Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reality Check

Recently I have been suffering from extreme mommy guilt. I look around my house and I think "My bedroom is a disaster zone, my carpet needs cleaned, I need to run errands, Lulu doesn't spend enough time outside, I don't look in Eliza's eyes and talk to her enough, ..." The list goes on and on. I have the never ending to-do list. At the end of the day I look at everything I failed to accomplish and I feel like I let my family down.

On the Faith & Family website they have a blog that you can link into every Thursday where you list three small success for that week. I decided that was a great idea! To get me out of my funk I would list spend a day listing my "successes" for that day instead of my failures. To my surprise I realized I accomplish a lot during a day!

I get up cook breakfast for Lulu, make Tom coffee, change two diapers, get dressed, take the girls outside for about 30 minutes to an hour, come inside pick up, cook lunch, put Lulu down for a nap, try to get Eliza to rest so I can rest too, clean the kitchen, scrub  the toilet, cook dinner, go grocery shopping, take Lulu out for ice cream to reward her for going to bed so well the night before, come home and bathe both girls, put Lulu to bed, do the last of the dishes, take a shower, spend time with Tom, then finally go to bed myself. That is what I call a successful mama. Yes, my floor still needs to be vacuumed, my bedroom is still a disaster zone, and I still have a list of errands to run but overall I can feel proud of myself.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lulu's Car

Lulu has been fascinated with those cars kids sit on and push around. Every time she has seen a kid with one she has stared at it until the owner became distracted then with big excited eyes she would start to play with it. At which point the owner would say, "No! Mine!" and push her off. She would respond, "I saree."

The other day as I was driving past a used toy store I spotted one. I did a U turn and went back to see how much it cost. It was only $5. Lulu was so excited here was a car with no kid to push her off! She ran towards the car and got on. She could not believe her good fortune. Then when the owner of the store walked out Lulu looked up and said, "I saree. Isaree." I told the owner I would buy it on the spot. Unfortunately the store only took cash and I did not have any on me but the owner promised to save it for me.

The next day Tom took Lulu to lunch and bought her all the french fries she could want. Then he went to pick up her toy. As they where driving home Lulu from the back said, "abda doo! Daba da! Happy! Abba da doo DANK  OO!"  No idea what was in between happy and thank you but she was excited! She plays with that toy non-stop now. She even tried to take it to bed with her!

5 Years Ago

Five years ago today Tom and I started dating. We were not your usual college couple. When we started dating we lived 495 miles apart, we had only seen each other a few times, and we had already met each others families.

We met at Benedictine College (BC), a small Catholic college. When exactly we met there is debatable. Tom thinks we met there January of Sophomore year right after I transferred in. He remembers helping me find the guys dorm when I was looking for my roommate and her boyfriend. I remember meeting Tom later in the semester in the Cafeteria my friend James introduced us. He said, "This is Tom my fiance's younger brother, and this is my fiance's younger brother's girlfriend." He pointed to the young lady sitting next to Tom. The sentence cracked me up and I have forever remember it. Tom and his girlfriend broke up later that semester.

I attended BC for a glorious year before I became ill and had leave on March 6, 2005. As I was walking out of my dorm for the last time Tom, who at that point was barely an acquaintance, walked in. I called out, "Bye Tom! I'm leaving BC."  He looked completely stunned and visibly upset. I reached out and gave him a quick hug before turning to talk to some of my friends. I was doing everything I could to delay the actual departure.

As My mother and I got in the car and pulled away from my beloved college my mother asked, "Who was that young man?" I replied, "Oh, he is the younger brother of one of my friend's fiances. I barely know him. He is only an acquaintance." Little did I know. Six days later I received a letter from Tom. He asked me to be his friend.  That sparked a friendship via snail mail. Almost everyday we wrote letters to each other for six months.

When it came time for his sister's wedding he called me (to this day I don't know how he got my phone number) and help me arrange transportation up to the wedding. He even arranged for me to stay with his oldest sister.  That sparked daily phone conversations but only after  7pm when he had free cell phone minutes.

My sister became intensely interested in meeting this young man who seemed to be sweeping me off my feet so she decided to take action. She picked up the phone one night when Tom was calling me and asked him to come to her birthday party on July 25. To my surprise he accepted the invitation! He drove down and spent five days with my family.

I was nervous about him meeting my family but I did not need to be. His first conversation with my father was philosophical and they discussed the difference between beauty and grandeur. Tom then sat with my mother discussed gardening and sewing. He somehow managed to tease my sister and she left in peals of laughter.

The night before my sister's birthday we sat up late into the night. During that conversation he asked me to date him. I responded, "Let me think and pray about it." The next morning when I got up my mother and sister were practically waiting at my bedroom door asked, "So?? Are you dating??" I responded, "No I asked for time to think." They responded, "ARE YOU CRAZY!! HE IS PERFECT!!" After mass that morning on the drive home I agreed to be his girlfriend.

To my surprise he didn't accept! He insisted that before we started dating he wanted my father's approval. My father was stunned and responded, "I didn't even ask permission to marry Hannah's mother!" (they had eloped)

That was how we started dating. I will have to post about our dating and how we got engaged another time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meat Balls

This is a recipe I made up! Tom loves meat balls but almost all meat balls have bread in them. After doing research I took my two favorite meat ball recipes and created my own. I love this recipe because you can really play with. You can change the spices, you can use gf soy sauce or anything you prefer, you can use different cheeses,  you can add things to it, it is a very versatile recipe. The extras freeze nicely and can be reheated for later meals.

1 pound ground beef

1pound ground sausage

2 eggs

two cups Italian cheese mix

Season to taste. I like:

onion powder

garlic powder

oregano

crushed red pepper

salt

red cooking wine

brown in olive oil then bake until done at 375

Friday, July 23, 2010

3 Great Conversations with Lulu

1) Lulu pushed several things out of her way, climbed up on a box, scaled part of a book case and got hold of some nail trimming scissors. I found her starting to stick them in Eliza's mouth. She did not cut or scratch Eliza but she did manage to traumatize the baby. I screamed for her to stop and then had this conversation with her:

Me: You hurt your sister! You made her sad! That was very bad! You need to say your sorry!

Lulu: I saree!

Me: That was bad! Do you understand me?

Lulu: No...

Well, at least the kid is honest.

2) After putting breakfast in front of Lulu this morning we had this conversation:

Lulu: Ma!

Me: Yes?

Lulu: Mom!

Me: Yes?

Lulu: Ma

Me: Yes?

Lulu: Mom!

(this goes on for several minutes)

Me: WHAT?

Lulu: Pess!

I looked at her confused not sure what she is saying. I decided to go back to what I was doing.

Lulu: Ma!

Me: Yes?

(Again this goes on for several minutes)

Me: What Lulu!

Lulu: Pess!!

I suddenly realized I had forgotten to say a blessing over her breakfast!

3) I was in adoration and two adorers left leaving the door open. Lulu blew me a kiss and made the sign for "I love you."

Lulu: Ba Bye!

Me: Ba bye? Where are you going?

Lulu: Outside! Ba Bye!

Me: (suddenly realizing the door is open) No. Lets stay in!

Lulu put on her hat and ran out the door. I grabbed her and directed her back inside. She tried to genuflect and waved at the Eucharist.

Lulu: Oh! Now go!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Decline of My Conversations

Before I had children I discussed school, work, religion, fashion, occasionally philosophy and politics. I had the typical conversations you would expect from a young recently graduated college girl. I would never discuss any bodily functions that might be embarrassing.

The other day I was sitting with my sisters-in-law and we were having typical mom conversations. We discussed our children's sleep habits, eating habits, bathing habits, burping habits, and bowl movements. The conversation about bowl movements lasted for about 20 minutes. It did not occur to any of us that it was strange that we had, in great detail, described the shape and size and frequency of our child's poop.

This morning I was talking to Tom and I was once again worrying about the fact that Eliza has not pooped in a little over a week. The doctor has advised me that if she did not poop after a week to give her a small piece of a pediatric suppository. As I discussed this it suddenly dawned on me that I had spent the better part of the week thinking, worrying, and discussing poop. I did not realize that when I had children my conversations would decline so severely.

I wish I could say that my conversations dwelled on embarrassing bodily functions due to my worries over Eliza's inability to poop. Sadly, that is not true. The day you give birth you immediately start worrying about if your new born child poops, pees, burps, spit ups, hiccups, and every other embarrassing body function there is. You discuss it endlessly with the nurse, your significant other, your mother, other mothers, anyone who will listen. It is discussed at all times even at the dinner table. Younger childless family members protest and all the mothers in the room laugh.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sleep Troubles

Ahh the joys of sleep training....

I am attempting to teach Lulu to go to sleep on her own. This came about when I was trying to put her to sleep on Sunday night. I realized she was keeping herself awake on purpose! I felt so frustrated. I decided to leave her in the room by herself. That first night was awful. She cried some and kept getting up. Finally she went to sleep.

The next night She got up two or three times cried for maybe 60 seconds then went to sleep. I was so happy! The night after that she decided she did not want to take a bath and she put herself to bed! I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

No such luck since then. Lulu has cried, thrown fits, screamed, got up again and again and again. I keep hoping and praying that this stage will pass quickly and she will go to sleep. Please just go to sleep!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Getting to Know You

This is something Kate from mommymonologues.com does. Every week she links in with MannLand5.com and answers a list of random questions so people can get to know her better. I thought it was a great idea! Here are my answers to the questions:

1. If you had to choose a country to live in besides USA (or the country you live in), which would it be?

Hard question! I would say somewhere in Europe. Maybe Ireland! Or Italy!

2. Which would be worse, wearing flip flops in the snow or wearing gloves in the summer?

Flip Flops in the snow. I would think that it would be hard to balance not to mention your feet freezing off!

3. Fried or Bake and why?

Ok... um... this is hard. I used to say FRIED every time! Now there are somethings I like fried but they are getting fewer and farther between. Since having children I don't like my food to taste greasy. No one told me having kids could change my taste buds.

4. If you were an entertainment reporter, which celeb would you love to interview and why?

I really don't know. I don't watch a lot of movies or tv shows.

5. What was your favorite book as a preteen/teenager?

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott, Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and Lord of the Rings.

6. List your top 3 guilty pleasure television shows.

I have two right now. So You Think You Can Dance and Royal Pains

7. What bumper sticker slogan best describes you/your attitude/your life?

No matter what happens God will always give you the grace to handle it.

8. If you were to join a circus - what performer would you be?

A traipse artist. I love how beautiful and graceful they look as they float from one apparatus to the next.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Cognitive Development

Sometime in the last two weeks Lulu has had a huge leap in her cognitive development. She can now follow lengthy directions such as "Go to your room and get the phone off your bed and bring it to me." She can also understand orders like, "If you don't calm down then I am going to have to take you to time out. Calm down." She will actually calm herself down. It is great!

Tom and I have both been greatly enjoying it! Tom has been asking to do things just to watch her follow directions and to test how far her new ability goes.

My favorite part has been the "time out." I have had a problem discipling her recently because if I speak sternly and say, "NO! That was VERY bad!" She looks at me like I have rocks in my head. If I spank (I am not a fan of spanking and therefore this is only a last resort) it has absolutely no effect on the kid. The kid has no nerve endings. Up until the last week or two she did not understand time outs. She hates time outs so it is a great discipline tool!

The problem with this new development is that now she has twice has much to express without the vocabulary to express it with. She will come up and tell me something very seriously in her own language. Normally she is just content to tell me something I don't understand but every now and then you can see her get frustrated. She will ask me to do something that I have no clue what it is. Tom and I have taken to labeling every action she does in hopes that she will pick up the vocabulary. We are constantly saying things like, "You picked up the blanket and wrapped it around your dolly. Was she cold?"

The other odd effect this has had is both a negative and positive effect on her sleeping habits. She will now go to bed on her own! I can say, "Ok, it is time for bed. Go to your room and climb in bed." and she will do it! The negative effect is that it takes her forever to go to sleep now. Before she would be out in five to thirty minutes but now it can take one to two hours to get her to sleep. We still stay in the room with her while she falls asleep because she gets scared when we leave the room. I think hope that she is getting close to the point when we can say "goodnight" and leave her to put herself to sleep.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My New Design

What do you think of my new design? My wonderful, amazing, generous, kind, sweet husband made it for me! I described how I wanted my page to look and he built it for me!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bribery

After spending all summer getting Lulu on a good sleep routine she and the whole family caught a terrible cold and the sleep routine went out the window. While she was sick she got in the habit of taking a second late afternoon nap. That turned out to be a problem because then she could not go to sleep until late at night. Two nights ago after we kept attempting to put her to bed we gave up in frustration (she would try to go to sleep but couldn't). Finally around midnight she grabbed her pacifier ran back to the bedroom and put herself to sleep. Tom and I were pleasantly shocked! Tom went in and thanked her for going to bed and told her that since she did that so nicely he would take her to ice cream tomorrow.

Yesterday evening we took Lulu to ice cream. When bed time rolled around she started to fuss about going to bed. I leaned over and told her that if she would go to bed nicely I would take her to ice cream tomorrow. She calmly climbed off her chair walked down the hallway and went to bed!

I was one of those women who before I had children said I would NEVER bride my children. But desperate times call for desperate measures and if that is what I have to do to get some sleep for awhile I am willing to do it. I also thought I would not feed my children tons of sugar. I do feed her healthy food most of the time but "treats" are becoming a regular part of the routine to reward good behavior.

Lulu has recently gained the ability to connect action to an effect. She now realizes if she throws a fit she will go to time out. It is great!  Yesterday while I was cooking dinner Lulu kept wining at me. It was making me feel frantic so I turned to her and said, "Do you want to go to time out?" Lulu, "no.." "Then stop whining at me! Go watch your movie and play with your sister." She walked out of the kitchen sat next to her sister on the floor and finished on her movie! I was so happy!

Between time outs and bribery I think we have life under control for now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Mother's Sacrafices

I can remember being sick as a child. My mother would get up late with me and stay up as long as it took for me to get comfortable and go back to sleep. I can remember her making me soups, hot tea, giving me medicine, doing whatever it took for me to start to feel better.

I don't remember if she was ever sick at the same time I was. If she was then she either didn't tell me or I simply did not notice. I don't think as a child I ever appriciated the sacrifices she made for me.

Flash forward: I am now a mother of two very sick little girls. They are both very congested and miserable. I, unfortunately, have the same thing. As we all suffer with stuffy noses, sore throats, and low grade fevers I find that I am up all night every night with one of my daughters. Tom has been making sacrifices as well trying to make everyone feel better. He too is sick and he is working on his masters which keeps quite busy.

The longer I am a mother the more I appreciate the sacrifices my mother made for me and the more I appreciate all mothers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Impending Doom

I have been told that breast feed babies do not get constipated. I believed this with Lulu but now that I have Eliza I am starting to doubt that. She will go days with out a single bowl movement then one day... BOOM... Her diaper explodes brown goo! There is so much of it it flows out her diaper, down her legs, all over her clothes, my clothes, the changing table...you get the picture. By the time she is through we are both covered in it.

I asked a veteran mom about it and she replied, "Oh that is normal! Breast fed babies don't get constipated. They just have a hard time processing and get a little back up sometimes." Oh... WAIT! Isn't that the very definition of constipation?

It has been several days since her last explosion. I sense the impending doom coming. The brown goop is going to explode any time now. I have been postponing errands and buying extra diapers as I await the brown goop explosion. The impending doom is coming....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Waffle Brownies

Before I went GF I made waffle brownies. They are a quick and easy dessert with a little powdered sugar on top are a great evening snack or a quick dessert if company is coming over. I took my recipe and simply made it with a GF flour mix and it still taste great! Or simply make it with rice flour and add a little xanthum gum and it is still a great easy dessert!

1/2 cup melted butter

1/4 cup cocoa

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp water

1 1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

Ba-Bye!

Lulu's favorite word right now is, "Ba-Bye!" She says it with great consistency. I have come to greatly enjoy her use of the word. She uses it so say "goodbye"  when she or someone else is leaving. She also uses it when she is about to do something she knows I would get upset about. She will very cheerfully look at me while she is playing and say, "Ba-Bye!!" As she marches out of the room.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Death of My Table

Three years ago on our honeymoon I bought a beautiful porcelain  Czech napkin holder (my husband is Czech).  This has been a valued possession of mine. I have kept it on my dining room table. My table was a wedding gift from one of my mother's friends. It had originally belong to her mother and she had waited several years to give it away. She wanted to give it to the "perfect couple" who would take good care of it.

Lulu one day climbed up on one of our dining room chairs grabbed the porcelain napkin holder and slammed it into the table. The napkin holder broke in two but is fixable. The table however did not fair so well... It now has a crack in it that is slowly growing.  The table will eventually crack in two. When we looked at fixing it the table top is so thin that there is no way to fix it without furthering the damage.


The funny thing is that is while I am disappointed that my table is now ruined I am not upset about. I had always figured that sometime in the next ten years I would have to replace it anyway. It is a small table and with another kid or two we would quickly out grow it. I knew when I had kids that all of my furniture would have to be able to stand up to abuse because, lets face it, kids are not gentle on furniture.

My next table, however, is going to be deeper so I can fit more food on it; longer, so I can fit more people around it; and at least an inch thick.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gobi Grill

Tom and I were not originally planning on doing much for our anniversary.  Just a quiet night at home. Then online Tom discovered a Mongolian grill in town we were both greatly intrigued by it and decided some day we would go there. My mother-in-law decided that we needed to go for our anniversary. She offered to keep the kiddos. We left Lulu but took Eliza with us (something about her only being 7 weeks old and I am paranoid concerned mother).

The idea behind the grill is they give you a metal bowl that you fill with your choice of meat, seasoning, and vegetables. You also pick a sauce and starch (white rice, brown rice, fried rice, pasta, or tortilla). Then you give it to the cook and they grill it on this huge grill. You can stand there and watch or return to your seat and they bring it out to you.

I became very excited when I told the waitress that I needed everything to be gf. She brought me a card that had all of the gf sauces listed and she told me that if I informed the cook then my food would be cooked on a separate grill. I informed the cook right after one of the other cooks accidentally put mine on the main grill. They threw out my food, gave me a new bowl, apologized, asked me to go through the grill again, then marked my ticket "allergy" so that it would not happen again.

Tom and I each went through twice. The food was very filling and very very good! When I first heard the prices I thought it was slightly pricey but having been there I realize it is a good price for all the food you get. I plan on returning and taking my family when they come in town.

Gobi Grille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Glare

Tom and I celebrated our third anniversary the other day. Every year I make a replica of the top layer of our wedding cake as part of our celebration. This year I fed a piece to Lulu. I accidentally gave her to much so Tom reached over and ate a piece of her cake off her plate. She turned and gave him this look that resembled a teacher facing her classroom of naughty children. If looks could kill! The funniest part is that she held it for almost two full minutes!

Pound Cake

Pound Cake

Pound Cake is one of those desserts that I greatly missed when I went GF. After several bad cakes I tweaked a recipe from Gluten Free Kitchen by Roben Ryberg. The secret to this recipe is beating it until all the ingredients are smoothly mixed together. The best way to achieve the preferred texture is by using a KitchenAid mixer.

1/3 cup butter softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

¾ cup potato starch

¾ cup corn starch

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

¾ cup milk

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla flavoring. Mix well. Add all remaining ingredients except milk. Mix well to remove all lumps. Slowly add milk. Batter will be thin.

Pour into large greased loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in middle of cake tests clean. Freeze extra portions.