Thursday, November 27, 2008

Half a year later...

The first year of life for a new baby is such a bittersweet time for me. It's so exciting to have that fresh new spirit in my home. They are so innocent and pure. What great therapy for the soul. And of course, I want the baby to grow healthy and strong and meet normal milestones. But I just stare at him and sigh when I think that HALF of a WHOLE year has already gone by since we were blessed with Calvin. However, because I want to him to slowly grow up healthy...I'm thrilled that Calvin has no teeth yet (I love that gummy smile). And that he's still under the 5th percentile for weight. I just can't believe that he'll be 7 months old on Dec. 1st.

Our baby caboose had his 6 month well child check on November 3rd. He weighed 13 lbs. 3 oz. So he's definitely put on some weight (about 2 1/2 lbs. in 2 months) with a diet primarily of formula. Molly, (Dr. Hicken's new PA) examined Calvin and said he's doing great. He's making his own little curve on the growth chart and that's all that matters. I'm only nursing about 3 times a day but I'm SHOCKED he hasn't weaned off of me. I was convinced once he got the bottle, my breastfeeding days were over. But he's pretty happy with both.

Later that day, I started him on some rice. He took 5 happy, gummy bites and swallowed the best he could. Then after the fifth bite, he clamped his mouth shut. I couldn't pry those lips open with the spoon, if I wanted to. I figured Calvin was full, so I stopped. I tried the next day. He totally refused. Not even one bite. Mouth clamped shut. I decided to try some squash. All my kids like squash. Apparently not Calvin. So back to the rice. He refused it the next day. This was getting very frustrating. So I let it go for a week or two. Then I tried oatmeal. He took one bit, made a horrible grimace and shuddered and spit it back out. Hmmm. The other kids have loved rice and oatmeal and other baby foods. I wasn't prepared for this. I still don't know what to do. I might make some oatmeal with formula (I've always used water) and see if that makes any difference.

Other than his repulsion to baby food, we are still totally enamoured with Calvin. He has turned into a very happy baby, after being so serious that first month or so. In fact, Jared even ventured to say that he's happier than Karcyn. I'm not sure I'd go THAT far yet, but he is definitely up there in "happyville".

Oh, I should probably say that one of his "flaws" is his STINKY, REVOLTING gas. It's like the gross adult equivalent! If there's a foul human odor lingering, we can't automatically assume it was one of us anymore. We have another flatulent factor to consider. Seriously, it's so nasty, he makes me cry out in disgust when I catch a whiff of it, usually followed by me exclaiming his full name. I can't believe green air that potent can come from such a small, cute little dude like Calvin. But it does. If it weren't so disgusting, it might actually be impressive.

Other than THOSE two things, we are eating him up. He's been scooting on his tummy for a while. Even got up on his knees a few times. He sometimes just cracks himself up (which cracks us up). I can lay him down for bed, still wide awake and he rarely cries, just goes to sleep. He actually slept on the floor by our bed til he was 5 1/2 months old. Why? Because we hardly knew he was there. That, and because we wanted to make sure he was old enough to put him in the same room as Karcyn. So far, so good.

Here he is with Grandma Lee wanting to play with his Cheerios rather than gum them to death.

I love this picture. Here he is lounging on the couch, propping up his little feet. These feet remind me of Dr. Seuss feet! No toes, just curves.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Grandma and Grandpa!

My parents showed up in their 36 foot fifth wheel rig about 20 minutes after we got home from Stake Conference Sunday afternoon, October 26th. This was a long awaited visit. We were expecting them about 3 weeks earlier but they had some unforeseen trailer issues that delayed them in Ogden, UT. I don't know what we were so excited about. (Just kidding, Mom & Dad!)Truly, though, this is the most we've ever seen them in one calendar year. We saw them in March for Jake's baptism, in May when Calvin was born, in August when we visited them in Alaska and again the end of October. But we'll take them as much as they can tolerate us. I think my dad was warned in High Priests that if he stayed one more Sunday they'd give him a calling. Even the ward is starting to recognize them!
However, this was a different visit. They hauled a little house with them. After they arrived and stretched a bit, we drove them to our friends', the Winkels, who were so kind to allow my parents to park their rig on their property indefinitely because it just isn't doable here in the subdivision. Parking the trailer was a tricky maneuver but we all held our mouths just right and with the help of Brother Winkel, the trailer was parked and leveled. Jared and I took the kids back home to start making dinner and then my parents came along later in just their truck. Then after they ate, my parents left! They just walked out the door and said goodbye. It was so weird. But our departure was only temporary. They weren't spending the night with us and it was definitely different--to have them just come and go. We've never ever lived NEAR family. We either lived WITH them or MANY states away from them. The separate living quarters was good in some ways...good for our dignity so they weren't subjected to our frustrating moments as parents. Even better for them to have their own little space...not having to live out of suitcases. Yuck. No one likes that. We started to catch on to the close proximity because we even took them dinner one night so we could hang out at their "house." It was way cool. They have a nice little set up.

Jared and I decided we're ready to retire!! (Too bad we've just joined the employment club and have 28 years to go in paying back those student loans).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sardine-Packed Saturday

October 25th was the only Saturday open to do Cooper's friend birthday party that month. It was also the last day of soccer games for the boys AND the adult session of stake conference that night. Yup--we packed it all in like sardines.

I was unable to go to Cooper's last soccer game and felt bad about that, but I had a light saber cake to make for his party later, so I don't think he minded. In fact, I don't think he missed me one bit.

While the rest of the fam (minus Calvin) was away, I worked on the cake. I didn't have time to make an R2D2 cake like I did for Jake a couple years ago, so I was grateful it was still along the lines of Star Wars. And I was even more grateful that Cooper came home and accurately identified it as a light saber. He was happy, so I was happy.

Then we were off to Jake's last soccer game. He's had a fun year since this is the first time his age group has been allowed to play with goalies...and Jake wanted to play that position more than any other. I was a little disappointed because he's really good on offense. But I'm also proud of him for trying something new AND difficult. I have since learned I don't like being the goalie's mom. It's so nerve-wracking. He took his defeats like a man though and repeatedly threw his body into defending the goal, making for some sweet action. I was impressed. These pictures are actually from his game 3 weeks earlier. (He's in the maroon jersey).

And what's better than playing sports with your friends? Jake played with his friend Kayden from our old ward and Dalyn who is in our current ward. In fact, Jake and Dalyn were baptized on the same day (but if Jake had been baptized right after his birthday in January, he would have been baptized with Kayden). Kayden was sick the last game of the season, but here are Jake and Dalyn. Interestingly enough, these three boys were the goalies for their team.

Now...on to the party. This year Cooper really wanted a Star Wars themed party. So we made it a Jedi Training Academy. I even hired a local magician who came as Princess Leia to show them some Jedi mind tricks.

Jake got good use out of his Luke Skywalker Halloween costume and was the watchman waiting for guests at the back gate. (We had to redirect traffic because Leia was setting up her show at the front of the house).

We started out by having the boys take a Jedi oath before we delved into their training. Then they were given balloons with their names on them and small light-up sabers. We journeyed to the light saber simulation room (garage) and to the Darth Vader March, their task was to keep their balloons from touching the ground with their sabers. They did a really good job.

Then it was time to assemble in the Great Jedi Council room where Princess Leia was waiting for them. For 20 minutes she wowed them with her tricks and slick moves. The young padawans were completely mesmerized. So fun!

The young padawans had no problem devouring the light saber cake and star cookies and playing games until it was time to go. A very successful training with 11 padawans. They were so well behaved!
Then it was time to clean up, not just from the party but to get ready for the Sabbath, too. Oh yeah, and my parents were supposed to be rolling in with their big rig some time Sunday. With an evening session of stake conference on the heels of the party aftermath, I just couldn't clean my house like I wanted to for their arrival. Oh well...
That evening Jared and I went to what I thought was one of the best adult sessions of Stake conference we've ever been to. It was incredible and we felt so blessed to be in attendance. It was definitely a slam packed day...and phew, when it was all said and done, we not only survived, but thrived!

Cooper is 6 years old for a day

The Coopster turned 6 on October 21st. After he got home from school, I had the fun task of taking him to the office to get his last dose of the Hep A vaccination. I know, I know. What kind of mother makes her son get a shot on his birthday? The Jenn kind I guess. In my defense, it wasn't premeditated. It just happened that way. In fact, we took Jake to get his flu shot the Friday before. I knew Cooper was due for his second dose, soon. I should have just done it all at the same time. But I didn't. And then the notice from the school regarding his deficiency in his vaccinations came on Monday. So Tuesday it was.

Cooper has had a real hard time taking medicines and getting shots. More so than just the average young child fear. Once, it took 5 adults in that office to hold him down just to give him some oral medicine a couple years ago. But the clouds have lifted. He was very brave when he got his first dose of the Hep A and his flu shot. So I had high hopes that this vaccine would be no problem. I guess he finds solace in squeezing the bulb on the blood pressure cuff because he squeezed the heck out of it and his face was rigid. Even after Elizabeth was done giving him the shot, he wouldn't relax because in his mind it wasn't over UNTIL the bandaid was placed over the injection site. We lost the bandaid for a few moments and it was funny to watch him start to panic because it wasn't ending as soon as he would like it. I stopped taking pictures and joined the bandaid hunt and we gave Cooper his much needed closure.

Cooper got a celebratory lunch from McDonalds more for his bravery in getting his shot than for his birthday. After dinner, we celebrated later that night with cupcakes and family gifts. He got to talk to his Aunt Kelly and Great Grandma Nina and was serenaded by Grandma and Grandpa Hough. He had a great day. However, before he went to bed that night, Cooper said "And now I'm almost 7 years old!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

New body parts

This morning as Cooper hopped down from the bar stool at the kitchen counter, he let out a little yelp and reached back to grab one of his shoulder blades. Poor guy must've bumped it. Cooper grimaced and as he came to me for comfort, he mumbled that he hurt a body part on his back. I didn't catch what he said the first time so I asked him to tell me again and more clearly he said, "I hurt my back boob." Where do they come up with these things?? I informed him there are no boobs on his back, just shoulder blades and that 'boob' isn't a nice word. We don't even allow it in our house, but fortunately his use of it seemed pretty innocent. That was definitely a first. I hope it's the last.

This is "Soup"-er!

I was browsing around my friend Sara's hot food blog at and found a recipe for Italian Turkey Soup (November 3rd post). I quickly scanned the ingredients list and inwardly groaned when I saw it called for ground turkey. I used ground turkey once several years ago and it was a huge turn off. Haven't used it since, in fact. But I trust Sara and the picture looked yummy. It also seemed cost effective as well as easy to throw together, so I decided to try it.

I am soooo glad I did! Jared and I are back to tracking Weight Watcher points with our food and the main draw to me at first was that it seemed to be a point friendly soup. It wasn't until I actually started making it that I got MORE excited about it. At best, it's 2.7 points PER 1 cup! I actually just rounded it to 3 points for convenience, but that's STILL good in the world of points--especially when some of us can only have 20 points a day. Even more delightful is that this soup actually has flavor. Some low calorie/low fat soups are so bland you really have to strain to find the flavor and by the last bite you've convinced yourself there was flavor when really there wasn't. So this soup is now going to be a regular meal in our home. With lean turkey, onion, garlic, tomatoes, white beans, & spinach you know it's good even if you aren't doing Weight Watchers.

My two cents: it wasn't in my financial budget to buy fresh Parmesan cheese so I left it out, but no one in my family knew differently. I wasn't sure when I was going to make it, so I instead of fresh spinach, I used a box of frozen chopped spinach with the excess water squeezed out. This works well for being able to store all the ingredients at home for a quick, last minute dinner idea. I hope you like it as much as our family does.

Thanks, Sara, for a great recipe.