Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sleep, sickness, and nursing past the first year

I haven't had much time to blog recently; Starbeans has been sick with a cold he caught from a birthday party we went to this weekend. Sunday night he slept for perhaps 2-3 hours, in half-hour increments. He would scream and wail if we went near the bedroom; so, for the entire evening, we either:

  • Took a bath
  • Walked in circles around the house
  • Rocked in the rocker in front of the television, watching PBS (I learned all about the free-trade movement, how Hawaii was formed, watched a Part II of William Golding's Sea Triology on Masterpiece Theater, and saw a 1985-vintage episode of Reading Rainbow)

I slept for 15 minutes around 6 am (or 7 am, according to my body-clock -> daylight savings). It has been a rough few days. I wonder what it is like to have more than one child sick simultaneously? It must be terribly stressful. I did fine once I realized that I wasn't going to get to go to bed that night; but before that, I was pretty frustrated. Poor, sick Starbeans. He's on the mend now, thankfully.

I've been thinking about breast-feeding recently. I plan to do extended nursing with child-led weaning. I'm not sure exactly how long we'll go, what nursing will entail for a 2 or 3 year old, or even how weaning is done, but these are my plans thus far. I'm flexible. I composed a list of why I am so glad to be breast-feeding beyond the "normal" year. Starbeans is 15 months old.

  • I/we really enjoy it: nursing is very special. I feel good knowing that his needs are being met, both physically and emotionally. For him, it is a built in snuggle session and down-time as well as a tasty snack.
  • Nutrition, of course: I never have to worry whether he is getting enough to eat; milk covers (or completes) all the bases. I assume that as the years go on, nursing will be more of a supplement than a daily standard; but at this point, I would say that he is getting his nutrients half-and-half, from both solids and breast milk.
  • Calming: post-nap crabbies disappear with nursing. It provides a nice transition back into the Land of the Living.
  • Handy for traveling: the boob is so convenient (and portable) for us while we're on the go for both thirst and hunger.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bridgna rulz

Although the picture is barely decipherable, I thought it would be fun to share one of my stunning feats: doodling on the water tower of a local farm in my home town; with my good pal from high school, Bridget. We were in college, but emblazoned it with our graduation year for pizazz. I think that was also the night we threw love notes written in español into the yard of our former spanish teacher. Daring!

I'm the nasty girl in green.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Crying over spilt milk

As a mother, there is nothing that throws me off more than a missed nap or a delayed bedtime. I don't know why this is, exactly; but I have a few guesses. Jealously over free-time is one of the root issues; but, I've also wondered if I am more set into routines than I realize. Starbeans has set his own schedule, but sticks to it almost religiously, so I am pretty used to things happening at the same general time each day. Not tonight!

This evening, things were slightly off-kilter: Starbeans and I were out-and-about until 8:00 or so (unusual) and when we got home, the cats (all 4 of them) were roaming the home. They usually "go to bed" (i.e. get shut in the laundry room so they can't pester us) when Squeeze goes to bed - around 7:00 or 8:00 pm. We've had too many years of being awakened at 4:00 am by ridiculous cat fights or caterwauling; and once Starbeans was born, that was it. They spend their nights confined: it is bliss. No getting hissed at when I roll over in bed, no "mreorowing!!!" at the crack of dawn, no cats trying to sleep on my pillow.

For the record: Four (count 'em - 4) cats is waaaaay too many cats. We were nuts. Warn your friends, if they ever get cat-happy: four cats is a wee bit over the top. I can't complain: we were forewarned, but completely ignored the tidings of doom and did it anyway. Now we must suffer for our enthusiasm.

Starbeans usually goes to bed at 9:00 pm. But at 9:00, instead of feeling sleepy, he was a live wire. Wiggling and excited. So, we hung out: we played, we took a bath, we looked at books. At 10:00 pm, he was feeling sleepy. Now mind you: the cats were out in force. I couldn't put them away for fear that it would wake Squeeze (an extremely light sleeper); he sleeps in our spare room since he goes to bed so early, which is right next to the laundry room. I figured he'd either wake up from Starbean's joyful yells or the cat's joyful mraows.

So, at 10:00 pm, I was nursing Starbeans to sleep and he was in the midst of the contended throngs of preparing to drift off, when "prrrrrthetetet!", our least clever cat, Little Bud, bounded into the bed right over Starbeans' head, who gave a wild giggle and sat straight up. So much for bedtime!! Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, excitement, play, run, jump.

Finally, after 10:30 pm, I risked putting the cats away with Starbeans in tow (it went well) and put the kid to bed. I had to pull out all the stops and keep him laying down through tickle-torture until he drifted off to sleep blissfully.

Now that I feel better after writing this all out - why couldn't I have felt amused or affectionate towards the evening's escapades instead of annoyed and frustrated?

I hate being fallible.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pumpkin Apple Bread

Within the last two years, I bumped into two books at the library that I enjoyed immensely. They are both autobiographical works by Ruth Reichl: Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table and Comfort me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table.

When I worked full-time, pre-baby, I listened to audiobooks while doing my job (thank goodness I never had to talk on the phone). It was a great way to maintain sanity as well as get a lot of "reading" done. I first saw Comfort me with Apples in the audiobook section at our library; I scoffed at it for months before checking it out. Don't ask me why - I'm an idiot. I think that I thought the cover was silly (I do judge a book by its cover). When I finally broke down and checked it out (the culprit being slim pickings), I immediately fell head-over-heels. I really like reading about others' life experience (thus, blogs) and it was thrilling to hear about her life-long love of cooking and food.

Glimpsing into her passion for cooking made me want to delve more into recipes that she had direct influence over. I did a little research and went straight to the library to check out the cookbook she edited: The Gourmet Cookbook. I liked it so much that, in turn, I went out and bought it. Not only are there many fabulous recipes, but it provides a lot of good information about the foods/ingredients used. For example, there is an entire page dedicated to potatoes: the properties of each variety and what they are best used for. For someone who is learning from the ground-up, this is extraordinarily helpful.

I've made this Pumpkin Apple Bread a fall tradition for the last two years. It is delicious. Spicy, sweet, and simply wonderful. Thus far, I've used solid-pack canned pumpkin; but this weekend, I bought a real pumpkin at the Farmer's Market and plan to use that instead. Even better than the real thing, baby! This one is for you, Alison.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (2 cups)


  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Make the topping: Blend together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Make the bread: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice into a medium bowl, Whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Add flour mixture. Stirring until well combined. Fold in apples.

Divide batter batter between buttered loaf pans. Sprinkle half of topping evenly over each loaf. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack for 45 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Big man on campus

We have a friend in town for the weekend; Starbeans has been enjoying playing with his cell phone: beeping numbers, bopping buttons, and fielding calls.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

11:11, again

I just looked at the clock. It was 11:11 pm.

Big news, little news

Big news:
  • I will be done with my job of 5 years within the next couple of weeks. 5 years is a long time to work at one place when you are only 29 years old! I have been part-time for the past year, but now I am d-o-n-e. A little startling, but good. So good. Squeeze is going from part-time to full-time in his job, which enables me to be able to stay home. We've had a good run: for most of the past year, we have been living on my part-time income and ebay - Squeeze stayed home with Starbeans. Then, in June, Squeeze also got a part-time job and since we've been living on 2 part-time incomes. Not a conventional choice within general American culture, but a very interesting and exciting one. If you work with me and read my blog, SURPRISE!!! You'll be getting an email from me tomorrow.

Little news:

  • My final wisdom tooth (upper left) has grown in and is mercilessly crowding the rest of my upper teeth. It is, in fact, quite miserable. My jaw bone cracks against it if I open my mouth funny. I believe it might be one of the main causes of my problems with bruxia. Picture this: all of my teeth grow downwards (like normal). But this little SOB, it is growing in sideways. Yep. Jerk. I want to get it pulled, but without insurance, that baby will cost 426 dollars. A little steep at this point in time...so I am persuaded to wait.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Be very impressed

I made pizza this evening: my first time ever dealing with yeast.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sinus Infection Remedy

Since our RSV catastrophe last winter, some of you may know that I have been gearing up for this cold and flu season; an arsenal of home remedies awaits any malady that befalls us this winter. Just you try to get us this year, sinus infection or sore throat! Just you try.

Squeeze has been prone to sinus infections since last winter; it seems now that any minor cold carries with it the threat of sinus pain. We have been using the home remedies found in Prescription for Nutritional Healing during the last few bouts: it has been extremely effective. My sister-in-law is also prone to sinus infections and hasn't been able to rid herself of one without antibiotics for years. Just this last month, she used the salt wash and it knocked her sinus infection out - she said that it made a big difference.

Sinus Infection Remedy

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Baby snot-sucker or nehti pot

Lay your head on your side, preferably over a large towel or sink. Squeeze (or pour) the warm salt water solution into the top nostril, letting the water flow in, then out, through the other nostril. Depending on how congested you are, some might not make it through (but that is ok). Expect that a lot of snot is going to come out with the water. A LOT. Repeat 3-4 times per day.

Other recommendations:

  • No dairy (except soured products)
  • Drink plenty of distilled water and fresh fruit & vegetable juices
  • Drink plenty of hot liquids, like soups or herbal teas - helping the mucus to flow
  • Use warm compresses or ice packs to relieve pain (whatever works for you)
  • Steam inhalations also ease pressure and promote drainage - a few drops of rosemary or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam from a distance of 6 inches several times a day for 3-5 minutes at a time

I've also done research online that recommends adding a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to the warm water salt wash, as GSE is a natural antibiotic. We haven't tried this yet: the salt wash has been sufficient. We do, however, have GSE on standby and will use it this winter if necessary.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing contains a lot more information about treating sinus infections through supplements and herbal treatments - not to mention an plethora of other common to not-so-common illnesses. This book is a must-have for home remedies!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Squeeze and I both work part-time. He, from 3 am (yes - am) to 7 am, Monday-Friday and me, 9-ish to 3-ish, Monday-Wednesday. Got that? He goes to bed at 8 pm and sleeps while Starbeans naps. At work, he sits in a warm van and listens to the BBC (live) whilst delivering bags of checks from one location to another while I fritter my time away in cubeland. I shouldn't say fritter: I have lots to do. But: it is cubeland, nonetheless.

The other day, I devised a mental list of Cubeland Oddities that really get my goat. Mostly jargon, and almost always like fingernails on a chalkboard. I defer:

  • "Why don't you just shoot me an email"
  • "Just shoot me an email and I'll take care of that"
  • "I've got a lot on my plate right now, so why don't you just shoot me an email?"
  • "I'm so busy - I don't have time to complete this or that, so why don't you just shoot me an email. I've really got a lot on my plate."
  • "How was your weekend?"
  • Dress-down day. Like we all get excited to wear jeans.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Do you speak Klingon?

My good friend Melissa encountered some friendly Klingons at a Star Trek convention this summer. I'm not sure if they were able to communicate with each other, but they sure took a sparkling picture. Sassy!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Potty Training

I'm still putting Starbeans on the toilet each morning: he goes pee 9 times out of 10. In fact (and this is a little gross) - the other morning I wondered if I should keep him on there because I thought he might be close to pooping, but I second-guessed myself and took him off the potty. My instincts were spot-on and he unfortunately proceeded to poop on the floor in under a minute, just as I was calling out, "Starbeans, listen to Mama go potty...Starbeans!!...what the...?? Don't move!!!" Thankfully he had poop on the wood floor, instead of the carpet: so it was an easy clean-up.

He pooped on the toilet in the morning the other week too. I was so proud. He seemed a little confused, maybe even a tad alarmed, when it happened. But he didn't get scared and seemed pleased with himself when I started cheering him on.

Furthermore, just within the last couple days, he starts the celebrations before I even realize that he is peeing. I think that is a really good sign. He looks down, smiles, and then starts clapping and yelling victoriously while I ask, "Starbeans, are you going potty? Yay!!! Starbeans is going potty! Yaaaaay!!" He is starting to make the connection: Toilet = potty. Toilet = potty. He even went pee today after his nap. I'm going to start putting him on the toilet regularly throughout the day (in addition to the morning routine) and see where that gets us. One or more less diapers per day is fine with me; we're on our way!

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Garden Gnome

Gently plucking petals from the geranium: all in a good day's work.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cloth Diapering: The Night Diaper

The dreaded Night Diaper. As Starbeans is still nursing throughout the night, he wets very heavily. This may also be the case even for babies who sleep a solid 8 hours without suckling - I don't know. No matter. I've found that the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap just can't handle that much saturation, especially as he gets older. Do not get me wrong: they are great during the day. I love 'em! But night-time is a different story.

So, first I tried double-diapering. It worked for awhile. Then I moved to triple-diapering: this seemed to suit our needs much better, but it was hard to stuff that much diaper into the medium sized Whisper Wrap (15-30 lbs). I had read a lot about leak-proof wool diaper covers, so I decided to give it a shot. I bought a Babyology Wool Diaper Soaker off of ebay - the XL size, to accommodate the bulk of the triple-diaper.

I am pleased to report a happy success. No leaks - no wetness - nice and roomy - no smell. I hang it out to dry each morning and it is ready to go by each evening. I thought I'd pass along the word. There are other options for the Night Diaper than disposables (it just took me a little while to get it right).

10/10 update:
I went back to double-diapering (the triple is just too much diaper if it isn't neccessary). I twist the outer diaper and keep the inner diaper flat, so there isn't so much bulk between his legs and his junk is protected. Everything is fine and dandy - I really love the wool soakers. I'm also going to research microfiber - it sounds like an excellent choice to keep little bottoms dry. Thanks for the advice, P.K.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Plan

I'm keeping a food journal during the month of October, to see exactly what I'm eating. I have a few problems - bruxia (tooth-grinding - perhaps interrelated with TMJ?), rosacea, and (potentially) hypoglycemia. Through the book I'm currently reading Prescription for Nutritional Healing - I am interesting in finding solutions through diet and nutritional supplements. But first, I'd like to see what I'm eating. It should be interesting!

I'm also on the low-end of my BMI - so perhaps there is room for improvement to help me maintain my weight while breast-feeding. An interesting fact: I am 5'9. Before pregnancy, I weighed 150, which is on the high-end of normal for my BMI. Now I weigh between 130-135: the low end. That is quite the difference, people! I am getting comments quite regularly and have to wear a belt for the first time in my life (or those pants fall doooown). It's kind of a pain in the butt, actually - but I suppose I shouldn't complain too bitterly. It's all the Milky - mayhap another reason to spur more women to breast-feed their babies.

Monday, October 02, 2006

One for the dame

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

Everytime Starbeans hears Baby Tad (a birthday gift) sing this nursery rhyme, he says, "Ba-ba-ba". While he certainly isn't making the connection that sheep say "baaa", it is so cute to hear him say it! On the subject on speaking: I don't want to rush time forward, but we are at the point where we cannot wait until he starts talking. We are tired of being shrieked at. It ain't all fun and games.

In other news: he continues his obsession with putting things inside of other things. It's like a job (and one that he is very serious about). When I'm in the kitchen working, he will be toddling around and opening various cupboards, intently moving things from one place to another. Lids inside of bowls, measuring cups inside of pots, dish cloths in the broiler, etc. Yesterday, I opened a cupboard door to find a few Mr. Potato Head pieces placed carefully inside a measuring cup. It send a flush of joy through my system. What a little monkey!!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Maya Wrap Lover

That's me! I love my Maya Wrap. A sling, but so much more. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

  • Sling: 6-8 positions
  • Swaddling blanket
  • Snot rag
  • Grocery cart seatbelt
  • Highchair seatbelt
  • Park blanket
  • Sun shield: car, stroller
  • Peek-a-boo tool
  • Modest nursing (but I've never used it for that)
  • It is beautiful!
  • Shawl (for me)
  • Pocket carries: wallet, keys, pacifier

Updated 11/3: Now that I have a toddler, I can add LEASH to the list. It makes for a splendid leash to keep that kid near you when you need him to be.