Thursday, August 23, 2012

Menu-Plan Thursday: Daddy's-Not-Here Edition

Shannon left today on business for a week, so it's just going to be me and the girlies here again for a bit. I always try to plan a bit ahead when he's going to be gone so that I don't have to lug a bunch of stuff home from the store along with both girls.

That being said, Shannon's been on a diet of sorts for the past couple months. High cholesterol runs in his family, and when he last got bloodwork done they wanted to put him on medication. He asked for a few months to try to get it under control with diet and exercise. So, diet it's been. Less cheese, less butter, less sweets, and I'm working on expanding my gluten-free repertoire, because I think we'll try a gluten-free diet for a month this fall and see if it helps some of his stomach problems. That being said, he's going to be gone for a whole week. Which means we'll be enjoying some things I haven't been making much of:

Chicken Dijon

And maybe we'll eat a bit extra ice cream. I've also been trying to cut back on the junk food so that Shannon's not "suffering" alone (but believe me, he's not suffering. We did have enchiladas for dinner yesterday), and I've been missing some foods! Is it bad that I'm looking forward to him being gone so I can eat more?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

8 Months Old

I think you look just like Lane did in this photo.

Dear Noel,

Last week you turned eight months old. This has been a big month for you! You learned how to crawl, although you still army crawl a lot of the time as well. You learned how to get yourself to a sitting position on your own. And you learned how to pull up, although at this point once you get yourself up, that's about all you can do, and then you stand there looking around until you get tired and whine for someone to help you down. You also really, really enjoy climbing all over things. If someone is sitting down, you want to crawl onto their legs, over their legs, around their legs, and so on. You're really, really funny.

You also love to eat. I think that you eat more than Lane did when she was your age, but you're about the same size as she was. An average day for you in food looks like this: 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1/2 piece of fruit for breakfast, 1/2 cup vegetables and 1/2 cup cereal for lunch, and 1/2 cup veggies, 1/2 cup cereal, and an egg yolk for dinner. Throw a bunch of Cheerios, a banana, the rest of your piece of fruit from breakfast, and possibly another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of veggies in there and there's your daily menu. And you're still nursing four times a day, on occasion five times. You are a very impatient nurser, getting either really mad when it gets difficult (if you're really hungry), or just completely uninterested. Most days I think about how I can't wait to wean you, because our nursing relationship is not one that is usually enjoyable for me, and you just seem frustrated most of the time. But we're a little over eight months in and I think we can make it four more. I'll just be glad when you can get all of your food as quickly as you want it.

Showing off your two chompers.

Your eyes are still blue, and they light up when you're excited. You love to give us "love hits," where you smack us in the face with pure delight. You give us big, open-mouthed kisses when we make kissy noises at you at say "Gimme a kiss!" in a sweet voice. You know your name now and will turn to look at us when we say it. You still love your sister and want to do whatever she's doing, which she's not too happy about most of the time. Your attention span is pretty short, though, and you move from toy to toy really quickly. If you had your choice, you'd spend all your waking hours either eating or sitting in someone's lap. Or playing peek-a-boo with Lane. You crack up like crazy when she hides under the blow-up pool and peeks out at you from underneath's your favorite game.

Most days you're a champion sleeper, taking two 1.5-hour naps and sleeping 11-12 hours at night. We're still working out the kinks in moving you from three naps a day to two and it's caused you to get to bed a little too early most nights, and therefore wake up a little too early each morning, but I think in another couple weeks you'll be straightened out.

You have the attention span of a goldfish.

Noel, you are so sweet and it's so fun to watch you interact with Lane. Watching you interact with her, watch her, laugh at her, and try to play with her is so fun and is something we didn't get to see Lane do when she was your age. It's special that we get to watch you do something that she never did, which is to be enthralled with your sibling. We all love you so much and love watching you grow and develop and learn new things. It's been another fun month, and as you get more capable of doing things on your own, you just get even more fun.

I love you,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life Lately

Life is just crazy. It's always crazy. I keep wondering when life is going to "normal out," and I'm beginning to think that it never will...that this is our new normal. So I'm trying to make the best of it. I'm trying to live in the here and now, to enjoy my kiddos, and to conquer all the everyday things that need conquering. Life lately has consisted of:

1) Food. More specifically, baby food. Dear goodness, my 8-month old can eat a lot. I've tried giving her store-bought baby food, and she will. not. eat the stuff. So I'm making it all at home, which is all fine and dandy, just time consuming. Especially when she eats like a teenaged boy. Today she ate 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 pear, 1/2 cup cheerios and puffs (thank you SO much to those of you who sent us those...they've been great for working on her pincer grasp!), about 11 cubes of veggies (carrots, zucchini, peas, green beans), 1/2 cup rice cereal, 1/2 cup oat cereal, and a scrambled egg yolk. And she nursed four times. And every time we feed her she acts like she's never eaten in her life. Needless to say, I'm cooking baby food of some kind almost every day and my blender is getting a workout.

Baby food. Taking over my freezer. (Well, that and the frost...)

2) Speaking of my blender, last week I made a trade with a friend who's moving back to the States. I gave her my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and food processor, both of which are from the U.S. and have plugs and voltage for the U.S. She gave me her Kitchen Aid stand mixer and blender, both of which have plugs and voltage for here. Win-win, all around. And the blender...totally awesome. I've never had such a nice blender.

3) Language-learning. Still. Now that Shannon's not traveling as much, I'm not traveling, Shannon's not in class, we haven't been to any conferences, and we aren't hosting any house guests, I've started going to class again, and studying at home as well. Unfortunately (for me), class falls during nap time, so I miss out on that six or so hours a week of get-stuff-done time, which is part of the reason this blog has suffered. The down-time I'd often have at nap or bed times has quickly been replaced with doing-homework-time. 'Tis only a season, I keep telling myself.

4) Spring cleaning...a few months late. One of the upsides to living in an apartment as opposed to a house is that there's not nearly as much cleaning to do. However, there's always still cleaning to do! Last week when we pulled a toddler bed out of our storage room (aka: Turkish toilet), we found some slight mold growing. So we pulled everything out and I cleaned out the bathroom with bleach. Then I cleaned all our trunks with bleach. And then I figured that since we already had everything pulled out of there, I might as well organize the girls' clothing (give away, Noel's outgrown but save for another baby, Lane's outgrown but save for Noel, Lane hasn't grown into yet, etc.) to be more easily accessible when we need it. I've also deep cleaned the grout in the bathroom and kitchen floors. All of these projects: completely yuck.

5) 24. Have you guys watched 24? I know it's like...well, really old (relatively speaking), but Shannon and I are just now getting around to starting the series. We received an iTunes gift card about a month ago (thanks, guys!) and decided to buy season 1 with it. We're thoroughly enjoying something new to watch, and are trying our best not to let it overtake our lives. We're about 2/3 of the way through and already talking about season 2...we'll definitely have to buy it when the time comes! Anyone have any other favorite shows for when we're done with 24? And can I just mention how great it is to be able to download something on iTunes and not have to haul discs around? Fantastic.

So there you have it. What's been consuming me. Oh, yeah, and these girls have taken a good bit of my time, too. But I don't mind. I mean, look at them! Sorry, all-you-other-parents-out-there, but my girls are the cutest kids out there. For reals.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Five Years

Last Friday (the third) we celebrated five years of marriage. It was a very fun and special day. While I didn't get many photos, I wanted to write about it so I don't forget.

I woke up at around 7:00 to a quiet house. I had asked Shannon to wake me at 6:00, and he obviously didn't. He was gone and his breakfast preparations were still sitting on the counter, and I wondered where he had gone, thinking possibly he'd decided to go for a run. About 15 minutes later he showed up with chocolate croissants, a venti frappucino from Starbucks, and a travel mug for me (identical to the one I'd gotten him for Father's Day). Lane and I had croissants, Shannon and I shared the frappucino, and we got started with our day.

I checked my phone for messages and realized I'd gotten one the previous night saying that my friend Diana's water had broken and that they were going to the hospital. After a few texts and a phone call, we learned that she had given birth to their newest edition at around 6:45 that morning. So we all got showered and cleaned up, let Noel nap, and packed a snack bag for them. We headed to Burger King to pick up food for them (neither of them had eaten since dinner the night before) and went by the hospital for a visit. It was so fun to see them...we missed the first days of their first daughter's birth because we were here (visiting...not living here yet), so it was so special for us to be the first ones to see them, and to bless them with snacks for the day. Then we headed home, ate lunch, got the girls in bed, and I headed off to class.

After class I came home to a still-sleeping Lane. We woke her (I mean, it was almost 5:00 pm!) and started on prep for the babysitter: notes, meals, picking up, laying out jammies and diapers and such. Our babysitter showed up at 5:30 and we were out the door by 5:45 to enjoy dinner and a movie for the first time since having children.

Biber. Almost empty since it was before sunrise and we're still in the month of Ramadan.

We walked to a cute little restaurant called Biber (which means "pepper" [as in the bell kind]) that we actually went to for our third anniversary right after we'd arrived in Istanbul. We enjoyed dinner without having to chop up anyone else's food, tell them to sit on their bottoms, share our drinks or food, and so on. Then we caught a bus and headed to a mall where we got another frappucino (Shannon is ADDICTED to those things) for desert and then watched the newest Batman movie. We watched the credits all the way to the end because Shannon thought maybe there was a sneak peak trailer at the end, and didn't like my reasoning that if there had been one, surely we would have heard about it on Facebook. Needless to say, there was no sneak peak.

Dinner! Steak with a mushroom sauce and rice, and a beef curry. We each ate half and then swapped plates.

Anyhow, we took a taxi home, Shannon walked our babysitter home, and we were in bed by midnight. It wasn't a super special anniversary, but it was fun, and it was nice to celebrate. As Shannon said, we might not do anything really fancy for our anniversaries, but we always do something. We don't let the occasion pass without celebrating. What about you? Do you do "big and fancy" for things like anniversaries, or do they almost pass by unnoticed? Wondering where we fall of the scale of celebrators...