Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sickness, School, and Other stuff

Harriet is sick today with the mysterious fever/stomach/throat disease that is plaguing my entire family.  It has been exactly one year since Harriet's first Real Illness which is totally the grace of God.  But I don't really feel like doing this again for another year.  Some kids mope around and sleep all day when they are sick (like all of my sisters who have been plastered to the couch for the past three days).  Not Harriet.  No, she resists sleep just as adamantly as usual and wails and thrashes about all day.  She even refused her strawberry shake, poor kid.  I'm so thankful for Netflix because she has been able to chill (sort of) on the couch all day watching Pingu or Shaun the Sheep and stuff.  Last night, poor Edmund had some sort of tummy trouble which made him scream for over an hour.  Yeesh.  I'm also thankful for the Dr Sears Baby Book which tells me when I should freak out and what I should do.  Steve is getting off of work early tonight so that I can have help getting them in bed, which is most appreciated.

I'm almost, almost done with my C.S. Lewis class.  Just two more short essays and one week of class left. I can do it.  Somehow.  I'm not really sure how at this point, but it will get done.  Classes always do.  I received a pretty hunky dory encouragement yesterday when I got a certificate in the mail saying that I had made it onto the Dean's List for the fall semester.  I know that's silly, but I did work my butt off last year and so it's nice to have an acknowledgement of that effort.  It arrived at the perfect time since it's going to be another push to finish my current two classes with these little munchkins.  I know I'm going to look back at this degree-obtaining experience and say that it was all because of God's grace.  There have been so many times when I can't see how in the world I'm going to be able to finish an assignment, and yet God always provides a lengthy naptime or a babysitter for H or the energy to just push it through one more time.

I'm really feeling like my entire being is pushing against having a totally unpredictable routine.  Normally, I like to think that I have a pretty good idea of how to manage my time.  I know how long it takes me to write a paper or how long it takes to do the dishes.  I take pride in checking off a lengthy to-do list.  Now?  Everything is messed up.  I can't manage my time because I have absolutely NO idea when I'm going to have two minutes put together to do chores or school or hang out or whatever. My mom reminded me that there are only so many hours in a day and I really can't do everything.  I feel like I'm in a constant mental debate about what to choose: do I do the dishes or read to Harriet?  Do I relax because I've been taking care of kids all day, or do I crank out some more school because both of them are finally sleeping? I know that we are in a serious transition stage right now.  Things will get better.  In the meantime, however, I'm learning a lot about patience and my complete insufficiency.  We have much more of a routine than we did a few weeks ago, but I guess I'm just antsy.

One good use of my time happened on Sunday afternoon when I made freezer meals to put in the crockpot.  I found a link on Pinterest to a website that had a list of five meals for the freezer, complete with a grocery list.  Better yet, the recipes were all veggie-intensive, which is how we eat typically.  I assembled all of the ingredients, put E in the wrap and H down for a nap, and started chopping.  Two hours later, I had nine bags of meals in the freezer and the kitchen all cleaned up.  The best part?  None of the pre-cooking that is so often a part of typical once-a-month-cooking recipes.  Therefore, I only had to clean my cutting board, knives, and one skillet.  It was amazing.  I stick a crockpot meal in the fridge to defrost overnight, plop it in the crockpot the next morning, and by supper we have a nice hot meal without any effort.  Love, love, love!

I'm going to post one-month pictures of E this week.  I'll have to take some outside because the weather has been unbelievably glorious.  Can he really be a month old?  I lubs him so much.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Concerning parenting, Donut Man, and chocolate

  • Yesterday morning was totally gorgeous in every way.  It was deliciously warm without much wind, so we loaded H in the stroller, put E in the wrap, and went on a two hour walk.  We ran errands, ate at Subway, and took Harriet to see the chicks and ducklings at the farm store.  She was thrilled.  Steve and I think that we all have seasonal depression because as soon as it warms up and the sun is out, we feel like different people.  Even Harriet was perfectly content to play calmly with her toys all afternoon after her nap and she didn't ask to watch a movie at all.  This is huge because usually we are fighting the movie-nagging all day long.  
  • I was super-excited to discover that Donut Man is now on DVD - with two episodes on a disk, at that!  Jenny and I were chatting yesterday about Bible-based tapes or movies that we enjoyed as kids, and she reminded me about Donut Man.  Harriet loves, loves, loves movies that are primarily filled with songs, so the Donut Man would be a great way to combine her love of the screen with something actually worth watching.  I ordered her the Resurrection Celebration one, and I'm so glad that we'll have something on which to base our discussions of Easter. 
  • Even though yesterday was a really good day overall, the evening kind of spiraled into unpleasantness.  I have been working so. stinking. hard. to keep up with the house in a realistic way: I keep on top of the dishes and laundry, and I do a quick tidy of the bedroom and living room every day.  It's not deep cleaning, by any means, but it keeps things under control.  However, as little as this is, I have to choose to do chores in the few spare moments I have when E is sleeping, or whatever.  I don't really have time for stupid extra messes, but they seem to be plaguing me nevertheless.  Last night I found dog vomit on the couch (which equals washing the slipcover), dog poop in the basement (which equals finding time to go clean it up when  the kids aren't needing me), and caramel coffee syrup spilled throughout my entire pantry (which equals taking everything out of the pantry and cleaning up the extreme stickiness).  It was mess overload and I wanted to scream.  Harriet took forever to go to sleep, as usual, but sometimes I just want her to sleep like a normal person.  And our estimate for installing the privacy fence in the backyard was thousands of dollars more than we were anticipating.  I was pretty frustrated.
  • Speaking of H and sleeping, I feel like we're at yet another crisis point that needs a solution.  (Didn't we just have a major sleeping transition?  Like only 7 months ago?)  She really needs to go to sleep without so much rigamarole and stalling.  Right now I'm spending a minimum of forty-five minutes laying down with her in our bed until she finally gives it up.  It just doesn't work when I am trying to take care of E and retain any form of sanity whatsoever.  I think we should get her toddler bed set up and teach her to sleep there.  All of the attachment parenting books suggest jolly gentle transition plans, but Harriet is so stubborn that we may have to go cold turkey.  I hate that.  But it'll be worth it. Right?
  • I made these Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes for Clara's birthday party this evening.  Boy oh boy.  They are pretty much amazing...but then again, I would be perfectly content to eat a huge bowl of chocolate ganache.  I may be going back to Jazzercise before my post partum six weeks is up, but I'm not starting my Treats Only on the Weekends until I absolutely have to.

Monday, March 5, 2012

About an Edmund and a Harriet

During Edmund's first few days, I imagined what my evening routine would be like: Harriet would fall asleep, Edmund would nurse lazily, and I would have a few quiet moments to write a blog post.  Scratch all of that.  This is the first night in two weeks that my ideal evening has become a reality.  I'm enjoying it tremendously and you are getting a little update on life in these here parts.

Edmund is doing marvelously.  He eats heartily, sleeps soundly, poops loudly, and amuses us with his quizzical expressions each time he condescends to wake up and engage with the world.  He is so ridiculously laid back.  I don't think I could have appreciated this quite so much if it weren't for the stark contrast between Harriet and Edmund in this respect.  I commented to Steve the other day that I am excited to see what E's personality is going to be and not just what I'm projecting onto him.  Then we both agreed that Harriet's personality has been the same from day one...and Edmund is likely the same way.  I know I lectured the poor guy in utero about being a chill individual, but it's just so shocking!

Get this, people: he sleeps in his own bed.  Without waking up.  For hours.

(Okay, so maybe this is a hunky dory newborn behavior, but I can honestly count with one finger the number of times Harriet slept in a bassinet at this age.  One time.)

Anyways, Edmund has overcome a nasty diaper rash, a blocked tear duct, and a goopy umbilical cord site all in one week.  The poor kid was oozing from all sorts of places, and I felt very sorry for him.  He handled all of my wiping and massaging and ointment-applying and is now happily on the mend.  While I have been extremely cautious about exposing him to the illnesses that seem to blossom at this time of year (curse winter), we have been able to get out and about.  We went to church on Sunday for the first time since his birth and he successfully slept through the entire service.

And how is Harriet doing, you ask?  Harriet loves Baby Edmund.  She says to him, "Whatcha doing?" and "I seeeee you!"  She offers him crackers, and I have to remind her that Baby Edmund doesn't have any teeth and is therefore unable to consume her big girl food.  She loves to touch his hair and point out his facial features.  She is generally very sweet and kind to him, but sometimes she gets a little pushy - especially when I'm having to care for him and am not able to jump up and meet her needs immediately.  While she is very welcoming toward Baby E, the transition to life with a new person in the house has been rather rough at times.  She seems to keep finding new buttons to push each week, and we keep riding them out.  Week one was temper tantrums, week two was whining, and now week three is not going to sleep at bedtime.  Eesh.  Things are getting better overall, I think.  We are gradually easing back into our normal routine and I think she senses that the world isn't falling apart quite as quickly as she anticipated.  The good thing is that she will never remember not having Edmund in her life.

Harriet says pretty much everything and is combining more and more words to form sentences.  My least favourite sentence is "No, stop it!"  But I love sentences like, "Baby Edmund so cute."  Or "Mommy, come here!"  She is basically surviving on crackers these days. I used to pride myself on the variety of food that she enjoyed, but now we are down to crackers, beans and rice, and oatmeal.  These aren't bad types of food on which to exist, so I'm not worried about it.  We did have an exciting cracker experience this evening when she insisted on taking her beloved graham cracker into the bathtub with her, despite my repeated explanations of what would happen to the cracker.  Sure enough, the graham cracker fell into the water, disintegrated, and freaked the living daylights out of Harriet.  "It's yucky!" she wailed, and refused to sit back down in the water even after I had removed the slimy bits of cracker.  Live and learn, child.

Oh wow, the sleeping Edmund just filled his drawers.  Exciting times....