Baby No. 2

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Baby Spicer no. 2!  Isn’t she sweet?  She’s 14 oz. and perfectly healthy.  I’m 21 weeks and the projected due date is still my birthday–December 9!  And, well, yah she’s a SHE!

It’s wonderful to know these things.  She’s healthy, we get to see her lovely face, we got to watch her wiggle and jiggle.  We know developmentally that she is right on, we have a for-real due date, and we know she’s a she!  Why does that information of knowing the sex of the unborn child feel so heavy?  The torture of not knowing feels so unbearable.  Knowing feels like such a relief.  But, what is relieving?  Knowing what color to buy?  It’s more than that.  I think it promises an illusion of control.  It says that now I can really dream about what the rest of our life will be like.  Now I know whether or not it’ll be a football player or a baton-twirler…  I can prepare myself.

On the way to our appointment yesterday morning, this burden felt so heavy and dramatic.  I’m about to find out what the sibling dynamic in our house will be for the rest of our life!  It will be cat-fighting sisters…. or… it will be sweet, handsome younger brother/bossy older sister… The thing is that I know the brother/sister dynamic.  I don’t know the sister/sister dynamic.  I pretty much know how a brother and sister get along.  What about two sisters, though?  What do I know about raising TWO daughters?!  What will I do when they yell that they hate each other?  What will I do when they fight over friends and boys?! I don’t know!!!!  I now know what I can’t control.  More fear is created!

What adds to the oppression of this knowledge is also the “decision” we have made for this to be it. This pregnancy alongside baby Sophia has been so tiring and so hard.  It’s impossible for me right now to imagine being pregnant and chasing around TWO.  But, the weight of that decision feels too final.  It felt okay to make the decision before we knew that this decision would mean we’d never have a son.  It doesn’t have to be final…

Will has had the best encouragement.  He said that God gives us what we need and what we’ll be great at.  Right now, there’s two beautiful, lovely baby girls that need a strong, caring father and a sympathetic, loving mommy.  I may not be able to imagine myself the parent of two cat-fighting sisters… but, I don’t have to.  God gives us babies.  And, He makes us into Mommies.

A Valiant Effort or a Ridiculous Attempt at Mommy Heroism?

Should have sprung for the babysitter… Ever said those words?  Never have I meant them this much!  I may have just had the worst morning of my life!  Torture is what I just put myself through.  I just took Sophia with me on a cleaning trip.  We went to clean the remaining mess of a rent house that we were subleasing.  I knew that this would be a near ridiculous attempt, i.e. I knew it would be disastrous to bring Sophia along, but I didn’t realize the details of just how it would look.

So, our only tasks: clean the refrigerator and the oven.  That’s not too bad, right?  I didn’t think so.  I brought toys for Sophia and cleaning supplies for me.  I had NO IDEA that she wouldn’t be interested in toys but only in cleaning supplies.  It’s like she had Never Seen A Spray Bottle!  It must be her age… Every single thing I did, she wanted to do, too.  Beside me or in front of me, she had to be doing exactly what I was doing.  I was wiping down the outside of the fridge; she wanted to.  I was cleaning inside the fridge; she wanted to.  I was cleaning inside the oven; she wanted to.  I gave her a dry rag and let her follow me around, but that wasn’t good enough.  She wanted to get inside the fridge.  If I was doing something on the counter, she was crying and pulling on my clothes…

Here I thought was a good idea: While I was cleaning fridge shelves in the sink, I let her crawl inside the empty fridge… HOW WAS I TO KNOW THAT SHE IS DEATHLY AFRAID OF THE FRIDGE DOOR?!  Everytime it came near her, she’d flail and scream with horror!  She also couldn’t get herself out of the fridge.  Of course, I think that this is a good time to teach her, “If you get yourself into a mess, you’ve got to get yourself out of it.”  After 5 minutes of continuous screaming and crying, I rescue her from the godforsaken fridge… only for her to crawl back in it and scream and scream again!!!  Okay, fridge shut.  Right?  No!  This began 1 hour of the most pitiful toddler-screaming-crying-tantrum-fit I have EVER seen!  Tears pouring, chest heaving, snot rolling… What can I do to help her?  I first thought that I need to let this tantrum go, and she’ll eventually get calm.  She’ll realize that I won’t let her get in the fridge with me… Let it go.  Nope.  She can’t possibly be this stubborn!

Wow.  There’s nothing else to say.  I should’ve gotten a sitter… Something to be said about learning things.  Here’s something else I learned: We will NEVER house an indoor animal.  I just cleaned dog hair out of the freezer.  Tell me, please, how did dog hair get in the freezer?!!!!!

Parenting a Toddler: a Mommy’s Lament

I’m sitting here frustrated–both with myself and with Sophia… I’m thinking about how easy it is to parent without intention, say instead with reaction or instinct.  I’ve had a few “situations” with Sophia lately.  She’s long past entered the “no” phase, often shaking her head “no” when she knows she’s not supposed to do something.  Sometimes she’s been downright defiant.  She’s only 14-months old!  I didn’t know this would happen so quickly.

Our biggest struggles are the trashcan and food on the high chair.  Trashcan: Sophia loves to bang on it, reach in and get stuff out, and even eat leftover food out of it.  If we are watching her, she will look at us, shake her head “no,” and continue one of the aforementioned actions.  An easy solution to the trashcan would be to get one with a lid and a foot-lever, or it would be to store it in a child-proofed cabinet… Instead, we’re trying to teach her to listen and obey.  Is she too early to learn that mommy said “no?”  Daddy generally says a firm no and picks her up and moves her.  Often, I’m cooking though, and this isn’t an easy task for me.  I’m inconvenienced, right?  The battle of parenting. Maybe, we should get a new trashcan and pick a different battle?

Food: during meals where she’s not too excited about her food, she’s started dropping food onto the floor–what all babies do, right?  She’s done this for a long time, but she now knows that she’s not supposed to.  Two days ago she dropped onto the floor, plate and all, a fresh piece of Mommy-made french toast.  My reaction was to ignore her and finish my breakfast.  When she wanted what I was eating, I told her, “No, you had your breakfast, but you chose to put it on the floor.  Now you have to wait until I’m done.”  She actually waited fairly patiently–i.e., she didn’t scream and tantrum for the next 5 minutes.  I think that it may have worked.  But, then there was yesterday.  Yesterday my reaction wasn’t so thoughtful and intentional… it was more, well, reactional.  During a snack-time at the table, she proceeded to throw cereal all over the kitchen.  I patiently told her, “Cereal stays on your tray or goes in your mouth.”  She looked directly at me, shook her head “no,” swiped her arms across the tray and threw cereal all over the floor.  Now, I know she was hungry!  She didn’t have much lunch and had just gotten up from a nap. She didn’t want the CEREAL!  Well, I snapped.  I picked up the tray, took her hand and smacked it–voice raised saying something like “We do NOT throw our food on the floor!”  Woah, did she get upset.  And, I smacked her hand!  She was defiant.  But, I smacked her hand... and because I was angry.  I could have just taken it away, told her she was done and given her nothing else to eat… But, what should I have done?  Her defiance is partly to blame on her inability to communicate “Mommy, I don’t want this cereal.  May I please have something else?”  Or at least, “Blueberries, please?”  She can’t even communicate, “I DON’T WANT THIS!  I DON’T EVEN WANT TO LOOK AT THIS!  GET IT OFF MY PLATE!!!!”  So, what’s a mom to do?  Guess, use non-verbal clues and past evidence of behavior… but, beyond that?

Sophia gets so upset when I’m upset.  When she would bite me while nursing and I would yelp out in pain, she was horrified, unable to be consoled for minutes later.  This morning something else happened.  I have a stack of books on a bookshelf that I plan to take to Hastings to get some dollas for.  She took one of the books, opened it and ripped the first page.  I was so angry!  All I could think was how this book can no longer be sold, and there went $5!  I took the book out of her hand and barked, “No, Sophia!  That’s Mommy’s book!  You ripped Mommy’s book!”  She immediately wailed.  She walked up to me with the saddest cry.  Arms are out and tears are pouring down her face.  Pouring. Watching these tears, I realized I yelled.  I realized that she didn’t know the difference between Mommy’s magazine and Mommy’s book that she’s planning to sell any day now… I realized I reacted out of anger, frustration and inconvenience.  I picked her up, and she laid her head on me, communicating a real “I’m sorry I made you mad at me… though I don’t know why…” It broke my heart.  I guess I didn’t know that parenting would be so gut-wrenching at 14-months.  I’m seeing my lack of patience.  I’m seeing my short fuse.  I’m seeing my easily inconvenienced spirit.  I just wish we could talk it out, ya know.  Just talk it out.  😉

The Search for the Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I am no chocolate chip cookie connoisseur, but I know what I like and don’t like… being pregnant makes me a little extra picky, of course… The thing is when I bake a chocolate chip cookie at home, I often think, “That’s pretty good, but it’s not as good as ______.” Mind you, I’m blaming the outcome on the recipe and not my cooking ability.  😉

Last night, after a few nights of enjoying home-baked, store bought, pre-cut cookie dough, I decided to take the effort of mixing up my own.  I chose this cook book: The KING ARTHUR FLOUR Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook.  I chose the recipe entitled “The Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.”  I figured that in a cookbook such as this, the recipe entitled “The Essential….” would be well-researched and near have the claim “The Best Recipe for a Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER!” The recipe was fairly interesting, and I was glad I had everything I needed in the cabinet.  It called for butter instead of shortening, and it called for vinegar and corn syrup… The vinegar was supposed to help cut the sweetness and help the cookie rise more.  The cookie was less sweet, but I didn’t appreciate the cookie’s rise.  I don’t know if I want my cookie to rise.  I changed the recipe only slightly, omitting corn syrup and adding a smidge of peanut butter… Overall, they turned out fairly tastey, though slightly cake-like and too tall.  And, well, it just wasn’t IT!

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Now, I’m on the search.  Where is the GREATEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE EVER?!

Here’s what I want out of the cookie: a little crispy, but moist and gooey, chewy in the center. Fairly thin but dense. I want sweet, but not overpoweringly sugary…  Is that asking too much?

So, I’m going to try some more recipes.  Do you think you have the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe, or at least one that you think I’d love?!  Email it to me, or post it in the comments here.  I’ll try it out and post the results here.

Also, do any of you baking experts know how I might achieve the results I want?  Like butter vs. shortening?

Sophia videos

We took some video of Sophia on the playground this afternoon.  For those of you that haven’t seen her in a while, you can see her playing and walking.

returning from vacation

I’ve been dreading finally giving a thorough update of our vacation… dreading, because well, it’s over… and, life is back to “normal.”  And, normal is tiring lately.  Our vacation was so wonderful and relaxing that “back to normal” is like a slap in the face.  I guess, it doesn’t help that Sophia’s been ill…  She’s much better now–back to her screaming, tantrumming, sweet, lovely 14-month-old self.  😉  I was thinking, just moments earlier, my elbows deep in dishwater, how I’m determined to learn how to do dishes while Sophia is awake. I need naptimes for things like 1)sanity, 2)my own napping, or 3)something I want to do… not dishes, right?  I digress.

The tone of this post so far seems to speak to my current mood.  It’s been a hard couple days.  The glorious naps she was taking right after vacation are dwindling back from 2 hours to the 30 minute range… Argh!  Yesterday, after a diarrhea explosion in the kitchen, I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing the most disgusting kitchen floor.  Note: citrus juices should not be given to young toddlers. By the way, can someone give me some tips on how to fit in the EXTRA cleaning into a routine?!  How am I ever suppose to have time to clean the kitchen floor, or say the bathroom or any parts there within, when all I can seem to do during the day is pick up the disaster that was left behind by my 14-month old tornado?!

Back to my train of thought: dishes.  I was thinking about vacation and how it spoiled me.  It was a glorious 2 weeks!  I had 3 EXTRA sets of arms and legs and hands to help with EVERYTHING!  Dirty dishes is what sticks out the most in my mind.  Our friends were so lovely that I barely washed a single dish in 14 days!  They were the most wonderful guests you could imagine.  They helped with everything including nonstop baby-entertaining.  They’re the most wonderfully gracious friends.  Will was in charge of putting Sophia to bed and getting her up; so, I didn’t do that either!  I slept in some mornings until 9:30!  SAY WHAT!?  Who knew it was possible!  Thank you, husby!  You are the best.  Back to reality, though: the dishes pile up, meal after meal, and I have this new need to keep the kitchen clean all day.  (By the way we have the suckiest external dishwasher known to man!  They come out dirtier than they went in!)

So, our vacation was just that: a REAL vacation.  I think it was for each of us.  Will had a wonderful time relaxing, spending time with our friends and spending time with us, but I was also able to rest and have a break from MY norm–which is a real blessing considering “a mom’s job is never done.”

With that in mind, let me try to be thankful as I tell you about the rest.  😉  Colorado was amazing!  The weather was perfect, highs in the low 70s.  Warm sun, cool evenings.  It even got down to near freezing temperatures late into the night!  Ah, the glorious mountains.  Camping was great.  We cooked a lot outside.  Sophia played in the dirt and grass and practiced walking–all of which she LOVED!  She slept well in the tent at night, and we tried to do naps during car rides during the day.  We went on some fun hikes while we were there.  Mom got seriously tuckered out with pregnancy fatigue and altitude sickness, but rest helped a lot.  I was sad to see how much less I could do than I thought I could…

The lowlight of our trip was probably the first day we were there.  We went on a 4.5 mile hike in which in rained and hailed on us for at least half of it… Of course, it was the second half; so we weren’t physically prepared for it.  Mountain weather–love it and hate it!

Here’s just a couple of pictures of our time there.

the saddest time of the day

Daddy just left to go back to work.  A lunch break at home–bittersweet.  It was wonderful to get to spend a half-hour with him, sharing the stories of our mornings, but it has to end.  Sophia still doesn’t understand the lunch break.  She just wailed and wailed as we watched him through the glass door walk to the car.  I usually try to sing silly songs with her like “Daddy’s going back to work, back to work, back to work… Daddy’s going back to work, but we’ll see him soon!” It works sometimes, but not today.

Today, she’s not well.  She’s had a pretty bad fever the last couple of days topping out yesterday morning at 102.4.  A fever is such a scary thing.  I feel it instantly when I hold her.  Her skin feels like it’s burning up next to my face.  This is our first real fever scare, and it’s also the longest one.  She woke up late Sunday night, so hot, and she’s been up and down since.  Things have been so busy, she’s been completely off her schedule, teething too, and now has a little bit of an ear infection.  Today, well, she’s kind of pitiful–not cranky or fussy, not screaming and irritable, but cuddly.  I’ll be laying on the couch resting, and all she wants to do is lay with me rolling around over and over in my arms putting her head as close to mine as she can–all the while sucking on that thumb.  Or, I’ll be sitting in the floor playing with her and instead of wanting to play she wants to hug me.  It’s the sweetest thing ever, but it’s also a clue that she’s not well.  Her thumb is raw and bruised, too.  At least it gives her some comfort.

I just put her down for another nap, no argument from her…

So, we are resting from a wonderful vacation.  It was a blessed two weeks full of a great time with friends, a fun and active CO expedition, and a lot of lounging around at the house afterward.  It was great to spend so much time with our friends and so much time with “Da-da.”  When, I’m more rested I’ll put up some pics and tell you more about it.  😉