Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Green eggs and ham

I am Sam.


And I like green eggs and ham.

I saw a show with special kids' breakfasts: peanut butter and jelly pancakes (peanut butter batter with jelly syrup) and green eggs and ham (garlic toast, fried ham, scrambled eggs, and pesto), so I thought we'd try it out...delicious! Above, Sam is in his dad's sling. In the video, Sam is on his playmat while Doc checks out the action.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

look who's talking

Sam kept pestering me this weekend to get this video posted. He wanted to say happy birthday to all of our July birthdays: Great-Grandma Altmiller, Great-Uncle Noy, Miss Rae, and Grandma Dori. It was supposed to be a birthday wish, but the kid just wanted to talk about's a big part of his life, what can you do?


Oh, and a special August shout-out to Uncle Steve (Jen & Steve will now be the same age for the next 3 weeks)!

Monday, July 28, 2008

our new nanny

Yea! We finally hired a nanny. Her name is Anna, she is a 50-something woman who has raised 4 kids, has 4 grandkids, and nannied for a toddler last year. Her husband is retired and, since she loves children, just wanted an enjoyable job to keep her busy. Sooo glad to have found the right person.

Of course, we still have to background checks, etc., but all of her references have checked out, so we're making progress. She's going to start the week before I go back to work so she can learn Sam's routine and I can hover in my usual fashion. (I'm a great hover-er and--ask my husband--it's NEVER annoying!).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

what thoughtful dogs

Remember the Christmas mishap? Today, I found a card on my pillow that said:

"Dear Jen,
Doc and I wanted to replace the fancy lip gloss we so carelessly chewed up. We got you this card to remind you that we were both puppies once and you will hopefully forgive us.

Schatzi and Doc Kaufman"

Inside the card, there was a tube of Bigelow Cinnamint Lip Shine...just like the lip gloss they sampled just before Christmas.

What thoughtful dogs I have!

weekly wisdom

Marry well. Marry a good guy who will grow into a good father. That's what I did.

And, here's how my awesome husband made my weekend.
1. Watched Sam for an hour ( they napped together; it wasn't labor intensive) so I could pick up some baby stuff from a friend.
2. Took Sam out of the house for THREE hours so I could have some time to myself. (This was more labor intenisve...but Joe managed to buy some birthday gifts and rent some movies).
3. Took Sam and ran some errands today so I could have some bonding time with the dogs.

So, I used my very valuable free time to:
1. Dye my hair back to its natural color. (We're hiring a nanny...her salary is coming out of my highlighting budget, so I have to cut down on the maintenance). It's been about 5 years since I went au naturel. Neither Joe and I remembered it was so dark!
2. Cooked dinner and froze an extra meal.
3. Made a delicious smoothie.
4. Took a leisurely shower.
5. And, today, walked the dogs down to the greenbelt and back.

Of course, THREE hours is a long time to be away from your baby. When I finally was reunited with my boys, I was so glad to see them. I was holding Sam who was smiling and cooing with me. Here's my last bit of wisdom: be prepared for some serious let-down; Sam got squirted right in the eye. That ended his happy cooing for awhile.

the sleep of the just

I didn't say anything because I didn't want to jinx it. And, I still don't, but I have to share this news with all of you faithful readers so you can celebrate along with me.

Here's Sam's latest sleep schedule...

Wednesday night: Down at 8pm. Woke him up for a "dream feeding" at 9:30pm. Slept till 1am. Woke up again at 4am, up for the day at 6:30am. Mom is feeling quite refreshed after spending the previous two nights sleeping in a chair, holding the boy.

Thursday night: Down at 9pm. Slept till 1am. Woke up again at 4am and up for the day at 7am. Could this be the start of a new trend? No, not going to get my hopes up. Just going to enjoy feeling rested.

Friday night: Down at 9pm. Slept till 1am. Same 4am and 7am feedings. Oh my is a trend! Still not going to blog about it...I have this sense that Sam will somehow "sense" I've told the world what a great sleeper he is and he will make a liar out of me.

Saturday night: Down at 9pm. Slept till 2:30am!! (The medical definition of sleeping through the night is sleeping 5 hours in a row). Up at 5:22am for a feeding and up for the day at 7am. My baby slept through the night...there is hope.

So, today, I'm feeling rested...hoping I haven't jinxed myself...and looking forward to more sleep of the just.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

two months old

Twin Falls

Early Tuesday morning, we loaded up the car and drove to Twin Falls since Joe had some classes to attend and I did not want to be left behind. We dropped Joe off around 10am and then, Sam and I tried to find something to do until it was time to check in to our hotel at 3pm. We became wandering hobos, and finally settled on checking out the local library. I picked up a book on Baby Sign and camped out in an empty conference room, where I nursed Sam and then read while he napped in my lap. A few times, he got fussy, so I would rock my legs back and forth to help him calm down (here's some wisdom...don't do that. I had the sorest legs the next day).
Wednesday, Joe got done a little early, so we headed out to Shoshone Falls. It was hotter than hot!! But, the falls gave off a nice cool breeze. Joe and I also picked up some fresh peach shakes from a local eatery...they were delicious and worth the consequences that we lactose-intolerants face when enjoying dairy items.

weekly wisdom

1. Write everything down...EVERYTHING. Don't assume you will remember. You are sleep deprived and, well, stupider. The perfect example of this occured earlier this week when Joe reminded me he was going out of town for a business meeting the next day. I flipped out. I totally didn't remember at all. I felt overwhelmed with the prospect of taking care of Sam by myself for two we tagged along.

2. Finding a childcare provider is a bigger deal than I imagined when I was pregnant...both in terms of time spent looking and the emotional component of leaving your child with someone for most of his waking hours. I've spent an estimated 40 hours researching various options, interviewing nanny candidates, and tonight, we are going to visit a home provider. I wish I could clone myself and my clone could take care of Sam all day while I went to work...oh, wait, I guess I *do* have a clone. Her name is Amy. Too bad she's going to med school and pregnant with twins.

3. Always, always overpack. You may think it's nice to travel lightly. You may think it would be worthwhile to have free hands. You may think after carrying a 13 pound baby all day, the last thing you want to carry is an extra suitcase....but, you would be wrong. Especially after finding yourself in Barnes & Noble with a baby who has spit up down his front, poop up to his back, and peed out the side of his diaper. Nevermind the state of your own clothing, which has suffered the consequences from previously stated mess. You curse yourself for your light packing philosophy as you rummage through the diaper bag only to pull out similarly soiled clothing and then find yourself out of diapers AND wipes. Yep, always, always overpack.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

found his voice

Although Sam has always been a pretty expressive baby, we're happy that he now has another way to communicate other than crying: he coos! This is a video of him having a long conversation with his Dad. We were at an outdoor concert; maybe he's offering a critique of the music?


Stay tuned...two months pictures coming this week.

Rae's visit

My good friend from nursing school, Rae, came to IF for a few days and we had a great visit. Sam was so excited by her prescence, he couldn't sleep Thursday night and refused to nap on Friday day.
Fortunately, things had settled a little by Friday night and we were blessed with a glorious night's sleep. Feeling refreshed, we took a day trip to Jackson, WY and spent the day walking through shops, eating, and checking out a local art fair. Joe and I shared baby-wearing duties in our slings and Sam was a happy baby the whole day, looking at all the colorful exhibits and nursing happily while his mom sampled various foods.
Rae is a natural with kids and Sam loved her. He smiled and cooed at her in the car, was mesmerized with her rattle-shaking skills, and snuggled into her like a long lost friend. We can't wait for Rae to come back and visit us again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

clean and clipped

All three of my charges have been bathed, finger nails clipped, and are ready for bed. What a productive day! That's 52 nails (dogs have 16 each) clipped, a whole lot of dog hair down the drain, and one sweet smelling baby.

Whew...this mom is ready for bed, too.

no wonder my arms are so tired!

Sam had his two month check yesterday and here are the stats:

Length: 22 1/2 inches (still 25th percentile)

Weight: 12lbs 13 oz (up from 25th percentile to SEVENTY-EIGHTH!)

Of course, he had to get his first round of immunizations, which broke my heart since I've never heard him cry so hard in his whole life. And, he ran a fever afterwards, which made us both miserable. But, today, he is his usual happy self.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sam's looking glass

As you can see, Sam thinks his parents are hil-ar-ious!


But still not as great as that little face in the mirror. ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

sisterhood of the traveling pants

Deanna, Amy, and I have shared a wardrobe of maternity clothes over the last few years. It's worked out one wants to shell out a ton of money for clothes they are going to wear for just a few weeks and then promptly outgrow. There are even clothes from other moms in the pile (thanks, Michelle) and, so, there is something for every size and every season to keep that belly covered.

The plan begins to fail, though, when one person is too fat to fit into her regular clothes and another person finds out she is pregnant with twins and requires maternity clothes sooner than expected. Consequently, for the last 8 weeks, I have been alternating between 2 pairs of fat pants and one pair of fat shorts. I have 3 nursing tanks and about 5 nursing shirts to wear. Needless to say, my wardrobe is not very exciting.

All that is about to end, though...because yesterday I fit into a pair of prepregnancy pants. Yes, they looked like they had been painted on. No, I could not breathe very deeply. BUt, I got that zipper up! A few more weeks and a whole new wardrobe of possibilities is about to open up to this new mom...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nanny interviews

Because I have to return to work just after Labor Day, we've started the process of searching for childcare. I'm planning on visiting several childcare centers (mainly home centers) and am interviewing several nanny candidates.

Joe and I rehearsed the interview. I asked the questions...Joe provided his own answers. After several questions elicited strange looks, eye rolls, and outright laughter from me, he stopped and said, "Your husband would never be hired to watch your son, would he?"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Independence Day

We celebrated this Independence Day by taking back our bedroom and putting Sam in his own room. Unfortunately, Sam tolerated the shift much better than his parents; he slept according to his usual schedule without a hitch. His parents, however, were unable to sleep without their little baby in their room. We thought we'd better give him another night in his own room and see how we sleep tonight; otherwise, we'll move him back in and he'll sleep with us till he's off to college.

Of course, we did do some traditional Fourth of July activities as well. We invited ourselves to LeAnne's house for a barbeque. Her granddaughter, Lilly, was enamoured with "the baby". (She couldn't remember his name).

We missed most of Idaho Falls' famous firework display because I lost track of time and we left the barbeque too late. I promised Joe we'd go next year, but we did get to see the very end of the show while we were driving up the freeway. And, we missed most of the traffic and made it home without too much of a problem.

Friday, July 04, 2008

distracted by something shiny

random shots of Sam

Silly grandmas...go to any lengths to keep their grandchild happy. Dori is holding fussy Sam and, yes, that's my mother laying on the ground making funny faces at him.
Here's Sam with Dad at the Lochsa Lodge, after Dad experienced Sam's first roadtrip diaper blowout. We ended up just throwing those clothes away...casualties of babyhood.

That's my son, already brilliant. He noticed his mobile and is tracking objects. Those are 8 week milestones, dear readers...and he's only 6 weeks!

weekly wisdom

1. Never eat spaghetti while nursing your baby. It will only lead to heartache...or at least a bath.

2. A laundry basket serves as a wonderful bassinet, should your baby outgrow his travel bassinet while you are on your trip.

3. Be cautious while nursing in front of recently weaned children. Daisy saw us nursing and emphatically signed "please" repeatedly. Noah was obsessed with "having a boob" and when his request was declined, wanted to "hold a boob?". He settled for helping with the breast pump.

Sam's baptism

Sam was baptized at St. James' Catholic Church (which happens to be where Joe and I were married) on Sunday, June 29 at the 7:30am Mass. Obviously, this was scheduled before he was born because what new mom would ever plan on getting a newborn, herself, and her husband fed, changed, dressed and ready to go by 7am? But, we made it on time without any hitches.

Sam wore the gown I was baptized in (or possibly, the gown Amy was baptized in...who knows?) I thought he looked so sweet in the gown liner and his makeshift bassinet.

Amy and Kevin were his godparents and Amy sang a solo during the Mass. At the end of her solo, Noah (who had been doing a good job of being quiet, thanks to a mouthful of M&Ms doled out by his Lala) stage-whispered, "Mom, are you all done singing?" and the church broke out in laughter. Sam did well during the baptism. The priest (Fr. Dat Vu) was liberal with the holy water and Sam startled, causing the priest to remark, "Oh, he has been awakened by the Holy Spirit!"

in Lewiston

There's apparently no rest for the wicked, because after a day of taking it easy, Noah was ready to see some action. So, we loaded up the boys (sick Sam included) and headed out in the ungodly Lewiston heat to the park. After a picnic lunch and playing on the playground, we went to feed the ducks and geese. Amy kept a vigilant eye on any overly aggressive geese and Noah sampled the bread they were feeding the water fowl.

We also met up with my cousin Mandi, who is having a little girl in August (FOUR Altmiller babies in one year...must be something in the water). We did a little baby shopping for Mandi and I spotted this travel swing. Like any sleep deprived mom, I decided to buy it for the sake of getting a little extra sleep as Sam could sit up and it would sort of rock him to sleep. Unfortunately, there were no blue swings to be found, so we settled for pink. Noah liked the swing, too, although he was 5lbs over the maximum weight, so the seat just dragged the floor. Oh, well.

Wednesday, Sam met his Grandpa Fred and Uncle Jeff (who recently got his braces off and is looking evermore like his older brothers) and was reunited with his Grandma Dori again.

Thursday, Sam met the Altmiller great-grandparents. My Papa is a big man, but looks even bigger holding little Sam. Sam also got to meet the family dogs, Brookie (Schatzi's litter mate) and Moka (Mom's super hairy Akita mix).

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

We're baacck... (part two)

Saturday, we dropped off the boys at our friend, Natalie's, house and headed to Maureen and Gerald's wedding at the Chapel of St. Ignatius. Mo and I used to work together at Campus Ministry when we were undergrads, so her wedding was sort of like a reunion as I hadn't seen a lot of the guests since I graduated.

After the wedding, we picked up our boys and dropped by my friend, Rae's, condo to change diapers, feed a baby, and grab some snacks before heading to the reception. Her hubby, Andrew, was wonderful and entertained Noah so Amy could rest a bit while Rae shot some photos of Sam.

At 5pm, we went to the reception and had a great time catching up with old friends and playing in the dirt (Noah). We had such a great time, we stayed much longer than planned and were subsequently exhausted!

Sunday, we took it easy at Mercy's (our Seattle Mom). While I haven't been able to sleep in the day time at my own house, Mercy's house has a magical aura and I napped with Sam. It was a sweet, sweet sleep...just like in the old days when I would head to Mercy's for the weekend and sleep off my Friday night hangover. Ah, it's hard to get sleep like that any more. Mercy fed us, held Sam, played with Noah, and even did our laundry. Frankly, I'm ready to move in with her permanently.

Laura came by for a visit and, Monday, before we headed back over the pass to Lewiston, we met up with Daisy and Deanna at the Puyallup mall. Deanna was organized enough to remember her camera, so there are some cute photos of the kiddos.

To be continued...

We're baacck.... (part one)

Sam, Joe, and I are back from our long trip and it was quite an adventure. Sam and I started our adventure by flying to Spokane and spent a day there before heading over to Seattle with Amy and Noah. I thought he made a pretty cute carry-on.
Once in Spokane, Noah got to know "Baby Sam". Whenever Sam cried, Noah would say, "Don't cry, Baby Sam" (soothingly at first, then more of a forceful command).

Sam also got to meet a few more of his cousins. Too bad Sam's almost as big as Sydney.

On Friday, after Amy finished her boards, we loaded up the boys and headed to Seattle. Driving with a pregnant woman, a 2 year old and a newborn proved to be slow progress, but we eventually made it there. I think I proved to be quite a multitasker as I simultaneously pumped breastmilk, fed Sam a bottle, and fished toys out of a backpack for Noah as we headed over Snoqualmie Pass.
More later...gotta feed Sam.