Monday, November 27, 2017

Mercy Bend and Breathe Me Back to Life

You could plant me like a tree beside a river
You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild
And I would blossom like a flower in the desert
But for now just let me cry

Our hearts are broken. In a two month's period we were blessed with an unplanned pregnancy, went through all the emotions landing in a place of gratefulness and joy, and ultimately learned that our precious child's heart stopped at 8 weeks, before we would get to watch him grow.

You could raise me like a banner in the battle
Put victory like fire behind my shining eyes
And I would drift like falling snow over the embers
But for now just let me lie

There have been tears, there was a month of uncertainty, prayers for a miracle, prayers for trust in God's great sovereignty and comfort, and prayers for patience in our sorrow.

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before you show me how to die

I have been torn, broken, molded. Refiner's fire. I am being healed. Patience in our sorrow. 

Set me like a star before the morning
Like a sun that steals the darkness from a world asleep
And I'll illuminate the path You've laid before me
But for now just let me be

Faith in joy is so easy. Faith in trials is hard but necessary. The faith of the Saints in trials is a path. St. Gerard, St. Philomena, St. Felicity, St. Perpetua pray for us. Mama Mary, most gracious advocate, wrap me in your mantle. "Whatever did not fit in with my plan did lie within the plan of God. I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God"

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die
No, not before You show me how to die

For a month my body did not know you were gone. Nausea, fatigue, food aversions persisted. And then the labor pains without the beautiful cries of life. But my little darling, we held your tiny body. I looked you in the eyes and I told you how much I love you. I marveled at the wonder of you and words of thanksgiving escaped my lips for the gift to cradle you in my hand. My fingers gently touched your arms and legs before we laid you to rest.  How I wish you were simply sleeping. The bassinet we bought you sits broken down and empty in our closet. Let me die to myself, oh Lord, for only your life in me can renew my spirit.

So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with me

"Thank God ahead of time." Do not let worry get in the way of the design of our merciful Father. We are heartbroken, but we are thankful for Bennett's life, for the opportunity to have him even briefly, for the prayers so many have poured out for us, and for the good we trust God does in all things and in all circumstances. Lord when your glory appears my joy will be full.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Chicken and Chard Spaghetti Squash Bowl

What? A cooking blog? I haven't done one of these in a long time, but I made a spaghetti squash bowl tonight that the whole family enjoyed. Even P-Rex ate some! Shoot, even Hubskie liked it, and he is not a squash fan.

Lately, I've had Zilla help me with preparing dinner and it has really helped with getting him to eat better. Pro tip...I try to get him involved in preparing the vegetables so he is more inclined to eat them. P-Rex is enjoying preparing his own dishes. We still need to work on his hygiene and mise en place before he gets to help with the real deal  (note pretend food tossed on the floor. When he was cutting his tomato, he decided he needed more room so he just tossed the other food on the floor).

I originally sat down to write this recipe for myself, but then decided to go ahead and put it on the blog in case others would like to try it out. I think it could be turned into a casserole, if you were preparing for more people, by increasing the amount of each ingredient and then broiling in a casserole dish rather than the squash bowls. 

The ingredients below were just the right amount for me, hubskie, and the two boys. 

Chicken and Chard Spaghetti Squash Bowls
5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch swiss or rainbow chard
1 white onion, diced
1 spaghetti squash
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (or however much you want) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 stick mozzarella string cheese, tear into strings 
olive oil
Lemon juice and/or lemon zest

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and clean out seeds. Brush olive oil on cut sides and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet cut/flesh side down. Bake for 45-50 minutes

2) While squash is baking, heat 2 tsp olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add cut chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper. Cook through

3) De-stem chard and discard stems (or freeze for later use). Tear chard into bite size pieces. Zilla helped with this part and was so proud of himself! He ate every bite of his chard tonight.

3) Once chicken is cooked, add onion. Cook until onion begins to soften, add garlic. Season with salt and pepper

4) Add chard to skillet, add 1/4 cup water and a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir occasionally and let chard wilt. Continue to stir for additional 3-5 minutes. season with salt and pepper (Blue apron taught me to season with salt and pepper at almost every step.) 

5) Remove squash and use forks to pull out the squash "spaghetti" strings. Add to skillet. Leave skin of squash in baking pan, skin side down to use as bowls. Stir to combine. Add lemon juice/zest to taste. I only added a few drops, maybe half a tsp. 

6) Divide mixture in half and add to squash skin bowls. Mix in Parmesan cheese. Top with strings of mozzarella cheese.

7) Place back into oven and switch oven to broil. Leave for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to bubble

8) Enjoy!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Month 12!!!! (And 13)

How old?
In true second child fashion, this poor kid didn't get a 12 month blog post.  You know, the big year milestone one?  Yup.  So today we are doing an oops guess I should round out the year post but really you are over 13 months now.

It has been so long since his 12 month appointment I forgot.  I think he was in the 75th for height and like the 30th for weight. 
He is mostly wearing 12 and 18 month clothes now

So much to cover and probably so much forgotten, but here are the highlights:
He started walking about 1 week before his birthday, and he hasn't looked back since.  This kid is almost  running now.  I love this toddler phase.  His little walk has earned him the new nickname of P-Rex

P-Rex (ok confession, trying to make the transition to his new nickname, sorry for the confusion.  Panini was his in utero nickname but now that he has a little personality starting to bud he has gained a new one + it fits so nicely with Zilla), is getting better at doing shape sorters.  Still does not identify the correct hole himself, but is getting better at doing more shapes than just a circle. 

He is still our little climber! Sometimes I am genuinely impressed with his skills; though also terrified.

He is able to throw and "kick" balls. 

He is eating so much better!! 

He is talking a little more.  Definitely has Momma, Dada, Bubba, Night night "na na", Hi "iiiii", and No down.  He also says "Doe" when Boots is around and I think he is saying dog.  When he is done with his meal, he will say "Da Doe" and move his hands to say all done.  He understands quite a bit and even follow simple commands like "go get the ball" "give bubba a kiss kiss" etc.  Speaking of which.  His kiss kiss is starting to develop into more of a kiss and less of a face lick, so that's nice.  He is pointing to things more and making kind of a yeaaa? noise as if he is asking what it is. He likes to make airplane and car noises and does rudimentary pretend play with cars and airplane toys.

Baby's Routine:
Typically he will wake around 6am. Unless he eats at like 4:30am, then he will go back to sleep until about 7 am ish.  Then he will stay awake until noon and then go down for a nap.  He seems to be napping well at school, but on weekends we usually end up doing a stroller run for his nap or I will nurse and hold him during his nap.  Then he's usually up until about 8pm and fairly reliably will become fussy right at 8 to let us know he is tired.  He is definitely not sleeping through the night reliably, but occasioanlly he give his momma a break. 

On weekdays, it feels like all he wants to do is nurse in the evenings, which still makes cooking and doing anything else a bit of a challenge.  But weekends, when he has more access to me throughout the day, nursing is more evenly spread.

Favorite Food:
It may still be milk, BUT he is so much better at eating solids too.  He likes pasta, meat pies (a turkey mini meatloaf with butternut squash), and cheese the most I think.  But he is usually willing to try anything now, as long as you don't try to feed it to him. He definitely prefers independence in the feeding department.  As much as I try, he does not seem to like avocado much.

Favorite Activity:
Gosh, I don't know.  He likes so much!  Maybe climbing? He really seems to enjoy things like puzzles and shape sorters more than Zilla ever did. He also enjoys being pulled around on the firetruck.

Favorite Toy:

Big changes:
The biggest change is that about two weeks after his birthday, I decided to stop going to the daycare to feed him.  This was primarily because he started to have pretty bad meltdowns when I would leave in the afternoons and it was tearing me apart. I only cried a little on the last day going there. I am also only pumping twice a day now, so the excess milk has definitely gone down.  I made what I think will be my final milk donation, bringing the total donated to about 800 oz total + about 70 oz to a friend.

Zilla and P-Rex
Still love watching these two play together.  There are more arguments with increased fighting over toys.  On the other hand, they have started to really play together recently.  Like, they will disappear into Zilla's room for 30 minutes and I will just hear squeals and laughs as they enjoy their time just being brothers without momma there setting rules.  Of course, I peek in every now and then to make sure they are safe, but I like giving them their space.  It is the very sweetest.  I love that P-Rex is walking now, because now he and Zilla can walk around holding hands, which is the cutest!

And some more just because pictures:

We had a Puppy Paw-ty for P-Rex's birthday and had a wonderful time with friends and family!

 I don't know why people advise not going big on a first birthday party.  Obviously this kid is going to remember everything from that day:

It has been the most incredible year!  I have seen our first son grow and love in a way that makes me melt, I have gained a second son who truly lights up our life with his optimism and charm, and hubskie and I have grown as parents and as a couple.  P-Rex, we love you so much!  I can't wait to see what year two brings!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

10 & 11 Months

How Old?
10 months

11 months

When he went for his 9 month check up he was 50th percentile for both

Baby Clothes
He is mostly in 12 month clothing now.  I squeeze him into some of my favorite 9 month outfits still

Panini has been hitting all kind of milestones the past two months
Fine motor - He can fairly accurately hammer objects.  We have a little ball and hammer toy he likes to play with.  I usually give him a little foam block rather than the wooden hammer the toy comes with because I figure he is less likely to smash a finger that way.  He is becoming more and more accurate with placing a ball or circle shape in small holes.  He can try to put other shapes into holes but is still learning the concept of "wiggle wiggle" to get it in there right. He has also started trying to stack objects and every once in awhile he is successful.  He thinks it is more fun to knock things over though.

Gross Motor - Panini is able to stand up independently and has even taken a clumsy step or two. If there isn't something for him to catch himself on, he will fall after attempting his steps.  He enjoys toys that he can push and walk behind. He is great at climbing up stairs as well as crawling up slides. Actually, he just generally LOVES climbing on everything.  Zilla was never much of a climber so this is an adjustment for us.

Communication:  He is understanding more commands and will sometimes respond to our requests, though he is a bit stubborn. He understands no no, dance, milk, our names, kiss, and clap.  He will sometimes use the sign for milk but usually he will just bite me when he is ready to eat.  When he is upset he will start to say Mmmm Mmmmm.  Which I like to think is him asking for momma, but I'm pretty sure it is him asking for milk.  He can wave hello but doesn't do it often.  He likes playing hide and seek games like peekaboo.  He can give the messiest kisses when we ask him for one.
He is also making sound associations.  His favorite is to make the vroom vroom noise for a car.

Cognition:  His problem solving skills seem to be developing well. I watched him figure out the safe way to go down a step all by himself.  I love watching his little brain tinkering away as he figures out the world.  He started to enjoy the "drop" game quite a bit, particularly if it means dropping his food so the dog gets to eat it and he doesn't have to.  I don't know where this falls in fine motor and cognition, but he is starting to play simple games with rules like "toss".  He will roll and do the cutest little attempt at throwing a ball back and forth with Zilla and I

Non developmental milestones
Panini now has 6 teeth!

Most excitingly, Panini is no longer the baby amongst the cousins.  We welcomed sweet Poppyseed this month!

Baby's Routine:
The daycare apprently still tries to stick to a routine.  At home, we stick to, hey Panini what do you want to do right now?  Oh you want to nurse 3 times in 5 hours, okay that's cool.  Usually, I have found on the weekends he does best with one really good nap around noon and maybe another catnap in the afternoon. Many of his catnaps take place in the car or a carrier, because that's the life of a second child.

 Nightime is getting better!  Some nights I still wake up 2-3 times with him, but usually he will only wake once around 5am or 6am and go back to bed after for a few more hours.

Favorite Food
Even if his favorite is still breastmilk.  This kid is finally willingly eating some solid foods!  The first thing he decided wasn't completely evil to eat was yogurt. He is most happy with eating bananas, apples, and peaches.  He has also eaten squash and sweet potatoes pretty well.  Since the last post we started feeding therapy because his pediatrician was concerned about his lack of interest in eating.  The therapist recommended we scratch the whole baby lead weaning thing with this kid and go back to purees.  We did this for a while and he is now eating mashed food as well as uncooked apples and peaches.  I am still having him feed himself rather than using a spoon, because he gets very angry if I come at him with a spoon.

Favorite Activity
Probably climbing or riding on his brother's fire truck or other riding toys

Favorite Toy:
Cars, for sure

Big changes:
Him eating!  I think this has contributed to his improved sleep habits. 

Zilla and Panini
These two are still the best of friends.  Though they have more "disagreements" these days.  Panini will even get a little fed up with some of Zilla's antics at times.  Usually when Panini is tired or hungry and Zilla is (in his words) "detracting" him.  But, other than a few little buttons being pushed, Zilla loves teaching Panini new things.  Whenever Panini does something new, Zilla will say "I taught him that" and he is always the first to point out a new milestone.  He likes to tell people that Panini can walk and talk.  He told me that Panini has said the words Zilla and duck.  He just love his brother so much.

And as always, more pictures, because I just can't stop taking them!