Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Some Days.....

It's days like these that I understand why some mothers can beat their children. Not saying I beat mine, but just that I understand the frustration and wanting some way to get your point across. Days like these I just want to shake my head, laugh, cry, and scream - all at the same time.
Currently I'm listening to Nathan cry, scream, and kick the wall next to his bed. Do something, you say? Don't allow that type of behavior? I've spanked him at least 5 times already. I've tried explaining what I expect, giving in to his little requests... No blanket, yes blanket, no Cat, I want Cat!, music, music off!, new diaper.... No dice. He's just going to get ignored until he falls asleep.
Also screaming is Jacob, who refuses to sleep. He was asleep in my arms.... Until as we went up the stairs, we encountered Nathan coming down the stairs. When told (quietly but firmly) to get back in bed, Nathan wailed all the way back up, waking Jacob. Jacob did settle back, until I laid him down in his crib, and he jerked his head up and started wailing - he refuses to go to sleep on his own. And he has reached the age where he can throw a tantrum when I do try to make him cry it out - screeching whenever he sees me. (And I doubt that Nathan screaming in the next room is helping things at all.)
Ooh. Silence?
If Jacob fell asleep on his own, I will fall over in shock.
I live for the day that I can say, "Naptime!" and they will both go to sleep on their own and I will know that I have at least 2 hours of Me Time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Food Experiment.... WIN!

I was at a loss for what to make for supper last night. As I was rummaging around in the freezer to find some sliced cheese to make Nathan a grilled cheese sandwich, I found a package of stir fry. I thought that sounded good, especially considering we needed a healthy meal to offset the deep-fried extravaganza we had on Monday.
Even though I usually buy stir fry 4 bags at a time, because I use two each time I make it, I could only find one bag. So I thought I'd "beef it up" with other vegetables we had. I threw in some kidney beans, corn, and peas, and stood looking at it. I was talking to Paul on the phone, and I said, "This doesn't look like Asian. It looks more.... Mediterranean." I have no idea what that meant, just that it didn't look like the typical stir fry that you put soy sauce on and eat with chopsticks and rice.
So that brought up the question of how to season it. My first thought was balsamic vinegar. But what else? A quick perusal of several recipes brought the decision to add basil, oregano, garlic, and Parmesan to the mix. Paul suggested olives, and we had a winner! We spent the first half of the meal chewing slowly and thoughtfully, trying to decide what we thought of it. It was definitely not like anything I've made before!
I'll shut up and get to the recipe. And because this is how I cook, I have no idea how much of anything I put in. I just shook stuff in 'til it looked good. Obviously, adjust to suit your own tastes.

1 bag vegetable stir fry (the usual - broccoli, green beans, carrots, water chestnuts, etc)
frozen corn (a couple handfuls)
frozen peas (a couple handfuls)
chicken (cut into bite-size pieces)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, cut into thin sticks
basil (1/2 tsp?)
oregano (1/2 tsp?)
minced garlic (1/4 tsp?)
balsamic vinegar (2-3 tablespoons?)
cayenne (a few shakes)
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in skillet. Add chicken, cook until done. Add carrot. Add frozen vegetables and stir fry for 5(ish) minutes. Add beans. When vegetables are done, add seasonings and vinegar. Top with parmesan cheese and crumbled olives.

Changes I would make: We ate it over rice, because I was planning an asian stir fry. But in retrospect, I think it would taste great over pasta - maybe bow-tie pasta. And I think it would taste better with thin-sliced beef. (Although I didn't really add enough chicken to even taste it this time. ) Also I'm not sure if I would add the cayenne... It gave it a kick, but the main reason I added it was because Paul is having sinus congestion, and I wanted to see if that would clear it out. (I've heard it does... But it didn't.) Oh, and the only reason I used a raw carrot, was because Nathan said he wanted to eat itit, and walked around the house nibbling it, but only ate like 1/2 inch off the end. So I just chopped it up and threw it in. And it does need the parmesan on top when you serve it. It really changes the taste. Normally, I don't necessarily care for parmesan, but this time, it made the dish.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Home Improvements

In the last two weeks, we've done something to all the main rooms of our house.
In the bathroom, we installed this:

It is awesome. There is a magnet that holds the little seat in the lid. We still have the little potty for now, but Nathan is quickly outgrowing it. I'm thinking next time it gets bleached it's going to disappear. Getting this has greatly increased his interest in using the big potty. However, he's more interested in going standing up so that he can look at the new seat. But since that's the end result we're going for, I guess that's okay. And somehow, he's already got the lift the seat, put it back down thing figured out. Thrilled about that. (And I will put this in here, since I had such a hard time finding anything about it donline after I first saw one at someone else's house: It is a Bemis "Next Step". We got it at Home Depot for about $30.)
In the kitchen, we installed a new ceiling fan. I haven't had an overhead light in there since.... Forever. I think it's been a year since the light worked. We had Dad look at it, and he thought it was an electrical (house wiring) problem. We had an electrician look at it, and he thought it was a problem inside the actual fan unit. It was. Dad came and installed it two weekends ago. He almost electrocuted himself in the process (BIG spark!) because of the way the room is wired. And we found out that at some point there was a fire in the ceiling due to the wires. Lovely. For some reason, about 10 years ago, when they replaced all the walls and ceilings in the house, the did not re-do the wiring. (Totally stupid, in my opinion.)
While he was here, Dad also installed an outlet in an empty electrical box in our front room. Which resulted in another big spark. Apparently we had the wrong breaker turned off....
We have also done some re-arranging. Paul's grandfather made him a beautiful desk with a china hutch above it. When we moved in, we put it in the dining room. That's where the previous owners had their hutch, so we thought it a natural spot. However, we had to put it over a floor vent, but that didn't really bother me. What has bothered me is the fact that the cat likes to climb the stairs and jump over onto the top of the hutch to get away from pestering children. The reason this bothered me is the fact that I twice had caught Nathan trying to climb across to get on top of the hutch to get the cat. The hutch part is separate from the desk, so it could easily tip off if he did manage to get on top of it. I asked Paul about moving it into the front room, and he was against it. The only spot to move it is under the leak, and he didn't want water to leak on it and damage it. Understandable.
So being the good wife I am, I covertly arranged to have it moved down to our front room while he was at work. However, the movers (my brother and sister) showed up on a weekend Paul was home. Paul and I had words about it (as much as we do), and he finally consented, "Whatever." And sulked the whole time and refused to help. Even though he hasn't admitted it, I don't think he minds it down in the fireplace room. I am going to put plastic and towels on the top of it so that it won't be damaged when the roof leaks. Moving it made our dining room seem huge. (And really accentuated the empty wall. I need to get a picture or a mirror up there.)
We also re-arranged the living room. I desperately needed to steam-clean the carpets in there, so Paul helped me move all the furniture out (minus the TV cabinet and the book shelf) so I could get it all. The carpet was gross. I did three rounds with the cleaner, getting mud in the dirty water compartment every time. Sick. I needed to do it about three more times, but didn't have the time. When we moved the furniture in, I decided to do it differently. Being as Jacob will be pulling up and climbing before we know it, we decided to put the couch in front of the bay window so that he can't climb up there as easily to play. (Previously we had a coffee table in front of the window, which was basically like a stairway. Even Nathan fell occasionally.) It actually made the room more open.
And now because the living room and dining room are more open, there's pretty much a freeway from the kitchen all the way to the front room, with just a slight jog in the living room. Nathan is already loving the openness with his trike. He's getting pretty good at doing donuts.
Okay. Mr. Munchkin needs me. Will stop yabbering.

We're Definitely "Old Marrieds"

I realized this weekend that this is the first anniversary that we haven't done anything romantic. We've always went out, and usually got each other a card/gift/flowers. This year: none of the above.
And the thing is, I'm okay with this. Really. Apparently we've reached the point that we don't need all the mushy stuff. I know my husband loves me, and I don't need to be spoiled to feel it.

That being said....
I am going to need a date soon, though. I've been in Mommy Mode so long that I'm beginning to wonder if I've forgotten what it feels like to be a Wife and Woman. I wish it wasn't so hard to get away when you're nursing. (Jacob, like Nathan was, is adamantly anti-bottle.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Enough with the BITING already!!!

So not only is Jacob sick.... He won't nurse. Which creates pain. And he's decided that as a pre-cursor to actually nursing, he must bite me a minimum of three times. And we're talking CHOMP. I don't understand how gums can feel so sharp.
And as an aside....
Even though Jacob was awake from 4:30-6 this morning, and did eat, by 8 AM I was completely full. I soaked my shirt while making my "I'm not going to make it to church this morning because we're drifted in" phone calls. Whereas my "condition" and a wet t-shirt got my husbands attention when he walked in the door from work this morning, I'm pretty sure he's had the fear of God instilled in him. Don't even THINK about touching them. In fact, I'm going to hit you if you even LOOK at them.
Okay, that was way TMI. You're welcome.
And so is this: I pumped 8 ounces. That has to be some sort of record.

What an Anniversary!

So let me give a rundown of our anniversary, and the day leading up to it....
Friday mid-day, Jacob had about two hours of non-stop wailing. He finally quit after I gave him some Tylenol. Paul made the decision to take him in to the doctor, since it was Friday... Best to get him checked out so we didn't end up in the emergency room for treatment over the weekend. It turns out he has an infection in both ears. I went at 4 pm, prepared to spend an hour plus waiting to even be seen at the doctor, but was only in there maybe a half hour total. I spent a lot longer waiting for the prescription to be filled. Ugh. I'm going to give my business to our last remaining hometown pharmacy from now on. (The hometown pharmacy I previously used sold out... to Walgreens.)
Paul has to work nights this weekend, and given that he's taking time off for Jacob's surgery and a weekend trip next month, we decided he didn't need to take off our anniversary (nursing means no nights away, and even a simple date is tricky).
Paul's dad (who works at the same place) called me on his way home to let me know about an accident that had happened at the end of his shift, just as Paul was getting there. A woman had gotten her arm caught in the crusher roller. I'm glad he let me know, because at least two area stations picked up the story, and I would have freaked out had I heard about it on the news. (However, since it was a woman, I would have had some comfort knowing it wasn't my husband or father-in-law.) Paul said the night progressed okay, but every one was a bit shaken.
I gave Jacob his first dose of antibiotics, only to have him vomit it up..... All over himself. He was laying on his back and it went all over his face, into his eyes and hair and ears. Totally gross. Nathan helped me give Jacob a bath, by pouring the rinse water on him. And this is the first bath that Jacob hasn't ended up screaming. Nathan is hired! I re-dosed him and sat down on the couch to nurse him, and he fell asleep immediately - without nursing.
After I got Nathan in bed, I picked up the downstairs. I finally was going to take a shower and head to bed about 1 (no motivation to go to bed alone when Paul's working), but then I decided to go nurse Jacob. I was in pain, and I knew he'd wake up right after I fell asleep if I didn't. I've done this trick several times before, where I pick him up, and he nurses in his sleep and I put him back to bed.
Two hours later, after screaming, vomiting all over himself, me, and his bed.... I finally came back downstairs. I passed on the shower, opting to pass out. No luck. I couldn't sleep. Nathan woke up at 4:30, and I think Jacob woke up again... But things are a little fuzzy. I remember seeing the clock at 5:30 - pretty sure that's when I was stumbling to bed after feeding Jacob. The next time I looked at the clock was at 7:57 when Nathan was talking to me from upstairs.
It snowed overnight. A lot. Not a little last-hurrah-of-winter dusting, either. We had six inches when Paul got home from work and it continued snowing all day.
Since we weren't able to go on an anniversary date, I decided I'd fix Paul a nice supper. I thought I'd put the boys down for their naps, take a shower, put on my nice jeans and a sweater and actually brush my hair, and we'd have a little "pretend date" all by ourselves.
Yeah, well....
I was halfway through shaving (and it had been 3 weeks, so it took a while) when I thought I heard Jacob (despite the medicine I gave him right before I put him in the swing). I stuck my head out, and sure enough.... So I hurried through the rest of my shower and threw on my robe and went and picked up my now-screaming son. Minutes later, our neighbor came to the door to see if I wanted him to blade our drive. I threw on the closest clothes I could find (yoga pants and my 13-year-old sweatshirt), and answered the door. Paul heard the tractor and got up. Then Nathan heard the tractor and woke up.
So much for our romantic dinner for two. But it was still some pretty amazing hamburgers and homemade apple pie. And we did enjoy the time with both boys being happy at the table.
When Paul left for work, I headed in to town to my nieces 6th birthday party. (She was born just four days after our wedding... My sister hated me for making her be a bridesmaid and stand up in front of everyone when she was so big pregnant!) The roads were beginning to drift shut. Someone was stuck on the road west of our house, so we headed east and went "around" to town. Paul broke through the drifts with his truck and I followed in the car. He hopped on the highway to go to work, and I continued on into town for the party. I enjoyed the time with my family, laughing and eating (and watching KU lose and KState win!!!) and spending time together. I headed home about 9:30. It was still snowing a bit, but the roads weren't too bad until I got to the gravel. The north-south road I came "around" on was starting to drift across, then when I turned on to our road...... Not cool. I could tell the drifts were deep, but I thought if I stayed to the edge of them and gunned it, I might plow through.
I buried the car about 50 feet from the corner. And less than a quarter mile from our house. So close, yet so far away.
I called my family, who was waiting to hear that I made it home, and Dad, JC, and Keith came out in the 4-wheel-drive Tahoe. My neighbor brought out a chain and they hooked on.... Only to have Dad get stuck as well. My neighbor went and got his tractor, and got Dad yanked out, then hooked me on. I wasn't sure we were gonna get it, but they shortened up the chain and gave a good yank and got me out of the mud and slime.
My neighbor broke through the drifts down to our house with the tractor, and Dad plowed through behind him in the Tahoe. He came back and informed me that there was no way that my car could make it. So we parked my car at the neighbors, packed the boys into the Tahoe and plowed through again. Finally, an hour and a half after leaving the party, I made it home.
And I'm totally kicking myself for not taking pictures. This was epic.
I am SO thankful for the boys behaving so well. Jacob was completely conked out the entire time (until the moment we walked in the door - commence screaming). Nathan was quiet except for saying "Pa-pa pulls us out?" and "Car is stuck." and asking where Pa-pa was. He did wet his pants, I found out when we got home, but I can take that over fussing and screaming any day.
I think the adrenaline has finally worn off, and now I am finally ready for bed.
Oh, and church will be a no-go in the morning. There's no way we'll be able to get out, unless they do some serious plowing before 8 AM. This will be the first time in almost 4 years that I've had to call in on a Sunday morning. And it's looking like Paul will have to park at the neighbors as well and walk the last 1/4 mile. That should be fun.
But seriously, it could have been a whole lot worse of a day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Six Years

Saturday, Paul and I will celebrate our 6th anniversary! I can't believe it's been that long since our wedding day.
We were doing our Bible study last night, and one of the questions was about "how God has brought you and your spouse closer together." We definitely are closer than when we got married, but we were really close from the very first moment of our relationship. We got to figuring.... We've known each other for 22 years now. That's twice as long as some of our friends have known each other, who have been married several years longer than us. We are so lucky.
Today we went on our "anniversary date." We weren't able to go on a movie date, so we decided to take advantage of a gorgeous day, and have some fun time. We went in to town and got burgers for lunch, then got ice cream, then took the boys to the park. We spread out a blanket and Jacob slept in his car seat while Nathan ran and climbed and slid. After I finished my ice cream, I took over on following Nathan around and Paul stretched out on the blanket and lost himself in his book. It felt so good to just be outside.
We came home for naps, and then we all went outside again. Nathan played in the sand and on his slide, then we went for a walk around the hay pasture. Then we played in the sandbox some more before supper. Paul's dad came over and joined us for supper.
Well, I'm going to watch Paul's team [.....lose, I hope]. My team won today. So it just made a great day even better!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


My dear, dear, sweet, adorable, cuddly, chubby-cheeked son~
Forty minutes is nowhere near an acceptable length for an afternoon nap for a four-month-old, especially when you seem to think your morning nap should only be half that length. You can keep protesting, but I will remain firm on this one. You will learn to take an afternoon nap of at least an two hours (three hours or longer would be ideal). When you outgrow the swing, I will find another means of forcing you to fall asleep.
I love you, and will do just about anything for you... Except let you win this battle.
Your Mommy

Sunday, March 7, 2010

$3 Worth of God

I would like to buy three dollars worth of God, please.

I would like to buy just a little of the Lord. Not enough to explode my soul and disturb my sleep. Not enough to take control of my life. I want just enough to equal a cup of warm milk. Just enough to ease some of the pain from my guilt.

I would like to buy three dollars worth of God, please. I would like to find a love that is pocket-sized. I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. Not enough to change my heart. I can only stand just enough to take to church when I have time. Just enough to equal a snooze in the sunshine. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want the warmth of the womb, but not a new birth.

I would like to purchase a pound of the eternal in a paper sack. If it doesn’t work, I would like to get my money back.

I would like to buy three dollars worth of God, please. I would like to hide some for a rainy day. Not enough for people to see a change in me. Not enough to impose any responsibility. Just enough to make folks think I am ok.

Could I just get three dollars worth of God, please?”

-Wilbur Rees

(Isn't this how a lot of us think, sometimes?)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cruel, Cruel Irony

The longest stretch Jacob slept last night was from 4:30-6.... when I was up fixing Paul breakfast before he went to work. I went back to bed about 5:30, just got settled then realized I had to go to the bathroom. I came back to bed, was settling down and the dog started barking his head off at something. I stuck my head out the door and got him calmed down. I had barely gotten the covers pulled up when Nathan woke up. I convinced him it was still nighttime. Then I wasn't even back to the bedroom when Jacob woke up again.
Jacob's been sick the last few days. He came down with a fever Wednesday, and has gotten a really gross cough. The cough doesn't seem to bother him when he's awake, but when he's alseep and he coughs, it wakes him up and he starts crying. (Hence the amount of times I've been up the last few nights.)
And on top of the whole sick thing, I'm pretty sure he's going through a growth spurt. In the last week, his diapers have quit fitting - he's leaking out of them all the time, and it seems they barely cover the pertinent areas. He's wanting to eat all the time, which at first I attributed to wanting comfort because of being sick, but now I'm thinking otherwise.
And if those two weren't enough, I think the teeth may FINALLY be going to come in. (Although I've thought this for two months now...) But his gums are swollen, and he's been biting like crazy. (I totally relate to this post.)
Paul is back on the regular schedule! After a whole year.... It's going to be so nice having him home more. Even though I REALLY liked the schedule last spring and early summer where he was home every weekend, I'm going to like this better. (Something about layoffs and hour cuts that make you a little afraid to enjoy time off.)
I got a hair cut. I know he's afraid his Man Card will get taken away if I tell people this, but Paul cut it for me. Not that he offered, it's that I told him he was going to and didn't give him a choice. I really needed a trim, but didn't want to spend $20, and didn't want it layered or anything like that. I'm trying to grow my hair out to donate, so I just needed a straight-across cut to get rid of dead ends and to even up the layers. I was going to do it myself, but then I realized: Paul is very detailed and precise. He's going to be home. He can do it. And he did a great job! My hair is a lot smoother and shinier now with all the bad ends off. It also seems a lot thicker, especially at the bottom.
Spring is creeping closer! I've got daffodils and crocus coming up. I am so ready for warmer weather. Last night the temperature stayed above freezing (by 10 degrees, even!). I'm pretty sure it hasn't been above freezing at night since November. And we've had a week of sunshine! I know that hasn't happened all winter! We would barely have two days in a row that had sunshine, let alone an entire week. It's helped my spirits considerably.
I am really happy with where I am spiritually right now. I feel like I'm getting my life where it needs to be. It's been hard for me, because I compare with my spiritual life before I had kids or before I was married, and feel guilty that I'm not at that level. But I've come to terms with the fact that I am doing what I need to be, the way I need to do it right now. Paul and I have also started a Bible study on marriage and it has been great to just talk about our marriage - not that we have problems... I think that sometimes because we don't have problems, we take it for granted. And I'm remembering to pray. Not tell myself, "Ooh, I need to pray about that." But actually just start praying whenever I think about something, whether I'm changing a diaper or washing dishes or hanging out on the computer.
Well, I believe Nathan is out of bed. I'm going to chat with him, then I'm going to take a nap myself, considering that tonight is probably going to be a rerun of the last three.