Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rub a Dub Dub...a Dub...a Dub (sob)

Little Augustine has been taking lots of baths as of late! If fact, I have welcomed it as a new part of our nightly routine. Although we could probably contine to get away with two or three baths a week, now that Augustine is eating "solids" (kind of paridoxical when you think about the consistency of such first foods...) it seems easiest to just to lather him up in the bath each night after dinner.

After all, he is a very messy eater! His face actually looks remarkably clean in this picture (not so much his bib...), but it was too cute not to share :)
Especially since only half the food makes it into his mouth and since he likes to "help" me by sticking his hands in the bowl and then sucking his fingers! :)

I love bathtime...and Augustine does too! It's fun to watch him splash and play, not to mention how totally awesome he smells when he's through..and then if I give him a little massage with baby lotion afterward, forget.about.it...it's like a delicious celebration in my nose!
But...graduating to nightly baths also means that Augustine is getting older...and that he's not my little baby anymore.
And that can be hard for me.
Change is a werid thing.
No matter how good or pleasant or necessary change is, it is still change--it is still a passing of time.
I try not to take anything, any person, or any time in my life for granted, so I have found that it is better to cherish every moment--even unpleasant ones (which is really, really hard)--than to wish them away, to wish them to change, to wish time to pass faster.
Because you can only live the present moment once.
Because what is the point of wishing my "present" away? It will become my past soon enough all by itself (...with or without my grumbling).

Someday Augustine will sleep through the night (so I am told...though even that will be hard for me).
Someday Augustine will go to the bathroom on the toilet all by himself.
Someday Augustine will be able to eat without making a huge mess.
But in the mean time, I am going to enjoy each moment of the present--good or bad. I will try to welcome change, but not rush it.
Beacuse not so long ago, Augustine looked like this:

...and I don't want to waste a minute of my sweet boy's life!

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View
*This will be a review of the past two weeks...we have been traveling and hosting visitors and have gotten behind on blogging!
1) We spent the weekend of July 16th in North Carolina visiting Daddy's friend, Clint Dempsey, and his family. Clint just got back to the US for a few weeks after playing in the World Cup! I went on my first boat ride, watching Mom and Dad wake board, and Elyse (Clint's baby) gave me my first kiss (...on the cheek!).

2) Gaga, Nana, Uncle Joe, Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Angela came to visit for the weekend. We went out for a few big family meals with them and spend Saturday afternoon at the park by the lake. All of us went to DItalicaddy's game Saturday night, but Mom and I left at half-time, like usual. Aunt Tessa stayed with us last night, as she flew in to meet the rest of the gang at VA Beach. I am blessed with many aunts and uncles!

3) Mom bought me a new toy! I admit I have lots and lots of toys, but they have all been gifts, and I am out growing many of them. My new toy makes lots of fun sounds and music...and even teaches me Spanish! :) When the music comes on I shake my head to dance. When I get older, we can put legs on the toy so I can stand up and play with it.

4) I fed myself a "puff" for the first time on Monday! It is getting easier to get the food into my hand...and even to bring my hand to my mouth...but the tricky part is getting the food out of my hand and into my mouth! I need a lot more practice!

5) On July 20th, I went swimming at an outdoor pool for the first time and loved it! The sun is really not my thing, but the shallow area was shaded, so it felt like a big bathtub! I splashed with my arms and legs, played with my ducks, and lounged in my floatie.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View
1) This week I got to try my first vegetable: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and peas. Sweet potatoes were my favorite, and peas were my least favorite...but Mom loves peas and thinks I will come around in time.

Rice cereal is yummy!

Mom wonders how she ended up with such a messy eater!

2) After putting it off for a few weeks because I got sick, Mom and Dad took me to get my six month pictures taken yesterday. I am sososos cute! (and did such great smiles for the camera!).

3) I miss Dad a lot when he travels for soccer. Last weekend he played in Charleston and Charlotte, and right now he is in Pitsburgh. Luckily, Mom and Dad talk on the phone all the time.

Watching the World Cup Finals (quite attentively...) with Dad! Go Spain!

4) I have developed stranger and separation anxiety in the past week. Apparently, men with facial hair are particularly scary to me. (Mom wonders if this new development has anything to do with me waking up more often needing to be comforted the past few nights...).

5) Now that I am getting more hair, Daddy thinks I look more like him. What do YOU think??

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oh, ME of Little Faith!

About 24 hours ago, I was sitting--more like lying--curled up in fetal position on the big, comfy glider in my son's nursery...crying.

He would not take his morning nap.

What's the Big Deal, right? Wrong. In the wonderfully unpredicable life that is my child's, the two things I can count on are dirty diapers and morning naps. Still, on another day, I would like to think it wouldn't have been a that big of a deal, but yesterday morning I was feeling particularly hopeless.

Generally, I really am not much of a crier...generally, I cry over happy things far more than I cry over sad, overwhelming, stressful things. But yesterday was different. Maybe it was because my husband has been out of town for a few days, maybe it was because Augustine has been sick, maybe it was because I have not been getting enough sleep...but whatever it was, I was a mess. Augustine's bottom lip quivered with saddness at the sight of his Momma, tears (and mascara--from the day before) streaking down my face as I hosted a full blown pity party for one.

During my little party of sorts, I called my husband and texted him twice...to no avail. Ironically enough, he was a few states to the south preparing for his soccer game by taking a morning nap...

When he woke up and called me back, I explained the situation to him. I will spare you the details and get to my conclusion:

Augustine is never going to take a nap again.
At least not in his crib.
At least not without nursing to sleep.
At least not for more than 24 minutes.

I had a whole thesis prepared in defense of this claim, and delivered it adamently, as my husband patiently listened on the other end of the line.

Dramatic, eh?

My husband wasn't convinced, though, and spouted optimism that unfortunatley went just as quickly out one ear as they came in the other.

But then he said something that snapped me back to reality: "I want to give you hope."

Because, if we allow it to be, hope is much more alive and real in our world than despair.

And when I really thought about it, I had every reason to have hope. After all, on most every single morning, my son does take a morning nap. True, it had been a rough week in the sleep department, but what can I expect when Augustine is on three medications, we just got back from a trip, he is reaching new milestones in motor development, and he just started solids?

Why is it, I pondered, that when something good happens (like a nap--naps are good), we are not convinced that they will continue to happen? But when something bad happens once or twice (like the absence of a nap...or two), we are absolutely, positively consumed with the fear that things will go on like that forever?? It's a bit ridiculous really, but I let my mind play those tricks on me from time to time.

My experience reminds me of the Transfiguration of our Lord. You see, at the time of the Transfiguration, Jesus knew that just days later he would be handed over to be scouraged, mocked, and crucified.
And He knew that that would be very hard for His disciples--He knew they would be tempted to lose hope.
So to prepare them for that scary period of doubt, fear, and hopelessness, He appeared to them in all His glory in the Transfiguration. He wanted them to be able to look back on that time of great faith and great hope a few days later when things seemed to be falling apart at the seams. The glory of the Transfiguration was presented to them to sustain them when they felt despair creeping in.

I am constantly reminding myself of this reality. It not only gets me through rough times of despair, but it also encourages me to be ever thankful for the "Transfigurations" in my life--those moments of sheer bliss and awe and faith and love (...and good naps).

And then, of course, our loving Lord goes one step furthur and gives us awesome "Resurrections"...the total reinstatement of hope; the fulfillment of all our desires; the calm of all our fears.

Speaking of "resurrections," Augustine is currently down for his second nap of the day. Did I mention he slept better last night than he ever has (hopefully that had more to do with having a belly full of sweet potatoes than it did with not taking a morning nap...!)?

Oh, ME of little faith!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View

Man, the time is flying by too fast! It has been a crazy, busy, fun week...but I will let Augustine tell you all about it. :)
Augustine's Weekly Wee-View
1) Wednesday morning I woke Mom up at 5:45 am with coughing and wheezing! She was so scared I could feel her heart pounding out of her chest. Daddy was away for a soccer game, but she called him right away and he wished he was home with us. The on call doctor had us sit in a steamy bathroom for 15 minutes, which did help some. However, I was still quite wheezy, so we headed for the hospital...BUT I fell asleep on the way, convincing Mom to turn around and wait another hour or two to see the doctor. Long story short, I have been on breathing treatments for a week (but I still smile when the camera comes out!), along with a steroid and amoxicillan for "two small ear infections" = yuck!! Aside from coughing here and there and acting completely LoOpY after my treatments, I am doing great.

2) Break out the baby gate and outlet covers--it is time for Mom and Dad to Augustine-proof the house! Mom is brave enough to leave me playing alone on her bedroom floor while she showers, but her days of taking her time are through! I am a roly-poly and no longer stay on "the blanket," regardless of how big the blanket is (they keep getting bigger and bigger). My new favorite "toys" are cords of any kind, cell phones, remotes, and blankets (all very safe...).

3) It was back to the doctor on Tuesday for my six month check-up. The doctor said my chest sounds better and my ears are healthy. I am 15 lbs, 4 oz...a little on the small side (around 20%ile) and 26 1/4 in (about 40%ile). Mom only allows me to get one shot per visit, and I reward her by not crying when I get it--it's great for everybody. (Picture from my half birthday).

4) I said "Mama" for the first time on June 30th--my six month birthday. Even I will admit I have no idea I said it, but Mom and Dad got really excited so it must be true. Plus, I've said it like five more times since...so they say.

5) My toes are delicious! Why didn't I figure out how to suck on them sooner?! According to Mom's book, once I master sucking my toes, I won't be spending much time on my back anymore...crawling, here we come!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Maybe He is Trying to Tell Me Something...

because I don't think it's ever a good thing to look in your rear view mirror and see this:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gourmet is in the Eye of the Beholder

A recent phone conversation with my sister went like this:

Sister: So, what are you doin'?

Me: Just making dinner.

S: What are you making?

M: Alfredo penne pasta with chicken, broccoli, and orange and yellow peppers [sounds impressive, right??].

S: Yum, how did you make your alfredo sauce?

M: [pause] Um, it's just out of the jar. [No body really makes their own alfredo sauce for a normal, week night dinner, do they?].

S: Oh, cool, I just didn't really know you could buy it that way. So, what did you marinate or season your chicken with?

M: [another pause; this is getting ridiculous...I thought you knew me better...I can't remember the last time I seasoned, let alone marinated, chicken before I cooked it [is that bad??]]. Sister, this is not a gourmet meal--I thawed a few chicken breasts on the counter all day, cooked them in a frying pan in a little olive oil [does that count as seasoning--after all, I often cook chicken in just plain old water], dropped some penne in a pot of boiling water, cut up a few peppers, and threw a bag of frozen broccoli in the microwave [doesn't sound so impressive anymore, does it??].

S: Wait, how do you do that broccoli thing?

M: Oh, it's called Steamfresh--you just put the bag of frozen veggies right in the microwave and six minutes later you have fresh--er, frozen?--er, warm broccoli cutlets. It's great!

S: Hmm, I've never heard of that. We cook our own broccoli.

M: Well, the pasta is done...gotta run!

Minutes later my husband and I sat down to dinner. Our "alfredo penne pasta with chicken, broccoli, and orange and yellow peppers" tasted as good as it usually does...but I felt like a poser, a faker, an inexperienced benchwarmer in the world of culinary final four.

Sauce out of a jar.

Plain chicken.

Frozen, microwavable broccoli.

So many thoughts running through my head...

At least our dinner was better than a frozen dinner, right??
At least I used fresh peppers.
At least Clasico pasta sauces don't use any high fructose corn syrup!
At least I didn't risk fresh vegetables going to waste before I get a chance to use them all.
At least my husband tells me I am a good cook...

And I made the recipe up myself [maybe that's not such a bragging point...].

Ok, ok, so I am not a gourmet chef:
  • Most of what I make for dinner originates as a frozen piece of meat, a starch, a vegetable, and LOTS of cheese,
  • I leave the fresh spices out of most of my recipes,

  • Rachel Ray's "30 minute meals" take me a good hour and a half,

  • Even though my Dad made me homemade pizza every Friday night of my childhood, it is just a lot easier and faster to make DiGorno,

  • Canned and frozen vegetables are my friends.
But before you feel too sorry for my husband, know that he really does love what I make and I rarely make him eat cereal for dinner!

And when I am feeling ambitious, I do have a few more original, more gourmet meals in my all-star recipe book, like my Dad's awesome sweet and sour chicken!

Today I will share one of my favorite recipes with you. I'm not going to lie, it's our kind of meal (chicken, pasta, veggies, cheese), BUT it isn't made up by me and it doesn't require sauce out of a jar!

Try it--I think you will love it!

Pasta with Chicken, Roasted Red Pepper, and Feta


2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained and finely chopped
8 ounces Farfalle (bow tie pasta)
2 packages (4 oz. each) crumbled Feta cheese with basil and tomato
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)

Don't forget to cook the chicken before you get started...

  1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
  2. When pasta has a few minutes left... Cook and stir the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on medium high heat for 3 minutes.

  3. Add the chicken, red peppers, and remaning 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

  4. Cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

  5. Toss the chicken mixture with the hot pasta and Feta cheese.

  6. Sprinkle with basil [if you use fresh spices...].
A few notes:
  • You can save a few bucks by buying your roasted red peppers at the dollar store (at least in VA). OR...the last time I made this we had fresh peppers on hand, so I just threw them in with the garlic and olive oil for a few minutes to soften them up, although I like it with the jarred roasted red peppers a little better).

  • We usually buy our Feta cheese in bulk from Sam's, and unfortunately it doesn't come with the basil and tomato in it. We just do without and it tastes great, but I am sure you could also add extra basil and throw some chopped tomatoes in there.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's Either Fun or Funny

My sister resting on the kitchen counter after a long day of travel--I told her she couldn't go to bed until we found something to eat!

Many years ago, my Aunt Mary Clare declared that when one is on vacation, everything is either FUN or FUNNY...everything. Well, last Thursday little Augustine and I packed up and caught a plane to Chicago to spend the weekend with my sister and my nephew who flew in from Colorado...and let's just say we had to remind ourselves of that very mantra many, many times.

Because, really, what is so fun or funny about one's child (audibly) pooping out his diaper and very visably up his back while on his mother's lap, trapped in the middle seat of a very crowded plane...while the seat belt sign is on (and any rebellious effort to sneak away to the bathroom is being blocked by the beverage cart--until said beverage cart attendee sees the situation and turns a blind eye so we can make our getaway)??

And is it more fun or funny when the rental car company gives you the wrong car--and despite your best efforts you cannot physically fit two carseats, two strollers, two pack-n-plays, two suitcases, two diaperbags, two precious babes, and two very tired moms into it? (Btw, what were we thinking?? I looked like a one woman circus pushing a stroller--a diaper bag shoved into the basket below and my little man mounted in his car seat above--with one hand, while dragging the rest of my loot--a pack-n-play balanced carefully on the top of my carry-on suitcase--with the other. That's right, folks, I did not check anything. I will defer this situation to the "funny" category because there was nothing "fun" about it!).

Or when your basics needs are not being met, is that fun...or funny? Not clean clothing, air conditioning, fluffy pillows kind of needs (although we actually bade well in those categories). We are talking Food and Sleep...two things that were much harder to come by on our trip. During our stay, my sister and I came to the conslusion that while she does not do well without sleep, I do not do well without food. You see, I left my house for the airport at around 2 pm, thankfully with hearty sandwich in hand. But, as you can imagine, the aforementioned luggage issues made it nearly impossible to get anything to eat for the rest of the day. By the time I met up with my sister, got the wrong...and then the right rental car, and drove to the condo it was after 10 pm. It was at that point that I realized 1) I had not eaten in 8 hours 2) There was little food in the condo 3) There was no way I was venturing out on my own to find food in Chicago at 10 pm. I settled for sharing a frozen dinner with my sister and digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry's that we found in the freezer. (Ice cream was also my breakfast the next morning...).

And as fun as walking a few miles to church in the bright sunshine could have been (IF we didn't get lost), it was much harder to find the fun (or funny) in walking back home from church in a torential downpour...without a blaknet to keep my little one--let alone myself (hello drowned rat)--dry.

And dear Aunt Mary Clare, please tell me what is so fun or funny about finally leaving the condo (to do something other than speed walk to the nearest place for carry-out food), only to get caught in bumper to bumper traffic, due to a road closure for the Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade...and to have to sit there and watch the remains of the parade pass by?

You know what, I bet Aunt Mary Clare couldn't tell me what was fun or funny about any of these things, but the fact remains:

they were indeed fun or funny...

...and for these particular examples, I'm going to go with "funny."

Not in the, "oh, this is funny so I am going to laugh" way, but in the "I have no idea why I am laughing uncontrollably right now but I am and I cannot stop" way. I kid you not, even during the most tense moments--and there were tense moments--all I could do was laugh...hysterically. I had absolutely no reason to laugh--or to even smile or think happy thoughts for that matter--but neither my sister or I could stop laughing.

And I thank God for that!

Laughter is the best medicine, and I got plenty of it during our trip to Chicago!

But alas, I would be remiss not to mention some of the "fun" moments:

  • each and every moment of the boys playing together...priceless memories!

  • taking little walks with our boys to get food...Starbucks was just around the corner :)

  • discovering a fun pretzel shop and eating an incredible pretzel sandwich

  • countless hours spent talking to my best friend in person

  • giving the boys a bath together

  • meeting up with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins for real Chicago pizza--although I must say I was not prepared for what was to come when my Uncle ordered the "sausage patty" pizza: thick, cornbread crust topped with cheese, sauce, and a GIANT sausage patty covering the entire mass of the pizza. Let's just say I ate it with a fork!

  • watching the US/Ghana World Cup game (but not the part where they lost)

  • taking picture after picture of Augustine and Tavian