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It looks like I will be leaving Shenandoah Apartments in the next month or two. Last night I tried to make a web page for myself. I haven't done anything like this for years so my html skills are rusty. I tried using iWeb but it is not well set up for making professional web pages. Later this week I'll try another tool, probably Rapidweaver.

Anyway, I noticed that I have no current professional-looking photos of myself. I've got oodles of photos of Danny and quite a few pictures of us both, but none of me alone. This morning I took some headshots just using my phone. Obviously I need to redo them with a real camera for better photo quality and it needs cropping, but this will do for now. I was quite pleased with how it turned out!

I like the background of our turnover organizational chart. I think it gives a nice idea of how organized I can be.

Yogurt costs

Grocery store yogurt is sold by weight; 32 oz and 64 oz tubs. Yogurt recipes are usually given by volume; 1 quart (4 cups or 32 fl oz). So in order to decide if it's worth it to make my own yogurt I need to translate and get everything in the same units. According to All Recipes, 1 cup of yogurt weighs 8.6 oz. So a 32 oz tub contains about 3.75 cups or 29.75 fl oz of yogurt.

Today I paid $1.99 for a 32 oz tub, which was 6.2 cents/oz or 6.7 cents/fl oz.  My recipe for yogurt calls for 4 cups (32 fl oz) of milk plus 2 tablespoons of yogurt to make 1 quart (32 fl oz) of yogurt. At $4/gallon, my milk costs 3.125 cents/fl oz. That means my fancy local milk is half the price of national brand plain yogurt by volume. Even assuming some loss of volume in going from milk to yogurt it's still much more cost effective to make my own yogurt. I'll definitely be making my own yogurt in the future.

It Smells Like Passover

Thank goodness Passover is not yet around the corner. Sentry seems to think it is -- the matzah are already out on display, but I've got weeks to go.

Yesterday I made a citrus chiffon cake leavened with 7 separated eggs. I just opened the tin it's in so I could pour a lemon glaze on top. It totally smelled like a Passover sponge (matza meal, sugar, and 10 eggs). I guess that's the egg white leavened cake I've made the most, so my nose made the association.

This week in crafting

I've been working on a new project: reusable sandwich and snack bags. The first couple were very basic for home use. Once I realized how easy they were to make I decided to improve them to get them to a point where I could potentially gift them or even put them on Etsy. My goal is a simple snack bag that can hold damp foods like a cut up orange without resorting to plastics.
Pics below the cutCollapse )


Scratch that idea

My afternoon has reminded me of all the reasons I shouldn't take on the care of someone else's baby. I don't really know what I'm doing here, parenting, I'm just making it up as I go along. That's fine to inflict on my own offspring but not so cool with someone else's.

Danny will be 9 months old in a couple of weeks. He's starting in on separation anxiety which makes my goal of Nap Week very much 1 step forward 2 steps back. This afternoon we napped together for a little while and then I tried to get him to go back to sleep. No dice. As a parent I can do that. As a daycare provider, no way. I know I need to teach him how to go back to sleep, but I don't know how and I'm not going to let him scream and cry the way my husband's cousin thinks he ought to. I've heard her daughter cry -- it was heartbreaking and she's still a lousy napper.

So I'm going to muddle through this milestone-strewn month. I'm going to watch my baby work out how to walk and how to say Mama and Dada (or Abba, Drew's not too picky), and he'll cut those two top teeth, and then the two wonderful hours known as Nap Time will return. I'm going to be helpful but I'm going to admit that I cannot make my son sleep, it's like trying to teach a pig to sing.

It's Nap Week!

It's Nap Week here at Gan Hooli*. Like Shark Week but a whole lot less active. Over the last two weeks Danny has been limiting his naps to about an hour spent dozing on my lap, half-heartedly nursing. He was also going through a growth spurt and fending off a tummy bug followed by a cold. I cut the kid some slack. :)

Yesterday afternoon after work Danny and I went to the bookstore and picked up The No-Cry Nap Solution and The No Cry Sleep Solution*. I skimmed the nap book while nursing Danny down, and was thrilled when he napped for 2 hours in his crib after I implemented just one change! Of course, I had a bunch to do so I didn't have a chance to read much more of the nap book during nap time. And then it was time for La Leche League and then it was bedtime and Danny needed help calming down so I didn't get to read any of the sleep book.

Today Danny slept in until 8, napped for half an hour for Drew, and appeared at my office at 11. He was so excited to see everyone that he got really riled up. Kiddo did not nap until 12:30pm. We usually leave the office at 1, so this was a bit of a problem. Katelyn solved it for me by watching my sleeping child while I went to the Post Office. (Robin -- your boxes are finally on their way).

Danny woke up around 1:30. So that's a total of 1 1/2 hours of sleep since waking up. Not enough time for an 8 month old baby. He was still yawning so I wondered if he might fall asleep in the car (nope), or after I nursed him. He dozed off nursing but woke up on transfer, just like last week. I tried shushing him, patting his back, yawning at him, all that jazz but no dice. My baby was complaining and crawling all over the crib. I lay down with him. Nope. So I grabbed my mei tai and put Danny on my back, hoping to bore him to sleep. We started some laundry. did the dishes, put away coats, tidied the kitchen. Still awake and now protesting. I changed his diaper and was about to take him back to the couch to nurse down again and STOPPED.

Part of Nap Week is teaching me how to help Danny nap. One thing I keep reading is that sometimes babies get confused when they go to sleep one place and wake up somewhere else, and so they don't go back to sleep. Nursing Danny down in the living room is comfy for me, but it's sunny in there and then I have to move him to the crib if I want to get anything done, and Danny rarely sleeps through the transfer. I turned around and headed back into the bedroom. It's nice and dark in there. I lay down on the bed with Danny in the cosleeper and we nursed. For half an hour (Hey, wasn't this nap thing supposed to buy me time? Why does it take so long?). But eventually he fell asleep. I rolled away from him, careful not to squash the cat who had curled up right behind my bottom, and tucked my baby in for a nap. That was at 3:30. It's 4 o'clock now. I'm hoping that he's going to sleep until 5:30, but I'll settle for 4:30.

Tomorrow we'll try to do better. I'll try to be prepared, and to tell Drew what I know so that if Danny naps for him maybe Danny can get a decent morning nap. Hopefully by the end of the week or this time next week we'll have the hang of this!

*Gan Hooli = "Garden of Hooligans" in my own form of Hebrish.
* Both by Elizabeth Pantley, if anyone's dying to know. The NCSS is so much more of a sane sleep book than Ferber. Oh my lord. I can respect an author who says "Every child is different. Try these things, and find what works for you."

Adventures with indoor wildlife

That was a whole lot more excitement than I wanted out of my afternoon! I was just sitting here on the sofa, reading MDC and holding my sleeping post-nursing baby. All of a sudden I heard "bzzz. bzzz" very close to my ear. There was a drowsy bee INSIDE MY SHIRT!
I put the baby down faster than I ever have. He woke up crying. Meanwhile I'm trying desperately to get out of my tee shirt and pinafore dress without squashing the bee and praying that the bee does not sting me and the baby does not roll off the couch. Phew.
I left my clothes in a heap on the floor and cuddled the baby. While going through the kitchen to change Danny's diaper I saw the cat stalking something that must be under the stove or the fridge. Ugh. I'm going to leave *that* wildlife for Drew or the cats to deal with!

Disposable nappies for a cloth baby?

Next month we are going on a whirlwind tour of Britain, showing our progeny off to my extended family. We'll have long days, lots of car rides, and no access to a dryer or washing line. Danny will be 5 months old and has worn maybe 10 disposable diapers ever (free from the hospital). On our recent holiday in the Caribbean we were able to stick with cloth because we had clothesline access, hot sun, and a breeze. Our diapers dried in 2-5 hours. That's not going to happen in a hotel bathroom in England in October.

I bought a packet of g-diapers as emergency back-up but didn't actually use them. I'd like to use them in Britain but according to the website they aren't sold there. Does anyone know if there's something similar available? They're a disposable liner that goes in a reusable cover.

Short finding the UK-equivalent of g-diapers, what brands of disposable nappies do you like? Ideally something I can find at Boots or Waitrose/Tesco/Asda. We'll be staying in Chester and Aylesford.


Baby swing

Does anyone know of a baby swing that works up to 25 or 30 pounds? My 12 week old is about to outgrow his swing (weight limit of 17lbs). We really need a swing.


My First Day Back

I left my office on May 1st with crampy contractions. I walked back in this morning after 12 weeks away. How'd it go? Pretty well.

This morning's home routine went very well. Danny had a good substantial feeding at 6:15 and a nibble at 8:15. Over breakfast I pumped a whopping 7 oz (my left side is an amazing producer. I may need a dairy cow shirt.). I headed out the door at 8:35 pushing a stroller but no kid. I had my pump and the big diaper bag so Drew wouldn't have to schlep it later.
Everybody was really happy to see me. I dove back in right away and I think we may well be on track to do our first concentrated turnover of apartments on Friday. I took a pump break at 10:45 and got Danny a good 5 oz for tomorrow. In the meantime Drew tells me that Danny required a whole lot of attention; he got about 30 minutes of work done all morning. And apparently my body had the right idea, as he ate all the milk I left.
Drew brought Danny over to me at 11:45. Danny was a sweet sociable kid. He did get a little fussy around 1:30 when he was full and dry. Katelyn, my boss's daughter and my maternity replacement, took Danny on a short walk for subs. The kiddo conked out. :) He was good the rest of the afternoon until about 3:15. At that point we were out of diapers and Danny was once again overtired. So I started to wrap up my work; we got out of the office around 3:40. We walked to the post office and then home, making it home by just before 4:30. At that point we were both hot and tired. We changed our clothes and crashed in our favorite nursing glider. Drew grilled dinner so I didn't have much to do.

Tomorrow I plan to take more diapers, which should allow us to stay longer. I also need to work out how to get Danny in motion when he gets bored and overtired. I may just need to rock the stroller or wrap him and sway. I'm not sure how to make that work with my desk job, but we'll get there eventually.