Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tomato & Basil Chicken Pasta

It's been awhile since I blogged a recipe. Mainly because, with two young kids and a dairy-free diet, my evenings normally consist of "oh shit, it's 5:00, I have nothing thawed. Bean burritos it is!" This digs is nothing fancy, but it was delicious, toddler approved and includes a bunch of ingredients I almost-always have on hand. 

Ingredients
2 thawed chicken breasts
1 large tomato, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 box pasta of your choosing (I used penne, because I let London pick)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp non-dairy butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
Salt & pepper

Directions
In a medium frying pan, heat olive oil on medium-low heat
While oil is heating, begin boiling a salted pit of water for pasta; once boiling, cook pasta according to directions on box
Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper
Cook in heated olive oil until browned on each side
Add tomato, basil, garlic, & butter to frying pan and stir gently until butter is melted
Remove chicken breasts from pan and cut into large slices
Mix sauce with pasta & serve, too with sliced chicken 





Saturday, January 17, 2015

Happy Half Birthday, Winston Dare!

On Tuesday, London and I sang Happy Birthday to Baby Winston and she's been talking about his half birthday ever since. So adorable! I can't even believe he's been here a half year, fastest six months of my life. But what a joy he is!


Sleep: the dude is lucky I waited until 6m and 4d to write this update because our sleep has dramatically turned around the past few days and oh! how I'm hoping it sticks. I got a bit of a wake-up call (pun intended) at the pediatrician's office on Wednesday, came home fully committed to letting him work it out on his own, and then he slept straight though until 4:30am! I told her our struggles with him rolling onto his belly and freaking out, and she suggested it was due to the sleep sack that he was having such a hard time getting back over. So we did two pairs of footie pajamas instead of the wearable blanket (his room is still the coldest in the house) and bam! it's like night and day (ok, I'll stop with the puns). He puts himself to sleep for naps (still 4x at 30min each, though the first one is getting a little longer!) and bedtime, which is huge. He eats between 4-5am then goes back to sleep, sometimes needing a paci replaced around 6:30. I've been letting him nap with a crocheted blanket and only mildly freaking our about it ;) and he gets a lovie at bed and nap. 


Eating: we introduced avocado on Tuesday evening. He doesn't love it, if we are being honest, but it took London nearly 2m to really "take" to solids so I'm just giving it time. I also gave him a green pea, which he gagged on but apparently swallowed whole (ask me how I know that...). However he's been trying to grab  rolls and muffins out of our hands, haha! Soon enough my darling. Nursing is going well, he nurses probably 7x a day but is no longer nursing to sleep at all on a regular day - so huge!! I'm feeling very proud of us. 


Activity: we are starting to really get the hang of sitting! Probably my favorite milestone. He rolls all over the place, scoots on his back and his belly, and uses a combination of those moves to propel himself around the room, crib, etc. Mama is not a fan of mobility, just sayin. He's just started to get his knees up under him. No words or real sounds yet but he squeals and shrieks constantly, sucks in his bottom lip, and moves his mouth while we talk. He gives open mouth kisses while grabbing my face and just looooves his big sister. He also really loves his jumperoo / exersaucer thing and goes wild jumping. 


Clothing: 6mo onesies are packed away and I actually just got rid of a huge tub of the clothes he's outgrown :( baby boy Cox will look dashing in all of Win's hand-me-downs, though! 9m stuff for the most part, still holding onto 6m pants though. My mom bought him the most amazing one-piece suit thing for my Grandpa's funeral - so handsome. Also, he's wearing shoes and clothes that London wore when she was already walking ... Uh, what?!


Firsts: yet another funeral :( my grandfather, who he got to meet once in November. And what a sweet sweet blessing that was! Related, first limo ride (which he did amazing on) and first snow (relatively unimpressed). First Christmas!!! First New Year's Eve / Day / Daddy's Birthday. First NC State basketball game (they lost). First time meeting 2nd cousins Madison & Jacob (my cousin Dylan's children). Half birthday. First food(s). First time sleeping with a blanket. 


Measurements: 17lbs 11oz and 54% for weight, 27.75 in and 84% height, 17.75in and 84% head. The dude is so big and strong!!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winston is five months

WOO, this past month was a doozy y'all. The day Win turned 4m, we left for Mexico, were home for two days before heading up to VA and then down to FL after just 3 days at home. My poor baby was a trooper (they both were!) but I can't over exaggerate how much I was looking forward to being home the whole month of December. And, with that stability, the hopes of getting my boy's sleep back on track were certainly fueling that excitement. So what's hs up to at five months (and 4d)?



Sleep: shew, he's a mess. Therefore we are all a mess. He started rolling back to belly a few weeks ago, which meant we had to stop swaddling. DISASTER CITY, POPULATION: 4 EXHAUSTED ECKERSONS. Lordy, he was startling himself awake every 30 minutes for the better part of the night. After 4 nights, I said eff this noise and borrowed Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit and it made a huge difference (thanks Sally !!). That, combined with the fact that we finally found a paci he'll take, made for the best nights we'd had in awhile. However, as the weeks have gone on, he's become more and more dependent on us coming in to replace the paci and give him his lovie back. Not for every sleep cycle, but some nights it feels darn close to that. The good news is that he's able to put himself to sleep for naps and has even done it at bedtime a handful of times, so I know he's capable of putting himself back to sleep too (at least in theory) and I'm hoping he'll figure it out soon. 



Eating: he eats once most nights around 4am, and normally throughout the day upon waking up from naps (he's still taking 4x 30min naps most days). Weight gain is great, despite apparent re attachment of his tongue and lip tie (which has caused some pain for me but doesn't seem to be doing him much harm). I am doing a mild dairy elimination (again?!?!) to see if we can get to the bottom (pun intended) of the blood in his stools. We haven't started solids yet, despite a recommendation from our Ped to introduce rice cereal - I just don't feel like he's ready. 



Activity: in addition to rolling both ways, he scoots all over if he's on the floor or in his crib. He's trying to sit up and can go a minute or so before needing to use his hands or toppling into in the boppy pillow. He's starting to show a preference for certain toys, and loves rattling things and crinkly paper. Car rides are getting slightly more tolerable, as long as we time it correctly. 



Clothing: he's wearing some 9 and even 12 month pieces, though mostly 6m stuff. I love seeing him in London's Christmas onesies, although they barely fit him (and he's nearly a month younger than her when she wore them!). We've recently gotten a couple of adorable monogrammed pieces as gifts, which of course I love. And I went through all his "future clothes" bins this weekend - the dude is stocked until he's 2, I think!! We are so blessed with handmedowns (thanks Carla!!). He's still in size 2 diapers but only because I'm stubborn and want to use them up - we might skip 3s altogether for overnight, they're really way too small but I only have a few left!



Firsts: he went on his first carousel ride, train ride, and met Santa for the first time at the pullen park holiday express. Such a fun night with our little family and some dear friends. 



Weight: he's 16'9" (or he was, a week ago) and 50th % for weight, YAY!!! Despite throwing up SO much still, and all of the latch / tie issues, he's still gaining on a great curve so I am incredibly thankful for that blessing. His most recent height report was 82% I think. Still definitely charting tall & lean but he's filling out and couldn't be cuter. 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winston is four months

The past few weeks have been so busy and honestly pretty tough, so I'm very delayed in Win's four month update. But a lot has changed since my last post, and unfortunately not much is for the better. 



Sleep: completely unpredictable. On a good night, he sleeps 6:30-3, then up again around 7:30 for the day. Sometimes also at 5. Sometimes also at 9 and midnight. I'm exhausted. The four month Wakefuls hit us early and we have not recovered. Granted, we've been traveling pretty much nonstop for 2+ weeks, so I'm hoping he'll recover some now that we are home for the month of December. Naps are still almost never longer than 30 minutes but he goes down pretty easily most of the time as long as he is swaddled and rocked and has his paci. Our goals for the next few weeks are breaking the swaddle (he is still double swaddled at night) and doing some gentle sleep training. 



Eating: we are off the nipple shield, hooray! However the pain has been slowly getting worse, despite my pediatrician saying there are no teeth in our near future. Not sure if it's his chronic congestion or gas pains that cause the pulling and tugging and chomping, but it's not super fun. But his weight gain is great and he's over 15lbs and 50% (length is 80%!). We've switched him to Prilosec and it seems to help with his discomfort from the reflux. Giving daily probiotics and gas drops as needed. 



Firsts: Winston celebrated his first Halloween as Tigger and went Trick-or-Treating with big sister. He was baptized, attended his first state fair, has started riding in the Ergo, and took his first trip to SC to visit aunt Kiki and meet uncle Ryan. he got to meet some of his Eckerson family in Florida for thanksgiving and some of his Harris family in Virginia, including his Great Grandmother (Ben's Nana Jeanne) and Great Grandfather (my Grandpa Herb). He also, unfortunately attended his first funeral when we tragically lost my Uncle Sean last week. And he had his first overnight (4 nights actually!) away from mom & dad while we were in Mexico. 



Activity: still not rolling back to belly, but he's getting close. He is very interested in his feet and sucks on his fists all the time. He loves crinkly books & toys, bright colors, black & white, and his tiger lovie from Aunt Kiki. He's starting to enjoy his jumperoo, exersaucer and bumbo seat. Doing better in the car seat, though still cries if there's an adult sitting next to him.

 

Clothes: starting to move to 6m and even outgrowing some of his 6m one-piece outfits due to length. But he is still too thin for some 3-6m pants, so outfits are a challenge. Size 2 diapers but likely moving up to size 3 for night time diapers soon. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

What motherhood looks like the second time around

Something happens when the second children are born amongst a group of friends. It's a play date that once would've been sharing anecdotes and coffee and quietly nursing your babies, but now is a series of unanswered questions, trailing off sentences, and utter exhaustion from managing toddlers who don't quite want to share yet. It used to be easy to offer advice, share a meal and help with house chores when a friend had a new baby. Now it's "welcome to the jungle, buddy" as you take turns wiping snotty noses, popping pacis in your mouths after they fall on a floor that hasn't been swept in ... Days? WEEKS? Who can really be sure. Neither of you even know what day of the week it is, or how many times the baby woke up last night, or how many weeks old he is. You're drinking too much caffeine - lukewarm at best, leaving a baby crying in the bouncy seat to take the 2yo to the potty, and wearing at least 2-3 bodily fluids - not your own - at any given time. 

But something magical happens when the second babies are born, and all of the moms start caring for all of the kids, regardless of who birthed them. You start doling out industrial size buckets of animal crackers and bouncing a newborn in each arm and not apologizing for bringing unsliced grapes. And there are a lot of tears, from the babies who can't be held as much as their older siblings and the toddlers who have ALL OF THE FEELINGS, and the overtired, overworked, overtouched mommies. But somehow, someone always has a free arm to stop your two year old from running in the parking lot or hold a pacifier in the baby's mouth while you pee for the first time in 6 hours. 

It's really quite lovely to watch, as each new second baby is welcomed and each new mom of two manages her own terror with the promise that she CAN do it, because look at all these moms who already are! There's so much grace given for moms of two, so much less judgement. And so much more coffee.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Dude is Three Months!

One fourth of a year. Wow ... It feels so different than it did when London was 3 months, I think because I knew I was going back to work. While he still seems very young developmentally, the weeks have just flown by this time around. 

Sleep: still doing 7.5+ hours almost every night - we even got 10h recently!! He's going down around 7:30pm these days, the same time as London most nights. Sleeps great in the crib at night and doing better for naps. I have to be vigilant about not letting him get overtired or else getting him to sleep is really tough. Sometimes still napping in the swing, out of ease / necessity. He seems to nap every 1.5-2h for about 30 minutes, so we are developing a routine which is very much welcomed in my book. Thankfully he still naps well in the carrier and occasionally can be transferred to the stroller or carseat if he falls asleep in my arms while we are out. Unfortunately needs to be rocked for naps and cannot be laid down even remotely awake - something I'd really like to work on. The middle of the night wake still takes a long time but at least it's [usually] only one time!

Eating: still using the nipple shield for most feedings, though I try to offer it without at least once a day. He is pretty inefficient at moving the milk without the shield so he gets frustrated quickly. I have about 40oz to go for me to feel comfortable with my Mexico stash, and exactly a month to do it - time to get serious! 

Quirks & Habits: he wants to be holding my finger while falling asleep, and grabs at the skin on my chest while he's in the carrier or cuddling. He is such a cuddle bug, although he doesn't sleep soundly if he's sleeping in arms or next to me (or anywhere, for that matter; he's very squirmy and grunty in his sleep). 

Firsts: we took Winston to his first wedding and he was a dream! Slept through the ceremony, flirted with the ladies, napped in the sling and never cried. We even kept him up past bedtime so we could enjoy the after party and he was smiling and cooing in his stroller. Amazing what a different baby he is these days! He also has taken his first stroller rides and likes the aprica but not so much the double stroller. He visited the beach for the first time and I left him with daddy for the first time (to go to a baby shower, it figures!). 

Weight: last I checked, he's well over 12lbs - yay! He's even getting little thigh rolls. Up to size 2 diapers (though they're still a little big). 

Activity: he's not rolling back to belly yet (thankfully, I'm not ready to stop swaddling!) and doesn't roll belly to back all the time. Still seems to enjoy tummy time, his bouncy seat and the rock n play. Still hates the car seat! He smile, talks and coos a lot, but hasn't given us a full-on belly laugh yet. 

Clothes: he's moved into 3-6m though the pants are often huge so we haven't packed up the 0-3 pants quite yet. Thankfully the weather is turning so he's able to start wearing his cute hoodies and long sleeve onesies. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's ok if you don't love it all the time

I went in for Winston's two month checkup a few weeks ago, scheduled with precision to allow me enough time to run through the Starbucks drive-thru after dropping London off at preschool and still arriving ten minutes early (a feat that never happens with two young kids and a chronically late husband). After the standard weight check (11'10 WHAT WHAT!!) and brief questions with the nurse, our pediatrician greeted me the way I imagine she greets old friends. She's warm and candid and actually remembers stuff about me and my kids. We complimented each other's hair (hers, darker and mine, shorter) and talked about our parents. 

And then, she asked how I was doing. Not in a "postpartum depression checklist" sort-of way, but in a genuinely concerned way that is a rarity for me to hear as a new mom of two. I told her the truth - that I was OK - and quickly, guilt overtook me for not giving a canned response about how full my heart was with this new baby, so I added in that Winston was sleeping pretty well at night, so I had a lot to be thankful for. Her response was like a breath of fresh air for my weary mama soul: "just because you have a lot to be thankful for doesn't mean you have to be happy all the time." 

Winston is a tough baby, I'll be the first one to tell you that. But being a mom is tough even when your baby is "easy". And being a mom to two is even tougher. Kudos to all of you who do this three or four times because I just don't think I'm cut out for that. Yet I know that I am blessed to be at home with my littles, while other mamas have to tear their hearts into pieces each morning at the daycare drop off. And as the sleepless nights with the newborn turn into early morning wake up calls with the toddler, and as they take turns crying (or sometimes, in unison, for a lovely little chorus of ear torture), and as the laundry and dishes continue to pile up... It's hard not to let my mind wander about whether it'd be easier to go back to work. To wonder if maybe I wasn't made to be a SAHM. To feel so guilty about not enjoying every little waking moment with these tiny terrorists. 

I know in my heart (especially after I've had a cup of coffee) that I love staying home with these two and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But now, when things get really tough and I feel guilty for not fully appreciating the fact that I get to be a SAHM, I'm trying to remind myself of this:

Just because you know it's a blessing doesn't mean you always feel blessed by it. 

And that's ok. And it's ok to want to throw in the towel or start drinking at 2 some days. It doesn't make me a bad mom; on the contrary, I think it makes me a better one, because it forces me to take a minute and breathe deep and not strangle anyone. A day where I don't strangle anyone? I call that a win. 

So, for those of you who are struggling to be thankful for staying home with your kids - whether you're willing to admit it or not - it's ok. Tomorrow will be better and one of those little psychopaths will ask to cuddle with you on the couch, and you'll thank your lucky stars you get to spend your days looking after them.