Monday, March 26, 2012

Life Lately

So, obviously blogging hasn't been my top priority these days. But I'm still here, and I'm convinced that one day (maybe this summer?) life will settle down a bit and I'll find my groove and get back to blogging regularly. Until then...I'm here when I can manage.

So, lately, I've been...

1) Cooking! If you follow my recipe blog, or if you know me well, you already know that I've never been big on processed food and have always (since I learned how to cook, that is) liked to make things from scratch. Recently I've been analyzing our diets and trying to "fix" some small things about it. Like our dependence on cereal for breakfast. Since we live overseas I already make a lot of "convenience foods" from scratch. For example, this morning I made cream of mushroom soup from scratch, I've already made marinara sauce this month, and I'll be making barbecue sauce in a week or so. But things like cereal...well, I've just never been motivated to change, even though I know it's loaded with sugar and other junk. So this month we're changing it up. I'm making my own granola. So far I've tried two different recipes, and while neither of them is my favorite yet, I'll be sure to post a recipe when I find one I like. I've also perfected a new recipe: Soaked Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Bread. It's delish, and easy. You should try it.

Homemade Wheat Thins. So yummy with...

Homemade hummus! (Lane doesn't even need the cracker...she prefers a spoon!)

2) Baking! Shannon's mother sent Shannon back with some Easter decorations, so Lane and I made some cupcakes and decorated them all fancy-like. Please, someone out there tell me I'm not a horrible mother for not really enjoying baking with Lane yet. I feel like all I do is tell her not to put every. single. thing in her mouth.

3) Care packages! We got two packages from friends back in North Carolina, which was a very pleasant surprise! Thanks so much, Kate and Andy and Dean and Robin! (And, just so it doesn't go unsaid, my mom has sent us a couple packages now that I just didn't get pictures of. Thanks, Mom!)

4) Reading! Lane got a few new books for her birthday so she's been enjoying those. As has Noel.

All of us enjoying a book together.

As for me...I finally got this:

Yup, I finally caved and read it!

And I've gotta say...definitely worth the read. I am actually able to exert self-control and haven't gotten books two or three yet, but I will when I have some free time. I finally just decided that I hadn't read a book for fun in, oh, six months or so, and that it was high time, so I bit the bullet and got something for fun. And oh, it was fun to read for fun!

5) Sleeping! Yup, that's right, sleeping! Noel has slept through the night (10ish to 7) without eating for four nights in a row now. It's been fantastic. I'm hoping it sticks! Although I'm still exhausted, even though I'm getting seven or so hours of sleep straight. Guess it'll take me 3 1/2 months or so of normal sleep to make up for 3 1/2 months of interrupted sleep?

And there ya go. Five things I've been up to. Of course I've actually been doing a lot more than that, but hey, you all gotta take what you can get from me!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Out With the Old

And in with the new!

One of my requests from Shannon's trip to the States was for new spatulas. I used to have three (secondhand) spatulas but during the Christmas season I broke one of them while making fudge. It looked a little better than the spatulas above, but not by much! So I've been pining after new, nice spatulas. Shannon's mom was kind enough to go to Williams-Sonoma to pick these up for me since they were on back order online. And then she decided to gift them to me, so I didn't even have to pay for them!

So are they all they're cracked up to be?

They're made of stainless-steel and silicone, and the silicone heads are removable and dishwasher safe.

They're heat resistant up to 500°.

I feel like I'm using real spatulas when I'm scraping the mixing bowl and not like I'm using a 2 x 4.

They're just pretty.

Yup, they're all they're cracked up to be!

Now I just need new knives...

3 Months Old

Dear Noel,

A few days ago you turned three months old! A quarter of a year! Time flew by with your sister, and with you it's proving to go just as fast. I can't believe that it's already been three months! We went to the doctor yesterday (which is why I waited to write you a letter...I wanted to know how big you are!) and you are, of course, getting even bigger. You are up to 59 centimeters (23.2 inches) and 5.36 kilograms (11.8 pounds). The doctor was a little concerned because you only gained a pound in the last month, but I think you're doing've practically doubled your birth weight and you've grown four inches.

Getting good at tummy time!

You make some funny faces!

This month we've really gotten to see some more of your personality. You love to look at Lane and smile at her. You're fascinated with the hanging animals on your play mat and love to beat them and listen to the noises they make. You've perfected rolling from your tummy to your back, enjoy tummy time if you're not tired, and can hold your head steady when held upright. You keep your body stiff if we hold you over our heads, and just the other day you started supporting some of your weight when "standing."

Snuggles with daddy.

You've slept through the night (8-9 hours) a few times, but after hitting a growth spurt a couple weeks ago you haven't gone back to sleeping all night yet. You're so smiley and happy, and calm almost all the time. You love to be held and for us to pay attention to you and make faces at you and kiss on you, but you're perfectly content to lay on your play mat by yourself as well. You make life every easy for us, and for that we are appreciative! I love you and have so enjoyed these last three months and look forward to many, many more with you!


Snoozing...and working our way free of the swaddle...


All smiles!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ten Lessons From Single Parenthood

Shannon got back from his trip to the States late on Monday night. Wow, was it good to see him! This was the longest we've been apart in our nearly five years of marriage, and never with two kids in tow! I don't think Lane let him out of her sight at all yesterday.

We three girls made the most of it and had a good time, but you know, un-fun things just happen. Like sicknesses. Two new molars. A 3-month growth spurt (and the corresponding lack of sleep). Snow, rain, and 30-degree temperatures. Late bedtimes and early wake times.

But good things happen, too. Things like learning new words. Eating all of lunch and dinner. Making cookie dough and getting to lick the beater. Meeting new friends. Diaper blowouts. Slumber parties with old friends. Packages from grandparents. 10-week olds sleeping 8 hours stretches at a time. 3-hour long naps. New videos and correspondingly, new signs to help us communicate.

So, it was a long two weeks. But it was also fun. I learned a few things and thought I'd share them with you, should it ever look like you'll be single parenting for a few days:

1) Showers are overrated. Sleep is not.
2) The bathtub is a great way to occupy your toddler and to keep them in one spot. Simply fill with bubbles, warm water, and toddler. Enjoy an hour of [relative] freedom.
3) In case you decide that you actually need an overrated shower, a laptop with a show in the bathroom is a lifesaver. Place laptop on counter, toddler on toilet. Close the door, press play, and take a shower with little worries.
4) Go to the park as often as possible. Not only will it refresh your spirits (hello, fresh air!) and entertain your toddler, but it will also wear said toddler out, causing them to sleep longer.
5) Make a menu and stock up on all non-perishables for that menu before your spouse leaves. Stick to the menu while he's gone. This ensures that you a) eat real food, and b) don't go crazy trying to figure out what to cook.
6) Don't put things into the washing machine and leave them there to wash at a later date. Stuff like this happens:

I accidentally left my new red sweater in the washing machine before it had been washed...and tossed our cloth diapers in. So now they're all pink. Sigh. At least we have girls, right?...

7) Accept every offer of help! If someone wants to have you over for dinner, go! Yes, it might take a bit of effort to get there, but it will be well worth it to have someone else help you entertain and/or hold your kids for a couple hours, plus you get adult conversation. Everyone wins.
8) Speaking of going places, it is essential that everything you need to carry with you fit into your purse. (This really only applies to those of us who don't have a car.) If need be, buy a bigger purse (like I did two weeks ago). Get one that is big enough to hold the essentials: wallet, phone, tissues, hand sanitizer, eye drops (for contact wearers), 2-3 diapers, wipes, one change of clothes for baby, one pair of pants for mostly-potty-trained toddler. Make sure it has a shoulder strap! Then when you're going places on buses you'll only have one arm/hand dedicated to carrying stuff and the other can be dedicated to the toddler.
9) Don't freak out. Try to enjoy your kids. Keep expectations of yourself low. Feed everyone. Make sure they're fairly clean and happy, and be happy with yourself if these things happen!
10) Appreciate your spouse. Because you never realize just exactly how much they do for you until they're gone!