Monday, August 25, 2014

Conversations with EG

In the past few days I've had quite a few conversations with EG that have caught me totally off guard.

Into the Book:
We were sitting in the bathroom, EG on the potty me reading stories.  You know, as you do when potty training, and suddenly EG says "I go in there."  In where honey?  "I go in there.  I want to go in there."  Oh, in the story.  Honey, we can't go inside of a picture in a book.  We can go there in our imagination, we can pretend to be the bears in the story.  We can dress up like the bears and act out the scene.  "No, I go in there.  Daddy can fix it."  Daddy can fix what?  "Daddy will fix it."

She's so convinced that she can affect the items inside of a book- she also tried to knock over a stack of blocks in a picture book.  She hits the book, and I'm not exactly sure what to say to convince her that she can't affect the picture.

Feed my Baby:
Somehow, in all the conversations I thought I would have with EG, the fact that she would want to take off her shirt and feed Ocho never really seemed to factor in.  I contemplated that she would want to drink breast milk herself.  I thought that she would be angry about the time that Ocho gets with Mommy.  I thought that she would want to taste Mommy's milk too.  But never did I think that she would want to take off her shirt and feed either Ocho or her dollies.  Since she brought it up, I gather that it's actually really common.

I told her that she could feed her baby dollies, or her teddy bear.  Luckily she dropped it fairly fast.  She has done very well with understanding and remembering that she shouldn't touch the babies head when she's eating, only her feet.

Yeah Mommy Yeah:
We're working on EG being Potty trained.  I like to say we are doing it diligently, but the reality is with a new little one, it's to hard to try to get her to the potty and breastfeed.  However, we definitely encourage it, spend lots of time reading books on the potty (see above) and celebrating successes.

This leads me to the conversation: EG "You go on the potty mommy" Yes, EG I did go pee-pee on the potty this morning. "Yeah Mommy" clap clap clap "Yeah Mommy- you a big girl- you such a big girl."  Good to know my achievements are being recognized!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pier Concerts

Have you been to one of the concerts on the Pier of Redondo?  What a fun family adventure.  Though they go a bit too late into the evening for our crowd to enjoy the whole event, the 6pm start time means you can grab or bring dinner for 5:30 and enjoy through the sunset. 

That's just what we did a few nights ago:

They have the band set-up on the largest part of the pier, away from all the shops and restaurants, just a nice wide open space.  They create a really nice dance floor area around the stage, so everyone can get up and boogie....

There was a nice crowd on the night we went.  The music is definitely kiddo friendly (no cursing, etc.) and enjoyable.  Lots of little ones doing the boogie.

EG and I hit the dance floor, really running and jumping around.  She was trying to play with the three other little girls you see on the right, but they were too wild for her.

We ate somewhere else, but these people had a great set-up. Nice lawn chairs, and a great little 'table in a bag' that they had gotten.  They showed us how to do it up nice.

We stayed until the sun went down, which was a treat for all of us, since we're usually at home for bath time before 7pm.  It did get a little chilly, but overall it was a wonderful little evening out, something I would definitely recommend.

They have the concerts going on through the end of August, just a few more weeks.  They had them in July too, but we were busy doing something else...

Have you been to one of the concerts on the pier?  What about Manhattan Beaches' concerts?  We've seen lots of people going to them, walking over to Polliwog, but never made it out ourselves...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Redondo Beach Fish Market

This past week we took  a walk on the wild side an took the whole gang to the Redondo Beach pier.  It's totally unlike either the Manhattan Beach pier, or the Hermosa Beach pier, in that it's a busy fish market, with a ton of stuff going on. It's a circular pier, and it's a wonderful place to visit.

When we go to the Redondo Beach pier our primary purpose is to eat at the fish market- which we totally love.  It's an amazingly good time, but certainly not something that everyone would take too. 

 This is our table, after dinner. We had a whole fish cooked to order, their vegetable side dish, and Working Dad bought some steamed squid.  Suprisingly the first time we came here, EG's favorite dish was the squid.  She wasn't so interested this time, but that may be the fault of the french fries. 

If you've never been there, you might be surprised/confused by the newspaper on the table.  You can see in the picture there are other tables with it.  This isn't 'gourmet' eating, rather it's messy and a touch gross, typically with crab shells or oyster shells all around.  Hence the newspaper, it helps keep the tables cleaner for everyone.

 Of course Ocho came with us- her first trip here.  She tried to sleep through it, but once she smelled the fish she was hungry too!

I should mention that there are at least three fish markets in the area, but we always eat at "Quality Seafood Live."  You go through and actually pick out your fish and seafood, from live oysters they shuck in front of you, to all sorts of fish and shrimp and crab.  Again, not much on service (you pick up your own food) but great on quality and price.

They also serve beer, so it's a nice place to sit, relax and people watch.

It draws a very interesting crowd.  If I'm honest, it tends to draw a large Asian and Hispanic crowd.  And they tend to be polar opposites of each other.  Above is a couple with a Louis Vuitton bag, eating sea aneome and crab.  Very posh.

But inches away are another family- coming with their bag from Walmart.  It attracts all kinds, and is really quite an interesting gathering of the people of Redondo and the surrounding area.

Here's our family photo- so adorable as we all enjoyed our night out at the pier/on the town.

And of course, no trip to this part of Redondo would be complete without a trip to the churro lady for a 'sweet' treat. Then a walk down the circular pier, that always completes the evening.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Differences in our Days

This morning was my first day staying home with both girls.  And since it's not quite over yet (who am I kidding, I'm writing this starting at 1:20pm, anywhere from 4-5 hours before my solo day is over!) I can say that it's been going okay.

When Working Dad got up this morning to go to work, I couldn't help but think about how different our days were going to be.  And how jealous I was of his.  It's unfortunate that I've been so dang scared of having both of them by myself, because I don't think I've had a moment to really enjoy myself today.

So let's review how our days are going to go:
He's going to get up, get showered, dressed, changed.  He doesn't eat breakfast (he never does) but he'll have something at work.  He kisses me, says goodbye to EG and heads out.  He didn't worry about anyone else's shoes- no one else tried to pick out his outfit.  He just chose his clothes, and walked away.

He'll get to work and have time to drink at least a cup of tea- likely several.  He'll sit at this desk and talk with adults.  No, not all the conversations will be pleasant, but at least he's assured that they will speak to him in English, that he'll be able to understand them, and that when he talks to them they will understand him.  It's very unlikely that someone will cry or scream at him.

He'll work the morning away- go to several meetings.  Again, these might not be pleasant, but he'll get through them. He works with numbers, so while he's sitting at his desk he'll answer his e-mails, and probably work on a few different reports for different divisions around the office.

Sometime between noon-2pm he'll decide he's hungry.  Most days that means he'll leave the office, get in his car and decide where he wants to go for lunch.  He may meet up with a friend, or bring someone from the office.  He'll have just about complete control over what he eats.  He'll spend that time either alone, or with someone he moderately likes while eating.  He'll have a chance to step away and have some adult conversation.

From there, it's back to the desk. Probably a few more meetings.  Then he'll work on some projects.  I'm sure there will be some frustrations as bosses make dumb decisions, the people under him can't get their work done, etc. but all in all a reasonable day.

Around 5pm he'll start to think about coming home.  He'll pack up his stuff (a wallet, keys, and sunglasses) and head out the door.  On the way home he'll listen to the radio, enjoying whatever music he wants to. 

Luckily for him, dinner will be done when he gets here.  He'll have 2 hours with EG (or so) and then maybe a few more with Ocho before they are both asleep for the night (okay, Ocho will get up several times, but Mommy usually deals mostly with those).

And when I think about his day- his cups of tea, his lunch, I'm totally jealous.

I got up with EG.  I temporarily left Ocho sleeping on our big bed- which terrifies me, but if I can get EG up, changed, give her milk and put her in her play space so I can take a shower before Ocho wakes up, I know I'll be ahead of the curve, so I do it anyways.  She can't roll over, she has clear breathing lines, and if all heck breaks loose she can only roll into her co-sleeper...

I did manage to shower this morning, and our big plan is to head to the Alondra water park.  EG loves it and has been begging for it almost daily.  So, that's the plan.

I make lunch for us to take to the park.  I start on dinner (crock-pot bell peppers).  I manage to eat a bowl of cereal while nursing Ocho at the table.  While I'm doing those things, EG is in between my legs and we're singing the 'ABC' Song.  I don't even attempt to boil water for tea, between cooking the turkey for dinner, packing up lunch, helping burp Ocho, and letting EG choose clothing to wear.

Finally around 9:45 we get out the door. Immediately Ocho is crying. Bawling.  Wailing about being in her car seat.  I keep going, because if I don't we won't ever get to Alondra.

We get there, and I put Ocho in the Lillebaby carrier.  This causes EG to start wailing, because that's her backpack, and she wants to be carried like a baby.  But I convince her that we're going in the water, and she really wants to walk.

With Ocho on me, I get EG changed in her swimwear.  Alondra goes well.  We play in water for about an hour, I nurse Ocho, then EG plays on the swing and the slide.  Around 11:30am we leave.  I have two more tantrums from EG about leaving.

Luckily for me, Ocho transfers to the car seat just fine, so I get EG a quick shower before nap.  Just as I put EG down, Ocho wakes up.  And I nurse her, play with her, tummy time, etc. Until just now- 1:30pm.  When I expect EG to wake up anytime in the next 5-30minutes.  So, here I am, trying to take advantage of my few minutes of me time to write on my blog.

I expect that the rest of my afternoon will be playing with EG outside on the slide- maybe having a visit from Hava and Judy.  But mind, the only adult conversation I've had have been about 15 minute snipits with random women at the park.  And the only alone time I'll have until tonight in bed is right now...

And that's why I'm jealous of him...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Remember New Mothers....

Remember that they were inside you for 9 months.

Remember that in 9 months they will likely be able to crawl.

Remember that at 2am and all you want to do is sleep, all they want in the world is you.... your smell, your touch, your voice.  All they have known in this world...

Remember that it's a short timespan.  That this...

Becomes this... before you know it.

Remember that despite the long nights, she is looking into your eyes with love.

Remember that you created those eyes, and those toes- you, her dad and G-d.

Remember that you've sustained her life since it was conceived, and if you are breastfeeding all she's ever had to sustain her was you.

Remember that she's not demanding you to be selfish.

Remember that she's not in it for anything.

Remember that sometimes it's okay to let her cry- that the carseat must be buckled, and the trip to the bathroom by yourself when you thought she was asleep won't cause her to think she's unloved.

Remember that you have support- that family, those friends, all those people who love all of you.

Remember.  At two am, know that I'm remembering for you.

Shabbat Shalom- may your night be wonderful, and your Shabbat be restful...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Crazy Days

WEll, I think I owe you all an apology.  I promised an update on the Challah, not to mention my usual daily posts during the week.

I'll chalk it all up to one heck of a crazy weekend, followed-up by a sick sick Working Dad and too many little girls on my hands.

So, let's review.

The Challah:  Honestly, it's totally not worth it.  They look pretty, but don't make the cut.  This definitely isn't the recipe that I'll be using as my standard.  While it did turn out to be quite light and fluffy, it wasn't very tasty.  It would be fine as sandwich bread, but we don't want sandwich bread, we want Challah!  Working Dad and EG agree- Skip it!

Entertaining EG: her latest conversation with me-
EG:  You go pee pee on the potty mommy?
Me:  Yes, EG, yes I did go pee pee on the potty.
EG: Yeah Mommy!  Yeah Mommy (clap clap clap) You such a big girl Mommy.  Yeah Mommy!

EG: I need my shirt off
Me: Why honey?
EG:  I need to feed my dolly milk- my baby need milk too.  When can I feed my baby?

Her other things:
"Same-Same": as in, Hava has a baby brother, I have a baby sister- Same Same!  I'm drinking my milk, Susie has her mommy milk- Same Same.

The Ocho: savior of a Working Dad!
I'd been sort of loosing it at night time, with The Ocho eating every two hours from about 11pm or midnight on.  Seems okay, except it means that my sleeping has been limited to 1.5 hour sessions, and then most of those with her asleep on my body.  Grr... but last night, Working Dad saved the day.  He took Ocho at 2am, put her to bed in her cradle and slept on the couch until she woke up at 5am.  That means that I got sleep alone in bed from 10pm-1am, then again from 2am-5am.  AMAZING!

Sorry we're so light on pictures this week.  This exhaustion thing is sort of kicking my ass...

I'm having one of those weeks where you feel like you're doing a ton, but the reality is that everything is sort of half done.  The clean laundry stacked in the bathroom, the half-made mobile for Ocho's room, the 6 started, unfinished blog posts, and the stack of baby announcements sitting without stamps....

It's okay Mamma, we're going to make it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Temple Membership

Just a quick note about Temple Menorah's Open house this weekend:

Their event this Sunday should be interesting, a good opportunity to see one of the Reform Synagogues in the area.

Challah Challenge: Month 1

I decided to start out a bit easy with my Challah challenge- using a recipe I already have at home, as well as one that's incredibly simple.

Except when I actually started working on it this morning, turns out it's a little more complicated than I thought:

Jewish Recipe Book (Greatest-Ever)

This is the book I used to get the recipe. It's a great book, was a Chanukah gift a few years ago.  I don't use it very often, as it's really a book full of Jewish ethnic recipes, less so Jewish holiday recipes, but it's a great book to have in the kitchen.

The usual Challah ingredients. A few eggs, sugar, yeast, oil, and flour.  This one also called for salt (not pictured) and some water (not pictured).

The first step in almost every challah recipe, proofing the dough.  Making sure it bubbles up and shows that the yeast is alive.  This is a step I never really understood when I was younger.  Why is it called proofing?  How is yeast 'alive?' but it's an important step never the less.

Here is my ball of dough, ready to rise.  And here's where I ran into problems.

The recipe, which I'll transcribe below, asks you to put the dough in the fridge overnight to let it rise.  Guess I should have made the dough on Thursday.  But I didn't.  Today is Shabbat, and if we want to have this challah, I'll have to forgo the overnight rising, and just bake it after it rises a bit.  So, below you'll find the original recipe, with my adaptations noted in italics.  I'll report back on Sunday to tell you how they are.

Adapted from the Greatest Ever Jewish Recipe Book
Marlena Spieler

Makes 2 Loaves:

1 tbsp dried yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
4.5 cups flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 egg for glazing
pinch of sugar

1. Mix together yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup lukewarm water.  Sprinkle with flour, cover and let proof for 10-12 minutes

2. Beat in 1tsp salt, oil, and eggs into mixture.  Add in additional 1/2 cup water.  Add flour slowly at first, then more quickly.  Knead for 5-10minutes until mixture forms a dough that leaves the side of the bowl.  If it's sticky, add more flour.  Place in an oiled bowl and let rise for 1.5-2 hours

3. Turn dough onto floured surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Knead then roll out into braids.  Form 3 long pieces, then braid together to form Challah.

4.  Cover and leave to rise 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375degree.  Combine remaining egg, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt and brush over the loaves.  Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if desired.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until well browned.  Cool on wire rack.

In hindsight, I think that it's best to use the same method to compare all the recipes.  I like to make my challah on Fridays, so I think I'm going to do this as my traditional method- 2 hours regular rising, then 1 hour rising formed as a challah.  That way all the yeast has the same amount of time to make good dough.

What do you think?  I'll report back on how it tasted/turned out on Sunday.  Also, I'm going to try to find an answer for why we braid challah.  Any thoughts on that?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

From Working Mom to Stay at Home Mom

Connecticut Working Moms
There is an interesting thing that happens to you when you have a baby.  For a few weeks before the baby comes, through a few weeks or months after the baby comes everything changes.  As a working mom I've suddenly been cast in a new role- Stay at Home Mom.

I'm not trying to jump into the mommy wars, only highlighting the difficult experience that is these first few months of parenthood for Working Moms. 

When I had EG I tried to follow the advice of all of my mother friends and join a group of moms.  Only to find out that most groups for moms are for Stay-at-home-moms.  Not a problem for the first few months, but then I went back to work, and they didn't.  Occasionally they had mom's night out, which was great.  I stayed connected to a few of those mother's, but the reality is that it was really hard.  Our kids don't really play with each other and most  (if not all) of my mommy friends are from EG's daycare.

So I face the same transition/problem with Ocho.  I don't want to sit around in my house all day- I'd love to go back to Mommy & Me yoga, or try a class at Gymboree.  This time I'm thinking much more seriously about really doing the stroller strides class.  However, it's still the exact same boat.  Putting effort into events and people that most likely won't make any dent in my actual social life.  And unfortunately lots of those women whom I met last time were judgmental of me, judgmental of our choices, and couldn't have imagined being friends with a working Mom.

Don't get me started on the activities- you try finding an infant swim class that meets after 5:30pm, and let's not even discuss how difficult that would make dinner and bed time.  The world is set-up for a Stay-at-home-mom, at least in terms of baby recreation.

It's so hard to think that in just a few months all this 'free time' and bonding will be over and done with.  As it is it's already moving way way to fast.  She's half-way to a month old, and I haven't done anything with her!

I'm very thankful for my mommy friends from school, but at the same time I wonder what I'll do about making new ones.  I don't want Ocho to be the odd girl out with all of EG's friends...

So here's to diving in.  Here's to hoping that just like with EG I might find one or two or three new friends who I can bond with.  The cool girl at yoga- the couple walking the path at the same time of night as us- the fabulous stay-at-home-mom who invites me to things even though she knows it's unlikely that I'll be there.

Here's to putting yourself out there and hoping something sticks.  Wish me luck...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

EG as a Big Sister

When we started talking about having our second child there were lots of pieces of advice people gave us about having baby #2.  Most of it revolved around how to make sure that baby number 1, EG, didn't feel usurped, or unloved.  As a second born child, I have to admit I thought that most of it was over exageration.  But, everyone was saying it, so I was sure that we would see a truly jealous EG, and have some issues with sibling rivalry right from the start.

While I realize that Ocho is still vey young, and it's only been a few weeks for EG to be a big sister, so far, I've been really impressed.

She loves to see her baby sister.  Each morning before she leaves for school she insists on seeing both me and Ocho.  If only to see us with her eyes, since Working Dad reminds her to be quiet.  Each day when she comes home it's virtually the first word out of her mouth to ask where her sister is.  Any time I put Ocho in the swing (which she hates) or the bouncer (which she's good with) EG insists on sitting next to her, swinging her, bouncing her, rocking her.

She gets me water, she gets Ocho a blanket, and she loves to kiss her little sister too.  

 We've replaced the box of diapers with one of EG's chairs, and anytime baby is in the swing, there is EG, rocking her, pushing her.  She's gotten quite good at gentle and recognizing that no, Ocho doesn't want to go higher....

Then comes night time. While this picture is from during the day, each night I sit both girls on my lap and they get their story read and we sing them a song.  EG is so sweet, she kisses Ocho good night, tells her she loves her, and says good night.

When we drive in the car and Ocho is fussy, EG says "baby crying.  I here baby.  Shhh, it's okay baby."

What a wonderful big sister you are EG.  Mommy is so proud of you, your big heart and your amazing smile.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Breastfeeding = Banishment?

 WARNING: This post contains images that you may not like, images of nursing....

I've been breastfeeding Ocho, and I'm happy to do it.  I enjoyed a complicated relationship with breastfeeding and EG, but in the end I nursed her for 14 months, she stopped on her own, and I pumped milk 5 times a day at work to send to daycare.

With Ocho, things actually started out much easier.  She seemed to latch easier, she was nursing within an hour of delivery.  Even though it's been a bit painful, it's happening.  We went to her first post-hospital appointment and she had gained weight (she's now 9lbs 8oz) so all signs point to breastfeeding going well.

However, the realities of breastfeeding are once again starting to settle in.  That it's a personal, and intimate thing between me and my daughter.  That it makes other people uncomfortable.  That it means you have to expose yourself in public, in ways you may not want to.

I'm a fairly open person. Anyone who knows me also knows that if you open my door unannounced, it's likely that I'm wandering around my house naked (TMI, I know, but that's the truth).

So for me, breastfeeding isn't something I have a great challenge with due to exposing myself.  It's not an issue for me to feed my daughter anywhere (case in point, Target this morning) but at the same time I am woefully aware of the personal issues it can sometimes create for others.

I had a friend who ended up giving her child formula not because breastfeeding wasn't working, but because she was too embarrassed and challenged by breastfeeding in public.  And I think that's wrong.  I think it's heartbreaking that there are still so many stories about women being harassed in public for nursing their kiddos.

This weekend we really made an effort to get out of the house and enjoy life.  We had friends over, and at least three times I ended up in a room or a space all by myself so I could nurse Ocho.  Not that there's necessarily something wrong with that, but at the end of the day it can feel a bit isolating.

I realize that part of the problem is that we've only been doing this for a few weeks (okay, few is even to many, since she turns two weeks old today) and that means that I need to see her mouth and her face, and that it's hard to get things going properly.  Which means I need to expose myself a lot more than I will when she's 6-months or 1-year old.  But at the same time, it's sort of sad to be sitting by yourself while everyone else has conversation without you.

I remember at our Meet EG party I retreated to my bedroom to nurse her.  Some friends came in and one of my older guests commented that it was inappropriate for them to be with me while I nursed.  Because in a house full of people here to meet our daughter and celebrate her safe delivery into the world she and I should be alone while I keep her alive?

I hope that as I nurse Ocho I am reminded of all the amazing that happens when you nurse your child.  That I see through the spilling milk, the special underwear, and the fact that I can't wear a t-shirt to the good I do for her to nurse her at all, and the joy at being able to connect with her in this way.

Did you enjoy nursing?  Did you cover up in public, or just go for it?  What do you think about nursing in public?

Additional comments and resources about what to say here.

PS- breastmilk is considered parve.  Isn't that nice :-)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Challah Challenge

Now that I'll be staying home for a little bit, I'd like to get into the habit of making Challah each week.  We love getting our challah from EG's school, but I think there is something nice about the house smelling like bread and really bringing Shabbat to the forefront on fridays.

Did I mention that each week they send EG home with unbaked challah- so I've definitely started to bake a bit each week, if only so I can get her Challah to be edible.  But what about making it myself....

So, I'm announcing the Challah Challenge. 

Ruth and Dave cc
I want to find the perfect Challah recipe.  Something that's easy enough to achieve, but also flexible.  Something for everyone.  I want to try egg-free, gluten-free, etc. etc.

So, starting next month I'm going to be dedicating the second Friday of the month to a new Challah recipe.  I'm open to all suggestions. I've been looking through pinterest, they have some interesting designs and recipes.

Do you have a family recipe?  Can I try it out?

Shabbat Shalom- and here's to domestic bliss in the form of Challah!

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