Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thankful Thursday (1/30)

Today, I'm thankful for good nap days. 

For the better part of a week, Jack's been waking in the middle of the night. A few of those nights were awful because he spent the time he was awake screaming. Last night wasn't quite as bad (no screaming was involved), but he still woke up, which means I was awake for as long as he was and then a bit longer as I tried to go back to sleep. 

Anywho, because of his night issues, we've had some nap troubles, too. 

But today, knock-on-wood, I think I figured out the timing. He long ago dropped his nap cues (yawning, rubbing eyes/face, red eyes), and so if I'm not watching the clock to monitor how long he's been awake, we can very quickly go from wide awake to overtired. Once he's overtired, naps are crummy. It's a relentless cycle we've found ourselves in as of late. 

So, this morning, I glanced through past schedules, looked at wake-time lengths, and analyzed the data. I followed what I believed to be accurate, and we have had three very successful naps today! 

We'll aim for the same lengths of wake-time tomorrow and see what happens. I'm definitely hoping this nap-awesomeness transfers into night-awesomeness tonight because this is one tired momma. 

So grateful for sleep :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Things Tuesday (1/28)

1.   I've had to manage my time wisely during Jack's naps in order to do it, but I have been one busy baby-food-making momma the last couple of days. In between loads (and loads) of laundry, I've made a batch of green beans and potatoes for him to try out, two batches of peaches and cloves (which he can't get enough of), a batch of pears and cinnamon, a batch of apples and cinnamon, and another portion of oatmeal that should last us a couple of days.  For my future self, here's how I prepared things. 

Green Beans and Potatoes
One can of no-salt added cut green beans
One (next time I'll do two) red potato, peeled and cubed
Garlic powder to taste (needs a little more next time)
Boil green beans and potatoes until tender enough to mash
Blend in blender, adding some of the water from pan as needed

Peaches and Cloves
Two bags (1lb each) of frozen sliced peaches
Cloves (powder) to taste--I just sprinkle some in 
Steam peaches (one bag at a time if using small blender)
Spoon peaches into container, sprinkle in cloves, and add small amount of water
Blend until smooth

Pears (or Apples) and Cinnamon
Four danjou pears (or five small apples)
Cinnamon to taste
Peel and slice fruit (yes, I googled how to slice a pear properly!  I felt I'd been to wasteful in the past.  Here's a helpful link :)
Spoon fruit into container, sprinkle cinnamon, and add a small amount of water
Blend until smooth

3/4 cup of water
1/4 oatmeal
Cinnamon to taste 
Blend dry oatmeal until a tad bit finer (not too powdery)
Bring water and oatmeal to boil and reduce to simmer
Sprinkle in cinnamon, stir as needed
Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Don't over cook. 

When each item is cool, I use a tablespoon (measuring spoon) and put one spoonful in each section of an ice tray and freeze. Then, those cubes go into a labeled (name of food and date) ziplock bag and everything goes back into the freezer.  I don't freeze the oatmeal because I don't think it would freeze well, and really, it doesn't take long to prepare a fresh batch every couple of days. I've also frozen tons of cubes of pumpkin straight from the massive can of pumpkin purée. Another item I prepare and freeze is a mixture of carrots and blueberries. I didn't have any carrots on hand, or I would have fixed a batch of those, too!  Here's the low down on how I fix them. 

Carrots and Blueberries
Two cups of baby carrots (or regular, chopped carrots if you have oodles of time)
One cup of frozen blueberries, thawed
Steam carrots (this seems to take A LONG time)
Blend carrots and blueberries until smooth

2.  I'm so tired, and I'm praying Jack gets back to sleeping through the night tonight. The last three nights he's wanted to visit around midnight. And by visit, I mean cry until I hold him. Then, he seems fine. I'm afraid it may become a habit, so I'm hoping he just sleeps right on through that time, and he and I can cuddle extra tomorrow. During the day. When I'm functioning. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday (1/23)

Thankful Thursday. It's something I started a few months back, and then, when things got rough, I think I lost sight of the importance of being grateful and of how finding something to be thankful for each day can truly impact a person's outlook. 

So, I'm starting it up again. I might not get around to it every Thursday, but I'll do my best.

I'm incredibly thankful that four years ago today, The Husband held me tight and asked me to be his.  To be his girlfriend.  To make "us" official. Of course, it wasn't truly real until we changed our status on Facebook ;)

Up until that point, we had just been friends.  Friends who sat on the quiet hill in the back of the park and listened to music, who watched movies together, who chatted online or on the phone until all hours of the morning. We hung out like that for about a month; though we had known each other in the context of Bible study for a while longer. 

But that night, four years ago, he started us on a journey that, God willing, will continue on until we are old and grey and loving on our grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren. 

A little over six months after that night, we were engaged. 

A year and a half to the day we started dating, we were married. 

Ours was a quick courtship, but I wouldn't change anything about it.

The years seem to fly by. We've loved and lost and grown and fought. We've prayed and worshiped.  We have both changed so much. I am proud of and thankful for the man he is today. He works and goes to school (Quick brag-- he's taken four tests so far and has done really well!) and still finds moments to be with us. Most mornings, even though he's exhausted and just wants to fall into bed, he wakes Jack up for me and gets him ready for the day.  He spends time with him as often as he can when they're both awake. I see them together, loving on each other, laughing, and I fall more in love with both of them. I'm already imagining the fun adventures they're going to have. In my mind's eye, I can see The Husband teaching Jack how to work on cars, how to responsibly handle a gun and how to shoot it safely (maybe I'll get in some practice, too, haha), how to build new creations and fix the things that have broken.  How to fish and hunt and camp and sail.  How to be a great husband and father.  How to love well. 

Today, I'm grateful for January 23, 2010.  It was only the beginning. 

Happy anniversary, Babe!  Thanks for making me yours. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Two Things Tuesday (1/21)

1. These are the foods Jack has tried so far with stars to denote how much he likes each one.

*** Loves
** Likes
* Tolerates
^Does not like

~Oatmeal (from the canister, fixed on the stove) and cinnamon with mashed up chunks of apple * or pear ** or blueberries ** cooked with it

~Puréed pumpkin (from the can) warm ** or cold *

~Steamed carrots and apples mushed up with a fork *
He liked this a lot for 3 or 4 days, but then he had a gagging incident, and I think it turned him off. He'll eat some, but it's not his favorite now.

~Brown rice with a little bit of apple and cinnamon ^
He was a good sport and tried it, but he could not handle the sticky texture and gagged and vomited twice.  It was sad to watch. We'll wait on the rice a little longer and try again in a few weeks maybe.

~Steamed and blended peaches and cloves either warm or straight out of the fridge ***

~Steamed and blended carrots and blueberries--I just fixed a batch of this about an hour ago, so he hasn't tried it yet. I'm hoping he'll like it! 

I wish we could try banana or avocado because I just know he'd love them, but The Husband is allergic to both. I'm afraid Jack would have an allergic reaction, and I wouldn't know it since it doesn't seem to be a visual reaction like a rash or itching. The Husband's tongue and throat tingle and itch and feel funny after eating them. I guess Jack might exhibit some other symptoms I could watch for. Any ideas?  

2. He nurses 4 or 5 times a day.  Four if it's a good wake-time/nap-time day.  Five if it's wonky. 
It's been a bit wonky the last week or so. 
A typical schedule for us lately looks a little like this; though times can vary 15-30 minutes either way. 
I was really hoping to move him to a four-hour eat, play, sleep schedule soon, but he's still not able to stay awake happy for longer than an hour and a half most times, so until he can do that, we'll have to stick with the three- to three-and-a-half hour schedule for now.

7:30ish -wake
7:45 - nurse and solids offered (usually pumpkin or carrots/apples--something hardy). 
8:45ish - nap
10:45ish - wake
11:00ish - nurse and solids (today I'll offer the carrots/blueberries I fixed and then peaches if he's still hungry)
Independent playtime happens in this block of awake time (15-25 minutes in his playpen without me there to entertain him)
12:00ish - nap (this one has been off lately...sometimes he'll only sleep for an hour, which throws off the afternoon schedule a bit)
2:00ish - wake 
2:15ish - nurse and solids (more pumpkin and possibly carrots/blueberries)
Independent playtime (15-25 minutes)
3:30ish - nap
4:30 to 5:00ish - wake 
5:00ish - nurse, play, bath
7:15ish - nurse and solids (oatmeal with blueberries-as much as he'll willingly eat--and then peaches)
7:30 to 7:45 - bed

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Facts Friday (1/17)

1.  I've been absent from the blogging world for a while, only posting an occasional photo here and there. Lots of things have been going on, and honestly, I've had no desire to write.

2.  The Husband has now finished week 2 of the sheriff's academy. The grueling hours of school and work, the daily physical training, the continual lack of sleep, and sometimes only seeing Jack for a few minutes each day (yesterday, he didn't see him at all) are wearing on him, and he's exhausted. The weekend is a much-needed respite, and I'm glad he'll get to rest as much as he needs.  He's applied for a different job, one that hopefully will be more flexible (hours-wise) and more in line with his career goals. If you feel inclined to pray that he gets called in for an interview, we'd appreciate it.

3.  As I mentioned in #1, lots of things have been going on. I'll be completely up front and tell you that my faith has been wavering. Floundering. Failing. I've been angry with God and have struggled with believing Him, and my faith journey took a nose-dive into depression.  I do believe IN Him, but believing Him has been difficult.  Then, a few weeks ago, Beth Moore's publishing company offered over ten of her books for free for the kindle app on amazon. I downloaded 12 of them because I'm not one to turn down free books, and she's an incredible writer, speaker, and teacher.  Last week, I finished reading a work of fiction (Mistress and Maid...really good and free!), and I decided to start on one of hers. I chose Believing God.  It's amazing to me how God knew I'd read that book first. Here are a few tidbits I've found interesting as I've read. 

I've committed to read at least a chapter a day, and I've committed to believing Him even when it feels like all is lost. 

4.  Jack is the neatest little boy. 
He has been trying new foods left and right (oatmeal and cinnamon with either apples or pears, pumpkin purée, steamed and mushed up apples and carrots) and enjoying those things after nursing. 
Within the last week, he's been reaching for me (on the floor, in other people's arms, in the high chair), and it melts my heart!
He started really doing independent playtime in his room (in the playpen) for 15-20 minutes yesterday. He did great! We'll work our way up to 25-30 minutes twice a day. He's fine as long as he can't see me, haha, so his room (where I can watch from the hall) is a much better alternative to the floor in the living room. 
He doesn't cry at nap time anymore. If he wakes early, he talks to himself, and I allow him to stay in there while he's content. Even if he's not sleeping, he's at least resting in a non-stimulating environment.  
He makes us smile and laugh constantly. He's very sweet and loving and very vocal when he's not getting attention :)

5.  I had the yummiest salad for dinner last night. Not news-worthy by a long shot, but it was so tasty!  Mixed greens, pear chunks, craisins, sunflower seeds, and lots of feta cheese with a light raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Yum! I think I'll have another for lunch :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (1/8)