Saturday, May 30, 2009

The first road trip

Last weekend, we took a semi-impromptu trip to Charlotte to visit B's sister and her family. It's a 10-hour car ride, so the whole thing was a bit daunting. Luckily for us, the car rides went pretty well. The rest of the weekend, however, was a different story.


Our first little snafu happened on the way down. We needed to stop for dinner, and B decides to pull into a McDonald's that had two (TWO) school buses in the parking lot. I mentioned that stopping at a fast-food restaurant with two school buses in the parking lot might not be the best idea in the world, but B insisted. Bad idea. There were approximately 70 second-graders occupying every.single.seat. in the restaurant. This led to us trying to feed the baby in the car. He was sitting on my lap in the front seat. I was holding the sweet potatoes (good choice, right?) in my right hand and feeding him with my left hand. Since my right arm was also supporting him so he would stay upright, I wasn't able to move the container of sweet potatoes fast enough to keep him from grabbing a big handful of the orange goo. Even though I wiped it up as quickly as possible, there's no coming back from that. When the baby was done eating, this is what he (and my arms) looked like:



What this picture doesn't show is the sweet potato spots all over the front of my shirt and jeans. We ate about 2.5 hours into our trip, so I got to walk around with orange spots all over me for another 8.5 hours. Awesome.


Other than that, the drive down was mostly uneventful.


We arrived in the wee hours of the morning. When we woke up for the day, the youngun had a fever of 102 degrees. We managed to get it down with Tylenol, so we didn't worry about it too much. He was fussy and cranky, and might have had a lump on his gums (he wouldn't let anyone put their finger in his mouth, or move his tongue out of the way so we could see), so we just figured he was starting to teethe. No biggie. He spent most of the day sleeping, and the rest of it eating. It kinda felt like he was a newborn again.


Also on Saturday, my brother's girlfriend decided it was time to have her baby. We'd been waiting with bated breath for a week and a half now, and pretty much as soon as we left town, she went into labor. Baby D was born at 10:05 A.M., weighed 7.5 pounds, and was 20 inches long. We didn't get to see her until just a couple of days ago. Isn't she a cutie-patootie?


Sweet baby. And so tiny! Mine was never this small (well, at least not outside the womb).




This is the baby eating, er, kissing his new cousin.

Sunday morning, the bebe woke up wheezing and still had a fever. So, the consensus was he needed to go to urgent care. W and I went to a nearby urgent care center, and, surprisingly, only spent about an hour there. The doc diagnosed him with croup, which is basically bronchitis of the upper respiratory tract. He got a dose of steroids, and we were sent home. My BFF who goes to Duke came to visit us that day, too, and it was awesome to see her. That night, once the kiddos were in bed, the adults hung out in the garage, drank wine, and chatted for hours. We were all pretty hungover the next morning. Whoops.


Monday, the baby seemed to be doing better, but he was still kind of wheezy. My SIL and I decided to head to the mall, so I missed out on a lot of the childcare that day. I was ok with that. Especially since I found an awesome skirt at Banana Republic to wear to my sister's high school graduation next weekend. For $17! Unheard of! I also got a great fall/winter work skirt at a store called Polly Pia and 10 pairs of VS undies for $25. I love when they do the 10 for $25 sale.


We left for the O-H bright and early Tuesday morning. The ride home was a bit more stressful than the drive there, since we did it during the baby's waking hours. We still managed to make the drive in about the same amount of time, though. We got home around 5:00 that evening, and had a little bit of time to unpack and relax before we all had to get back to real life on Wednesday morning.

A few pics from the weekend:

Cousin W giving the babe a kiss. My son looks less than impressed.


"Dude, back off."


Playing.

Having fun in the exersaucer.

"Ooooh, that looks yummy. Can I try."

Sharing is a wonderful thing.

As a precaution, I took the baby to our pediatrician on Wednesday for a follow-up. She told me that his croup must have been pretty bad if the urgent care doctor gave him a steroid. She also thought he still sounded wheezy, so he got prescriptions for a steroid (one more day of that) and albuterol breathing treatments (down to an as-needed basis on those). She also confirmed that he was getting his first tooth (which broke through the next day), AND found that he was starting to get an infection in his left ear. For those who aren't keeping count, that's the fourth ear infection in 12 weeks. Four ear infections in 12 weeks = a trip to the ENT. *Sigh* I'm kinda hoping he won't need to get tubes, but at the same time, tubes would probably make these pesky ear infections go away, so they might be worth it. We got his appointment for the ENT scheduled for about a month from now. I'll let you know the results.

We have a tooth!

The baby cut his first tooth on Thursday. Chomper (as we've affectionately named it) showed up on his seven-month birthday. Way to be average, kiddo.

I do have to say that we're not huge fans of Chomper right now. Our sweet, fun, sleeping-through-most-of-the-night baby has turned into a fussy, cranky, drug-gobbling, waking-up-every-two-or-three-hours baby. I was just getting a taste of the sweet life of a person who sleeps. I can't go back. I just can't. Please, please, PLEASE let teething go easily. Or at least only happen during normal-person daylight hours.

Whoring out my blog a bit

Ok, I'm not so into reviews and such, but these decals are too cute to pass up. Lewa's Designs is run by a stay-at-home mom, and she makes the cutest wall-art vinyl decals. Check out her gallery if you don't believe me. She's also doing a fun giveaway where everyone who blogs about her shop gets a free decal. I'm a big fan of the baby swirly bird, but I also like the caterpillar. Decisions, decisions. Either one will look cute in the baby's room.

For all the details on the giveaway (and to enter to win another giveaway), head over to A Soft Place to Land.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lazy Sunday morning

I got up with the baby yesterday morning, so it was B's turn this morning. This is how I found them when I got up.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

He really loves me

The hickey. It's how teenagers and trailer-trash have been showing their love for centuries. And tonight, it's how my son showed his love for me (or at least for my jaw bone).


Yup, that's a baby hickey. I was sitting there playing with the kid, and he latched on to my face. No big deal, he's done it before. And he only sucked for a few seconds before I got him off. Half an hour or so later, B commented that he could still see a mark, and thought it was weird that it hadn't faded yet. When we got home (and somewhere with decent lighting), I looked at my jaw, and saw not the red mark I was expecting, but a full-blown bruise. My son gave me a hickey. I guess he really loves me.
Now, dear readers, does anyone have any home remedies for hickies? I don't want to have to explain this one at work on Monday...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Baby clothing love

My law school had an article on its website today about a student who has an eco-friendly clothing line, barley and birch. I am in LOVE! I don't normally do crunchy, but this stuff is so freaking cute. I just wish there were somewhere in the O-H that sold it.


These are a couple of my favorites:



Monday, May 11, 2009

The parent's curse

As a parent, I think I'm forever cursed to have some awful baby-toy song stuck in my head. Ever since the baby took a real interest in his singing toys, I've had at least one of the catchy little tunes stuck in my head. All. Day. Long. It's slowly driving me crazy. Today's selection is from the magical singing mirror. I'll delight you with the lyrics:

I can make faces and sounds like this
Wave my hand and blow you a kiss
Open my mouth to say please
Something else happens
Achoo! A sneeze!
Cover my eyes and peek right through
Come on let's play peek-a-boo!
Peek-a-boo!

If only I knew the tune so I could share that with you, too, and maybe introduce you to the joy that is baby-toy-earworms. At least the terrible rendition I do while dancing around like a jackass amuses my son. It would amuse you, too, if you ever saw. But you'd be laughing at me, not with me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's been a happy Mother's Day

It may just be the drugs talking, but I realized this evening that I'm truly beginning to find joy in being a mother.

This revelation came to me as we were driving home from dinner. B and I heard some shuffling in the backseat. When I turned around to investigate, I saw the baby experimentally rubbing his bare feet up and down over the seat protector mat (I think he liked the noise). As I watched him, I could just picture the look of concentration on his face and see the little forehead wrinkles he gets when he's doing something new. And my heart just melted. Then it swelled with pride that my little man was learning something new and had figured it out on his own (even though it was something as dumb as rubbing his feet over nylon makes noise). It hit me like a ton of bricks that sometime over the past few months, I've transformed into a mother. Most of the time.

It was a good Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pineapple coconut cake

I found a recipe for a pineapple coconut cake in the local paper the other day. The recipe was created by a junior at a nearby technical school for some baking competition, and won first place (for good reason!). My mom and I decided to make this as the dessert for our Mother's Day dinner tonight, and it was heavenly! I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it work a little better, and here it (and my editorial comments) is:

Pineapple Coconut Cake

Cake
- 3 yellow cake mixes (the real recipe has a from-scratch cake recipe, but since I couldn't find emulsified shortening to use in it, we went with boxed mixes)

1. Prepare each cake mix as instructed on the box
2. Cut a circle of parchment paper big enough to cover the bottom of a 10" spring form pan
3. Grease the sides of the spring form pan
4. Pour one prepared cake mix in the pan
5. Bake at 350(-ish) until a pick inserted in the middle comes out clean (I think it took 25-30 minutes in my mom's not-always-the-best oven)
6. Cool cake completely before removing from pan
7. Repeat with the second and third cake mixes

Pineapple Sauce
- 2 1/4 C pineapple juice, divided
- 2 T lime juice
- 1 C sugar
- 1/4 C cornstarch
- 3/4 C crushed fresh pineapple (the crushed part is really important!)

1. Mix 2 cups of pineapple juice, lime juice, and sugar together in a saucepan
2. Heat the mixture until it boils
3. Combine 1/4 cup of pineapple juice and cornstarch
4. Whisk cornstarch mixture into boiling pineapple juice mixture (careful, that first drop of liquid will make it foam up)
5. Remove from heat and mix in pineapple
6. Let cool completely

Frosting
- 1.4 pounds white chocolate (equivalent of two bags of chips)
- 4 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
- 4 sticks of unsalted butter, softened (works best if the sticks are cut into 2 or 3 pieces)
- 1/4 C lemon juice

1. Melt choclate in a double boiler
2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (but don't let it harden!)
3. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes)
4. Mix in melted chocolate
5. Add butter and lemon juice, and beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes)
6. Store in fridge until ready to use

Toasted Coconut
- 1 (14 oz) bag of flaked coconut (you could probably get away with a smaller bag...we had a lot left over)

1. Heat oven to 250
2. Spread coconut on shallow baking pan
3. Bake until golden brown, stirring frequently (we had a bad time with the coconut toasting process, so I won't even try to tell you how long this will take (I reduced the oven temperature from the original recipe significantly). But if I had to guess, I'd say 15 minutes?)
4. Let cool

Assembly
1. Place one cake on plate
2. Spread with a generous amount of frosting, and sprinkle with coconut
3. Place second cake on top of frosting
4. Spread with pineapple sauce (you'll probably have plenty of extra to drizzle over the served cake, if you want)
5. Place third cake on top
6. Frost sides and top of cake
7. Press coconut on to sides of cake (cover the sides completely. And you could probably put the coconut on top, if you wanted to).
8. Serve and enjoy your slice of tropical heaven

Some of the tweaks I made I didn't actually get to test out, so I can't 100% guarantee this recipe has perfected the cake (though I think it will). I'm storing the cake in the fridge so the frosting doesn't melt. You can supposedly store the leftover frosting in the fridge for up to a week. Also, you might want to consider cutting the frosting recipe a little bit. We had a lot left. It's a huge cake, and it's a bit of work, but totally worth. And if you want a smaller version, I would suggest making one cake mix, putting it in two 8" or 9" rounds, halving the sauce, coconut, and frosting recipes, cutting each cake in half, then layer frosting, sauce frosting. That's what I plan to do next time I make this. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Klassy


My boys at a wedding last weekend. At least B didn't let feeding the baby get in the way of his beer drinking. If only the label were facing straight at the camera...we could totally sell it to Budweiser for an ad campaign.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Miscellany

Today was Law Day (ok, not really, but it's when my local bar association celebrated Law Day). Because I'm a sucker and felt a need to get involved, I ended up as the Law Day Committee Co-Chair (if we're getting technical...I actually ended up doing all the work because my "co-chair" couldn't be bothered to help. Or show up at the events today). The majority of the crazy planning actually took place before I joined the bar association, so most of my stuff was pretty easy. Of course, since I was in charge, things all started going horribly awry at the last minute. I've spent the last week frantically trying to find a speaker for the luncheon, arrange for an award we weren't planning on giving, and figure out thank-yous. Despite all the last-minute snafus, the day went off without a hitch. And I'm all prepared to fully take over the planning next year. I've been told that once you chair a committee, you're stuck with it forever (or at least until the next unsuspecting young attorney shows up and tries to get involved).

* * *

On a related(ish) topic, I'm currently trying to figure out how I can start blogging more about my professional life. This blog has been pretty mommy-centric, and that's not all there is to me. My work has become a big part of my life - a part that I truly enjoy - and I want to talk about it. But I'm scared. I don't want to give away too much or risk posting something that might get me in trouble. I really don't think anyone from work reads this or would easily be able to associate it with me if they found it, but I'm not willing to bet my job on it. For now, I'm going to start sticking my toe in the job-blogging waters and see how it goes.

* * *

Continuing in that vein, I got to go to a really great legal writing seminar last week. It was taught by Bryan Garner, the editor of Black's Law Dictionary (and the man about whom this Courtoon was written), and included a lot of good, practical tips. I have yet to start following his four rules for becoming a better writer (bad Emily!), but I intend to at some point. He recommends: subscribing to two well-edited publications (he suggested The New Yorker and The Economist, so you get both sides of the political spectrum) and reading at least one article a week for content; reading one good book on the art of writing every quarter; buying two usage dictionaries and browsing them daily; and writing one letter (a real, pen-to-paper letter) every day. I'm particularly interested to see if I can make myself do the letter writing portion. I'm terrible at writing letters, but I think it's a valuable skill to learn. To any lawyers who may be reading this, if you get a chance to take "Advanced Legal Writing & Editing" from LawProse, do it. It's much less painful than most CLEs. It's also the cause of the copious increase in hyphen usage in this blog.

* * *

Because I'm nothing if not self-deprecating, I'm participating in MckMama's Not Me! Monday. On Saturday when we went to an out-of-town wedding, I absolutely did not leave my overnight bag - with all of my gear and most of the baby's - sitting on our dining room floor. Nope, not me!

* * *

We have new neighbors. They're already being loud. And the parking situation is going to be a nightmare. I hate living in a twinplex.

* * *

We've really started looking (online) at houses to purchase. Unfortunately, houses in the town I would really like to live in are on the pricey side. We'll be able to get much more house for our money if we live out in the country, but I'm just not sure I can bring myself to do that. We're pseudo in the country now, and I don't like it. I miss having a grocery store (or three) just down the road.

* * *

I still need a blog name for the baby. I'm feeling completely uninspired in this area.

* * *

I've apparently given up on sleeping. I've been super wired the past few nights. It sucks. I'm exhausted, but I just can't sleep. I'm half tempted to break out the Tylenol PM just so I can get more than about three hours of sleep.

* * *

I haven't ordered our moms their Mother's Day presents yet. I have a good reason for waiting on my mom's, but none for waiting on my mother-in-law's. I just got lazy and forgetful. I'm also getting them from the same website, so I'm trying to save on shipping (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

* * *

Some days I still really think I should have been a nurse. Maybe someday I'll go back to school. I doubt it, but wishful thinking never hurt, right?

* * *

And finally, I've been feeling extremely disposable lately. I was going to do a post about this by itself, but I'm trying to avoid being thoroughly depressing all the time now, so I thought I'd just blurb it. I feel like my role in people's lives is expendable. Like I don't really make all that much difference to a lot of the people I know. Whether I'm around or not, it doesn't matter. They can easily get rid of me and replace me with someone or something else. Disposable. I don't know where this is coming from, but I don't think I like it.