Grandparents' Time

I don’t know what gets me thinking of such depressing things all the time. I think that Gene and I have just had so many struggles since we’ve gotten married that we have more heartache than we should at this age.
I was just sitting here thinking about how Emma can now pick up her puffs and put them in her mouth (she did this the first time last night during dinner). I was so shocked and elated that she just did it out of nowhere, like she has been doing it for years. It didn’t even phase her but I had tears of joy when it happened. The first thing I did was take a picture and send it to my Mom who eagerly replied “Is she feeding herself?” J Yes, she was.
Then I think about how lucky I am that I can share Emma’s journey, and my journey as a Mom with her (my Mom) and my Dad. Not everyone is as lucky. And to me that is so unfair. I’ve read numerous stories about people who have lost their Mom and how hard it was on them. And of course, I went through the turmoil and heartache with Gene when his Mom passed. And then not even two years later the sudden passing of his father, which surprising to say was harder on him than his Mom. Neither of his parents will physically see their son transition into the great father he is becoming (or already is).
I know I’ve written about all of that and I don’t want to get into it all again, but I’m going to just point out again that I feel the worst guilt for not having a child sooner so that his parents could have witnessed their Grandbaby coming into the world. No, not literally, just figuratively. My stubbornness and selfishness kept me blind to the miracle of a child for so long… not to mention that Gene and I didn’t have the best marriage until a few months before I conceived; I think that once I was finally happy my “clock started ticking.”
My Mom and I were never very close when I was growing up. I was, of course, a Daddy’s girl until about middle school and then I wasn’t close to either of them. However, once I moved out (the weekend of my 18th birthday) it was only a matter of days before I missed my Mom and I realized that I needed her more than ever. I spoke to her a few times a week then, and now I speak to her numerous times every day. Funny though, I don’t feel like I talk to her enough.
Ever since Gene got promoted my parents started watching Em four days a week compared to the previous three, and one Saturday night a month. Well, it seems that something always happens and they pick up an extra day or two per month. So, because I feel like I am abusing their time I don’t see them on the weekends in fear that they will get to the point where they say “We watch her too much.” Or, “when will we ever have time to do anything again.” They tell me all the time that they love seeing her, watching her, spending time with her, but if they ever said anything negative I think my world would come crashing down considering she’s my daughter and I don’t see her nearly enough. It’s not fair.
Wow, I’ve said that twice now. I know, I know… life isn’t fair. Nobody ever said it was. And like the Rolling Stones said “You can’t always get what you want.”
So now I think of all the things that I want to do with Emma, and I want my Mom to be there with all of them. I think of how she reacts and how Emma just lights up when she sees Grandma is delighted with her skill or expression. I know that of all people, she would be the one to get the most excited (besides me of course). I know that some people think it’s silly for me to spend so much time with my Mom, but honestly people, parents won’t always be around… why not spend every second you can with them?
So… Here’s hoping that I soak up my parents’ time as much as I can, but only to right before the point that they feel suffocated or exhausted. I’m hoping that all of you do the same.


Blood Orange Blueberry Muffins

Blood Orange Blueberry Muffins
These are not meant to be “super healthy”… just made-from-scratch muffins to fill your belly.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (can substitute with Splenda or Agave Nectar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup/container Blood Orange Chobani Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)

*I used half of the $3.99 bag of Schnucks frozen blueberries. I did not pat dry, but I did drain the juice from the bag.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners (not cupcake liners).

Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine, Greek yogurt, milk, oil, egg and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just enough to combine. Fold in blueberries. *I’m impatient and just threw everything in the bowl and stirred.

Fill muffin cups right to the top (these don’t rise much).

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until centers are domed and set (they don’t wiggle when you jiggle the pan.) *Once you hit the 20 minute mark, make sure to watch. You don’t want them to be too brown on top.

Makes 12 muffins. *One bag of frozen blueberries is enough for two batches of muffins, so if you are thawing the entire bag then I’d plan on making two batches!

The left are plain blueberry that were in a couple minutes too long (23 minutes). The right are the blood-orange blueberry that cooked for 21 minutes.


Poo & Sleep - Two Necessities

When you have a baby, your world turns from conversations about last night’s activities or celebrity gossip to poo and sleep. Literally. I spend every day asking numerous times if Emma went poo, how much and color/thickness as well as nap times and lengths of each one. Why? Well, for our house, both of those things will affect our bathtime/bedtime routine and her overnight sleep.
We learned the hard way that Emma gets dehydrated easily (which causes constipation). She’s on formula, and has been since September 13th. We started solid foods (baby food) on January 14th. From that day, we started to have poo problems. Either she couldn’t go, or she’d spend all day trying, to finally go in her sleep that night. I hated when she would go in her sleep too because it’s grunt, grunt, grunt, poo; all while she’s asleep. I’m awake at first grunt, so I’d lay there debating if it was a short enough time to leave her there until she woke up. The guilt almost always got me out of bed.
I know, I know. Babies don’t have to go every day, and can even wait up to 7 days before there’s a problem. But, I need her to go each day. Why? So she sleeps at night. I’m not kidding you, once she hit 7 months there was no more going in her sleep.  If she goes the whole day without potty, we WILL have a wake-up in the middle of the night and it will take anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours to get her back to sleep. No joke. And she never even goes until the next day!
At the suggestion of a friend we started prunes at dinnertime within the first week of solids. We did about one ounce up until she was sitting on her own, then we upped it to almost two ounces each night. This worked well to keep her regular (she’d go each morning), but it would still get to be super thick and difficult for her.
Somewhere around the end of January I took Em to see Dr. Murphy (her doctor) for her poo troubles. Side note – I actually had a long list of items to go over with him because I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to health issues. Anyway, he had told me to start giving Emma water. She can have up to 12 ounces a day total. We don’t do anywhere near that right now, but we started giving her water out of a sippy after each baby food meal and she’s up to around four or five ounces a day on average. Since we’ve started that, no more problems! (Until we have a day where we are out running around all day and her water intake is less).
I did want to mention something about the whole water toxic issue. The only time a baby can die from too much water is if they are not getting a sufficient amount of formula or breast milk. Meaning, those moms out there that try to save money by giving 5 ounces water with one ounce worth of formula to save some money are the ones at risk of losing their baby. It makes me want to cry to think about any baby not getting enough to eat.
So, long poo story short, We “push” water all day and we do prunes EVERY night. This keeps Emma going on schedule, and amounts to make Momma proud.
Emma’s first two weeks out of the womb were rough on her sleep wise. She’d have that falling sensation and throw her arms out (which woke her up) like five times a night. Oy, was that time hard on me or what?!?! Being a new mom with no close Mommy friends, I turned to my Twitter moms and low and behold there’s something called a swaddle. Hey, I got one of those at my baby shower from my cousin Billie Marie! The first night we used it was the first time Emma slept all night.
Well, as most of you know, my baby girl is no small baby. She was born big and grows so fast that she’s about the size of a one year old now (even bigger than some that age). At about 3 months we had to give up the swaddle. Most people would have stopped already, but it worked so well that I rode the swaddle-train until Emma would just stretch and break it open. So, there goes that. Lol, it was overdue anyway seeing as though she could just barely straighten her legs. Lol.
Because it worked so well for my Mom the one time she watched Emma all night (my Mom boycotted the swaddle), I put Emma in bed on her belly for bedtime. Side note – we ALWAYS give her a big bottle, and then hold her until she falls asleep, then put her in her bed. We don’t do the whole “Put them in bed awake to get them used to putting themselves to sleep.” To this day she still sleeps on her belly.
After about 2 weeks of no swaddling and belly sleeping, Emma started to wake up at night again. After night number three I started getting very frustrated. I talk to my Mom every day on my way home from work, and on the day after the third night of constant wake-ups, I told her that I was exhausted and it was taking its toll on me. She asked me a bunch of questions, including what type of blanket I used. I said “I don’t! Babies die from that!” She told me that I had to use one. So, that night, after the first wake-up (because I was stubborn) I decided to give the blanket a try, and voila! No more wake-ups.
FYI – I use a thick baby blanket. It’s thick cotton on one side (loop style) and a microfiber type on the other. The cotton side almost sticks to the bed and most of the time doesn’t move throughout the night. More recently Emma has been turning side to side so it has been shifting more, but it still works well.
About 3 weeks ago now, Emma started to wake up during the night again. Really only once a night. After a whole week (Wednesday to Wednesday), I asked my Mom about it. We were both stumped until I was explaining to her how I walked into the hall and I could see Emma sitting up in her crib playing, when she stopped me and said “How can you see her?” I told her that I have the nightlight by the crib so that I can peek in on her any time. She told me that was the problem; Emma was waking up and since she could see she thought it was time to wake up. So that night I tried turning out the nightlight when I went to bed, and we haven’t had any real wake-ups since (excluding when she had the stomach bug).
I keep joking that my Mom is the baby whisperer. How she knows exactly what Emma needs I will never know, but I know not to question her anymore.
So there you have it. The two most-talked about things by any Mommy, broken down and explained according to my baby, Emma.

I got this picture in a text just today, with this message: "Mommy, I just went poo!"


On My Mind

I thought I’d just jot down a few things that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
Baby Food:
                I started wondering if Emma is eating too much. I mean, she had another growth spurt, so her major chunk is gone, but she’s still on the chunkier side I think. I know it fades with their ever-increasing mobility, but I can’t help but feel like she is over eating at the fault of my own.
                Currently, at wakeup she gets a 6oz bottle, 8:30am is whole fruit (3.5oz) and 9 or 9:30am is 5oz bottle. Anywhere from 12 to 1pm she gets a half or whole veggie, then a 5oz bottle a little later. Then at 3:30 or so she will have another 5oz bottle (with or without the other half of the veggie). 6:30pm she gets a 4oz bottle, then bedtime routine starts at 7:15pm with half prunes and ends at 8pm with a 4 or 5oz bottle.
                So, that’s around 8.75oz of food for the day, and around 30oz of formula. I’m not quite sure, but it seems like too much. I know she’s a BIG baby and all, but shouldn’t her formula intake decrease? I mean, she’s also getting around 6oz of water a day and sometimes a few puffs (this isn’t a regular thing). Her doctor was never concerned with her weight because of her height, but I think I will always wonder if I’m giving her everything she needs; this includes moderation.
                I have a couple friends who are teaching or have taught their child sign language. I had thought long and hard about this. While I was pregnant I was all for it. I think it’s fascinating. Now that Emma is here and growing/learning at an alarming rate I have decided not to sign. Why? Well, on one hand, I feel like it is a way to communicate with your child early on. On the other hand I think “Why would they talk if there’s no need to?” So, since in my eyes Emma is a quick learner (hello?!? crawling at 7mos?!?), I am just repeating small words for her to hear over and over again. Emma. Momma. Dada. Daddy. Okie. Baba. Binky. Words like those. 2-syllable. She says “hi” already, but I don’t think there is context behind it. Same with “dada.” She also has down the following: Yayayaya, babababa, googoogoogoo, dadadada, thathathatha. Also, she most recently learned to whisper. It’s creepy to wake-up to “dadadada” whispers. Lol.
Car Seats:
                Well, I’m pretty sure I’m breaking the law with this one. I think my pumpkin seat is only eligible for a baby up to 30”. Since Em was at 29.5” almost two months ago I’m pretty sure we’ve surpassed the limit. So, we’ve been buying the “Stage 2” car seats. Convertible? Is that what they are called? Anyway, Gene and I found one on clearance at Target. It only goes to 50lbs, but it was super cheap and I get an extra 5% off with my Red Card so we bought it. One down, two to go. Next, Gene is buying the second one tonight at Target. They have their Eddie Bauer 65-something one on sale, plus I have a 20% off coupon, plus we get another 5% off… good deal! So for the time being, until we find another awesome deal, the pumpkin seat car seat will “live” in Mom and Dad’s Jeep, and Gene and I will each have a convertible. This scares me because even if she’s sleeping we will have to wake her up to take her inside. So much for my sound-sleeping-move from the car to the house.
Home and Goods:
                So, since we’ve had Emma, our house has been turned upside-down… and not the Fresh Prince way; the unorganized, cluttered, messy way. I’ve actually done a fantastic job since Emma has been born of keeping it uncluttered for the most part, but we are accumulating more and there seems to be less space. Also, we are in need of new windows, new carpet, a new couch, new end tables, new bathroom shower plumbing, etc. So, I’ve been slowly trying to get this all figured out (on my own for the most part). My plan is to purchase a couch, have the old couch picked up, get new carpet down, bring in new couch, look for end tables, get taxes done, get new windows with tax money, get a plumber’s estimate, get new plumbing done. Hmmm, I also need to get the house repainted. I also need to purchase some organizing items I’ve found online. And all of this… needs to be done before Emma’s first birthday party on July 13th. Wow.
Well, that’s all I have time for today.  J Wasn’t meaning to cut it off here, but it is what it is. There’s only so much time in a day.


Updates from the Brink Household

So it’s March 1st today. March! Already! (This blog post was not completed until Monday, March 4th)
I didn’t think that I had too much to talk about, but I definitely think I need to log some time and update everyone on the happenings in the Brink household.
The biggest update by far is Emma’s mobility. She is crawling great now, and is picking up speed. I can no longer set her on the floor while I bop around the house getting ready for work. Just this week alone she has gotten her hands on an open bag of potting soil, a bag of empty baby food containers, a stand mixer IN a kitchen cabinet, the standing air purifier, Daddy’s electronic box and all the wires in it, her soiled clothes before they made it downstairs, and I’m sure much more that Mommy isn’t aware of. She has also learned not to eat Kleenexes the hard way. Over and over I underestimate her abilities and I get schooled. I now put her in her walker that she can still only move backwards in.
Update: Emma is now trying to climb too. She got a new bath toy in the mail on Saturday. I had set it on the floor to show her (still in the box) and she only wanted to climb on top of it. I don’t know what the deal is with climbing – I guess it’s fun because it’s new? So now she tries to climb on and over everything. Where she gets all this energy I don’t know, but I love when Gene is home because he’s all for it. Me, I can handle it for like an hour, but then I’m like “Please just sit still and play so Momma can rest.” Lol.
I’ve put away Emma’s swing (I’m still choking up over it) and her play mat has been long gone. Right now, still in use is her jumperoo and her walker that we don’t really use for walking. We tried a stand-up walker that she pushes (not sure what it’s really called – it’s like pushing a shopping cart) but that quickly got put up for now since all she does is fall down with it. She isn’t too fond of the jumperoo anymore other than to stand on the outside of it and play. Her Daddy comes along to put her in it when he notices her interest and she throws a fit basically saying “Get me out! Get me out!” We will still keep it out for now since when she does want in it her face just lights up as she jumps higher and harder. Lol. I chuckle just thinking about it. Also, we bought her a play table. It’s this little table that has a few things to play with on top. She will stand at it for so long, and when she gets bored she starts pushing it all over. Gene is so worried that she will trip over a toy that goes under it and fall and hurt herself.

This was taken on Day 2 of the stomache bug.

Emma had her first stomache bug. She was so miserable. It wasn't the vomiting kind, it was the "in the diaper" kind. She would go like every hour or so at some points, and it lasted for two and a half days. At night she'd wake up and go and we'd hear her so I'd get up and change her. By the time she was almost back to sleep she'd go again. It was so awful. The second night I had to change her four times before she finally went back to sleep clean. I felt so awful that I couldn't help. We basically just forced fluids into her as often as we could and stopped solid foods. She made it through it, and so did we!
My Mom had decided to rid herself of some older furniture since she had to make room for Emma’s crib and changing table. I called dibs on her bench. I’m not sure what it really is (I call it a bench), but it matches the other items she gave me and it’s in excellent condition. Instead of using it as a bench to sit on though it’s in our living room filled with Emma’s toys. It has two drawers as well but at the moment those are still bare. I’m sure I will find something soon to fill them with.
As most of you saw Okie had some foot trouble last month. After three visits, X-rays, a “cast” and $200+ later the problem hasn’t gone away and we still have no idea what is wrong. I’ve been forcing her to wear a sock daily, which we tape on, and we have to cover it with plastic every time she has to go outside. Ugh. Needless to say it is a pain in the butt. I keep telling my Mom that this isn’t working and I should take her back, but she persuades me to give it more time each time I bring it up. She keeps making the point that the vet doesn’t have a clue what’s wrong. Her middle “finger” is a little swollen, and the nail sticks up and it’s crooked. She also won’t quit licking at it, hence the sock. We did x-rays of both “hands” so that we could compare and it was noticeable that there was something wrong with it, but the vet hasn’t a clue what it is. On the x-ray, whatever is in there, it looked white, but not dark enough to be a bone spur, and it had a halo around it which could just be inflammation but it could also be infection. After that appointment she had to take antibiotics for 10 days. Well it didn’t help, and the cast did nothing but keep her from licking. I don’t know what to do.
                Update: I got home Friday night and took off Okie’s sock to check and clean and her “finger” was so swollen that her nail was sticking straight up. There was also something coming out around the nail. I cleaned it, put Neosporin on it and wrapped it up again. I called the vet to get her in right away, but all I could do is go in on Saturday and sit in the office all day until they could get me in. I instead booked an appointment at 8am Monday morning and said a prayer for her. She went this morning and she now has a cone to keep her from licking at it, and she’s on some high dose antibiotics specifically designed for infection. If this doesn’t work, we will need to biopsy it, and she could ultimately end up losing that that “finger” and possibly her whole foot if it has spread somehow. I’m worried for her. Not that I’d have her put down, because I will NEVER do that, but because I don’t want anything to affect her quality of life. FYI – Emma loves the cone Okie has on. Lol.
Oh! You’ll be shocked to know that my seven month old baby is in 12 month clothes. Yes. I typed that right. 12 month clothes. Lol. She can still wear some 9 month onesies, but I’m telling you, one night she grew like two inches or something and BAM! They fit no more. We are actually having problems with her 12 month sleepers too. They are too tight on her legs and feet. And another thing I’m having an issue with but I never have before, is consistency. Meaning 2 of her 5 sleepers are smaller than the others. Same style, same cut, same everything but color/print, yet they are too small in the arms and legs. I don’t know what that’s about. Actually I bought a pack of tank-top onesies for summer and I noticed that each are different lengths (after washing). I was shocked. It was not noticeable when buying because at Carter’s they “tier” their bundles so that you can see each color. Nevertheless, it was all free from winning that gift card so I will make due. I will probably have to cut the feet off of the sleepers.
Gene got a promotion! I probably should have put that higher in the list. He has been working at Schnuck Markets for almost 13 years now. He’s been transferred and he’s gotten raises, but he’s such a key person in the warehouses that it was a constant bummer for him to go in each day to be just an average worker. So, after we had Emma, things started to change for some reason (I think they realized how vital he was when he took a couple weeks off). He got employee of the quarter, he had a big celebratory lunch and cake thing with one of the Schnuck brothers (Todd I think), he got his photo taken and put on the wall at HQ, and he was in the newsletter. Then, he was forced to transfer to the refrigerator warehouse. He hated it and thought he was doomed to be a peon forever, but he was a key person there so he suffered through it. Then, he had his annual review and got a bonus! Then a couple weeks later, when he came back from a week of vacation, they promoted him to Inventory Control Supervisor of the Fresh Warehouse. So he’s still in the cold, but he loves his new position. I’m not really since he’s working 50 hours a week instead of 40, but at least his (and my) wallet is fatter. J
Emma is much better with her Puffs. For those of you not familiar with Puffs, they are basically flavored cheerios that are geared towards infants learning to eat solids. She choked on the first one (or so I thought) so I was terrified to try more. However, with help from my Mom she is now a pro. I still break them up for her though.  We have also tried the yogurt bites, but she’s not into those. Oh well, we will stick with the Puffs for now. J Next step is mastering the pincher grab!
Well, that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll have more to report soon since Emma changes and grows every day. I cannot wait for her next check-up with the doctor. I love to see how much she grows. J
And be sure to keep an eye out for pictures and updates on Facebook and Twitter!