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I’VE MOVED!

Please come find me at The Energizer Mommy!

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Moving on

I started this blog over 3 years ago as a way to deal with how my invisible illnesses were derailing the life I had imagined for myself. I knew next to nothing about blogging, and picked the name half by accident after the first 20 or so names I tried were taken. As I grew increasingly desperate for ideas I threw this one out to check its availability and suddenly, it was mine. I’ve found great support and love here, and this blog has been instrumental in helping me process and accept many of the turns my life has taken.

However, that person is not me anymore.

I no longer define myself by my invisible illnesses. I’m lucky in that pregnancy did much to minimize my symptoms, and also that I gave birth to the most amazing baby girl who has ever existed ever, and now I am happy in a way I never knew I could be. I have found myself in being her mom, “just” her mom.

And so, to reflect that, it is time for me to move on from this blog and this old self to a new blog that better reflects my new self.

I would love if you would all follow me over to “Just” a Mom (I’ve moved again! Join me at The Energizer Mommy), where I’ll be writing, hopefully more regularly now that I feel at home in my space again. Sadly, I don’t believe subscriptions will automatically transfer, so if you could take a moment to update yours that would be wonderful. All of my old content is there, and I will be leaving this site up as well, but not checking or updating it.

I have a new post up today to celebrate my new space. Come on over and read about how sexy boobs are.

Thank you for all the support I’ve gotten here over the years. I have loved each and every connection I have made, and I hope to see you more at my new site!

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Snapshot of a Baby

A brief snap shot of Baby Love 10 short days before she turns 1.

-She signs more (in the context of eating), all done (in many contexts), and book. More can be anything from roughly correct hand shape to a bent o or fist touching a palm (most common) to clapping, and she’ll sometimes do it even before fussing for more. All done is a crazy waving of the arms a tiny amount frantically. Book looks like two relaxed hands but tense arms being shoved together so the hands keep falling over each other. She LOVES being able to communicate!

-She is delighted when she understands what we’re doing and can do it too. If she sees us rub our hands together (using hand sanitizer, dusting them off, etc.) she’ll gleefully drop whatever she’s doing to mimic us. She’ll wave sometimes and clap often with you.

-She says “dah-deee!” for daddy and “dah-djshi” for Toby (the dog) with equal delight. No word for mom yet, but I’ve decided to take it as a compliment that I’m just a given in her life. A sound somewhere in between her words for daddy and Toby is her all-purpose filler label for things that intrigue her.

-She LOVES reading and thoroughly enjoys turning the pages of the books as we go. She studies the pictures in books, and prefers stories she knows. She’ll anticipate the end as you reach it and sometimes turn away in anticipation of what’s coming next now that the book is almost done.

-The game “Little Red Wagon” is a favorite. If you stop after each verse she’ll begin doing the next action to prompt you. If you tell her she’s got the wrong one she’ll stop, visibly think, and try a different action.  Another, newer, favorite is “Patty Cake”. When you’re done she’ll clap her hands for more, and if you don’t comply she’ll grab your fingers and clap her hands while holding your fingers very purposefully.

-She walks surprisingly steadily, even holding my hand and walking next to me sometimes when we’re out. She’s getting less and less thoughtful before taking off across a room on her feet; it’s becoming a means not an end at all. She still does crawl some, especially when she’s tired, and I love the crawling!

-She’ll sing along if you sing at times, using a more drawn out, melodic voice. If I say, “Yaaaaay!” happy and high pitched she may mimic back “Aaaaaah!” in the same high pitched tone.

-She ADORES music of all kinds. She loves when we sing to her, she loves standing or sitting on daddy’s lap at the piano to play the keys, she loves playing with her electronic keyboards or even her xylophone “piano” to make music, and she’ll happily play with any electronic toy that plays a song. If she likes a song she’ll often dance with it, bobbing up and down or swaying back and forth, though that’s almost exclusively for recorded or electronic music.

-She and Toby are great friends. She idolizes him and follows him everywhere, even where he thinks is safe. She wants what he likes, and will often pull his ball out of his mouth and then giggle when he takes it back out of her hand. They’ll play tug with his toys, and when either wins they offer it back to the other to continue the game.

-She gives the best kisses, both impromptu and when asked. They are getting less open mouthed and slobbery, but still usually include voice (since we say mmmmuah! when kissing her) and frequently include a raspberry. Nose kisses often involve some teeth for extra love. She loves knowing she makes us so happy by kissing us and beams at her power to do so.

-She has begun to problem solve very intentionally and will put the shapes in her shape sorter, stack rings on her stacking toy, and put balls in her “gumball machine” before pulling the lever to have them come out. She is determined to figure out how to achieve each goal when she tackles it, and typically does so surprisingly quickly.

-She is beginning to understand basic spoken directions a little, especially with gesture support. Today she helped me clean her play area and would take a toy I handed her and put it where I indicated (though sometimes she didn’t want to let it go!).

-She is a mama’s girl, and now that I’m home she doesn’t want to let me get far. She loves snuggles and hugs more and more the more mobile she gets. She’ll often come over and climb in my lap and sit there while doing whatever it is she’s doing. I’m loving the cuddles!

-She’s not a fan of the changing table, and will sit up as soon as she’s able and LAUNCH herself into my (hopefully) waiting arms. She also loves to do this from her high chair, though she can’t get as much speed there.

-She adores sharing with anyone, and will often offer her toy and be DELIGHTED if it’s accepted. She doesn’t actually want to let it go, but she’ll be thrilled if you pretend to chew on it while she holds it to your mouth. This is slightly problematic at the dinner table when she tries to share with the eagerly waiting Toby. She gets so happy when an offer is accepted, and he’ll always accept!

-She finds it hilarious when we throw things. At bath time we throw her toys back in their holder to put them away and she can’t stop giggling. She also recognizes when things are abnormal now and giggles at the silliness. So daddy putting a toy on his face, or “wearing” it, evokes delighted giggles that don’t stop. We live for her precious giggles!

-She is a destructive little thing with her teeth, chewing holes in board books and cardboard boxes in minutes.

-She is our little dare devil. She loves swinging upside down, climbing on or over anything available, being up high, being thrown, and any rough handing. She’s already covered in bruises from her many adventures, and I’m slightly scared of what I’m in for!

-She is so, so loved by her daddy and me, beyond what we could ever express. I am still amazed by how fiercely I love this little person, in spite of anything else that is going on. A smile from her makes life worth living. We are so very in love with our little ball of energy and joy!

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Meat & Cheese Stuffed Shells

I have moved! I am now blogging at The Energizer Mommy. Please come join me there!

It’s been a month, time for me to post again! Sorry I suck at blogging. My whole life basically revolves around sleep still, so there isn’t much time in-bewteen for luxuries like peeing or blogging.

That was a lovely introduction to a food post.

My most popular post on here overall has been my recipe for Delicious Enchiladas. Those are still a staple in our house, and I still LOVE them. So good.

When Baby Love was approaching, the hubby and I prepared a bunch of food and put it in our new, upright deep-freezer. The food we prepared lasted us months, and I loved having homemade meals I could pull out and have ready in no time! So we’ve kept up the trend. I’ve adapted the Delicious Enchiladas, and every 3-4 months I cook meals for that timeframe.

I am wrapping up the cooking for this round today, and one of the new recipes I’m trying looks like YUM. I haven’t cooked it yet, but I’ve tasted the filling while stuffing it in the shells and ohmygoshheavenly.

So since the recipe was half made up on the fly, I thought, hey, I’ll write it down here so I can remember it and others can try it, too! If, when I cook it, it crashes and burns I’ll be sure to let y’all know, but this is a pretty straightforward freezer meal that many make so I don’t anticipate that. I just modified it for greater deliciousness, as is my wont.

Now behold…meat and cheese stuffed shells!

Ingredients

1 lb of ground turkey
1 lb of mild Italian sausage
1-2 onions (depends on size, your taste)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of mozzarella cheese
1 16 oz container of ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
~2 tsp of Italian seasoning (haha, like I measured)
2 packages of jumbo pasta shells
4 jars of spaghetti sauce

Steps

  1. Cook the jumbo pasta shells (under-cook slightly), drain, set aside
  2. Brown the turkey and Italian sausage with the onion, mixing it together into a homogenous mixture
  3. Add garlic, simmer for another minute
  4. Drain meat mixture
  5. Transfer meat mixture to a mixing bowl and add 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, ricotta, eggs, milk, and Italian seasoning. Mix together.
  6. Stuff shells and lay them in an 8×8 baking dish. This should yield 4 8×8 baking dishes worth.
  7. Cover each 8×8 baking dish with one jar of sauce. Sprinkle remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese over top.
  8. Freeze.
  9. When you’re ready to cook, take it out of the freezer and put in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. If you have thawed it you can probably cook it for only ~30 minutes; everything except the egg is already cooked so you’re mostly just reheating and blending flavors.

Not too complicated, and yummy! The one thing I found is that I had a lot of leftover shells, evidently I either stuff them full or people like to make extra since so many of the shells are torn and thus hard to stuff. I’ve been munching on the completed meat mixture as I stuff the shells, and I’m very excited for the whole dish. Let me know if you try it, and any modifications you make!

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First food – Banana!

Offering her the food

Offering her the food

Well this looks interesting...

Well this looks interesting…

Going for the mouth...

Going for the mouth…

Success!

Success!

Mmmm...

Mmmm…

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

This is good, daddy

This is good, daddy

Got a piece in her mouth, chewing away

Got a piece in her mouth, chewing away

OM!

OM!

Checking out how much she ate after she dropped it once. She swallowed almost all of what's missing! She's saying, "Give it back, mama! I'm not done, yet!"

Checking out how much she ate after she dropped it once. She swallowed almost all of what’s missing! She’s saying, “Give it back, mama! I’m not done, yet!”

Finishing up

Finishing up

That was good!

That was good!

 

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Evidently I’m counter-cultural

From before I got pregnant I was doing this parenting thing against the grain. I’ve never thought of myself as counter-cultural, but the evidence is starting to add up.

First I discovered out-of-hospital birth and found that my fear of birth melted away. I followed through once I got pregnant and delivered in a freestanding birth center a few blocks away from a hospital.

Then I heard of EC. It seemed a little strange, but if it was really possible it made perfect sense! Why teach a kid to not mind sitting in their own waste, and then teach them to dislike it again a few years later? Starting at one month we tried it part way (she still wears diapers but we try to primarily use the potty) and we love it!

Today my baby turned six months old. And tomorrow we’re starting her on solids. By which I mean actual solids. Not purees. We’re doing baby led weaning (BLW).

BLW basically consists of offering your child hunks of solid food and letting her go at it from the beginning. No rice cereal, oatmeal, or purees needed.

This is another instance where I wasn’t looking forward to the standard course. Shoveling food in my daughter’s mouth while dodging her hands and fighting her protestations? It is normal to take 7-12 attempts before she likes a food? Sounds fun! And that’s ignoring what it does to her diapers!

You see, my daughter is strong willed. I have no idea where she gets it. She is currently on antibiotics and Tylenol for bilateral ear infections. If I try to put the syringe in her mouth she screams and turns away. If I’m successful in squirting in some liquid she screams louder. But if I hold the syringe in front of her she’ll eagerly grab it, put it in her mouth, and be happy every time I squirt some in. My little control freak just wants some control over the process. (Again, NO idea where she gets it.)

I dislike eating. To me it is a chore. It is much akin to showering: sometimes enjoyable, but usually a requirement I don’t want to take time for. This is largely because I was forced to eat more than I wanted, faster than I wanted, of things I didn’t like as a child. I was not looking forward to putting something in my daughter’s mouth of my choosing and on my schedule instead of hers: basically taking the “bad guy” role from my own childhood.

That is part of why BLW appeals to me. More, though, it just makes sense! I have let baby love breastfeed on demand her whole life. She picks when she eats, how fast, and how much. BLW is a natural extension of that. I offer her food, and she controls her own intake. It is so logical to me!

And yes, it’s safe. Provided you’re not dumb about it, of course. Don’t give baby whole nuts or grapes, for example. If you take basic precautions, it’s safer than purees in many ways. No food put in baby’s mouth when she’s not ready. No liquid running back to her airpipe and taking her by surprise. She learns to chew from the beginning. Choking is very rare. If you think about it, this is how babies have been fed for ages!

I really discovered BLW a few days ago. Since then I have gone from reluctantly anticipatory about starting solids to bubbling with excitement. Letting baby girl approach and discover solids at her own pace puts the whole thing in a positive light for me. I can’t wait to see how she does with her hunk of banana tomorrow!

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Sleep Woes

First, I do still love the No Cry Sleep Solution, and things are still getting better. But they’re not perfect. And months of sleep deprivation gets to you.And Daylight Savings Time has majorly effed with us. And baby is currently going through a wonder week in which she realizes I can leave, which makes her extra clingy. Plus, I think, a physical growth spurt.

Add all that together and things kind of suck.

We’re still making progress. But it’s slowed. And in some areas backslid.

A major one? We’re back to refusing to get off the breast.

And there’s nothing to make you hate nursing like a child who refuses to stop.

I spent two hours getting baby down last night. TWO HOURS. (And then she woke up thirty minutes later.)

The reason it took so long? She wouldn’t let me take her off the breast.

Before Daylight Savings we had worked our way to a point where I would nurse her to sleep, stand, take her off, and put her in her crib. She’d wake in the process but go right back to sleep.

It. Was. GLORIOUS.

But now…

Now if I take her off she cries. Awake. And won’t settle.

When I can finally get her off I lower her in the crib. And she wakes. And throws a fit. And won’t settle.

So then when she has a brief awakening in the night she throws a fit and won’t settle.

We’re largely back to up every hour or two.

And it is killing me.

Add in she’s now waking up an hour “early” and…yeah.

I am on the verge of losing it. I am so tired. And I am so frustrated. I was ok with slow progress as long as there was progress. And there was. And it was steady. But I feel like daylight savings has taken that all away. And now I just want to give up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my eighth attempt to put her down from what was originally a 4:30 waking appears to have been successful (knock wood), so I’m going to snatch the hour of sleep she’ll hopefully give me before we’re up for the day bright and early.

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