Growing by Leaps and Bounds

Monday, March 31, 2008
Juniper recently went through a big growth spurt, and seemingly overnight, has learned to hold her head up. With Samuel, I nearly always gave him tummy time once a day, but with Juniper, she hasn't been on the floor hardly at all. A few weeks ago, she couldn't hold her head up while on her stomach, but today, on her 16-week birthday, when I placed her on the floor, she could hold her head up like a big girl, and then, to my surprise, a few minutes later, rolled over from her stomach to her back! She still isn't rolling from her back to her tummy, but she's close. Samuel wanted to show me that he could lay on his stomach with his head up, too. Here they are in all their splendor, Samuel and Juniper.

He's Only Three!

Sunday, March 30, 2008
When I published Friday's post, I wasn't sure how I was going to start my day. I ended up taking Samuel to OMSI to see the dinosaur exhibit, since it was raining, and I was also interested in seeing Grand Canyon: River at Risk at Omnimax. So, I packed a sack lunch for Samuel and I, and off we went. When we arrived, there was a line around the building for non-members to get in, and it was windy and raining. I told Samuel we would have to come back another day with Daddy when it wasn't so busy, but he instantly fell apart, and in a panic, prattled on about how the line wasn't that long and couldn't we please wait? I couldn't turn him down. The line did move rather quickly, and before we knew it, we had been admitted.

It was difficult walking around, because it was so busy in there, and I had a hard time wearing Juniper in the ERGO, pushing the stroller, and keeping track of Samuel, who was so excited he was darting from dino to dino. Still, things were going okay until the dig pit. Really, this exhibit is geared for older kids. They can dig for fossils just like a paleontologist, then assemble the wooden fossils they find into a dino specimen. Unfortunately, Samuel wasn't the only little kid in the dig pit, and when I saw the wooden specimen assembly three times taller than Samuel start to topple over on top of him, I knew it was time for him to get out now. After asking him several times, whereupon he completely ignored me, I took both his arms and pulled him out before he got hurt. The minute I put him on the ground and turned my back looking for his shoes, he took off running and screaming in sheer anger that I'd put an end to the dig pit. I didn't expect him to go far, so I didn't immediately start running after him. A moment later, I realized he was still running, so I quickly asked a Mom to watch my stroller and took off running, Juniper bouncing up and down in the Ergo as I ran. He kept running and running. He ran all the way to Omnimax, and I very nearly lost track of him amidst the hoards of people. Then he spotted me and ran back in the direction he'd just come, running all the way back to the dino exhibit. I finally caught up to him and backed him into a corner, trying to restrain him. This led to kicking, slapping, and screaming from Samuel for fifteen minutes. I maintained my composure, but he wouldn't stop screaming. By now a small crowd had gathered, and one Mom approached me and asked if there was anything she could do. I gave her Juniper as she was getting bopped all around in the process of trying to hold Samuel and wear her at the same time. After what seemed like an eternity, the kicking and screaming turned to hugging and soft crying. It was pretty awful until that point, and I was sure I was going to dislocate a shoulder or something in the process of restraining him from running away from me. I located my stroller by the dig pit, took back Juniper, and thanked the Moms who helped me.

Determined not to leave OMSI on a negative note, we pressed on. Noticing it was almost time for the Omnimax showing I'd purchased tickets for, we headed in that direction, only to realize that we were at the very end of the line. So much for good seats. Still, I was able to enjoy the show, despite having to tilt my head upward the whole time. Things were looking up again (no pun intended) and I even remember thinking that we were starting to have fun when Juniper, who seemed mesmerized by the show, had not one, but four loud blowouts right in a row. The teenagers in front of us turned around with a look of horror on their face, which seemed to lessen to an expression of minor disgust when they realized it was a baby emitting those sounds and smells and not an adult. This was one of those blow-outs that goes up the back and seeps through layers of clothing. I knew if I left the Omnimax at that point, we'd be locked out, and not wanting to waste the money I'd paid on the tickets, I stayed and hoped we could hang on for the last 20 minutes of the show. We did. Unfortunately, when the lights came on, I realized just how bad the blow-out was. Since she had been sitting in the Ergo, I hadn't realized just how much it was soaking through. It was everywhere. We quickly exited, and that's when I realized I didn't have any wet wipes. Napkins were useless. I did the best I could, put on a new outfit, and we headed for the car. It was now 4:30PM. Then Juniper started screaming. All the while, Samuel was saying over and over that "he wanted that movie to show the fish that live in the water." I nursed Juniper, as I realized sitting in rush-hour with a screaming infant was not what I needed.

By 5:30PM, we got home, with a big sack of soiled clothes. Juniper went right into the tub, Landon had a talk with Samuel about the OMSI incident, and we put his videos on a high shelf as the consequence for his actions. He cried, said he was sorry, and went to bed after a quick dinner. Juniper fell asleep after her bath. This was one of those days where I had hoped to gain some quality time with Samuel, but my efforts backfired in every way. I'd never experienced a tantrum with Samuel like that before. I've been attending playgroups lately and seeing similar behavior in the other three year olds, so I really do think it's his age. I'm doing my part to establish firm boundaries and reinforce them by taking things away when he crosses the line, but even so--today was one of those days that I wanted to hop on a bus heading for anyplace but here. Every once in awhile, in a half-joking, half-serious way, I tell Landon I'm going to get on a bus. I like to entertain that idea from time to time. The only problem with this plan as a solution to alleviate the stress days like today can bring is I know that the minute the bus pulled away from the curb I'd shout "Stop!" just like in the movies, promptly exit, and run back to this family and kids that I love.

Last Saturday in March

Saturday, March 29, 2008
Today was a slow day. It was cold outside, and my elderberry and euphorbia plants remain in their pots on the sidewalk (currently covered with hail). I'm eager to put them in their new home in the garden. We stayed indoors most of the day. I made a delicious mushroom soup from my new Moosewood cookbook, Simple Suppers, then we had some friends over. Mike & Susan stopped by on their way to play for a contra dance with Portland Megaband at the community center, and Landon ended up joining them. I stayed home, looking forward to a glass of wine and The Kite Runner, which came in the mail on Netflix yesterday, but then got the news that my sister flipped her car with her boyfriend and son, landing in a ditch upside down and they all walked away unscathed. You get lucky a few times in life, and boy am I ever glad my sister was lucky today. When I heard, I was so upset about the "what ifs" that I didn't end up watching the movie, and when Landon got home, I stayed up late talking to him about the wreck. Love you, Shelly, and I'm so glad you're okay!
Congrats on your new baby girl, Gena! She's beautiful!

The End of Another Week

Friday, March 28, 2008
I woke up to snow this morning! It was beautiful while it lasted. By 9:30AM this morning, the snow has given way to rain. Now I'm drinking a cup of coffee and reading through the list of activities today on the Weekend Warriors post on UrbanMamas. Soon I'll be off with the kids and another day will soon be over. It's been nice having Samuel home this week as he's on spring break.

Looking forward to the weekend with Landon and learning more about Wordpress in my spare time. One thing that's great about blogging is it's a way to stop and think about the preoccupations and interests of each day before it's over and soon disappears from memory. Landon and I were discussing the other night how people might be reading these blogs decades from now. How interesting it would be to browse blogs from 100 years ago and read about the thoughts and feelings of human beings and moments in time that are now long forgotten.

Samuel didn't get into the Montessori school we applied to due to an overwhelming amount of applications they received. We weren't told they had received an overwhelming amount, so the thought never crossed my mind that he wouldn't get in. Unfortunately, we didn't get the letter until last weekend, and this week was spring break, so offices around the area have been closed, and I've been unable to make any progress with the preschool search. I really want to avoid losing another non-refundable application fee, but we weren't even wait-listed, so looks like we might not have a choice, unless he stays where he's at next year, which would be okay. I'm disappointed, but keep reminding myself that he's only three, which puts things into perspective for me. This isn't college! Having said that, I hadn't realized how quickly the preschools fill up. In fact, some people put themselves on a wait-list a year in advance. I started calling around in February, but it seems as though I should have started even earlier.

Off to start our day!

Two Minutes Maher

Thursday, March 27, 2008
This morning, Samuel, Juniper, and I went to Allie's for playgroup. I met her at a new moms' support group I attended after I gave birth to Samuel, and we've started meeting now with some of the moms in our original group who now have two babies instead of one. It was a fun morning, and she made some delicious decaf coffee and banana coconut muffins (recipe posted on her blog). Thanks, Allie!

Afterwards, we had fun meeting my friend Katie for lunch, who got to meet Juniper for the first time. If you're looking for a good photographer, Katie's your person!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008
It shouldn't come as a surprise that an outing with four stops would take me nearly five hours to complete, but it did. A stop at the post office, a trip to the library and bookstore, then grocery shopping took Samuel, Juniper, and I all day long. I've been wanting to make some changes in the kitchen for awhile now, and after visiting with Andrea yesterday, I was motivated to take action. I hadn't intended on going to both the library and the bookstore, but the library had multiple holds on the Moosewood cookbooks that I wanted to try out, so I went to Annie Bloom's and bought a new one in the collection called Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table in hardcover. Both Andrea and Heather W. have recommended the Moosewood cookbooks to me, and since the two cookbooks I currently own (Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and Joy of Cooking) aren't easy for me to use, I decided to give one of them a try. The woman who rang up my purchase at Annie Bloom's looked pretty stunned when I told her I only owned two cookbooks. I'm sure most people learn to cook before they have kids, but considering both of my pregnancies were a surprise, I've cut myself some slack in the cooking department. I went from cheese quesadillas after college classes and a p/t job to babyfood really quickly. I'm sure it didn't bode well with this woman to see a Mom with two small children just starting out in the kitchen, just as it didn't bode well for the unfortunate shoppers at the Streets of Tanasbourne over the weekend who watched my son run around the fountain in his underwear after an accident which I was unprepared for but soon remedied with a quick jaunt to Baby Gap. Motherhood surely is an adventure, and I'm learning to laugh more than stress.
But back to Moosewood and the changes in the kitchen I've been meaning to make. First, I want to start eating as many fresh ingredients as possible. Secondly, I want to start exploring new cookbooks that will help me to do that. Tonight, I made the Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf (pg. 98), which was so good, and aside from the time it took to cut up all the fresh vegetables, it only took about 25 minutes to make. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) tastes similar to couscous, and is the healthiest grain out there you can eat. I plan to start cooking with it more often. I also want to reorganize the kitchen cupboards and counter space and paint the walls a fresh, new color. I will post more on that in the upcoming weeks (maybe months on the paint). As many of you know, I can take quite awhile to choose a shade. I'm excited to be finally cooking again now that I've moved beyond my pregnancy with Juniper and the early newborn stage.
More on today . . . the weather! I saw everything from snow to hail today. Beautiful! I was able to enjoy the falling snow one more time while sipping on my hot latte behind the windows of my favorite coffee shop. Snow in spring--that doesn't happen very often!
Finally, my poor husband hurt his back last night. About five years ago, when we were living in an apartment, he bent over to pick up a laundry basket and his back froze up. Similarly, he was buckling Samuel into his carseat one minute, slightly bent over, and the next minute he was on the ground in extreme pain. He has only been able to crawl his way to the bathroom today, and other than that has spent the day resting on the couch. I've been putting some homeopathic remedies on his back, and with some chiropractic care this week, we're hoping his back muscles will soon relax and heal.
Here are some pictures from today:

Despite his painful back and cold, Landon remains in good spirits. Note the severely mismatched apparel on Samuel and Juniper. It's time to do laundry.
I love this little girl! She makes me laugh. 3 1/2 months is such a great age!

Is it a sample of mayonnaise? No! I was looking for a stronger homeopathic remedy than Arnica at New Seasons today for Landon's stiff back, when an employee came over to assist me. He pointed me in the direction of a product (I don't remember the name) he said is popular for sore and stiff muscles. I quickly noticed it cost nearly $30.00 for a small tube, but before I could express hesitation about the price, he offered to give me a sample. Squeezing an ample amount into the container pictured above, he gave me plenty to treat Landon's current condition and meanwhile only increased my loyalty as a shopper of New Seasons. Other grocery stores like Fred Meyer and Safeway are behind the times and would do well to follow New Seasons' business model. Also, while checking out, the cashier noticed one of the eggs in the carton I had selected was cracked. I quickly said I didn't mind and that I'd take them anyway as I didn't want them to go to waste. He gave them to me for free! They were the free range organic eggs, too, which are over $4.00. I actually had noticed earlier in my shopping trip that New Seasons resourcefully sells eggs in bulk from the cartons that contain cracked or broken eggs. As the daughter of a grocery store owner, I can assure you that most grocery stores send these cartons back, wasting many good eggs in a carton of one or two broken ones. Two kudos for New Seasons!

A Fun, Late-March Day

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Samuel, Juniper, and I all headed out early this morning to spend some time over at my friend Andrea's house. Samuel had a lot of fun playing with Ian's large dinosaur. He hardly put it down the whole time. Samuel and Ian played well together, and I was able to look through some of Andrea's cookbooks. A few weeks ago, I posted that Joy of Cooking was my favorite cookbook, then later realized that I need to broaden my horizons. After looking at Andrea's cookbooks, I feel certain that very soon, Joy of Cooking will no longer be my favorite. I'm going to start out with the Moosewood cookbooks she recommended, as well as Vive le Vegan!. I need a fresh start in the kitchen, and what better way than to start off with some new recipes. After we left Andrea's (thanks, btw, for the great decaf & orange muffins), we headed to Portland Nursery to get a blue elderberry like the one we had at our old house. I've searched high and low around SW nurseries, but to no avail. Portland Nursery has it all, and sure enough, they had the blue elderberry I have been looking for. I can't wait to plant it right behind our garden bench out front. I picked up some euphorbia characias (black pearl Mediterranean spurge) for my euphorbia garden as well. After we stopped at the nursery, we drove to Laurelhurst Park so Samuel could play on the playground. It was cold out today, however, so we didn't stay for too long. Today was so much better than yesterday. Going to bed early makes a difference! Here are a few pictures I took this afternoon:

One of my favorite restoration jobs on a bungalow in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood (60th and Stark).

Samuel at Laurelhurst Park

Beautiful Forsythia bushes at Laurelhurst Park

Long Day

Monday, March 24, 2008
We stayed home all day today, and I don't think I'm going to do that again for awhile. The day went by slowly, and even though I took Samuel outside for awhile during one of Juniper's naps, by the end of the day, I was more than ready to get out of the house for book-club (we read "The Big House" by George Howe Colt). It's been a rough week, because Juniper came down with her second cold, and nights have been next to sleepless. Going into a day like today with such sleep deprivation makes every hour seem like two. To be honest, I actually considered not going to book-club because I was so tired, but I decided I would rather be tired at book-club than tired and working at home. So, Juniper and I went, and I had a good time. She got a little fussy in the evening, and that seemed to be escalating, so I left an hour or so earlier than usual. She screamed almost all the way home. She really doesn't like being in the car at night, so I rarely go out with her once it's dark. I went to bed almost as soon as I got home. I rarely go to bed that early, but I'm learning that I need to, because that way I'm not so tired the next day. Juniper was up between 4 and 6am, so I'm glad I was able to fall asleep by 10PM. Tomorrow is a new day!


Easter Weekend

Sunday, March 23, 2008
Easter weekend this year was a busy one. We met some friends of ours on Saturday for a sushi lunch, then went for a walk around the Streets of Tanasbourne. We had a great time, and will have to meet them again. Samuel had an accident in the sushi restaurant, and I didn't have an extra change of clothes, so had to make a quick stop at Baby Gap to get him something to wear. Somehow, three years later, there are still outings during which I'm completely unprepared and the diaper bag is not stocked with even basic supplies.
Saturday night, we went out to dinner at a GREAT Lebanese restaurant called Ya Hala in SE Portland with Landon's parents for his mom's 56th birthday. Happy Birthday! We were unable to celebrate with them last weekend on St. Patrick's Day, her actual birthday. Back to Ya Hala, the owners of the restaurant also own Barbur Foods. Check out their deli some time. The food there is every bit as good as Ya Hala, and you can get it to go. The macaroons are SO good.
Sunday morning, we left for McMinnville, and had a great time down at my parents' house. All my siblings were there, and even my Grandma and Aunt, who lives in Oklahoma, were there for dinner. Unfortunately, I was disappointed that we had to leave early, because Landon needed to be back so he could play at the Muddy Rudder. Easter dinner was really good--thanks, Mom!
When Landon got back from the Muddy Rudder, we colored Easter eggs with Samuel using a Paas kit. Even so, it was in no way comparable to a Martha Stewart egg coloring experience. First, we only had 1/2 dozon brown eggs in the refrigerator, which don't color as well. Going back to the beginning of this post, perhaps I need to plan these things out a little better. I tend to be spontaneous at times. Then Samuel started whimpering about an owie he had on his wrist, so I spent most of the time trying to tell him it was going to get better. I used a wine glass for the yellow dye, only to realize that of course yellow wasn't going to color the brown eggs. So, we used green and blue. The blue turned them grey, but the green worked just fine. Then the shrink wraps from the Paas kit were too small for the large eggs we were using. The stickers that came with the kit wouldn't stick on the eggs. One egg of the six was colored beautifully green. Then there was the grey one and the yellow one that didn't show up. The other three eggs had cracked in the boiling pot, and I was unable to dye them due to the egg whites bulging from their cracked shells. Samuel didn't know the difference, though. All he knew was he had one pretty green egg, and he wanted to immediately eat it. He kept saying, "Mommy, it's a pretty one." We let him take the shell off all by himself, which he loved doing. After he ate the egg, he was off to bed. We didn't participate in an egg hunt this year, but with the rain, it's probably just as well. Here are a few pictures from the weekend (I'll post one of Juniper in her Easter dress as soon as I get the McMinnville pics from my Mom):
Samuel loves cracking peanuts from their shells.
Landon and Juniper. We love the leggings, Andrea!
New favorite: shadow puppets.
Project doesn't seem to be going as planned.

One beautiful green egg. Decorations aren't working. Notice the stone-colored egg to the right.

Happy first Easter, Juniper.


Saturday, March 22, 2008
My friend Andrea just ordered toys for her boys from Nova Natural, and after seeing the pictures, I was reminded of a sweet little community toy store in Sellwood called Spielwerk that sells similar products made both locally and around the world. I first discovered this toy store after Samuel, who was eighteen months at the time, found a bin of wooden trains and figures from there at Coffee Plant, one of our favorite Stumptown-serving coffee houses in Portland. I love this toy store, and have never found another toy store quite like it in Portland. LivePDX wrote this about the store:

SpielWerk Toys' Sellwood boutique harkens back to a more innocent time, with wooden toys, dolls made from recycled fabric and community "werkshops" to encourage creativity and community.

Most of their toys are handmade, encourage imaginative play, and will last forever. Spielwerk's store events are posted on their Werkshop Schedule (a fee ranging from $10 to $15 dollars and online registration is required). Next time you're in Sellwood, check out Spielwerk. I promise
you'll be glad you did.

Excited about Obama

Friday, March 21, 2008
Senator Barack Obama and Governor of NM, Bill Richardson, were in Portland this morning for a rally at the Memorial Coliseum. Landon and I wanted to go, but tickets went quickly, and we were too late. I felt excited this morning just knowing Obama was in Portland! I have posted clips from the rally below. The first clip is Bill Richardson's endorsement speech, during which he calls Obama a "once in a lifetime leader," and the second is Obama's acceptance speech. Obama/Richardson '08?

If you haven't heard the speech Obama gave Tuesday on racism, it's amazing. By far the best speech I've ever heard. Whether or not you're voting for Obama, it's worth listening to. The full speech is below:

Baby Products

Thursday, March 20, 2008
I love Juniper's new organic cotton pilot cap from Hanna Andersson. I don't usually shop there, but it's the perfect little spring hat for her, and it stays on really well, too.

I've always wanted to try out the Wild Carrot baby products , and I finally picked up a jar of Baby Carrot Goo Goo Baby Bum Balm that was on sale at New Seasons for $3.00. I don't think I'll ever use anything else, although the Weleda Caledula Baby Cream that Annagrace gave me is wonderful, too. But back to the Baby Carrot Bum Balm--it cleared up Juniper's light diaper rash overnight! It goes on really nicely and her skin quickly absorbs it. You know when you're putting it on that it's a "good thing." What a big improvement over Desitin, which has always left a nasty residue that I have to wash off with soap and water, irritating her sensitive skin even more. I know the Wild Carrot products aren't cheap, but if you ever get a chance to try them out, they're wonderful!

A friend of mine recommended the Baby Bee Apricot Baby Oil for Juniper's cradle cap and dry skin, and I love it. It smells wonderful & it's been a great product for Juniper's skin. I haven't yet tried the other Baby Bee products, but having first started out by using their beeswax lip balms and shimmers, I was sold on this brand years ago.

On another note, I've had a couple friends send me the link to the Stuff White People Like blog. It's pretty hilarious--check it out! I think #75, Threatening to Move to Canada, is particularly funny.

Day at the Zoo

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

There were many things I wanted to write about tonight, but Juniper has come down with a cold. It's now 12:30am and she's only lightly drifted off to sleep. She had a cold that lasted a long while after she was born, but has been healthy for the past six weeks. Even though she isn't quite so little, her cold affects her ability to sleep & nurse effectively. It can make long nights even longer. For some reason, Samuel's been up now three times in the past hour, too. Landon's the only one sleeping soundly. I'm so jealous, but it's important that one of us is well-rested. I live for weekends when Landon is home to help out and I can sleep a little more (but I never do--I find myself using down time to get things done).

I had a good time at the zoo today with Samuel. After watching "Planet Earth" and "Blue Planet," his enthusiasm was contagious. We sat in front of the giraffe exhibit in the sun and had an afternoon snack of strawberries and rice cakes. I have to admit, I always feel a little sad for the zoo animals, but Samuel makes going fun. Next month, we'll be down in Southern California for vacation, and will visit the San Diego zoo. Samuel is already so excited.

We carry Juniper around all the time now in the Ergo. She loves it, and we do, too. I was really comfortable carrying her around all afternoon at the zoo. She's at the age now where her eyes are looking at everything for the first time and she's completely mesmerized. I love the 3 to 4 month stage!

I'm hoping I can get a couple of hours of sleep before Juniper wakes up again. It's now 12:45am and she's been asleep for 15 minutes. The only way I'm able to keep up with news & politics right now is through podcasts. I listen to them while falling asleep. Right now, my favorites are "Here and Now" and "Newspod," although I'm always looking for new ones to add to my queue.

Spring Things

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I love spring. Today was a great day. I spent some time this morning at my friend Annagrace's house. Her little girl Penelope was really sweet with Juniper. I didn't get to stay for very long because I had to be back to pick up Samuel from preschool, but it was a nice visit. When I got home, the sun was out, so I drove the car down into John's Landing and parked, then Samuel, Juniper, and I went for a walk. It was a slow walk, and I stopped frequently to practice taking close-ups. I love taking pictures of nature. To see more of the pictures I took, follow the link below:
Spring Things 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy birthday to my Mom (58) and my mother-in-law (56)! Landon played two gigs today & had a lot of fun. He also had a gig over the weekend, so he's been a busy fiddler lately. Here is a clip of him playing at the Muddy Rudder two weeks ago for a session. This is a new pub that opened up in Sellwood. Session is every Sunday between 4 and 7PM. I hope to start going more often as it's family friendly and the food is great. They even have an outdoor patio area that will be nice to sit on in the summer with one of their tasty beers.

Cut and Color

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I had my hair cut and colored today. I was so nervous about leaving Juniper with Landon, but she did great! He wore her in the Ergo while taking Samuel to a nearby park during my appointment. I needed a change. Goodbye to long hair for awhile!

First Dress

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Juniper and I went shopping this morning, while Samuel and Landon went to see "Horton Hears a Who" downtown at Pioneer Place. It's going to be so much fun having a little girl! I couldn't resist picking up a few things for Juniper at Old Navy. Here she is sporting her first dress. Denim dresses have to be the cutest thing ever on baby girls. You can't see the cute little pockets on the back of the dress--adorable!

Tonight we're going out with my family to celebrate my Mom's 58th birthday! This means Juniper and Samuel will get lots of attention and Landon and I will be able to relax a little. I'll have to get a strawberry daqueri or something. I'm looking forward to it! Happy early birthday, Mom! I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Juniper sleeping while clutching her Winkel, my all-time favorite baby toy.

Restful Day

Friday, March 14, 2008
Today was just what I needed--a day at home with nothing on the calendar. I recently signed up again for Organics to You, a delivery service that brings a box of fresh, locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables to your front door as well as extra grocery items if you choose to add on to your order, such as coffee beans, tofu, eggs, milk, or Artisan bread (we like the Ciabatta Olive Loaf). We received our first delivery yesterday, and I've been enjoying the delicious fruit with Samuel. Today I made a kale and potato gratin dish for dinner with some of the vegetable items in the box. I thought I'd share the recipe I used taken from one of my favorite cookbooks, Joy of Cooking (pg. 278):
Kale and Potato Gratin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
Steam, until almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes:
1 large bunch kale (about 1 pound), washed well and sliced and deribbed
Meanwhile, peel and cut into 1/8-inch rounds:
4 medium Yukon Gold or all-purpose potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 small onions
Drain the kale and let stand until cool enough to handle. Press out the excess water and coarsely chop. Build up alternating layers of potatoes, onions, and kale (2 layers each) in the baking dish, beginning and ending with potatoes and dotting each onion layer with:
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
(1 teaspoon minced tarragon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pour over the top:
1 1/2 cups milk or half-and-half
Cover and bake until the potatoes are tender and almost all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 45 minutes. Run under the broiler, if desired, to brown the top.

Laundry Piles

Thursday, March 13, 2008
Landon has been doing a great job of restoring our windows. He's just finishing with the second of the two he's been working on. With extra time in the basement, he decided to help out with laundry, and within a few hours, the big pile of dirty laundry in front of the washing machine became a big pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded on our bed. It went quickly with Landon's help, but why is it that baby clothes, the smallest clothes in the laundry pile, take twice as long to fold nicely, but are the same items to be unfolded all too quickly with continual spit-ups and blow-outs? I swear I'd cut out a lot of work by keeping all of Juniper's clothes in the laundry basket and pull from there! If you've seen Sicko, you know that the healthcare system in France offers in-home care during the postpartum period for mothers--paid for by taxes. This includes someone that comes and helps out with laundry and cooking. I was talking with a friend who just had a baby in January about this today, and we both think moving to France sounds like a great idea right about now!

I'm feeling much better after another night of fairly decent sleep and another day of antibiotics. Looking forward to a restful weekend!

Hazardous Waste

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I drove to Metro today to take some old paint & varnish to the hazardous waste drop-off. I've now dropped hazardous waste off twice, and both times, it was a pleasant experience. Not only was I thrilled to be disposing of our waste in an environmentally friendly & safe way, but the staff at Metro have to be the happiest bunch I've come across in a long time. There are many brochures on recycling and disposing that you can pick up, and the guy that helped me unload our paint buckets noticed I had two kids in the car, and gave me a brochure on how to safely dispose of products such as mercury-containing thermometers. He gave me a great little kitchen magnet with Metro's information and took time to chat with Samuel about his new gorilla.

After last night (see yesterday's post), the first thing I did this morning was to call my doctor's office to make an appointment for my mastitis. It didn't worsen overnight, fortunately, so I made an afternoon appointment & headed to Metro. My Mom commented on yesterday's blog that Juniper's fussiness last night could have been the cause of all the espresso I drank. This is probably true, however, she also seems to be coming down with a slight cold, which also could have contributed to how she was feeling. She's generally fussy in the evenings, but last night was definitely out-of-the-ordinary. I felt tired today, but much less so than yesterday, and drank a normal amount of coffee. Tonight was much easier. Juniper wasn't nearly so fussy, and slept normally (waking at 3, 5, and 7 for feedings).

My doctor's appointment went well. I'm now on antibiotics and feeling much better. My doctor was not happy to hear the on-call doctor wouldn't give me antibiotics over the phone, and promised to "get to the bottom of this." She said I deserved better care than that. I love my family practitioner!

Things are definitely on the incline. I have to remember that for every down day there is usually an up day that follows.

Thanks to the guys in hazardous waste for brightening my day with their cheerfulness! Who would have thought one could find cheer there?

From the Trenches of Motherhood

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I've been regularly tired since becoming a mom in February of 2005, but lately, tiredness has taken on a whole new meaning. The way I felt today when I woke up was comparable to the drowsiness that Benadryl can bring on. Way too tired to funtion. Something had to change. I desperately wanted to feel energetic. So I did something bad--I drank 7 shots of espresso.

I was wired all afternoon. I got a lot done, the house looked great.

Then 5pm hit.

Juniper wouldn't stop crying, the espresso had worn off, and I wanted to collapse into bed. But oh, no. Juniper cried from about 5pm to 11pm, at which point she finally fell asleep. By 10pm, I realized I was developing a case of mastitis. And Juniper was still crying. After spending an hour massaging & pumping, it seemed to be getting worse, so I phoned the on-call doctor, who wanted me to drive to the ER. At 11:30pm?! Whatever happened to over-the-phone prescriptions? I didn't go, and decided to wait until morning. In between all this, I was sobbing and feeling pretty sorry for myself. I thought, "No one on earth had ever walked in my shoes," and believed it was true, which made me cry even harder. I cried myself to sleep listening to "Real Time with Bill Maher" on my ipod. I dreamed Spain had a caucus and voted me in as their Queen. Then I dreamed I drove a four wheeler up the Egyptian pyramids and sat on the Great Sphinx. I won't remember days like this in three years, because you just don't remember days when you're that tired--but here it is, documented and published on the world-wide web.

On Politeness

Monday, March 10, 2008
Teaching a three year old about being polite, while encouraging an observant and honest nature is a new challenge I've recently been faced with as a parent. A few days ago, Samuel said quite loudly when a blind woman walked by, "Mommy, why is that lady walking with a stick?" Today, while enjoying bagels and beverages on the sidewalk in front of a coffee shop, a woman who was quite large walked by. I don't think she heard Samuel ask, "Mommy, why is that lady so BIG . . . thoughtful pause followed by . . . and STRONG?" I found myself saying, "Samuel, we don't make comments about other people in front of them, but if you want to, you can ask me about it later." A few moments later, a woman in her early twenties sat down at the table next to us on the sidewalk and lit up a cigarette. With a three month old and a three year old (not to mention myself) sitting just a few feet away, and the wind blowing in our direction, I, perhaps impolitely, announced out loud, "Samuel, we have to go now, because that lady is smoking." After we were in the car driving home, I thought to myself how I sometimes find myself failing to follow the same principles I'm trying to teach Samuel. As parents, we lead by example. That is a little frightening to me, but a goal I intend to strive for. Having said that, I hope that woman thinks twice before lighting up a cigarette next to small children in the future!

Happy three months, Juniper!

Spring Air

Sunday, March 09, 2008
Landon suggested we go for a short hike this morning with Samuel and Juniper, and even though I felt pretty tired, I decided it was just what I needed. It seemed like it took us a little longer than usual to get out the door, and by the time I had buckled Samuel into his carseat and put Juniper's carseat on its base, she was screaming. Samuel was in the mood to ask a lot of questions, and Landon was saying something, and, after a night of little sleep, I had had it. I adamantly declared (okay, maybe I yelled), "Absolutely no more talking until we get there!" The car was silent, Juniper somehow stopped crying, and I actually got what I wanted for the short car ride to Tryon State Park--silence! What's so amazing about nature is that as soon as I stepped out of the car once we arrived, all the stress washed away and the hike did wonders for all of us. Landon was able to carry Juniper for the first time in the Ergo, and I was able to spend some time with Samuel. Juniper seemed to love the hike, and was looking up at the trees until she finally fell asleep. Samuel, of course, is in a boy's paradise when on hikes--an abundance of sticks, creeks, bugs, and mud. How can you ask for more? Here are a few pictures from our short hike:


Saturday, March 08, 2008
I've been searching for the best way to upload photos for printing for quite awhile now, and I think I've finally found the quickest and most efficient way: Picasa Web Albums. I've just taken on the task of uploading all our photos (about 20K), and I'm trying to write captions (dates & locations mainly) as well. The uploading process is quick, and you can upload as many as one thousand photos at a time with the extra space I purchased ($20.00 a year for 10G). From there, family and friends can download our albums if they want to in zip files, and I can easily upload the albums to Shutterfly or Snapfish for printing (I'm using Snapfish, since their photos are 9 cents). Then begins the arduous task of assembling photo albums. I plan to work on this off an on as I have time this year.

Ergo Baby

Friday, March 07, 2008

Good news! Juniper is finally old enough to ride in the Ergo, my favorite soft-carrier! Until she is about 4 months old, she has to sit sideways, but it's great to wear her around the house and out on walks. So far, I've been unable to wear her as many of the other carriers on the market put too much strain on my back, and seeing as I don't have the smallest babies on the block . . . I've been waiting until Juniper could hold her head up enough to sit in it. I had purchased the infant insert, but it didn't work for us. Anyway, I'm finally able to carry her safely and comfortably in the Ergo, and I'm looking forward to wearing her all spring and summer!

Juniper Lane Guest House

Thursday, March 06, 2008
Landon plays fiddle occasionally with a wonderful lady named Liz. Recently, she was at a session he attended, and when Landon updated her on the arrival of Juniper, she commented on how much she loved the name and that she has a friend named Juniper who owns an inn on San Juan Island in Friday Harbor. We're now hoping to stay there this summer for a short vacation.

The San Juan Islands will always be a special place to me. As many of you know, I found out I was pregnant with Juniper while we vacationed on Orcas Island last spring. How coincidental that our friend Liz would have a friend living in Friday Harbor with the same name! We visited Friday Harbor the day before I found out I was pregnant. Our favorite place on the island was False Bay. We recommend you visit this special place if you ever find yourself up there.

Samuel and Juniper

Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Samuel, having just turned three, is growing in leaps and bounds. He's entered a new developmental phase that brings with it tantrums like we've never seen, a language explosion that has Samuel talking in detailed, complete sentences, (many of which he mimics from Landon and I (eg. "Mommy, look where I'm pointing!")), and the best yet, he's potty training now-- so far, it's going great!

As I posted earlier in the week, Landon and I have been trying to decide on a school for Samuel in the fall, and we were able to narrow it down, so the application is in the mail as we speak. We're both excited for next year & looking forward to seeing Samuel excel in Montessori. I'm still a little sad that he'll be gone five mornings a week, but I know he's ready for this, and I think the daily routine will be good for him. He currently loves going to preschool, so when I think ahead to six months from now, I don't think he'll have any problem with the transition. It's hard to believe that we're registering for school in the fall, at which time he'll be nearing four. It's exciting for me to see him pass all these new milestones!

Juniper, our little girl, is nearing her three month birthday! She likes to talk and make different shapes with her mouth. She smiles all the time. She's been doing a lot of growing and changing, which brings with it different sleep cycles, so I've been a little tired lately. Her happiest time of the day is in the morning & afternoon, while evenings she tends to be a little more fussy. She likes to be held upright most of the time (mostly by her mommy), and loves to watch her big brother play. Her hair is curling up more and more, and I am looking forward to seeing more of those curls emerge (thanks for the curly-hair genes, Daddy!). Everyone comments on how much she looks like Landon, and I have to agree. It's so much fun having a little girl--the experience is different in so many ways from raising a son--and I'm looking forward to seeing her personality blossom as she gets a little older. She's still a mystery child to me in many ways! With Samuel's new schedule in the fall, I'm hoping to enroll her in some infant classes, which I can attend with her one-on-one like I did with Samuel when he was a baby. Happy first spring, Juniper (coming up March 20th)!

Discovering Flax Seeds

Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I came upon a new favorite food this week: flax seeds! I've used flax seed oil in my smoothies for awhile now, but had never before purchased flax seeds until this week. A friend of mine told me that she puts flax seeds on everything, so when we were at New Seasons doing our shopping over the weekend, I bought some in bulk. I discovered they are terrific in flavor and are incredibly good for you in many ways. Here are a few benefits:
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Aids in digestion
  • Good for the brain (rich in omega-3's) and lowers risk of heart disease
  • Clears up acne
  • Helps with depression
  • Helps with inflammatory diseases like arthritis
  • Reduces risks of cancer
  • Burns fat/builds muscle

Sounds like a wonder seed to me! I've started by adding flax seeds to my breakfast (they taste wonderful mixed with yogurt), but I'm looking forward to discovering additional ways to add them to recipes. I read that three tablespoons per day is a healthy amount. If flax seeds aren't already a part of your daily diet, give them a try!

So Tired My Barista Noticed

Monday, March 03, 2008
You know you're a tired Mom when your barista asks if he can add an extra shot of espresso to your latte free of charge.

Sunday Status Update

Sunday, March 02, 2008
What's up with status updates? I try to update my facebook status daily, but I'm still a little confused as to why I need to do this. I'm not sure why my facebook and myspace friends want to know that I'm drinking a latte or feeling happy the sun is shining.
My husband actually has a twitter account. I guess twittering is all the rage now. By using twitter, you can keep your friends informed of what you're doing all the time via SMS, IM, or Twitterific. If you ask me, this whole social networking thing is getting a little out of hand, but hey, it's entertaining and fun, right?
Anyway, because I'm SO tired tonight, I'm doing a quick status update here on my blog. I try to keep my blog from becoming one continuous string of status updates, but for tonight, I'm status updating, and no, I'm not going to twitter.

Karli is . . .
feeling excited tonight about Tuesday's primaries,
hoping Samuel will sleep in tomorrow & Juniper will sleep a little better tonight,
and thinking about how much fun it is to watch Planet Earth with Samuel.
(If you haven't watched this BBC series, I highly recommend them! They are beautifully shot, and terrifically interesting).

"No End in Sight"

Saturday, March 01, 2008
I just watched "No End in Sight" this evening with Landon. As I was loading it into our DVD player, I figured I was in for another documentary similar to all the others I've watched over the course of the Iraqi war. I was wrong--this one is different. Whether you are for or against the war, this documentary is a must-see. It's the only documentary I know of that records the series of decisions made by the Bush administration that directly led to the rise of the Sunnis and the Shiites, and created the state of utter chaos in Iraq. From the de-Baathification program to the disbandment of the Iraqi militia, this documentary examines how these poorly executed programs carried out by inexperienced officials like Paul Bremer left these Iraqi professionals with little choice but to join the insurgency. American troops were in small numbers in 2003, so many ammunition storage facilities were seized by insurgents. With the disbandment of the militia and the removal of professionals in government and society, Baghdad was in chaos. Without sufficient troops, and with orders to protect the oil mines, looting was allowed unchecked, including the looting and complete destruction of the museum in Baghdad, which held ancient artifacts dating back 7, 000 years (I can remember my art history teacher at the time in complete heartache over this). Government buildings, hospitals, and businesses were all destroyed, including the Baghdad library, which was burned down, destroying all of Iraq's ancient documents. Troops were not provided with the equipment they needed, violence increased, the insurgency strengthened, and their numbers grew as many previous members of the Baath party and militia, who were now left destitute and without jobs, were forced to join in order to survive. After seeing this documentary, I'm not so sure what the answer to the war is anymore. I used to think pulling out immediately was the answer, but after seeing this documentary, I'm not so sure it's that simple. I would highly recommend seeing this film before you vote in the general election!
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