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Zachary’s First Birthday


My little bitty baby that I just had…

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…is one year old.


He drives cars now.


We made him a cake. This is Andrew hammering some hard candy for my sugar sculpture (I’m making that sound fancier than it is.)


We made jokes about playing Candy Crush. Mostly me. Andrew mostly didn’t laugh. Cause I’m not funny.

This was the cake. (All the pics from here on out are my dad’s. He’s awesome.)


It’s a campfire! Cause it was a cowboy birthday. (This is totally what cowboys do, right?)


Sure they do.

This is me awkwardly reading a blessing (off my phone) for my beautiful child. I wasn’t so much awkward in real life as awkward in my head cause I feel like I’ll never get used to acting like a religious person out loud. If that makes sense.


But these babies made the sacred all obvious in my life, so that’s what I do now.


I’m all full of sloppy emotion over this boy. My sister-in-law was all, “It was hard when my last baby turned one too,” and I said, “Last?!?!? Oh, no, if I thought about it that way, I’d be much worse. I haven’t given up hope yet!!!!






Love you, baby boy. May you enjoy many, many more happy trips around the sun.





Fiber Cannon


Baby eats bananas.


Baby gags on bananas.



I’m not supposed to find that hilarious, right? It’s just that I’ve gotten used to him gagging on everything, since he was tiny and sticking fingers too far down his throat. I’m always vigilant and a tiny bit terrified, but mostly just resigned to it.

Posting from the pediatrician’s parking lot. We’re early, baby’s napping, so we’re biding time. Audrey is checking out the state map. Audrey’s about to get checked out for constipation. We’ve always had some difficulty with poop, but we may have gotten to a bad place. I’m extremist, so we’ve cut all dairy from our cheesy diet, and putting better things in her. Her body was never into it anyway, though her soul sure was. Must dissent from Big Dairy propaganda and be healthier! (See, I’m extremist.) (For now.)

I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom from Andy when I was pregnant with Audrey:

“Keep that fiber cannon loaded!”


posted under Audrey, food, husband, pregnancy, Zachary | Comments Off on Fiber Cannon

Doughnuts and Drugs


Yesterday was Andy’s actual birthday. So, like any good wife, after I dropped the kid off at preschool, I came home with a dozen doughnuts. He was pleased with me. He did say it was probably too many, which made me laugh, as there is one left in the box right now. I mean, duh.

I don’t know how much Audrey grasps the concept of “birthday,” but it must have stuck with her, because when I picked her up a few hours later, she was chanting, “Daddy’s birthday, Daddy’s birthday.” When I told her we would actually see that very daddy for dinner, she squealed with excitement, and spent the rest of the day talking about the “sghetti” we were going to make for him. (It’s fancier than you think: it’s Rachael Ray’s Cowboy Spaghetti, made with beef and bacon and Worcestershire and hot sauce and fire-roasted tomato sauce. Look, Ma, I cooked!)

After naptime, we took a fun excursion to my midwife’s office to pee in a cup. By the time we hit the grocery store parking lot, I got the not surprising call that I had a UTI and antibiotics were awaiting me at my pharmacy. I asked if I could have them in liquid form, as every time I try to swallow even a Tylenol, it’s a life-or-death battle. I was told to take it up with the pharmacist. I had Andy picking up the drugs after work, cause he had the money on him. So it wasn’t until much later that he came home saying the pharmacist had to check back with the midwife’s office to get a proper dosage if it was going to be liquid.

Whatever. Blergh. So we had a tasty dinner and split a doughnut and the kid was off-the-wall excited to have Daddy home chasing her around the house. “Daddy! Git me! Git me!”

So today the pharmacy and midwife’s office finally make contact – and everything seems to be hurting me more knowing how close and yet how far away I am to drugs – and they find the right liquid version. But heads up, the pharmacist tells me on the phone, it costs $560.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. I’ve had liquid antibiotics before and they were normally priced. What on earth is this one made of? So I call the midwife’s office, who calls the pharmacist, and a nurse at the office calls me back to say, hey, while the original drug is in giant capsule form, you can undo them and empty the contents into a bite of pudding and just eat that.

SERIOUSLY? Yes, please, I’d like to have been doing that since last night.

Oh, well.

I wanted to post a cute video here of the kid singing Happy Birthday, but I do not understand these little memory cards at all. So, you know…maybe later, when I can talk Andy into it.


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I never understood the concept of pregnancy cravings. They were just things you wanted? Weird things? To the point where husbands would have to go out in the middle of the night to fetch said weird things? Okay, well, I never had that with Audrey. And even if I had, I mean, WHY torture your husband over it?

Okay, I get it now. It’s not about food you really want. It’s about being a special round-the-clock queasy that has to be managed within an inch of its life. Something always has to be in the belly, but not too much and not the wrong thing. A stomach too empty will make you hurl, a stomach too full will make you hurl, a stomach with the wrong thing in there will make you hurl, and the whole day is a tense mental game you do not want to lose.

So when you start to get that first twinge of too-empty queasiness, and the thought of any food in the house gives you another ralphy twinge, you’re doomed and the clock is ticking. You wrack your brain for any food that exists on the planet that sounds good to eat and if you’re lucky enough to come up with it, you call that husband and get him on the road toute suite and hope he makes it home before you spew. It’s like the end of every murder mystery show where they figure out who the killer is and have to catch him two seconds before he kills again.

“Rice Krispies! IT’S RICE KRISPIES! Grab Rice Krispies and milk now, before we have another gruesome scene here!”


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(Note to decent people: I’m gonna be cursing here. Feel free to skip this entry if you want to keep thinking I’m a lovely girl.)

I got a much-needed mental break yesterday evening in the form of a friend with pizza and hot hoagies. (Bad news: it’s not just the crappy frozen pizza Andy bought last week that’s not working for my stomach; even awesome pizza isn’t quite right anymore. Nooooooo.) I got to continue that day’s fairly successful operating system, which was Distraction at All Costs. It went really well. Pick up kid from school. Eat food. Put down kid for nap. Watch TV on Hulu while reading the entire internet. Start application process on (hoping future plan covers mental anguish from using site). As long as I didn’t let my guard down for more than two seconds, I remained weep-free. Girlfriend was the best kind of Distraction – I mean, even though I was still trying to hold my shit together, at least I could be honest about the Broken and have some laughs about it.

So, THANK YOU, Girl.

As soon as I got up this morning, I put on the coffee, cause pardon-my-French-Grandma, I’m not fucking with that shit anymore. And at one point in the morning while smiling at my husband, I said, “Holy crap. I feel good!”

Which was awesome. And immediately made me whip my head around to see if the Sad had heard me and was going to smack me upside the head for thinking it was over that easy.

Then I relaxed about it. Kind of. I rode with the good mood in as Zen-like a manner as I could. I can feel good in this moment while accepting that it could disappear at any time. Then I decided I should make up for lost domesticity and bake cookies. I mean, God only knows when Sad Girl will come back. Let’s unload the dishwasher and wash underwear and bake some cookies so we’re better prepared.

Cookie recipes always make a lot. It’s a long process and once you’ve eaten a couple dozen over a couple days, the magic has kind of worn off and you’re forcing them down because…well, they’re cookies and therefore you have to keep going. Last time I made them Andy suggested I just make a few and then freeze the rest of the dough in little pucks. Then, whenever we want a few cookies we can bake them up fresh! My husband is a genius! So I did that. Then, about a minute after the couple pans I baked disappeared, Girlfriend was over. I said, “Hey. You want me to bake a few cookies for you? Or…you know…we could just eat some frozen cookie dough out of the baggie.” “Frozen’s good.” Damn straight, girl. And that is how all the spare cookies got eaten without ever being baked. 

For today’s adventure I was too lazy to even dollop them up into proper cookies and then coddle them off their damn pans. Audrey and I just mixed up our batter –




And shoved it all in one big pan.



It’s straight out of the oven but she’s blowing on it to get it cooler faster.


It was just kind of underdone and over-chocolated and really gooey good.

That first cookie bar aside, I’ve been having trouble wanting to eat today. My desperate need to have food in me at all times to stave off queasiness and just to feed the insatiable beast has transformed to a queasy-if-I-do, queasy-if-I-don’t nervousness.

So I had my first puke.

But! Hey! I will take happy and pukey over the opposite, I really will. This is a good story.



Stuff is Happening Here


The 181 comments about valium awaiting my moderation tell me I haven’t been here in a while. I tried to think of something to write the last two weeks but all I had to say was that I’m painfully exhausted, cranky moody, and ravenous like a beast.

Also blessed to be bringing forth life. Woot woot, much wanted second child!

But, man, that wears off sooooo fast when the actual pregnant feelings smack you in the ass. Or wherever. I get so sad. And then guilty for being sad. I get so anxious. I’ve had no will to move from the couch, but I need to know what my next meal is going to be and I’d better have it within five seconds of when I suddenly want it, or I will become queasy and faint and mean. I’m worried that our current nighttime parenting “technique” with our toddler (who will be a developmentally different person in 7.5 months anyway) is not at all sustainable with a newborn around. I’m worried that Andrew and I won’t ever find a boy name we can agree on, even though we have no idea if we’ll have a boy. I need this stuff worked out now!

On the plus side, Thanksgiving was awesome for a gestating woman. There was a constant supply of food I didn’t do anything to prepare, and people around to keep the toddler alive. What a relief. And, yes, I felt totally thankful. For all of it.


Having done this once before, I expected to have more of my brain under control. But instead of obsessing over the unknowns, I can now worry about the definite knowns. On that note, pardon me while I go get some of that yogurt that helps you poop. Cause I KNOW I don’t want to be messing that up this time.

In Which Julie Locks Up the Bunny Crackers


Here’s how we eat in our house. When we feel like it, we eat something. Occasionally it looks like a meal, mostly it looks like snacks in the living room. Andrew’s work schedule is kind of random, so dinners are never a sure thing. We’re none of us hungry at the same time in the morning, and we are just not structured people, so…eh. So when Audrey starts her day saying, “Ea’? Ea’?” we give her something to eat and keep doing it every time she feels like food. Which is often. It never stops her from eating a respectable meal when they do come around, and she’s amazing at eating almost every kind of food put in front of her.

But I’m a person who never met a Not Broken I didn’t want to Fix.

It started with getting really annoyed at being harassed for food all day long. I couldn’t really make a case for arbitrarily saying no to the kid. I mean, there was no special time to wait for. So I would hop up a hundred times a day to grab crackers, or a banana, or a slice of roast beef. More and more it was just snack food from a box. Oops. Weren’t we all supposed to be eating things that were more…food? And again, super annoying to be her personal vending machine.

Then I started re-reading Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. It served as a good reminder of the many benefits of not getting what you want when you want it all day long. I started to fantasize about having a toddler I could happily take to a restaurant. Maybe I didn’t have to shovel my own food in as fast as possible so I’d be ready to chase her around the restaurant when she got antsy. Maybe I didn’t have to pack three emergency snacks to run an errand. Maybe my wee baby was actually a young person who could learn patience.

And, uh, maybe I could learn these things too.

So yesterday we became a house with mealtimes. We picked a time for dinner we thought Andy could be home for at least 2 or 3 times a week. Audrey got one little bowl of cereal to snack on when she got up in the morning while Andy and I drank coffee. At 9:00 we had breakfast. As soon as she starting asking for food – you know, two seconds later – I told her we would wait for lunch. I had to repeat it a lot but it was no big deal. When lunchtime arrived, she was “‘Cited!” (Excited!) She had a nap, we did our one official snack at 3:30 and dinner at 7 when Andy came home (“‘Cited!”). And I tell you, we were both so much more relaxed all day long. I was so happy I wasn’t her snack bitch, and she was so happy she didn’t have to be in charge of food anymore. We both ate actual food, and never touched the boxes upon boxes of snack food in this house.

I might have to start doing some more of this “parenting” thing.


posted under Audrey, food, husband | Comments Off on In Which Julie Locks Up the Bunny Crackers

The Great Dairy Caper


Okay, folks, this is where I ask you if I’m making sense or trying to complicate a life that’s just going too well.


We’ve gone dairy-free with Audrey. She has been eating cheese and yogurt since…I can’t remember, way before she turned one. We didn’t do milk, because she had breastmilk until three months ago (Only three? That is so weird. It feels like a lifetime.) and I never saw a ton of benefit to pasteurized milk anyway. Every now and then she’d eat a few bites of my cereal with milk, or I’d give her a few hits off my chocolate milk. She loved it. Then when I saw a good-looking local, grass-fed brand of pasteurized milk in the store a month ago, I thought, why not? I started giving her a half a sippy cup each day and she went nuts for it. “Muk! Muk!”


A few days later we saw her poop had gone all weird and mucusy and her butt was super irritated. “Signs of a food insensitivity!” trumpeted the baby books. Oh, shoooot. So we quit the milk. I figured cheese and yogurt were still on the table because they had the happy cultures and bacteria that can help digestion. And…yeah….yet…every now and then still a red butt. In fact, a lot of the time. Nothing crazy. Just obviously irritated. And I’m seeing all this external stuff and it makes me realize that what I can’t see might really suck for her. She might being having stomachaches, but she’s so good-natured she doesn’t really show it. It might be the reason she’s sometimes testy or not sleeping well, because, you know, it can’t be because SHE’S ALMOST TWO.


And then – oh, no – what if she would have been happier and more comfortable and a better sleeper the LAST 22 MONTHS and she’s not because of me? What if every red butt she’s ever had was telling me she was SUFFERING? All because of me! That red butt is my scarlet letter.


Well, we did a little experiment. We took her off dairy on Thursday. No more red butt. She was already doing a lot more sleeping through the night because we pushed back her bedtime, so that was awesome. Happy weekend. Monday evening (sure, I should have run the test longer) I gave her a half cup of yogurt. She woke up twice that night and started the next day with an irritated poop. Both not usual.


So we feel ready to demonize dairy at our house. You know, maybe? Like, mostly? I mean, we’re not going to deny her the occasional treat because dairy’s not a death sentence or anything. I know that as a kid, I drank two little cartons of chocolate milk every day at school and followed it hunched over in pain at recess. Every day. (P.S. Totally worth it.) I know most of us are a bit lactose intolerant. I know kids under two have less of the ol’ lactase in them to digest lactose. I know we can get used to it. I know that in the history of the world no one ever ingested dairy like we have done this last century – pasteurized, uncultured – and maybe our bodies just aren’t meant to. What I don’t know is how much to really obsess about this.


(I’m guessing a lot? So I feel I have something interesting to do? Oy.)


I tell you, though, if dairy actually contributes to any sleep disruption for her, I will personally kill every cow in a 75-mile radius just to be safe.


So, does anyone out there has some experience with this, or advice? Good dairy-free casserole or crock-pot recipes? I need some of those too.



posted under Audrey, food | 3 Comments »