Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Yesterday was a smashing success, if I daresay so.

Command Station

Middle of the Madness

The Table Settings



More on that later!

Enjoy the weekend!

Us!

Can't believe we made ALL this food! Yum! (Me & my 2 SILs on either side!)

The Bro & Sis-in-Law & Nephew/Cousin

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

[O God of Our Salvation]
[TO THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID. A SONG.]

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
(Psalm 65 ESV)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Mixed Bag

Take the good with the bad, right?

Mia's made some major progress in the sleep department the last week or so, since the appointment with the pediatrician.  Not sure exactly what happened, but it seems after enough trials of the Ferber method Mia started to realize beds were made for sleeping in, and not for standing up and crying in.  For naps and bedtimes, she's been falling asleep within 15 minutes of being put down, with perhaps a few exceptions.  She always gives Greg a bit of a harder time at bedtime since their routine was pretty solid, but for naps with me, she'll roll around or talk to herself for a few minutes before totally knocking out. 
This is major progress and exactly what I've been looking for.

Sunday afternoon though was a bit amusing.  She was so tired and whiny after having an awful morning at church, but she just wouldn't lay down.  She was sitting on her knees crying, then falling asleep sitting up, and then jerking herself awake when she'd start to lean forward, thus starting the crying - sleeping - leaning - awake cycle over and over again!  Finally, I went back in and let her pass out while in my lap and laid her back down.  Silly silly girl!

The other pro with this is that she's been sleeping through the night again - yay!  I haven't had to get up with her in the middle of the night for a whole week, I guess.  It is so nice to have a solid stretch of sleep again!  Not to say I don't expect it to be thrown off ever again -- because I know it will -- so I will just enjoy it while it lasts.

The "con" right now is that Mia is just not herself.  She's been super fussy, whiny and hard to handle.  Not the "friendly little spirit" I've proclaimed her to be in months past.  Methinks she's just cutting more than one tooth right now and it just hurts!  There've been times when she's felt mildly feverish, which is reminiscent of some of her first teething experiences.  Now I feel as if I'm really starting to understand what teething can mean.  So far, for Mia, teething can mean:
  • raised body temperature, feet, hands, head warm to the touch
  • clinginess (especially wanting me -- this is new!)
  • tempter tantrums 
  • diaper rashes
  • actually getting sick (congestion, runny nose)
  • awful diapers
Basically, just being an unhappy camper.  Sometimes, these symptoms confuse me, especially if a newer food has been introduced.  Is she having a reaction?  Is the rash because she's allergic?  But, when it goes on for days, I feel it usually tells me that this is a teething thing, not a food allergy/sensitivity.  I guess I will always be hyper aware of that, though.



And changing the subject, we had an awesome cloth diaper demo this past Saturday.  I can't believe I haven't posted more about it, as I thought I'd be detailing everything!, but there really hasn't been that much time.  We were able to video it for all those long-distance peeps wanting to get the 411 on cloth diapers, but since we borrowed our friends' camera and don't know the ins & outs of uploading the vid to the computer, it might be a while before it's up, edited, and ready for viewing.  I learned a ton though, and I've already been doing this for a year!  The biggest thing it reinforced is that I feel I'm making a great decision for our family - financially, healthfully and environmentally.  And it encouraged me to try some other brands the next time around, whene'er that is.  Do I sometimes feel silly that I am "so into" this?  Yes ... but I think it's just evidence that sometimes you just gotta work with the state you're in.  Young childhood is where I'm at, so I'm gonna make it work for us!  Find your groove and let the other stuff be.  That's what I'm telling myself!

The End!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something's gotta give

I'm not talking about the movie, although I hear it's pretty good.  I just love that line sometimes, because it's just the truth.  Sometimes, not everything can be perfect, and something's gotta give.  I have to remind myself that as a parent, because nothing will ever be perfect!  And there's not a whole lot I can do about that.  While it may sound cynical or pessimistic, I actually find it to be a relief.  God's not expecting me to outdo Him, because everything He creates is good and does good.  And it's not all about me.  (I.Am.Brilliant!!!)
~Thoughts spurred from a recent Beth Moore study


In other news, we met with a new pediatrician on Monday.  I haven't ruled out Mia's former pediatrician just yet, but if I could combine a few things about both pediatricians, I'd be quite happy.  Anyway, probably the biggest takeaway from the appointment is just a confirmation that Mia is growing happily & healthily, right on schedule!  She's around the 50th percentile for height and weight.  She's 22.5 lbs and just over 31 inches in height.  She's really grown in the last 6 months, which is reassuring for me.  I think I owe a lot of that to butter & avocado (not joking)!  Now that I found Mia will eat a lot of foods smothered in butter, I try to incorporate it whenever I can (when it makes sense).  That, or other healthier fats & oils.  Think I'm gross?  Right now, a diet high in fat is probably the most important thing for a little one, since she needs all that fat for her brains.

The doctor also reassured me that Mia's middle-of-the-night waking spells are totally normal, albeit not always welcome, for this age range.  I've been a bit disheartened lately because our good-sleeping-girl has become our hard-to-get-back-in-the-crib girl over the last couple months.  Teething seems to be the culprit of all things evil sometimes, and I'll just have to blame it on that.  But the last two nights, while she has woken up and I had to do a little bit of soothing, she put herself back to sleep after 15 minutes of being placed back in the crib.  It may be baby steps, but that's a BIG improvement.  I think the key actually has to do with me.  Even though I don't want to be the main person attending to her in the middle of the night all the time, if she doesn't even know or realize that daddy's an option, she persists less.  (Daddy is the comforting-rocker guy, and I'm not just talking about his drum-playing abilities.)  So it seems that if we can continue to reinforce that, maybe Mia will get back on the right track.  And then continually reminding myself, this doesn't last forever!

this photo is not related
at all to this post
And then relatedly, since Mia does seem to do pretty well with butter, I've been incorporating some whole-milk yogurt into her diet through smoothies and such.  Occasionally she'll have cheese if it's nicely blended into a meal (or in a quesadilla), but I've yet to offer her whole cow's milk again.  She hasn't had a reaction *knock on wood* to the yogurt, but as I just gave her a little bit of her own smoothie, I can hear some congestion brewing in her nose.  That does concern me a bit, BUT, we'll take it little-by-little.
Here are the smoothies I make, based on various recipes I've seen on the WWW:

-1 cup whole milk yogurt
-1 cup milk (cow's, almond or coconut)
-a few heaping tablespoons of a nut butter (sunbutter, almond or peanut)
-1-2 bananas based on taste
-a few drops of stevia (optional)

Mia really likes them, and I do too!  They're a good morning boost.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ponytails & The In Between

Behold, the first ponytail:

Ponytail shot
Mia's cute blonde hair has grown in quite a bit in the back, and after a nap or a car ride it's like Raggedy Ann Version 2.0, so lately we've been trying to pull it back into a little ponytail.  It doesn't always stay in long, but long enough to work out the tangly kinks!

Glamour Shot

Action Shot
We were invited to a family friend's house last night for a Fall Festival.  As fall arrives a bit late in Tampa, the timing was perfect because we were able to play outside in the late afternoon, eat as the sun set, and then roast smores later in the night over a fire pit.  All the kiddies had a great time...but Mia was not down with the group shot later on.
Group Shot / Night of Terror

Where's Elmo??
For now, we're just in the "in between".  Mommo was here this past week and came at a perfect time as Mia got sick Tuesday night and Wednesday and it was super helpful to have the day shift relief.
I tried something new this time when it came to Mia's cold.  As soon as Mia was showing signs of sickness in the middle of the night, I began administering 1 tablet of Aconite an hour throughout the rest of the day (up to 12/day).  By the end of the day Wednesday she was feeling better, and slept through the night and Thursday was like normal again! Aconite is a homeopathic tablet (super small) that you dissolve underneath the tongue.  I will be trying this myself if I start to feel sick soon.  I couldn't believe the turnaround, but from what I understand, as soon as you begin experiencing symptoms, you can start taking Aconite and it will work faster.  
Aside from that, Mia had a super fun time with Mommo bouncing balls, going on walks, taking care of her babies, and playing with her new purse.  As Mommo's reward, Mia can now say her name, "Mommo"!

Next up: The Cloth Diaper Demo & Thanksgiving prep.  In a quick turn of events, I'm hosting this year at our house.  I'm excited but want to be realistic about the expectations.  It is fun to have another event / project to work towards and it'll keep us busy!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Floridian LIFE


First of all, I have to just share that it's actually "cold" in Florida!  My Minnesotan heritage will never let me vanquish the fact that all references to the cold in Florida must be tempered (no pun intended) with knowing what true coldness feels like and we're talking like sub-zero temperatures.  Anyway--it was actually 45°F this morning--chilly for us!

Secondly, I have to say that since I posted a meal-plan for this past week, wouldn't you know that some of our meals were total busts?  Nothing like butchering your so-called standby week!  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
Thankfully the turkey burgers & sweet potato fries pulled through.  As Greg would say, "Clutch!"  

But alas, I'm really here to share a slathering of pictures from this past week.  Mia had a bit of a fussy week (teething, sleep problems, just your typical baby/toddler predicaments) but hopefully we're back on the up-and-up.  Nothing super special about these pictures, just Mia being sweet!

loving the car-cart at Publix
a preppy fall outfit
snacking on a carrot with her "beebee"


In other news, Mia & her cousin had a good time playing tonight and iChatting with the grandparents.  This stuff was too cute not to share!




For now, we're looking forward to a visit from Mommo this coming week!  Playtime, free babysitting and family bonding.  Ooooh yeah!

PS: Don't forget Daylight Savings Time!  FALL BACK, y'all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shalom in the Home

I've been having ongoing conversations with multiple kindred spirits of late, the most recent, LH, about "owning the home."  It's taken me about 2 years to finally grasp just a part of this concept, and making it work for me.
The first place where I've started trying to "own the home" is by actually making it a place where we want to hang out--thus, making it aesthetically pleasing.  Seriously, with as much HGTV as we watch, we should have this down to a science by now, but of course, we're slow learners.  And naturally, sometimes the budgets get in the way--we have to remind ourselves we aren't doing $50,000 kitchen makeovers or quickly staging our house for $2k.  In due time, I say, in due time...

And then secondly in "owning the home" is having a well-run, efficient kitchen.  This is a monster of a challenge to figure out as meal-planning can get sketchy at times.  Some weeks it's a breeze. I look at the weekly ads for our grocery stores and see what I already have in stock at home and we're golden.  Other weeks, it's more a matter of what can I scrounge up that won't seem too random and mismatched?  So...here's what we're eating this week.  It's basically a combo of what I already have on hand tripled with what I want to buy at the store and what's not overly complicated to make.  Without further adieu...

This week's 5-night meal plan:

  • Chipotle-inspired burrito bowls (Greg's version based on The Simple Dollar)
    • Chipotle Rice recipe
    • 1-2 cans black beans (or make your own from dried beans) 
    • Guacamole (this is our favorite part!)
    • Sour Cream / Greek yogurt
    • Salsa (either homemade or store-bought)
    • Cilantro
    • Black Olives
    • Shredded cheese of your choice 
    • Tortilla chips on side
  • Homemade Pizza
    • Since we are going gluten-free for approximately 3 months, and pizza is one of my all-time favorite foods, we've found ways to get around it!  I've seen recipes online for how to make your own dough from almond flour, which I have yet to tackle, so in the meantime, I've used Bob's Red Mill GF pizza crust mix, then added our own tomato sauce, and I make a cheeseless pizza for me with whatever fixings I like, and a cheese pizza for Greg & Mia with whatever fixings they like.  Might I suggest black olives, red and green bell peppers, Italian seasonings, plus some kind of meat?
  • Marmalade Curry Chicken
    • I found this website (crockpot365.com) a few weeks ago, which felt like a godsend after weeks of finding really bizarre gluten-free recipes that had become quite discouraging to try to make.  This woman cooked with her crockpot for an entire year! and all recipes are gluten-free because her daughter has celiac's disease.  I made a few adaptations to the recipe for our liking--I used apricot preserves instead of orange and our own homemade chicken broth.  We served it over rice with some salad or veggies on the side and it was delish!  I tried it the last time my MIL was in town and it was a crowd-pleaser.  
  • Turkey burgers w/ sweet potato fries
    • There are so many recipes for this kind of meal on the interwebs.  I usually take 1lb thawed ground turkey, mix in some chopped onion, and season away with garlic salt, garlic powder, S&P, onion powder, and maybe some type of dried green herbs and make about 4 patties.  Heat on a skillet or the grill.  If you want to follow a specific recipe, try here or here (for us, minus the breadcrumbs).  These look pretty similar to what I've tried before.  And as I'm gf for now, I eat it sans bun!  Mia loves the taste of these burgers.
    • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Chicken Tacos
    • This has become one of my newest obsessions lately, but I can't go too overboard with it otherwise I know I'll make us all sick of it. I saw this idea on a friend's Facebook page. Take 4 large frozen chicken breasts or thighs, one can of Rotel, one can full of water and some salt and onion powder. I made an adaptation by using one can of homemade chicken broth instead of water the first time and it was super tasty!  I've been serving it up with hard or soft taco shells, some leafy greens, greek yogurt, guacamole or avocado, and then splashing a few of the Rotel tomatoes on top.  In German, ser gut.
And that's that! Salud!

Mia's Talking Adventures & a Mishmash of Halloween Photos


Mia's Talking Adventures from Megan Ciampa on Vimeo.

Nevermind the fact that most of the family member names are completely out of order! I believe I was going in order of what seemed easiest to hardest for Mia.


Little Red Riding Hood 2010 (click on the picture and it will take you to the Picasa album)