Monday, July 18, 2011

Motherhood: what I've learned so far

6 weeks into the game, I am by no means an expert at motherhood. But here are a few things I've learned thus so far:

  • If people ask how they can help you, tell them food.

  • The moment you buy a rectal thermometer, your child will poop

  • Earplugs are a good thing when sharing a room (husband and baby)

  • It is important to learn how to forget unsolicited/unwanted advice and or snide comments (in this particular instance, earplugs will not due)

  • There is no manual that tells you how to make your child happy

  • If you choose not to breastfeed, you are not a bad mother. Sometimes I forget the fact that I was raised on formula and darned it, I think I turned out pretty good :)

  • Urine is sterile. You don't have to use a wipe if the diaper is only wet

  • Maternity leave will fly by and then, if you are like me, you'll have mixed emotions. You'll crave adult interaction, but you'll miss your baby. Then a new problem presents itself: how in the world are you supposed to trust another person to care for your child in the same quality and manner you are presently providing?

  • Voicemail messages will take an average of 3+ days to be returned

  • People who bring meals in containers that don't have to be returned are smart

  • Carseats are freaking heavy, especially with a child in it

  • First-time moms are a little psychotic. I recognize this in myself. The question remains though, how I do remedy this?

  • Time out of the house, without baby, is necessary.

  • The immediate days after having the baby, you will be emotional. Blame it on a combination of sleep deprivation, the stress of being a new parent, and hormones. All of it together will equal tears. I had three weeks of emotional anxiety. Part of it was the stress of breastfeeding not going well, but I think part of it was feeling completely out of control. While I am definitely not in control, or even close to it, life has fallen into more of a pattern.

  • During wee hour feedings or in the middle of a wailing baby's cries, it has been helpful to remember this passage: "Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

  • I am continually surprised and deeply grateful for the generosity of friends and family.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Abounding Abundance - garden

Part of the Abounding Abundance blog is gardening. Since living in our present house, we have planted a garden every year. It allows my farmer husband the opportunity to play in the dirt. It gives me the opportunity to dream up new ways to use the produce in our menus.

Our favorite plants are tomatoes and green peppers. Much to our chagrin and annoyance, tomatoes and green peppers are typically the two plants we struggle with the most. We have never been able to pinpoint what the problem is as it seems to vary year to year. Some years we get stem rot from too much rain. One year we put the mulch down too early and everything molded after more torrential rain. Sometimes I wonder if it's our neighbor's black walnut tree that is causing so many problems. I've read that when rain water runs off a black walnut tree, it's toxic to garden plants. Really, it's hard to tell. We've done soil testing and countless other experiments to try and make the garden better. Things ranging from crushing egg shells and planting them with the tomatoes for extra calcium, planting marigolds as a bug deterrent, to making an au natural mixture of milk and water to use as a fungicide. We haven't had stellar results with any of those experiments.

My friend Katie asked if we were going to plant a garden this year - heck yes! Just because we had a baby, doesn't make us less hungry. Besides, planting a garden is a money saver if you make the most out of it. And true to Team Lance & Kara, we not only planted a garden, we expanded the garden. I guess we're always trying to test the limits of our sanity :) And if we manage to produce a successful tomato crop, I've already agreed to canning tomatoes. Lance and I also have plans on putting up sweet corn too. And probably drying apples again. Yep, I've confirmed it. I'm nuts. But like we always do - go big or go home. It's always an all or nothing game with us. Hit rewind of previous summers: Strawberry jam ... Applesauce ... Lance would say freezing breast milk.

Anyway, getting back to the point. Our garden. Each year we try and plant something new. Last year it was eggplant (which never did anything. We got our first blossom in late September) and onions (the onions got toppled in a windstorm and never really grew). In fact our garden was planted super late to begin with. My memory is hazy, but I think Lucan was born before anything was planted. I'm not sure, those first days were tumultuous to say the least. As far as new things go, we have a yellow tomato plant. We replanted eggplant again and it never came up. I wanted to do garlic, but we ran out of time. So the only true new item in our garden this year is spinach. The garden this year is pretty standard for us:

Cucumbers. I love me some girlie cucumber sandwiches.

Green beans. We really didn't need to plant more as each year I freeze gallon ziplock bags full of them. Lance was digging at the bottom of our freezer and found 2009 ones. Opps.

Sugar snap peas. Perfect for snacking and stir frys. Once the peas are done, Lance is going to plant late season carrots. Carrots will be a first for me.

The peas climb quite well on the fence. The peas, green beans, and cucumbers share three sides of this fence.

Some Early Girl tomatoes peeping through. I cannot wait for my first tomato of the season. It will be a banner day!

Edamame. Much cheaper than buying it. Ours is from special order seed as seedlings aren't mainstream enough to be found in a local green house.

Hot pepper plant for salsa. I learned my lesson last year - use rubber gloves when dicing. Otherwise you could be left with one on-fire eye from inadvertently rubbing it.

Cilantro trying to take over my basil. Cilantro and basil are my two favorite herbs in the entire world. You cannot substitute dried for the freshness and quality of garden picked cilantro and basil.

I really do need to cut back my cilantro.

Cherry tomato. We're also growing Roma tomatoes too, which is my favorite variety. They are the perfect cooking tomato.

Spinach. Yum. We also planted lettuce, but it didn't come up. Bummer.

Baby zucchinis. I'm sure in two weeks I'll have them coming out of my ears and I won't be able to get rid of them or sneak them into any other foods without arousing Lance's suspicion.

See what I'm talking about? This zuc is one plant. It's a monster. Just think if we'd plant multiples. Bad idea.

Very weedy onions.

Butternut squash. Speaking of which, we still have two from last year. They really do last indefinitely. Regardless, we need to get rid of them. I think we've already roasted three and frozen them. Last year we had a bumper crop of butternut squash - the plant jumped the fence and was halfway across the yard.

Mary, Mary quite contrary - this is how my garden grows!

Friday, July 8, 2011

One Month Old!

Lucan was one month old on Sunday, July 3. Mind boggling. That one month ago our lives were turned upside and flipped on it's head. Here are a few updates:

  • Lucan no longer fits into his newborn clothing - in fact, he only wore them for about 3 weeks before they started looking like spandex.

  • Speaking of being finished with newborn clothing, Lucan has also outgrown his newborn diapers. There were too many occasions which I found him peeing out of them.

  • At his 2 week appointment he was in the 50th percentile for weight, 90th percentile for head width and 90th percentile for length. Looks like this little guy will be long and lean - just like his daddy (heaven knows that's not the description I would use for myself!)

  • We are no longer exclusively breastfeeding. We have moved to more of a mommy's work schedule. I nurse twice a day, once in the morning and then again around suppertime. I'm pumping after every feeding. Lucan takes a bottle, in comparison, to nursing, like a champ. He is still a super-slow eater (nursing can take 35-45 minutes) and I discovered that short tongues must be hereditary. Lance has a short tongue as well as his dad. Stupid genetics. But not breastfeeding exclusively has helped me to regain some of my Kara-ness. Since giving it up, my stress levels have decreased dramatically and I've stopped crying everyday. We've been supplementing with some formula, here and there.

  • For the first month Lucan had his days and nights confused. He would fall asleep at each daytime feeding, refusing to stay awake for his "wake" time and then fuss and be wide awake at night. This appears to have straightened out some. At least for the time being. I'm sure it will change again!

  • He survived his first roadtrip. We went to our parents' houses over the 4th and we all managed to survive. Lucan slept like a pro the entire way there and back. The only challenge was having him sleep in our room with us. Babies are noisy sleepers and this little one is no exception! So much grunting, whimpering, and sighing. Goodness!

  • We've been blessed by lots of visitors and friends who bring meals, prayers, and encouragement.

  • We've managed to make it to church every week since bring home baby. Major accomplishment!

  • Lance was able to take two weeks off of work when Lucan was born which was a huge relief. The following week my parents came down and spent the week working on projects around our house and being supportive. Then came week three. I was on my own. And I was scared, but it's been good. The biggest challenge has been getting out of the house. What used to be a quick trip to Fareway is now a big undertaking!

Our little peanut has went from this:

(He was minutes old!)

(picture taken by Sarah F at the hospital)

To a little man in his one month old onesie!

Lucan we love you and can't wait to see what next month brings!