Baking Math

It’s been a weekend of experimentation.

The Mister’s birthday is today.  And he loves German chocolate cake.  More specifically, he loves my sister-in-law’s German chocolate cake.  Since she lives 1000 miles down in CA, we had a problem.

Fortunately, I knew which cake recipe she uses (or used to – I don’t know if that’s changed).  It’s straight off the Hershey’s cocoa powder tin.  I love that it’s a chocolate cake and not a true German chocolate cake because German chocolate cake never tastes chocolatey-enough for me.  

But the frosting.  I didn’t know her recipe for the frosting.  But lucky for me she shared her grandma’s recipe.

Here’s where the math comes in.  The Mister emphatically told me more than once he didn’t want a whole cake.  Because then, you know, we’d eat the whole darn thing.  He said cupcakes would be best. So I took both recipes, cake and frosting, and divided by the lowest common denominator.  That turned out to be 4.  Which still made about 8-ish cupcakes.  And more than enough frosting.

Here’s where I should show you a picture of the finished cupcakes with their coconutty pecan-filled toppings.  

::crickets::

Yah.  They’re gone.  All gone.  And I’m told they were delicious.

What’s up?

1) Major sleeping issues with the little miss. I am is seriously sleep-deprived.

2) so many visitors this summer! It’s been fantastic seeing our friends and family this year.

3) I opened up my etsy shop. It’s small right now but I’m slowly adding more each week.

4) we are gearing for our annual trip down to Hades aka the Central Valley. We plan to spend most of our time in the pool.

What’s up with you? Anything exciting happening mid-summer?

Bath time Thoughts

As I watch my baby girl kick her feet in the water, splashing me in the face as well as herself, I wonder what she’ll be like in five years. Ten. Twenty.

Will she try all the veggies we put in front of her?

Will she only eat pasta and cheese?

Will she have light hair as I suspect?

Will she climb our fruit trees with reckless abandon?

Will she hate us for being an only child?

Will she love to swim?

Will she grow up to love her state of Washington or itch to leave as soon as she graduates high school? (Go class of ’32!)

One thing I don’t wonder is whether or not she’ll know she’s loved. Because she will. Every single day.

Mish Mosh of Random

Time really does fly when you have kids.
Cliche but true.
Little miss is almost four months old and I haven’t even done her three month wrap up OR picture.

::shaking my head::

I haven’t just been busy with the kiddo either. But she adds a whole ‘nother layer of busy to everything else I do around here. An unpredictable layer.

For example, she’s taking a very long nap today. Long for her. Long ever. Almost two and a half hours. But I wouldn’t know she’d sleep so long and so can’t plan for this blessed amount of time to get things done. Because typically she cat naps for 30 minutes at a time. So I usually run around the house as fast as I can throwing laundry in, folding, taking a shower (maybe), doing dishes (quietly), and/or making up the bed.  Today, she catnapped around 9am and then fell asleep on me around 10:30. Here we are, two + hours later…

So I thought I’d take advantage and write a bit since the laundry is just about caught up, the kitchen is clean and the trailer is set up for our next set of visitors.

Happy summer time everyone! Our “heatwave” isn’t nearly as bad as our neighbors to the east (specifically Seattle/Tacoma) but it’s been pretty warm.  Hopefully, we’ll be back to our normal 60ish degrees by the time September rolls around.

We go back to school officially the Wednesday after Labor Day but we have a few days of inservice the week before our first day. I’ve been sketching out physical changes I want to make to my classroom as well as curricular ones.

I have things to paint and rearrange in there. Files to empty and set back up again. Boxes to be packed and cleaning to be done. My notebook to set up. The Mister and I are shooting for next week to get both our rooms in order. We’ll pass the baby back and forth. I may even have one of The Mister’s former students come in for a bit to watch her while one or both of us work.

I’m not really ready to go back to work. Well, I am but I’m not. I’m looking forward to focusing just on my Alternative kids this year. I’m looking forward to only working three days a week. But I’m not looking forward to little miss being in daycare. At least she’ll be with us more than she’s in care. And she will have a little friend who’s six months older than her there too.

I just have a feeling the first day is going to be tough. Like tears tough. For all of us.

But we’ll get through it. I’m not the first working mom ever to leave her child with strangers. And our daycare has come highly recommended by many people. So that’s reassuring.

So what else didn’t you want to know about my thoughts on leaving my baby in daycare??

Anyway.

I’ve also been researching and cooking more vegan and vegetarian meals these days. Little miss seems to have an aversion to dairy and beans and I’ve been avoiding meat. That makes for some interesting meals. Lots of veggies, some eggs, and a protein shake supplement just to be sure I’m getting enough protein while I’m still breastfeeding.

I do feel lighter eating so many veggies. My stomach, while no where near the flatness it was 10 years ago, feels flatter without dairy. I still have lots of work to do on tightening up the muscles but it’s good to not be working against the bloat of processed foods.

I really like Happy Herbivore and Bold Vegan recipes. Also, Post Punk Kitchen has some fun recipes as well. But like I said, it’s really interesting trying to find recipes that don’t use lentils or beans. Hopefully once little miss starts eating solids, I’ll be able to at least add those things back into my diet. I’ll have a much wider recipe base to choose from.

Have you ever cut out dairy or meat before? What happened?

Taking Stock

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I saw this done on The Small Things Blog and thought I’d give it a shot myself since I’m up early.  (Original post here.)  Little miss woke up around 5am for a little early breakfast and snuggle then went right back to sleep.  Since we’re leaving at 8am to go pick up Grandma from the ferry, I didn’t see any point in going back to bed when I’d be getting up pretty soon after.  So here we are.

 

Making : a tiny sweater for my tiny daughter
Cooking : vegan and vegetarian things these days
Drinking : decaf coffee with a smidgen of fully loaded
Reading: Goldfinch on my iPad
Wanting: to get back into a workout routine
Looking: forward
Playing: “who’s got your hands??” with my baby girl
Wasting: no time planning out the upcoming school year
Sewing: all things useful
Wishing: time would stop
Enjoying: my little family
Waiting: for everyone to wake up
Liking: mornings
Wondering: what my daughter will be like when she’s my age
Loving: little snippets of time to write
Hoping: I don’t screw up this parenting thing
Marvelling: at how quickly my daughter is growing
Needing: just a few more hours of sleep (kinda wish I had gone back to bed!)
Smelling: crisp after-rain air
Wearing: no perfume these days
Following: my instincts
Noticing: how blessed we are to live where we do
Knowing: what’s best for our family
Thinking: about meal planning
Feeling: happy we have another couple of months off
Bookmarking: recipes and dresses to make for tiny daughter
Opening: lovely packages from lovely people

Would you like another?

I participate in a couple of infertility forum communities online.  I’ve been with them for over three years.  There are many many women that have struggled with infertility for much much longer than three years.  And my heart breaks for them.  I feel so sad for those still longing for a child.  Just one. That was my prayer for those three years.  Just one, God.  That’s all I’m asking for here. Some of the women in the online communities continue to struggle with IF issues with multiple pregnancies.  They go through the IF dance with each one.  And some of those pregnancies were/are difficult till birth, every time.  I am in awe of their tenacity to grow their families.  They know exactly what they want and are willing to go above and beyond to fulfill the dreams they have for themselves. Little miss is only three and a half months old but I’ve been asked practically since she was born if The Mister and I would be trying for a second. After picking myself up off the floor, I give my standard, “Oh, let me just enjoy my daughter first.” Or if it had been a rough day, “Let me survive her first.” Now that some time has passed, I think I can safely say that she’s our one and only.  I asked and prayed for just one.  And she’s here.  The emotional roller coaster we went through to bring little miss into our lives was devastating at times.  I could barely hold it together some days.  I skipped baby showers and left rooms when a pregnant woman walked in.  I cried on the way home from work when yet another person I knew announced an impending birth.  My want for Maddy was so strong that it overshadowed so much of my life that was happening around me. I spent many days in my own sadness.  I couldn’t understand why The Mister and I couldn’t have a baby. All I wanted was her. And now she’s here.  After so many tests and medications and procedures.  She’s here.  Our one and only. To go through the emotional strain of trying to get pregnant again with years added onto our ages compounding the issue is just too much at this point (I’d be close to 40 before I’d even think about considering another).  I don’t want little miss to witness the strain or somehow feel the effects of it.  I don’t want to put The Mister through all that pain again either. Once was enough.  Though we’d go directly to IVF knowing our road blocks, I’d still live with that “what if??” monster.  That monster beat me up, stomped on me, and then kicked me in the knees for three years. We don’t need that monster in our lives.  There isn’t room for it.

First Flight

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Just hanging out in Momma’s lap.

Little miss took her first round trip flight last week!  She and I flew down to California for a sad event that I won’t post about.  Instead I want to share all the things that we did to distract ourselves from the sad event.

Like visit with cousins.

My 19 month old nephew deemed little miss his and showed his love and affection in many, many hand pats and kisses.

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Cousin’s hands are almost as big as her head! (Photo by my lovely sister in law.)

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Aw. Kisses. (Photo by my lovely sister in law.)

Little miss of course ate up every second of the love.

For having her schedule (such as it is) interrupted for eight days, she did so well.  There were only a couple of meltdowns and it was usually because it was past her eating/sleeping/changing of diaper time.  Or because she was just sick of her carseat.  I can’t blame her.  I’d hate being strapped in a carseat too – in 100+ degree temps!

Let’s talk about the weather in central California, shall we?

It’s hot.  Miserably hot.  And it’s only June, folks.  We usually don’t travel down to California until August which is an even better time to visit (note the sarcasm.)  Actually, I take that back.  It is a great time to visit because it reinforces our good decision to get the heck out of there and move up to Washington where a HOT day is in the 70s.

Really.

Sorry, friends and family.  We love you but the weather alone is enough to keep us up here where it’s cool, the water is plentiful, and there are no state income taxes.

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Momma attempts selfie with baby. Baby is having none of it.

Back to the trip!

Because of the heat, we hung out by the pool.  Neither little miss nor I actually got into the pool because really she’s too little to be in it or wear sunscreen BUT we were splashed a number of times by everyone else while we stayed in the shade.  Little miss is modeling a lovely lavender hat her daddy bought for her.  Note that she isn’t screaming.

Unlike the hat that grandma bought her.

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Pretty sure she doesn’t like the hat.

But grandma redeemed herself with this festive piece of headgear:

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It’ll be perfect on the fourth of July!

Besides modeling hats, little miss hung out in her birthday suit most of the time.  It was just too dang hot. Even with all the fans and A/C going.

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Two seconds after this picture was taken, she attempted to launch herself out of the buzzy seat, giving Momma the first of many panic attacks.

Speaking of fans, little miss LOVES her grandma and grandpa’s fans.

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Hi, Mr. Fan!

The fans are EVERYWHERE in their house.  She could see them in every room she was in.  They captivated her like nothing else I’ve ever seen.  We only have two ceiling fans and they’re both in the dining room.  We might just need to find one for her bedroom…

I brought one of my baby carriers with me on the trip thinking that I might use it like I do at home.

That was stupid.  There was always someone more than willing to carry little miss around.  And there is nothing she enjoys more than Auntie Lolo’s rockings.  She falls asleep.every.time.  Auntie Lolo is the Baby Whisperer.

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The magical Baby Whisperer

 

 

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Here she is at Auntie Lolo’s house while Momma ran off to get her hair cut… by herself!

And yes, little miss fell asleep in that scrunched up position.every.time.

 

We saw many friends last week.  Retiring friends, road tripping friends, friends with twins, friends with dogs, friends from across the country.  We visited with family, soaked up all the hugs and love to save until next time.

Then it was time to hop back on the plane where the depressurizing of the cabin caused just a little bit of screaming but the white noise of the engine put little miss right to sleep.

Finally.  She took a nap.

Months 1 & 2

Oh boy.  This is going to be a long one…  I can aspire to writing a post once a week but I can’t promise it’ll happen.  Obviously, since it’s been WEEKS since I’ve been able to post.  This one’s taken me the last four weeks to write.  

 

MONTH 1

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So Month 1 of little miss’s life just FLEW by so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to chronicle it.  I don’t even know if I remember it.  Just kidding.

I remember some of it.

As you know, little miss arrived on St. Patrick’s Day.  The first two weeks of her life were a blur of feeding, sleeping, changing diapers, washing diapers, blankets, spit up (so much spit up), crying (oh the crying!), and my parents (if my mom hadn’t been here, all our animals and US would’ve starved.)

Also during her first two weeks were a doctor’s appointment, a trip to a nearby town, and many many car trips.  Little miss HATED the car seat.  She’d scream bloody murder until she wore herself out or The Mister hit enough bumps in the road to calm her down.  I know many moms will sit in the backseat with their baby but I found out that it really didn’t matter if I sat back there with her or not.  My presence was inconsequential to the fact that she was strapped in, couldn’t move freely, and loathed every minute of it.

The last part of little miss’s first month included getting the hang of breast feeding more (on both our parts), another two doctor visits, weight gain, and still more spit up. Momma also managed to go to the grocery store on her own with the babe in the Ergo.  That proved to be a bit much for everyone though.  Too much too soon.

Though it sounds like we went to the doctor a lot the first month, it’s because we did.  It’s a good thing we like her doctor.  Little miss has a bit of reflux so we spent a couple weeks trying to sort that out.  She has a minty-fresh tasting medicine I give her twice a day in a little plunger to help with the burning the spit up causes her.

Little miss had several visitors the first month of her life.  Grandma was here for two and a half weeks and then Grandpa came up from California for a few days.  Auntie and Uncle from California were also here and Auntie took some cutie pictures of little miss.

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Aw! My little munchkin.

 

MONTH 2

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Sorry for the unedited picture – the edited version has been misplaced.

 

Auntie B came to visit shortly after hitting the 2 month mark.  Little miss and Momma drove to Seattle to pick Auntie B up from the airport.  There were LOTS of snuggles once we returned home since it was such a long trip for the little miss (almost 7 hours in the car in total.)

Auntie B also took some cutie pictures and helped me take little miss to school to make the first round of visits.  She met my AP kids, several district office folks, The Mister’s coworkers, and school office people too.  It was a very busy day.

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During little miss’s second month of life, she’s perfected rolling over (she did it for the first time at three weeks and caught herself off guard.)  The pediatrician says she does pushups of a four month old!  Very proud momma indeed.

We also have tons of smiles these days!  I love the smiles.  Love love love them.

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We also had some visitors.  Grandma came back up with Great Grandma and Great Auntie K.

Little miss knows her people and LOVES them!

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Grandpa C has been by the house many times to check on his granddaughter.  He brought his friend C over a couple of Saturdays ago to celebrate little miss’s first two months on planet Earth.

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Little miss talks so much these days.  We have conversations about Mr. Fan (her most favorite friend in the house so far), the laundry, what Momma’s eating, and her hands.  She squawks a little louder these days and her cries are changing a bit.  We have new cries that I can’t quite decipher yet.  And her almost-faint “wah!” kills me.  It’s so pathetic sometimes.  She uses that one when Momma isn’t moving fast enough to dish up little miss’s meals.

We’re still working on nap time.  Little miss sleeps pretty well at night and fights taking a nap longer than 30 minutes.  Kill me.

She still loves her bath time though, will mostly tolerate her car seat now (there are a few screams here and there, especially if she’s wet, hungry, or tired), and loves being naked over wearing clothes.  Daddy happily complies with the last one since he believes babies should be FREE!  Momma says it’s too cold out still for her baby to be free and promptly puts little miss’s pants back on.

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But not her hat.  Apparently hats are the devil.

3 Things No One Tells Older Moms-To-Be

As an older mom-to-be, I read every book and website I could lay my hands on about being a mom over age 35.  I talked to friends that had babies in their 30s.  I tried to prepare myself as much as possible.  But there were a few things I didn’t prepare for quite enough, if at all.

 

1. Your knees are not what they used to be – my baby needs constant rocking or bouncing. She loves movement and if she loved her car seat more, I’d drive her around in The Mister’s truck more often.  But she doesn’t love her car seat, so I bounce and rock and sway her in my arms daily.  While it’s a great workout (my FitBit counts each bounce as a step), my knees aren’t super happy with me.  They ache.  Since I’m able to take Advil now, I do.  To save my arms and knees for a few minutes every day, the vibrating seat takes her after a good feeding. But 85% of the time, I’m bouncing her. Which means my knees are constantly moving. Add in getting her off and onto her under-the-sea playmat, up and out of the rocker, and into her car seat, my knees bend all day long. And they know it. They crack and whine. They wobble and shake. Oh to have my knees of ten years ago.

2. Sleep is not what it used to be I keep trying to channel my long gone college self to no avail. Even back then I got more sleep than I do now. I can’t recall a single all-night study session – I loved sleep more than my grades.  Everyone tells new moms to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Which is all fine and dandy if you’ve managed to pee, eat, and take a shower while your little one was peeing, and eating (and yes, in times of desperation, I have taken little miss into the bathroom with me.) Most of the time, I’m dancing her to sleep while holding it and praying I don’t sneeze. Once baby girl goes down, I feel the freedom of a my arms and run frantically around the house doing as much as possible before she wakes up (which could be 20 minutes or two hours): laundry, dishes, vacuuming, showering (though this one is sure to make her wake up no matter how long she’s been asleep), and I consider knitting. After I do all I think I need to do, I fool myself into thinking I could get in a short nap too. But that’s when she wakes up. Mom’s Murphy’s Law. And the vicious sleep debt cycle continues. The zombie midnight and 3am feedings continue and I pray I don’t fall asleep standing up.

3. Your curves are not what they used to be – 
And not being in your 20s means it doesn’t necessarily bounce back like it used to. The abs you were working on flattening before pregnancy? Gone. The butt that was almost lifted to where you where you wanted? Flattened. The hips that fit into your favorite pair of jeans? Widened. Body parts shift and muscles slacken, no matter how much you work out during pregnancy. There’s a recovery period after pregnancy that seems to push body parts into new regions.  I swear I’ve lost half my butt since giving birth.  Though all the weight I gained since last summer was gone by the time little miss was two weeks old, the weight that remains is suspiciously in different places.  I can fit into pre-pregnancy jeans and zip them but not button that top button.  I swear I’m carrying at least ten pounds inside my nursing bra. From what I hear, nothing will return to its former state.  And the jury’s still out on how I feel about that.

Cloth Diapering as a Rookie

Not only are The Mister and I first-time parents, but we chose to be first time cloth diapering parents as well.

Why cloth diaper? One reason of course is the environmental factor. We don’t have garbage pick up service. It’s insanely expensive in my opinion. So The Mister makes a trash/recycling run every 4-6 weeks depending on how much we have.

Another reason is the convenience. It’s so nice to know that diapers are just in the washer or dryer instead of at the store. No late night diaper runs for us!

Lastly, it’s cheaper. There’s an initial outlay but the cloth we have will last months and there’s a market for gently (and even heavily) used items. So some of our initial investment will come back.

Bonus? Once I have a bit more non-feeding free time, I can knit wool covers for her little cloth bottom!

Our parents cloth diapered. My mom was gifted a year long diapering washing service when I was born. We don’t have that available here. The closest service is 30 minutes away. So when we started looking at cloth diapers, I calculated out everything to last at least a day and a half between washings. With Breastfeed babies the entire diaper, poo and all, can go into the washer. It’s formula and solid food poo that has the knocked off before going into the washer. Since little miss is breast fed, I just put her diapers in our Dekor diaper pail and call it good until wash time.

So when I sat down to figure out how many of what to buy, I went straight to Green Mountain Diapers online. GMD is a gold mine of information for the beginner cloth diapering parent. Anything and everything is written about and there are pictures of cloth diapered butts to boot.

Karen, the owner (who doesn’t know me from Adam), gives a range of recommended quantities of diapering supplies. On a budget? She lists out the bare bones basics. Want to splurge on everything top dollar? She has that supply list down too. I sort of made up my own.

Based on a newborn’s potential to dirty up to 18 diapers a day (cloth doesn’t wick so little butts need to changed a bit more frequently), and the fact I don’t necessarily want to be doing a load every day but every other, I decided 36 was the magic number.

I bought 36 newborn-sized prefold diapers. This was a gamble on my part. I had no idea how big or little our little miss would be. But I was relying on the fact that I could resell my gently used prefolds to another newborn momma.

Turns out little miss fit perfectly in her newborn sized diapers (and newborn sized anything!)

Even though I bought the prefolds new, I bought covers used. With cloth, because of its non-wicking properties, you have to have a waterproof cover of some sort, wool included.

So I scoured diaperswappers.com and bought up a number of covers in colorful solids and patterns. The majority that I bought are made by Thirsties with aplix (Velcro – much easier to deal with in the middle of the night) and will grow with little miss for a number of months. I also snagged a couple of Bummis super whisper wraps and I really like these covers. I bought newborn sized ones and the fit is fantastic. Plus the material is a bit thicker which I also like not that it makes a difference in a cover. Covers are meant to last a couple of days. But sometimes there’s leakage and the cover has to be washed sooner than planned. The cover stash doesn’t need to be as large as the diaper stash. Everything I’ve read says to have 4-6 on hand. I have a couple more to tuck in our diaper too.

We were gifted a number of all in one (AIO) and pocket diapers as well. The AIOs are just how how the sound: cover and prefold all in one diaper. Pockets are a cover with an absorbent fleece material seen in. The absorbent pad is stuffed in between those two layers to make the diaper. These diapers say they’re made to get worn from 8lbs up. But having a baby at almost 9 lbs and at 5 weeks old they’re still a tad big on her except for the BumGenius AIOs. Come August when I have to go back to work, these will be our daycare diapers for the ease and convenience.

20140424-063201.jpgBumGenius AIO

Because little miss is gaining weight and growing, she’ll be moving out of her newborn prefolds in the next month I think. So I bought the next size up, small, and they’re waiting to be prepped.

To prep a cloth diaper is a four step process that comes with your order if you buy new from GMD. there’s also a prewash process with AIOs and pockets.

We love using cloth diapers with our little miss. In the diaper drawer we have Snappis to close up and hold the folded diaper together under the cover. And we also sometimes just fold the prefold in thirds and lay it inside the cover. Either way works.

One thing that doesn’t work with cloth diapers is diaper cream. It can ruin the absorbency of a cloth diaper and create repelling issues. So coconut oil was recommended instead. However, when I tried it the first time little miss had a rash, I felt like the oil made things worse. So during her rasht times we are using disposables simply to heal up her little cheeks and use a butt cream. We may start using them at night once she starts sleeping in longer stretches but I want to try cloth methods first, like more layers of absorbers.

Overall, I’m happy using cloth. I also see value in using disposables. Our blend works for our family right now and it may change in the future. I like the flexibly that cloth gives us and seeing her cute little fluffy butt all diapered up.

 

20140424-063213.jpgThirsties Size 1 cover with Aplix

20140424-063253.jpgBummis Newborn cover

20140424-063323.jpgNewborn prefold tri-folded inside a Thirsties size 1 cover

20140424-063341.jpgStacks of folded Thirsties covers

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