Friday, February 26, 2010

Favorite Things Friday: Jasmere

I first heard about Jasmere from Jessica at A Parent in Silver Spring. Then, I read more about it from Leticia at Tech Savvy Mama. I thought, if those two uber-cool bloggers are both talking about the same thing then then I must check it out. Boy, am I glad I did!

You can read all the details about how Jasmere works here but the short version is that they search out really cool, unique products and offer one each day for sale on their site. The cool part is that the products start out at at least 50% off but the prices will often go down depending on how many people buy! So, let's say you click on the offer at 10am and decide to buy it at the 50% off price, then you (and others!) tell your friends about it and more people buy later that day, the price drops to 60% off. You (and everyone else!) will be charged the 60% off price! Each deal lasts for only 24 hours so you should either plan to visit the site daily or sign up for their e-mail list to get that day's deal delivered to your inbox so you never miss the daily feature.

I have already ordered one Jasmere daily feature and have been tempted by several more! If you love finding unique products and love a deal then you must join Jasmere today!

As with all my Favorite Things Friday posts, Jasmere is something I really like and want to share with my readers. As a current subscriber and customer, I was recently invited to join their referral program. So, if you click on one of the Jasmere links above, become a member and then later make a purchase, I'll get a $10 credit. Of course, you can join the e-mail list without actually becomming a member. And, honestly, I was planning to feature Jasmere even before I got their e-mail about the referral program because I have been enjoying the site so much. Heck, if you want to join Jasmere without me getting credit, I won't mind a bit.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Laws of Nathaniel

1. I am the perfect, contented baby. (Whenever Dada is home or anyone is visiting because they hold me and hold me and I just want to be held All. The. Time.)

2. My parents do not bathe me. (They keep my face and head and bottom clean, of course, but it has been more than a week since my torso has been submerged. Apparently it really did the trick when I pooped in the water the last time. Yay me!)

3. Speaking of poop: I prefer to poop in a clean diaper and will do so as soon as one is put on me.

4. I am what you'd call a grazer: I like to eat every few hours and just enough to be satiated. (Mama is trying to work on this.) (We'll see how successful I let her be!)

5. I AM ADORABLE. (Everyone agrees!)

6. Surprisingly often, I am calmed down when Lucas sings Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to me. (I'm no fool; it can only benefit me if that very big boy wants to keep me around!)

7. I love my paci.

8. I love to spit out my paci.

9. After I spit out my paci, I want it back in my mouth IMMEDIATELY.

10. No matter how soundly I appear to be asleep when she starts the water, I will cry when Mama is about half way done with her shower. (It's a fun game, you should try it!)

11. These laws are subject to change with one minute notice every 3-5 hours.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What was I saying?

My brain is like a sieve these days. I am serious. I can't tell you how many blog post topics I've thought of only to have them disappear the moment I sit down.

On Saturday, I started an e-mail with the intention asking the person one question and telling her two other things. I got as far as typing the person's name before I promptly forgot the question, remembered one of my two points and forgot the second one.

Yesterday I went through some recipes and wrote a grocery list, went to the grocery store* and could not for the life of me remember what the ingredients were for. (This was important because I couldn't find 3 things and couldn't remember if they were for the same dish or different dishes and was thinking that if I shouldn't get the produce x dish called for until I had the missing ingredients, too. I remember reading a tip on this blog to write the name of the dish next to each ingredient to avoid such situations. I remembered that tip--too late, of course--but had no idea what I planned to make!)

And, now, of course, I have no idea what the point of this post was.

I'll blame it on the sleep. Er, the lack thereof. Darling little Nathaniel is still only going about 2.5 or 3 hours between feedings at night. And of course I'm not napping. And I KNOW I should be, so don't even bother to write it in the comments (okay write it, maybe I'll listen). Our mornings without Lucas speed by so fast and then he's home and forget a nap at that point.

The hardest part right now is that Nathaniel is being a pain in the butt about nursing. He is only eating for a few minutes and sometimes only on one side. Then, it appears to me that he's still hungry but he refuses to latch in favor of pulling away and screaming. I've already cut out all dairy (including chocolate--man do I love this kid!), I have him positioned so he's upright, and I make sure he get a good burp in between sides. I really don't think it is gas at this point (though it may have been part of it before I cut out dairy): he just won't eat. My brilliant idea of the morning (I have a new theory every few hours!) is that I am nursing too often. So, I held him off from eating for four hours and he ate like a champ. Woo hoo! Then, I did it again and he was back to his old games. I really do feel like this theory has merit, though, so I'm going to keep trying for today. Any other ideas?

*Darn you, Trader Joes and your tiny little carts! I had to strap Nathaniel into the Bjorn to go there with him. What a pain! And, thanks a lot, fellow patrons, for giving me any sort of courtesy at all. Don't you think it's tough to grocery shop with an infant strapped to your chest? Maybe, just maybe, you can move a bit so I don't have to wrangle the cart even more than necessary?

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Favorite Things Friday: Cranium Super Fort

There are three things that got us through Snowpocalypse 2010: Abel taking Lucas outside to play, sled and help shovel; playdates at friends' homes; and, the Cranium Super Fort.

We got the basic Cranium Super Fort package for Lucas for Christmas three years ago and then I bought another partial set at a flea market later that winter. We have definitely used it over the past three years--maybe a few dozen times total. But during Snowpocalypse 2010, when school was in session only 1.5 out of 16 days (that still boggles my mind!), we built forts almost every single day. Either Lucas and Abel would build forts in the morning, Lucas and his friends would build forts during indoor playdates, Lucas and I would build forts in the afternoon, or all of the above would happen! I think it is safe to say that the fun and the combinations truly are endless. This is definitely a toy that inspires creativity and imaginative play.

No compenstation was provided for this post. As with all my Favorite Things Friday posts, this is something I purhased with our own money, really love, and simply want to share with others.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I can't put Nathaniel down. Every time I do, he fusses. Finally he seems to calm down on the changing table. It's almost noon. I tuck a blanket around him and give him his paci. His eyes roll back. Success! Time for a quick shower. I practically run the 10 steps into the bathroom get the water going. I break all speed records: 2 minutes to wash, rinse and condition my hair, another minute to wash my body, 30 seconds on my face. And yet, by the time I get out (maybe 4 minutes later?) he's crying. Not just crying, screaming. Not just screaming, howling. My boobs start to drip--then stream--milk. Down my stomach, onto my legs. Within seconds I've replaced all the dried milk I just washed off myself from the past 24 hours of messy eating.

At least my hair is clean.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Nathaniel: One Month

Dear Nathaniel,

You are 5 weeks and two days old today. You turned one month old last Thursday. Yes, this post is a tad bit late. Maybe it is because you are the second child and therefore will suffer the injustices of fewer pictures (your Grammy and Aunt Sarah are already complaining about that!), hand-me-down clothes and the many other things children after the first complain about. Or, maybe it is because we've gotten approximately 50 inches of snow in the past few weeks. (Indeed, though you won't remember it, this winter will go down in history for our region and in my mind I will always link your birth with one of the craziest winters I've ever experienced.) Or, maybe, my darling, it is because you're not yet a very good sleeper (yet! I have hope!) and tend to be on the fussy side (you are fussing this moment in fact as I type one-handed!). Or, maybe, it is because you want to be held all the time.

Really, can we blame you for that last one? No. We can blame your grandmothers. Specifically, your Moo (Dada's mom). Between those two women who love you to pieces, I don't think your back touched a firm surface for more than a few hours for the first 18 days of your life. (Except, of course, in your bassinet at night, when I was in charge!)

After having visitors with us for the first 18 days of your life, I was incredibly ready and excited to be home alone with just the four members of our little family as of January 30. The snow started soon after that so we have definitely spent a lot of time all together!

Nathaniel, your big brother Lucas just adores you! He is sure to alert your Dada or me the moment you start to whimper or make any noises. He very softly sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to you to settle you down and gets so excited when it works. For the first week or two that you were home, he checked on you first thing every morning. We gave him two jobs when you and I got home from the hospital: to introduce you to people and to ask people to wash their hands. He took these responsibilities very seriously. It always made me smile to hear him say, "And this is my new baby brother, Na-fan-iel. You have to wash your hands before you touch him."

(If you end up with a nickname like Fanny or Faniel, you can blame it on Lucas and his adorably incorrect pronunciation of your name!)

As for you, my son, I am truly grateful for the hours I spent holding you in the hospital. Life has gotten more busy at home and I've simply had to put you down or let you cry for a few minutes while I attended to your brother or other pressing needs. (Your Dada, however, can barely stand to put you down, don't worry, you're still being held a ton!) We adore your cheeks and eat them daily. For a few days I held out strong hope that you'd have blue eyes but I think that was unrealistic. Like your brother, very few of my physical characteristics have made it through your Dada's strong genes. (Once again, however, I can claim unattached ear lobes!)

When you are contented and just about to fall asleep you do a little stutter breath--three quick intakes followed by a long sigh. That's one of my favorite sounds ever, Nathaniel.

We can hardly remember life before you joined us, big boy, and are so glad you are here.


Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! (with gifts for you!)

Happy Valentine's Day to all my wonderful Smiling Mama readers!

Abel and I will have a quiet Valentine's Day this year. No grand romantic gestures on this, the 10th Anniversary of our first Valentine's day together. And yet, at home with our wonderful two boys, it seems like just the perfect day.

I have a few Valentine's to send your way this year, dear readers...

First, over the past few days, I've posted some great indoor activities to help your family survive Snowpocalypse 2010 over at Out by Ten. Usually I just post about local activities but anyone, anywhere trying to keep sane while snowed in or just looking for some fun new ideas to do with your kids should go over and check it out.

Second, I have a hot tip for you about an amazing Valentine's Day giveaway at Tech Savvy Mama. I've written about her amazing site and incredible giveaways before but these Valentine's Day prizes really take the box of chocolates! I want every single one of them! For example, I was just telling Abel and my mother-in-law about the Toshiba Digital Frame, I think I could get Lucas to do almost all our cleaning if I won the Dyson DC31, and as the days slowly (oh so slowly but spring is on its way!!) get longer, I think the Good Nite Light would help us get Lucas to not pounce on our bed earlier and earlier every day. And those are just a few of the amazing prizes. So, go enter, and if you win, consider it my Valentine's Day gift to you!!

And, finally, I've got a fantastic recipe to share! I've taken this to two pot lucks recently and multiple people have requested the recipe. It is easy and delicious. Enjoy!

Nicole's Thai Noodle Salad

(I have no idea who Nicole is, but the person who gave me the recipe called it this and I feel the need to continue to give Nicole credit!)


1/4 Cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter (I've always used smooth)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons sesame oil
3 Tablespoons salad oil
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce


10 oz angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tablespoons julienned red pepper (steamed or raw)
2 Tablespoons julienned carrot (steamed or raw)
3 Tablespoons chopped green onion

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add noodles to a large bowl and coat with sauce. Add remaining salad ingredients and mix well. Chill before serving.

Notes: I'm always very liberal with the cilantro, red pepper and carrots. Also, the most recent time I made this, I also made chicken satay to go with it. I just doubled the sauce, cut two chicken breasts into small pieces and marinated them in a few tablespoons of the sauce, then I cooked them and served a few more tablespoons of extra sauce on the side for dipping. This also left me with probably about 1/4 batch additional sauce to use on the noodles. I can't get enough of this yummy sauce so liked having some extra for the noodles.

I hope you enjoy all these "gifts" and have a wonderful Valentine's Day and enjoy at least one piece of delicious chocolate!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flying Solo

Nathaniel turned one month old yesterday. One month! Poor second kid. I'm not even writing about that. I did draft a post about it--about him--in my head and even started actually writing it. But, this isn't that post because if I write that post today it will end up basically being about how I am totally exhausted today because the little bugger was awake and fussy--and yes, mom, I tried to let him fuss and cry for several minutes, several very long minutes, at a time before picking him up--from 3:30am until 5am last night. The night before my first day at home ALONE all day long with both boys. A fact that I basically had a panic attack about last night. I mean HELLO how in the world am I expected to be home alone with both boys? Home. Alone. Two. Boys.

Okay, okay, I knew this day was coming. Obviously we planned for and wanted to have a second child so I wanted this day to come. But that doesn't mean I still wasn't scared out of my shit about it being here. And, in my defense, I didn't expect it to come for several more weeks. Abel's work very generously has said he is welcome to work from home through the end of February. And, I assumed that when Abel did go back to work Lucas would be at school for a large portion of the day. But, for various reasons, Abel felt like he really needed to show his face at the office today--another snow day--and so I ended up Home. Alone. Two. Boys. two weeks earlier than expected.

But, it went okay. Maybe better than okay. Maybe well.

We watched a movie in our PJs, played Animal Scramble, made some homemade gummi candy, ate lunch from Lucas's lunchbox (he was SO EXCITED about this--clearly school has been out for waaay too long!). Then Lucas went for a nice long play date and Nathaniel was a fussy wussy the entire time. Meaning no nap for me. And so now I'm totally exhausted (well, I was totally exhausted at 10am and 3pm and 7pm, too) and I'm sitting here blogging waiting for the baby boy to wake up and eat again so we can all go to sleep. For a few hours, at least.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow I'm totally sleeping in. And then maybe Nathaniel will get the one month post he deserves.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Days!

I almost hate to write this post for fear that as soon as I do my power will go out. BUT, I'm writing it anyway. We're having a GREAT time in SnOMG 2010 or Snowpocalipse 2010 or whatever you are calling it.


Maybe it's because I'm on maternity leave and therefore have pretty much no place to be, but I'm really enjoying these very relaxed days.

So far, Lucas and I have made Valentines, we've played inside a lot and played outside a lot. Sure, shoveling a gazillion pounds of snow from our sidewalks and from around our cars was very hard work, but Sunday afternoon it seemed like our whole block was out shoveling and it really was a beautiful sunny day. In a way it was like a block party--everyone was stopping to chat and helping everyone else out.

In the past 48 hours we've had three neighbors call to let us know they were venturing out to the grocery store and ask if we needed anything. And, we've had play dates with 2-7 other kids--and their parents (and hot cocoa and beer!) at our house and three other houses (all within walking distance!).

Due to the valiant efforts of our town's public works crew, all our streets look great. In fact, residents have been coordinating snowplow picked-up and sled-delivered meals for the workers who have been sleeping at Town Hall in order to keep the plows going in constant cycles.

Now, it hasn't been all fun times. I went a little stir-crazy on Saturday after Lucas and Abel went sledding for 5 hours, leaving me stuck inside with the babe all day. But, I realized that I had also not left the house all day on Friday, either, and a nice brisk walk through our snow-covered neighborhood Saturday night helped cure my cabin fever. And, our furnace stopped working yesterday afternoon which led to a pretty chilly evening. But, we had one space heater and neighbors quickly brought over another so our bedrooms were nice and toasty last night. Abel got someone over to fix it for relatively cheap first thing this morning.

Now that the snow is coming down again, we're looking forward to more sledding and play dates and cookies and hot cocoa and beer. (Well, no beer for me. Or, maybe just one!)

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 5, 2010

So little to do, I can't get anything done

I can't think of another time in my adult life where I felt like I had so little to do. I mean, I have a lot to keep me busy--any new mom knows how much time breastfeeding, burping and changing a newborn can take up. Not to mention the required sitting and cuddling.

My ever-present To Do list currently consists of the following:

-Return two calls to friends
-Schedule a "baby's first massage" for Nathaniel (I would have never thought of doing this on my own but the amazing woman who went to for several prenatal massages gave us a gift certificate for one as a baby gift!)
-Pump (yes, I had to write it down because I keep forgetting! And, we had a "date" planned for this weekend but it looks like that will be cancelled for sure.)
-Write thank you notes

Um, that's it.

Yes, there are other things I am doing--Abel and I are going through some boxes in storage to purge and consolidate and of course there's laundry and dishes and general clean-up.

But, in terms of actual important tasks, I've got nothing.

And, yet, I am totally feeling anxious about the things I am not getting done. The panic builds as I remember at midnight that another day went by without me returning that phone call. I try to remember that it was a message from a good friend who even said in the message that she'd try to call again and I didn't need to call her back. Or, I get anxious over the many unanswered e-mails lingering in my in-box.

It is so silly. I know it is silly. It's almost as though because I don't have work commitments or community group commitments at this moment then these relatively minor tasks have, in my mind, increased in importance.

You know what they say about if you want something done, give it to a busy person? Normally, I'm that busy person. Now that I'm not, I feel like I'm not getting anything done!


On another note, Nathaniel went 6 hours between feedings last night! Unfortunately, he was very fussy and crying for the first 2.5 hours of that so it doesn't mean I got 6 hours of sleep. But, we know it is possible, so that's a very good thing!


And, on yet another note...MORE SNOW IS COMING! I can't believe the crazy amount of snow this winter. Luckily, Nathaniel has been my wonderful excuse to get out of shoveling, etc. for the past several storms (I was either HUGELY preggo or just home from the hospital with him) but I'm looking forward to getting outside with Lucas for this one! We're ready with lots of hot chocolate, mini marshmallows and even the required cookie-baking ingredients!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Tour of Nathaniel's Nursery

It wasn't finalized until after he was born, and he'll be sleeping in our room for at least a few more weeks, but I am just thrilled with how Nathaniel's nursery turned out! Please join me on a little tour (and I mean little--this is a tiny room!)....

We painted the walls and trim the same colors as Lucas's new room. The brown roman shades match his as well. The color schemes are also complimentary: navy, light blue and tan in Lucas's room and light blue, brown, green and navy in Nathaniel's room. Someday they will most likely share Lucas's room so, in theory, we will be able to merge their items seamlessly.

As soon as you walk in the door, you face the beautiful children's book print by Jane Mount that I became obsessed with this fall. I purchased this print at 20x200 but she also has an Etsy shop. I'm a new, huge fan of Hobby Lobby, where I got the mat and frame for about $40 total, yet it looks like it was professionally framed! The quilt is the beauty my mom made. Every time I look at it I fall more and more in love with the material I chose, especially the bunny toile and the nursery rhyme toile. She also found some cute sheets and a crib skirt at Target that compliment the quilt material!

Just to the right of the window next to the crib is the changing table with navy cloth bins to hold the cloth diapers and assorted diapering things. The square plaque on the left has all of Nathaniel's birth statistics and was a gift from my sister.

Here's a close-up of the wall decor: flashcards from Children Inspire Design on Etsy which I hung on twine with miniature navy clothespins. Aren't they adorable? In this photo you can also see a sample of the changing pad covers and burp cloths my mom made with scraps from the quilt. (Isn't she talented?!)

And, just because I so totally adore those flashcards, here's another close-up. You can order them in several languages. Obviously, I chose Spanish! When Lucas's changing table was in this same spot we had a huge poster of an ESPN cover with an Ohio State football player on it. Now, he was certainly pretty buff, BUT, ugh! I got so sick of looking at his dripping-with-sweat body! These flashcards, however, are such a joy to look at. Every time I change a diaper (which I do a lot more often since we're using cloth this time around) I debate which flashcard is my favorite. In a testament to just how lovely each one is, I change my mind every time I'm standing at the table! I also like that reading the flashcards gives me something so say out loud to Nathaniel without feeling too silly. (I wonder if other moms of newborns also feel silly talking out loud to their not-yet-responsive babies? I know it is important, but it really just feels like you're talking to yourself all day long!)

Continuing around the room, in between the closet and entry door we have Nathaniel's dresser (Abel found this on the street years ago and refinished it!) and his clothes shelf (which Abel built from scratch!). Lacking a closet on our first floor (darn older home!) we use this room's closet for our winter coats and other storage. Abel brainstormed this great shelf before Lucas was born--it is so nice to have all the baby's clothes in easy sight and reach! On top of the shelf, I have some framed baby pictures of Abel and me--they really need another home, though, as you can barely see them way up there.

And that concludes our tour of Nathaniel's nursery...come again soon!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Marathon not a Sprint

The past few days I have been surprised to wake up exhausted. Surprised to be awake with a fussy baby for one, two, even three hours in the middle of the night. Surprised that, by the end of the day, I have accomplished nothing--NOTHING--save for the care and feeding of a newborn and perhaps the care and feeding of a preschooler and maybe--just maybe--writing a thank you note or two or washing the dinner dishes or finishing a load of laundry (but certainly not all three of those!).

For some unknown reason completely devoid of rationality, I keep thinking that THIS will be the night that Nathaniel will sleep blissfully for 5 or 6 hours (or that he will just wake and eat and immediately fall back asleep). THIS will be the morning I wake up bright-eyed and refreshed (or at the very least not in a zombie-like state). THIS will be the day I Get. Things. Done.

But, alas, none of those are true. It's been three weeks. THIS is me officially reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!