Life Lately: Our Big Boy / Girl Pants

When I took Blaine to his one-year appointment at the pediatrician’s office in March, our doctor was overjoyed to hear that we were expecting another baby. (She knows how hard we tried for Blaine.) At some point in the conversation, though, she urged me not to force Blaine to be a “big boy” too soon. Even though he’ll be a big brother, he’s still a baby, too.

Say what?

Mama can only handle one baby at a time. Literally. For six weeks after my scheduled C-section in October (joy), I won’t be able to pick up my little quarter-pounder. I need him to grow up a little…just a little. Since that appointment, he’s learned to walk on his own, which has been a tremendous help. But I still need him to learn to be a little more independent. Time at home in California has taught me that I maaaayyyyy just coddle him a little too much. I let him pull me to my feet to help him with something that I know he can do by himself. I hold / carry him at the drop of a hat. (Obviously, when things get rough or he needs a hug, I will be there. But when he gets mad at me for saying “no” and then wants me to hold him…not so much.) And I’m quick to give him his pacifier when he’s upset or grumpy. (It’s in almost every photo of our trip.)

Old Trusty.

Old Trusty.

So lately, we (and I do mean “we” – I’m training myself to not give in as often) have been weaning off of two things: a.) being held when he could walk or explore, and b.) using his pacifier instead of observing, relaxing, and engaging in a situation. So far, I give us both a B+. Except for naps and when he first wakes up, he hasn’t really missed the paci. (Side note: he’s also babbling a lot more with his free mouth, which is good!)  And he’s learning to accept my hand as an alternative to my entire upper-torso. Much more convenient.

A paci, a cracker, and Mr. Monkeybritches. One of these things has to go...

A pacifier, a cracker, and Mr. Monkeybritches (a sock monkey whose leg can be barely seen). One of these comfort items has to go…

 

I don’t want him to grow up too early, but I do want us all to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted by the time Baby Brother arrives in the fall. That gives us 8 more weeks of practice for the day when I’m so exhausted from sleep deprivation and 3 a.m. feedings that I can’t pick up anyone but myself, let alone locate a missing pacifier. (It’s under the couch.)

Linking up with ‘Wild and Precious’ today – check out some other fun stuff going on in their lives!

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Life Lately: Cheerleading

If there’s one thing I love, it’s doing stuff. To be more specific, I love events. I love running in them, paddling in them, biking in them, and singing in them (it’s been a long time for that, though). Since I’m not of the über-mench pregnant woman variety (have you SEEN those women who run marathons while 7-months pregnant?), I haven’t been an active participant in any of the sweet events that happen in the summertime around here lately.
Cheerleading (2 of 6)

But, I can volunteer and cheer. A few weeks ago, I volunteered at our town’s Whitewater Festival. Our local go-get-em adventure group – FAR –  sponsors an obstacle race and I, being the cheerleader that I am, volunteered to give directions at one particularly difficult part of the race. It was fun to see all the racers and be part of the event. Hey, I got a t-shirt. It even fits over my belly.

Cheerleading (5 of 6)

And yesterday, Blaine and I came down to the river to cheer for a group of mommies in our playgroup who were participating in the second annual ‘Battle of the Bighorn’ – a combination raft trip / obstacle race that culminates at my husband’s place of work. So, we got to play in the river while we waited, see daddy, lie in a hammock, and cheer for our friends.

    Cheerleading (6 of 6)

(This photo aught to tell you why I never do ‘outfit’ posts. Nobody is pinning baseball caps on Polyore.) Then everyone got all loud and excited and Blaine was scared. He’s a delicate little monkey.

Cheerleading (4 of 6)

So life lately (linking up with Blair from Wild and Precious) is about enjoying some time off from participating…and just enjoying being a cheerleader.

Summertime Cravings: Womb Service

I’m linking up with Katrina at ‘Cedars and Tiny Flowers’ for a post on pregnancy cravings. When I was pregnant with Blaine in the winter (he was born in March), I craved butternut squash soup like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes I’d have it for lunch, then come home and have a little bowl as a snack. Then I started craving red foods, like strawberries and tomatoes.

This time around, summer is in full swing and the heat is a little bit of an appetite suppressant. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still manage to gain enough weight to stay on the high end of this little mathematical beauty:

The result. I always seem to be on the upper side of uh-oh.

I blame carbs; they are my weakness. My craving, though? It’s rhubarb pie. I could eat it all day long. Mind you, I’m not a “pie” person. I would usually rather eat chocolate in any form – ice cream, candy bar, piece of Dove that I found in my glove box…you name it. But I am all about the pie lately. I’ve made three pies in the last few months and have even perfected my own recipe. In case you would like to try it, here it is:

Pie (1 of 2)

Ashlee’s Rhubarb Craving Pie

Ingredients:

Filling
1 Tablespoon orange zest
~4 Cups diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 Cup white sugar
4 T quick-cooking tapioca
1 frozen Marie Calendar’s pie crust (They’re pretty cheap at 2 for about $4.50. Totally worth it.)

Crumb Topping
1/2 Cup oatmeal
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup butter
1/2 Cup flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (205 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together rhubarb, orange zest, 1/2 cup sugar, and tapioca. Spoon into the still-frozen crust.
  3. In the same bowl (hooray for saving dishes), combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and cold butter. Use a pastry cutter or fork to ‘cut’ the butter into the mixture until it’s crumbly. Pour over the rhubarb. (I like a nice big pile on the pie so it has a sort of “crumb cake” topping.)
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35 minutes.
  5. Eat with / without vanilla ice cream.
  6. Eat again later straight out of the fridge for a snack.
  7. Eat with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

Pie (2 of 2)

For only about $6, this is an amazing pie. Rhubarb costs me about $3 a bunch at my local farmer’s market, and a whole pie would run you about $13 at your local bakery / Village Inn, etc. And if you’re lucky (like me), you have a string-bean of a husband who “forgets” to eat entire meals and never craves anything (except maybe a cold beer after work)…so you get to eat pretty much the whole thing. Just me and baby. Little, one-pound growing baby.

This is Me: Self Portrait

I am linking up with ‘While Wearing Heels’ today for an assignment that I’ve been debating for a few days. I’m none too keen on having my picture taken, but I do feel compelled to share the difficulties of retaining your sense of “self” during pregnancy / motherhood. I have not been in the mood to star in any self-portraits lately, seeing as how it’s been 90+ degrees outside, I’m pregnant (read: 20 pounds heavier), and proper blow-drying and styling of my hair is woefully infrequent.

But then I remembered back to my angsty, faux-artsy high-school days, when self-portraits could be abstract, mysterious, and symbolic. So, I decided to compromise:

Self_Portrait (1 of 1)

I call this – ‘The Balancing Act’. Right now, I’m balancing all of my old and new loves in life with my pregnancy. I LOVE being pregnant with my second little boy. Every kick in the groin is a gift – truly. But no matter how appreciative you are of being pregnant, I’ve learned that it’s hard to give up little bits of who you are. I am an avid biker and runner (hence the bike pump perched on top of the books and journals), but don’t get to enjoy that much these days. But I do get to drink my favorite tea, collect rocks by the river with my little man, enjoy being a toddler mom, and read when I get the chance. The quote came from a pithy little charm that I picked up at a craft store. It’s not deep, it’s just true. Balance.

For another great self-portrait, check out Bonnie’s at ‘A Compass Rose’. She’s good, real good.

Nailed It!

Painting (1 of 2)

The highly professional tools of my trade.

I don’t know about you, but one of the things that I struggle with as a new (after a year, am I still new?) stay-at-home-mom is the feeling of not being productive. I used to work 10-hour days and produce a vast number of projects before B: student essays, school-wide events, wedding photographs, even firsts drafts of books! But with baby in tow, it becomes a lot harder to create, craft, produce, or participate. (How’s that for some alliterative poetics?)

So I am particularly pleased when I actually make something that isn’t just consumed at the dinner table. I love the work of an artist in Salida who runs a shop called Art and Salvage, and bought one lovely painting from her. She inspired me to try my own because, well, I can’t really afford to buy another one of her paintings just yet…and I thought it would be fun to try anyway.

So I did.

And here it is in all its glory.

It took four partial naptimes and two evening sessions. It was actually a really great project for doing step-by-step because you have to let one layer of paint dry before you can go on to the next one. I’m very happy with my first try as a painter and may just try another one soon. I’m not sure how some mamas manage to have complete Etsy businesses, create quilted masterpieces, or make their own almond milk from scratch. Maybe I’m just not motivated / organized / serious enough. But for now, I am happy with my one little painting that says a little bit about who I am as a person, not just a mom.

I like bikes.

I like bikes.