Monday, January 23, 2012

Roly Poly!

Look who learned to roll herself over this weekend!  I put her on her back on the floor, turned around, and when I looked back she was almost all the way over to her tummy (just with one arm pinned underneath).  By the time I got my phone to try to take a picture, she had done it.  (See triumphant photo above.)

And then she wouldn't stop.  Here are a few more shots from her practice rolling session.

Since Jillson didn't roll over until she was 6 months old (and I think Madelyn was similar), I wasn't expecting this so soon from Bronwen.  What amazed me is that she nailed it so quickly.  I remember her big sisters practicing flinging their legs around and getting frustrated for days and weeks at a time.  But Bronwen, she did it once, looked around, and started rolling all the heck over the place. Go, baby, go! 

It's a long video, but worth it for anyone obsessed with baby development.  (Okay, that would be me and my mother.)  The video was shot only a few minutes after she had taught herself to roll over for the very first time. I love her!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cocktail of the Month: Pina Colada

If you think last month's cocktail sounded too complicated to try (it really isn't!), then you will love this one. No rocket science here, nor no recreation of the wheel. Just simple yumminess.

There are only three things in a proper pina colada: rum, coconut, and pineapple.  

Most recipes favor pineapple juice, but I find this too sweet.  I decided to use pureed, fresh pineapple and loved the result.  (I did not strain the puree, so technically this is a pina non colada, or something like that.)

For the coconut, you are looking for "cream of coconut." Not coconut juice or coconut milk or coconut cream.  Rather than scouring the Thai or Indian or Ethnic aisle of your grocery store, head to the "mixers" section instead, where the margarita mixes and such are.  There you should find several cream of coconut options, none of which (I am sorry to say) are low-cal or low-fat.  At least fat derived from coconuts is a relatively healthy fat... But I digress.  I opted for a brand with a squeeze bottle so that storing leftovers would be easy. (It is.)

I've used both dark rum and golden rum recently. I'm sure light rum would also be just smashing.

Finally, I did use my margarita blender for these, which is a fancy blender that first shaves the ice before blending it in with whatever you have in your blender. I highly recommend shaved ice for a pina colada, but if you don't have a way to shave your ice, you can easily use a regular blender, or even just shake your ingredients and serve on the rocks. The cocktail is so yummy that you needn't hold back on trying it due to lack of shaved ice.

Pina Colada
Makes 1 large serving

1 cup fresh pineapple, finely diced
2 oz. cream of coconut
1.5 oz. rum

Place the pineapple, cream of coconut, and rum in the blender. Fill the hopper on your ice shaver with ice, make sure your settings are for one serving, and let 'er rip.  (If you are using a standard blender, my guess is that you would be need about 1 cup of ice. You might need to play with it to get the correct proportions.)

Can easily be made virgin style (which I did for Madelyn and Jillson) simply by substituting something else for the rum. Any juice or water would be fine; I happened to use milk. Jillson loved it; Madelyn prefers her fresh pineapple unadulterated.

I think pina coladas are a great choice for the dead of winter, providing a sweet, little, tropical escape in a glass. Ahhhhhhhh!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Four Months

Check out Little Miss Personality up there. Can you believe it? Here I am with my monthly photo shoot pics for Bronwen Eliza. Never mind that I feel as though I only just posted her three-month photos yesterday. Time is flying!

I've been working on a scrapbook layout that has three pictures of me on it (bear with me, there is a point here): one when I was 15, one when I was 25, and one when I was (am) 35. This last picture, taken in the hospital when Bronwen was born, looks like it was four years ago to me and also just four days ago. Time is a wacky, wacky thing.

The part of me that feels that hospital photo was taken only four days ago barely can grasp how quickly our babies grow and change and become something totally different from what they were only a few months ago. It was just a few days ago (right?) that I was holding her, teeny weeny, in my arms. When she did nothing but nurse and snooze.

Now, suddenly, she has personality.

As I sit here at my desk typing up this post, Bronwen is on the floor of our bedroom, lying on the "baby gym" mat, the same one her sisters used.  She is telling a puffy fabric rainbow and a jinglebelled sunshine thingy just who is in charge.  She is rolling around.  (This is reminding me that earlier this week I laughed hard when I heard, from the other room, the Gutsy Dad say to Bronwen, "That's right, baby, you kick that flower's ass!" Thankfully no big sisters were around to repeat that one.) But she does love to bat at her toys with her hands and feet. She fingers the crinkly ones in deep concentration. And she loves to growl at them.

She responds to her name and grins in delight when you look at her. She weighs 13 pounds and 13.5 ounces, so she has not yet doubled her birthweight.  Close, though.

Couldn't resist including this one. Love that belly.

I wish you a wonderful weekend,
The baby-besotted Gutsy Mom

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Take Twelve

1. Buddha baby

 2. A new journal

3. Zephyr can't be bothered 

4. Thank you note time 

5. Coffee break 

6. Dinner recipes 

7. Blog reading 

8. Ignoring small messes 

9. Happy place 

10. Tilly can't be bothered 

11. Another unusual nap 

12. Worried her playdate might be cancelled

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Job Offer

Last week, I was offered a job.  

There I was, flitting back and forth between making dinner and setting the kids up with crayons and paper, doing dishes, feeding the dogs, and putting Christmas decorations away, when d-d-ding! a new email made itself known in my inbox. 
The email was the job offer.
I will not lie: I immediately felt awesome. Someone wants to make use of my skills and my brain and my talents and my time and they want to pay me for it! No longer shall I be a mere scullery maid/chauffeur/disciplinarian/butt-wiper! I almost told the kids right then and there (but they wouldn't get it), called my parents, emailed the friends & colleagues who acted as references and cheerleaders during the job application process. But I didn’t. Though I wanted to share the news right away, I just cracked a smile and returned to my maid, I mean, maternal duties. I decided to tell my husband first. (Which I did, once we finally got a moment to ourselves. He was appropriately psyched, delighted, congratulatory.)
While I was waiting for him to come home, I continued my everyday chores feeling slightly more awesome by the minute. It has been five and a half years since I have worked (for compensation), but apparently I'm still desirable. I've still "got it." Go me!
Nevertheless, that feeling of bad-assery (to borrow a phrase) lasted, at max, about fifteen minutes, after which Bronwen stirred from her nap. When I went to her, she stared at me--a concentrated stare--and grinned. My heart soared and then it melted.  It practically floated with happiness. And then, with little warning, my heart felt heavy, really heavy, as though it were soaked through with emotion beyond its saturation point and bearing many times its own weight. It was all I could do not to start bawling. (But the kids wouldn't get that either.)
Here’s why. In order to do this job, which (as you will see) is pretty much ideally suited for me at this point in my life and stage of motherhood, I will need to attend training for it. The training is in Texas and lasts four days. 

Bronwen won't be tagging along.
Listen. I know I will go to this training, and I know I will be fine. The kids will be fine. Whatever craziness I need to accomplish between now and then (warehousing the breastmilk) and whatever craziness I need to endure while I am there (pumping and dumping eight times a day), I know I can do it.
The rational, educated, feminist, gutsy part of me knows all this.

During story time last night, the Gutsy Dad read to the big girls, while I nursed and rocked Bronwen. This is often how it is in the evenings, and these full-family times at the closing of the day are precious to me always, but especially last night.  I admit that I stayed and rocked Bronwen long after her big sisters had gone to bed and long after Bronwen too had fallen asleep, not wanting to let go until absolutely necessary.
Each of us moms has to figure out the right balance between work and home, both in terms of what our ideal parenting plan is and in terms of what makes sense or is feasible for our families financially. I know plenty of parents who work part or full time only weeks after their kids are born and they all (parents and kids alike) turn out fine. I know this first hand.
I also know I am extremely fortunate that I have not had to go back to work sooner than this. And I know that getting back to a state of employment will be very, very good for me. 
Further, I have no problem arranging childcare for Bronwen and whomever else needs it when I am here in town and will be working. 
But I am dreading those four days away. Sounds silly I know, but I just cannot imagine being away from them at night, not coming home to them. The first time I spent a night away from Jillson was when Madelyn was born.  The first time I spent the night away from Madelyn was when Bronwen was born.  And that’s it, folks. This is part of the reason I must write this, I suppose--to work it all out--to talk myself into a place of acceptance regarding the mini business trip I will be taking.

Feel free to roll your eyes. 

Heck, maybe a few nights away from the kids would do me good.  Maybe a few nights away from me would do the kids good.  Maybe it would.  But sweet Bronwen?  Even her?
Oh, man.
Then there’s this. I've been thinking this, too:
How in the hell does my husband ever survive his RLBTs, when I cannot even fathom four days?

Ah, it is just that my heart hurts thinking about being away from the kids, mostly Bronwen, for that long a time. Not because I think I can't do it, but because I think it signifies--in my heart--a breaking away from my kids. A breaking away from this time of pure motherhood.
What’s a soon-to-be working part time mom to do? Figure it out and move on. 
Be gutsy. Feel the part in your heart that is breaking, and do it anyway.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This New Glimpse

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life --

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting, right in this room, when you turn around?

-- William Stafford

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Move More Eat Well 2012

I've been spending little bits of free time in the past few days setting up the crafty side of some of my 2012 projects. 

Here's a look at the notebook I'll be using for my Move More Eat Well class.

Album cover:

Album spine:

Here's what the inside cover looks like. On the left I've got a tarted-up version of the first five weeks of my training plan for easy access. (After these five weeks are up, I can "archive" the schedule in a page protector in the notebook, and a new schedule will go on the inside cover.)

Here's a close-up of the first five weeks of my training plan. Underneath it is the schedule for my YMCA and the full Hal Higdon training plan off of which I've based my own schedule.

Title page:

I've already made two more spreads in this album, but they are not ready for sharing. Well, the pages are ready for sharing, but I am not ready to share them.

School starts again tomorrow, so I can begin to return to my regular routines. We've had just enough vacation, and I feel refreshed and ready to get back to "normal."