Jan 29, 2010

How Depressing...

I happened to catch this story on ABC news today. I was pretty sad about it until I realized that's still in the area of 36,000 eggs. I guess the news story wouldn't have been so impressive had they told me that. Now back to eating Cheeze-Its for dinner.

Jan 28, 2010

A couple of my friends and I scheduled a day of preparing meals to freeze and store for an upcoming Saturday. We did this back in the fall and had so much fun with it. We made stuffed pasta shells, soup, chicken pot pies, chicken enchiladas and lots more. We can't wait to do this again, this time armed with new and improved recipes. Well, it seems we're not the only ones doing this in February. One of my favorite blogs, Money Saving Mom is rallying the troops.
Since we lost our Super Suppers and Main Dish Kitchen in Holland, I have struggled to find the time and creativity to have a cooking marathon. However, if you get together with friends, you can each bring enough ingredients to make your dish multiple times, saving money and creative brain cells. But unlike Super Suppers, we get stuck with the dirty dishes.
Does anyone have any favorite freeze ahead recipes? I know my SIL, Jacqueline, just had a cooking marathon so perhaps she has a favorite Italian recipe to share. I'd love to hear all of your tips!

Jan 24, 2010

As many of you know due to the wonderful world of Facebook, Charlotte had tubes put in her ears last Friday. For those with medical curiousity - I'll explain the situation.
The ear is as structured below. When an ear infection develops, it is a result of fluid backing into the open space in the middle ear. Fluid typically comes from an upper respiratory infection (aka "cold") or allergies. The warmth in the ear creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. In children, the eustachian tube is almost horizontal, making it difficult for the fluid to drain down into the throat. Ear infections can have serous fluid - a yellow, sticky fluid, or purulent fluid - cloudy/pussy.

Here is a good example of what a provider sees when they look into the ear. On the left you see a normal ear drum. The right is an infected ear with purulent fluid. You can see that the ear drum is bulging, red and pus behind. If you had this, you'd pop Motrin like candy and be up all night complaining of throbbing pain. This is what poor Charlotte had to deal with for two months on end.

So why tubes? Well, if you look back at the first picture you'll see the eustachian tube. If this becomes congested, there is no avenue for the pus to drain. So you can hit the patient with antibiotic after antibiotic and get nowhere. High dose steroids could treat the inflammation, but you have a lot more risks with that. Tubes allow the fluid to drain through the drum and ear canal instead. The tubes are inserted through a small incision. Eventually the body will "spit" the tubes out as the cells on the ear drum regenerate. The hope is that the artificial tubes stay in place long enough for the child to develop better draining eustachian tubes.

Charlotte has a pair of white tubes now. She still seems to be in pain, but not nearly as bad as before. I just hope these are the only tubes she needs, because having to do this procedure multiple times can cause scarring to the ear drum which could eventually affect hearing to a degree. And you know, my future concert pianist needs her hearing ;)

I love my mop

Brian bought me a Shark Steam Mop for Christmas. I'm having so much fun with it. He says I'm just like Stanley Spadowski from UHF.

There are several reasons why I'm infatuated with this appliance. It uses no chemicals, leaving no soap residue. Pure unadulterated heat and steam penetrate the dirt and residue on my floor. I like to imagine it's like running my floor through an autoclave. And that makes me feel much better with Charlotte crawling all over it. It's as fast to mop now as sweep, maybe even faster with very little equipment to mess with. So now I can mop once a week instead of once a month. The floor dries immediately. No more tip-toeing over the wet floors for a 1/2 hour after the chore. I freakin' love it.

Minor downsides are that the mop will not pick up debris or hair, so you really do have to sweep ahead of time. Also, it doesn't rotate or fit under low shelving, so for a perfectly clean floor, once in a while I'll have to get down on my knees with a we rag. I re-iterate, these are minor downsides.

Jan 19, 2010

This week I'm in a hurry. Morning and night. Pack the baby bag. Pick up the dry cleaning. Call the vet. Call the doctor. Call daycare. Go to Junior League. Organize event for Junior League. Pay the bills. Balance the budget. Freak about how unbalanced the budget is. Clean out the left overs. Fold the laundry. Buy a greeting card. Get to the gym. Fix my Ebay mistake. Oh yeah, and work.
Nothing special - but this week I can't stop the to-do list from spinning through my mind like a roulette wheel. I know so many of you out there feel the same way. How do you unwind? I usually would say I knit, but doesn't seem I make the time for it. Really what I need is a good dose of perspective, so here it goes. I am lucky to have these responsibilities, it means I have a job, money to pay the bills, clothes to keep me warm, food to nourish me, a wonderful daughter and loving dog. It's not so bad after all, is it.
Alright, now I can go to bed with a quiet mind.

Jan 10, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today my baby girl turns one, and I thank the Lord for that. This day is a day of gratitude and reflection for me, not only to God, but to so many. I'm grateful for Brian for being a great father to Charlotte and for helping me bring her into this world. I'm grateful to her grandparents for supporting us in her care. And I thank Charlotte for being patient with us as we fumbled through our first-time parenting.
After one year I thought things would be a little different. I didn't realize I would still stop in her room at least once a night to check if she was breathing. I always thought I would be the coordinated easy going mom who takes everything in stride - instead I find myself still constantly worrying about working around Charlotte's so-called schedule. I imagined myself making all of these homemade organic baby foods, but instead we battle through meals until I settle for her eating a few Cheerios and banana bread.
But, I also could've never imagined how great things are. I didn't realize how much I could love just simply being together, like I'm falling in love all over again every day. It is awesome how we can just dance to music, spin in a chair or roll around on the floor and laugh hysterically. And not like she does anything unique to other babies, but when I first see her hands form the itsy-bitsy spider or rock her baby doll, I just can't believe how fast her little brain is learning. And she gives the best hugs in the whole world.
She's my precious baby girl, who's no longer a baby. Happy Birthday Charlotte.

Jan 9, 2010

One Year Old! *almost

We started at ended the year with two very similar portrait sessions - Charlotte crying through most of it! But you'd never know by looking at these pictures. They turned out pretty well for as much coaxing and cheering that we had to do. And I don't know who ever came up with the concept of a "smash cake" for a 1 year old. This baby wanted nothing to do with it. I had to smear the cake on her hands and face. The only time she was interested in touching the cake was to dig out the Cheerios I hid in the frosting.
Please excuse all of the vignettes on these photos - I couldn't figure out how to turn the photos from the PortraitCD I got to take home (from Sears). Here's a sampling of some of the right-side-up pics.

She loved cocking her head to the side - her bashful look. And Linda- I had to think about you - I know how much you "love" the food on the face look.

Again with the cocked head - I can picture her senior portraits already.

My favorite - the Gerber Baby. Who needs hair?

I know it's sideways, but I still needed to share her diva meltdown.

Jan 6, 2010

A few of my favorite pictures as of lately:

New Year's Eve dinner at Johnny Carino's. I love this new sweater that her Aunt Chris bought her - reminds me of the Gap Christmas commercial. And now it's stuck in your head.

This morning - she was supposed to be eating breakfast. Instead she was playing peekaboo with her bib.
I have hesitated to post about our final bathroom remodel for a while because I am too nervous about criticisms. We spent a lot of hard earned money on this project and we're quite pleased...so here goes nothing.

We love our new dark wood vanity. We searched high and low for a vanity that was small enough to still allow an average size adult to make the pass through from the office door to the kitchen gracefully. Brian was nice enough to install an extra shelf inside to hold all of my crud. The sink top is a white ceramic and it came with a fun modern faucet. We purchased the medicine cabinet separately, but the woods, luckily, matched. I love this medicine cabinet as opposed to the traditional plain mirror because it seems very disguised.
Also, you can glimpse the tile here. We ordered white pinwheels with a blank area in the middle so that we could drop the grey color instead of the traditional black. Our contractor hated us for this detail, but Brian and I wouldn't agree on anything else.

The tub surround mimics my friend, Linda's, bathroom - subway tile with a dark grout. Our contractor came up with the idea of filling the storage closet with tile too. Too bad he also remembered to charge us for the extra labor. We also ordered custom glass doors for the closet and laundry chute to replace the prior wooden doors. Of course, we had to have one of those new shower curtain rods that curves outwards to help expand our small space.

Last, we picked up a great shelf for towels at the Restoration Hardware Outlet in Birch Run. We still have to install the towel rack below. The toilet was the only thing we saved from the old bathroom. One more great improvement not pictured is our fan-light combo. Since we stripped the bathroom down to the studs, we were able to install ducting for a fan. What a big difference that makes.

Now all we have left to do is a new curtain and save money for new doors. The jury is still out as to whether I am going to repaint (at least the door) trim chocolate brown. I really do like our orange paint, but I think I would appreciate it more if there wasn't such a stark difference between that and the white.

Jan 3, 2010


I'm just finishing up the kind of vacation that every working mom dreams of, the kind where you stay home and complete everything on your to-do list and a few extras. We (finally) baby proofed the house. I'm already thoroughly annoyed by the locks on the cabinets. And don't get me started on the gate at the stairway. Maggie (the dog) can no longer move about the house freely, so she'll stand at the gate and whine if we forget to bring her up with us at night. But, my baby will no longer risk falling down the stairway "keester over teacup." We even went as far as bolting the bookshelf to the wall. Beyond that, we've weatherproofed doors, shredded old documents, hung portraits, touched up wall paint, set up a new work out area, frozen meals for Charlotte...the list goes on and on.
So here is to starting 2010 in an organized fashion. I can't think of a better way to get a good night's sleep than that.