Bren update- last night he was finally able to tilt his head upwards. That was the last to heal. It took 4 full days. It’s been hard keeping him from bouncing all around.
I’ve started weaning Andy and I am about 80% fine with it. I’ve seen it coming and have slowly come to terms with it. I didn’t absolutely adore BFing in the beginning. Without the late night sessions I might have. But lately, it has been quite nice. He’s so cute holding my shirt and rubbing his face with it, playing peekaboo with it. He obviously loves breastfeeding. He always has. But the past month has been very difficult- I am just not producing enough for him. His diapers have not been wet enough at all. Instead of always wondering if he is getting enough to drink, I’d like to just know. It’d be a relief. So I have been giving him about 3 bottles during the day. He will sometimes take 4-5 oz but mostly just 2 oz at a time. That’s fine.
I just want him to be okay with the formula- not get sick over it. The past 2 days he has had bad diarrhea. I don’t know if it is the extra formula on it’s own (he’s never had trouble before) or if he is sensitive to lactose or what. It also could be that the past 2 days he’s had Similac instead of Good Start. I bought him some Isomil DF (soy formula for diarrhea) that worked wonders for Bren once. It is already helping. The real test will be when he’s done with it and back to regular formula. If it makes him sick again we’ll have to go visit the dr.
I still nurse him at least 3 and most of the time 4x a day. That’s how he falls asleep and I know I have at least a few ounces in the morning for him. It does me good to see wet diapers again. I waited far too long but I had to try to work through the dry spell.
It’s only 12 or so more weeks until he is 1. That has always been my goal so I did well. I don’t know when I’ll fully wean him. I waver between wanting to be done with it and not wanting to have to train him with a new method of falling asleep. His sleeping is really great right now- he sleeps in his crib for at least 1 nap and all night now without fuss, for the most part.
I really, really hope he doesn’t have milk sensitivities though. My family is fine with milk but I have no clue about the donor’s issues. Soy milk- blech! πŸ˜‰
Bren has really interacted with Andy the past few days. I hope I got a good picture of the 2 of them. πŸ˜€ It is very hard to get them both smiling and both in the frame together!!
Also, Andy opens his fingers now when you move his hands together in a clap. He loves clapping and rolling a ball around. He also startled me by snapping his fingers 3 times the other day. I’ve since seen him try to do it again but couldn’t make the sound. He has been watching DH, lol. He also has the teensiest bit of both his 2 top center teeth popping through.
Brendan is moving up levels with his video game skills. He has been playing on Nickjr.com and Noggin.com, etc. Some of the games are hard! He especially loves Scooby-Doo and Diego games right now. The SD game uses the keyboard to move around and the Diego one involves switching back and forth between Diego and Baby Jaguar and utilizing each ones special skills to collect bottles in odd locations. I’m impressed! πŸ˜€

Bren’s booboo :(

Bren hurt his neck while getting down from riding DH’s shoulders today. I knew he needed looking at when he couldn’t move his neck either up or to the right. Eeeep. I gave him tylenol and for the next hour he acted fine- except he never once moved his head in either direction. I knew he wasn’t playing around.
Of course, today is Saturday. No regular dr visit on a weekend. All mishaps happen on Friday nights or Saturdays with us. :/ DH had thought he heard that MedClinics now had x-ray machines so we went there instead of the ER.
The nurse and doctor were both great with him! The dr checked his spine, shoulder and neck areas and had him do a few arm exercises and head movements. He did jerk in a couple spots when she felt around. She told us his spine appeared to be fine but they took 2 x-rays just to be sure. THAT was a challenge. πŸ˜‰ Nothing seemed out of place. Diagnosis- muscle strain. He’ll be better in 2-3 days. Give him Motrin.
Dr visit + 2 xrays- $153. Well worth knowing he is okay. I can only guess how much more an ER visit would have cost.
We are wiped out. Brendan, however, is quite happy with 3 shiny Shrek bandaids on his neck and an ice cream cone. LOL.
His very last ice cream cone. Ever. He weighed *49* pounds.

Andy-dotes & Bren-bits

My, my I am so behind…
April 27: Andy erupted his 3rd tooth- to the left of his 2 bottom center teeth. He also had his first 4 wheeler (as Bren sasy it, “poor leeler” :D) ride- and didn’t like it.
End of April: Andy now rolls around the room purposefully and tears up anything he can… well, tear up. The littlest toys have got to go!
Bren sang “Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog (from the cartoon Mickey’s Clubhouse) while eating a corn dog and made me blurf my drink. πŸ˜€
We all went to go see “Meet the Robinsons” at the theater. Seeing a G rated movie that starts at 9 pm on a school night was pure genius- Andy got to play in his bumbo on the floor beside me and nurse as he wished in the absolutely empty auditorium.
May 7: Andy gives Darrell a bite from his tray in response to “Can I have a bite?”
May 8: Andy seems to recognize his name now.
May 13: Andy has a(nother) bad night in his crib and wakes up crying. I moan and wait a few minutes and he starts wailing “Maaaammmaaaaaa…Dadadadadada” over and over again. Guess he knows who his parents are. Wish I could go back in time and tell myself it’ll gets better shortly. In fact, right after the night I forgot to turn on the monitor… oops.
May 14: Andy bangs his head gently into my own as a game. He loves it!! I say “bonk” after each round and this is hilarious to him. πŸ˜€ Same day, he also starts playing peekaboo by covering his own face with a blanket and then pulling it off grinning for a reaction.
This is also the day we start a 6 week weight-loss challenge with my Andy board. We also begin exercising with “Maya the Slave Driver” on a ingenious XBox game called “Yourself! Fitness”. I sputter indignantly when our first workout burned all of 79 calories. But it is fun and a few days later I won 2 step benches off of EBay and we like it even better. Bren joins us a lot and often tells us “Push it! Push it! To the limit!” Kooky kid. πŸ˜€
May 18: Andy shows us how he can scoot forward on his belly about 6 inches to reach a toy… not long now… little toys STILL need to go!
May 19: Happy 9 months Andy!!!!
Conversation with Bren…
Me: Bren, are you ready to get out of the shower?
Bren: No… level 2…
Me: Okay… when you get to level 3 let me know and I’ll help you dry off.
Also, Uncle Anthony pays us a visit and much to our delight buys a Wii!! We play for the next couple of days straight. Brendan LOVES Wii Baseball, both pitching and batting. He starts saying “I can’t believe it!!!”
May 20: Andy refuses puffs now and I try Corn Chex… he loves ’em!!! They’re big but very airy and light and not glazed. He also gets up on his knees (but not elbows much) for a few seconds at a time. Not long now… those itty bitties in the big room have gotta go….
May 22: Andy is absurdly cranky… and I finally notice the very tip of his top left tooth is showing. Motrin helps both our moods. Soon he’ll have 4 chompers.
May 23: I started what AF#2 today… another scant period. DOn’t know what to make of them. A 49 day cycle. This time I think my milk supply was lowest in the 3 weeks before she arrived. It’s been hard. Andy seems perfectly content but his diapers just aren’t that wet. Sometimes he’ll drink 2 or 3 ounces from a bottle but mostly he just shakes them and holds them upside down. I am hoping my supply will increase again now that a new cycle has begun. I noticed a big increase last time while up at Gene & Waynell’s.
May 25: Andy likes beefaroni (noodles cut in half) now. He eats corn and peas non-squished. I think Bren is in a growth spurt… he’s been bugging me for food all day.

How C. Ryan’s week ended

Poorly. He couldn’t do it. With a couple days remaining in his foodstamp challenge, he apparently had to fly out of town. His open jars of peanut butter and jelly got confiscated (LOL!!) and all he had left was the absolutely unopened bag of cornmeal (polenta, my foot…). But even before the airport incident, he ended his challenge with a plate of porkchops. Because he felt weak.
He admitted he chose his groceries poorly. I am redeemed!!!
And I had even chosen my groceries and planned out a week’s meals that included veggies, produce and meats. Full meals- none of this “banana for breakfast” crap. I even had a few dollars to spare. But, yes, I wouldn’t want to do it often and it took quite awhile to plan it smartly. Coupons definitely would help. No splurges (i.e. coffee or soda or even the chocolate milk my son drinks) is very, very difficult in a long-term situation.
I admire the 3 congressmen who took the challenge and opened up some eyes. Our hungry poor could definitely use a bit more help. No one should be hungry. I rather wish they were delivered a box of fresh fruits and vegetables every 10 days or so, like being part of a co-op. Provide them with healthy selections that vary, not just what foods can be found very cheaply, and give them the money also. And job training and daycare.
How many of us are a paycheck or two away from disaster?

Eating on $21 a week

This began it…
Congressman Tim Ryan is taking the challenge…
Today I began the Food Stamp Challenge. I took the subway to Safeway, where I picked out the $21.00 of food that I’ll be living on for the next week. $20.66 bought me:
One bag of corn meal- $1.43
Two jars of strawberry preserves- $4.00
One jar of chunky peanut butter- $2.48
Two boxes of angel hair pasta- $1.54
One can of coffee- $2.50
Three jars of tomato sauce- $4.50
Two cartons of cottage cheese- $3.00
One loaf of wheat bread- $.89
One clove of garlic- $.32
Obviously, $21.00 doesn’t go too far, especially when it comes to variety. I’m starting to understand that living on such a tight budget doesn’t allow a person to get the balanced diet they need, I wasn’t able to get much protein and produce was almost completely out of the question.

Where do I start???
The challenge is $21 because that is the average amount each person on food stamps receives each week in the U.S. The congressmen taking the challenge live in D.C., one of the most expensive parts of the country- no doubt they’d be among those who receive higher than the average amount to compensate for the higher cost of groceries there.
Though Congressman Ryan did not do an entirely bad job spending his money, he did not make the best use of it either. A bag of cornmeal??? He said “he’ll try to fashion into grits for breakfast and polenta for dinner” (quoted from here). Without any butter or oil? I think this was a poor choice- chosen only for the value of being able to write about being left with only cornmeal mush when his other food runs out.
And he purchased cans of tomato sauce… plain tomato sauce? For $4.50- over 21% of his allowance??? I know I can buy cans of spaghetti sauce ounce for ounce for less money than plain tomato sauce. The fresh garlic was a complete waste of money- spices are not counted in this challenge and he could just as easily have used garlic powder. That extra 32 cents plus the 34 cents he didn’t spend would have bought him at least 2 pieces of fruit- especially this time of the year. I do believe spaghetti was a smart meal choice, just poorly executed.
He wasted $2.50 on coffee? No person honestly eating on $21 a week would have wasted nearly 12% of their food budget on coffee. Maybe if he were doing this for longer than a week it would make more sense because he certainly won’t use the entire can up this week. He made his choice to go without a few meals instead.
Two jars of strawberry preserves? 2? Why 2 of the exact same thing?? Surely, that extra $2 could have been better spent on eggs or vegetables or meat of some kind. He was stuck on the thought of “I am going to be living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches” no doubt.
Two containers of cottage cheese? Not a bad choice, but again, 2? This makes me once again think that he is buying a lot of just a few items so he can show off his short receipt. And he did.
Aiieee. I can see I am going to have to go out and spend $21.00 myself. I fully understand that no one wants to live on $21- but no one has to eat gallons of spaghetti and cornmeal either. I also imagine that most recipients aren’t single people- $42 for two people is far easier to work with than $21 for one.

Flatout Pizza

I started a 6 week diet competition yesterday… πŸ™‚ I’ll tell y’all about Maya my slave driver next post. And I’m due a huge kiddie update, I know. But for now, a recipe:
Flatout Pizza
Flatout bread is wonderful!!! It makes a terrific crispy and airy pizza crust!!! Even Brendan loved it!!!
1 Italian herb light flatout bread (found in bakery area of Wal-M@rt)
1/4 c canned pizza sauce
1/2 c mozzarella
17 turkey pepperonis or 6 palm-sized slices canadian bacon
Preheat oven to 350. Place flatout on a cookie sheet. Spray top with Pam and bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, top with other ingredients and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes.
This makes a pizza about the size of my two hands with fingers spread out. Guess the calories……………

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Somehow I don’t think he got it

Instead of getting the point between a nice thing and a not so nice thing, Brendan howls with laughter at the “wrong” and asks for me to play it again over and over and OVER.
Still, I LOVE that laugh! πŸ˜‰
Wanna see more of these cartoons? Go here.
It’s an odd day. We are wearing our shirts toga-style today. LOL