Tuesday, February 26, 2013

too much excitement*


Okay guys, we need a name change. Those muffins I made on Monday? The ones that are ALL gone on this here Tuesday? Not only do they have 5 billion calories, they also require a person to change their toddler's diaper many, MANY times throughout the day. So we shall call them Fatten the Baby (and clear out the intestines!) Banana Blueberry Muffins. Not recommended for adult consumption.

J and I whipped up a batch tonight after B had gone to bed. He does that now. It's strange. I'm waiting for the good times to end. I was out of coconut yogurt so I used applesauce instead. Then J said, "How much pea protein did you add?"

"I haven't added it yet because you said we should increase it and I wasn't sure by how much."

J then proceeded to dump TWO huge scoops into the batter. He mixed and mixed and mixed and then we taste tested. Honest opinion? YUCK. That "tasteless" pea protein comes with a very nasty aftertaste. I had to eat a whole lotta Cadbury Mini Eggs to get the taste out of my mouth. I have no idea why B loves these muffins, but he ate 9 in two days so we're calling it a win. If these babies don't make him gain weight I am tossing out the white flag. And crying.

I am wiped out. B has been waking up EARLY (oh, hey that's where the sleep problems have gone!) and today was a bit draining. I managed to drive two minutes off my normal track en route to a speaking engagement and got totally confused/turned around/out in the boons/made it with a few minutes to spare when I like to have thirty. I've lived in the valley my entire life, but the proximity of country to city in this area still baffles me. The rest of my week is equal parts ick (dental cleaning) and yay can't wait! (H&M shopping trip. Because it's time.)

*most sarcastic post title

Monday, February 25, 2013

fatten the baby muffins


Fattening B up is our primary goal and mission right now. We've done away with normal meal times - and normal food, really - and focused on offering food every two hours. I'm not going to force B to eat, but I am trying to be intentional about offering food on a near constant basis.

A few days ago I made my first recipe from scratch! I mean, I went in the kitchen, put together some ingredients and created these strange tasting muffins B loves. I can't believe he likes them, but it's a good way to get him to eat avocado, coconut and pea protein so I'm not complaining.



B is currently 16.4 lbs. We are down a pound from his December weight, which is not the direction we went to be going in. He was 16.8 lbs prior to that nasty bout of flu. I'm trying to stay positive and calm. I know we'll figure this out. I know B will be fine.

Even though I don't find the muffins tasty I am going to share the recipe because it's my VERY FIRST completely made up recipe, and the fact that it's edible has to count for something. Sweetening these up with honey or agave nectar may help a little. And using regular flour as opposed to gluten free flour will reduce some of the graininess. I don't think anyone else is in my position, but if you need to fatten your baby up (or if you just want a healthy muffin recipe for your little) here it is:

Fatten The Baby Blueberry Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

1.5 cups gluten free flour

6 oz vanilla coconut yogurt

1/2 cup heavy coconut cream

1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1 ripe banana

2 Tbs groundflax seed 

6 Tbs warm water

1/4 cup coconut milk

Pinch of xanthan gum (only if using gluten free flour that doesn't already have xanthan gum)

1 Tbs pea protein

1/2 avocado

Process:

Preheat oven to 350

Mix ground flaxseed and water. Set aside.

Blend avocado and banana - if your little one is picky. I just mash it together with a fork. B likes the banana chunks and doesn't mind the avocado if he doesn't taste it.

Mix flour, flaxseed mixture, xanthan gum.

Add coconut yogurt and coconut milk.

Stir.

Add banana, avocado mixture and pea protein. Mix well. If too thick add 1/4 cup water.

Stir in blueberries.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

If you brave this recipe, let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

you're going to miss this someday


I'm probably jinxing things up one side and down the other, but B is sleeping ever so slightly better. We've found the perfect balance and I can only hope it stays this way. He sleeps in his crib for a good long stretch - sometimes til 3, sometimes midnight, I prefer the 3 am hour - then comes in with us. It's perfect because if he were to stay in his crib all night I would miss him. A lot.

I need a few solid hours of sleep without B right up next to me, but after that I like having him close. When he wakes I go down and lift him from his crib. B clamps his arms and legs around me so tightly I couldn't put him down if I wanted to. I say, "There, there, come in with Mama and Daddy," carry him upstairs and settle him next to me. B likes to share my pillow. He likes to sleep nose to nose with one little hand tucked behind my head, nestled tight behind my ear.

It's amazing how comfort is perceived by little ones. Children don't need much. They're quite simple really. I tend to make parenting all about what I'm doing right and where I'm failing, but what really matters is that B knows I'll be his comfort; I will pick him up and cuddle him night after night after night. Even when I'm so exhausted I cry I hold him close because someday, years from now, I'll miss that tiny hand furled behind my ear.

****

I'm in one of those moods where I want to know you. So if you feel like it, leave a comment, send an email, tell me your story.

****


Saturday, February 23, 2013

on letting it all go


I went out with friends last night for dinner and pedicures. One of us is very pregnant and close to meeting her baby girl - not me, obviously. You would know if I was 37 weeks pregnant. As we relaxed and enjoyed our kid free time I thought about how there's a hidden layer of calmness I can only access around these friends. With these two I can absolutely, completely let go and not worry about saying something wrong or mentioning Charlotte too much.

We've all lost babies.

We lost in different circumstances, at different times and at different stages, but we all carry a lost baby - or two, or three - in our hearts, and there's a great whooshing of released tension when we're together. Because we get it. We understand each other. We carry unique burdens but there is a thread of missing and longing that connects and unifies those burdens.

If you've lost, you need friends like this. If you've lost, you need friends who understand when you hold their babies and cry. If you've lost, you need friends who lament, "Why isn't there a manual?" If you've lost, you need friends who will go out to pedicures and dinner with you because you can't make it through a traditional baby shower. If you've lost, you need a place where you can let it all go. Where you can let your dark humor fly. Where you can vent anger and release fear. Where you can cry and be completely understood, down to your very bones. If you've lost a baby, you need to find your resting place.

I gather strength, healing and understanding online, but my real life community sustains me in a different way. The support group meetings and the friends who ask how I'm feeling as three years approaches ease the pain ever so slightly. As do the friends who understand every single thing I'm thinking and feeling because they've been there. Because they are there. I wish they didn't know. I wish they didn't understand. But since they do I am glad we have each other.

Have you found your resting place? It is only in that place of truly letting go that we begin to heal. You'll feel raw, bitter and split open until you find someone who has walked where you're walking. Let go a little today. Miss your baby, mourn your baby, but breathe deep too. It doesn't make sense, but somehow, eventually, losing a part of your heart eases from intense unbearable pain and lightens so you can carry the missing with you as you go on. Your grief isn't going to leave. It will change and lighten and shape you, but you have to find the people who can make carrying it comfortable and bearable. It's easy to lose yourself in the why me, what's wrong with me, everyone else has healthy babies tornado, but I want you to remember you are not alone. You have never been alone in this.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

first haircut // mama tears // taking a break


As I type this my mother is in B's room singing 'Jesus Loves Me' as he drifts off to sleep in his crib. My mom comes every Thursday to help, to hang out, to see B. When she came today she said, "Hey, you know, I don't have anything going tomorrow. I could stay, if you like."

I said "Oh my goodness, yes please, stay and take him for the night. Just one night so I can sleep through." Moms are awesome. At 17 months out I should not be begging my mother to stay over so I can sleep through the night, but still, moms are awesome. She stayed every Thursday night the first fourth months of B's life. (I think that's where their deep bond stems from.) So thanks to her I have a minute to sit down, blog and eat chocolate chips.

This afternoon B received his first hair cut. I didn't cry! I really thought I would, but I didn't. I was reluctant to have it cut, but J said the mullet had to go, and it really was becoming unmanageable in the back.


I took him to a kid only place for this first cut because I wanted the experience. There's no way I'm paying $18.00 every time he needs a little trim, but it was worth it this first time. The owner was super nice and when I asked if it was okay if I cried she responded, "I'm used to everyone crying." (Little Angels Kid Salon, South Salem, if you're local. Terrible name, I know, let's not discuss it).



B did great. No tears, no whining. A little hesitation at the beginning when I put him in the car, but he settled right in and played with the wheel the whole time. The stylist was quick and careful, a must when cutting little ones hair I imagine. I was really scared his curls would disappear, but halfway through was assured, "these curls aren't going anywhere." His hair looks much, much better. I'm glad J said it was time, even though I was like, "NO! NO! Not my baby's hair. Please no. I can't do it!!"

This isn't everything, just the pieces I wanted saved.




So cute, right?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I'm sorry


Because my brain is anywhere but here. I haven't caught up on blogs in weeks. If something really important has happened in your life, please tell me. I'm behind on everything.

My terrible sleeper has now become a truly terrible sleeper.

B hasn't napped for FOUR days. Dude is 17 months old, he can't quit naps on me. I'm not ready! And night time is a real ho-hum mess of a deal lately. More so than usual. And yeah, I've been banging on about this for months now - maybe even a year? - but we have medical grade sleep issues here. And I'm pretty sure it's not because I didn't put him down when he napped as a baby.

I'm stressed to the nth degree trying to figure out how to sneak avocado and coconut oil in every single dish. I'm making weird muffins from scratch in an attempt to fatten the kiddo up. I dream about weigh-ins at the doctor. I fret over every. single. bite. But I don't want B to pick up my stress so I pretend like food is no big deal when he's around.

And as I type this B bit me on the thigh because he has two-four teeth coming in. I refuse to get close enough to give an exact number.

So today, oh today,

Here's to the tired mamas. Here's to the sick mamas. Here's to the overwhelmed mamas. Here's to the hoping mamas. Here's to the sad mamas. Here's to the missing mamas. Here's to the empty arms mamas. Here's to the happy mamas. Here's to all the mamas everywhere who do this super hard job day in and day out. And here's to the papas who bring the mamas chocolate. Thanks for keeping me sane, J.

Monday, February 18, 2013

bennett's favorite books {currently}


We have a lot of books, and I keep buying more, and we go to the library once a week, but these are the ones B wants to read over and over right now:


What does your little one love to read?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

what it's like


You say yes, you'll go, because there's no twitch in your heart telling you otherwise. You do okay. You smile. You participate in the games. You bring an appropriate gift. You manage. You leave when it's polite to do so. You drive to the grocery store to pick up a few things on the way home, tears streaming down your face. Because you're angry. Because you wish it didn't hurt so much nearly three years out. Because you wonder, as you often do, why your baby wasn't safely delivered. You wipe your face. Buy your groceries. The clerk asks if you've done anything fun with your day. You say no. She is chatty and you don't want to start a conversation about babies. The person in front of you narrowly escaped. You drive home, unload the groceries, change into pajamas. You eat frozen mac n' cheese because you're sad and it will make you feel (temporarily) better.  You squeeze your seventeen month old tight. You inhale his very presence. You count your blessings. You exhale anger and missing and hurt and sadness. You decide to be sick for the next baby shower that comes along.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

hawaii // maui // baby // tips



Oh guys, I have tips for you. Let me tell you where I went wrong on our recent trip, so you don't find yourself searching for things like those little disposable diaper bags, which apparently don't exist on Maui. We ended up using Ziploc bags the entire trip.

* Check if your condo has air conditioning. I assumed ours would. I was wrong. I brought blankets (two warm ones) and two pairs of light-ish pajamas. B slept in a onesie every night and he never used the blankets.



* Pack 15 onesies, 1 nice shirt, 1 pair of light weight pants, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of sweat pants (perfect for our flight home) 5 pairs of shorts, 2 rash guard shirts, 2-3 swim trunks, 1 zip up sweatshirt, 1 light rain jacket. Okay, maybe you don't need 15 onesies, but you do need a pretty good stack. Our condo had a washer/dryer unit, which saved my bacon. I brought a stack of shirts for B to wear, but it was so warm he wore a onesie and shorts most days.

* Bring one or two Aden and Anais blankets. I wish I had thought to bring a couple from our stash. They would have been nice for naps, trips to the beach, a little extra sun shade.

* Use a baby rental gear company. It will reduce your luggage by half. We rented a stroller, baby gate, bag of indoor toys, bag of beach toys, beach umbrella, booster chair and pack n' play. It was less than $150.00 for eight days. When we arrived at our condo everything was set up and ready for us to use. B ran straight to the toys and began playing while I fixed him something to eat. (We used Akamai Mother's Rentals).

* Stick to a loose version of your normal schedule, but don't panic if your little one is up late/doesn't nap. I have a really hard time with this. B was up late nearly every night we were on Maui, but he didn't care. He is a very easy going kiddo though, who is fine with a looser schedule. If your little can't handle that, make sure they get their rest.


* Schedule family photos on the beach. I am so glad my sister-in-law asked if we wanted to do this. We haven't had professional pictures since B was a newborn. It was fun and we have a beautiful set of pictures.


* Get out and do stuff. It can be intimidating when you have a little one, but you don't want to sit poolside every day just because it's easy. Go to a luau, walk a shopping district, visit the aquarium, get out and explore.

* Don't fret about the flight. Your little might throw up (B) or scream for three hours (not B) or fall asleep for five (not B) or yelp repeatedly while landing to alleviate ear pressure (B). Whatever happens, don't worry. The flight attendants are used to dealing with small children. Be nice to them and they will be more than happy to help you. If others get upset, or annoyed, ask the flight attendant to give them another complimentary Mai Tai - heavy on the alcohol :)

* Enjoy yourself. This opportunity may not come around again. That's what I told myself every time I worried about something trivial, or had a schedule related stress attack.

good enough


I have nothing to say. I'm just ... empty. And very tired. I can't seem to get enough sleep right now. B's sleep problems - continual and many - are not helping matters. I'm going to write a parenting book. It will say: 

Babies, toddlers, kids in general will not behave as you expect or hope them to. Love them anyway. Drink and consume copious amounts of chocolate when you must. Breathe. Pray. Do your best.

My best is so-so right now, but the chocolate eating I excel at. While nursing B before his nap - which, incidentally, never did happen - I skimmed the alumni magazine from my alma mater. The main article was about "young alumni on the rise." I immediately felt a little sick because I always thought maybe I would do something with myself after university. I spent my morning cleaning house and berating J until he tided his side of the bedroom. I think that lands me squarely in the "not so young," and "definitely not on the rise" arena.

But you know, mothering is important. It's not what I envisioned or imagined, but it's comfortable. I like to think I wear it well, though I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job of late. I'm just a little overwhelmed with this particular stage, where sleep is still scarce and worry about food intake is non-stop and while communication is improving so are the dramatics. Seriously, toddlers are so. over. the. top.

Bah, I don't mean to complain and whine. It's all fine, life is mostly fun. I'm just in one of those mid-winter slumps wherein all - myself included - feels a little useless.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

recovery {and muffins}


Bennett is on the mend! It's a slow heal, but he is feeling better. He will play on the floor for a few minutes at a time, then it's back to mama's lap for milk, or books, or sleeping. When this is all over I have no idea how I am going to convince B he doesn't need to nurse every two hours anymore. He thinks it's wonderful and should continue for a good long while.

I am so tired. The nights are still pretty rough because B has a bad cough which wakes him up/keeps him up. Remember how we were going to insist on crib sleeping only after our Hawaii vacation? Let's all take a moment to laugh at us for thinking we would actually accomplish that. I've spent the past week with a feverish forehead pressed against my head all night. One particularly fun night I woke up just in time to flip B off me and onto a towel before he threw up.

We used homeopathic medicine throughout this illness and we consulted with our naturopath as well as our pediatrician. It was nice for this panicked mama to have two doctors to call and fret to throughout this bad bout of flu.

B isn't up to eating much. I made him muffins a couple days ago, which did not go down so well the first time, but he has been loving them ever since.


It's the usual no eggs, wheat (flour of any kind actually), dairy, nuts, but it also has no sugar (aside from what's in the fruit). I adapted this banana oatmeal muffin recipe.

Recovery Muffins

2.5 cups old fashioned oats 

1 cup applesauce 

2 Tablespoons ground flax seed 

6 Tablespoons warm water

Couple scoops honey

2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp baking soda

1 shallow Tablespoon ground flax seed (in addition to the ones you've already added)

1 tsp vanilla

2 ripe bananas

Process:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Prepare muffin tin

Heat 6 Tablespoons water. 

Add 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed

Set aside

Place oats in blender. Mix until smooth.

Add all other ingredients.

Blend until everything looks well mixed. B hates the blender so my mixture was a little chunky.

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

I find these rather bland, but B loves them (and let's be honest, I'm a sugar fanatic).

It's sunny outside this morning. We might maybe try to take a walk. I'm still feeling a little so-so myself, though J and I did not get nearly as sick as B did.

Thank you for the encouraging comments on my last post. I would like to be someone who can handle basic childhood illness, but I'm not. And that's okay.

Monday, February 11, 2013

down the rabbit hole


That's where I go during times like this. Moments when B is ill and I'm exhausted. Down that PTSD rabbit hole where babies get sick and don't recover. Where every simple illness is death in disguise. J takes it in stride while I fret and try not to cry.


The doctor said he's okay. We are to continue on the course set forth by the naturopath. Keep him hydrated, keep him comfortable, breastfeed. When we arrived home and he threw up less than two minutes after nursing I nearly called the doctor in a panic. I feel so ill equipped in situations like this. I want another adult present at all times because I don't feel capable. I can't believe I'm mama and therefore I'm supposed to know what to do. And apparently crying in the corner until J comes home is not a recommended course.

B has dropped to 16.8 lbs. He was 17.5 lbs in December. 17.1 on Thursday. The doctor we saw today - B's pediatrician - said she's glad we're working with a naturopath because she doesn't know how to help. We have one month to turn things around. If he doesn't gain weight it will be time to run tests. Every doctor we see says, "I have no problem with small babies but this, but this ..." Then they look at his chart and frown.

And all of those frowns hurt just a little because I'm his mama and helping him grow via good nutrition is basic, but I can't seem to manage it. And all these worries roll off J because he has a daddy soul. And those daddy souls are sensitive, but strong, while mama souls are more jumbled, full of ribbon and steel, easily punctured by words and perceptions.

This is day five. I haven't slept well for nearly a week. I am trying to breathe and rest in Jesus.


Isaiah 41:10

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

day four

Oh my good gravy mercy me we're all sick. B is on day 4, I'm really starting to worry about him. He just wants to nurse all the time, but I don't feel like there's much milk. I am glad he is still nursing as he won't accept enough fluid any other way. What kid doesn't like popsicles and juice? Seriously B, you are missing out on the good stuff.

It's misery village over here but at least we have a warm house with plenty of clean water. When I get all woe is me I try to remember how blessed we are. Yes we have the flu but we also have access to medical care and the luxurious choice of trying homeopathic medicine first.

Hopefully we'll all feel better soon. B is going to earn himself a second trip to the doctor if he doesn't perk up in a day or two. Have you been hit with the flu this season?

Friday, February 8, 2013

hawaii (#3, last group!!)


Zip lining - 8 line course






A few more shots from our hike: Bamboo forest






Glass bottom boat/snorkel trip. It rained, it was a bust, kind-of. Wouldn't do it again.




Like Oregon, only warm


Whale!








Keeping B safe on the boat was a little stressful









B and the moon



That's it! Thanks for enduring.

sick, sick bennett


Oh my mercy me, B is so sick. Fever, vomiting, double ear infection. Hopefully he feels better soon. I hoped he would wake up feeling better this morning, but that was not the case. B did ask for food and water this morning, but it didn't stay down very long. He's on a bread and breast milk diet, yummy.


I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. The house is a mess, the laundry is out of control and J will be gone most of the weekend. B is miserable and I just want to make it better. We had an appointment scheduled with the naturopath yesterday morning. I'm glad we kept it even though B wasn't feeling well because they were able to catch the ear infection early on. It was a hard appointment, with words like underweight tossed out. B has lost a little bit of weight recently, which is not good. Once he's healed we're going to focus on increasing his fat intake to see if that helps.

Like I said, a little overwhelmed here, and ready for better days. On the bright side, being sick means watching Thomas for the first time. It's a clever little show. I kinda like it.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

for charlotte


I was shopping at Target on Saturday when I spotted a mug on the clearance shelf. It was a sweet little mug with a bird on each side. I bought it because it reminded me of Charlotte. I don't often find things that remind me of Charlotte, but I fell in love with that mug.



When I arrived home I had a message from a friend who makes beautiful jewelry. She wanted to know if it would be okay to make a necklace in honor of Charlotte and sell it in her Etsy shop, The Jovi Lyne Collection. $10 from each necklace would go to a baby loss charity of my choice (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) AND I would be gifted a necklace.





It was one of those strange moments when I swear Charlotte is near. When I can sense her darting past me, a shadow with breath. If I could just make the world slow down for a second I would see her. The mug, the necklace, little items that coalesced into one big Charlotte day.

Honestly, truly, I don't think of her as often as I used to. We're approaching three years and while she is always a part of me her memory is not as heavy as it used to be. I no longer feel like I'm dragging her with me everywhere I go. My grief is a little more comfortable these days. It's become part of my walk, my story, my heart. I don't have to shout about it because those who need to know do. It's very different than how it used to be, back in the beginning, when I wandered around shouting grief and pain at anyone who dared cross my path.

Losing my daughter is quiet and integrated (but not accepted, no never accepted, I don't believe in that stage of grief) and so much a part of me I'm no longer trying to wrestle the idea to the ground and choke it until it somehow spits out my Charlotte whole and breathing. And then a day like Saturday comes along and it's like Charlotte comes roaring forth from the comfortable spot to reside in a more prominent part of my memory for a while. It throws me off, unsettles me a little, but in the murky waters of my unsettled soul is a whole lot of gratitude for those who wish, and strive, to remember her.

If you want to buy this necklace in memory of my girl and to support Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep GO HERE. If you would like a necklace made that reminds you of your lost babe contact Joellen via her Etsy shop for pricing and details. Just go check out her shop. I love her piec

I was setting up a shot when B asked to be picked up. He pointed at the necklace, asking what it was. I leaned in to talk to him and lifted the necklace to explain. Not the shot I was going for, but beautiful in its depiction of my life with one child here and one gone.




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