Monday, December 29, 2008

Sausage Making

On the 28th, the Ohlendorf gang (Opa, Nana, Tracy, Tom, Paula, Kate, Claire, Tommy, Susan, Erin, Bobby, Curtis, Me, Wes, Bo & Sam) met up at The River to make sausage. While most everyone else has made some every year for quite a few years now, this was my first time in about 15 years. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun. I am so glad we got to be a part of it this year. (Thanks, Nana, for being on baby-circus patrol all day. I know it wasn't an easy job.)

Say Cheese (or not)
Cutting Up The Pork
(much easier than the beef)

Opa, Bobby & Tommy Mixing In The Spices
(one batch regular, one batch garlic)

Erin, Wes, Bobby & Curtis Warming Up By The Fire
(and supervising the black eyed peas & mac-n-cheese)

Sam Loving His Aunt Tracy

Opa & Wes

It's A Joint Effort
(Tommy cranking, Wes stuffing, & Erin finding the casing openings)

After all the work was done, we walked over to see the progress on Opa & Nana's house. Bo loved the dirt pile and all the equipment.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Love The River

Bo Fishing With Opa

We all (Me, Wes, Bo, Sam, Opa, Nana, Paula, Chad, Kate, Claire, Tom and no-Tracy (stomach ache)) spent the day at the River yesterday. It was wonderful. There's just something in the air at The River that is comforting and peaceful. All the stresses of everyday life are forgotten and the simplicities of life are appreciated.

It is and has always been my go-to place. Anytime I am stressed or worried or in need of inner peace, I close my eyes and imagine myself wading in the river with the sounds of the water trickling over the rocks down by the little swing in the background, and the gentle rustle of trees swaying in the wind overhead. It is where I go to get away and the one place I miss the most living in Alaska.

The River to me symbolizes family, love, and childhood; all the things in life I never want to be without. The only difference now is that the childhood is now that of my kids rather than that of myself. I can't wait to share my memories of the River with them and to create new ones along side them in the years to come.

Wes Showing Kate A Worm

Sam & Claire Enjoying The Perfect Nap

Wes On The Little Swing

Bo Being Silly

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Travel Day:
We made it to Austin on Tuesday night but not without some difficulties. We left Fairbanks an hour late and then our plane in Seattle was broken so after sitting on board for an hour, they finally let us off, assigned us to a new plane, and 3 hours later we left. So, 4 hours later than scheduled, we arrived in Dallas and still had a 3.5 hour drive to Austin.

My dad was kind enough to rent a mini-van and drive to Dallas to pick us up but he, too, had to wait for 4 hours at the airport for us to arrive. Thank goodness all of our luggage showed up. That would have sucked! And to add to the excitment, I had what I think was a reaction to taking too much Valium with too little food and puked twice in the van on the way home. Not a fun time but we made it.

We finally got to my parent's house around 10:15pm, got settled and went to bed. We were exhausted.

Christmas Eve:
In the morning, Bo was excited to see a Christmas tree since Wes and I were too lame to put one up at our house. He even brought a snowmachine ornament from home to add to the tree. Shortly thereafter, Tracy, Tom, Paula, Chad, Kate & Claire showed up. It was great to all be together for the first time in over a year. We just hung out and enjoyed each other's company.

Later that night we went over to our cousins' house for dinner and fun. Thanks Wendy, Greg, Erin & Bobby. It was great to see everyone.

Christmas Day:
We spent the majority of the day opening presents, playing with the presents and eating insane amounts of food. (Breakfast: fresh squeezed oj, egg strata, fruit salad, & homemade sticky buns. Lunch: more breakfast. Dinner: chicken tetrazini, cranberry salad, green beans with pine nuts, rolls, and flourless chocolate cake with ice cream).

The kids really got in to it this year but were overwhelmed by all the comotion and toys. Here are a few pics from the day:

Scooter From Santa

Opening Gordon The Train
(the one thing Bo really wanted Santa to bring him)

Fire Truck From Aunt Paula & Uncle Chad

Sam Opening . . . ehem . . Eating His Present

Race Track From Opa & Nana
(the best toy ever!)

Hockey Set From Us

All in all I couldn't have asked for a better day. I love my family. I love good food. And I love the spirit of Christmas. It was perfect.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Needless to say, Bo wasn't very happy when he saw this. Sam, on the other hand, was happy as can be.

He may not be crawling yet, but he sure can roll!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not So Poopy

Today was better. Bo woke up, came out of his room, sat down on the couch and said, "My owie is gone." (Phew) No more puke, poop or horrific smells. All in all a better day.

However, he is still not 100% and now I have it. I have yet to projectile puke anything across the room but felt like there was a high possibility of it happening once or twice this afternoon.

Instead, I pitched camp in the bathroom, laptop and all (should I "red flag" it?), for an hour or so, put on my pj pants, took a short nap while both kiddos snoozed, drank some sprite, and trucked on.

Now, it's 9:30pm and I'm heading to bed. Hopefully tomorrow my owie is gone, too.

Yesterday's Bookend Messes

Yesterday started off with projectile milk vomit all over the coffee table and ended with the worst smelling diarrhea ever that took a fan, a candle and the baking of cookies to rectify.

I hope today is less eventful and most certainly less smelly. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend of Christmasy Things

Making Christmas Cookies
Visiting Santa & His Reindeer in North Pole

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Family Photos

So our family pictures we had taken last week didn't turn out as bad as I thought they were going to. Bo was a wreck and would not smile but we still managed to get a few cute ones. Here are 2 of them . . .

This is my FAVORITE. I love it.
And this is the best one of all of us

Break Out The Champagne!

I put Sam down at 8:00pm as usual last night. He woke up about an hour later crying and crying. It was obvious he needed to burp so we burped him, put him back down and then he slept, get this, until 4:00am. 4:00am! That's a record and believe you me, my boobs could attest to it. I then nursed him and put him back to bed. He woke up at 5:30am with lots of burps since he was bombarded with gushing milk earlier and then he slept until 7:45 this morning. It was wonderful. Way to go Sam!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sleep Update

Last night Sam went to bed at 7:45pm, was up crying at 11:15pm, I went in and rubbed his head for a minute, and I did not nurse him until he was up again at 12:45am. That's 5 hours. Woo-hoo!

I can't remember for the life of me what happened after that because for some reason, despite being exhausted, I could not fall asleep. It was like I was over tired. I don't know what my deal was. I finally took half a Valium at 2:00am, laid on the couch and eventually fell asleep somewhere between watching The O'Reily Factor and Fox & Friends.

What I do know is that I woke up with him on my chest on the couch this morning at 6:00am and put him in his crib. (Ooops. That can't help matters.) And he woke up for the day at 8:50am.

Not quite the ideal night by any means, but we're getting there.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sam-1, Mommy-O

Yesterday I pulled out the "What to Expect the First Year" book for the first time since Sam was born. One look at it's warped pages and I quickly remembered how addicted to and reliant on, I was to it when Bo was little. I read it cover to cover and always had it near by to look up an occasional oddity or paranoia I was having at the time about why my child wasn't doing something or to diagnose what on earth the rash was all over his body. But apparently, with child number 2, comes a sense of calmness and a can-do attitude (or is it tiredness and passiveness?) Either way, I once again found solace in this book last night.

I read all about the sixth month and the developmental path Sam should be following. I looked up the introduction of solid foods and yes, I read the section on sleep. Everything from stopping nighttime feedings to how to get your child to sleep through the night. And it was weird. I already knew all of this information but at times it was as if I was reading it for the first time. The tactics were not new or anything that I hadn't already thought about but after reading it again I was inspired and motivated by this:

Cold turkey: For those parents desperate and determined to get that good night's sleep sooner rather than later, letting a baby cry it out almost always works. Though some recommend utilizing this method as early as three months, it's best to wait until baby's closer to six months. By that point, most babies no longer require nighttime nutrition breaks - unless they were born prematurely and are still catching up. And while a younger infant cries to communicate basic needs, older babies are becoming more sophisticated in their motivations. As long as crying results in being picked up, rocked, fed, they'll keep it up. When they find it no longer works, most will give up on nighttime crying usually within three to four nights.

If you're philosophically opposed to this approach, don't try it. Parenting that goes against parental instincts is rarely successful. Instead, provide your baby with a back-to-sleep crutch, such as sleep inducing music, a pacifier, a nursing - or anything else you choose - for as long as necessary, or move on the plan below.

And so, newly motivated and desperate for sleep, that was my plan last night. I would let him cry, not pick him up, soothe him by rubbing his head, and not nurse him at all. Here's how it went down:

8:00 - Put him in bed awake. Fell asleep shortly thereafter. No crying.
10:30 - I fell asleep.
11:00 - Sam's up crying. I went in to soothe according to plan.
11:05 - Nursed to top-him-off. (New modified plan: don't nurse until morning.)
11:30 - Back in crib asleep
1:30 - Up again crying & screaming. Waited 5 minutes before entering room.
1:35 - Went in, rubbed his head, turned on mobile. Waited 5 more minutes.
1:40 - Still crying. Went back in. Rubbed head. Did not nurse. (Yay for me!)
1:45 - He fell asleep.
3:00 - Up crying again!
3:01 - I went in & nursed him (Damn it! So much for the modified plan)
3:30 - Back in crib asleep
6:25 - Up fussing. I was determined to not go in. Sat at computer and blogged.
6:35 - Fuss turned to crying. I went in to soothe. More blogging followed.
6:45 - Still crying. I'm beat. I nursed him. (Plan aborted)
9:30 - Sam up for the day. (I'll try again tonight)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bo-isms #7-9

7. Bo has been saying this for a month or 2 now but I keep forgetting to write it down which is strange for me since I crack up every time he says it:
Me: "Did you poop?"
Bo: (With his head tilted to the side and his palms turned up to the sky) "No poop, just gas! "
** I so wish I could get this on video because it's not so much what he says but how he says it. Hilarious! **

8. This, too is something he has done for quite awhile but still ultra cute. Many times when he enters the room he announces himself with his arms up in the air and a big "tuh-da".
** Again, I so need to get this on video."**

9. While playing in the garage tonight, he scraped his shin on the plow of the 4-wheeler and started to cry.
Me: "Are you ok?"
Bo: (As he stopped crying and puffed up his chest) "Yeah, tough guy."

I Think I've Been Starving My Kid

We gave Sam his first solid food (other than rice cereal) last night and he devoured it. Every last drop of sweet potatoes was gone. There wasn't even an inkling of a splatter on his shirt. He ate it all!
And once again I have fallen suit to the second baby syndrome. Sorry Sam. With Bo, I was gung-ho and made all of this first foods. I made batches of sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash and froze them in tiny containers to thaw out when needed. This time, I went to the Commissary, stocked up on pre-packaged, pre-portioned organic baby food to pop open when needed. So much easier and so much quicker, but oh so much wasted plastic. Sorry Mother Earth.

But, I digress. Sam. Yes. The starving child. Holy cow. I feel guilty. Tough love isn't what he needed to sleep more at night. Food is what he needed.
He ate the sweet potatoes at about 7:00pm, I nursed him around 7:30, he was in bed at 8:00, fell asleep shortly thereafter, and did not wake up until 11:30pm. That's 3.5 hours folks. 3.5 hours. And it continued through the night. It was wonderful. I only had to get up and nurse him twice. I say that's PROGRESS!

So today, I am going to feed him and fill his belly and hope the 3.5 hours turns in to 4.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sittin' Pretty

He's finally loosing the weeble-wobble-ness, and sitting up like a pro. I can't believe he's going to be 6 months old next week. My little Sammers is getting so big.