Brain Dump

I don’t have time for a normal post schedule these days, so here are lots of thoughts that probably would have been full posts had there been time:

  • Nursing is a lot better than I ever imagined it would be.  I feared it with Anja, but after the initial callousing up, I found it to be a great bonding time with her.  Markus forgets to eat half the time (not that you’d know it by his size!) because he’s so busy smiling.  And what is it about the chubby, soft little hand pulling at my collar bone, my chin, my shirt that is so sweet?
  • Speaking of his size, my big boy measured in at 25 3/4″ and 17 lbs at his 4 month check-up!
  • We start getting shipments from our CSA next week, which is GREAT!  I’m excited to plan meals around what we get in each bag.  Lately we’ve been doing a lot of egg and bean dishes, and the occasional grilling out.
  • It was in the low 90s here yesterday and so humid I could drink the air.  That’s pretty rare for May.  In fact, I remember doing a wedding at the end of May last year and thinking it was pretty nice even though it was in the 60s!
  • We finally had enough non-rainy, non-windy days last week for me to finish painting Anja’s big girl bed.  Now once we’ve made a little more progress with potty training (you do not even want to know what it’s been like), we hope to move her into it.
  • I shot my first wedding of the season on Saturday.  The day started with thunderstorms, but was in the high 80s by the end of the day.  I haven’t gotten through all the photos yet, so here’s hoping they’re good!  🙂
  • Anyone have any plans for Memorial Day weekend?  It’s our 7th anniversary on Monday (love you, Husband!), so I’m hoping we can at least go for a walk or something.

Snubbing Betty Crocker

Confession: I’m a baked goods snob.

I think it stems from my upbringing.  Mom might not have been the most adventurous cook, but she can bake circles around most people.  Pretty much every Saturday there were fresh buns, bread, and either cookies, bars or caramel rolls.  I got spoiled.

I feel bad about it sometimes.  We go to restaurants, and when we order a dessert (which is rare), we’re pretty much always disappointed at its processed taste.

Everyone raved about Sweet Martha’s cookies at the MN State Fair, and we thought they were, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), probably a 2 or a 3.  They were warm, and that was about their only redeeming quality.

I made these bars, about which people all over the Internets were raving, and I didn’t think they were very good (again, because they were made with mixes).  That said, brownies are the one thing I rarely make from scratch, just because I have yet to find a homemade recipe that produces the density and sweetness I like.  If you have a recipe (unfrosted!) you think fits the bill, let me know!

If I’m going to spend 300 calories on a cookie, I want that cookie to be worth it, you know what I mean?  I don’t want Chips Ahoy!, which taste like chemicals.

Does this translate to other foods?  Somewhat, but not as much.  I enjoy a handful of Cheetos as much as the next person, and though I love to make homemade pasta, I’m usually too lazy to do so.

Do you have an area where you expect nothing less than the best?  It doesn’t have to be food.  I’m also brand-loyal when it comes to my running shoes…

Here’s hopin’ he’s not thinking about misbehaving…

043010 Hmm

We’ve been having…how shall I say it…”quite a time” with Anja these days. To say she is strong-willed is an understatement. I’ve been reading “The New Strong-Willed Child” by Dobson, and it actually helps me out to know there are other parents who have dealt with similar children. I find myself nodding my head and sometimes laughing/crying in agreement. For instance:

“I’ll close this introductory chapter by offering two more observations for parents who are raising strong-willed children.  First, it is very common for these moms and dads to feel great guilt and self-condemnation.  They are trying so hard to be good parents, but the struggle for control that goes on at home day after day leaves them frustrated and fatigued.  No one told them that parenthood would be this difficult, and they blame themselves for the tension that arises.  They had planned to be such loving and effective parents, reading fairy tales by the fireplace to their pajama-clad angels, who would then toddle happily off to bed.  The difference between life as it is and life as it ought to be is distressing.

Second, I have found that the parents of compliant children don’t understand their friends with defiant youngsters.  They intensify guilt and embarrassment by implying, “If you would raise your kids the way I do mine, you wouldn’t be having those awful problems.”  May I say to both gruops that willful children can be difficult to manage even when parents handle their responsibilities with great skill and dedication.  It may take several years to bring such a youngster to a point of relative obedience and cooperation within the family unit, and indeed a strong-willed child will be a strong-willed individual all her life.  While she can and must be taught to respect authority and live harmoniously with her neighbors, she will always have an assertive temperament.

And here is the experience of a mother that hit home (as in, “Yep, that’s just like my daughter!”):

At eighteen months, you could tell her no and she would fall on the floor, throw a fit, and roll around.  We would sit and watch her for a while because we weren’t going to give in.  We were going to be strong.  She would stand up, and she would have that beautiful angelic face, and she would say, “I’m sorry.”  She would come over and lay her head in my lap, and then she would bite me.

The parents of this daughter would go in and pray over their daughter every night after she was asleep, that the Holy Spirit would conquer her strong will without destroying her spirit.  I think that is wise.  I don’t want Anja to lose her determination and become a doormat.  We just need her to learn that she is under authority and needs to respect that authority.  But it is often difficult to not become angry with her.

It makes me think, often, of how patient God is with me when I buck against His ways, kicking and screaming because I KNOW BETTER.  Thankfully I’m not God, because if I were Him and I saw me acting that way, I’d just wanna take my thumb and…squish.  But He is slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.  He loves me.  He doesn’t let me get away with stuff, though.  He still disciplines me because He loves me.  I tell Anja that all the time, that I discipline her because I love her and because I want to see her succeed.  Maybe some day that will sink in, but for now, we continue the daily battles.

Prayers are always appreciated. 🙂

Markus, 4 months

Oh, sweet boy.  You have stolen my heart!  Each month brings more smiles and giggles and milestones.  At four months, you:

  • Are “talking” all the time.  Whenever you’re alert, you’re trying to talk to anyone near you: “Guuuhhh…errrrrrrghh…huuuuhhhhhh.”  It’s adorable.  You have this very husky, manly voice for a baby.
  • Have become a very efficient nurser–usually 10-15 minutes and you’re done!
  • Are grabbing toys all the time.  Most of them end up in your mouth.  Your favorites seem to be a soft book, a duck that has chimes inside it, and Pup, the stuffed dog who is a smaller version of Anja’s Coco.
  • Clasp your hands together like you’re praying all the time.  I know it’s just a developmental milestone, but it is–you guessed it–adorable.
  • Are a lardbutt.  I can’t wait to find out how much you weigh at your appointment on Friday!
  • Are not even close to sitting up by yourself.  But I’m okay with that.  No need to rush having to baby-proof everything again!
  • Have a newfound interest in watching your sister.  Sometimes it’s with a wary eye (“Don’t hurt me!”), but usually you seem to find her quite entertaining.  She still won’t sit still long enough to look you in the eye and return the smiles you give her, but she hugs your head with vigor.
  • Are still super-ticklish.  From your cheeks to your belly to your little pink toes, you get the giggles very easily.
  • Have Mommy wrapped around your little finger.  Is that how it is with little boys?
  • Have fuzz for hair.  It sticks up every which way, and there are a few long strands that never fell out.  I leave it alone because I think it’s funny.
  • Like to bite my fingers and face.  I think you’re teething.
  • Are finally starting to sleep through the night.  You still wake up and fuss for awhile around 2 or 3, but you can usually make it from your 8:30 p.m. feeding to around 4 or 5.  Yay!  Now if Mommy would just be better about going to bed, she might get good sleep, too!
  • Eat six times a day, first that early morning feed, then starting at around 8:30 a.m., every three hours.
  • Still love to snuggle.  Rejoice!
  • Are very social.  You don’t like to be left alone for very long.  You start yelling for attention.
  • Have just realized that it’s Mommy holding you when you’re being burped.  You turn your head to look right at mine, less than an inch from my face, and smile.  And then you throw up.
  • Yep, you’re still a vomiter.  Pretty much several times every feeding.

This isn’t the cutest picture of you, but it makes me laugh. Except for the surprised look, you seem to be doing a GQ pose…finger pointed at a babe and everything.

Love you, my sweetie!

042510 GQ