2. Once we were ready to eat I cooked the orzo separately and added it to the soup. Awesome. Seriously my mom even loved it!

Often I make chicken enchiladas with the extras of a rotisserie chicken the next day but this time I had turkey. The key to enchiladas to me is cilantro which I was out of. So I rolled up turkey in my tortillas with cooked onions, garlic, and tomatoes and placed them into a 9 x 13 glass casserole dish. Since I was out of cilantro I squeezed a fresh lime over the entire pan until I could see some liquid in the between the crevasses of the rolls. I poured a can of red enchilada sauce  and covered it with shredded cheese.I put it in the over for 30 minutes at 350. I served it with sour cream and salsa. Always easy and always tasty.

I had one last big idea this time but sadly didn't get to try it out because the leftover window closed in on us rather quickly. There are empanada shells that are sold in the freezer section which are bakable which is better for you than fried. I thought it would be great to make some with turkey, mashed potatoes and peas, sort of like a perogie and others with sweet potatoes and turkey. I was going to experiment a bit but didn't get a chance. Next time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Reflection on Time

The moment you have a child everyone tells you how fast it goes. People wake up and suddenly their children are graduating from high school, getting married or having their own children. They are stunned by how time has flown by and a sadness sets in. It is never said but understood that the person has missed it. The high speed train of life just pushed them off on the almost last stop and it went by without even a flinch. This makes me feel anxious, almost a feeling of panic.. Matter of fact, my armpits are a little sweaty just contemplating this phenomenon.

However, consider this, when you have to prepare and deliver a speech in front of a large group, time stands still. When you trip at the mall, on stage, getting into the pew on Sunday morning time freezes. Try standing on one foot and patting your head for 30 seconds without looking at a clock, chances are you will glance before the half minute has passed. Surely I am not the only one that juggles more than one thing during the day, at work I put in my lunch in the microwave in the faculty lounge for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I hit start go to the rest room to pee, wash my hands, glance at myself in the mirror, return to the lounge, check my faculty mailbox and more often than not my food is still not ready. At home, I can change a diaper, find Dora, fill a sippy cup, put the wash in the dryer and grab the mail as the beeping alerts me of readiness of my meal. Time can stand still if we want it to.

In the spirit of taking time by its reins and enjoying my daughters, I intentionally take a deep breath and watch them slowly. I take in the squeal from Lydia and the babbling from Vivi. I cuddle with them often and make sure to take a whiff of their baby scents (though the toddler isn't always so sweet.) The other night we put on Christmas music while we decorated the tree and we danced in our big empty living room, Eliot with Lydia and I with Vivian cheek to cheek. Tears of joy rolled down my face as it dawned on me that moments such as those are unique. We may never have that again. Partly because eventually I would like to get furniture for that room, but partly because it will become harder to carry them in our arms. But I didn't miss it. I have stored the moment in heart forever.

Life will go by. It's part of the point. I am sure in 20 years I too will wonder where time has gone, but I refuse to live a life being enveloped by a fast paced society. I want every day to stop and smell the roses; to notice what my children have learned and spend time in our home together nurturing them every single day despite the to-do list, and despite the social commitments. I am devoted to living a slower life; to "sucking the marrow out of life" as Thoreau would demand, to enjoying time instead of being frustrated with time. I am thankful for the time we do have each and everyday. I will suck the marrow and store every drop in my heart all the days of life.

Monday, September 10, 2012


At this moment the rare both of my children are asleep. I would join them but some how I am not tired and I thought I would catch up on my blogging.

About month ago Lydia started preschool. She enjoyed waking up and going to school. She liked dancing during Chapel time and learning about colors and shapes. We had chosen a United Methodist preschool that is near Berkeley which means that now that I am maternity leave it's about a thirty minute drive to drop her off. My entourage (grandparents and Vivian) would go with me. I would be have a couple of hours before returning to pick her up.

About one week ago Vivian woke up stuffy and it happen to be her one month appointment. She had gained one pound and half in just two weeks, grew a full inch and expanded her head circumference all putting her in the 50th percentitle. She was also dripping with boogers and fussy. My pediatrican said she had a cold and it was likely going to turn into RSV. This is often manifested as the common cold for most adults and older children but the virus in infants can pretty bad. It may require hospitalization, oxygen treatments or more. She told me to watch her breath to make sure she wasn't struggling. This is somewhat where the sense of panic begun.

Rewind a few months ago, one of the other pediatricans in the practiced at advised not to start Lydia in preschool until she was 5. This particular doctor is old school and to be honest it is a little unrealistic considering the pressures for academic success in our society but suddenly, we are hit with a whole house of sick people and the wheels in my head started turning...Lydia technically is still one. She still has time before needing to be in preschool.

So those wheels created a pro/con list...

The Pros
  • Lydia loves to learn.
  • She loves to be with other kids.
  • It was only a few hours a day.
  • It would relieve some pressure from the abuelos who now would have 2 kids to take care of.
  • The sooner one is engaged in learning formally perhaps the more one learns.
The Cons
  • Lydia's birthday is after the school cut off thus she will have 4 years of preschool rather than just three. Why start the pressure now? Why buy into the hype already?
  • Kids get sick at preschool a lot as they build ammuities, why expose Vivian to being sick that in her infancy when she doesn't have to be exposed to it.
  • Time alone with grandparents is precious and priceless and we have the luxury of them being able and willing to care for both girls.
And so we pulled Lydia out of school. It was something I really wrestled with because I didn't want to seem like a crazy mom putting her kid in school and then turning around and taking her out two seconds later. But at the end of the day, I think it will be for the best for both girls. Vivian seemed to skid away from actually developing RSV but that was a rough few nights of her sleeping and me watching her like a mama hawk. Just think Lydia will have another very first day of preschool next year.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Troll Toilet Explosion

Setting the Stage: We have a lot going on. There is no doubt. We have purchased a new house which is in the middle of being renovated. We have an infant which is about 3 weeks old and an almost two year old who has started preschool. Our current home will (God willing) be rented and we are hoping to have this house rented by October 1 which means a little staging (to use an HGTV term) needs to be done as well in the middle of our boxes and child rearing.

The Event: This morning Eliot went to meet his parents at our new house to help paint and complete various other tasks. Lydia has had breakfast. Vivian is the process of having breakfast thus I am bound ot her in a chair. Lydia is sitting on the floor in a sea of baby dolls and stuffed animals and she emerges with a little troll doll with hot pink hair. She asks me to take off the shirt she is wearning which I do. A minute later, Lydia returns and points to the troll's bare butt and questions, "poo poo?" I say, "yes, poo poo, she must need to use the toilet." Lydia goes off and plays. I assume for a moment that she went into her bedroom, but then I hear splashing.

"Lydia, where are you?"
The loud sound of a dunk.
The scurring of tiny feet.
Splish Splash...drip drip...

Troll Toilet Water Explosion!

Lydia comes to show us that the Troll has gone poo poo! Oddly her excitement does not match mine when I realize that there is trail of toilet troll water from the bathroom, along the hallway walls, all the way to the living room reaching the kitchen, which has managed to touch every surface including now the hungry Vivian and the trapped mom. Sigh.

The troll has been in time out for the rest of the day. I figured it was his fault.

Having two kids is not for the faint of heart, that is for sure. The moment you think you have a minute, you don't. It's hard work. Not that I would change a thing!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Things are going well here at the homefront. Lydia is enjoying her sister. Just tonight she was sitting in her high chair finishing up dinner stating "My turn hold sister." She was ready to hold her sister which she has been doing everyday for at least a little bit. Vivian sleeps fairly well and eats even better.

Matter of fact, Vivian is an eating champ. She latches well and fills her belly, sometimes for 20-30 minutes at a time on one side. There are stretches that she eats for 30 minutes on one side, stops to burp and eats some more on the other side usually another 20 or so minutes. That is a full hour of eating. As a mom that has dealt with babies (or toddlers) that do not eat I couldn't be more thrilled that she has a healthy appetite. However, sometimes she eats for a full hour, rests for a short bit and will eat again, this of course is also perfectly normal, I believe it's called cluster feeding, but it can be a little tiring.

Actually, the super eating baby is tearing up my nipples. It is normal for there to be discomfort. It is also normal for the nipples to suffer blistering, rawness, peeling, ultimatley leaving the area very tender. I am using warm towels, lanolin ointment, soothing gels, long showers but it hurts. It hurts just sitting here typing. But the real pain is when it's time to feed her again. The latching is so painful I want to scream. Once she is on the pain fades significantly but it still uncomfortable, not as bad as wanting to cry out but enough to wince through it.

Moms make many sacrifices for their children but I still need to remember the big picture.

Because of this I have a new mantra:
There is nothing better than breast milk for a baby.
There is nothing better than breast milk for a baby.
There is nothing better than breast milk for a baby.

A moment of relief is that I am thankful that all socks seem to stay on her feet.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And then there were TWO...

Vivian Josefine has arrived! We are so excited to have this new precious little girl in our lives. Vivian's name came from a love of classic names by Eliot and I, like Lydia. Josefine is in honor of my dad's mom, Josefa. I never was able to meet her but she was an amazingly strong woman whom I have been told to have inherited a lot of my personality, strength and smile from. I wanted to honor my father who has always worked harder than imaginable, loved silently but strongly and would move mountains if he could for his family.

The birth story was so lovely. Labor pains began erratically a couple of weeks a head of time. Once week earlier to her arrival my ob had said that I was dilated 2 centimeters. Contractions had progressed off and on throughout the following week. At about 1am contractions became fairly regular being about 20 minutes about with a duration of about one minute. 4am I woke up Eliot and told him to call into work that I was in labor. I had my weekly ob appointment that morning at 8:30 and decided to go to the appointment and have them take a look. The verdict was that I was 4-5 cm and that I should head to the hospital.
By the time we were checked in and given a labor room, I was at 6cm and I asked for the epidural. I wish I had developed some fantastic philosophical stance on this issue, but my first birth experience I labored for 18 hours with pitocin without pain medication, it was brutal and I was exhausted. This time, even though I was progressing well, I wasn't going play the martyr. So I went for the drugs and I am glad. By the time, anesthesia came in I was at 7cm. There was no need for additional medications at all. I continued to progress rapidly, now feeling comfortable. A couple of hours later my ob, who was fantastic, came in with a team of nurses which I can't say enough nice things about either, and took a look. She wanted to see how I pushed. I pushed once, Vivian flipped into position, then I pushed twice more and she was here. They placed her on my chest. Vivian latched almost immediately and she nursed for a full hour before even been assessed. It was amazing.

Considering that one of the issues with gestational diabetes is the size of the baby, Vivian was actually almost an entire pound less than Lydia. I never once had a high blood sugar result in the 8 weeks of testing. I actually will say in all honesty that having the diagnosis actually made me a worst patient. Since I never had a high result and I didn't gain a pound in the last 6 weeks, I ate what I pleased. I know and I am sorry to all my girlfriends that have struggled on so many of the issues of pregnancy weight and medical intervention, but I didn't do anything special. Despite a lifetime of being weight conscience and dealing with genetic dispositions to body types and metabolism, pregnancy apparently is my golden ratio, the perfect biological storm, so to speak.

My biggest fear about having a second child was how it was going to effect our first, Lydia. I have to say that she is doing great. She is young and doesn't quite understand her own strength but she really seems to love her sister. Lydia is a strong extroverted personality and has previously shown clearly the emotions of jealously and loves to be the center of attention. Thus a new person on the stage could have been a real struggle for her. Mind you it has been 72 hours, we are just getting into our daily lives. So far our strategy has been not to talk about Lydia being jealous OR the center of attention OR anything else negative around her. Kids are smart. She is young not dumb so we don't want to reinforce ideas that need not be at the forethought of any one's mind.

The other thing, I really feared that picture where the older sibling holds the baby sibling. For years I have seen toddlers holding infants in that pose and I have been thinking that is just crazy. Who does that? Who lets their babies hold a baby? Just as Lydia gets bored of Mickey and tosses him over her shoulder I figured that would be Vivian flying over the very same shoulder. What I learned is that Lydia needed to hold her. She watched family and friends visit and everyone wants to hold the baby. She needed to be able to hold her too. Lydia needed to see what the big deal was. So slowly we have let her. I think it helps her be a part of things, mind you, I don't leave the scene to get coffee or see something shiny at that moment but, I take deep breath and let the sisters have their moment.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Old Lady that Swallowed the Fly

       Lydia has been taking swim lessons all summer. Recently there was a switch in her class so we have been going in the morning rather than in the evening. My dad has been joining us because it was getting difficult getting her in and out of the carseat by myself being as pregnant as I am. The other day while Lydia was swimming, Abuelo diligently watching her every move and I scheduling another contractor, we all over hear a conversation.

       To our right there was a mother, a grandmother, a granddaughter and an impatiently impending swimmer. The grandmother begins to read a book to her granddaughter, " There was an old woman who swallowed a fly...WHAT? That is ridiculous." The other waiting moms and Abuelo room erupted into laughter. Her reaction was so surprising. So shocking, I am not sure any of us could hold in our amusement at her response.
      She sighs but continues, "I don't know why she swallowed a fly she may die. WHAT kind of book is this?" Her daughter tries to explain it is a little bit of a classic but doesn't quite convince her. The grandmother continues to read  each page accompanied with additional consternation. Once she arrives to the old woman swallowing the dog that was it. Her next, "WHAT!" was followed by her daughter taking the book from her and instruction the little girl to get a more "Toddler appropriate story to read."
        On the other side of the room, three moms discussed the story. One woman stated that she had remembered the story  as a child to read "I guess she will cry." Another woman stating that she was a preschool teacher agreed and said that she herself had always read the book to her students omitting the death portion and replacing it with crying instead.
         I pondered for a while this odd scenario that unfolded before me. We read this book to Lydia all  the time. I never once considered that she would think that someone would actually swallow any of these animals, however I suppose if she did I am glad that the result would be death. I wouldn't want to her to think eating a fly or a spider on purpose would just be a few tears. Spiders are dangerous tiny creatures and if Lydia attempted to eat an entire horse I am fairly sure that the horse may react poorly. Despite these practicalities, the other consideration is why would we want to shield our children from death completely?

        Death is not a fun life lesson. It just isn't. Nevertheless, it is a part of the human experience. Isn't it preferable to mention death in an absurd or fantastical fairy tales prior to having real loss in life? To me, it is. It is better than being side swiped by the finality of being; the child would at least know that it exists, it happens.
       Cognitively Lydia is not ready to conceive of death, however the little girl at swim was 6-7 years old, she may have some ideas or  more importantly, questions. Why not have the conversation? Why not allow at the very least  for the Old Woman's poor decision making be a conversation? I ask Lydia if she think it's silly, and she says "Ya" and laughs. Surely the average 6 year old doesn't think that this woman actually ate the farm. So why avoid it?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

4 Food Tries from Pinterest

Pinned ImageI made these a couple of months ago for a Pharmacist pot luck dinner and then again for Cinco de Mayo. Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes...seriously, who comes up with these things? I don't know and to be be honest, I don't even care. Absolutely delicious, over the top, only can eat one in an hour, good! They were also super easy to make. I put in cupcake wrappers, I pulled out the oreos spread a little peanut butter on top of each, stacked them in two inside of the wrapper. In a separate bowl, I made the brownie batter and then using a regular spoon I poured the mix on each. Placed them in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes and viola! Decadence in a cupcake wrapper. I will say that the second time I made them particulary but also the first but not as much, the wrapper got stuck. We spent a lot of time peeling the wrapper and trying to avoid eating paper. I think if I made them again, I would just butter spray the muffin pan and pour it in. Oh and because I wasn't going to make more than a dozen of these, I made the rest of the batter into brownie bites by pouring them into the mini muffin pan. No waste and a sweet bite that is a little less extreme. Only 3 stars because the darn wrapper situation. It annoyed me.

Pinned ImageTuna Salad with Peas which was super easy to make and very good. I think Eliot and I ate in under two days. I did add dijon mustard because well it's a pasta salad of sort and I think it adds something good. I also added a little fresh cilantro because I had some on hand and it fits the flavor profile with tuna and lemon. I only had sweet onions on hand because we always use those instead of the red onion. I am not sure I notice the difference too much on that but it's just my preference. We would give this a 5 stars.

Pinned ImagePot roast in the crock pot has been a long time battle for me. It has never turned out as moist as I had hoped. This little recipe was amazing. The picture from pinterest did not lead to a link. All it had was a little caption that said to mix a packages of brown gravy, zesty italian dressing, ranch dressing and 1/2 a cup of water but it in the crock pot. Didn't even say how long. With the help of our friendly Publix meat man we selected a rump roast. I seasoned it with salt and garlic powder because I can't imagine not doing do. I made the mixture and poured it over the roast in the crock pot and set it on low. We kept it in there for 6-7 hours at least. It was really really good. It was tender and easy to slice. The juices were tasty and complementary instead of overly salty as many things crock pot cooking recipes have. We were delighted. It was easy. The only disappointment was that I didn't add potatoes or carrots or anything with it in there, perhaps that was why it was so successful. I made sweet potatoes on the side. 5 stars.

Lasagna rolls was my food project for tonight. I like the idea that you don't need to cut through the many layers of pasta and it is also a low carb change as well. To be honest, I didn't even open up the recipe. I just mixed in a bowl garlic, fresh Italian herbs, low fat ricotta, spinach and a handful cherry tomatoes that needed to be eaten. Of course added a little salt and pepper, I cooked the pasta and cooled it with cold water. Using a spoon I simply smeared the mixture and rolled the pasta.I used about 10 pieces, which isn't too much. However for us it was just enough. The recipe on from pinterest loaded up the pasta more which I think made them a little taller and a little fuller. It looks like they fit 12 pieces in the standard glass baking dish. I also put a little sauce on the bottom and the covered up top instead of in the middle. It was good. It was easy. It missed a little something for me, so perhaps next time I will make the recipe rather than roll with the inspiration. I would give it 3 1/2 stars.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Potty Training Woes

A few weeks ago Lydia went poo poo in the potty. It was an accidental event, I happen to catch her just as she needed to go and put her on the toilet. We made a huge deal there was dancing, m&ms and hi-fives all around. So we decided to get this party started.

We have a little potty that will sing when you go, we got books and even a doll that has her own potty. For months every time one of us goes we make the announcement so she understands what we are doing. She waves bye bye as we flush the toilet. She squats when she goes and even when it's time for number two she usually likes to find a place alone to do her business. She will immediately tell us and we change her diaper. All the signs point to her being ready.

Her perdiatrian actually suggested that we started the process at her 18 month visit, but we waited because the summer seemed like a better time to be able to really put some time into this project. Her doctor suggested that we give her a drink that is tasty that she never gets, put on her favorite show, sit the potty in the middle of the room and keep her without her diaper. When she is ready, you have her sit on the potty and then throw the party. Do this a couple of times and she will get it. Admittedly, it seemed easy enough.

This passed Saturday, we got up, I took her to 7-11 got slurpees. Hers was a yummy strawberry fanta. I opted for more of classic, which really was neither here nor there. We can home. Placed potty in the middle of the room. Turned on Disney Junior. Took off diaper.
Two minutes passed. Suddenly I see Lydia standing next to the potty, watching TV and urinating without any reaction. I keep it together. I clean it up. I don't want to give her negative reinforcement since she doesn't understand.

As I throw the soiled towels into the garage and paper towels in the trash, I see that she has overturned the racing red slurpee on the rug. I can't contain myself, I say NO! Lydia we don't spill drinks on purpose. I go and get things to clean it up. She is now squating as I clean, once I am done scooping up the slurpee and patting the rug. She stands up. She has peed again.

I immediately take her and put a diaper on. That was it. A diasterous 30 minutes of training. Though I have a little guilt about not giving it a better post graduate try, the thing is that I am just really pregnant. It's not so easy to be on all fours cleaning, and wiping every couple of minutes all while maintaining a sense of cool which would be useful for a toddler during pottery training rather than a cranky pregnany mom, that aches as she climbs up to an up right position again.
Lydia 1, Potty Training Mom 0

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Loving!

I started my day by sitting on the stoop of my little house eating a mango with my toddler. It was delightful. I peeled and slowly sliced up a mango and she yelled at an ant, "Stop Bug!"

Last week Eliot had the week off so we were able to really enjoy ourselves. We went to see Brave which we all really loved. This being Lydia's second movie theater experience she did very well. There were moments where she got very invested in the movie and would scream, "Stop Bear!" or shake her finger while saying "No no! Bear!"

We had a throw back Fourth of July in Temple Terrace with a neighborhood parade, time with friends, swimming in the pool, and fireworks! Thankfully we didn't forget the hotdogs and watermelon! Lydia was much more startled this year with the loud noises than she was last year. We had to explain to her that it was okay. She would yell, " Stop hurt!" We had to ask her where it hurt and explain that she was actually okay. It worked off and on, but everytime it came out of no where she would be upset again. Not much for loud surprises.

A great day at Busch Gardens, which really does have a fantastic kid area. Lydia really could play all day in the water area. This time we had lunch right next to the splash pad part. There are several areas with water and two side by side splash pads but this one was for the little ones which was perfect. We say under an umbrella table, she played and we had lunch for a very reasonable price considering it's a theme park and it was all you can eat. Lydia cried when we left that area. She kept trying to get back in the water. Eliot would grab her and she would say, "Stop Daddy! No no!"

We ended or began the week with a perfect day at the beach with the Bohrers. The water temperature was perfect and there was a slight breeze that made it super pleasant. I know I lost track of time. We had a nice lunch too. For a good chunk of the time, Lydia was a little intimidated by the movement of the Gulf. She would tell us all, "Me no want!" but slowly she warmed up, thanks to Uncle Matt and Aunt Megan who both convinenced her to get closer and closer. As we hiked out of the beach, she didn't even want to leave, walking super slow and trying to run back towards the beach.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's Hot!

We all know I am pregnant. We all know that I am in Florida and it's Summer, but it really is hot! The afternoons are really suffocating. Lydia and I have been getting a move on in the mornings to run errands or have some sort of fun activity before the heat gets us. It is unbearable from 1-6. Therefore in the afternoon, we nap. Sadly, our home air conditioning can not keep up with the blazing sun, even though it is set for 74 it is still 80 in the house. This is normal for Florida, I know, but it's still frustrating. I keep all the windows closed after 2pm to minimize heat creeping into the house and making things worse, every fan is on and Lydia and I are both just in long tank tops.

Today we are chilling in the bedroom watching Dora and we have brought in the additional occulating fan to be a bit more comfortable. Lydia loves the fan so much she dances in front of it and hugs it. She occassionally will say Thank You to the fan, which honestly, I totally get. So we will sit, sip lemonade and wait until at least after 6:30 to see that outside world again.

Most of this was written weeks ago, but today is not any different. Yesterday we drove by a bank that said it was 103 outside. It's hot. We are catching up on DVR shows until later this evening and then we are heading to the largest Splash Pad in Pinellas: Dunedin Splash Park and Highlander Park! Woohoo! Of course if we can manage to get ourselves motivated in this heat.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Camp! Kinderarts

Last summer I took Lydia to her first Berkeley Summer Camp which was Kindermusik. It was a class for infants to 17 month olds. This year the camp was Kinderarts which included music and art! The first 30 minutes were Kindermusik. Music is very interactive with instruments and dancing. The curriculum gives you the CD and read a long book at the beginning of the week so you can play it for your little one. Lydia now from the backseat will sing, clap and identity sounds she learned in class. Then there is a short snack and potty break and 30 minutes of art.

Every day was a different art project. First day finger painting.

Second day they drew chalk outlines of themselves.

Third day sponge painting with cool sponge stamps. Lydia really enjoyed this, she made 3 pieces!

Fourth day, Lydia woke up with little red dots all over her. Last week she had an ear infection and was given antibotics. She was close to finishing the dosage so it may have been an allergic reaction. The other option that was given was that everything could have been viral related and the red dots come out at the end of a virus which I had never heard of until I had a baby. Either way we didn't make it to camp on this day, but the teacher called us to check on us and they saved our first Fleming Fine Arts Camp Shirt that they decorated. We will decorate it together at home.

Fifth day Lydia made a mask!

The only day I managed to take pictures of music was today Friday. Here the they were riding in their own buses around town. These two loved each other. They were high fiving. Lydia really likes playing with scarves but this was in between her dancing to the tunes.

The week of music and art was so fun. Lydia looked forward every day to going to school and it was the perfect amount of time. The activities change quickly enough for her. The teachers and other children were fantastic. I can't say enough great things about our experience now as a toddler and even last year as a 9 month old. There is still time to enroll and I have to say I am tempted to sign up again. The teachers said they change things up every week in case someone wants to take it more than once. Check out Berkeley Summer Programs.

After our last class class we went to Citrus Park Mall which I will claim to be the most child friendly mall ever. We did a little shopping we went to the family restrooms where Lydia got to wash her hands at a sink her size and thought it was the greatest thing ever.

Chik-fil-a for lunch. I know everyone loves these guys but they are so nice. They offered twice to help me to my table and then swung by to see if we needed anything. What fast food food court place does that? Plus Lydia's toy was a great book. We love those! I will say sometimes waiting for her to eat 4 nuggets (they are tore into pieces for cooling purposes) can take a long time. But she is experimenting putting her mandarin oranges in ketchup, of course.

Citrus Park not only has the best kid stores in my opinion with Gapkids and Gymboree located in the same place, but a carousel,play area, arcade, mini dollar rides, and even a play area in a very clean family bathroom suite if you have multiple kids it's perfect. After shopping, lunching and playing we headed home for afternoon naps. It was the end to a great week.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Week Two and Toddler Troubles

There are so many things that moms talk about when it comes to their children. And there are so many other things that random strangers are willing to share with you for no reason at the Target or the Publix. There still always seems to be a few surprises. Things that no one tells you and you just find out on your own. Perhaps some things are obvious but I am an only child and thus have had no clue about some of the happenings.
However, I am willing to wager that somethings aren't discussed because there is a subtle feeling of guilt that perhaps you are the worse parent in the world because your toddler has once again thrown food all over the floor for no apparent reason and you scream NO so loud you a little embarassed to admit it. The days that no matter how many items you present your child with for entertainment the only place they want to be in in the nook under your butt in between your legs and you feel a little nutty because all you want to do is turn around in the kitchen without knocking your kid to the floor. Or the days you have given in to every food option your toddler has requested and they still haven't eaten anything  at all and you give up knowing they must be hungry. The days you are trying to reason with the possessiveness of your toddler when everything in the universe is "Mine! Mine! Mine!" when in fact, the IPhone, Pandora bracelet and check card are not actually theirs. The result: a total and complete hysterical meltdown. You: shrug your shoulders and take the chance to pee alone.

Having a toddler is challenging. They are little people with little words wanting to do things like big people in a big world. My child is not any more neurotic or demanding as someone elses, they all have good days and bad days which is total expected, so why aren't mommies revealing these days? I am lucky to have girlfriends that do and I am thankful for them to normalize moments in parenting such as these.

This week was a wash. Literally due to the Tropical Storm, but also because Lydia got her first ear infection ever (I had a ton as a kid, so my heart goes out to her deeply.) So we spent a lot of time laying around as she broke fever after fever and eventually started antibotics. We have watched what felt like hundreds of hours of Dora, Mickey and whatever animated delight was on the tube. The guilt of my child's brain melting away piece by piece as the minutes on the television shined before us, but whatelse do people do when their babies are lethargic and want to cuddle in bed. Sit in silence putting on puppet shows for 10 hours a day? We read books. Drew some pictures but I admit it, I let my toddler watch TV. I am pretty sure she will okay. However, the home boundness did facilitate her first poo in the big girl potty! We are on our way to jump on the potty training train. This coming week we have Kinderarts Camp which luckily is an indoor activity that Lydia will surely love.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Day Trip #2: Florida Southern College

This week's adventure was to my alma mater, Florida Southern College, to see the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in the world. Wright was an eccentric to put it mildly and the first president of FSC, Spivey, during the depression appealed to his ego and asked him to build a temple to education. The result was 12 buildings several created by students themselves that traded their labor for an education during the depression and once World War II started the men left and building continued to be erected by the fully female labor which is amazing when you consider the lack of technology and the innovation that Wright required.
Walking along the Water Dome which was covered when I was a
 student and finally resurrected in 2007.

In front one of the columns that was Wright's vision of an orange tree.
These line the campus covered walkways.

Inside the chapel, Annie Pfeiffer

We arrived in Lakeland at 11 ready for our personal tour which was provided by the retired head of registration who likely gave me my first scheduled at the college. He was knowledgeable and entertaining and it really was a treat to have him share stories of folks that remember the various personalities to took to create the campus and have it grow as successfully as it has. Eliot being a Cheesehead like Wright, really enjoyed seeing his work personally. The campus has recently been named a national landmark and they have rekindled a relationship with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation which will likely result in a bit more press regarding the collection.
The Ordway theater in the round which had
very cool sound tricks

Eliot on the second floor of the Roux library
Next to the Hindu Temple which was the sight
of a little TRPi fun our Senior year
One the great treats for me was getting to see an old professor, Dr. Smith, and the religion department administrative assistant a week before she retired. I worked a work study shift with her for years and it was so nice to see her. If it wasn't for that gig I might have missed a few more classes so I credit Bev for keeping me in check often. Such amazing people I have been blessed to encounter in life and these are certainly two of them. It was really nice day and we were enjoyed the campus, more so than I did as a student that's for sure.