Saturday, December 22, 2012

No More appointments, for now

Yesterday was the last appointment for the month. Kateri was greatly relieved. With pediatrician appointments for Malachi, neurology and naturopath for me, and hearing aid fittings for Kateri it has been a busy couple weeks. For several of my appointments she has been my second pair of arms, keeping baby happy in the car or bouncing him while I fill out paper work. She's been indispensable and every outing I am more aware how 5 is so much easier than one, two, three, or four were. I even said to Shane the other night #6 does not sound overwhelming right now. Which I don't think I have ever said/felt at the 10 week stage before. But he is a pretty good baby. And Shane has been on paternity leave for a couple weeks. Shane saw right through me and said,

"You just want to see the midwives again, don't you?"

I do. And maybe I'll get to see them soon. But not for that reason.

When Malachi was born the he had a slight tongue-tie and said we'd keep an eye on it. I had never heard of such a thing before. But have since heard of two babies needing the little flap under their tongue needing clipping so I guess it is all the rage and Malachi is just being hip. My mom said both her brothers had a tongue tie.

Well, after a week of nursing, it seemed his was causing a bad latch on one side and they went ahead and clipped it. The soreness got better. But as the nursing continued I noticed some different habits he had whenever nursing on that same side. Like him acting like he needed me to hold it for him. Or else he'd lose his latch and start searching loudly and frantically. Then he'd get a letdown going and pop off because he couldn't keep up, sending milk everywhere. which makes for some very non-discreet nursing. His ear on that side is always stinky. He nurses normally on the other side so it seemed like something was up, not that he was still just getting the hang of it. So to the myriad appointments we've already had this month, I added a visit to the lactation consultant.

She looked Malachi over and said it still seemed to be tight. She ran her finger under his tongue and explained the frenulum should feel like  a little speed bump, your finger just goes right over it. His feels more like a trip wire. She said it could be clipped again but suggested some craniosacral therapy to get him to adjust to nursing normally on that side and we'd give it a week. At least that is what I think she said. The night before I got about 5 hours of cobbled together sleep which didn't even start until after 2am. I realize now I don't want to wait a week. With Christmas next week it will be harder to get appointments and there is no downside and he seems to need it, so why waste more milk?

In talking it over with Shane I  came up with cunning plan. Since Heike did the first snipping it might make sense have her look at him and maybe do the second as well. Right?

I don't know if they can still see him as I think their postpartum care only extends to the 6week check up but it is worth a try. We'll have to wait until after Christmas, but there might be time to get one more appointment in this month.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Not Your Grandma's Toffee

Kateri is a bit of a slave when it comes to the kitchen. She loves to cook. And somehow I always get roped into projects I am not quite ready for. Yesterday I came into the kitchen. The mixer was running and she had a  variety of ingredients lined up on the counter. She had decided to make oatmeal cookies. She doesn't use recipes. She likes to cook from memory and  taste. I asked what she had added already. She said butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla,and baking powder. Which sounds ok at first. Then I asked about amounts. Turned out to make the amount of sugar work, we were going to have to quadruple the recipe.
 So we added the necessary missing ingredients. At which point she got bored and left me to finish and bake several dozen cookies. Which had been on my to-do list for the morning. Right there before breakfast and showering. I thought Oh, well. At least we'll have some treats for the freezer for a while. Then I realized Kateri had disappeared. And so had an entire pan of cookies. When I finally found her she was just coming back for a neighbors, where she had delivered the missing cookies. Oh, well, I thought. We didn't really need that many cookies. And other than being a little on the flat side they were tasty and worthy of gifting to a friend.
So the next night when Kateri was having some sad issues, I can't even remember what it was about, but it was really sad and required Shane to sit in her room at bedtime for a ridiculous amount of time, I came up with the brilliant idea of telling her we could make some toffee the next day. To give away. She was content with that and stayed in bed making plans for the next day
The next day came and we got distracted with Christmas cards and never got to the toffee. Which of course she remembered at bedtime which gave her something to be sad about. So to make sure we would be successful the next day, I put out all the ingredients and pans we needed so we could start as soon as Malachi had a full belly and went down for a nap.  
  Imagine her surprise when she came down in the morning to find I was the only one awake and we were ready to start cooking.

It was good we got an early start. Because it took three hours, as many batches, and more butter than I care to think about. Not that I have anything against butter, just wasting it. 
My Grandma used to make toffee every Christmas and we were always excited to get the instant Folgers  jars filled with yummy toffee. This was not like that.

Here is what I pictured, and how the session started out.

Then it all went terribly. For a reason I could not figure out, the butter kept separating from the sugar.  We stirred and stirred. Tried different temperatures. Stirred some more. The first batch was not working out. So I tried soaking up the butter with paper towels and continuing with the stirring. It came out way too thick and undercooked.

The second batch came out better, but was actually on the burned side and still had the butter problem.

  We still had butter and Malachi was awake but cooperative so we forged on ahead to make a third batch. First I looked up problems and fixes. One said to keep a constant temperature. one said to start with room temperature butter and add sugar right away to keep the melting even. Another to add a tiny bit of boiling water and keep stirring. We did all of the above and when it looked like this we stopped.

And followed the rest of directions. They are cooling now, but I think after 3 hours, 3lbs of butter, and lots of kitchen mess we have success. At least one batch of it. Malachi seems to have used up most of his good will for the day and will be needing  some more intense attention. And Kateri went to play at a friends so I can finally sit down, have a coffee, and hold my baby. If you are interested- Here is the recipe I used.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I feel like we should get a medal. or at least a pizza

I imagined getting to Liturgy with a newborn would be so much easier this time around, what with FOUR kids who, theoretically, can dress themselves and put on their own shoes. When they can find their shoes anyway. But this last Saturday was one for the books. Or blog, rather. I told Shane I was going to write about it. He asked why. I said to make me feel better. Which is pretty much why I write. Because as soon as I start narrating a situation to myself, in the event no one is there to hear me, the hard, messy, frustrating, disgusting, or anything else unpleasant situation suddenly feels removed and I can look at it from the outside and find entertainment in it.

We have decided to send out Christmas cards this year. Complete with an updated photo of the kids. It's been 5 or 6 years, so it seems about time. To save time and anguish we figured we'd take a picture right before leaving for church. Which turned out to be not the best way to prepare for Liturgy, unless we were looking to shine a spotlight on many  personal imperfections to reflect on and things to seek forgiveness for.

Well we found them. Along with four pairs of shoes- after several modifications- some decent outfits, and I quickly decided to go with the minimal hair brushing  package, just the front that would show in the picture. Some of the kids expressed their disdain for the camera by trying to sabotage every picture. I am toying with the idea of sending some of the more unflattering pictures out and seeing how they like having their scowling face looking down from peoples' mantles. But we'll see.

We made it to the car with lots of incidents. Then the baby found an empty spot and started to fuss. Then 20 minutes in we hit ridiculous mall traffic.  Getting close  to the bridge we saw a sea unending red lights hardly moving. I  knew Malachi's polite hints that he would like a snack would soon be turning into unmistakable "I am about to die" demands. The last exit before we were at the point of no return was coming up so I asked Shane to take it and find a place to park so I could feed him.

He did. And as Malachi tanked up we both mentally weighed our options and came to the same decision. Stick it out. Luckily, liturgy is  almost 2 hours and Saturday evening always starts with vespers. So that would buy us a little more room. Even so, they were just preparing for the Gospel as we walked in. But we were both glad we forged ahead. Even when Malachi did a , as Kateri called it, the most 'hunormous poop'.

 It was just at the end of the homily so the rest of the congregation got to be in the know too. Cyprian, who was sitting next to me, got to be in on the stink and was madly fanning his nose with his hands while he scrunched up his face  and made disgusted faces.

The dr had mentioned at his 6 week checkup that sometimes babies won't poop for a week, and that is normal. I thought, whatever. Mine poops every time he eats and then some. So when he didn't go for two days I thought hmmm, once a week would be ok. But not when I saw the backlog that just two days amounted to. He had to be completely stripped and put back together. I was glad I had whispered to Kateri to come with me to change him. Four hands were not too many. Especially when I got the new diaper under him and he decided he was no quite done and then decided to end with a flourish by peeing all over his blanket.

I was also glad  that amidst the chaos of picture taking I had packed a new outfit, undershirt, and blanket in the diaper bag. Next time I might add gloves. And a mop.

The rest of Liturgy went smoothly, and Malachi being cleaned out and tanked up, the drive home did too. We felt some sort of celebration was in order so we picked up a pizza on the way and watched an episode of BBC's Merlin with the kids.

At least next week we can skip the picture taking.

P.S. If you'd like to be on the Christmas card list send a SASE to - just kidding. Just email me. And if you were at the baby shower, don't assume I still have your mailing address because I have postpartum   brain- how long can I keep using that-and I am not sure where that list is. But Kateri will be thrilled to play the part of secretary and another envelope and stamp would make her day. Audrey has agreed to write up a Christmas letter, never done that before, and she is a very good writer and will offer a fresh perspective and probably more accurate account of whatever she deems noteworthy in the past year. Which means there is bound to be a horse in it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Tomorrow I get my 'when it works for me' MRI. It was supposed to be in April, but go cancelled due to more important things. Or a person, I should say. I had the neurologist apt still scheduled for December. Seeing it was getting close, last month I called the office to see if I should get an MRI on the books as well. First I called the office.  But no one answered so I left a message with my questions. A week later, not having heard back,  I called them. And tried to leave a message with the receptionist. The words seem to have gotten through and I was told they'd get back to me the next day. A few days later, when I remembered, I gave them a call back.

It seemed like my request was new to them.

" I have an appointment with Dr. S next month. I was supposed to have an MRI in April but I didn't because I was pregnant. I want to know if she would like me to have one now, and if so, I'd like to schedule it so the results are in before my appointment with her. Also, I don't want the gadolinium this time, as I am breastfeeding, so would she still want me to have one?"

A few days went by. Finally, someone called.

"Yes, she'd like to go ahead and schedule the MRI. Breastfeeding is not a problem. Most women just pump and dump for 24 hrs after the MRI. "

"I don't want the gadolinium. Does she want me to have the MRI if I don't get the contrast?"

The next day,

"Yes we can schedule the MRI. The contrast isn't knows to be an issue, but just to be sure they recommend you wait 24 hrs before breastfeeding to make sure it is all cleared out of your system."

"NO", I said, trying to be really clear. "I don't want the gadolinium. I want the MRI. Do I need to get an order from the doctor or can I just call and schedule it myself?"

"So you don't want the contrast?"


"OK, I'll let the Dr know your feelings on that and get back to you."

Eventually it came out that, yes, the Dr did want to go ahead so I scheduled for tomorrow. The clinic called to confirm the appointment this morning and gave me a check in 30 min before the actual scan. I am going to just leave the baby at home with Shane so don't want to spend any extra time in the waiting room. I asked if I could come later. She said there will be some paperwork to fill out. I asked if they could email it to me and I can come with it filled out. She said I'd need a little time to get changed. I told her I knew what to wear I'd come in the appropriate attire, which honestly at this point only requires switching out a nursing bra for a sports bra. Sweat pants and a stretchy is all I wear these days. She said just show up 5-10 min before the scan.

And even though I might only be gone for an hour, I pumped a bottle, just in case. Which Kateri is super excited to give it  to Malachi. I suspect even if he is sleeping and content she might just 'accidentally' wake him up so she can feed him.

I won't know the results until next week when I see the neurologist, but getting it done tomorrow there will be time for the radiologist to look at and compare last year's scans and write up a report. The neurologist appointment happens to be on my birthday. My very first neurologist appointment was 22 yrs ago, one week before my birthday so I guess it is in keeping with the birthday/neurologist pattern. I think I'll have Shane take me and Malachi to see Skyfall later that day or something more birthdayish.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trudy's Delicious Bars

Because I get asked for this recipe a lot, I decided to just do a post dedicated to it. I don't know where it originated, but as my mother-in-law has been the provider of said delicious bars over the years, it has come to be named after her. Sorry for the not so clear picture. I have not made them recently and did not have a picture. So I took a picture of a picture. It is from the welcome baby shower my mother-in-law threw for Audrey. 14 yrs ago. But it gives you an idea of what the finished product looks like.

Trudy's Delicious Bars

Preheat oven to 300 and grease large baking sheet.

Layer One


1/2 lb butter
2c. flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c cornstarch
pinch of salt

Sprinkle crumbly mixture in baking sheet and press to make and even . Bake 15 min.

Layer Two

4 eggs
1/2 t baking powder
1 pkg coconut
1 box powdered sugar
4T flour
2 t vanilla
2 c chopped nuts

Beat eggs. Add rest of ingredients. Spread over cooked crust. Bake 15 min at 300. Then turn oven to 350 and bake 5 min more.

Remove from oven. Let cool.

Layer Three

1 cube  butter
8 oz  cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Cut bars into squares. Top each square with frosting and add a half a pecan.
They can be prepared ahead and frozen.

I think each batch makes around 40 squares, maybe more. Also, if you buy the big bags of powdered sugar, one box is 3 3/4 cup.