2.29.2012

Two Months Down

Baby M turned two months old on Valentine's day. We shared Valentine's cards with each other, went to the pediatrician for a check up and a lightning fast shot in each leg, had Valentine's brunch at the diner and wondered how on earth time passes so quickly.

At two months old M is generally very happy.
If he cries he's either hungry, tired or wants to move. NOW!
If it's before 6pm, cries usually end very quickly, especially when Feeney comes running to save his baby.
After 6pm and it's fuss, fuss, fuss 'til bath time and yawns soooooo big and bed.
In his second month Mamie left to go back to Maine and momma and baby M fell into a nice daily routine but for a few days when M decided not to nap. Those were the days momma really needed a nap herself. We've done laundry together, gone for walks in the Bob, in the Bumbleride, with Feeney and without. We mastered front-facing in the Moby wrap, which Maddox loves for short periods, especially when helping make cookies for momma and brownies for dad. We saw a dusting of snow, watched the superbowl, took a 5 hour nap at dad's friend's house, went to the grocery store in his seat, to the commissary in the ergo, had a meltdown at the yogurts and nursed in the car. Baby M was a sound sleeper when momma had a bad cold, smiled big when dad came home from work one day and wooed the nurses at mom's doctor's office with his big blue eyes. We bought a used swing on Craigs List so M could help do laundry downstairs and sold most of his newborn diapers to a nice lady with a baby just wee bit more wee than baby M. We packed up the newborn clothes just before M turned two months and pulled out the next size to start trying out. Uncle Nate and PawPaw both came for short visits and baby M gave PawPaw a huge smile as he took him from his car seat, although he could have just been smiling at his favorite sleep sheep. M gave his favorite boat painting behind his nursing chair dozens of huge, gummy smiles, not once stopping to smile at momma. He started to enjoy the white puppies hanging from his swing, but showed more interest in the mechanics of the swinging arm of the seat. He sat in his bouncy seat a few times and dozed to sleep as momma and dad ate dinner in front of the TV, one finger gently bouncing the seat up and down. He had dinner at Cowboy cafe and was dream baby even after a 20 minute wait for a table and over an hour wait for burgers. He visited his daycare and wooed his Ms. Rifka with his big blue eyes. He spent an entire day with daddy visiting Great-Grandpa, Ana, Nola and Grandpa. He spent an entire evening with momma alone, and even swam in his tub and had a hair-washing without dad's help. He slept through at least half of the nights,  those other half leaving his momma and dad ripping out their hair with frustration. He emerged on the other end a little bit bigger, heavier and more interactive and began sleeping through the night again, whew. A day schedule started to emerge, even though things were still unpredictable from one day to the next. We always read stories before his morning naps; M quickly falls asleep to the sound of momma's voice, One Morning in Maine, Blueberries for Sal, the Ox Cart Man, Make Way for Ducklings to name a few....

It's clear that baby M's favorite things are still bath time, eating, playing on his mat, swaddles, naps and daddy.
Oh my, baby Maddox, look how you've grown!
Left: One Month & Right: Two Months

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2.28.2012

Tuesday Treats: Buffalo Chicken Wing Sandwiches

What? Chicken wings on a sandwich? What about the bones? I love a good chicken wing, but I can't eat them right now; they're really messy and it's hard to get wing sauce off my baby's head. That stuff stains! Plus, I kind of like to pull the skin off and just eat the chicken inside, licking my fingers at the same time to get the good sauce. It's all rather disgusting, totally unrefined and ya know, I'm really not even eating chicken wings by the time I'm done with them. Does anyone really "eat" wings? There's no meat there, it's more like sucking some sauce and chicken skin off a bone. I'm totally grossed out right now.

S and I were at a friend's house recently and everyone was eating wings while I watched on, nursing my baby and elbowing S to go grab me some celery sticks dipped in frank's red hot before they were gone, when it dawned on me, wings would be so much better if they were just meat on a bun. And so I give you shredded buffalo wing sandwiches. To be eaten off a plate, with a napkin on your lap rather than from a vat with a roll of paper towels at your side.
Shredded Buffalo Chicken Wing Sandwiches
6 large sandwiches

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, trimmed
1 bottle of Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce (~17oz)
1/2 packet of dry ranch dressing mix
6 large sandwich rolls
blue cheese, sliced
celery sticks & blue cheese dressing on the side

1. In a crockpot combine chicken, wing sauce and ranch dressing mix. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours until the chicken is cooked through

2. Using a fork, shred the chicken

3. Split and toast the rolls, pile with shredded chicken and top with sliced blue cheese

serve warm with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side. Yum!

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2.27.2012

It's Homies Time Again!

OMG how on earth did another year fly by already!? It's time again for Apartment Therapy's annual Homies awards!
We've been nominated again this year and if you're the voting sort, we'd love to have your vote.

I love the Homies because they always highlight so many awesome, new-to-me blogs, which always means an updated beehive loves blogroll too. I'm also excited to see some of my favorites nominated again this year too!

Which great blogs have I been missing during these past few months of poos and coos? What are your favorite new-to-you blogs?

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2.26.2012

The Last Big Project

...for now, that is.

As you all know, S is a pilot for the Navy. When we moved to Our Little Beehive two years ago, we thought we'd be staying for at least ten years. It seemed like things would just work out that S would be able to fly different planes during that time and we wouldn't need to move. Well the best laid plans often go awry, and not too long ago we learned that we may have to relocate in the fall. As you can imagine this resulted in a hard-stop on projects at our hive.

We'll know within the next couple months what the future will bring and at that time we'll either launch full-gear into get-ready-for-renters projects or we'll continue on with our own project wish list. Or maybe we'll buy a small summer house in Maine (baby M and I are working on convincing S of this one!) We're pretty sure we're staying put, but we're not counting our chickens yet.

It just so happens that our disappointing/exciting/unplanned news came just as we finished up a long-standing to-do from our list. We finished installing a fan in our upstairs bathroom. It was a project that we started right around Christmas when baby M was tiny (according to the photos in the post linked above) and finished up on New Year's Day. It's a project that had been on the list for two years, since we moved in two Christmases ago!

The fan ended up being a group project - S and my dad did the drilling and installation of the fan itself from the attic, down. S drilled for the electrical and then my dad did the actual electrical work while S was at work. S drilled through the brick of our house creating an opening to fit the fan's exhaust pipe by tracing a circle on the brick then drilling dozens of holes through the entire thickness of the brick all the way around the circle. He centered the opening under one full length of brick so that there wouldn't be a weak spot above the vent opening.
When he was done he was able to knock away the brick in the center, fit the exhaust pipe into the opening and then screw a exhaust fan cover in place.
We chose a white plastic cover that matches the exterior vent covers for our laundry and new bathroom downstairs. We thought it might be an eyesore, but it's not noticeable at all. It's not often we stand in the back yard looking up toward the roof....

S patched the ceiling in the bathroom around the new fan housing and around the new electrical box. I sanded where he patched and my mom touched up all the paint. We all enjoy being able to take a shower with the door shut and I am particularly fond of the windows that don't fog, condense and subsequently create little areas of icky moldy stuff to clean from the grills. 'Cause cleaning window grills is no longer high on the priority list when merely showering is my new daily challenge.

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2.21.2012

Traveling with One Momma, One Baby, One Dog and Cloth

I literally have two minutes to write a blog post right now. Baby M and I are visiting my parents for the end of my maternity leave (how on EARTH did we reach the end of my leave already?!?) and having six hands instead of two during the day is fabulous. Oddly enough the evening is just as hectic as at home since S and baby M have their special time in the evening and I'm usually off duty the second S takes off his boots and washes his hands.

Anyhoo, baby M, Feeney, my mom and I drove to Maine in one 14-hour long day. Baby M rocked. Right up until Hartford when we got stuck in traffic for maybe three minutes and that was just enough of not moving for him to melt-down and continue to melt until we reached a rest area where I quickly whipped him out of his seat and gave him the best milk dinner he's ever tasted.

 I did all sorts of planning in advance of our trip; everything from how to arrange our bags in the car, stuffing essentials into an overnight bag, making a dog-friendly hotel reservation near the half-way mark, and planning out how to diaper the boy in the days leading up to our trip. Yes, I planned how to diaper this bum.
We use cloth diapers for baby M and since we spend long stretches of time at the farm in Maine, we had to come up with a cloth plan.

I decided that since we'd be packing our car quite full with goods for one mom, one baby and one dog for a few week trip, we probably shouldn't travel with dirty diaper laundry. So the day before we left for Maine, baby M wore disposable diapers. The day before disposable day I stood in the diaper aisle completely paralyzed with the diaper options. I chose the same ones we'd been given at the hospital. Side note, poos STINK right away in disposable diapers, they do not in cloth. Eeeew

The day before we left baby M and I did our standard cloth diaper routine that we do every four days: when baby M wakes up we go downstairs, put the diapers in the washing machine, wet bag and all, set it to a quick wash and go up for M's breakfast. We always have his favorite, milk. After M eats, we go back downstairs and set the wash on a heavy duty cycle with an extra rise. Then we head up to play until M goes down for his nap. While he naps I hang the diaps out in the sun on our fabulous clothes line.
In the afternoon I stuffed all the diaps and packed them in the clean wet bag. For the rest of the day and for travel day baby M wore his disposable diapers.

When we reached Maine I stuck him in cloth, put all his clean diaps in a L.L.Bean bag next to the changing table, lined the trashcan in the nursery (my brother's old(?) bedroom) with the wet bag and went about our normal cloth routine. Easy peasy travel routine!

Baby M is totally taking over the farm - PawPaw Chris just installed a diaper sprayer in the toilet today, there's an outrageously big, bright borrowed swing in the living room and a vibrating lamb seat in the kitchen. Not to mention my brother's room is a full-on nursery like it was 35 years ago. Baby M rules the roost.

And now it's time for bath. I've waaaaaay exceeded my two minutes!

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2.15.2012

He Liked it at First

He liked it when daddy put on his special baby beehive onesie I made him, but it was a whole different story when momma tried to take a quick pic with her phone.








Minutes later he was fast asleep as I read "Ox Cart Man" to him. The boy has lungs, serious lungs, and he's not afraid to use 'em when he's tired.

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2.07.2012

So Sorry New England, Clam Chowder

New England v. Giants is one of my favorite match ups. Wait, let me revise. New England v. Giants is the only match up that piques my interest. I have no real allegiance to either team, but my Poppop, the only person in my family who cared a bit about pro sports, was a Giants fan, so I like them in his memory. But I'm from New England so I care an iota about them too, mostly because I have close friends who care, and who doesn't like to see their friends to be happy?

So I watched the Superbowl with S and a Giants-fan friend of his and ate guacamole to excess. During the game there was a little sharing going on at which point it was revealed that a certain member of S's family, who will remain nameless since it's unclear if I'm laughing at or with him, used to run off to his room in tears whenever the Redskins lost. At first wondered if at some point the Redskins ever won games, and then the Giants fan in the room said that his mood for the entire week used to be based on whether the Giants won. And then I was all "OMG baby M shield your ears and eyes, these men are nuts! Let's go play with sticks and jump in puddles like mom used to do for hours and hours on Sundays." Then Madonna came on and I was like, now THIS is a show I can watch. Thank you, Madonna, for showing that the black turtleneck can be sexy. Anyway, I have no idea where I was going with all of this except Madonna is still amazing, I still love Like a Prayer, grown men crying over pro sports is absurd and Giselle is kind of a twit.

I'd be sad for either losing team; the coverage of Bob Kraft's reaction to the loss kind of pulled at my heart a little since he's had such a tough year. I'm a sucker for old guys with gray hair, see Poppop above. So in honor of New England and to show our love for home despite their loss, we made New England clam chowder last night. Yum.
I used to dig my own clams for chowder, but since we live in the city now we had to settle for canned clams and wouldn't you know, they taste the same. Score one for the city dwellers among us. Or the landlocked.

Clam Chowder

2 onions, chopped
1 package center-cut bacon
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut to small cubes
12 cans clams, juice reserved (we used a mix of chopped and whole)
1 quart fat free half and half
salt & ground pepper

1. In a large stockpot or dutch oven (use one that has a cover) cook bacon until very crisp, but not burnt

2. Place bacon on a paper towel and set aside and drain all but a few tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan

3. Add chopped onions to the pot, stir to coat with the drippings, cover and sweat on medium low heat, stirring frequently until onions are translucent. Do not brown the onions

4. Add potatoes to the onions, cook on medium low, covered for 5 minutes, stirring frequently

5. Add clams and enough juice to just cover the potatoes, reserve any remaining juice. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, until potatoes are soft

6. Add half and half, turn heat to low and cook just until warm. Do not boil

7. Crumble the cooled bacon and add to the chowder

8. Add pepper and reserved clam juice to taste - the juice can be used to add salty flavor, but don't add so much as to water down the chowder

serve warm with blueberry muffins, the Maine way!

Chowder is always best the second day, so allow the pot to cool and refrigerate. Reheat slowly on medium low heat, stirring frequently, being careful not to boil

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2.02.2012

Seven Weeks of Wisdom: A Few of Our Favorite Things

I'm humming the favorite things song in my head right now - raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things.... Before baby M arrived I scoured the interwebs for advice and lists of newborn essentials. I didn't want a nursery full of totally useless stuff, especially when space is at a premium. So with the sage wisdom gained in seven whole weeks, I give you our favorite newborn stuff, in no particular order. No wait, I lie. This is definitely the favorite:
A white noise machine. We have a sleep sheep strapped to M's carseat for on-the-go, and we also have a regular, not marketed for babies, white noise machine that I bought years ago when I worked in an office that was right outside the kitchen, neither of which had doors. I'd heard waaaay too many personal conversations not made for my ears and needed to drown out the noise. It's been in storage for years. Now it's under Maddox's cradle. And it's our magic machine. M was in our room for about two and a half weeks and even though emotionally I wasn't ready to move my baby to his own room, we sucked it up, moved him, turned the white noise machine on and like a light switch we all started sleeping a couple more hours between feedings. Which brings me to the next favorite thing, the my Brest Friend nursing pillow.
I have this and the boppy and while I like them both, each in different instances, I prefer the mbf when I'm in a chair where I can't prop the boppy on the arm of the chair. Speaking of chairs, I love our hand-me-down glider with its new cushions from CJ's Cozy Cushions. Next up, Aden + Anais swaddle blankets.
S can do a mean swaddle with one of these blankets. We get baby M nice and tight then stick him in a fleece swaddler and he's cozy for the night in our chilly house. The 6 S's worked in our house: 5 from the book, and one S to carry them out. Speaking of down for the night, baby M sleeps in a bassinet, inside his cradle, inside his nursery. We use the bassinet that came with his Bumbleride Flite umbrella stroller.
I'm convinced this is the greatest umbrella stroller on earth and really the only one you'll need, if you're not a runner (we have a Bob for running). It weighs 11 pounds and folds up like a tiny little umbrella stroller, but it fits an infant car seat like a giant travel system. Travel systems take up a ton of trunk space and trust me, even with a big SUV you're going to wish your stroller folded up small. Or your big dog the size of a small pony will. I love me my Bumbleride Flite. And Feeney appreciates its space saving aspect. Totally not sexy and not something I love doing, but something I'm so grateful I bought before baby M arrived instead of waiting 'til I go back to work is my pump. Get one, get a hands free bra. If you're struck with mastitis twice you'll be happy you have it, 'cause when you're sick is not the time to go shop for one. Or when your baby is still hungry after hours and hours of cluster feeding starting at a few days old you'll be glad you have a couple extra ounces to give him (ahem, for someone else to give him while you go to bed) from the once daily pump you did after his morning feeding. And with feeding comes...we're hooked on bumGenius 4.0 diapers.
I'm also using FuzziBunz, but S prefers the Velcro on our BG, and since he changes all of baby M's diapers when he's home, BG it is. We also love our Bum Genius sprayer that we blogged about this fall. Exclusively breast fed babies' poos don't need to be sprayed before washing, but we do anyway to cut down on staining and to enable us to go longer between washings. I'm loving our clothes line too; the sun does wonders to get out all sorts of stains! On the subject of diaper changes, we love peepee teepees.
I bought them as a gag gift for S's stocking (with airplanes, of course) and they've turned out to be a changing table staple - they work as advertised perfectly. Our cloth wipes would work too (another love) but they seems to get kicked off much too easily. For play time I love our swing/bouncer combo and our activity mat. The seat on the swing is a removable bouncer and the swing itself has a nice LOUD white noise machine built into it. Give this boy rainfalls or babbling brooks with birds in the background over kiddie music any day! Plus it plugs in, so we can make it through dinner without batteries running out.
I made a slipcover to match Feeney's bed and our living room curtains for baby M's swing
Our Skip Hop Treetop Friends play mat is a huge hit with baby M. His favorite toys are the owl and the bird the the beads in its belly. We can get a good 20 minute play session out of him on this mat in the morning before the big yawns come out and we sneak off to his nursery for story time.
For bath time baby M's top pick is his bath bucket, the washPOD. We started using it as soon as his belly button fell off and from the first dip that boy could go from wailing and screaming to all coos and oohs in two seconds flat. It's magic. He kicks his legs around like he's still in the womb.
It's the cutest thing and definitely M's top pick of all the stuff on our list, well besides his pair of food sources, of course. And in a few years that thing will make the perfect car washing bucket. Are we missing out on any of the greatest baby things ever invented? Please, do tell what the babies in your life love!

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