My Paris Kitchen

Let me first start out by saying that I am no chef, and only a “wannabe” foodie.  But I loved my time in Paris and still drool over all of the yummy things we ate when we were there.  So when I had the opportunity to review famed chef David Lebovitz’s cookbook My Paris Kitchen, I jumped at the chance.

My Paris Kitchen is full of delicious recipes, but what sets it apart from other cookbooks is that it is full of stories from his everyday (though food related) life.  It breaks up the monotony of reading just recipes and is very enjoyable.  Although I have only tried out one recipe, I have many bookmarked and can’t wait to try more.

This cookbook would make a great gift for the foodie in your life, and hey, maybe they’ll thank you by making you something out of the cookbook!!  Check it out for yourself on Amazon.com.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

{Seventeen Months}

P1120595Our precious girl has become so independent this month!  She loves being outside and helping Daddy in the garden; in fact, being outside is probably one of her favorite things in the world.  She also loves to read and have you help her count in her counting books, go for stroller rides, play with her cousins, and eat!  She has developed a new interest in the piano and loves to have me sit next to her while we both play.  Andrew wants to start teaching her how to play already using the Suzuki method.  I’m just happy she likes music!  She also loves watching Disney Jr. and I have to be careful to limit her TV watching; I try to only let her watch it in the afternoon when I am the most tired and in need of rest before Andrew comes home.  She found an old stethoscope of mine this month and has started wearing it around her neck and then “listening” to her own or our hearts and saying “boom boom”.  So cute!!!

Such a serious little gardener.

Such a serious little gardener.

Height: 30.5 inches (between 25 & 50th %-ile)

Weight: 24 pounds (50th %-ile)

Shoe size: Her feet are too, umm, pudgy for most size 4s, but too short for size 5.  Such an awkward fitting stage!

Diaper size: 4

Clothing: Some of her 18 month clothes are too small, but most 24 month items are pretty baggy.

Trying on Halloween costumes.  She wasn't too excited about this dragon one.

Trying on Halloween costumes. She wasn’t too excited about this dragon one.

Sleep: Not much has changed, she still comes into our bed at some point in the night, which interrupts our sleep but is great for snuggling.  We will probably start trying to wean her (and ourselves) off of this in the next few months.

Milestones: Jane is a pro at feeding herself with a spoon these days, and since we have no plastic bowls, we trust her with our Fiestaware most of the time.  We’ve had a few near misses, but most of the time she doesn’t try to throw the dishes.  We also ordered her first children’s dish when we went out to eat; I was shocked at the lack of healthy options on the children’s menu.  So we settled for chicken fingers and carrots.  She loved it!

Mommy and her little minion at Halloween.

Mommy and her little minion at Halloween.

She says a few more words and has learned the sign for banana.

We also finished nursing this month.  It was a difficult decision on one level, but on another, I was ready.  It was just sad knowing that I am now done nursing my first baby, but I am so thankful for the nearly 17 months that I was able to nurse and for the great comfort that Jane took in it.

Gru and his minion.  She was totally terrified the first time she saw him.

Gru and his minion. She was totally terrified the first time she saw him.

Please Don’t Be a Fluke

Last night, for the first time ever, Jane slept through the night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She slept from 7:15-6, and then took a 1.5 hour nap today.  I’m drunk with sleep.

Please, don’t let this a fluke, sweet baby girl!

Abuses of Grace

I went to the grocery store yesterday with Jane and we were having a perfectly ordinary shopping trip, observing the people around us and grabbing our groceries before heading to the checkout line.  And then I witnessed something that still just burns me up and breaks my heart.

I had earlier observed a mom, probably around my age, with two littles in a cart and a baby in a sling.  Well, she was two ahead of me in the checkout line and as she checked out the cashier read off a number of her purchases to tell her what food stamps would and wouldn’t cover.  She then proceeded to swipe her card and the bagger helped her out to her car.  And then.  The woman behind her (once she was out of earshot, I think) very grumpily rolled her eyes and said to the cashier, “Doesn’t that just make you want to say ‘You’re welcome’ for buying her nearly $200 of groceries.”  I was flabbergasted and ashamed and I felt a response rise up from within me that seldom is ready immediately.  But I didn’t spit it out, I kept my response to myself all the while feeling the heat rise up in my face and not go down until well after I left the store.

I was furious.  I was angry at the stingy and self righteous attitude of the woman in front of me.  I was angry at the whole of society.  And I was angry at the Church, because if we were doing our job right, would our countrymen and women be hungry and need government assistance?  And I don’t mean the Church as an organization.  I mean the Body of Christ being His hands and feed, feeding and caring for our neighbors.  I mean people like me.  I am angry at me.

The truth is, I don’t know that young mother’s story, and I don’t know the story of the grumpy lady.  But I do know stories of many others who have been/are on public assistance.  And I wanted to say to this woman, “No. It doesn’t want me to tell her you’re welcome.  Because I don’t know her story, and I don’t know yours either, but I do know this—I am blessed to have enough food to eat and a roof over my head and I’m happy to put a face with my tax dollars and know that I played some small part in keeping those precious children fed.  And if you are in such a bad place that you resent whatever part you may have played, I’d be happy to buy your lunch.”

I am guilty of being frustrated with abuses of the system and making snap judgments of others, but as I reflected on this particular experience the Lord impressed upon my heart that I am worse than any abuser of public assistance.  For I am an abuser of His precious blood.  Am I not convicted of sin one moment and do that very thing the next?  Do I not willfully sin and thereby abuse His grace?

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:1-4 NIV

“Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21 ESV

I am still heartbroken when I think about yesterday, and I still don’t know if I didn’t say something because I was afraid of confrontation, or if the Holy Spirit stopped me because it would have cause me to become prideful.  I really don’t know.   But I prayed both for the young mom and the older woman.  And for myself.  And the Lord convicted me about my attitude toward a particular need that was presented to me earlier this week.

May we all be reminded how much we have to be thankful for, especially during this season of Thanksgiving.  And may I be continually reminded of my abuses of grace when I am frustrated with others.

Weaning

I’ve been working on slowly weaning Jane since the beginning of September and it’s been rough at times.  We started out by cutting “snacks” and only nursing first thing in the morning, at naps, and at bedtime.  After about 6 weeks of that, I tried to cut out the morning session.  It stunk.  She cried and cried every day and I just tried to distract her with food and getting ready for the day. During the same time period, we had been out of the house for many naps, so she would fall asleep in the car (aka no nursing).  I think we tried this for almost two weeks, but it was the same thing every morning and it just broke my heart.  So over the weekend I decided to let her nurse in the morning again, but we were going to cut naptime nursing.  It took me three tries to get her to nap yesterday, but I did eventually succeed and she slept for an hour.

And then this morning happened.  Jane woke up happy, rolled over and cuddled with me for a minute and then didn’t ask for milk!!  She asked for food!  I don’t know if it was a fluke or not, but whatever it was, I’m happy about it and said a prayer of thanks.

My goal is to have her weaned by the end of the year, but I have really mixed feelings about it.  Nursing is no longer comfortable for me, and although I originally intended to let Jane self wean, that’s just not something that I feel I can wait for.  I knew that she was not ready to wean, so I wanted to do it very gradually and I think that we have been able to do it (thus far) in a (relatively) unscarring way (for both of us!).  I know that I will be really sad when I have weaned Jane, so I’m trying to enjoy the last weeks/months of nursing my firstborn.  It has been such a gift.

Jane Has Something To Say

Baby number two is expected late April/early May 2015.

We aren’t announcing it on all forms of social media yet, but we will be soon!

{16 Months}

20141103_102353Time, why must you pass so quickly??  My sweet little baby is now a little girl who is so observant and learns so much every day.  Most days she will do something random and I’ll think, “Where did you learn that?!”  She really is quite a sponge, absorbing everything around her.  This month, Jane added international traveler to her list of accomplishments, and she really did quite well!  We took a trip to Cardiff, Wales and London, England to visit some friends and we had a blast!  I’m so glad that we went when we did and that we took our sweet girl (even though she won’t remember a thing).

In front of the Tower Bridge

In front of the Tower Bridge

Jane loves interacting with kids of all ages; she was obsessed with Katie, one of the children of our Welsh friends, and she even tries to give younger babies their bottles in the nursery at church.  She continues to be quite a flirt in public and is always waving at strangers and trying to get attention in the grocery store.  So unlike her momma.

Ogmore Beach, Wales.  Jane is hiding in the Ergo.

Ogmore Beach, Wales. Jane is hiding in the Ergo.

She loves to eat and I am constantly stupefied as to where she puts all of the food I feed her.  She also has 10 teeth (her bottom right molar poked through as we were leaving for the UK).

Height: 30.5 inches (50th %-ile)

Weight: 23 pounds, 12ish ounces (a little under 50th %-ile)

In front of Buckingham Palace.

In front of Buckingham Palace.

Shoe size: 4/5

Diaper size: 4

Clothing: 18 month, but she can wear 2T shirts.

With our friends.

With our friends.

Sleep: Not much change, except that now she doesn’t require music to put her back to sleep at night.  A quick cuddle and we’re all fast asleep.  She still goes back and forth between one and two naps.  She tends to sleep better (aka longer) if she falls asleep in the car seat or stroller rather than nursing.

P1120427Milestones: International travel, for one!  She also sat forward facing in a car while we were in the UK just because that’s the only car seat they had available, but she back to rear facing now, which makes Mommy much more comfortable.  In addition to being night weaned, we are working on daytime weaning, which really just means I’ve cut out “snacks” and she nurses first thing in the morning, at nap time, and at bed time.

Our sweet Jane is such a joy and we are so blessed to be her parents!

{15 Months}

P1120263Jane is just blossoming lately.  She learns so quickly that we are really going to have to start watching the things we say and do around her.  She can now point to all of the features on her face, as well as her toes.  She can do “so big”, raises her hand when I ask “Who’s the cutest?”, and can show you how old she is.  Her fine motor skills have also really improved and anytime she sees socks or shoes, she tries to put them on.  Our serious girl has discovered her inner goofball this month and she is constantly cracking me up; she really is so much fun!

Height: 30.5 inches (50th-75th%-ile)

Jane loves Mickey and Minnie!

Jane loves Mickey and Minnie!

Weight: Apparently our scale is off from the pediatrician’s, they weighed her at 23 pounds, 4 ounces (between 50th &75th %-ile)

Shoe Size: 4/5

Diaper Size: 4

Clothing: 18 month

20140921_131530Sleep: Well, we’re night weaned now, but she still wakes up several times at night.  After the first waking she comes to bed with us, and then after that I play a lullaby CD which usually puts her right back to sleep.  In fact, she usually wakes up and then points at the CD player!  She still takes two naps, but sometimes I can push it with just one.

P1120254Milestones: Not a lot has changed since last month, but she continues to learn her body parts (newest addition=knee), and she climbed up on to the couch for the first time.  She’s just an all around sweetie!!

Nap

Jane and I took a nap together today for the first time in many, many months. We slept for nearly an hour and a half and it was heavenly! I had grand plans about what I would accomplish today during her afternoon nap, but the housework will still be there tomorrow. And although it gives me anxiety to look around and see the messy state of my house and piles of laundry and dishes, I treasure this time with my sweet baby. My baby is growing so fast and someday she won’t want to snuggle with me as she sleeps, so I do my best to enjoy her and give myself a break on the housework.

Plus, naps are nice!

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