Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby in the Forest

Last weekend we took a field trip to the forest! Now, we live in the forest, surrounded by trees and woodland creatures. But this was a different forest, one for chopping firewood.

People around here say "woods" instead of "forest". I prefer forest. Isn't it more magical?

"Yesterday, we went into the woods."
"Yesterday, we went into the forest."

One seems factual, one seems mystical. Ah, the English language. Such choices we have.

Anyway here we are watching Daddy chop down a tree!

I know, the hat. I want to squeeze her every time she wears it. So I do.

Go Daddy!
Nothing is cuter than these cheeks. Nothing in the world.

Hi babygirl! Are you having fun?

You look very snuggly in there, can I come in with you?

That's her new musical toy from Mima and Poppy. She was slightly more obsessed with that than with watching the chainsaw action. But we had lots of fun in the forest!

Love in the Woodland,

Dirt Road Mama

Crickets are Not Cute.

Here is your warning: if bugs gross you out, do not look at the pictures that I posted today. But keep in mind that this one is dead, even though he looks alive. And also keep in mind that I had to encounter this bug in my basement at 5:45 this morning, so suck it up. It's just a picture.

But the bug is gross. Awful. Horrific.

Well, let me explain the encounter.

As a backstory, I would like it to be known that Eric Carle has lied to me. I love Eric Carle. Amazing autor, artist, writer. He taught me about the Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Clumsy Clickbeetle, and I read him to the Reilly Baby. However, he also taught me about the Quiet Cricket. Such a cute, sweet, book...with beautiful music at the end in the scene of a starry night. You lied to me, Mr. Carle. Crickets are not cute. Not at all.

So I had to go down to my basement fridge to get some more juice. I need to drink gallons a day for the breast feeding, so I need to start early. So I was at the top of the stairs, and then I saw it. It was at the bottom of the stairs, and it was crawling slowly and creepily. It looks like it was crawling with 5 arms. A slow army crawl. It. was. GINORMOUS.

I screamed for Hubby and said, "ComehereComehereComehere. Drop whatever you are doing and come over here right now right now! And bring a textbook." Of course he thought I was dying so he ran over and said, "What's the matter!" Then he saw my nemesis, and he said the unbelieveable words:

"Honey, it's just a cricket."

WHAT! A CRICKET!! That is the very quiet cricket who learns to make beautiful music?!

[Now I will admit, as angry as I was that such an ugly insect had such a misrepresented reputation, I was relieved that it was not a cockroach. Cockroach would mean horrible things. Namely, that my home is dirty. And that would make me cry. I've only ever seen a cockroach in the bathroom of a Burger King in Arkansas. Good times.]

So then it happened. Hubby ran down the stairs, searched quickly for something to hit it with, and nothing was nearby. So he killed it with his bare hands. Actually his fingers, but that doesn't sound as cool. He flicked it. Hubby always flicks bugs and kills then on contact. I don't have enough finger flick power, I've tried to do it. Something about the potential engergy of the flick, I imagine. Same reason I can't snap my fingers. Not enough finger power.

Anywho, here is the demon. That Hubby killed. With his bare fingers.

OKAY! RIGHT! Now you understand my panic. And hatred for all things cricket. He looks like he should have become extinct with his cousin, the Pterodactyl.

And let's just give a cyber high five to my Hubby for saving my life!! And Reilly's life! From this creature! Wait, not yet, first put that awful thing down, then we'll high five you.

(This is it's belly. Ugh.)

Okay, HIGH FIVE! You all should get yourself a tough country Hubby. Not mine, but a different one. One who flicks bugs. It's really a wonderful thing. Love you, Handsome.

Side note: When he began coming upstairs with this creature, dead, in his fingers...I ran in the other room and hid from him. Just in case he came back to life and decided to jump out of Husband's death grip and attack me.

Why are these creatures only in the country? I did not grow up with this. We only had ants where I grew up. The occasional bee. Maybe a worm when it rained. Lord help Reilly when she looks to her Mama to be brave. Mama's not cut out for these horrific encounters. Especially not before my coffee. Thank you for listening, I feel better already.

Love & Snug as Bug,

Dirt Road Mama

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Mama in Me

The mama in me
Needs you to know something.
People love you for everything that you are.

Some days that's an easy thing to see and feel.
Today, maybe, you know this well.
Tomorrow it may feel like a whisper.
One day you may not think it's true.
But know it.
Despite your faults, strengths, differences, weaknesses.
God made you because He loves you and He believes in you.

The mama in me
knows how He feels.
Watching you smile fills Him up. Your happiness and love is all he wants for you.
Lean on Him. Pray. Ask. Love. Give. Pray some more.
And know that He made you,
And made other people in your life to surround you,
To love, and be loved.

When you know this Love, give it away.
Spread it to others. Live in it. Swim in it. Act on it.
Because it's the most beautiful thing in this world.
And there's enough of it for everyone.

The mama in me felt that I needed to write something in response to the bullying that has been effecting so many people. Rather than address the hatred and ignorance that the people who bully act from, I decided to address what is probably lacking in their life.
I believe that people who know real love, would not act in this way.
And although it seems fruitless, I pray it will stop.

Love & Him,

the mama in me

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleepy Little Eater

So the other day, I was feeding my little Reilly. Daddy was nearby, and was able to capture what happened after. She sat on my lap while I burped her, and was very sleepy and snuggly. So I leaned my face in close to hers and said, "Hi sweetie, how are you my girl?"

And then she looked at me, and her eyelids got all heavy and droopy, and then she did this...

My little sleepy munchkin. It was the most precious thing.

I love how safe she must feel to be able to just fall asleep sitting up against my cheek. Like a little newborn sleepyhead.

My favorite moments are the little ones.

Love & Sleepies,

DR Mama

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blanket Sleepers

And now, a message from Reilly.

Mama, are you ready? Are we on?

Yes, baby, we're ready!

Oh, okay! Hi everyone! I'm going to tell you a story about Blanket Sleepers!

See, a Blanket Sleeper is what I am wearing here. This one's purple, made of very soft blanket-y materials. It keeps me warm and cozy.

Mama thinks it's funny because starting August, every time we saw Mima, she gave us a Blanket Sleeper.

"Oh, I got Rei Rei this little dress! And this hat! Oh, and a few more Blanket Sleepers...", she'd say.

Now we have many colors and styles of Blanket Sleepers. Multiple sizes. Stripes, polka dots, elephants. So Mima, Mama and I just wanted to tell you...


They keep me so warm and snuggly at night. And Mama loves cuddling with me so much in them, sometimes we don't get dressed until 10am. 10am, Mima! Someone get a handle on my Mama please. Oh, which reminds me, Mama says she wants one in her size, too.

So we can hang out all day together in our Blanket Sleepers.

The End.


Dirt Road Mama

Friday, October 22, 2010

Family Date Night

Last night, Daddy took his girls on date. We had so much fun!

We met Daddy there after he was done with practice with his Frisbee team.

He was so excited to see his babygirl after a long day at work!

Rei Rei was such an angel at the restaurant. She ate her carrots like a big girl, sat in her high chair, and then laid down in her stroller like a sleepy little banana. Not before she sat on Daddy's lap and looked all around the restaurant, kicking and singing so everyone would come say hi to her.
Daddy thinks we have a little social butterfly on our hands! We were so proud of our girl.

Family Date Night with my two favorite people! Such fun on a Thursday night.


Dirt Road mama

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reilly Appleseed

Rei Rei, did you have fun apple picking?!

Mama and Daddy had fun with you. We love apple picking, and we wanted to show you how fun it is!

You and Daddy had fun before I came along, Mama? said Reilly.

Of course we did, silly! We went apple picking every year! Wanna see?

Yes! said Reilly.

Here we are apple picking in New England during Mama's first year in college! We went to the same farm every time.

That candy apple looks yummy, Mama. Can you put that in the ice cubes for me? asked Reilly.

Soon, baby, soon,

Here we are the next year, at the same orchard. We had just gotten engaged the month before!

And then this was the next year! Aren't Daddy's sunglasses cool, Reilly?

Yes Mama! I think everything Daddy wears is cool! said Reilly.

And here we are with you this year! We always had fun at the farms...but never as much fun as seeing it all through your eyes.

Mima and Poppy, and Auntie Mimi and Uncle Eric loved having you there, too! Something tells me it would have been harder getting everyone to drive an hour to go apple picking if you weren't there in your cute little jeans, Reilly!

You guys love me a lot, huh Mama? said Reilly.

Yes, baby, we do. You make us smile a lot.

Mama, there's me going for the apple! Daddy helped me, cause I'm small. said Reilly.

Yes, you did so well! It's so much fun showing you everything we love to do, baby.

What else is there to show me, Mama? Anything else? asked Rei.

Yes baby, lots of things. We have lots more things to show you.

Love & Appleseeds,

Dirt Road Mama

Monday, October 18, 2010


Five months old! I have a little boopa baby who is 5 months old!

And if I may, I'll tell you what it feels like. You know that feeling that you get when you are so happy, your heart can barely contain it? For me, it really feels like someone kicked me in my stomach, like a short roller coaster tummy flip, and it just makes you laugh right out loud. Or maybe cry, your body doesn't really know what to do it's so happy. It's the feeling that you get when you're really excited for something, like Christmas morning when you were a kid, or the night before a big vacation. Or, if you've ever had a long distance relationship, the feeling that you are going to see the person you love that very day after weeks apart.

Well, I get that feeling every day. At some point every day, I laugh out loud for no reason just looking at her. And I get that roller coaster happiness in my heart. That's what it's like to have a 5 month old little banana.

Before I tell you the Things About Reilly this month...the photoshoot. OH, the photoshoot. I realized one thing this month while taking her picture...

We. Need. Daddy.

Mama just cannot do these things at one time:
1. Make baby smile.
2. Put little "I am this many months old today!" sing next to baby.
3. Keep baby from putting said sign/everything else in her mouth.
4. Take picture.

I thought at first, that I could achieve these things by using my camera timer.

And by quickly placing the sign there before she could realize there was something new available for chewing.

I was wrong.

Mama's not fast enough for such things.

Oh! Got one! :) And now, a list.

1. This month, on precisely the day of the anniversary that she fell out of me, Reilly started singing. Singing sweet little baby musical notes.

2. Reilly is an observer of everything in this world. But not just an observer, a participator. She smiles when she thinks things are funny. She laughs when we are silly. She blows bubbles to tell us that she wants to play. She anticipates games when Daddy and I want to play. She watches our mouths as we speak and imitates the movements it makes. She gets excited when she is in her high chair, because she knows food is coming. She grabs for familiar things and follows people as they move around her.

3. She looked out the window the other day, just staring in a trance. Hubby asked, what do you think she is thinking? I said, I don't think she is thinking about something, as we would when we look out the window. I think she is learning for the first time. She has never seen leaves this red. Or seen then flutter in the wind like this. Or watched them fall and float around. Everything is new - so she is not so much thinking or remembering, she is watching and learning.

Or else, that's what I presume her little brain is doing. She could very well be thinking about what she had for breakfast.

4. She found her feet! And she loves them. She plays with them in her crib and sucks on her toes like they are fingers. She is very proud of this foot discovery.

5. She grabs and holds and sucks things with much more proficiency than last month. She is less frustrated with certain toys because she can handle them better. Her favorites right now: soft soft blanket, little orange elephant, Ellie the elephant, and her activity ball. And of course, her bouncer. And her little frozen apple sucker! She loves that now.

6. She now eats apples, butternut squash, carrots, peaches, and bananas. And oat cereal. We tried green beans, and had a negative reaction, so we'll try again in a few months. Yay for eating!

7. SHE SLEEPS ALL NIGHT NOW! As in, 12 hours at least. And she wakes up without crying, and just lays in her crib and coos. God just plucked her out of heaven and into our house, if you ask me.

8. She is still obsessed with being changed. Wherever we are, it's like she is meditating during changing time. So at peace, so happy, so content. I feel like she is saying, "Thank you! I love being clean!"

9. She raspberries now! It's very fun. And funny. Cracks me up every time.

And just for good measure...some new bouncer pictures.

For those of you who don't know this, she is pretty much my sister reincarnated into a little baby. She looks JUST like her Aunt Mimi when she was a baby.

And look at those little froggie legs.

Mama, could you scan come photos for a split-screen?? We have to do that!

Love times Five,

Dirt Road Mama

Friday, October 15, 2010

Near Perfection

By reading my blog, I realized, you may think that Rei Rei baby is perfect. That she does nothing wrong, ever. That she never even cries, she may just be smiling and laughing all day until she quietly drifts off to sleepland.

Well, let me tell would be correct.

Okay, put away your daggers, I'm teasing. Of course she cries, she is a little bambina! And of course she has nights when she wakes at 4am. And times when she is not smiling during the day. And sometimes I have 5 things I need to get done in one day, and I get 1/2 of one thing done. And I just this week have gotten back to what I consider "normal" sleeping patterns.

So, yes, there are parts of each day that are not sunny and smiling.

But there is perfection in every day as well.

Motherhood is wonderful, difficult, fulfilling, amazing, overwhelming. And perfect.

The love that I feel for her, both in her perfection and her inherent imperfections as well, is how God is showing me how He loves me. For no other reason except that we are His children.

1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

He loves us. I love her. Imperfections and all.

Love in Imperfection,

DR Mama

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Baby Food: A Love Story

Making my own baby food.

A dream. A goal. A reality. My therapy. My current calling in life.

You may think I'm being dramatic, but it really is so much fun. There is something so satisfying about it. Fresh vegetables, pureed, then organized into little ice cube trays, perfect little healthy meals for baby for weeks to come! And you know me and filling up my freezer. It's a love of my life.

But I didn't always love it!

At first I was overwhelmed. How much to make? How much water to add? Do I add breast milk? How thin do I make it? Can I add spices? How do I know which foods to make? What if the consistency is wrong? I need a book of baby food recipes! I need a water purifier!! Is Poland Spring good water? What about a Brita? Why don't more people have Brita? How do you know that a Brita is actually working? Nothing is as pure as my breast milk! Maybe I'll pump for the rest of baby's life to ensure the purity of her fluids...

Let me tell you - you do not need a baby food recipe book. I actually have come to think that people who write baby food recipe books are slightly maybe a tad bit leaning towards the art of scamming. But who am I to say! Alls I'm sayin''s simple. Simple as pie. Simple as pureeing a peach pie. And then freezing it.

My mama helped me come to this conclusion. She said honey...just puree it!

And so puree I did! Hello fresh greens beans!

Hello pureed green beans!
[Attention: Green beans do not change color when pureed. It was nighttime by the time I took the second picture and lighting stinks at night.]

So here's how I found out what to make: look at what Gerber makes for your age baby. Hee hee. I feel like that's cheating. But you just look at the "first foods"(aka "supported sitter"), and make everything they are selling for that age! They know what's safe, after all.

So here is my beautiful rainbow of baby foods.
We have: butternut squash, bananas, green beans, apples, and pears!
Still on the list to make: sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots!

I don't know why I decided to write Pears! with an exclamation point. I felt it was needed at the time, apparently.

Hello, little pear cubes!

So here are my baby-food-making tips:

1. Thoroughly wash, peel, and cube the fruit or veggie. Be careful with butternut squash, it is very annoying to do. Don't start with that like I did, you may be discouraged.

2. Steam if necessary. Steaming preserves more nutrients than boiling.
[Difference: Steaming involves putting a bit of water in bottom of pot, placing steamer basket in, then the veggie or fruit. Then cover it and simmer until soft.]

3. If the fruit or veggies is soft (bananas, ripe pears, avocados), there is no need to cook it! Blend it up and it will be fine.

4. Once it's all cooked and diced, put it in the food processor. (If you don't have one, you can use a blender. But now is a good time to invest in a Cuisinart food processor! It's amazing.)

5. Keep checking the just needs to be smooth with no chunks. You can add dribbles of either breast milk, or the water from the bottom of your steaming pot! Since this was boiling, it is purified! Not only that, but it has the nutrients from the veggies in it. So throw that in and feel good about it.

6. Once it is nice and smooth (and not sticky, if it's sweet potatoes or butternut squash), put it into ice cube trays! Let it freeze until very solid. Then pop em out and bag em! Be sure to label, the colors can be deceiving.

7. One ice cube is usually one serving! Unless your boopa is a little chunka like mine, then she'll have two! :)

8. Do not go crazy - only make what's in season. I'm not making my own peaches, because it's not in season right now. It would taste icky. So I buy the most natural baby peaches I can find, so baby gets to taste everything!

Hey Mama, where's all this food I keep hearing about? You know, I sleep for 12 hours now! I need my nanas in the mornin!

Well, Baby, we're not having breakfast this morning. I am just going to stare at you and take your picture. Sound good?

Tee hee, Mama, your so silly! Now go get my food, please.

And that is the art of baby-food-makin!

Feel free to ask questions, as you know, it is my passion. I may not know everything, but I know the food baby's getting is fresh and pure and nutritious. And I'm happy with that.

Love & Puree,

Dirt Road Mama