Posted in Children, Insomnia

Why WE Choose to Keep and Bear Arms

I’m still too keyed up to sleep. Or perhaps I’m caffeinated.

Last night was not one of the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had. Even when Beanie was a newborn and waking all the time, there was some pattern. But last night was . . . remarkable. So here are my remarks:

2300(-ish) (That’s 11:00 for civilians 😉 ): Sweetie and I go to bed. It might have been closer to midnight.

Midnight, or slightly thereafter (I didn’t look at the clock that time): Beanie starts to fuss, but isn’t putting his heart into it, or standing up in his crib. I lay in bed, hoping he will go back to sleep, because I feel like I hadn’t even slept yet. He does, about five minutes later. I drop back into a light sleep, waking every time he moves.

Between 0100 and 0200: I roll over. This is notable, because I rarely move at night. If I start on my left side, I stay on my left side. If I start on my right, my hip starts hurting halfway through the night, and I roll over. It often involves the cat moving around, too. Beanie is shifting around, too, and I seem to be waking every time.

0230: I wake up to a loud sound, about four or five loud bangs that kind of echo through the house. Thinking someone is pounding a hard object against our door, I wake my husband. There is no further banging, but he wanders about the house before getting his pistol and going downstairs to investigate. I almost follow him with the shotgun, but I haven’t used it in too long (which will be remedied soonest), so I go to the living room to look out the window. There is someone in the neighbor-across-the-drive’s yard with a flashlight, possibly the neighbor, but we’re not willing to go outside to find out. Sweetie opens the door and retrieves the mail he didn’t see on the porch the day before (yay! My curtain fabric is here!), and leaves the outside lights on. I wonder how in the world I’m going to sleep for the rest of the night.

0300: I eventually go back to bed, having exhausted all options for investigation open to me. No way am I sleepy! Well, I AM sleepy, but no way am I going to sleep! I analyze the sounds I heard while I play Words With Friends and read on my phone until my eyes force me to sleep, around 0340-ish. My next-door neighbor is awake and getting ready for work, if the lights on in his house are any indication.

0400: SLEEEEEEEP.

0445: Beanie wakes up. He is serious this time — really! He’s standing up in his crib, letting me know, under no uncertain terms, that I need to get up and change his diaper. And feed him. Until he’s asleep again.

0450: I cannot ignore him. I wake, I do those things.

0700: He’s finally asleep. I figure I get about half an hour of sleep till Pie wakes up, and by golly I’m going to claim it! It occurs to me sometime that the noises I heard might actually have been gunshots. But who on earth would have been shooting a gun outside our house?!

0900 (possibly, maybe earlier): Pie comes out of his room to find me on the couch. Tries to wake me, but I am sleepy and immobile. He’s just going to have to entertain himself for a while. He tells me to wake up and fix him breakfast. Not happening, kid.

0920: Forced awake by a stupid woodpecker pounding on my stupid roof. I know I should have fed my child, but he wouldn’t have starved. However, the one I wanted to continue sleeping was going to be woken up by an obnoxious bird, so that needed to stop. I put on my shoes and glasses and go out to scare the darn thing away. Come back inside and wonder how I’m going to function.

1000: Have had coffee, both children are awake and fed (I think). I see my neighbor across the street wandering around by the mailboxes and go outside to talk to him. I haven’t met him before, but I assume (correctly) that he’s the boyfriend of my actual across-the-street neighbor, whom I haven’t interacted with in ages. He tells me it definitely was gunshots I heard, and that he saw (or heard) two cars fleeing the scene shortly thereafter. It was his flashlight I saw when my husband was checking the front door. He was out looking for spent casings, but couldn’t see any. My heartrate goes to 11, knowing my suspicion was right. I probably shouldn’t have had that cup of caffeinated coffee.

1030: I had called my neighbor down the street, who technically lives behind the across-the-street neighbor and across from the next-door neighbor, but her driveway is between them. She calls me back to say they’re okay, but they hadn’t heard anything that night. She says she’d woken, but heard no sound. We chat for a bit, and she tells me that her nephew’s house was almost broken into while his wife was there, around 0700 — just a few miles from here. This does not make me less paranoid.

11 or 1200: Next-door neighbor comes home. I rush out to talk to him. He and his wife had heard the gunshots, but saw nothing. He did see a car zoom away from the bottom of the street when he left for work, though, which was kind of weird. He has a dummy camera just inside his fence that we both wish was real, but he also has a game camera in a tree nearby that may have caught something, but more likely nothing at all, because there’s a big bush blocking the view of the end of the driveway. I get his and his wife’s cell phone numbers (but just realized I didn’t give him mine — oops! I blame sleep deprivation). My oldest son is sticking his head outside the front door, even though I’d told him repeatedly to stay upstairs. Beanie is yelling from the top of the stairs, fortunately cautious enough to not follow his brother down. Argh. It might be time for a gate.

1300: Next-door neighbor knocks and shows me five shell casings he found at the corner of his driveway, between all our houses. They are blackened brass (oxidized, rather than painted), and unstamped, but obviously (after a little research) nothing less than a .45. He says he called the sheriff’s department, but they said there was nothing they could do. However, should it happen again, we should call 911. (Later in the day, a sheriff deputy, who is a family friend of ours, confirms that procedure.)

1330 to 1630: I somehow get the kids to nap/play quietly while I get some “me” time in. I am paranoid, and look out the window at the sound of every car coming up the road. I’m also really tired, but caffeinated and keyed up. In case I haven’t mentioned it in a previous post, caffeine makes me jittery and anxious. And I’d had a regular cup of coffee and caffeinated Earl Grey tea. It is not a state I care to be in, but I also dislike being sleepy and nonfunctional.

1700: Husband is home. Kids are up and LOUD. I’m going out of my mind, but I’m making pancakes. BEER pancakes! And they are awesome!

1800: Finally leaving for my Ladies Enrichment kickoff in Tacoma, but still tired, paranoid, and jittery.

2100: Enrichment was fun and seemed to take the edge off a little. Get some groceries (child-free!) and head home — hoping that my family is just fine, and they are. But Beanie is still awake. Natch.

2200: Beanie is finally asleep, and I get to take a shower.

2300: Not sleepy. Skype with my dad and drink a glass of wine.

0000 (midnight): Done Skyping. Realize I should probably go to bed, because I have to get up in six hours.

0015: Finishing this post.

I want to get picture documentation of the shooting “incident” — which I’m now thinking might have been a drug deal gone bad. It’s a terrible place to have a clandestine meeting, because it’s so residential, however, it’s also PITCH dark. I’m hoping to mitigate future clandestine meetings there by turning on our garage lights at night. My husband and I have also agreed to get motion-activated lighting for the front and back yards, ASAP, and I’ve talked him into light sensors for the garage lights, so they’ll come on when it’s dark and go off when it’s light. We also need to frost (or something) the window next to the front door.

I think the thing that freaks me out the worst about the shooting is that we can’t find bullets. What did those idiots shoot? The woods? There are propane tanks out here, for Heaven’s sake! And houses in close proximity! But now I’m wondering if someone didn’t get shot and driven off to be dumped. It freaks me out that something like that could happen mere feet from my house.

Well, I can’t deny that I really need to go to bed. I’m glad I’m getting out of the house tomorrow for some adult time with Christian ladies. I could really use it . . .

(And now it’s 0038, and I REALLY need to go to bed. Hoping I get to sleep till my alarm wakes me . . . and that I don’t sleep through it . . . )

Posted in Cooking, Diet and Nutrition

Waffles on Wednesday!

We had waffles for dinner, but this post is more about coconut oil, because it’s awesome. 🙂 The post is kind of disjointed, too, because I’m experimenting with pictures in a post, using the WordPress app on my phone. Also, I was cooking and eating the waffles between sections.

The waffle iron needs to be “prepped” before cooking, which means brushing oil on the plates. I used to use a sandwich baggie over my hand to spread coconut oil (which is better for cooking at high heats than veggie or olive oil) between all the little ridges. We like the non-Belgian style of waffles, so there are a LOT of little ridges!

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I either read about this trick somewhere, or had a brain blast, and started using my silicone basting brush (which I rarely ever use for actual basting) to get between all the ridges. MUCH faster, and less mess! 🙂

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I also like to use coconut oil in the batter, instead of butter. This recipe calls for melted butter or oil, and since coconut oil is slightly more solid than butter at room temp, I have to melt it. But I don’t like to use the microwave for healthy food, so I put the oil in a glass cup and put that in a pan of boiling water, so it melts — and it will fairly quickly, because it has a low melting point.

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Yum!

I use Nutiva, which I get in a two-pack order every six months, or so, through Amazon.com “subscribe & save”.

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After I get it all over my hands while measuring it out for the glass cup, I rub it into my skin and wipe the excess off with a paper towel. My skin likes that, especially if I washed dishes earlier in the day (which I did today, and got alligator hands as a result).

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My skin is nice and smooth now, with no cracks or pain. 🙂

I didn’t take a picture of it, but when the coconut oil was done boiling, I just turned off the burner but left the pan of water there so I could put the plate of waffles on top of it to keep them warm while the others were cooking.

I spread a little cocoa powder into the batter after pouring it on the waffle iron. Turned out very nice!

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And tasty! I love waffles for dinner. 🙂

(If you’re looking for a recipe, find one anywhere — I just used the “crispy waffles” recipe from my orange, 1970s Betty Crocker cookbook that I cannot live without, and replaced the butter with oil. I was going to use honey instead of sugar, too, but I forgot.)

Posted in Children, Diet and Nutrition, Mommyhood

Dental Dilemma

Pie had to go in for a three-month “follow-up” for his teeth today, because last time we went to the dentist, he wouldn’t lay back in the chair or let them scrape his teeth — which really needed it. The doctor had us schedule a three-month “follow-up”, which ended up being a cleaning, too. I hadn’t expected it to cost anything, but I should have, because United Concordia pays for little more than six-month cleanings. It wasn’t going to be a lot, but they may have seen a questioning look in my eyes, because the lady asked me if it had been explained to me what the difference would be, or that it would cost at all. I told them I thought it was a follow-up, but figured a cleaning was in store, because his teeth were pretty gross. It made sense that the insurance wasn’t going to pay for it, though. She decided they weren’t going to charge me for it at all, because it hadn’t been explained to me when I originally made the appointment. I only had to pay $10 for the fluoride gel. Yay for no charge, but I still hadn’t expected to pay for a fluoride treatment.

I’m not a big fan of fluoride treatments, especially ingested. It’s kind of funny to me that a topical fluoride product would warn against swallowing, and even recommend one swabs out a child’s mouth if they can’t spit it all out, but on the same sheet of instructions it advocates fluoridated water and fluoride tablets if fluoridated water is not available. What kind of sense does THAT make? One could make the argument that the concentrations are different, but how much difference is there in a slight residue on a child’s teeth that needs to be swabbed out, versus a whole tablet that must be swallowed, or water run from the tap and used in everything the child ingests?

The reason I’ll try it, though, is because Pie’s already developing some little cavities behind his front teeth. The hope of the dentist is that this product will mitigate the need for major fillings in six months. She also recommends (much to Pie’s delight) that he chew Trident (the only gum with xylitol) three or four times a day, especially after meals. This is not a problem — Pie loves gum almost as much as he loves apple juice. Unfortunately, the apple juice has been verboten by the dentist at any time but meal time, and we aren’t allowed to water it down(!) at those times. This dentist is of the school of “volume vs. frequency”, and would rather a child drink a small cup a couple times a day than have it watered down and sipped all day. Apple juice is probably the worst juice, too, she said, because of the acidity. Even Coca-Cola has a pH buffer to keep the acids from eating your teeth (though it can degrease an engine and dissolve a nail in record time!).

*Sigh* Pie doesn’t drink water. He will not drink water! I suppose we’re just going to have to enforce apple juice only at meal time, and then get him used to the idea of water or nothing the rest of the day, but, dang it, we’re trying to potty train here! It’s frustrating enough that he doesn’t eat and that dairy does a number on his stomach. At least he likes almond milk, sort of.

I did have a bit of a brain blast, though: You can buy xylitol at a health foods store (or a health foods section, like in Fred Meyer), so it might be worth it to get some and add it to plain water or watered-down apple juice to create that buffer against the acidity, or give water a flavor. I don’t want to buy “water flavoring” (like Mio), because there are other chemical sugar alternatives in those, and he’ll be getting enough of those in gum.

I know this is doable, but . . . dang it. I can already see the meltdowns over no juice. And I have, like, five cans of frozen apple juice in the freezer.

Oh well. Poor Beanie is currently screaming his sad-baby head off, and has been for almost an hour, because he flat-out refuses to nap. I think we missed the nap window. :\ Too bad my nap window has been wide open for the past two hours, because the same child also did not sleep through the night last night . . .

Posted in Children, Diet and Nutrition, Mommyhood

It Feels SO GOOD!

I weighed myself this morning.

The first time I did so, I was at about 164 (and some change). I hadn’t eaten breakfast, but neither had Beanie, and I was still in PJs. Later, just before my shower (and still before breakfast, but after a cup of decaf coffee), I weighed myself again. 163!! To be fair, it was, like 163.6, but that’s close enough!

At my first pregnancy appointment with Pie in 2007, I weighed 169 (according to their scale, anyway). Granted, a lot of it was muscle and water, because I’d been working out pretty hard learning a kata in my Kempo classes up to then, and then bloating like crazy after conceiving. They still labeled me “obese”, but whatever. :p

I didn’t own a scale for a long time between having Pie and conceiving Beanie, so I don’t really know if my weight dipped below the 165 mark. After buying a scale, I know I had trouble getting below 170.

When I bought these jeans, they fit just fine, so I suspect that even if I didn’t weigh less than 170, I might have been in okay shape and probably had more muscle, at least in my legs. I was working out more then — or at least still taking martial arts lessons once a week.

However, I also have discovered that bras for which I needed expanders before now can be hooked at the tightest fit, and I think these jeans have shrunk since I bought them (if length is any indication). But I barely work out now! Unless I consider that I do a LOT more carrying, because Beanie (who is about 20 pounds) likes to be held more than Pie did, and I can dead-lift Pie (who is just over 30 pounds) with ease onto his changing table.

I think the biggest difference now is food choice and attempts at portion control. I barely consume dairy anymore (I used to have cheese almost every day with breakfast), and we’ve kind of cut back on red meat a bit. It might also help that I have no false hormones running through my system, and am not on anti-depressants. Beanie is still nursing, too, and more often than Pie did (Pie was weaned when he was 14 months, and Beanie just turned 16 months).

So, I’m thinking that if I add working out on a semi-regular basis to this hodge-podge of possible weight-loss stimulators, I could be below 160 before I know it! 🙂

In the meantime, I enjoy being able to zip AND snap my jeans the first time I put them on! 🙂 It’s the small victories. 😉

Posted in Children, Insomnia, Mommyhood

Sleepy Logic

I decided sometime early this morning — perhaps around 3:45? — that the word “hate” (which I never use for people or animals — unless they’re spiders) is just not as strong a word at 3am. (I think I may also have concluded that violence performed in a sleep-befuddled state might well be pardoned in a court of law if they just knew why — but, again, “sleep-befuddled”.)

I went to bed kind of late last night, partly because I just wasn’t sleepy, and also because I was waiting for my hair to dry a bit after my shower. I was happily making some writing progress, too, which, in my opinion, is reason enough to stay up until my body forces me to sleep.

Which, of course, occurred half an hour after sitting down. Natch. :\

ANYway, I got to bed probably around 1:15, maybe? Maybe earlier? And was well into dreamland when Beanie woke up crying at 2am. Not just stirring and fussing, which I ignore until he settles or becomes inconsolable (don’t judge me! SLEEP!), but standing up and wailing. *Sigh*

I usually take him into the living room and watch a show (or two . . . or three), but I was tired enough I thought I’d just snooze while he had a bottle or nursed.

We both ended up falling asleep. This is okay; at least I wasn’t fully awake for two hours, but it did make it harder to put him back to bed. He fussed when I put him down, which just about made me cry (inside), but as I resigned myself and searched for socks to wear while I stayed up for the rest of the night, he plopped down and fell asleep.

YAY! This is good! But here’s where my sleepy logic came into play: My stupid cat — whom I really do love very much, but would often like to turn into a pair of luxurious gloves — kept meowing as I was getting into bed. It’s like that Crappy Pictures blog post about pet annoyance, before and after kids. She wouldn’t shut up! And Beanie kept stirring! His fragile sleep state was in the balance! WHY CAN’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, STUPID CAT??!!

And that’s when I thought it: Hate is so much less a powerful word at 3am, because I so very much hated my cat just then. She wouldn’t be still. She kept making noise. I thought I’d never sleep again! She didn’t understand how close she was to death just then!

(Or maybe she did, because I always threaten to kill her, but I never do. 12 years of that probably taught her that I’m just bluffing.)

Then, this morning, after a couple hours of semi-uninterrupted sleep, she started chewing on plastic, and digging into stuff near the baby’s crib. Once again, HAAAAATE!!! But, instead, I squirted her with a water bottle and tried to go back to sleep.

And then Pie woke up, followed shortly by Beanie. And the cat was vindicated, because she knew that now I would HAVE to get up and feed her, which was her ploy all along.

Grr!

But now I’m up, and less filled with hate, because coffee makes everything better. 🙂

Did any of that make sense? Or am I still running on sleepy logic?

UPDATE: I am extra cranky today, so it was a good thing we were planning on going to a friend’s house, so Pie and his friend could beat each other senseless while my friend and I talked and took the edge off. Turns out, our kids are cranky, too! And we’re all sleepy! So, even though we had a good time, I was still cranky and tired when I got home. My husband got home a little early, and both kids are ensconced in quiet/nap time, so I am drinking a much-needed homemade mocha and listening to MY music on MY headphones. Just for a little while. And reading Crappy Pictures, to make myself feel better about being a cranky parent. 🙂

Posted in Children, Technology

Experimenting

I got the WordPress app for my phone, but I’ve been a little delete-happy today, so I thought I’d at least play with this a bit before I decide it’s sort of frivolous for me. It may end up being the best thing that’s ever happened to my blogging since having kids! Goodness knows most of my pictures are taken with my phone these days.

I do love that I can change the format with the push of a button icon, and easily add a link if I want to.

Blockquotes are simple, too.

Hee, this is kinda fun. 🙂

But now, the moment of truth: Adding a picture! Here is my cute little Beanie Baby:

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Look at all those teeth! 🙂

Okay, I might have to play with this more often. It’s been fun! Now to post . . .