Monday, November 23, 2009

The Sleeping Post, Part II

I'm watching Amelia in the video monitor toss and turn (as much as she can when she's swaddled and sandwiched between a positioner).  Her eyes are closed but she's obviously thinking about waking up yet again.  I put her down around 8pm.  It's now 10 minutes to 9 and she's already been up once, crying and not willing to go back to sleep.  I rocked her and laid her back down.  That was about 15 minutes ago and she's now whining again...awake.

It's not a good sleep week so far.  I think Amelia is getting her first two teeth on the bottom.  I'm just confused at her way of going about cutting those two teeth.  She will not sleep, but it's not that's she's really all that cranky.  She wants to nurse a lot but otherwise if she wakes up and you engage her then she's perfectly fine.  I'll give you a few examples.  Last night she was up every two hours.  I'm not kidding.  It's like she was a newborn again, only this time I didn't have my husband's help in the wee hours of the morning.  The man has a full-time job and needs every bit of sleep he can get (which isn't much, really!). 

I've been trying to put her down in her crib and leaving her there instead of moving her into bed with us all of the time.  I'm not against my baby sleeping with us as long as she's always in her sleep positioner (for safety) and as long as we have a time set for when she needs to be in her bed full time.  Anyway, since she had been sleeping pretty sporadically the last few days we decided to let her sleep with us last night.  History shows that if she's in bed with us she'll sleep twice as long as if she were on her own in her crib.  Apparently that's not the issue - at least not this week.  She woke up every 2 hours, nursed, then went back to sleep. 

Today it took me 2 1/2 hours to get her to sleep for her first nap of the day and then she only slept 30 minutes.  She slept again around 4:45pm and, again, slept only for about 30 minutes.  It's like she completes one REM cycle and she's done.  How do I get her to sleep for longer stretches during the day?  She's never slept in her crib for naps longer than 30 minute incriments.  I take that back - maybe twice she's slept 45 minutes.  I don't swaddle her - she is just on her back in her crib to sleep.  I don't know why she refuses to sleep longer than 30 minutes but it literally is 30 minutes on the nose every single time.  Suggestions??

I'm already halfway through a bottle of Hylands Teething Tablets which are homeopathic and supposedly miraculous.  Apparently my child is immune to them because they never seem to work for her.  Finally I gave her some Tylenol tonight and she went right back out.  She'll sleep with us again tonight - I'm going to try to get as much sleep out of her as possible.  She's not cranky when she wakes up as long as someone is holding her.  As a matter of fact, she's downright cheery if she wakes up and you pick her up and let her stay awake.  However, if you try to put her pacifier back in without picking her up she'll shake her head back and forth violently and refuse to accept it.  If you pick her up and take her to the glider, prepare for battle.  It takes pushing the pacifier in and holding it there while she cries and tries to get away (I'm really not torturing my child).  After a few seconds of holding in the paci, rocking her, and patting her rear while humming "You Are My Sunshine" she calms down and will eventually go to sleep. 

We are heading to Oregon for Thanksgiving this year.  Again, I'm nervous about how Amelia will do in the car but we are prepared this time.  Pray it works.  I'll let you know.  On another Thanksgiving note, I'm contributing an appetizer (Spinach Artichoke dip) and dessert (Chocolate Caramel cake).  If I remember, I'll post the recipes.

I made this recipe tonight since I had some cabbage and celery in my fridge that I needed to use.  I didn't have the sausage but David and I both thought it was good.  If you make it, try to season it heavily - it seems to need it.  I used a can of Rotel instead of the stewed tomatoes.

I don't even have a cute picture to share!  Oh, but I found this video we took on the 16th of this month.  Pardon my frumpy, no-makeup, hair pulled-back look.  I was in the middle of organizing the back bedroom which has become our catch-all over the past few months.

Still have laundry & packing to do. I'm sure I'll have plenty of pictures to share after this weekend.  I'm going to take a blogging hiatus until next week.  Not that it's unusual for me to not blog for a week.  Our sweet friend, Sarah, is taking Christmas pictures of the kids and families this weekend.  I hope Millie's Christmas dress(es) fit her! 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cookbooks, cookbooks, and a contest (!?)

My dilemma.

I have a lot of cookbooks (not an exhorbant amount, but more than I can use).  I have a lot of cookbooks that I've never opened.  Cookbooks that are beautiful and have wonderful, complicated recipes that I will never make because I am generally not one to go and buy unusual or "fancy" food.  The reason?  It's hard for me to imagine buying ingredients for one recipe.  I already have items in my pantry that have been sitting there for a while, so why would I spend money on a leetle jar of some fancy paste when it will probably never be used again and live its life on my refrigerator shelf until it starts growing things.  Since I'm not earning a paycheck anymore my main job as head chef of the Baldwin household is to use what we have in the fridge, freezer and pantry while making as few shopping trips as possible.  This means making garlic bread out of frozen hot dog buns and David making his yummy stir fry out of 25 half-full bags of frozen veggies.  Mental note:  We do not need anymore frozen broccoli.

See the blue binder in the picture above (and to the right)?  That binder houses mostly recipes I printed from  See the cookbooks to the right of the picture?  The ones that say ""?  It's easier to type ingredients into the search on the website and find recipes that way than to thumb through cookbooks, although I really do love cookbooks.  I love the idea of them.
We eat mainly chicken, ground beef, and pasta.  We also eat a lot of tomato-based foods such as spaghetti and tortilla soup.  I'm stuck in a rut when it comes to what I buy.  I will freely admit that.  If there was such a service as a "pantry chef" or a show where someone came to your house and listed everything you had in your pantry and fridge then gave you recipes to use it all then I would be the first in line.  Really, though, this post isn't about what we eat.  I do wish I was braver when it came to ingredients.  I'm not afraid to try new recipes - as a matter of fact I pretty much will make several variations of the same dish, never repeating the same recipe twice.  Of course, this is rather inconvenient when I make something that knocks David's socks off.  As I was saying, I'm not afraid to try new recipes, they just have to include ingredients already in my pantry or they have to include ingredients that can be left out or substituted if not in my pantry.  See?

Anyway, I used to house all of my cookbooks in a little hutch in my dining room.  This worked out okay until every recipe I printed off the internet wound up sandwiched between whatever space I happened to find room.  It was looking pretty ghetto.  So, now they live in a bookshelf in a guest bedroom of our home.  It's not even a cute bookshelf. 

I'm a dessert girl.  I love making dessert.  I have a little collection of cookbooks devoted entirely to desserts.  Cookbooks for cookies, brownies (not pictured because it's currently sitting in my cookbook holder on my kitchen counter), and cupcakes. 

If I had a better kitchen with more counter space (that's another post entirely), I would make it my goal to be able to produce cookies that look like this:

Isn't it adorable?  Imagine having the talent to do that!  I considered acquiring this as my new hobby but then I saw the tools required to even attempt to attain this skill:

Considering my sweet husband has been so supportive of all my hobbies such as painting, knitting, and sewing, I figured I shouldn't push my luck.  I really have yet to find my niche, but that's probably because I expect to be really great at something right when I start and that's obviously never the case.

Back to cookbooks.  I have a cookbook with beautiful photos of recipes I'll never make. 

I also have a cookbook dedicated to showing one how to host the most spactacular parties!  It has directions and pictures on how to do everything from setting the table to creating beautiful garnishes to making a beautiful ice bowl!  It also explains (with pictures, no less!) how to host any kind of themed party you want to throw.  Someday I'll be a wonderful hostess, but I probably should get a table that seats more than 6.

I guess my whole point in this is to say that, while I absolutely l-o-v-e cookbooks, I don't know how I'm ever going to use them all.  But my goal is to try to at least thumb through them and see if any have recipes that call for chicken, beef, or tomatoes.  Ha. 

If anyone has a tried-and-true recipe please let me know.  I am also looking for healthy recipes...I have lofty goals of weight loss.  Someday I want to run a half-marathon (those of you who know me stop laughing!) but the thing is - I hate running.  Anyway, that's another post for another time.

If I were to give away one of my cookbooks, would you be interested?  Here's why I'm asking:  I'm considering doing it for a contest.  I will list the ingredients of my fridge, pantry, and freezer and whoever comes up with the best recipe (I have to try it and like it!) wins a cookbook.  I'm also asking because I know there are those of you out there who read my blog but you don't comment.  Other than family, of course.  I know family who read it and don't respond but that's to be expected. 

So, answer me that.  If you're reading me on Facebook, come on over to my blog.  You don't even have to log in to comment (but please tell me who you are).

And, just because I can, here's a photo from bathtime tonight:

Happy Weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obesity and formula

Well, I'm up.  I'm not sure whether to blame it on the caffeinated coffee I drank at 4pm or the fact that my baby isn't in bed next to me for the first time in a while.  I keep checking the monitor to make sure she's...I don't know...still there?

Can I just say something?  Okay, thanks.  I mean, it is my blog, after all.

I recently saw a video trailer for some documentary about babies who are formula fed verus babies who are breastfed.  I'm not going to name the documentary or the website because I don't want to promote it in any way. 

I first saw the video around 9:30pm tonight and I literally can't get it off my mind.  The trailer for this documentary had some woman nursing what looked like a 3-year-old and as she nursed her kid she said (and I quote) "I have friends who say 'Oh, I wasn't breastfed and I turned out fine.'  That argument, with the obesity epidemic in this country, is no longer valid.  Our country is not fine.  Our country did not turn out fine by not having breastfeeding be the norm.  It is an absurd epidemic in this country how sick we are."   

Really, lady? 
I mean, seriously. 

Let's think this through.  Over the past 30ish years, let's name the things that have become more prevalent in our society.

- Video games
- Fast food restaurants on, literally, every corner
- Parents afraid to discipline their kids or "hurt their feelings" which leads to kids having a sense of entitlement

- Divorce
- More moms working outside the home
- Microwaveable meals in place of the homecooked meal

Oh, and "formula-fed babies".  Right.  Our entire society is fat because, as babies, we were all formula-fed. 
My baby gets formula, on average, less than one feeding a week so it's not that I'm defensive about this. 

Here's why this makes me so angry...

First of all, let's all agree that breastmilk is, in fact, the best for babies.  There's absolutely no disputing that.  God, in His infinite wisdom, provided along with the miracle of life the ability for that life to be sustained with the mother's milk.  It's a wonderful thing.  It's a natural thing.  That does not mean it is always an easy thing!  There are babies who come out of the womb Champion Nursers.  There are also babies who come out of the womb and take a little longer to get the hang of nursing and it takes a lot of patience on the part of the mom and the baby to get it figured out.  Some never really do. 

There are women who cannot breastfeed for health reasons on their part or on the part of their baby.  Legitimately, sincerely, cannot do it.  There are babies who are allergic to their mom's breastmilk or babies who have such severe reflux and/or eczema that, to breastfeed their babies, moms would have to go on a diet that would be detrimental to their health. 

Let's even forget about the legitimate reasons.  Let's just assume that a mom doesn't want to breastfeed her child.  Here's the thing... make a documentary, "educate" women all you want, but do not judge women who do not breastfeed.  Want to know why?  Because it's none of your business

I guess I should just laugh at the woman who said that formula-fed babies are the reason for the "obesity epidemic" in America.  Couldn't possibly be that we, as Americans...

We are served larger portions in restaurants than anywhere else in the world and we also have a hard time just putting down the cheeseburger

We allow our kids to sit on their rear-ends in front of video games or Spongebob Squarepants instead of getting outside and exercising. 

We have both the mom and dad working outside the home and thus not really monitoring what or how much the kids eat (among other things). 

Perhaps because of how little we actually see our children or are involved in their lives, are afraid to discipline them for fear it might hurt their self-esteem and instead we give them whatever they want.  Mr. Sense-of-Entitlement grows up and drowns his less-than-stellar childhood memories in a Super Size milkshake and a Big Mac. 

As kids we are more often getting Pop Tarts or Lucky Charms for breakfast, chicken nuggets at school for lunch, and McDonalds in the evening for dinner.  

The list goes on and on.  Yes, I get that she's saying that we are a sick society because, since the introduction of formula, many more mothers formula feed than breastfeed.  It's been my experience, just in being involved in several mothering forums online, that breastfeeding is becoming more the norm than formula-feeding.  Now, I won't start on the whole "breastfeeing your 5-year-old" debate, I'll just say that I admire any woman who can even make it a year breastfeeding.  As I said before, it's not always easy.  Most women who lobby for more women to breastfeed are the ones whose babies latched on from the get-go and gain weight beautifully from the start.

My baby lost a full pound within 3 days of her birth.  She was cranky and downright unhappy and, as a new mom, I couldn't figure out why.  Three days after she was born we went to a lactation consultant who told us of her weight loss and, after hearing about how irritable she was, told us that she was hungry.  Talk about breaking a mother's heart.  My milk didn't come in until 5 days after my daughter was born.  She was burning more calories eating than she was getting from the colostrum (the yellowish stuff babies get from the breast prior to the "real" milk coming in).  We had to supplement with Nutramigen and, let me tell you, I was THRILLED that such a product existed.  My baby didn't have to go hungry!  She also didn't latch very well.  I had to use a nipple shield for the first 3 weeks of her life before she finally latched on. Even then she would pop off while nursing for no apparent reason whatsoever.  She still does that. 

Around 8 weeks or so she would scream at night and cluster-feed (which basically means she was attached to my breast for hours trying to get as much food as she could).  She would cry (then I would cry) when nothing was there.  I would pump during the day but sometimes she needed a couple of ounces of formula to "top her off".  Again, I was so happy that such an option existed.  The thought of telling my baby, "Tough luck, kiddo" after my milk supply was gone and sending her to bed with not enough in her belly wasn't an option for me.  Before we even introduced formula at night I had someone tell me that I wasn't "exclusively breastfeeding" because my baby was also taking my milk through a bottle at night.  Since then I've wised up and realized what a bunch of nonsense that is.  It's my milk and, at the time, I was exclusively breastfeeding. 

Our breastfeeding trials remain, although I have come to realize that even though my kid is done nursing after 7-10 minutes, she's satisfied and doesn't seem to want any more.  She's never choked on the milk even when the supply is gushing so I just have to assume she's an efficient eater and gets the job done in less time which is fine with me.  Her weight is increasing beautifully and steadily so we are happy with that.  I have tried now to only give her formula if absolutely necessary.  My goal is to pump enough so that if David and I leave her with his parents then they will have breastmilk for her.  Lately she's been on a new eating routine where she gets a bottle of breastmilk before bed then a couple of hours after she goes to bed I pump and am able to get about 6 oz which we use the following evening to "stock her up".  By skipping the feeding at night and giving her the bottle I'm able to pump more.  The last couple of nights I've used a couple of ounces of breastmilk to mix with rice cereal and she loves it.

If you read this entire post, great job.  Sorry for rambling.  My baby's been in her own crib for 3 hours now which means she'll probably wake up in about 2 hours.  If she was in our bed with us she would more than likely sleep for 8-10 hours.  Oh, well.

Another late-night post brought to you by me, the girl with too much on her mind at bedtime.

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Second Chances

I always think of things to write when I'm laying in bed. So, tonight as I laid (lay?) in bed thinking of a new post, I decided to come out to the dark living room and just get it out.

I didn't grow up until I turned 24. Isn't it funny that I know exactly when my brain fully formed and I was making more intelligent decisions? Did I still make stupid choices at 24? Well, yeah. As a matter of fact, I still think back on my 24th year and wonder if there were times I even had a brain in my head and, if I did, why I wasn't using it. I didn't say I wised up entirely - just that I, on the whole, decided to be who I was and started on the path to accepting that...and liking it. If God was happy with me, why should I care what others thought? Maybe it was more like 25...

I won't bore you with the details of my past, but let's just say that I was probably the most emotionally immature yet completely self-conscious person I knew. Nothing about me felt right so I lapped up any acceptance offered to me, never being fully satisfied but also not wholly unsatisifed as long as the attention was still there. I looked for (and always found) disappointments in people and situations, but instead of facing the disappointments and just dealing with them I would torture myself and the person who I felt had let me down with emotional rants and, well, a bit of melodrama. I filled my youth with dramatic exits, tearful goodbyes, and second, third, fourth and even fifth chances for people who weren't worth my time to begin with. I get exhausted just thinking about some of the silly things I would get worked up about - what a waste of time!

I know everyone can probably look back on times in their youth when they'd love a "do-over". Sometimes I think of certain situations that I know, had I been who I am today, I would have handled very differently. I don't say all of this with regret. By the grace of God I found an amazing man who accepts me completely and drags me back to reality when I'm losing my grip. I serve a merciful God!

Anyway, I was just thinking about the serendipitous ride that led me to this point. How different I was and how sometimes I wish I would have been able to "zoom out" to see the bigger picture. Oh, the stress I put on myself worrying about the actions of others and how that would affect the way they thought of me.

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

It's important to me that I think about these things but not dwell on them. I thank God every day that He was patient with me and gave me the life I have now because of the lessons I've learned. I'm still learning. I pray that I can raise Amelia to not be like me in some ways - always filled with self-doubt and worry. We're all made in His image and that means we are important and valuable - not in an egotistical or self-absorbed way, but in a way that allows us to exude confidence. Confidence in the One who gave us life and continues to bless us.

The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?
Psalm 118:6

Faith in God demands action. Grown-up, responsible action. Action that doesn't rely on whether someone else takes action or what someone thinks of you when you decide to take action. Daily, unwavering, courageous action. The time and energy wasted on creating heartache for others could have been spent glorifying God. These are the lessons it took me 25+ years to learn.

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentence without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Chronicles 7:10

I grew up at 24 (maybe 25!) but I'm still not the person God wants me to be. I work toward it every day, some days falling flat on my face and other days shining bright for Him. As part of God's will and to obey Him I was baptized 15 years ago. November 9, 1994. I have never felt cleaner. Constant, daily action that isn't at all easy but it's necessary. My faith in God demands it.

I wasn't really intending for this to be a Bible study, but how can I avoid talking about God when I talk about second chances and "do-overs"? He's the Master of giving both.

I'll leave you with a couple of cute pictures I took today. I wish I could tell you how much I love this little girl but I can't even come close. How did I get so blessed?

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Here's some honesty for you: There are days I wonder why people have more than one kid. I'm not saying that Amelia isn't an absolute's not her behavior or even the fact that she pooped all over her play mat today that makes me say that. It's the car seat. The car seat is such a pain to lug around that there are definitely times I long for the days when Amelia is old enough to sit up in the cart while I shop for groceries or hold my hand and toddle beside me when I have to run quick errands (I just got chills writing that...good chills). And, Lord willing, once my sweet baby is old enough to be doing these things the car seat will be filled with yet another plump baby behind. It's something that I'm sure I'll miss once it's gone for good.

I don't have photos. Wish I did (especially of that play mat incident today - just kidding), but I don't. I need to make a list of things to take pictures of because I always forget. At some point I want to sneak in Millie's room while she's sleeping (preferably during the day without the flash) to snap a photo of her napping and also a photo of her all swaddled up. Although, I do have a picture of her swaddled's just from when she was first born. Anyway, maybe I'll make up for not having photos next time and I'll overload you with photos.

Some milestones I need to document:

- Just in the last few days Amelia has started to snuggle with me. She'll lay her head on my shoulder or bury her face in my neck. The pediatrician told us at her 4 month checkup that she noticed a bit of stranger anxiety in Amelia already. She said it was early, but that it's a good sign. My favorite is when she burps in my face (Amelia, not the pediatrician).

- Amelia has recently taken a very noticeable interest in our pup, Tess. I must get a photo of this. It's so cute how Amelia stares at Tess and her eyes follow the pup around the room. I call Tess over and let Amelia touch her...the kid is mesmerized by that dog.

- It is no longer possible to bathe our baby without getting completely drenched ourselves.

- The nursing thing is going "only okay". Everyone says it's the most natural thing in the world but for something so natural it sure can be difficult. I nurse her exclusively during the day but at night she gets a bottle of my milk. I pump a couple of hours after she goes to bed and by then I have enough to more than fill her (more than a usual feeding). We store it and she has it the next night before bed since that's when she seems to need the most.

- It bears repeating: my kid has the cutest giggle.

- We try rice cereal every few days and so far she hasn't shown much of an interest. But, as I read in my Parents magazine, you're supposed to try a new food 6-10 times before ruling it out. Most babies will like (even love) a food if you are persistent and don't give up after just a few tries. So, upward and onward. I'll probably try it again tomorrow night.

- Last night Amelia slept for 10 1/2 hours. That marks the first time she's ever slept more than 9 hours for us. Please, Millie, let this be the new "norm".

Not much else to report. I got some gDiapers off BabySteals and I'm going to try to make the inserts for them soon. This will be our first foray into cloth diapering so we'll see how it goes. I'm pretty excited.

Bring on the holidays! I can't believe it's already mid-November.

I finally wrote a short (obviously relative) post,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Noise & Rice Cereal

So, about this "noise sensitivity" thing. I've never been one for crowds, but crowds in contained indoor spaces makes me a little frantic. The reason isn't just being crammed shoulder-to-shoulder...I only consider myself as having a minor case of claustrophobia. It's the noise of the crowds that makes my palms sweat. I like being able to hear myself talk and I don't enjoy the ringing in my ears that happens when too many people in a close proximity to me are trying to talk all at one time. Add loud music to this and I'm good as committed to a crazy house.

This is going to sound a little crazy, but if I'm in the car with someone and they have the radio on loudly and they're trying to talk to me over the radio it makes me feel almost panicky. I hate it. Just turn the radio off or be quiet! I realize how I sounded just now...kind of like a jerk. It's different (kind of) if there's background music going on at a party or something...I don't mind if music is playing unless the music is loud enough that the strain for people to talk over it is noticeable. My parents think I'm nuts. I know I'm thought of as a neurotic mother, but it's just because I try to put myself in my daughter's position on a constant basis (would I want to be held like this? Am I cold? She must be cold, too. And so on.) that if something is too loud to me then I assume that it's too loud for her. Thus, the realization lately that maybe my daughter is normal and I'm the crazy one whose ears ring when the TV is on loudly (which, "loudly" is apparently relative) and people are trying to talk over it. Don't get me started on loud talkers. My ears are bleeding just thinking about it.

Are you snoring yet? Just don't snore too loudly.

I will take this opportunity to say I thank the Lord for my sensitive hearing. At least I can hear, right?

Amelia had her 4 month checkup yesterday. She's 13 lbs and apparently has shrunk in height since 2 months ago. David said he watched the nurse measure her and isn't buying her "official" height, so we'll measure her ourselves at some point. The pediatrician gave us the "OK" to give Amelia some rice cereal. We tried it last night and she seemed to like it even if most of it ended up down her chin, on her bib, and coating her fingers. Don't believe me? Take a look.

We tried it again tonight but she didn't seem thrilled with it so I think we'll wait another few days or a week before our next attempt.

For the last few days I've been trying to lay Millie down for her naps without being swaddled and without the swing. It's not going so well. Today she whined for 55 minutes before going to sleep for one of her naps and she never sleeps longer than 30 minutes. You'd think that meant she would sleep better at night but that's not the case. She gave us 9 hours straight in Oregon but that is highly unusual. Most of the time she'll sleep right at 5 hours for her first round then 4 for her second round then another 3 or so. After that I unswaddle her and consider her "up" for the day.

My current frustration is that the second you put the pacifier in her mouth (which seems to be her main comfort to go to sleep), her hands immediately go to her face and yank the paci out. At that point she gets upset like "Why? Why would someone take away my pacifier?"

I'm loving that she laughs now. It's more like a chuckle...I love it. She chuckles most at her daddy.

Okay, Amelia's awake from her last nap and in another hour or so she'll be down for the night, I hope. Tomorrow I'll blog about Halloween.