Happy birthday to Jody

My husband Jody is 34 years old today. 🙂
Happy birthday to you Jody, the father of my children and the love of my life. I know I don’t always say it, but it’s true.

Not having much money to spend on birthdays, I had to get creative with gift ideas. I bought him a couple of DVDs (A Christmas Story and Savannah Smiles – from his youth – I’m happy that they are both kid-friendly flicks – at least I think they are), as well as a 10-visit pass to our city’s rec center. Then, on the creative side, I framed a recent picture of the kids and also framed a piece of paper with Ava’s handprints and Julian’s footprints on it (that we did yesterday). I was much more successful getting my 2 1/2 year old to do her handprints than I was getting my 12-week-old to do his footprints. What a mess. 😉 Oh well. I think they are still pretty sweet, and hope Jody will enjoy them as well.

Edited at 9:23 p.m. to add: We spent the afternoon at the Butterfly Pavilion today. It was our first time there and it’s a pretty neat place. Ava had a ball. She touched starfish and even held a tarantula named “Rosie” and got a sticker to prove it. She has no fear. 😉 I snapped a few pics with my P&S. Julian seemed to enjoy himself too. I wore him in the Moby Wrap and he kept busy checking out all the tropical plants in the butterfly area. After that we went out to dinner for pizza. It was a nice day. 🙂

Ava holds “Rosie” the tarantula:

2/10/07 - Ava with the tarantula

Mommy and the kiddos:

Ava, Mommy and Julian - Butterfly Pavilion

Daddy (the birthday boy) and the kiddos:

The kids with Jody on his birthday - 2/10/07

A Red Powder Puff flower:

Red Powder Puff flower

One of the many butterflies:

A butterfly

Fun in the kitchen with Goji berries

Ava and I made oatmeal-Goji berry muffins and cookies today. If you’ve never heard of Goji berries (aka wolfberries) before, I highly suggest you read more about them, specifically about their nutritional value. These are some amazing little berries!

* 19 amino acids, 6 times more than Bee Pollen
* 21 trace minerals, including Germanium
* 6 essential fatty acids
* Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E
* More beta carotene than carrots
* More antioxidant power than any other known food source
* 500 times more Vitamin C than oranges
* 4 Unique Polysaccharides (Master Molecules) found in no other food source
* Linoleic acid, which significantly promotes body fat loss
* 15 times more nutritional iron than spinach

I bought mine from Goji Berries.US. They aren’t cheap (the 18 oz. bag I bought was $19.95), but they are coming all the way from Tibet and are chock full of nutrients, so go figure.

I tried to make the muffins and cookies as healthy as possible, so I used whole-wheat flour, less sugar than my recipe called for (I did 3/4 C of brown sugar and a little under 1 C of agave nectar), and of course the oatmeal and goji berries. I also threw in some ground flaxseed for the cookies. We ended up with 24 cookies and 19 muffins. They all turned out to be pretty tasty, and Ava and I had fun making them. She insisted on doing nearly everything with very little assistance from me, and even used the spatula to take the cookies off the cookie sheet (while I held it). She’s such a good helper!

Mixing in the goji berries and putting the mix into the muffin cups:

Ava making muffins

I love that she was concentrating so hard with her tongue sticking out.

Ava - more muffins

Showing off the goji berries:

Ava - modeling the goji berries

Tasty and good for ya. Mmmm. 🙂

 

Growing my blogroll

Since I started my blog nearly two years ago, several of my (real life) friends have started up blogs of their own. They are all in my blogroll, but I wanted to give a shout out to them here too. 🙂 Hi, ladies.

Heather at A Mama’s Blog
Julie at ChezArtz
Sonja at Sonja’s Outdoor World
and most recently, Nicole at From My Zoo To Yours

Stop by and say hello to them, won’t ya? Tell them Amy sent ya. 😉

Recently I’ve been on the lookout for other mamas with similar interests/passions as mine to add to my blogroll. Here are a few new ones I’ve added:
Jennifer at The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog
Estella at Taming Estella
Jeannette at Crunchy on the Inside

If you have a blog that you love to visit and think I would enjoy it too, please share the wealth and let me know. 🙂

Charlie’s soap

Charlie’s soap

I finally took Dawn‘s recommendation and bought some Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder. I’d been wanting to switch to a natural detergent for a while, but I put it off because I had a large bottle of All Free & Clear that I didn’t want to go to waste. Once that was nearly used up (I gave the leftovers to my sister), I placed my order for Charlie’s.

I’ve been using it for about a week now and so far, so good. I didn’t want blab about it on my blog until it passed the cloth diapers test, but it did so and with flying colors. I was a little surprised by how clean the diapers were. I’ve actually been reading some of the product reviews on their site and many people rave about how clean it got their cloth dipes, so I guess I’m not the only satisfied customer. 😉

Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder “is made with a unique blend of biodegradable coconut-based detergents and high-grade, completely soluble, Green River washing soda.”

It’s reasonably priced too. The size I ordered does 80 loads at 16 cents a load. (And they seem to have thrown in an extra bag for me too – maybe because I’m a first-time buyer? I’m not sure, but I’m not complaining.) You can buy a larger size too that equals out to 10 cents a load. Charlie’s also sells an all-purpose cleaner, though I like to make my cleaners myself.

The bag says “Leaves nothing but the good old-fashioned sweet smell of clean. If you want flowers, go pick some.” 🙂 I like that. I give Charlie’s two thumbs up. 🙂

The kids

I have a few posts in the works, but no time to type right now, so I figured I’d share some pics of the kids that I took today. Here are my favorites. 🙂 (Click the pic to view it larger.)

Julian, in color, because I just love his blue eyes.

Julian - 10 weeks - 02-06-07

Here it is in black and white.

Julian - 10 weeks - 02-06-07 - black & white

Showing off his cute new shirt that my friend Laura got for him.

Julian - new shirt

And here’s Ava, my big girl.

Ava - 2 1/2 - 02-06-07

Weekend wrap-up

It felt like the weekend started early for me since Jody worked from home on Friday. I even managed to sneak out of the house by myself that day for about 45 minutes! What did I do with my precious freetime you ask? Get a haircut? A manicure? Go for a coffee? No, none of these things. My 45 minutes of glorious freetime was spent at the bank filing an “Affadavit of Unauthorized/Improper Debit Card or ATM card activity” because someone used my debit card to buy themself a nice little something from Bed, Bath and Beyond – a $205 nice little something. Grrrr. 🙁 I have no idea how the perp got my card number. I thought it could’ve been from the recent Internet purchases I’ve made, but the woman at the bank said it’s much more likely that someone swiped the number when I used the card at a store recently. Bugger! The money will be put back into my account and I’ll be issued a new debit card, and hopefully that will be the end of it, though she advised me to keep an eye on my account for the next few days too. I hope the person who did it gets caught and/or doesn’t get ahold of anyone else’s number, but my guess they will probably keep at it.

Saturday was a cleaning day for me. Changed sheets on the beds, vacuumed the mattresses (I saw an episode of Oprah about cleaning where they recommended it to suck out the dust mites and dust mite excrement – yucky!), vacuumed the upstairs and did laundry. I also listed two office chairs and a computer monitor we don’t use on Freecycle, went to a used bookstore to see if they would buy any of the 22 old computer books of Jody’s that he no longer needs (no, they won’t – so I Freecycled those too), stopped at Vitamin Cottage to pick up some groceries, and made Kentucky Fried (Baked) Tofu, tater tots and salad for dinner. Mmmmm. I hadn’t made that tofu recipe in a while. Jody and I watched an episode of Dead Like Me after Ava went to bed. All in all, it was a very productive day.

On Sunday, I sold our Arm’s Reach co-sleeper for $70. Yay! I decided to sell it since it was not getting any use and just taking up space. Ava slept in it for about 4 months when she was a baby, but, although we set it up again when Julian was born, I haven’t even tried putting him in it. He sleeps with us and that’s been working really well.

We captured one of Julian’s first laughs on video which you can see in the post below. 🙂

I also did some more grocery shopping, this time at Safeway, and listed more things on Freecycle (old computer books, kitchen utensils we don’t use, some old laundry detergent I found in the garage). I made a new (to me) recipe for dinner – “No-Chicken Sour Cream Enchilada Casserole” made with Quorn (yummy – thanks for including it in the CC cookbook, Julie!). The recipe makes enough so you have one casserole for dinner and one to put in the freezer. Nice!

Carrie (my sis) picked up Ava in the evening to take her to a Super Bowl party at some friends’ house. They have a couple kids around Ava’s age who Ava has played with before. She had a blast with them and entertained everyone at the party with her “silly dance.” (We’ll have to get that on video next.) Anyway, it gave me and Jody a little peace and quiet at home, which was nice.

That about covers it. We’re finally supposed to be getting some warmer temps around here this week. Hopefully most of the snow that we’ve had around since ooooh December(!) will finally melt! 🙂

Room for two

tandem nursing

One of Ava’s books about nursing (Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy) contains a picture of a mom nursing a toddler and a baby and states: “Two can breastfeed without fuss, there is room for both of us.” On Wednesday night, we – me, Julian and Ava – experienced that for the first time.

Jody had to work an unusually long day yesterday and wasn’t planning on getting home until after 8 p.m. Since I knew Ava was really tired I decided to try to put her to sleep while Julian slept in the swing. Seems easy enought, right? Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as I got Ava undressed, Julian woke up crying. So much for easy. I brought him in the bedroom with us, hurriedly put Ava in her PJs, washed her face and hands (we skipped brushing teeth) and we all laid down on Ava’s twin bed (it was cozy) so that I could nurse Julian and hopefully, get Ava to sleep. She thought it was quite fun that we were all laying on her bed together. When I asked her if she wanted “na-na” (to nurse) with Julian, the giggles started. It took a bit of acrobatics on Ava’s part to nurse since I had Julian in the side-lying position, but she/we managed it. She giggled a lot as she nursed and thought the whole thing was quite funny, and I started laughing a few times too appreciating the comedic value of the scene. After the giggles subsided, she stroked Julian’s cheek and then held his hand as they both nursed, and it was a very sweet moment. Then the giggles started back up again. 😉

It was all going quite well (other than being a bit uncomfortable for me), when Ava remembered that we hadn’t read any books yet – something that daddy generally does as part of her nighttime routine. Since Julian was asleep at that point, Ava and I got some books, turned on the closet light and read in the little hallway by the closet while we sat on the floor. She thought that was pretty fun too. 😉 Then Julian woke up so I brought him to our storytime on the floor as well.


It was about that time that daddy got home, so he came in and proceeded to brush Ava’s teeth, then took Julian downstairs so I could finish putting Ava to bed. She had a bit more na-na though not without first saying she wanted to do it with Julian again. Aww. I explained to her that it was a special occasion that she had na-na with Julian because daddy wasn’t home yet. She seemed OK with that, had her na-na, rolled over and drifted off to sleep.

Never a dull moment in this house. 😉

I was talking with a friend about breastfeeding recently and she observed that since Ava only nurses once per day (before bed) that I’m not really tandem nursing, and she’s right. I made the decision before Julian was born that even if Ava asked to nurse more frequently (than her usual once before bedtime nursing), I was going to say no. It was hard to tell her no a few times when she was really upset, but I knew I had to set those boundaries or I would end up tandem nursing them, which wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing. And now after having nursed them simultaneously once (which may be the only time I do – we’ll see), I am happy I made the choice that I did because I honestly can’t imagine nursing two kids throughout the day and/or night. I commend the women who are able to do it. 🙂 You rock, girlfriends!

 

Since we’re on the topic of breastfeeding, I thought I’d share a few recent articles on the subject:

Sharing the milk: Moms breast-feeding other women’s babies are raising eyebrows, and concerns

Food or lewd? Breast-feeding reveals divide – Why we get so worked up about how women feed their babies