Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Cross-eyed baby

I have developed a really unhealthy relationship with Whole Foods guacamole.  We all have, actually.  Well, not Cooper, but I did buy him an avocado to try this week, so maybe he'll get in on the action, you know, minus the garlic and whatever else makes the best guacamole in the world.

Downloaded the Team Umizoomi iPad app today, and Jack can now add and subtract.  Best $6.99 I have spent in awhile.

Jack had his first playdate with only his friend today-- usually, he just tags along with Harry or we play with sibling pairs.  In related news, Jack needs to work on sharing.

As soon as I wrote that about Cooper napping in his car seat, he went an entire morning-- from 6:30 until 12:50-- without sleeping AT ALL, despite 2 car trips, lots of rocking, nursing, etc.  FINALLY, he cried for a few minutes and passed out in his crib until 2:30.  Sure, he was loosing his shit by the post-dinner hour, but that nap was beautiful.  And he was in a really good mood when Harry got home, which was definitely needed because Harry always comes home a little melty.

Harry also comes home a little hungry.  Today, he ate a cereal bar on the walk, drank a cup of milk as soon as he walked in the door, helped himself to a cookie, then requested some kefir and a piece of leftover pizza.  Damn.
This doesn't count as screen time.  More like school.  Also, note the chaos behind him.

So hungry

Really need to take the tag off that thing

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nap trouble

The good news?  Cooper takes some awesome naps.

The bad news?  In his car seat.

If he does not fall asleep nursing, it is impossible to lay him down in his crib.  Occasionally, we have success rocking and rocking and rocking him, but not always.  Sometimes, we let him cry for a few minutes, go in and soothe him, let him cry some more, but this DOES NOT WORK.  Occasionally, he will fuss for a few minutes and go to sleep.  Usually, not so much.

Right now, he has been asleep for 2 hours in his car seat.  After some unsuccessful nap attempts, Ben took him on a 2 minute drive and brought him inside to our room where he has remained asleep despite the chaos of his brothers.

Without the car seat, he doesn't nap at all and gets little purple circles under his eyes, the poor baby.

How do we change this habit and get the baby to nap in his crib?  Neither H nor J was a car sleeper, so this is weird to me.  Can he nap in a car seat until kindergarten?  Should I care?  What do you think?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Case of the

The kids' bathroom upstairs smells like pee, and I can't figure out why.  I spent a long time yesterday scrubbing all surfaces and still.  Something has been peed on, and I don't know what it is.  So, you might want to use a different bathroom when you come over is what I am saying.  Also, I just decided that when the kids are big enough to have body hair and use deodorant, I need a bigger house-- one where I never have to encounter their grooming areas because ew.

Nothing puts me in a bad mood quite like a Monday morning, and then I get ll annoyed with myself for being so unoriginal-- as case of the Mondays is super eye-roll inducing.  I promise not to clog up anyone's Facebook feed with proclamations about how bad Mondays suck, but today I almost unfriended all the Monday complainers on my list-- that's how annoyed I get on Monday mornings.

On Mondays, my adorable children are not 3 precious little boys-- they are one jiggling, 100-pound pile of need and labor.  Gathering snow pants, boots, lunchboxes and water bottles for school.  Helping Jack find the right day-of-the-week underpants and having him freak the freak out when I suggest that he might not want to wear them backwards.  He does, actually.  And he LIKES his shoes on the wrong feet dammit.   Telling Harry 54 times to get dressed.  When he comes into my room where I am nursing Cooper for the third time since he woke up to ask me how he looks reminding him that he still needs to find socks and trade pajama pants for jeans.  Reminding him of this 6 more times.  Settling a fussy baby on his gym with his taggie blanket for 2 minutes while I try to make beds.  Making beds with fussy baby on my hip.  Supervising tooth brushing that is not helped, in my opinion, by a singing Justin Bieber tooth brush.

It took us 21 minutes to out on hats, coats, and boots and get in the freaking car-- 4 minute spent taking off boots so we could run back inside and get our backpacks and lunchboxes and then putting our boots back on.

Mondays mess up Cooper's very tentative sleep schedule because he has to ride to preschool drop off and then walk to kindergarten drop off, and he sometimes falls asleep and sometimes doesn't.  Today was a doesn't, and while he did nod off for 30 minutes around 9, by noon he was squalling, sleep-fighting, and sporting purple circles under his eyes.  Good times.

Mondays are fragmented days for me-- mom work in the morning, academic work in the afternoon, Ben and I waving at each other in passing. 

Wake me when it's Friday, would you?

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Started a pleasant Sunday tradition of taking the big boys out to breakfast, just the three of us.  As an added bonus, we brought home pie and cake for an Oscar night treat.

Bunk Bed Mission:  SUCCESS.

I will post pics when the bed is delivered and assembled at the end of the week.  I have a billion dollars worth of Star Wars bedding in my PBK cart, but do I really want to spend that much just to have Harry and Jack snot all over it?  Probably not.

Tonight, we grilled steaks and sauteed mushrooms and iced some shrimp for cocktails and steamed green beans and baked potatoes and tossed a big salad.  I say we, but Ben did all of those things while I cleaned the bathrooms.  When I finished and tossed my cleaning rags in the wash, I left the big boys sort of getting along in the basement with a mess of Star Wars guys and joined Ben and Coop in the kitchen. 

Ben was plating dinner and cutting up the kids' steak, and Cooper was hanging out in his Rock n Play sans sweatpants, his fat little legs hanging over the front of his chair.  I put him in his highchair, mixed up some oatmeal, and scooped out a serving of pureed pears.

 I heard a pop and turned to see Ben opening champagne and pouring it into our wedding toasting flutes.  Before we called Harry and Jack to dinner, we toasted Cooper, our fat, wonderful little baby, who smiled a leaky oatmeal smile. 

We leaned against each other in a swath of sunset cutting across the kitchen and listened to Harry and Jack thunder up the stairs while the baby laughed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


We spent the day bunk bed shopping. You'd think we would have learned our lesson the last time we went furniture shopping with the kids.  But no.  No.  Harry and Jack need bunk beds, we think, and they are extremely excited about the prospect.  I found the ones I want at Pottery Barn Kids, but I am not sure if I want to pay that much (Ben knows he doesn't-- I am on the fence).

In other scintillating news, we also went grocery shopping.  I KNOW- we're a laugh a minute.  We're actually in a grocery store rough patch these days.  We are committed to avoiding GMOs, and we buy everything organic, but still.  The other week, we spent $400 at Whole Foods.  For a week.  We'd like to spend, um, NOT $400, so we've been trying to buy smaller amounts of stuff more often, and we've added TJ's back into our rotation even though it's crowded and has terrible produce in the winter.  But still, we're consistently $100 over our ideal amount.  This includes tons of produce and lots of meat, and we eat at home most nights and pack our lunches, but STILL.  This is just a vent-- I like Whole Foods; I like to eat, and I like to eat the stuff I have gotten used to buying.  It just annoys the heck out of me when I stop and think about how much it costs to eat real food all the time.

I also decided to banish mom hair today, meaning I have the same damn haircut I always have when I get sick of my hair.  I wanted to go shorter, but my stylist put her foot down.  She said long hair is coming back, and I need to deal with it.  Okay then.
Before:  Full-on mom hair
After:  The same damn hair I always come back to

Friday, February 24, 2012

Snow Day

Not an official snow day-- Harry didn't have school because the teachers had a professional development day.  But still.  We were home all day, and everything was covered with snow.  So.  Snow day.  Like I said.
Not sure why he looks melancholy-- this was the best snow we have had all season-- very wet and packy

Cooper was aggressively bundled the whole time-- he was sweaty even, and we were out for an hour.  Note the Ziploc of blueberries and carrots for the snowman's face.  The birds have already eaten the snowman's face.

Mushroom snow cloud.  Or cauliflower, as Ben says, because he is not so weird.

Before the birds ate his face

We walked to school so Harry and Jack could sled

The snow was a little too wet for good sledding, even after they forced themselves down the hill a few time and made a track. So we trudged home and had hot chocolate, natch.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

iPhone pics

Ben was gone this evening, which is unusual thank goodness because that would mean it was just me and the children, and there are so many of them.  I had them all tucked in their beds asleep by 7:30 because I am AWESOME.  I cleaned up dinner quickly and spent a good half an hour mopping the floor in the hallway/kitchen/great room because I put Bio Oil on my feet last night (because they have been totally neglected since I had Cooper, and my massage therapist was horrified by the sand paper state of my heels), and when I went to get Cooper at 2, I left a trail of greasy footprints everywhere. (Cooper, by the way, is not hungry at 2, he just wants to come sleep with me.  And I have to sleep on my side, facing him the whole night.  If I roll over, he rolls too and grabs 2 handfuls of my hair and tried to eat it.)

By 8:30, I was sitting on my bed, checking my email en route to the elliptical.  The next thing I knew, the garage door was opening at 9:30, and I was asleep on my face, which gave me awesome 90's bangs. 

No grading the pile of essays in my bag, no working out, and no blogging.  Luckily (for YOU), I am so jazzed from my nap that I decided to upload some pictures from my phone.  Here they are and now I'm off to enjoy Secrets from the Grave, a simply terrible and therefore wonderful Tami Hoag thriller I cannot put down (book 2 in a 3-book series!).  I loaded my iPad with thrillers-- Patricia Cornwell!  Lisa Gardner!-- in anticipation of the insomnia I always develop at 5 months post partum.  But this time, I can sleep whenever I want to!  And my milk has yet to vanish this month.  Weird, huh?

Sunday, February 19, 2012


We are heading into week 4 of perfect breastfeeding, meaning I should be losing my milk by the end of the week for about 3 days.  Then it will come in again, only to vanish 4 or 5 days later for another 3 days.  Then, it will come back for about a month. 

To cope with the shortage this month, we have a solid repertoire of solid foods Cooper loves (solid solids!  ha!).  He still won't drink formula from a bottle, and my freezer stash is still dwindling. He will, though, eat (organic) oatmeal mixed with Gerber GoodStart, so that's progress!  Last month and the month before that, he only needed a coupe of bottles to get through the rough patch, and he eats about 4 ounces of Gerber a day with his oats (well, I serve him that much-- he eats about half.  I don't want to replace nursing with solids-- just want solids to be there in case the milk is low), so we should be good.

So far, we have been feeding him like he is a horse in a children's book-- apples, oats, carrots.  This week, he also tried bananas (pureed with breastmilk and thickened with oatmeal, which he lapped up like crazy) and sweet potatoes, his least favorite food so far, but he does eat them-- he just makes a horrible face on the first bite or 2.  I bought a bag of pears and a butternut squash to try later this week when he finishes off his yams and honeycrisp applesauce. 

Making baby food is fun and easy with the Baby Cook. I feel bad that I didn't make Harry and Jack's food-- it is so easy, and I like knowing exactly what's in the food.  Um, just food.  Maybe some breastmilk.  Maybe some water.

Today was gorgeous-- we celebrated by taking a long walk and hanging out spontaneously with some neighbors-- a little boy in Harry's class and his mom, who is also navigating PhDdom and academia with small kids.  Gotta love this town.  But the weather was so nice, it made me worry about when it's no longer coat season.  That means I am going to have to get dressed to take the kids to school.  Now I just trade pajama bottoms for yoga pants and thrown on a long coat-- super glam.

Normally I would caption these pictures, but I need to dream feed the baby and go to sleep.  And by go to sleep, I mean read the scary book on my iPad until way too late.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

3 things that are not at all connected: a cold baby, a massage, and a crush

When the wind blows just right, it comes in through Cooper's windows and turns his cozy room cold.  We turn the heat up to 73 at night and close everyone else's vents against the desert air and dress Cooper in socks, a long-sleeved onesie, fleece footie pajamas and a Halo sleepsack.  It works well enough because he is a hearty Wisconsin baby, but when he comes in my bed around 2, his hands are pudgy, mottled ice cubes.  Meanwhile one room away, Jack is asleep in only pants, his t-shirt, sweatshirt, socks, and blankets flung over the sides of his fire truck. 
Ever since the winter 2 years ago where the smell of burned food in my oven made me think-- really think-- I had a brain tumor (I saw 2 different doctors, even- MDs, not therapists, although at my doctor's urging, I saw those, too) I have been working on managing my anxiety.  It turns out, quitting caffeine was the miracle cure, but I have also spent the past 2 years getting regular massages.  Our HMO offers a complimentary medicine benefit, so massages a my doctor's clinic are only $35 for an hour. I've mainly had HMO massages for the past 2 years, but after I had Cooper, I let my scheduling lapse, and that's the catch-- it is really hard to get an appointment.  Usually, I make them for every 4 weeks pretty much indefinitely and have a string of massages lined up.  But with a new baby, I couldn't commit to leaving for an hour to go lie on my leaking boobs.  Now that he is older and can go longer between feedings, I am, of course, ready to return to massage land.  My therapist is booked for weeks, though, so today, I went to a spa instead, and OMG-- no more HMO massages for me.

Don't get me wrong-- my massage therapist at the doctor's office is awesome, and I always leave the table feeling zen and relaxed and loose, but after 2 years of no-frills service, I forgot how much I dig the extras that come with a spa massage-- the foot soak and scrub, the aromatherapy, the hot towel wraps, the heated face mask, the fireplace in the room, fluffy table bedding-- you get the idea.  The doctor's office has unheated tables, thin sheets, and scent-free, antibacterial lotion. Today's therapist wrapped a hot towel around my neck and moved my head from side to side in a stretch that instantly elongated my spine, and that was the moment I knew I would be back.  I even took her advice to come for 90 minutes next time so she wold have more time to work on my left shoulder, permanently hunched from slinging a baby on my hip.
Yesterday, Harry's class joined with the other kindergartens for a music concert which was, predictably, adorable.  Harry was in the dead center of the stage, and he has been talking so excitedly about his duet that he'd get to sing into a mic and the risers he got to stand on and how he's going to be a singer when he grows up.  I thought he'd be a little ham.  At first, he was.  He spotted me and Jack and Cooper instantly at our place in the back row (because I had Coop in the Ergo and he demands that I stand), and he waved and beamed and warmed up with the rest of the kids.  Then, midway through the first number, he stopped singing. His choreographed gestures became little thigh-high flips of his hands.  When it was his turn to use the mic he barely whispered.  He told me later that he got nervous when he looked into the audience and saw his girlfriend, which is how he has started referring to the first grade girl he knows from the hallway.  Bow and arrow shot from the tiny fairy indeed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


My job, which I love, doesn't always require my physical presence (mental presence, remote presence-- you bet), but when I have to be somewhere, I have to be there.  Which is how I came to miss both big boys' Vday parties today.  Ben and Cooper went to Jack's party, and Ben, Cooper, and Jack went to Harry's.  Ben even wore the Ergo and hooked toys to it and a pacifier to his own shirt so Cooper wouldn't drop it on the germy kindergarten floor. Then he rounded out his father-of-the-year submission reel with a trip to the PTO meeting because, you know, he chairs a committee.  He's the best.  He also made me swear I wasn't getting him anything but a card and secretly bought me the awesome bracelet I wanted from a sorority sister's Etsy shop (I emailed him the link a couple of weeks ago because I am subtle like that, but he scoffed at me and said he was not buying anything for VDay, so I totally fell for it and bought him nothing).

Tonight before bath, Harry said, "So, I guess nobody got a bow and arrow shot from that tiny fairy, huh?"

I blinked at him for a moment before it hit me-- Cupid!

He asked what would happen if Cupid shot him, and I told him he'd fall in love at first sight.  He blushed bright red and told me in a stream of giggles about the first grade girl two classrooms down from his that he thinks is beautiful.  He's kind of been stalking her since the first day of school.  Ha!

I didn't take any pictures of him because I suck, but Coop wore Harry's old first VDay outfit and got some Valentines for his baby book and a couple of hangy toys to bat at (he is totally a cat).

A very sweet day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baby Weight

Okay now.  This is getting ridiculous.  My sweatpants are tight in the butt.  I still only have 2 pairs of pre-pregnancy jeans that fit, meaning I am stuck in the 5 pairs I bought big. I have a double chin even when photographed from a flattering angle. Tomorrow, I start tracking all my food on Sparkpeople.  I have been avoiding this because I don't have time.  But you know what I do have?  Candy in every drawer and purse.  So I'll use the time I normally spend shoving it in my face and eating large stacks of graham crackers to plan and track my food.  Swell.

In other can't-believe-the-weight's-not-pouring-off news, we made and ate cookies before bed last night.  The beer cans are a classy touch, huh?  Have you ever made cookies with these guys?  Because trust me, the beer helps.

Randoms:  I typed most of this one handed during Coope'sr 9:30 wake up-- 9:30 wake up??  WHY??  He's been doing it for over a week.  Jack has decided he will only wear exercise pants, which he calls slip on pants.  He and I are going to Old Navy after preschool tomorrow to procure some more because the way he says it is so damn cute.  Ben got dressed in yesterday's clothes from the bedroom floor this morning.  Jack dressed himself in a backwards shirt and slip on pants, and Harry, Cooper, and I stayed in our PJ's.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

5 months old!

I am pretty sure Cooper is teething.  He's exhibiting all the signs: buckets of drool, determined finger eating, rubbing his bath towel across his gums and protesting when I tried to use it to dry him.  Plus, he has been up 3 times since he went to bed 4 hours ago.  I see a long night ahead for me, so I will post these pics and run-- I am trying so hard to get to bed before 10:30, and I am consistently failing.  That's my big Friday night plan: to go the f*ck to sleep-- ambitious and glamorous.

Our sweet baby is 5 months old today and affable despite the oral distress:

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Catch Up

I only teach one class with 25 students, but it seems like this tiny endeavor has upset the apple cart, broken the camel's back, made me drop all my oranges and bowling pins all over the place-- pick your metaphor.  The point is, maybe the idea of balance that I malign so often has merit because our balance?  Definitely wobbly.  The addition of this one more small thing has really screwed me up, and that is why I haven't been blogging more.  Also, the dog ate my homework.

Harry goes to the library on Thursdays at school, so Wednesday nights usually find us frantically reading his book so he can return it the next day.  He has been bringing home books that he can read to us, which is just so cool I can't even put it into words.  But a couple of weeks ago, he brought home a really advanced dinosaur book for us to read to him all old school like.  It was the story of Jane, an 11 year-old T Rex who was discovered by Illinois paleontologists in Montana.  Quite a coupe as you might imagine for a random Rockford paleontologist. We decided to go visit Jane, especially when  we learned that the museum also had a triceratops they are working on assembling.  I LOVE triceratops!  Plus, Jack's class has completed their study of germs and moved on to dinosaurs, so really, it was totally perfect (as, by the way, is a room full of snot-nosed 3 year-olds studying germs.  They looked at slides under the microscope and made germ models in art class out clay-- hint: they all look like poop-- ad sang songs about germs and shared them.  Boy did they share them.)

Anywho, some highlights:

To be honest, most days, we are just checking items off our list-- drop offs, pick ups, grading after the kids go to bed, cleaning the kitchen a billion times a day, doing sight word flash cards, helping Jack work through the alphabet, feeding the baby, feeding the baby, feeding the baby, playing, and we reach for the camera less and less often, especially since I started updating my family photo blog from my iPhone.  Here's a collection of a random post-dinner, pre-bath playtime that pretty much sums up our happy chaos:

Last night, Harry's school had a dance. Harry is at home on a dance floor. He walked right in and began dong the robot. Ben armed him with a selection of totally awesome dance moves like the lawn mower and the sprinkler. He did them all. He's going to be a great wedding guest some day. Jack liked snack (chips and gatorade, the horror!) but mainly wanted to go home and go to bed-- he walked in and said "Where are the chairs?" He's going to be like me at weddings, especially if he learns the art of placing himself directly in the path of passed appetizers.

And Cooper? Still snuggly. Still kind of a shitty napper. Still a messy, messy eater: