Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is one of my favorites of the year. I have two grandfathers that served for our country, and it's always nice to honor them in such a fun, positive way. Memorial Day weekend comes at a wonderful time of year. After a long, cold winter, it basically kicks off the summer, even if it doesn't officially start for another 3 or so weeks. We broke out the patio furniture, had the grill going all weekend, and spent almost the entire three days outside in the yard. The weather was perfect, we got to catch up with family and friends, and Wyatt attended his first parade. He loved it, of course.

Cheers to kicking off my favorite season!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Family or Education: Why Not Both?

I'm sure you've seen this story going around about the professor in Israel who encourages his students with children to bring them to class. I honestly have never heard of such a thing, and I'm really hoping this becomes more common now that it's been made public. It's a really lovely story, and I actually got a little emotional reading it.

It's becoming more and more the norm now for people to go back for higher degrees later in life. Ideally, one would graduate from high school, go right into undergraduate to obtain a Bachelor's degree, and then enter the industry or continue with academia and obtain a Master's or Doctoral degree. However, this is not the path for everyone. Some people can't make that decision at the age of 18; they go the unconventional route and start a family first. And unfortunately, the way many programs are offered, it leaves people having to choose: family or education. You can't have both without sacrificing the other. Of course, there are ways it can be done. You can have your family, work 40 hours a week at your full-time job, and then attend classes part-time on campus or complete an on-line program. And in all your spare time, you can tuck your kids into bed at night. I have the utmost respect for those people that earn their degree this way because I am SO not strong enough to do this. I am selfish and can't imagine giving up my already limited time I have with Wyatt and Brent.

However, seeing this story gave me a little hope that things might not always have to be this way for parents here. I truly hope more professors take on this approach, where parents would not have to choose between family and education.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My (First) Mother's Day!

Life has been hectic in our house the past few weeks, as I'm sure it is in everyone's home when children are involved. I've taken over the brunt of home + Wyatt + Jasper responsibilities while Brent focuses on getting through what has been a pretty stressful work month. And when he isn't working 12 hours a day, he's been dealing with prepping our deck for the repainting/restaining process, which wins the award for least favorite house project ever. So basically, neither of us sit down until about 8:30 at night, and I'm usually in bed by 9 because I get up pretty early to nurse Wyatt and go to work. It's exhausting, but it's our life, and that's why there's coffee, amiright?

However, this past weekend, we parted ways with stress and exhaustion for a few days in honor of "Mother's Day weekend" as dubbed by Brent. It was his way of thanking me for taking care of the home life, and it was a really nice gesture. I felt pretty spoiled, and I have to admit, it felt great to just sit back and let someone else cook and clean for me. Friday night, we put Wyatt to bed and ordered takeout from a local place. We got a meatball panini and house salad to split while we rented 50 Shades of Grey to watch together. Brent got up on Saturday morning and made my favorite banana pancakes then we spent the day out in our yard. We used to be able to get most of the spring yard work done over a weekend or two with both of us working on it, but now, it kind of falls on Brent's shoulders while I hang out with Wy guy. This also means it's taking twice as long, so we're hoping it will all be done by Memorial Day weekend...fingers crossed.

For Mother's Day, Brent planted me some blueberry bushes - I'm pretty sure they will fruit-bearing this year, so I'm really excited!

I woke up on Sunday morning and took Wyatt out for a 4 miler at the track. He slept through the whole thing, as usual. I'm glad we went early because it got hot fast. It was already 80 by the time we got back home at 10 in the morning.

We got ready and headed out to see my mom. We all went out to lunch, ate way too much, and then spent the rest of the day at the lake house on the boat. Captain Wyatt was ridiculously excited to drive the boat...such a boy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wyatt: 6 Months

We're officially halfway through Wyatt's first year, and I seriously can't believe how fast time flies. I look back on the past 6 months and almost can't believe all the changes he's undergone, physically and developmentally. It's even crazier to think that over these NEXT 6 months, Wyatt will go through some of his biggest milestones yet - crawling, cruising, and quite possibly, walking. Ahhh! I'd be happy if he just stayed 6 months old forever, content with sitting in one spot playing with his toys and never having to baby-proof. Brent and I both agree this age is pretty spectacular...but our immobile days are numbered, we know. We've noticed things change pretty fast with these babies. One day, Wyatt will be happy laying on his tummy playing with toys, and the next, he is rolling over every chance he gets and sitting up on his own to play. And now that I'm back to work full-time, things seem to change even faster. Some weeks, he seems like an entirely new kid. 

Big happenings this included gaining the ability to sit unassisted, blowing raspberries all the live-long day, and in turn, starting to make more consonant sounds instead of mimicking a pterodactyl all the time, and introducing solid foods. Wyatt made leaps and bounds this weekend and will now properly eat off a spoon. He gets all excited and flaps his arm when he sees the spoon heading his direction, and he very impatiently grunts when it's being taken away for a refill. It's pretty funny. Apparently, 6 month old babies aren't equipped with patience. That's okay, neither are most adults. However, diapers have reached a whole new level of awful with the introduction of real foods. As a child who has survived entirely on breastmilk up until this point, his diapers were never really that bad. In fact, they don't smell like much most of the time. Solid food poop? Disgusting. Like night-after-drinking-beer poop disgusting. He's lucky he's cute. 

Our check-up isn't until the end of the month, so I'm not sure on his measurements, but I'd guess he's about 20 pounds now. He's in 9 month clothes, though he prefers to be hanging out in just a diaper if he can. Can't say I blame him, it's been HOT lately. We spend a lot of time outside now that the weather is finally nice. He lights up when he's out in the fresh air, and he sleeps so much better at night because of it. He's down to 3 naps a day: one in the morning and one in the early afternoon at daycare, and then his last catnap is at 4 o'clock, usually in the stroller while I run. We do a tub at night, and Wyatt is in bed by 7:45 these days...in his crib! I'm so happy we finally decided to make the transition, we are all sleeping better now, and Wyatt seems to genuinely like being in his own room. Instead of waking up fussing, he wakes up and chats to himself. Many times, he's been up for awhile, just staring at the wall decals and smiling. He is SUCH a happy baby, we are so blessed!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Crib Update and FOOD!

One last update on the crib transition...we're officially one week in, and Wyatt is rocking it. He is sleeping better now than he ever has (and so are mom and dad!). I nurse him at 7:30, put him to bed, he sleeps through until 4:30 for his morning feeding, and then he goes back down until 6:30 when Brent gets him ready for daycare. He used to wake up anywhere between 4-8 times in this 11 hour block, usually wanting his pacifier or fussing to be held and rocked back to sleep. These times added up and would leave us exhausted by the end of the work week. For some reason, now that he's in the crib, even if he wakes up and begins to fuss - which has only happened maybe 3 times the whole week - he settles himself down within 5 minutes and falls back asleep. Why, do you ask? I honestly have no clue. Perhaps without knowing it, we transitioned him to the crib at a time in his life where he was naturally learning to settle himself back to sleep anyways? Or maybe he's entered into the world of deeper sleep cycles? Or maybe he's sleeping more soundly because we aren't in the room with him making background noise? Who knows. If it's one thing I've learned, there's no point in trying to justify a baby's behavior - it changes way too often, you'll drive yourself nuts! I'd like to think he's sort of a diva like his mom, and he prefers the luxurious bed sheets I got him. I do find that he likes to rub his head back and forth on them. So let's just go with that.

Another pleasant side benefit we've noticed since switching over to the crib at night - he sleeps crazy.good at daycare now. He went from taking 1 or 2 cat naps (15-20 minutes) every day to taking two 60-90 minute naps. We couldn't believe it! It may seem counter-intuitive, but they do say a baby who gets a lot of nighttime sleep will nap better and vice versa. We're just scoring all around in the Morse household these days.

Another fun happening this week has been...the introduction to solids! We've been allowing Wyatt to play with some food here and there for the past few weeks, but it wasn't until this week he actually showed interest in consuming it. We were planning on doing baby led weaning when he turned 6 months old (which is only 2 days away ahh!), but we've come to learn Wyatt does NOT like the texture of food in his hands. We've tried on a few separate occasions to get him to hold onto some avocado or sweet potato or banana wedges, and dude is not thrilled. He typically grabs at anything in front of him, and he started to grab at our food when we were holding him, so we figured this would be the best method of introducing him to foods. So we started off by putting a few pieces of avocado sliced into french fry sized pieces on his highchair table. Sure enough, his eyes lit up, and he reached in for the grab. He squeezed, and it oozed into a mush in his palms. About 3 seconds later, his face turned to horror, and he tried to let go, only to find it was stuck to his hands. He just sat there with his palms wide open to the ski, staring at me like "get this shit OFF me, mom."

A week later, we tried again with some sweet potato: something still soft but a little less mushy to hold onto. He took better to holding that, but when he brought it up to put it in his mouth, he really wasn't interested. He kind of just licked it a few times and was done with that. I got it on video, it's pretty cute:

We've learned he's not too keen on being spoon fed. He tries to grab the spoon the whole time - which I'm sure is very common in babies - and he loses interest after a few minutes of trying to steal the spoon out of my hands.

So we accepted the fact that our baby hated food, and he would just live on breastmilk forever (not really, but life would be much simpler in ways, no?) But Hallelujah! We were gifted these baby food feeders at our baby shower that I had stashed away and totally forgot about, and turns out, he LOVES food...as long as he doesn't have to touch it and as long as he has control - oh god, he's more and more like me every day. Now he's tried sweet potato, squash, and banana...and he sucks them right down. We're only giving him about a tablespoon a day at dinner time while we eat, and we're waiting 3 days in between testing out new foods to make sure he doesn't show signs of allergies. So far, so good! I can't wait to continue our journey on the solid food train with this kid - it's too cute!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Eggs with Creamy Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions

This is a favorite in our house. It was inspired by a photo on Bon Appetit's Instagram some time over the winter - back when I was struggling to find time to cook dinner, aside from reheating leftovers. I thought: scrambled eggs? goat cheese? caramelized onions? I can totally handle that.
Uhm, it was amazing. The flavor combo of the creamy goat cheese and sweet caramelized onions go really well with fluffy scrambled eggs. This is a great option for Meatless Monday...obviously, you would have to skip the crumbled bacon on top for that one, but we have enjoyed this dish many times with chopped chives or parsley on top instead of bacon. The bacon just adds a nice crunchy texture, if you're into that sort of thing, which we definitely are.
This is one of my go-to meals for those times we either ran out or forgot to thaw meat for the night. I love eggs for dinner, but this would make for a great brunch option as well, served as a large casserole type dish.

My favorite part is the caramelized onions. I usually end up making a larger-than-necessary batch using an entire onion (even though you only need half for this recipe), and we put it on burgers or over salad for another dinner option during the week. You might as well just go for a large batch - pretty much everything tastes better with caramelized onions on top.

Eggs with Creamy Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions
Serves 2

4 large eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp cream, or milk
2 oz goat cheese
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
Optional toppings:
crumbled bacon
chopped chives
chopped parsley
  • In a large frying pan, melt butter and oil together over medium heat. Add the onion, giving it a quick stir to coat in the oil/butter. Reduce heat to low and cook onions for at least 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to evenly brown onions.
  • When browned to your liking (I usually stop after 30 minutes, mostly because of time), transfer onions to a bowl and set aside. Wipe the pan down with a paper towel to remove the excess liquid, leaving a little behind to cook the eggs.
  • In a medium bowl, add eggs and cream, whisking well for 2 minutes, until light and frothy. This will result in extra fluffy scrambled eggs.
  • Add the eggs to the frying pan over medium heat, stirring every few minutes until fully cooked. 
  • Portion the scrambled eggs to your two plates. Add 1 ounce of sliced or crumbled goat cheese over each of the scrambled eggs, allowing the goat cheese to melt and become creamy. Add a heaping pile of caramelized onions on top of the goat cheese. Top with crumbled bacon, chives, parsley, or your desired topping. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Steak >>> Vegetables

Poor Wyatt wanted the steak and got a green bean instead. I don't blame him for trying to spit at it. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Night #1 in the crib: huge success!!

So THIS is what it feels like to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I woke up wide awake at 4:45 this morning, turned over to see the time, burrowed my head into my pillow with a smile, then instantly shot up when I realized Wyatt was still asleep. I whacked Brent awake screaming, "Oh my god, he's still breathing right? Check the monitor!!" Brent mumbled something about "huh? hand moving, pacifier back in, 11 o'clock, pizza..." and he was passed back out by the time I jumped up out of bed to check the nursery. Wyatt was awake, reaching out to touch the crib sides, and he greeted me with a huge smile when I walked in. I nursed him, rocked him to sleep, and back down he went in the crib. The second stretch was short-lived, but all in all, he did great!

He made the biggest liar out of me in my post yesterday, by the way. He slept from 8pm until 4:45 this morning in his crib with barely a fuss. Brent did have to get up once or twice around 11 o'clock to put his pacifier back in and reassure him we were still there, but that's like 20 times less than we expected he'd be up last night, so we were pretty psyched. I went to bed at 8:30 last night anticipating a night of constant waking, and instead, I got the best sleep I've had in a month.

It was also nice to be able to go to bed last night and get up this morning and move about the room freely without tip-toeing in the dark. I would say night #1 of the crib transition was a huge success!

I'm really hoping night #2 goes as well as night #1 did because for the first time in FIVE MONTHS, Brent and I are going out for a date night tomorrow. It's seriously been since his holiday party back in December that we got out together for dinner just the two of us. My mom and stepdad are coming to babysit, and they are SO excited to get to spend the night with Wy guy. I keep having to remind them he'll be in bed an hour after they get there, but they don't seem to mind.

The rest of the weekend will be spent outside - the weather is supposed to be GLORIOUS here in Mass, finally - so we're hoping to get our deck re-stained and re-painted. It'll end up being a multi-weekend project I'm sure...because things take like 4x longer to get done with a child around...but that's ok. Have a great weekend, all!!