The Thing About Parenting (thus far)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I like to outsource. I have no problem consulting and/or compensating the expert in any given field, be
it plumbing, web design, or trimming bangs—if affordable, I’d rather it be done right the first time than waste time messing it up myself and have to get it redone anyway. Call it lazy, smart, or plain realistic…it’s just the way I am.

Don’t misunderstand where I’m headed…that little babe of ours is the most precious thing in this entire
world to me and you’d have to remove my head or something before I’d concede the job of being her mommy. But we’re almost 6 months into this gig and I’ve realized—and it’s actually pretty jarring—that there is no one person on this earth I can consult with or talk to or read that can tell me absolutely, 100% what is the “right” thing to do with my baby, in x situation. For earthly care decisions, the buck stops here. And while this is obviously the way it should be, this probably (read: definitely) is the first experience in my life where NO ONE ON THIS PLANET is more of an expert in something (Juliette Jerkins, in this case) than me!  How completely odd.

And there’s so much decision-making. So much everyday decision-making. I just had no clue.
Should we wake her up? Should we let her sleep? Should we be feeding her more/less? Should we be spacing out her feedings more? Should we let her cry? Should we not let her cry? And what will this all mean for tomorrow—and more importantly, the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT???

Sure, you can ask for opinions or bat around ideas/theories. You can consult with your mom or your bffs with babies, ask your pediatrician, read books, read blogs, but at the end of the day (read: middle of the night), YOU are the mommy (and daddy), YOU are the one(s) making the final decision. The “right” thing for Juliette is left to us. It’s totally foreign to be in the middle of such a guessing game, this whole parenting-a-tiny-(mute)-human thing--which involves endless trial and error, might I add--and to then be holding the position of expert! Unimaginable!

(Is it just me?)

Recipes from the Internet

Monday, January 23, 2012

...because that's where recipes come from, right?

Since Juliette was born, I've gone through spurts in cooking. (Let's be honest, it was that way before she was born too.) Usually, having people over, taking a dish to a party or bringing a meal to a friend are the catalysts I need to get me in the kitchen.  (The whole grocery-store part is the killer.)  Here are a few things I've made recently for some reason or another. And for transparency's sake: this is pretty much all I've made recently, too.

I've seen Black Bean Brownies posted several places recently. Black bean brownies, you say? Yes indeed. They're healthy(-er) with hidden fiber inside them. Yes.

I made this version the other night for dinner at my parents' and everyone liked them. It was pretty fun hearing everyone's guess on secret ingredient. No one got close, obviously. {We did, however, serve them with some Blue Bell frozen yogurt, and may or may not have used chocolate syrup.} They are light and not super-dense/rich. Yes, they're "healthy"-er, but definitely not disgusting. I'd classify them as "good to great," and fairly easy. I'd make these again for my fam, but probably not for an occasion where prizewinning is involved.

Sister posted about these earlier today, recommending these Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies (5 Cs, like diamonds). I'd second that recommendation. I really like their texture and taste.

I made some Cheese Straws to send my brother (Martha made him those cookies above), similar to these. My friend Kate's MIL makes these and always knocks my socks off. This provided the perfect opportunity for the cookie press' maiden voyage (since it's been almost 6 years (!) since we registered for it--sort of close to this one). I used the star shape punch thing. Who wouldn't like a concoction based around cheese and butter?

(you like my little collage? haven't reinstalled photoshop since the computer disaster, so here's a free online quickie collage.)

Next up was Macaroni and Cheese Soup for the soup swap I'm going to tomorrow night. Adapted from this one.

Nutmeg = good touch (but eeesh those brains give me the heebie jeebies). Also left me with a pretty messy pot, yikes.


1 lb elbow macaroni (cooked according to package directions)
1 1/2 C onion (used frozen chopped, thank goodness for that)
1 1/2 C celery (chopped)
1 1/2 C carrots (diced in the food processor)
1/4 C flour
6-8 strips bacon (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
3 tbs Dijon mustard
6 C chicken broth
1 C shredded cheddar cheese (can use 2% milk)
1 C shredded Swiss cheese
1 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese (shredded in food processor!)
3/4 C evaporated milk
1/4 tsp ground or fresh nutmeg
Fresh Cracked Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Yields 16 Cups

Directions: Saute bacon, onion, celery and carrots in large soup pot until vegetables are soft. Add flour and Dijon mustard, cook for 3-5 minutes on low (it'll be pretty pasty). Add chicken broth and simmer until mixture starts to thicken (sort of the consistency of a gravy).
Slowly add each cup of cheese one at a time waiting until each is incorporated into mixture over medium/low heat, stirring constantly. (This is pretty important or you'll get cheese globs.) Once all of the cheese has been added, salt and pepper to taste and nutmeg if desired (but you totally should). Simmer on low for 5 to 10 minutes allowing the flavors to mingle.
Just before serving add evaporated milk and cooked elbow noodles. The amounts above make a pretty thick soup, so if you would like more broth add less noodles, less broth more noodles. Top with cheese or bacon bits, if you'd like.

It's pretty yummy. You could use whole-wheat macaroni if you'd like, too. And also add more veggies (I already upped them a bit).

I finally read the first Hunger Games book. Just like everyone said, I couldn't put it down and am well into the second (first book read on the iPad, too). It was very interesting. I'm very excited to see the movie, but that Winter's Bone girl isn't exactly who I pictured as Katniss, even though I knew it was going to be her the whole time I was reading.

Also...I wish there was a mobile Baby Nail Trimming Service. I would pay for it in a heartbeat.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Writing from the lame-o blogger iPhone app once again. Be prepared.

Our fridge has been on the fritz this week (fridge on the fritz has a nice ring to it). This has involved things like hurriedly schlepping liquid gold, ie my milk stash, to my parents' freezer and throwing away perfectly good food like turkey meat that wasn't expired yet but is too scary to me to use if not refrigerated cold enough (terrible sentence but you know what I mean).

We tried rice cereal with Juliette several times this week. She was waking up in the middle of the night, ravenous, so we thought maybe it was time (and our pediatrician recommended starting sometime between 4-6 mos). She's not in love with it yet (not really at all), nor is she in love with sitting in her little high chair. And Mommy is not in love with the mess. (Yes I can hear you sitting there thinking, this is just the tip of the iceberg you wacko). I don't know if the cereal contributed to this or not (I think not really since I'm not sure how much cereal has actually been swallowed) but she did sleep all night last night, 7:30-7, PTL.

Another something on my mind: I wish there was some sort of manual or forum or booklet for bringing your not-newborn infant home from a hospital stay. All the google search results I've found pertain to newborns coming home from the NICU. N/A for us. Maybe I could eventually write some stuff, for the sake of the Internet and all, but I'm not sure if it would help, given that our experience is just one out of jillions. Something to consider though.

Tragically, my very sweet little (6'2") brother Scottie lost his best friend this week in a car crash. Please say a prayer for him and for her family if you can.

We'll have a working fridge tomorrow.

A Few Things to Say (a PSA)

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's gonna be weird, prolly.

We're going to be keeping our girl close for the rest of the winter. If we see you out (which prob won't be a ton), I probably won't offer to let you hold her. If you have small kiddos at home, I really won't. I really like you and I really really like your kids, but I'm not going to ask to hold them either (as much as it may hurt! my friends have some cuuuute babies!). We're staying out of day care for a little while (thanks to generous help from family & dear friends are we able to do this!). We're trying to keep the germs at bay, for a let a little immune system beef back up.

I might ask you (awkwardly) to wash your hands if you come to my house. If I see you out and about, I may offer hand sanitizer. I'm apologizing in advance for this.

So for right now, I'm (on purpose) in Not-Cool Mom mode. This ain't the time for Laid Back Leslie (or even Fake Laid-Back Leslie).

It's just The Way It's Gonna Be for a little while. I know you probably all understand.

So, thanks   :)

4 months old + 5 months old

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

(warning! photo-intensive post)

Baby Jules:

Since your 5th month (from 4-5 months old, that is) was pretty much consumed by the whole RSV thing, we'll consolidate those monthly posts into one (so your 4 months doesn't get gypped).

4 months old: (that is, the month prior to Dec. 10)

-you got your first cold this month (yes, a regular cold)
-your first Thanksgiving! Uncle Stephen took "3 month" photos of you at our house...some real gems! (And we found out that he + Aunt Amanda are going to give you a cousin! During the Thanksgiving prayer, no less. Wheeeeee!)

 (one of my faves)

-you started really loving to grab your feet
-you slept over 12 hours for the first time (you're doing 11 hours consistently, except when you had a cold)
-your nap times are still all over the place, really
-you started taking 6 oz bottles mid-month at school
-you went to the church nursery for the first time!
-at your check-up, you weighed 15.1 lb (75th percentile) and were 25.5" (90th percentile). You are very tall! You wear mostly 3-6 months size, but not for long...the rise is too short!

(Santa booty)

You turned 4 months old on December 10th, and got another cold a few days later. December 17 is the day we went to the ER and you began your hospital stay. While your first Christmas was spent as a patient at LeBonheur, you were taken off the ventilator on Christmas Day, which was a wonderful present for us all!

(my elbow looks weird, I know, but I was trying to hold you upright; during our Christmas card photo time)

Today, as I am typing, you are 5 months old! I don't have a lot of developmental stuff to post since you were mostly sick this month, but I will say that in the past week or so since you've been feeling better, you are LOVING "talking" up a storm and even giggling some when I tickle-kiss your tummy!  Your eating and sleeping patterns have been thrown for a loop, but you have consistently gone to sleep around 7 pm since we've been home from the hospital, and woken up anywhere from 3 am-6 am. So that's not too bad. You are still nursing exclusively, and we may have bought some extra time for ourselves before you start solids. You're now up to size 3 diapers (we changed the morning we went to the hospital), and 6 mos size clothes (but can still fit into a few of your 3-6 mos stuff).

We are still swaddling you, and as much as your paci was a lifesaver after leaving getting off the ventilator, you are starting to only care for it when you're swaddled and falling asleep. You like to maneuver yourself to sleep almost sideways in your crib, goofy girl.

Post photo-shoot, mama got artsy --->

Since we've gotten home from the hospital, we've spent lots of time in the bumbo seat and playing with some light-up toys and your rings. You HATE tummy time (maybe even more so now), and we haven't seen you roll over in quite a while. Hopefully, in the midst of your anger while on your tummy, you will figure out how to do that again.

Since we didn't get to see him before Christmas, Santa Claus came to see you this past Saturday, and Uncle Grant took photos of you and your BFF Elliot.

You did great until he turned you around to look him in the face. Whoops!

We are so thankful that you are not sick anymore and feeling better. We missed your sweet little spirit and sense of humor!

(Tiny Toms!)

Amazingly enough, I found this photo on my computer from one year ago today, January 10, 2011:

Snow! (None of that today, that's for sure.)

A whole lot can happen in a year, baby! We love you more than words can SAY!

To m'readers: coming off the emotional roller coaster that was the past several weeks, it's been hard for me to just up and post something light about a craft I want to make or a recipe I tried (haven't been doing any of that recently anyway). This here post is a good bridge to that place of Not All Seriousness. But I'm so lucky and glad to have had this space to post those things while All That Stuff was going on. That is all.

2012 One-Page Calendar

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Eager to return to a smidge of normalcy after our Holiday 2011 Hospital Bonanza, I am offering up another printable one-page 2012 calendar, like last year.

Go to this link to download the printable pdf.

Here's a preview of what it looks like (similar/almost identical to last year, I know...stick with what works, right?).

If you can't get the link to work, email me and I'll send you a copy of the PDF.

Juliette update: As of last night, we are officially done with weaning her off all the drugs she was on at the hospital, so we expect(/hope) that from here on, she should continue to return to her "normal" self (sleeping and all, Lord willing) at a quicker pace. She is smiling and showing us a lot of her regular/happy personality, but she's still having trouble sleeping in her normal (aka championship) way. (Read: tired Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Jules.) We're now praying for some miraculous make-up rest for all 3 of us, as I have now returned to work and Jonathan to school.

From earlier this week, had to put her in the Santa jammies, since she didn't really get to wear them:

Look at that smile!

Happy New Year (again)!

Home for the New Year

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning, Juliette decided to start eating on her own. Yipppee! Since she'd already conquered breathing room air on Wednesday, we knew our time at LeBonheur was coming to a close.

{The fox that Jules got for Christmas from Uncle Scooter...he's in jail for kidnapping the duck (from Renee)}

By Friday afternoon, after she received an A+ from the lactation consultant, speech therapy, and the resident on duty, Juliette was declared ready to return home and got her feeding tube taken out of her nose. That left only one thing needing to be removed before she was FREE from all tubes/hook-ups (PICC line was the very last thing to come out before we left).

We had sort of a rough time with sleeping on Thursday night (little missy is still adjusting), so I was so deliriously tired Friday that I celebrated the going-home news by taking a siesta in the hospital room. Jonathan started piddling around and packing things up and I eventually got enough make-up zz's to get up and join him.

You know how they say God doesn't give you anything you can't handle? Thursday night I told Him I couldn't handle any more. I was really feeling like I didn't have anything left in the tank. I emailed/texted several close friends requesting immediate prayer. I cried out to Him on my knees, begging for rest and a chance to go home. He answered my prayers and I am so thankful/relieved (and why am I surprised?). We still have some rest to catch up on, but it is worlds better being in your own bed, can I get an amen?

Friday night around 6 p.m., after 13 nights and 14 days spent at LeBonheur, we piled two weeks' accumulation of miscellaneous belongings into the ole Accord, bundled up our baby, and trekked our way to HOME SWEET HOME.

I'd be lying if I said I'd even BEGUN to process all that God taught us through this experience.

I do know that we are blessed to have very loving, supportive, and prayerful families and friends who are invaluable in a crisis. And also? There are some amazing people that work at LeBonheur. There's no way to thank them adequately for making such a scary experience more bearable.

Although the new mommy in me is still mourning a little over the Christmas season I'd originally envisioned, I am so glad we got to spend time with family, and see how people that were previously strangers to us came together and made an effort to give a special Christmas to patients (and families) at LeBonheur.

Also, I am blown away by the prayers offered from all over the place on our behalf. Yes, that means YOU.

THANK YOU, thank you for the prayers and the love and the sweet messages, notes, and good thoughts sent our way during this ordeal.

Happy New Year, straight from Chez Jerkins. xoxo

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