Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No-Cook Overnight Oatmeal

I've been on the hunt for new breakfast ideas recently. I'm getting a little tired of our usual rotation. We tend to eat a lot of eggs, some waffles, french toast, and whatever else I can dig up. But I find it really difficult to be creative in the mornings before I've had my coffee. And I can never seem to get a cup of coffee until the Eskimo has eaten. So I'm caught in this horrible breakfast catch 22. Or I was, until I found a recipe for Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal on Pinterest. Bless you Pinterest, bless you.

So far I've made the blueberry maple one and the apple cinnamon recipe. Both were delicious. Though I felt like there was way too much cinnamon in the second. Gave the Eskimo a little rash on his face where he smeared it and the taste was overpowering. I also used frozen blueberries as that was all we had and it turned out just fine.

Anyway, just a quick post to share a delicious breakfast idea that you can make the night before! Brilliant!

Monday, April 16, 2012

More Discovery Bottles

I've been experimenting with some more discovery bottle options. Some of my inspiration was obtained here and some of it came from the materials I have around the house. While digging through my craft supply cabinet I discovered I had a lot of baby oil. I think some of us was given to us at the Eskimo's baby shower over two years ago and some of it I purchased for activities. Regardless, none of it had ever been opened and I decided to do something with it. One of the bottles I made is filled with baby oil, glitter, a couple drops of food coloring, and some plastic beads. I wasn't really thinking when I put the food coloring in there. It was really late last night, and I had intended on dying the oil. However, food coloring and oil don't mix. But what ended up happening was way cooler. When you shake the bottle, not only does the glitter go all over the place, but the food coloring separates into tiny little droplets in the bottle. And because the oil is thick, the glitter takes a nice long time to settle. I love it. :) FYI, the glitter is silver, so all the green you see in there is the food coloring. I also have lucked out because my sister in law uses these tiny water bottles and has agreed to give them to me when they're empty. We use reusable water bottles in our house, so I would have had to go out and spend extra money otherwise. Score!

The second one I made was inspired by the link above. I actually got the Eskimo to help me with this one. We got out the pipe cleaners, I cut them up, and he put them in the bottle. He loves being a helper, so this was right up his alley. Also good for his fine motor skills, even if he did manage to get some of the dog and cat hair in the bottle with the pipe cleaners. :) Then, we went over to Teacher Heaven and bought a magnet wand for $2.09. Check it out:

Neat, right? This was, of course, completely fascinating. He experimented with sliding the magnet up and down, and pulling it away suddenly to watch the pieces fall. He also experimented with using the front of the magnet, the side of the magnet, and the end of the magnet. I think he got the most out of this one because he was involved from the beginning. He even helped me drink the water yesterday. :)

Before you ask, yes, I hot glued the lids on. I'm hoping to keep these discovery bottles (and these and these) around for a while. I'm slowly adding to our collection with an end goal of having enough to rotate them daily over a 2 or 3 week period. Hopefully that will keep the Eskimo from getting too bored with them. Now that we have a magnet wand, I hope to do many more magnetic discovery bottles. Fun!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ideal vs Reality Mommy

I have this picture in my head of the ideal mom that I want to be. Some days I get close to that ideal. Many days I do not. Ideal Mommy cooks a unique breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day with organic fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Reality Mommy sometimes makes mac'n'cheese out of a box (at least it's organic!) and is not above throwing a handful of Cheerios on my son's highchair tray for breakfast. Ideal Mommy does all the dishes, the laundry, cleans the house, and is generally perfect. Reality Mommy does some of the dishes, a little laundry, checks Facebook and then goes outside to play with the Eskimo. Ideal Mommy is happy! And cheerful! And enthusiastic! Reality Mommy needs another cup of coffee. Ideal Mommy showers everyday, applies makeup, and looks fantastic. Reality Mommy is still in her pajamas.

Sometimes I torture myself with Ideal Mommy. But mostly, I keep this image around as a goal. I never expect myself to achieve perfection in all arenas at the same time. We all know those moms who seem like Ideal Mommy. They have a spotless house, are masterful chefs, throw beautiful parties, and always look gorgeous. Maybe they know something I don't. Perhaps they've latched onto the secret of Motherhood and someone forgot to send me the memo. We all do it to some degree, but I try not to measure myself against other mothers too much. I look to my child to see how I'm doing. He's happy. He's thriving. He's having fun. I must be doing something right.

What. Haven't you ever seen mac'n'cheese out of a box with frozen veggies?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bathtub Painting

As the Eskimo gets older and more independent, I'm having to work harder to find things to entertain and challenge him everyday. Because when he's bored, all of us have a miserable day. For some reason, he seemed to really be missing Grandma and Grandpa today. Unfortunately, they live halfway across the country, so a quick visit is not really an option. We called them and chatted for a few minutes, but this didn't quite satisfy the Eskimo. So I needed a distraction. And a good one at that.

I decided to try something I've been meaning to do with him for a while now: painting in the bathtub. First, I got him really excited about it while I gathered the materials. I asked him if he wanted to paint (yes!). Then I asked him if he wanted to paint in the bathtub (YES!!). I told him that he was going to get to paint all over the bathtub and the walls and he started getting really excited. I had him help me pick out the paints and the paintbrushes and by this time, he was practically tearing down the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs. We went up to his bathroom, stripped him down, put him in the tub, and gave him his paints. I gave him no instructions or guidance. I let him do whatever he wanted to do with this one.

We put the paint in separate bowls, although next time I will likely just pour it on the floor of the tub for him. :) I also provided him with brushes, but the only thing he really used them for was painting himself.

Lots of finger painting. He LOVED spreading the paint on the walls and layering the colors. 

Don't you love how he managed to paint a heart shape on his tummy?

Sorry, all my good, smiley photos of him involved a lot of full frontal nudity and I'm not that liberal. ;)

As you can imagine, this was a MESS. But here's where I get bonus points for efficiency. It was time for me to clean that bathtub anyway, so I figured we might as well make an even bigger mess before I bothered. Also, we have one of those lovely shower head hose attachments that make cleanup a breeze. We actually got it long before the Eskimo came along so I could give the dogs baths in the tub in the winter. :) The other thing you can use for cleanup is your diaper sprayer if your bathroom is set up properly. The toilet with our diaper sprayer attachment is right next to this tub, so it would be super easy to spray it down. 

Anyway, this was a TON of fun and the Eskimo loved it. If you do this with your little ones, be sure to post pics on my Facebook page! I'd love to see them!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Goodbye Wisdom

As stated in a previous entry, I had my wisdom teeth removed this week. Let me start by saying this is an event I have dreaded since high school, when it seemed all my peers were having their wisdom teeth removed. Mine have always seemed to be fine, and I am of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. But sure enough, here I am, a couple months shy of 30 (!!!), and I get a big old cavity in one of my wisdom teeth. I opted to have all four removed at once so I'd only have to go through this whole ordeal one time.

My appointment was for 8:30 in the morning. I was instructed to stop eating and drinking 8 hours before my surgery. I chose midnight as my cutoff and as a result found myself chugging massive quantities of water at 11:45 at night. I have this really weird thing about being dehydrated and the thought that I wasn't allowed to drink water or I might DIE during surgery was freaking me out.

My alarm went off bright and early the next morning and I dragged myself out of bed to turn on the shower. Showering in the morning is this super-rare luxury for me these days and I was kind of excited at the prospect. But apparently I was being punished for something because our hot water heater decided to take a crap. Which meant, on the morning of my surgery, I was forced to take a COLD shower. Not happy.

We arrived nice and early for my appointment, just the way I like it. I was pretty sure I was about to die from dehydration at this point, but no one else seemed concerned. I was ushered into a room and set up in a chair where they took my blood pressure and gave me some laughing gas. The nurse asked me if I'd ever had laughing gas before and I said no. Now I know why I've always turned it down. It just feels wrong. Like you're floating a couple inches above your body, but in a bad way. Also, it smells funny. But they didn't actually give me an option here, and since I was on the brink of death from dehydration, I didn't argue.

Things started to get fuzzy after this. I remember a rather large nurse telling me how great I was doing. All I could think was, yeah, I'm doing a great job of laying here. I should get a gold medal for this. The other half of my brain was furiously plotting my escape route. Another nurse came in and told me again how well I was doing, and that they were right there with me. Um, where else would they be? I know this was supposed to be comforting, but when you're floating two inches above your body and are severely dehydrated, you kind of just want everyone to shut up so you can concentrate on how to escape. Am I right?

At some point the oral surgeon came in to put an IV in my arm. This was the reason they had given me the laughing gas: because they didn't think I could handle getting an IV without it. Really? I don't know what kind of people they see on a daily basis, but I'm not that scared of needles! He too told me how well I was doing and I finally resigned myself to the fact that there was no escaping this situation. The nurses and the doctor were too efficient. Too quick with their needles and blood pressure cuffs. The last thing I remember is a nurse putting a heart monitor on my finger.

Next thing I knew, I was sitting in a chair in some sort of recovery area with my husband and the Eskimo sitting next to me. My cheeks were stuffed with gauze and I really WAS about to die of dehydration. I somehow managed to communicate this fact through the gauze and the haze of the anesthesia and a kindly nurse brought me a bottle of water. I immediately spilled about 70% of if down my front, but I did manage to get some in my mouth. The Eskimo must have been totally freaked about by the way I looked because he didn't even try to steal my bottle of water. 

It's been a couple days, and I guess I'm recovering well. My husband took two days off work, partly for me, and partly because he had to replace our hot water heater. Thank goodness he's so handy since we just spent our life savings to have four teeth removed from my head. I think the best part is that I got to laze around in bed for TWO DAYS with no feelings of guilt. I didn't spend the entire two days in bed, but I could have! And I managed to finish up my schoolwork for the semester before my surgery, so there's been nothing hanging over my head. I guess it hasn't been quite as awful as I was anticipating, but I do kind of miss my teeth.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Medications and Breastfeeding

I want to share with you an invaluable resource for moms, especially breastfeeding moms. Kelly Mom has time and again answered questions for me that my doctors couldn't. Believe it or not, ladies, a lot of doctors don't know a whole heck of a lot about breastfeeding. In fairness, for most doctors, it's not their specialty. But every time I've had to go into a doctor's office and have required a prescription over the last two years, I've needed to ask if the medication is safe to take while breastfeeding. Cue the blank stare and the overly-cautious "no".

For example, I am getting my wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday. I had a consult with the oral surgeon last week and he gave me a list of prescriptions. I immediately asked if they were safe to take while breastfeeding. He said no, and that I should plan on pumping and dumping for an additional 3-4 days after I stopped taking the medication. He said the narcotics transfer into breast milk and that's bad for the itty-bitty guys. I told him my nursling wasn't itty-bitty, and that he was going to be two. He had a look of undisguised shock, and stuck to his original answer. I tried to get additional details out of him, but he was in a rush and headed out.

Okay then, time to turn to the wisdom of the internet. I took the list of medications prescribed to me and looked them up on Kelly Mom. All of them were rated as relatively safe. In fact, all but one were rated as completely safe to take while breastfeeding. The narcotic prescribed was rated as "moderately safe". This is where you need to make a judgement call and decide how much you trust your doctor. Honestly, I don't know my oral surgeon. I've spent a grand total of about five minutes with him. I'm far more willing to put my trust in the collective wisdom of Kelly Mom than I am in him. Maybe I'm being stupid, but I've not been steered wrong by Kelly Mom yet. And due to bad experiences and advice I've received in the past from various doctors in regards to breastfeeding, I hesitate to take them at their word. I will likely take a day or two off from breastfeeding and hope that I don't need the narcotics any longer than that. But I doubt I will wait the full 3-4 days after I stop taking them to start breastfeeding again. I haven't had to pump in a really long time and I'm not keen on dusting the old breast pump off now.

Before you start to feel hopeless about finding a good doctor, I would like to say that my GP has been awesome. I found him about a year ago, after having gone through multiple doctors, and he has been unbelievably supportive. He has told me multiple times how wonderful he thinks it is that I'm still breastfeeding my son and always relays stories of how his wife is still breastfeeding their child, who is of a similar age to the Eskimo. He has always been knowledgable and has gone the extra mile to find medications that are safe for lactating mothers.

The point of this post is not to convince you that you shouldn't listen to your doctors. You should. But you should also be an advocate for yourself and your child. Ask LOTS of questions. And if they can't answer them, do some research and come back and ask again. I plan on talking with the oral surgeon again when I go in on Tuesday. If nothing else, maybe I can convince him that he should offer alternative pain relief for lactating moms. Maybe the next one who comes through won't have to go through all of this. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Keep them busy

If you have a toddler, or have ever had a toddler, you probably know the key to keeping them happy is keeping them busy. Like I said in a  previous post, sometimes household chores are the perfect way to occupy a toddler. We had a repairman out to our house today to fix some trim that had some pretty severe water damage. The Eskimo was fascinated by this stranger with a tool belt and a saw. Of course, he wanted to help, but that wasn't really conducive to the repairman safely completing his work in a timely manner. Plus, I recognize that while I think my child is adorable and I love having him "help" me with tasks, strangers probably don't want a toddler underfoot while they're trying to get their work done. As a compromise, I got out the Eskimo's tools, and let him "repair" a 2 by 4 at a safe distance. This allowed him to watch the repairman without having to be underfoot. 


Letting your toddler help you with daily tasks is another way to keep them busy. I know this can be really annoying. Believe me, I know. But the Eskimo wants so badly to do whatever I'm doing and I have a feeling this eagerness to help will not last long, so I'm taking advantage while I can. This morning I was stuffing the dogs' Kongs for the week. To do this, I fill them up with dog food and put a little plug of canned food on them and stick them in the freezer. I don't really enjoy this task, but it's something I have to do at least once a week. Normally I try to occupy the Eskimo with something else, but he wouldn't leave me alone today. I looked down at him today and realized there is absolutely no reason why he can't "help" me with this task. All he had to do was put kibble inside the Kongs. This was great fine-motor practice for him and the only real "danger" involved was the possibility of him eating some dog food. And if dog food is the most disgusting thing that goes in his mouth today, I'm going to call it a win.

Yes, it's easier to do it yourself. It always takes longer to do something when there's a toddler involved. I think that's written in stone somewhere. This is where it's important to remember that you're the grownup, and it's your job to teach the child (I have to chant this to myself sometimes). But if you don't give your toddler opportunities to practice, he'll never learn. One day, the Eskimo will be able to take over the task of stuffing the Kongs every week. Now if I could just get him to clean the bathrooms.....