Monday, March 26, 2012

slow days….


Taking flight on their imaginary plane. Notice the hoop steering wheel and backboard seat…and their beloved stuffed animals waiting patiently in the grass.

My big boys are away visiting David’s parents for a few days this week. They love to visit, the grandparents love to see them, and I love having a little time to focus on just the baby while they’re away.

This has been perfect timing for a mildly troubling reason. I took Ben in for his checkup on Friday. Thank the Lord I had gotten a babysitter because we ended up being there for awhile.

Ben hadn’t gained any weight since his last check up two months before. He’d actually lost 5 oz.

There are many things to be thankful for here. I love and trust my doctor, and he isn’t usually concerned that we have skinny boys. When he is concerned, I can trust that he’s not overreacting. And though they’ve all been skinny, nobody has lost weight before.

Poor Ben got blood drawn for a full panel of tests. They had to take a urine sample to rule out infection. And I was sent home with 3 cans of high protein formula and instructions to try and feed it to him in baby cereal twice a day and give it to him in a bottle after I nurse.

My doctor doesn’t really think that there is anything wrong with Ben. I don’t either. But it’s hard not to worry. I’m very thankful that this isn’t my first baby. If it was, I would be absolutely freaked. As it is, I’m just sad and concerned.

I strongly suspect that at least one reason that Ben is underweight is because he is the 3rd of 3 children under age 6. I haven’t taken the time to nurse him in as leisurely of a fashion as I should’ve, bringing him back to the breast a few times after he seemed done to make sure he was getting the hind milk. I waited later than I should’ve to start him on cereal because the whole family came down with the stomach flu. And now that he’s on cereal, I have wanted to rush him through his bowl so I can be on to other things, not paying enough attention to whether he’d like another bowl. I haven’t taken enough care at times to make sure that I’m getting the water I need to make the milk he needs.

These things have become painfully apparent now that I have to slow down and focus on them. They’re not pleasant thoughts.

I’m thankful that I have this time alone with him to focus on getting us back on track. We’re mostly staying home to eat and nap slowly. I haven’t planned much. He comes first… far above errands and cleaning and visiting.

Weight check is in a week and a half. He’s taking in lots of cereal with formula twice a day… though he’s uninterested in extra bottles after nursing. I am popping fenugreek again. I may see about adding some organic coconut oil to his baby food.

We’ll keep ya posted… and please pray that he’ll start gaining again quickly.

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Best thin crust around….

Today was a rotten day. Ben napped horribly, and when I finally got him down, the boys started fighting at the foot of the stairs and woke him up. Grrrr. I get so tired by the end of the week, and it’s hard to push through.

Well, at least the new recipe I tried was a hit out of the ballpark. I was looking for an instant pizza crust recipe and for one that would be thin crust. I found both in the same recipe, and its the best crust recipe I’ve ever tried. Evan hasn’t been willing to eat pizza until now, and he ate an entire slice!

I got the recipe from Money Saving Mom, but I’m putting it in here with my modified instructions.

Instant Homemade Pizza Dough

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat your pizza stone for an hour in a 450 degree oven.

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix with your mixer.

Dump onto a floured surface.

Knead into a smooth dough (a couple of minutes or so).

Roll out thin on parchment paper and prick with a fork. Slide onto hot pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes.

Add toppings. Sprinkle oregano and grated parmesan on top of the cheese.

Bake at 450 degrees F. for another 6-7 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

I made up 3 bags of the dry ingredients, and they’re in the pantry now with the wet ingredients written on each bag with a permanent marker. I was really surprised how fast it all came together… and by how few dishes I made doing it this way. This is last minute pizza at its finest.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

soccer mom…

It’s your average Thursday night in the suburbs. The dinnertime chaos hasn’t been cleared from the kitchen table yet, but my too tall 5-year-old and I are heading out to run an errand.

It’s a rare treat to go out alone with Mommy. He bounds behind me to the van through the dark spring evening. As we ride through the quiet streets of our neighborhood, he points out the stars. “Look, Mommy, I see a star! There’s another one!”

Onto the freeway now, and then off a couple of exits down. We pull into the shopping center. Red glowing lights gleam “Dick’s.” I open the van door. The stream of excited words barely slows down as he climbs out.

Following an impulse, I pick him up. He is light, but he’s so tall now. He’s so much more awkward to hold than he used to be, all long limbs and knobby knees. He doesn’t complain, though. He’s still young enough to feel like being carried is normal.

He makes me stop by the sliding glass doors. He points up. “Shout ‘Hello!’ to the stars, Mommy!” 

I set him down right inside. Two stories of brightly lit sports equipment meet our untested eyes…. rows and rows of different balls, racks of jogging shorts, a big screen tv playing a game.

I ask the cashier to call someone to help. I don’t know what I’m doing, and I know it. While we wait in “team sports,” Seth and I kick a small soccer ball around to each other.

A kind middle aged man arrives. “My son is starting his first soccer league on Saturday. I need shin guards, a size 3 ball, and some soccer socks.” He looks at the thin little boy tucked under my arm at my side. “He’s going to need extra small shin guards. I think I have a pair upstairs. Let me go check.”

I let him pick out a ball…. his first soccer ball. “I want a blue one, Mommy.” “Can I have this?” “Oh, THANK YOU, Mommy!” He wants to hold it while we wait.

I pay. I sign up for the frequent customer card. I do have three boys. =)

Seth wants to carry the bag out to the car himself. He grins a silly grin and tries to carry the bag with his teeth. “Look, Seth. There’s a full moon.” We ride through the darkness back to the welcoming lights of home. We sing a “days of the week” song. He wants to figure out when Saturday will come.

Saturday will be here before you know it, Seth. I can’t wait to see you take just one of many first steps into boyhood.

I’m going to be a soccer mom.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

good things…



- Pinto beans and onions bubbling away in the crockpot…

- Laundry whirring in the washing machine…

- Evan making up a song as he plays with playdough…

- A new homeschooling friend who gives me learning game ideas…

- Pandora stations that provide great dinner music… search “classical guitar”…

- A candle lit at night for dinner… because family dinner is always special…

- Seth’s tiny stinkbug made of a the smallest bit of yellow sticky tack imaginable. The stink bug can do loop de loops in a little toy airplane without falling out, you know.

- Planning to try out a new recipe…

- “Sherlock Holmes” on the Kindle.

- A paper sack on the counter filled with folded up pieces of paper with numbers on them…. making for another go at teaching Seth some number recognition…

- Sunshine and warmer temperatures….

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Thousands and thousands of books….



I cannot even begin to describe how much I love my new Kindle. It’s revolutionizing my reading life…

See, I read a lot (when not in baby transition). I go through 1-3 books per week on average. I read when the boys are napping, and sometimes I read while they’re playing next to me.  I’m also a speed reader, so I can cover ground quickly. Retention of what I read is another story, but reading quality fiction (and some non-fiction) is a significant pleasure in my life.

Enter the Kindle…. My parents bought me the basic model for my birthday because that’s what I asked for. I didn’t want to take notes on it, so I didn’t need a keyboard. I didn’t want to smudge the reading area, so I didn’t want a Kindle Touch. (I’d also heard that turning pages was easier on the regular Kindle, and I have tried both. I think it is.) I thought about getting the Kindle 3G because we don’t have Wifi, but it looked easy to download books via my USB port, so I thought I’d be fine with the one with just Wifi.

I’ve already read two books on it. The pages are especially easy to read in bright sunlight and direct light from a lamp…. even easier than reading a printed page. I got two books that I would’ve had a lot of trouble acquiring through interlibrary loan in seconds… for free… and they’re mine forever. There are thousands more where that came from, and I can store thousands… on my device or in the Amazon Cloud.

I’ve subscribed to two blogs in my feed reader that alert you when a Kindle book edition is becoming free (or really cheap) on Amazon temporarily. One of them is Pixels of Ink. They update free books many times a day, and the posts are very easy to quickly scroll through. The other one is specifically for Christian books, and it’s called Inspired Reads. I don’t read much Christian fiction, but if you do, this is the place for you. I’m mainly on there for the occasional non-fiction book that comes up.

Now, a word of warning. If you don’t have Wifi, and if you don’t have easy access to Wifi, do not buy the Kindle for Wifi. The idea that it would be easy to download to your USB port is a big fat lie, especially if your computer is a few years old. Kindle books are in a certain type of file that my Windows version would not recognize. From what I could tell, it wouldn’t be that easy to convert, and I would have to do it every time I wanted to buy a book.

Fortunately, I have some very kind neighbors with Wifi. They gave me their password. I went to Amazon, “bought” (for $0.00) about 12 books, and then I just walked over to their house and sat on their front porch. My Kindle had saved their password from when I’d connected the first time, and all I had to do was click “Connect to Wifi” and the books I’d bought on Amazon over the last day or two automatically downloaded…. in about 25 seconds.

I’m so excited. Can you tell? =)

Monday, March 05, 2012

documenting a good day…


“See, Mommy, it’s my worm!!!!”


Ok, so that didn’t happen today, but it’s a great picture. The boys took a walk in the rain on Saturday morning, and I couldn’t resist snapping some pics of them in their rain boots and jackets.

But these things did happen today…


This big boy made mini pizzas with his mommy for the very first time. He asked to put on an apron, he spread the ketchup on biscuit dough, he carefully placed the leftover sausage bits on top, and he sprinkled on the oregano. And when he decided that he didn’t want pizza for lunch, it was miraculously easy to change his mind by saying, “Are you sure? You made them!”

He ate almost all of his pizza. =)


And this 2-year-old did a great job putting dried penne pasta into his cup with tweezers. It’s a wonderful fine motor skills game that I got from the Chasing Cheerios blog. He was entertained enough that I got to make the pizza with Seth. Win win! I’m thinking about getting some ice tongs from Walmart so we can move larger items from one receptacle to another. =)


I had to bribe him, but it finally happened. This is the very first time he’s ever written his name. He would try, and the “S” would frustrate him, and he’d give up. I was about to tear my hair out. Good grief! He’s 5… he can do this! And he really could, but he wouldn’t try.

So I told him that I’d give him ice cream for dinner before he had to eat anything else if he would write his name for the first time. That was enough incentive, and you can see the result. (That’s his writing on the bottom. The top was me writing it so he could remember the letter order.) I am not advocating bribery every time to get them to learn…. but I had had it with wishing and hoping for this milestone, so I caved.

I’ve been reading some of Sally Clarkson’s books. I enjoy them, but they’re also challenging. It’s easy to be restless and want to implement all of her good ideas at once. But I’ve got to remember that I still have a fussy 6-month-old baby that doesn’t take consistently good naps and wakes me up at night. If we just read and play imaginary games on most days, that’s got to be good enough for now.

And days like this make me hope for easier ones ahead….

Saturday, March 03, 2012

people complain about facebook…

…. but I am not one of them.

Here’s the thing. If you’re in a certain season of life, Facebook is not causing you to ignore the community of real people in your city. You can’t get to them anyway.

For instance, if you’re a stay at home mom, and you have a baby, and that baby now needs to learn how to take a nap at home in the mornings… Congratulations! You won’t be seeing very many other people a lot of days for at least a year.

I can’t get out to the people, so I get a sense of community from the people on my computer. They’re real people that I do see in real life, most of them, but I simply don’t have time to talk much running through the halls at church. Because of Facebook, they know that I’m dealing with a bad sleeper, for instance, and they can throw out a word of encouragement as we both race by in the children’s wing. As a result, I feel known. I feel more like we’re all a team, working together, cheering each other on.

Now, this many only work if you post a lot. I do, and I comment on posts a lot. New friends feel like they’re getting to know me faster because of this. They’re more likely to try and talk to me in the halls. We get to know each other a little better than we have time to otherwise because of Facebook.

For example, I put out a shout out on Facebook to borrow some books. I got a quick reply, and a new friend from down the street made sure to bring them to CBS so I could pick them up. I’ve just increased my contact and friendship with her, and I got to find out that she’s a part of a homeschool mom’s book study group. Who knows? We may carpool to it.

A mom that used to be in my MOPS small group now lives in my neighborhood. I comment on her posts and share recipes with her. And she gives me bags of boy clothes. I run by on the way out to Walmart, give her a bag of a homemade muffin mix from a recipe website I know she likes, and we get to chat for a few minutes.

I wrote a status update that we were all coming down with the stomach flu. Within minutes, I got phone calls from friends and dinner delivered from a friend down the street. I didn’t have time to email all of these friends, but one status update got the job done, and we were blessed because of it.

A friend from church posted that her husband just lost his job. I can tell them briefly that we’ll be praying for them, and I will. I know others have prayed for me because of what I’ve written. The Body of Christ has been built up.

This is what Facebook gives me, and I’m not going to whine and moan about all the bad things about it. I don’t care if they’re collecting tons of data on what kind of toilet paper I buy. I buy Scott. And I don’t care who knows it. I simply don’t that much to hide. I’m boring. So are you, probably. If you’re really worried, check your privacy settings once a month. Put it on the calendar if you must.

Don’t let fear keep you from tools to help you build real community. End of rant.

Thursday, March 01, 2012