Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We had a wonderful, quiet Christmas this year. Just the three of us in Connecticut. We continued our few tradiitons and made some new ones. To come downstairs, we all wore our silly Christmas pajamas. Jackson had to open his first pair since he didn't have last year's to bring to the party.
I continued my protest against all of that wrapping paper by wrapping my gifts in pretty fabric pieces. I felt a little guilty since Jackson wouldn't be able to tear and crinkle the paper. I got over that really quick though since he had no interest in the paper. He opened the first gift with help, and then moved on to the excitement of pulling ornaments off of the tree. He wasn't interested in the toys either. Maybe the proceedings were just too overwhelming. We brought the toys out one at a time later, and that was more fun, but honestly, he liked the lint roller the best.
My family always put an apple and orange in the toe of the Christmas stocking. This year, Jackson got a couple of jars of fruit-and I got a butternut squash.
Jason made us dinner of roast chicken with potatoes and stuffing. It was a nice day with both of us home and no where to rush off to. Jackson was vey tired and retired early and often. Jason and I ended with a cranberry bread pudding and a glass of port.
Thank you all for sending gifts to us. (We'll get yours out someday.) We love you and wish you peace during the season.
Here's another little gift from us (courtesy of Ben & Nicole) http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1229422819
Breakfast with Lily
Friday, we got up for breakfast of French Toast, fruit, and corned beef hash with the Dodges, then had lunch with some more of my family: My Grandfather and Mickey, my baby brother, Ellis, my second to baby brother, Wes, and his fiance Lessie, my mother and Grant, and my aunt Sue. We then went to my Grandpa's for while. Wow, he keeps a warm house! The warmth and big meals put Jason to sleep, but the rest of us had a nice visit.
On Saturday, the Dodge's planned Thansgiving as a family. Jackson was able to meet his Great Grandma Honey and Great Grandpa Dale. Jackson also got to go for his 1st pony ride. He wasn't very excited about it.
Our 4 Generations Picture (With Wes and Lessie in the background)
Sunday was a day full of my family. We went out to meet Jackson Great Grandpa Swenson. Ellis, Wes, and Lessie came along. Jackson was a delight and we had a nice visit there. Then we went back to my mom's for another family party. My Grandma, Sue and Racheal (Wendy was working), Lori, Scott, Kelsey, Kailey, and Jake (in 3-D this time), even Morgan joined us. We were, sadly, missing The Fox-Pattersons due to illness--and hope Cait is getting better.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
He's always had good head control and ability to push up. For the first 4 months, Jackson was able to push up on his hands higher and higher. Around 4 months, he started to push up onto his hands and knees. He would keep pushing on his arms, which caused him to slide backward. Since he was interesting in reaching something in front of him, this resulted in anger and grunting and grumbling, sometimes yelling in frustration. Around this time, he also learned to pull up on the sides of his crib--something I was not ready to see happen yet.
Since the hands and knees thing wasn't propelling Jackson forward, he went for a change. He started pushing with his toes. Since his hands weren't moving, he would push up on his hands and feet, into a little yoga downward facing dog. He spent a lot of time in the downward facing dog. From there, he would tip his bum down and to the side, making a 1/4 turn into a sitting position. Once seated, he then either sits and plays, or gets into another downward facing dog and makes another turn.
I wondered for a while whether he would crawl on his hands and knees, or his hands and feet.
The downward facing dogs became more and more frequent. Jackson wakes in the night and sometimes turns downward facing dog pirouettes until he settles back into bed. Sometimes he starts right into the pirouettes instead of going to sleep.
At 6 months, Jackson took his first crawling hand steps. He would take one or two handsteps, then fall down on his belly, rest, and get back up for a couple more. Using this method, Jackson could travel 5 or 6 feet. This was an intense and laborious process. He usually incorporates a few downward facing dog pirouettes just to mix it up. Once he reaches his goal destination, he pirouettes into a seated position and then huffs and puffs like an exhausted runner.
Monday, I left Jackson playing in his room and walked around the corner to do some laundry. After a few minutes, he crawled out of the room, turned the corner, and sat down in front of the dryer to watch me.
Today, he's crawing pretty well. He can travel across the room and sit down. There's little huffing or puffing.
Today, we tried again. He first pushed the food bit (turkey) around with his little pointer finger. Then, he picked it up with his forefinger and thumb (pincer grasp, folks! pincer grasp!) and put it right between his lips and ate it!! He tried again and again with more turkey and varying degrees of success. Some of the food went into his mouth. Some food was pushed around and around on the tray. Sometimes, he could pick up the food with either his finger and thumb, or his whole fist, but he had trouble letting go when he got it to his mouth. There were pieces that he had so close with his finger and thumb and his aim was off, so the food was above his mouth, and he couldn't grab it with his lips or let his grip on the food go. He ended up with a whole lapfull of turkey.
Once, he picked up 2 pieces and deposited both of them neatly in his mouth!
Bigger and better things are to come.
It's incredible how excited I get as a parent over accomplishments that are so commonplace and unremarkable in my adult life. There's a lot of chatter lately about the babies world view and how for them, everything is new and exciting. Suppositions that the adult cannot comprehend how exciting the babies world is. Maybe the wonder, fascination, and excitement we parents feel watching our children accomplish such commonplace tasks is a little taste of the infants entire experience.
Monday, October 22, 2007
It was a beautiful day. The maples are showing a lovely salmon orange, the temperature was an unseasonably wonderful 80 degrees, and we celebrated by going out.
We went to the swapmeet in Mansfield to look for a new scythe. Jason broke the blade on ours. Last year, there were scythe's in every third booth. Now there are none. I suppose that people are scooping them up to hang over their fireplaces.
There was a little park at the swapmeet, so we took Jackson for his first time on a real swing (His baby swing isn't powerful enough to keep his little bum in motion). Jack liked the swing, but he really enjoyed watching other people play on the swings.
After that, we indulged Jason's renewed interest in firearms and hunting (spurred on by the war over peppers and tomatoes we're waging with the deer). We went to the newly opened Cabela's store. It was madness. Packed like a warm summer day at DisneyLand. I guess its as good as DisneyLand to their customer base (Yes, there was definitely a red hue to many napes). The store boasts a tremendous taxidermy collection. I was surprised to see that although the focus was the largest or fiercest animals, they did include a couple of small rodents and birds. I was alarmed to see an elephant on display. I do hope it was either from an estate collection or recovered from a zoo death. Somehow, I doubt that. They included a sign full of Stephen-Colbert-takes-on-Wikipedia-esque truthiness about how the elephant populations have recovered so well that elephant hunts are now allowed. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060801/0128222.shtml
Today we visited the pediatrician. Jackson weighed in at 21 lb 5 oz and 29 inches (Yes folks, that the size of the "average" 1 year old). He took his shots extremely well, crying less than I do when they bring out the needles.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Here's Jackson with happy Braeden (and Kurt).
Jake goes to work in the hybrid car.
Jake gets his toes chewed a bit.
Jake on a New England rock wall.
Jake on a 400 year old "death head" tombstone.
Two weeks ago, I was driving to work, and it just hit me why he might be reluctant to eat while I'm gone. I remembered a few times the bottled milk had developed a strong odor. I just dismissed it as "normal" because I always follow the recommended food safety guidelines for milk storage. I have the Dr Sears Breastfeeding book, and I remember reading a single paragraph about the enzyme lipase, which breaks down the fat. It says that rarely, the lipase concentration is high, and the milk develops a "soapy" taste within about 24 hours. I interpret the word "rare" as "couldn't possibly happen to me, and probably not even anyone I know". I was surprised a few months ago when my friend said that she had that problem, and it took her a while to figure out, so she ended up wasting a lot of frozen milk.
So, I'd read about it, and heard about someone I knew with the condition, but it took me another 6 weeks to think that just maybe, I had the same problem. I went home and compared the days fresh milk with some milk that was a few days old, and quite possibly mixed with some frozen milk. The fresh milk tasted like cows milk with a ton of brown sugar stirred in. The older milk tasted terrible with an after taste that burned my throat. It was horribly. No wonder Jackson doesn't eat very much while I'm gone.
So I called my friend to see what she's doing to treat the milk. Unfortunately, I got her machine. Lucky for me, I have a whole world of information at my fingertips. Here's what I found out:
My first search was for "soap breast milk". I pulled up a whole string of websites with instructions on how to make homemade soap from your excess breast milk. Yes people, that's really what came up. Step by step directions and discussions of the antibiotic properties of breast milk thus the amazing wound cleaning power of the breast milk soap. Well, I'm glad to know there are all kinds of people in the world. I'm pretty open minded, but I don't think this one's for me.
I don't remember how I worded the next search, but the first thing to come up was a woman's account of her attempt to make--wait for it--breast milk cheese. You did read that correctly, cheese. Apparently, she's been using the breast milk around the kitchen, in omelets and brownies. She's also had some experience making fresh soft cow's milk cheese. What better use for the excess frozen human milk. So, she boiled the milk and added some vinegar to curdle it. Nothing happened, so she added more vinegar, and even more vinegar. At the end of the day, she'd added a ton of vinegar, and still didn't have cheese. As it turns out, human milk chemistry prevents curdling. The woman was heartbroken at having to waste all of that milk (I do sympathize), but I was relieved that no one had to eat that cheese.
I guess the third time really is the charm, because my next search netted the information I needed and no more shocking revelations about what the crazies are up to. The milk needs to be scalded at 180F or held at 160F for a few minutes. It's recommended to do this on the stove top in order to preserve the most nutrients. Many people use the microwave until the milk is "steamy" for the sake of convenience.
I went for the stove top, carefully pouring the milk into the pan and trying to pour it back. I lost quite a bit in the process. Since then, I've found I can simply put the glass bottles of milk in the pot of hot water (loosen the lids for safety), scald it, and put the bottles in the fridge to cool. No more spilled milk, not too inconvenient.
I still have 130 ounces of frozen disgusting milk (three days worth). I don't have the will to toss it. While I still respect Dr Sears on other topics, I blame him for the bad milk and for the sleepless nights. What they should have said is that ALL breastmilk contains lipase and sometimes the concentration is high enough to cause spoiling. If you notice strong odors, and your baby is reluctant to eat, your milk is probably affected. Then they should explain what to do about it. For being advocates of breast feeding, this bit of misinformation has probably led many women to give up.
Here's the website: http://www.indrani.net/index.php?q=2006/03/breast_milk_cheese
Thursday, October 4, 2007
The last time I posted about Jackson, he was just starting to sit. As in, if I was really quick, I could snap a picture before he fell over. In the last month, he's become an accomplished sitter. He'll sit and play for tens of minutes at a time. He can reach over and pick things up, then return to an upright position. He can lean forward and chew on his toe, then return to an upright position. If there's something nearby to hold onto, he'll hold onto it for extra stability, and knows to reach out for something if he does lose his balance. He can also forget to sit, and fall down with a big thumpa-thumpa.
Jackson likes sitting so much than I can no longer lie him on his side. This used to be his favorite sleeping position. Now he strains himself trying to become upright.
Jackson also enjoys lying on his belly. For months, putting him on his belly was a way to ellicit yells. Now, its a great position for playing. He can pick his head up without help from his arms, which are busy reaching for and manipulating toys. He can spin around to reach objects that have slipped away from his grasp. His attempts to reach objects that are too far in front of him result in rapid travel backward.
He now rolls frequently. When he rolls from front to back, he manages it by digging his toes in, and lifting his bum as if he were practicing the "downward facing dog". He then loses his balance, and as his bum falls to the side, he's propelled over.
He can also push up onto all fours from his belly. It's this feat that fills me simultaneously with pride and with fear. If he can get on his knees, he'll soon be moving his hands and knees independently. That means I'm going to need outlet covers, cabinet locks, interior gates, really clean floors, and maybe a good pair of running shoes.
Yesterday, he pulled himself up from sitting to standing--THREE TIMES!!
The couch is no longer a safe place to place the baby, the bed is no longer a safe place to place the baby, his underutilized co-sleeper is no longer a safe place to place the baby, the bassinet insert in the pack and play is no longer a safe place to place the baby. I'm quickly running out of safe places to place that baby!
I was pretty skeptical at first. These toys are notorious for recalls. But this one looks to be well built, and Jackson needs some freedom, yet assisted movements. So, we reinforced the doorframe and hung it up. (That's another reason to be hesitant to use this toy, we installed the trim, so I'm well aware of the shoddy construction technique used--it took us a while to realize the nails needed to go through wood, not just sheetrock)
Jackson La-La-La-Loves it! At first, he bounced on one foot at a time with trepidation. He also did alot of spinning. We just got it out last week, and have only used it a few times, but he's got it all figured out. He's gleefully bouncing away using both feet as if it were a trampoline. He sings while he bounces. He puts his arms straight out to the sides, presumably for balance, although there's plenty to hold onto for support.
I'll get some pic's up eventually.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Justice by definition is supposed to be the great equalizer, balancing the scales between crime and punishment. So, by definition, the only way to preempt justice would require a crime to be committed later on so that "justice" could be served, right?
Personally, I'm not a big believer in the concept of justice as practiced by society. I'm more a forgive'n forgetter when it comes to petty offenses. I don't think you can ever really make up for severe wrong doing. I think punishments are much more useful as deterrents. I believe that what is done in the name of justice is more vengeance than anything. Trying to pre-empt vengeance amounts to a witch hunt. (I wanted another word there, but it turns out there's not one. The closest thing seemed to be "inquisition", and while the Spaniards added a measured negative connotation, its still a legitimate way to say questioning, so witch hunt it is.)