Monday, January 29, 2007

The Giggle Gaggle

These kids o' mine are hysterical. Lately, they will find a word that they think is funny and say it over and over again, cracking up the whole time. One day it was "zucchini". Earlier today was "sticky poop" (which actually is hilarious, isn't it??)

The word of this video is "Bobo". Enjoy!

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Two Days Accident Free

Yes, Ethan has not had an accident in two days. Yesterday, the whole day was spent in his Superman undies from Aunt Bobbi and the gang. Today, he came home from preschool with a fever, and spent the day under the weather. Despite that, he still didn't wet his pants.

I'm so excited I could just bust!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

One Year Later

We have been potty training for a year now. Holy cow. Is that possible without going completely insane??

Potty training has been the most painful part of parenting so far. It seems that our schedule and conversation all revolves around the act of elimination. "Do you need to go potty?" "We'd better go potty before we leave..." "Abby pooped on the potty today! Good for her!" And so on. I'll be glad when bathroom activities are in the background again.

I reread my first post on potty training from one year ago. January 11th, 2006. I sound so hopeful in this post. Carefree, really, imagining being diaper free in the near future, yet remaining a little melancholy about my children moving on to another stage in life.

Please, kids, move on to another stage.

I even asked for some guesses about when we'd be diaper-free during the daytime. I laughed at my father-in-law, who dared to imagine August 31st as the date. Look at us, January 27th, 2007, not diaper-free.

I even posted some updates on our potty progress. The tone of them gets more and more annoyed as time goes on.

A year later, Abby is back to the same stage she was at one year ago (dry much of the day, with about 2 accidents a day). In the past year, she has gone through stages of being completely potty trained, reverted back to never using the potty, and has slowly built back up to where we are now. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, because she has more interest in being a "big girl" now.

And the potty situation of January 2007 bears some good news (of course, posting this will ruin it all, but oh well). Ethan *might be* trained. Over the last three days, he has had 2 accidents (both of them while he was wearing Pull-Ups, not underwear). Today was accident-free. He tells us when he has to go, and he really goes when he says he will. He doesn't want to have accidents, and he's proud of himself for staying dry. He will go potty anywhere, and is excited to go #2 more than any other kid we've seen. Yippee!!

Tomorrow, with Ethan, we are trying an underwear-all-day experiment. No Pull-Up for church or breakfast, no Pull-Up if we go out shopping, etc. If we have success, Ethan gets to choose some new underwear as a reward ("Lightning McQueen, maybe, Mom??") I'm pretty confident that my son will get his new undies. Maybe his sister will jump on board that bandwagon, too. ;)

Friday, January 26, 2007

The First Post to Offend: Crunchy-Granola

I am a member of Generation X, which is unique in my family. My sisters are all Baby Boomers, a generation that has its own generalizations and stereotypes. But I belong to Generation X, probably noted for a sense of entitlement, inability to save any money and a "disposable" attitude.

Generation X seems to have created its own movement in parenting, hence the birth of the Crunchy-Granola Mom.

My oldest sister has no idea what crunchy moms are. A crunchy mom when my sister was 30 would have been a rarity. Today, crunchiness is everywhere.

Crunchy-granola at its most general describes a movement to parent "naturally," or "earthy" parenting. There are many areas of parenting that can be crunch-i-fied, such as:
  • Circumcision (crunchy = no way!)
  • Home birth (crunchy = hell yeah!)
  • C-section (crunchy = only after 1,000 hours of labor!)
  • Pain-medicated birth (crunchy = you better not!)
  • Diapers/menstrual pads (crunchy = cloth!)
  • Natural Family Planning (crunchy = know your body!)
  • Breastfeeding/tandem nursing/child weans itself (crunchy = of course!)
  • Co-sleeping with baby (crunchy = move over, hubby, here comes baby!)
  • "Wearing" your baby in a sling (crunchy = how better to "attachment parent"?)
  • Organic foods/mostly vegetarian diet (crunchy = buy from your local organic grower!)
  • Modern medicine (crunchy = herbal remedies, please!)
  • Vaccinations (crunchy = turn 'em down at the pediatrician!)
  • Home school (crunchy = 1+1 equals 2, Johnny!)
  • Positive discipline (crunchy = whoever gives their child a time out deserves a spanking!)
  • TV usage (crunchy = turn it off!)
Way back when, upon my first dreams of being pregnant, Mark and I started reading parenting books. We are definitely ones to do our research, you know. Through my reading, I tentatively decided that I was going to be a water-birthing, breastfeeding, possibly co-sleeping, cloth diapering, non-circumcising, sling-wearing Mom. I would make my own baby food (not organic, but home made). And we were already practicing Natural Family Planning, so mark me as a yes in that category.

Things change.

I never gave birth (scratch out water-birthing).

Breastfeeding didn't work out (attempted, but ultimately failed).

"The family bed" was ruled out quickly when Abby's basinette was in our room, and none of us were getting any sleep (and we decided our bed was a marital bed, thank you very much).

I did cloth diaper. Abby wore cloth for about 1 year, and Ethan for about 3 months. Until I couldn't stand changing the clothing/bedding/diapers of my heavy-wetting son 10 times a day while we were trying to sell our house. And so I stopped. I chose cloth for 3 reasons: making a contribution to help the environment, keeping the disposable-diaper chemicals away from my baby's skin, and saving money (which we did ... oodles for the first year).

Ethan was circumcised, because we didn't have a choice in the matter (it was very important to the birthparents that he be circumcised). We wouldn't have chosen that. If we have the choice for a future son, however, he will be part of a matched set with Daddy and brother.

I have two slings, and they got TONS of use with my babies. I carried them a lot... but wasn't tied to that. If I wanted to put them down, I did. Even if there was crying involved.

I did make home made baby food for Abby until she was old enough for table foods. I made one batch of carrots for Ethan, and then realized that I was a mom of a very-active toddler and an infant, and I didn't have time for this stuff!

Overall, my crunchy-factor is pretty low. I like the idea of a lot of it, but sometimes convenience wins out. Also, I think my children need to be more independent than crunchy parenting promotes. And, frankly, the crunchy-granola movement is a little too intense for me. As a group, the crunchy moms are very vocal about what is the right way to birth or to parent. Maybe they're on the defensive so often that they feel the need to be so strong. Or maybe they are the forerunners of their movement and want to get a good running start. I'm not sure, but it makes me a little sad that the hippie-like moms seem so uptight.

It especially makes me sad that a perfectly awesome mom like Jennifer feels so badly because her birth experience didn't meet the crunchy standard that she feels guilty about it 2 years later. Now that's a cryin' shame.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

That wacky blog thing

I haven't been writing in my blog lately. My posts have been lame, at best. I'm not happy with the content of what I've been hitting the "publish" button on.

I am disappointed that my posts are like milk toast: bland and ineffectual. I have much more to write about the darker side of my life (read: more interesting), but I am doing a lot of self-editing. Most of that is because there are a wide variety of people that read this blog, people whom I don't want to offend by writing with conviction. Most of my readership is people I know (most are related, in fact), people whom I see in person. People who probably don't want to know about the underbelly of Trista.

I'm not sure what to do. I've toyed with just writing what I feel and ignoring the fact that I know so many of you IRL ("in real life", for you internet newbies). I've toyed with the idea of starting an additional blog which would be completely anonymous, and all my readers would be strangers. I've toyed with making this a "kid update only" blog to share details about the two most interesting members of Team Meat. I've toyed with stopping the blog.

I'm still puzzling. I'm not happy internally with my recent writing here, and have chosen not to write several compelling posts over the last month or so because of self-editing. I guess I'll see how I feel about it as time goes on, to see which course of action I will take.

Jail Cell

Last night, Mark and I reluctantly converted Abby's room to the likes of a jail cell. Only the basic necessities are allowed.

A bed, a desk with completely empty drawers, a closet void of even clothing. Not a single toy brings joy to this room. It is all about function. And all about avoiding distraction for naps and bedtime.

My daughter is 3 going on 13 in so many ways. But despite that, she desperately needs her naps. She is not a "happy" child when she is sleep-deprived. I was sad when we started tying her door shut at times when we couldn't be right there to monitor her safety. And now, I'm sorry that we have had to resort to converting her room into a jail cell. But everyone in this family benefits when Abby takes a good nap and wakes up cheerful. Let's hope this works.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cheese-a-saurus Trista: Recipe 1

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

I made my first exotic cheese recipe this week (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, read here). I made a macaroni and cheese recipe that I stole from a hospital magazine. But instead of using Gruyere cheese (which apparently my grocery store does not carry), I substituted Jarlsberg cheese. The recipe also calls for cheddar cheese.

I have another mac and cheese recipe from my Mom that I like. But that recipe only calls for cheddar cheese (I use extra sharp), and it thickens quite a bit. The new mac and cheese was definitely creamier tasting, lighter, and saucier. It was a hit for all four of us! Ethan and Abby gave it two thumbs up.

I will keep this recipe as an alternative to my tried and true macaroni and cheese. If you would like the recipe, please e-mail and I will get it to you.

Catching Up

I really, really enjoyed Advent this year. It was the most relaxing Advent I've ever had. I evaluated which activities were important and which I could let go. And I let go. I said no to a cookie exchange. My Christmas decorations were minimal. We even opted to see Santa at our church one Sunday instead of heading to the mall (which meant that we missed the photo session). I bought most of the gifts on-line or purchased gift cards. It felt good to take care of myself (and take care of my family) by remaining fairly stress-free this year.

Despite turning down some extra things that could have been fun, the Christmas season was so joyful for us. We celebrated so many traditions, some new and some old. We spent lots of time as a family, which was my only wish for this year. And we kept the season Holy. It lead to lots of reflection on what role Christ has in my life. It lead to lots of affirmation that our kids are starting to "get it," understanding that Jesus was a special baby that was born under very special circumstances. I have no doubt that our kids will grow in faith each year as we celebrate Advent as a family. We're doing a good job as parents in raising them in our faith.

But peace doesn't come without price. Such a relaxing December means a very busy January. I'm finally getting to a point since December 1st where I feel like I'm catching up. I'm catching up on the cleaning (just last week, I did a happy dance because I was caught up on laundry for the first time since December 1st. And, I actually washed all of the bathroom sinks in the house for the first time in a few weeks.). I am catching up on the organizing (the store room and garage require hours of sorting, purging, consolidating now that the basement is finished and the stuff has somewhere to go). I am catching up on the committee work I'm involved in (my family reunion this summer -and- the nursery renovation committee at my church). And I am catching up on the scrapbooking I need to do (haha - I'm still 9 months behind - this is one area that will NEVER be caught up).

I never feel quite right unless I feel things are "enough" in order (which varies with me from time to time, but I always know when I get there). I'm beginning to feel that things will be close enough soon. And then, hopefully, I can start sleeping better, my eyelid will stop twitching, and my neckaches will go away. All my symptoms of stress will melt away and I'll return to the way I felt in December, relaxed and at peace.

I miss December.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Blanket is Crooked

In the recent past, Ethan has become the king of delaying bedtime. And he's been waking in the middle of the night a lot lately. He gets very creative with his list of excuses. It's driving us batty.

So far tonight, we've heard:
  • I want water
  • I need to go potty
  • There's a monster in my room
  • My p3nis hurts
  • My shirt is scratchy
  • My ear has water in it (an excuse from last night that got him an extra few minutes)
  • My tummy hurts
  • I can't find a page in my book (we didn't actually put him to bed with any books)
and my personal favorite,
  • My blanket is crooked
Calgon, take me away.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ahh.. The Power of Cheese

Anyone close to me knows my most favorite of all foods is cheese. It's a huge weakness for me.

While waiting for Mark after his surgery, I found a new macaroni and cheese recipe in a magazine. I promptly ripped the page out of the magazine (yes, I'm the person that actually does that if the need arises). The recipe calls for cheddar and Gruyere cheese. Now, I'm not a cheese connaisseur, really, I love most of the cheeses I've tried, but I'm not one to spend $5 for a small piece of some exotic cheese just to have it in the house. Cheddar, cojack, swiss - these are our staples. So of course, I had no idea what Gruyere cheese looked like or would be found at my local supermarket. After hunting for 15 minutes in the fine cheese area, with no employees anywhere to be found, I gave up.

I looked it up on the internet when I got home. Apparently, Gruyere is a hard white cheese, complex in flavor with nutty, earthy flavors that hint at fruit flavors. OK. Whatever. Apparently, it's great for melting (which is probably why it is in macaroni and cheese). I will try again at the supermarket, hopefully being victorious this next time.

And it made me think. There are lots of cheeses I haven't tried, despite my infatuation. I can hardly claim to have a love of all things cheese-related if I haven't actually tried all the cheeses, can I? So I am hereby challenging myself to make one recipe a week using a different cheese for the year 2007.

I know, it sounds cheesy.

And it is.