Sunday, March 21, 2010

Perfect Day

This weekend brought more unseasonably warm weather with Saturday boasting temperatures in the low 70s. It was a wonderful way to welcome the first day of Spring. I had yoga in the morning and Shazam and Little E went with me. She was in great spirits and was back to her cute smiling self with my yoga teacher, classmates, and the staff at the store where the class is held. Shazam and Little E visited for a little while and took a nice walk in the sunshine while I bent myself like a pretzel.

After Ella's nap in the afternoon we went over to a park near our house for Little E's first try on the swing. She loved it! We spent about an hour swinging, playing on a blanket and trying out the slide. We then returned home and grilled our supper. Ella was exhausted and fell asleep during her evening bottle. I could not have planned out a more perfect day. There is really nothing more that I need than my family, a sunny day, and a swing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I should be working...

but instead I will be writing a blog post. I have a free period right now and I should be going through papers and correcting or planning or something but I decided that I would blog instead.

The weather here has been so great this week little E has been getting out and about so much. Shazam has been walking with her to a coffee shop in the mornings to get a latte which I think they both have been enjoying. We have taken several walks as a family when I get home from work and it has been great. Last night we walked up the street for pizza. It was so yummy and E did great while we ate our pizza and drank out beers. It is so nice to be able to get out of the apartment and see something other than the four walls that have been caging us all in for RSV season. We still have about a month and a half left but have started to enlarge E's world as we think she needs some more socialization and enrichment. It is a constant balance of trying to keep her safe from germs and at the same time help her grow socially and emotionally.

This week has been a prime example of how sheltered Little E really is. Little E had a doctors appointment for her RSV shot on Wednesday so we decided that it would be an excellent opportunity to have her stop by school for a few minutes and meet some people. She was in a great mood when she got there but as soon as people started to get near her she flipped out. Screaming at the top of her lungs and was inconsolable. It was awful. I was so excited for people to meet my girl and she was a miserable mess the whole time. We ended up having to leave. We then stopped at a toy store while trying to kill some time before her appointment and the woman in the toy store said hi to her and she once again flipped out. Same thing happened at the doctors. It was her nap time but still Little E seems to be taking stranger danger to a new level. We also think she may be teething (god I hope so) since she has been pretty irritable lately. We will see.

So we will be trying to broaden Little E's world in the hopes that she will start to be more comfortable with new people and places. Here playgroup will start next week. I hope it goes well for both Little E and Shazam.

Little E has been really improving this week on her physical skills. At the start of the week she couldn't really push her belly off the floor to get into a crawl position. We have been working on this with her and now she does it all the time. In the last 48 hours she even started rocking back and forth on her knees it looks like she will be taking off into a crawl any minute. I guess we need to start that baby proofing project this weekend.

On the food front Little E has been doing really well. She has liked everything we have given her so far with the exception of squash and has not shown any more allergy signs with new food. We have yet to try anything green again. Which I know we must do but it really would mean that I need to make it since most of the green store bought has peas in it or another legume. My plan had been to make all the food but I just have not gotten my act together on this. Perhaps Sunday while it is raining I can whip up a batch of something. I think I really need to do this anyway since I was looking at the ingredients of many of the stage 2 meals and they all have garbanzo flour (another legume) in them. Little E also has been having puffs and seems to be doing really well with them. She can't get them into her mouth very well but opens up like a baby bird for them if I put them in her mouth. EI wants her working on her pincher skills so we need to offer them more but solid food kind of makes me nervous. She still has zero teeth and I am afraid she will choke.

We found out that we got into the daycare that we wanted. It is a little farther away from my school than I may have wanted but I don't think it will be too much of a problem. Hopefully Shazam will have a schedule that allows for her to do much of the drop off. Our plan is to hopefully have Shazam take one of her courses at night so that Little E will only need to be in daycare 4 days/week. We really felt great about this provider and I am really happy that there will be another two mom family there. Also the fact that she had a 30 week preemie herself makes me feel like so at ease with her. Yeah for that being decided. While I am a little bummed that we will have to pay for 2 days per week in the summer I have a feeling that I will enjoy the days that I can go grocery shopping and get things done around the house without a 2 year old on my heels.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Well So Much For That

I think SSG talked about blogging every day and it looks like there hasn't been a blog in a week. Oops. So much for that plan! I have a few minutes while E is napping and before Early Intervention comes so thought I would start an entry and give some updates.

DAYCARE: No word yet on whether we got that spot at the daycare we really loved. We heard from the friend that recommended her that the daycare provider called her and it seemed to our friend that we were in. We were excited and relieved but we've heard nothing. SSG called the provider yesterday and she didn't indicate that we were in. So I'm confused and worried that we're not in which means we need to keep searching. This sucks. The whole thing sucks quite frankly. It sucks that we need to even send her and it sucks that we have to come up with like $14,000 a year to pay for it.

DARWIN: A little over a week ago our beagle, Darwin, ate the inside of a wet diaper. Somehow baby urine was appealing. That dog is like a freakin goat. He'll eat anything. In fact here are a few examples of what he's eaten in the past:

- socks
- baskets
- a can of oats
- thyroid medication

Ok so back to the diaper. We noticed he was "passing" the diaper (yes it's as gross as you imagine) but after a few days of diarrhea and his appetite decreasing, we decided we needed to get him checked out. We were afraid of a blockage and honestly more afraid of the expense of all of it. I got an appointment last Thursday at 12:30 which is really convenient with SSG at work, me without a car, and E with me. It was a clusterfuck. SSG had to leave work and get coverage and SSG's mom had to come to watch E. We took Darwin, dropped him off, and had to kill time in the area waiting to hear from the vet. We ended up staying there all afternoon only to have them say the diaper is most likely not a problem but the bump on his neck that appeared about a month ago may be...or not. Basically she was like it could be a hematoma or it's worse but again no real diagnosis. So $750 later we took him home with medication, special food, and he's fine. Bastard has like 9 lives and is killing us financially. We love him but we were prepared to put him down if the thing on his neck was like terminal cancer. Sorry we're not people who can pay for like rounds of chemo. We love him dearly but for us it's not something we would do. Hell I'm happy when we can pay for groceries for the week.

GRAD SCHOOL: No word yet on this in terms of me officially accepting somewhere. I had to contact BC because I got in but need my financial aid package before I can make that decision. I was told it's not going out until like early April. I'm a bit baffled by this because my deadline for acceptance was like March 23rd. Do people really make that kind of big decision without knowing the financials? Anyway I got an extension for like mid-April so I'm hoping to have a decision made and have it be over with.

LITTLE E: E has been doing really well and is for the most part a typical 8 month old. She's very active and often very vocal. She's able to move around really well on the floor dragging herself around. She's trying to put together the crawling thing. She can get her butt off the ground, sometimes tucks her knees under her, and just recently shows glimpses of getting that butt and belly off the ground in a crawl position. She's really enjoying her solids...minus squash. She reeeally didn't like squash and personally I don't blame her. E and I have taken a couple of long walks which we really both enjoy. I also just agreed to do like a mommy and me group for an hour on Thursdays starting next week. I know it will be good for E but for me personally I know it will be tough to go because I am very uncomfortable meeting new people. I'm not outgoing like SSG is and I won't have her there as comfort. Once school is out I really want SSG and E to do some sort of mommy and me group, perhaps a yoga mommy and me. We'll have to start looking.

Anyway that's pretty much it from here! Just plugging along.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Rotation

On a message board I frequent someone mentioned today that they need some new recipes since they are bored with their usual fare so I thought I would post some of our favorite recipes/dinners to change things up a little from the same old update on Ella post. We have a few dishes which we eat a lot of and I refer to them as dinners that are "in the rotation". Some are more interesting than others of course but I thought I would share a few of our standbys.

1. Chicken Caesar-Ok this sounds fancy but really it is chicken breast with Caesar dressing parm cheese and bread crumbs baked at 350. It is simple but does dress up the old baked chicken breast.

2. Chicken Mexicano!- Yup another way to make baked chicken sound cool. Same old chicken breast with salsa baked at 350. I throw on some grated cheddar for the last few minutes.

3. Lemon Tarragon Chicken- This is much more time intensive but I really have not met a person who doesn't like this meal. My mom always makes this when she is bringing someone a dish in crisis (death or sickness) or celebration (birth). It is yummy. The family I nannied for had me make it every week for them. I'll give you the readers digest version (I don't know where my mom got this recipe and I just kind of wing it on the amounts of things. I will check to see if I can get an actual recipe for it.). Anyway cut chicken breast in bite sized pieces and dredge in flour. Fry in olive oil and remove from pan when golden brown. Set aside. Turn down the heat and add 2 tbsp of butter to the pan. Next add one chicken bouillon cube and about 1/2 cup of water stir until cube is dissolved. Add 1/4 of lemon juice and about 2 tbsp of dried tarragon. Simmer until it is reduced to a thick sauce. Add the chicken back in and simmer for a few minutes stirring to cover chicken with the sauce. Serve over rice.

4. Olympic Orzo- This is a modified dish from the Moosewood Cooks at Home cookbook . We first had it when we watched the summer Olympics in Athens and added feta as a topping to go with the Greek them. I double the tomatoes and other veggies.
2 quarts water
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 onion -- chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 carrots -- diced
1 red or green bell pepper -- chopped
1 cup orzo
1 zucchini -- diced
1 tablespoon fresh minced mint (1 tsp dried)
1 tablespoon fresh minced dill (1 tsp dried)
1/2 teaspoon fresh marjoram (sprinkling of dried)
5 artichoke hearts (14 oz can) -- drained and chopped
2 cups cannellini beans (15 oz can) -- rinsed & drained
1 14.5 oz can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
red wine vinegar
Bring the water to a boil in a large covered pot.
While the water heats, saute the garlic and onions in 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
Add carrots and bell pepper.

When the water boils, add the orzo, return to a boil, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until al dente.

Dice the zucchini and stir it into the skillet of vegetables.
Add the mint, dill, and marjoram.
Add the artichoke hearts and gently stir the beans and the stewed tomatoes.
Simmer for several minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the pasta is al dente, drain and stir in the remaining tablespoon of oil.
When the beans and vegetables are hot, add the orzo.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.

So what are your standbys? I would love to throw a few more items into the rotation!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Daycare Saga Continues

Thanks so much for letting me know you are all still here! It felt good to know I am not talking to myself. A couple of you mentioned not commenting as much since you started using reader. I think I am totally guilty of this as well and am going to make more of an effort to comment on the blogs I go read.

Today brought 2 more daycare visits and I am happy to report they went better than the fiasco of Friday. I visited a daycare after school today on my way home and the Shazam Little E and I went to another tonight.

The first daycare was a family daycare just up the street from the gross one we saw on Friday. It was super clean, and very spacious. It had a huge playroom and a kitchen area. It pretty much was the entire first floor of the house. They also had there own very nice playground. The daycare was a little larger than the ones we have seen before and could have a total of 10 children there. There were 2 full time providers and the owner. It was very nice and they all seemed to care about the kids. There was also a separate room for the kids to take a nap. It was very structured. I liked it but it seemed more like a center than a family daycare. This is probably because the woman who ran the daycare passed away this fall and her husband has kept the business going and has hired two woman to take care of the kids. He is very involved and I really liked him but I just didn't get the same connection I have from some of the other family daycares. It is just around the corner from home but is the most expensive we have seen and he did not seem very flexiable with hours (we want 4 days/week)

The second place was really great. It is about 10 minutes from home and was recomended by a friend. Her daughter went there and loved it. Both Shazam and I can totally see why. The door was answered by a very cute teenager who introduced herself and lead us upstairs. The provider was on the phone when we got there so the husband waited with us and both the daughter and husband smiled and cooed at Ella. The provider was so nice we chatted in her emaculate living room and she went over the details of the kids days. She was wonderful. When we mentioned that Ella was a preemie she told us her daughter was born 10 weeks early too. This made me feel so comfortable and she asked about early intervention and told us that they could come and do her services while Ella was at the daycare. How great is that. She took us down to the daycare area and it was so clean and wonderful. The toys and play area it was great. The room opens right out to the fenced back yard. The woman is Chillean so the program is billingual which I also think is wonderful. She then showed us the pictures of all the families at the daycare and there was another 2 mom family. I was over the moon. The only glitch is that another family came today and she is mailing the contract to both of us. I don't know how she will decide who gets the spot. I am hoping that our friend whom the provider seemed to love can put in a good word for us.

Hopefully we will have this daycare problem resolved soon and I will not have to stress about this anymore.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bueller?? Bueller??

Is anyone out there? The last couple of posts have gotten no comments. I am starting to wonder if anyone is still out there. I kind of feel like we may have bored out readers and they have left us. Even if we have lost our readers I think I will keep writing since this has become such a great record of the first months of E's life and the journey to making her. I know I lurk on several blogs and never comment so I guess I will be writing for my lurkers (if I have any for now!)

Today we went looking for daycare/school options for E for next year. Ugh let's just say I am totally hating this process espesially since we did this last year as well. Before E was born prematurly we had researched daycare options for E and had found a great home daycare that was right by my school and about 1.5 miles from home. It was great. The woman is a vegetarian and only served organic foods. Her house was great and had a wonderful layout. Another teacher at school used her and she also did a teacher's schedule so that we could drop off at 7:30 and pick up at 3:30 and didn't charge for the summers. It really could not be better. Oh and did I mention that the price was great? However since E was a preemie, the doctors and nurses didn't want E exposed to germs this first RSV season and pretty much told us not to put her in daycare (or take her out of the house for that matter) for the first year. Plus Shazam was out of work so we decided the best plan for our family would be to give up her spot in the awesome daycare and keep her home. I think it was the best decsion for our family and I don't regret it. Unfortunaltly when I called the daycare to see if there was a spot for E, there was no room for her. I am beyond bummed out about this. I then called the daycare that we had tried to get E into last year (but there was no room then) and got the same story, no room. I put a message out on the school email and got several recommendations. After I called several I found that there was very few spots available for a 14 month old in the area that do teacher's hours. I made appointments to visit two options today. Let's just say that they were on opposite ends of the spectrum.

This morning started with visiting a local Montessori school. I was excited to find in my research that they have a toddler program (which is pretty rare) and that they would take E even though she would not be 15 months at the beginging of the school year. I know that Montessori is not for everyone but my mom is a retired Montessori teacher and I went to a Montessori school from age 3-6...we are Montessori people. I fully expected to love the school and I did. It was beautiful. The wooden chairs, the pretty plates, the cute little toddlers playing, it was wonderful. How could you not love cute little kids sitting at a mini table serving themselves freshly chopped papaya and avacado? What I don't love is the price. Ugh the price. They do offer financial aid but since we are late in applying I don't think we will get any. I would so love for E to go to this school and we are going to put our application in but I don't think it is really going to happen right now. Not with Shazam not working, unemployment eventually running out, and Shazam attending grad school in September. Perhaps when E is three she can start the primary program but I can always dream of E around that wooden table in her little chair munching on papaya right? It will be more realistic when we are both in full-time jobs.

Our second stop of the day was a home daycare. I had high hopes. The woman was cheery and nice on the phone. I pictured the family daycare that I we had enrolled E in before. It could not be farther from that. It was in a basement, it smelled horribly musty, it was dirty, the toys were old and grungy, there was a tv, it was crowded, there was an electrical outlet covered with duct tape, and the toys were stored in old cardboard boxes. The woman was very nice but there is no way we will be sending E there.

This visit sent me into such a tizzy that I needed fried food and wine to get me out of it. So back to the drawing board I went.

We now have an appointment Monday to see two other home daycares. Both are recommended by people we trust so this should have a better chance to be a better fit. I sure hope so, since the stress of where E will be going next year is stressing Shazam and I out.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Playing Is Hard!

Little E is really playing independently more and more lately. She is quite content to play on her mat with her toys or play with the toys on her jumper for long periods of time these days. She is quite inquisitive and spends lots of time just looking at her books or the tags on her toys. She is moving around quite a bit and her early intervention case worker was impressed to see her spinning around on her tummy to reach for things. Darwin on the other hand is not so impressed since Little E seems to be most motivated to move towards her puppy. She loves grabbing his fur. It is quite cute and I think Darwin is very surprised that this furless cat thing we brought home is now moving. All her reaching, spinning and playing seems to be tiring the poor little girl our since this is what Shazam found the other morning.

Little E is also going better sleeping at night. We tried to have her cry it out when she wakes up at night the past two nights and it has gone well. The first night it took her about 5 mininutes to fall back to sleep the two times she woke up. Last night I had to get up and put her pacifier back in once but she only woke briefly two other times and only cried for a few minute. She is also napping in her crib both in the morning and the evening!!! I don't want to jinx us but we may have turned a corner.

Little E is doing really well with her high chair and is really enjoying sitting in it while we cook dinner. She likes to play with her toys and study her books and it is so nice to hang out as a family.

Finally the great news of the week is that Shazam got into B.C. Which means that she got into her two top graduate schools. She still has not decided where she will be going yet but Little E and I could not be prouder. Yeah Shazam!

Monday, March 1, 2010

March of Dimes Walk

This year Little E, Shazam and I will be doing the Walk for Babies to raise money for the March of Dimes. We are inviting all our friends and family to join us on our walk as a part of Team Bumble Bee. The walk is May 8th in Boston along the Charles River. It should be a great day and just another way to celebrate how far Little E has come over the last few months. I can say without a doubt that Little E would not be here with us without the work that the March of Dimes does. The research funded by the March of Dimes is literally the reason Ella is alive we are one of the lucky families. One that got to take a beautiful baby home from the NICU other families are not that lucky. The money raised on our walk will go to making happy endings for more babies and families. If you are able to join us on our walk we would love to have you with us. If you are unable to walk with us, please consider making a donation to Team Bumble Bee if you are able. To join our team or to make a donation please follow the link below or visit our team page.