Friday, July 27, 2007

She loved it

The batteries on the camera died as we were trying to get shots of Little E in front of Thomas. You'll have to use your imagination. Here are a couple of shots from our ride (which came complete with Deliverance-style mountain folk waving from rickety homemade platforms overlooking the Tuckasegee River).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

On vacation

We are on vacation. With children!

What were we thinking?

J and I decided it was time for a short get away. We live on the coast, but by this time of year the heat, the tourists, and the incessant hurricane talk (Are YOU prepared for another Hugo? Do YOU have enough insurance? Have YOU stocked your hurricane survival kit yet?*) get to us, and we feel the desire for a short escape. So what do we do? We head to the mountains for our turn playing tourists.

We left last night. I had a brilliant plan. Leave after dinner and baths so that the girls would sleep the five hours. It was a great idea in theory, but it didn't work out quite so well in reality.

First, I never should have told Little E where we were going. Especially not the part about seeing Thomas the Train. Looking back, that was a bad idea. Very bad. You see, children two and three quarters years old do not have a well-developed sense of time. So by saying, "We'll ride on Thomas on Friday," I may as well have told her "All aboard!" This meant that she didn't dare close her eyes on the trip up (until the last 20 minutes). If she had been happy to be strapped to her carseat that would have been one thing, but after the first two hours, she was pissed about the whole thing, once telling J, "J, turn this car around NOW. I want to go home." Yes, she called him by his first name. That went over well.

Second, if one child is up throwing wild tantrums, the other child is hard pressed to sleep well. This means that Baby M was awake and not happy for the last two hours of the trip. We had stereo wailing in the back seat.

Finally, the girls were wired after we finally checked into our hotel. So wired that they were both up until 1:30 a.m. No amount of nursing, walking or singing was going to help Baby M go to sleep. Little E stayed up in solidarity.

This morning we went shopping for a fan to produce white noise (I can't sleep without it-how we left mine, I don't know) and a sit and stand stroller.** Why we have waited until 11 months for a sit and stand, I don't know, but Little M can't walk as far here so a double stroller was definitely in order. Coming from the Lowcountry, she is unaccustomed to hills and we have lots of walking planned. After their nap, we are going up into the mountains to see the house my in-laws are building. I have mixed feelings about their vacation home (a place in the mountains-cool! more time with the in-laws- Ugh!).

Tomorrow is Thomas Day. I'll post pics.

*Our answers are no, no and no.
**And a big bottle of wine. For the whining.

Friday, July 13, 2007


M will be 11 months next week. My breastfeeding goal was to make it to a year, and I do believe we will do this (no thanks to lazy lefty). I am planning to commence with day weaning after we take a family vacation to the N.C. mountains at the end of this month. Thanks to my frozen stash, M should be able to get breast milk during the day right up until the one year mark when I will switch her to whole milk and start night weaning. The photo at left doesn't do my stash justice: the entire bottom shelf of a stand-up freezer is full and there is more in the house. How did that happen?

Why I look forward to weaning

  • I am tired of being hooked to the pump three times a day. My inner heifer is rebelling, I suppose.
  • When I go to my office, I look like a bag lady.
  • Nursing bras aren't sexy, cute, or even sporty.
  • I dress for nursing and pumping access, not for fashion.
  • I'm still hanging onto eight extra pounds, and I blame nursing.
  • I smell like maple syrup from fenugreek consumption.
  • My DD girls need their own zip code.
  • Eight razor sharp baby teeth and more where they came from.

Why the thought of weaning makes me sad

  • After a disastrous nursing experience with E, I feel a certain sense of accomplishment this time.
  • Some days it feels like the only quality one-on-one time I get with M is while we are nursing.
  • M doesn't seem ready. She is very much a boob baby, crawling at breakneck speed to find me when she wants to nurse. The cadence of hands and feet on hardwood signals her intent. When I lift her to me, she buries her head in my chest and starts protesting at the clothes that are in her way. How am I going to say no to that?
  • I'm not quite sure how to go about weaning. Drop one feeding a week? Every few days? Switch to a cup or stick with the bottle? Nurse for comfort? Find another comfort object?
  • Because, despite all my anxiety about not being able to meet her needs, I did it, I enjoyed it, and I found it life affirming.
  • I know that she is probably my last child and weaning closes a chapter of my life.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Priorities in order

Is it pathetic that, given a choice of long weekends to take a quick mountain vacation, I said no to the weekend that the last Harry Potter book will delivered to my door?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Recipe Swap

Nico is hosting a recipe swap for quick and easy recipes that are good as leftovers and/or easy to prepare. Here is one of my favorite summer recipes that is easy and doesn't involve heating up the kitchen. This can be served as a side dish, but I think that it is hearty enough to be a main course if served with a whole grain roll.

Marinated Black Bean Salad
3 cans of black beans, drained
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs grainy dijon mustard
salt/pepper to taste
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced (use one can of diced if you don't have fresh tomatoes)
1 red onion sliced for garnish (optional)

Mix tomatoes, black beans, onion.
Mix oil, vinegar, salt/pepper, mustard and drizzle over bean mixture. I don't usually use the entire vinaigrette.
Place sliced onions on top.
Chill overnight. Serve cool.

Back to the office

For the better part of a year, I have avoided my campus office like the plague. I cleared out last June and did my level best to stay away through family leave and then a sabbatical. I can't point to any one thing fueling my desire to stay away and to work from home. The baby was a huge part of it, course, but there were other reasons.

Rats, for instance.

My office is located in the attic of a building on the historic register (or so I'm told). It is old and dusty. In the recent past it was infested with rats the size of small house cats. Oh yes, office vermin! Such an authentic link to the past! We should put it on the campus tour. I was so afraid of my rodent invaders that I would knock on my door before entering the office so they could scamper back to their hiding places in the walls. Getting rid of them was a comedy in three acts. First, the maintenance guys brought traps over and baited these with peanut butter. In the mornings before I would enter, I would send someone else into the office to check the traps. There were never any bodies to dispose of. Instead, all the peanut butter had been licked off and there were often little peanut butter rat tracks back to the bank of cabinets lining my office. One maintenance guy was so certain that the traps were malfunctioning that he tested one. With his finger. The traps were in perfect condition. His finger, alas, was not. This incident confirmed my fear that the rats were, in fact, smarter than people. When it became apparent that traps wouldn't work, the college contracted with an outside exterminator who baited the office with rat poison. The rats ate the rat poison, but it did not kill them. I suspect this is because they were super rats for whom rat poison was the equivalent of Popeye's spinach. What finally worked was putting a new roof on the building. Apparently there were holes under the slate of the old roof which provided an on-ramp for the rat super highway that ran through my office.

All this is to say that a healthy and sustained fear of rats is one reason I stayed away. You never know when they'll be back.