Thursday, March 29, 2012

high chair hiccup

I've been on a quest for a high chair for some time now, and I knew two things:
1. I wanted a dark wood high chair, preferably something that would blend with our cherry dining room set.
2. I refused to spend full price on a chair that Mason won't use for long. (Although, these Stokke Tripp Trapps are pretty cool, huh? Too bad they're so expensive.)

I scoured Craig's List and the MOTH list serv, and I thought I had scored the deal of a lifetime. Another MOTH gave me a beautiful, wooden chair for free. Isn't it gorgeous?

I loved this chair. It's small and perfect for my tiny dining room. It's ornateness and charm fit our old house. And, a chair with a wooden tray is hard to find these days. The chair had some nicks and scratches, but I cleaned them up. Plus, did I mention that I got the chair for free?

Then I placed Mason in the chair, and it seemed a little rickety. The tray didn't fasten right. The safety strap was anything but safe. And the wood marker I used to cover the scratches rubbed off on Mason's clothes.

So, I went back to MOTH, and I found this Eddie Bauer chair for half off the retail price.


I like it. It's not as pretty as the first one, but it's sturdy and contains my big boy just fine. And, the wood still blends well with my dining room furniture.

Monday, March 26, 2012

wee fun

Several friends recommended the Wee-Sale in Annapolis, and it coincided with my spring break, so Mason and I braved the chaos and the crowds. I had never been to a consignment sale before, and I had no idea what to expect. We arrived right when it started and although Mason was tired and hungry, he was a trooper for the nearly two hours we were there (that I had to carry him either in the Ergo or my arms, as strollers weren't allowed).

The inventory was overwhelming, but then I discovered the awesome boutique section right as I was about to check out, and I doubled my loot in about five minutes. Love, love, LOVE designer brands at dirt-cheap prices!!

I spent $81 and I ended up with the following items:
  • 8 complete outfits (6 of them designer)
  • 1 sleeper
  • 3 onesies
  • 1 pair shorts
  • 3 swim shirts (2 different sizes)
  • 5 pairs of swim trunks (2 different sizes) (Mason really doesn't need this many swimming outfits, but they came as multi-packs, and I figured I'd need two different sizes to get through the summer.)
  • 1 bucket hat that matches one of the swim suits
With this being my first consignment sale, I have no idea how I did in terms of bargains, but I do feel like I got a lot for my money. This sale occurs twice a year, and I'll certainly return to stock up on fall and winter items. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

planting surprises

I recently bundled up my gardening partner and made him help me clean up the yard/garden. He is, after all, the reason for my neglect of it.


We found several welcomed surprises. My broccoli never died.


Neither did my lettuce.



My parsley is going crazy. Already. And enough starts of my sage, peppermint, thyme, oregano, and lavender lived, saving me from replanting those herbs.


Both hydrangeas survived! Will 2012 be the year when I finally see beautiful blue blossoms?


Happy spring!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

solid struggles

Mason turned six months this past Saturday, and the day involved something we had all been waiting for: the introduction of rice cereal. My big boy had been watching Brad's and my every bite for months. He reaches for our food and water bottles. He opens his mouth and smacks his lips when we eat our cereal in front of him each morning. I never expected feeding Mason solids to be difficult. I anticipated that he'd take right to it like a natural.

But, he hasn't, and I'm starting to get frustrated.

Mason opened his mouth for the first bite or two of the very first attempt, but since then, has stubbornly clamped his lips shut and turned his head away from me. I've tried feeding him rice cereal when he's very hungry (no nursing), semi-hungry (1/2 of a normal nursing session), and not that hungry (full feeding via nursing). At my pediatrician's recommendation, I've tried to make mealtime fun by letting him hold/play with the spoon (the one with the cereal on it and an extra--all under supervision of course...spoons can be dangerous!) and stick his hand in the bowl. I've made choo-choo train, airplane, and gargling noises to get him to open up his mouth. I've taken bites of his cereal and exaggerated its yumminess. When he falls for my tricks and I manage to sneak in a bite, he gets mad, spits it out, and tries to turn away. At this point, I'm scared of turning him off to solid food completely. Even though he's six months old, maybe he's just not ready yet.

Fellow mamas, any tried and true tricks that have worked for you in similar situations? It's been four days now (eight feeding sessions). My gut tells me that I just need to stick with it. But if you have a magic technique, I'd love to hear it.

Also, my pediatrician advised feeding Mason foods in the following order (after rice cereal): all green veggies, all yellow/orange veggies, fruit. I understand her reasoning in saving the good, sweet stuff for last. But she also told me that I need to get Mason excited about food and make the feeding sessions positive experiences. I doubt it's solely the taste/texture of rice cereal that's turning him off. (He sucks down gross medicine and vitamins, from a dropper, like they're candy!) But doesn't it make sense to feed him something sweet and good, that he really likes, so he'll eagerly anticipate it? Or will I be making things worse in the long run by catering to his sweet tooth early on?

Help!

Monday, March 19, 2012

trial run

It's spring break! And I'm keeping Mason home with me this week. We haven't spent a work week home alone together since December--I consider this week a trial run of my new gig. We'll see how exhausted I am by Friday night!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Palena

Four weeks later, Brad and I finally got a reservation at this year's birthday restaurant of choice: Palena. Difficulty getting a reservation bodes well for the experience, no? I'm such a sucker. Telling me that I can't have a reservation only makes me want it more.

Palena was worth the wait. Although the lights were a smidgeon too bright for my taste, the food, wine, and service were incredible. This birthday dinner was kind of a last hurrah. Yes, birthday dinners out together will continue to be our gift of choice, but big splurges on food and drinks will be rare on a single-income budget. That's okay. A Chik-fil-a sandwich and strawberry milkshake will do just fine for future birthdays.

To compensate for my spending my actual birthday throwing up, we opted for the wine pairing with our meal, something we had never done before. What a treat to sip a little wine specifically chosen for each course. The wine truly enhanced the taste of the food and vice versa.

We loved Palena and would recommend it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

time to go

This is one more indication that it's time to quit my job.

This student? Yep. He's one of mine--I've had him in two classes.

transitions and decisions

Life has been one big transition since Mason arrived: becoming a parent, returning to work, and now preparing to stay home with him. Thankfully, the Lord provides time and care to ease change-resistant people like me into new situations.

I committed to finishing my semester at work. I'm teaching and I just didn't feel right leaving my staff and students in a lurch. But, I'm using up accrued leave and working from home on days in April and May when I don't have a reason to go into the office. I offered to cover my job responsibilities into the summer, until my replacement is hired, as long as I can work mostly from home, which my boss agreed to. This seems to be a win-win situation for everyone involved--I have ample time to wrap up nearly 12 years of work and my staff shouldn't have to cover many, if any, of my duties while waiting for my successor to start.

Although my official last day is still months away, Mason will finish daycare at the end of March. He really only has two full weeks left there because I will keep him home during my spring break next week. The grandparents are visiting during busy weeks in April to care for Mason when I have to be in the office. I've also found two women from church who can watch Mason on a few random days in April and May. His care for this interim period has fallen into place easily and cheaply--evidence of the Lord's providence. Working from home with Mason underfoot will require some planning and diligence, but I'm thrilled to not have to wait until May 18th to spend some weekday time with my boy. My first mission once he's back at home full-time? Fixing his nap woes!

Sometimes I envy women who intuitively knew before their babies arrived that they wanted to stay home with them. Never having believed I was stay-at-home-mom material, I've wrangled with this decision more and longer than I needed to. But, this deliberation has made me appreciate how each family's circumstances and desires differ. There is no universal right answer. The Lord's will and timing, for each family, is good and perfect.

For my little family, financially, it makes no sense for me to quit working. But in every other aspect, it makes perfect sense. At least for now. And that's what I am choosing to focus on: my son, right now. Some sort of work will always be there--I'll return to work full-time when I need to or find some part-time work soon if necessary. But my little guy won't be little very long. These days with him are precious and fleeting. They tug at my heart in ways I never dreamed possible.

Motherhood--crazy, unpredictable, gut-wrenching, and wonderful. What a great privilege. Praise God.

Friday, March 9, 2012

spring planting

It's time! Someday, I'll get my act together to plant some seeds (for cold weather crops) in February, the earliest month recommended for my region.

For this year, though, March will do.

I chose practical crops this year. The past three growing seasons have taught me that I don't have enough sunlight for tomatoes and peppers. Plus, I can't win against the squirrels.

Herbs are a given, and I'm adding tarragon to my mix again this year. Last year's bounty of greens sold me on all sorts: mesclun, arugula, and spinach. Sugarsnap peas, green beans, and a variety of squashes will complete my garden.

Now I need to clean up last year's mess and get busy planting!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

relief

I did it. I quit!

I have agonized over this decision for months. And, I've always known the right answer--I was just too scared to step out in faith. Why, when the Lord shows himself faithful again and again and again, do I still let worry and doubt consume me? Why am I so disillusioned to think that I am in charge and not God? Ha!

After months of hemming, hawing, crying, fretting, analyzing, and trying to manipulate and control the situation, finally, I said, "Enough!" And I turned it over to the Lord.

I used to think that quitting my job to stay home with Mason would be one of the scariest things I'd ever do. It turns out that it wasn't. I've felt nothing but intense relief since finalizing this decision. Praise God for wiping away my worry and doubt, and for granting Brad and me peace.

Thanks to so many of you who have encouraged me and prayed for me regarding this situation. I have lots more to share with you soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 5, 2012

the burn

Brad, Mason, and I took our first family run on Saturday morning. We only went three miles, but I'm still feeling the burn today, two days later. That's what I get for only running twice since Mason arrived. Sadly, I think I was in better running shape during pregnancy!

Running with the jogging stroller will take some getting used to, but it feels like a great workout. Mason loved it. He fell asleep immediately and woke up in an awesome mood when we got home.  

25 days until Brad and I are supposed to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. Lord, help us!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

the hungries

Oh, my big boy is famished these days. From his first night of life, when he screamed all night because my colostrum failed to satisfy him, to today, nearly six months later, when he watches my every bite while opening his mouth and smacking his lips, Mason has been obsessed with food.

Just this past week, he's woken up starving in the middle of the night several times and has practically attacked me when I finally gave in and fed him. He hasn't woken up at night for hunger since he was eight weeks old.

My goal has been to start him on rice cereal on his six-month birthday. The question is, can we both hold out for 17 more days?