Monday, November 30, 2009

Food connections

I love Thanksgiving.  It a simple holiday really - it is all about giving thanks and being with family.  Most holidays have are really busy at church or have involve gift giving but Thanksgiving always seems simpler to me. 

Of course, there is also a wonderful food component to the holiday.  I don't know why but food traditions seem to have a big role in our family celebrations.  On my mother's side of the family one simple dip is powerful enough to bring the family together - Cucumber Dip.

This dip has been an appetizer at every family gathering for as long as I can remember.  We've tried low fat versions but we always return to the real version.  This Thanksgiving celebration found 13 of us surrounding the coffee table with chips digging into the precious cucumber dip. 

It is a simple dip but it represents more than its deliciousness.  It is a tradition, a symbol of the love of our family and a celebration of our togetherness. 

There are other foods that have a similar role in various celebrations - certain Christmas cookies, Granny's rolls, kneecaps (a bohemian donut), or on Mr. Goat's side of the family Green Garbage (a broccoli casserole).

The food is not about the food so much as the memories that the food evokes.  Cucumber dip is always associated with my extended family - the laughter, the sing-a-longs, the Sheepshead.  I know that there will be cucumber dip at every family party just like I know that no matter how we grow and change we remain family.

What are your family food traditions? 

Just in case you are interested here is the Cucumber Dip recipe.  Be warned - the stuff is addicting!

Cucumber Dip
1/2 pint sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/3 of a small onion, chopped
onion salt or salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

Mix ingredients, chill (overnight is best for the flavors to mellow and blend) and serve with chips (we like Ruffles!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baby Goat at 9 months

Baby Goat,

Thanksgiving was your 9 month birthday, and even though you've been out longer than you were in for several weeks now it still seems like a milestone of sorts.  We spent Thanksgiving visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Wisconsin and you seemed to have a wonderful time.  It was full of firsts and excitment.  It was your first time in a restaurant high chair rather than your carseat.  It was your first meeting with several of mama's aunts, uncles and cousins.  They all adored you (naturally).

It wasn't always an easy trip.  You were mostly a delight to others, but we got little sleep as you worked on 3 teeth at once.  Now that it is Sunday it seems like the top two are at least mostly through while a third is still working on it.  It always seemed worse at night, and the teeth and teh fact that it wasn't your bed lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  One night mama spent the whole night coaxing you back to sleep before you finally fell deeply asleep on me.

While I sure felt the lack of sleep the next night there was something special about you snoring softly on my shoulder in the house I grew up in.  Watching the sunrise over the lake with you reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for.  Still, there is no need to repeat this special moment any time soon, got that? :)

You seem to be growing in leaps and bounds.  I am very curious to see your numbers on Tuesday as it seems like you've gained 3-4 inches in the last week.  And certainly, there is no appearance of your prematurity any more.  I had a nice (rude) old lady ask in a restaurant the other day if I fed you porkchops.  It is true you are not delicate and tiny but from where you came I can't complain.  While I never forget you in your smallness of prematurity these days it seems like you might be a completely different baby from the one we had 9 months ago. 

Moving is now your new quest in life.  You loved Grandma and Grandpa's house with their wide open living room to roll and explore to your hearts content.  There isn't crawling yet, but you seem to understand that if you could get your arms and legs to do the right motion that you could go.  I should say I suppose that moving is only part of your quest in life.  A more acurrate description could be you wish to move to and eat everything in a 20 mile radius.  If there is a crumb, cat or sock nearby you will find a way to try to eat it before we get there!

You're language and comprehension are expanding daily too.  You babble now, providing little commentaries to the world around you.  And you love to play pattycake, asking for it by clapping until we oblige you and play along.  You give slobbery open-mouth kisses when asked and can be coaxed to wave as well.  We are starting some signing stuff with you and if it doesn't kick it I'm sure it will be your parents fault for not diligently using it and not your ability to grasp it.

As I write these letters I sometimes struggle to capture your "you-ness" in words.  You are mellow yet fiesty, adaptable yet a creature of habits.  You are a joy to all who meet you.  I've had people offer to send us to dinner on their dime for the priveledge of babysitting you.  I haven't taken advantage of that but it is nice to know that you are loved so much.  I've yet to meet someone who wasn't instantly taken with you.  Even my cousin who suffers from Asperger's came out of the backroom at Thanksgiving to interact with you.

You bring so much joy into our lives and I wish there was a way to say that without sound cliche.  Really you make me smile everyday and when I am not with you I can't wait to see you again.  I hope that I can live up to being your mom as you've already shattered my expectations of what having a child means.  We love you baby goat!

Mama goat

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving recap

What a whirlwind these holiday trips can be.  We're back home now but we've spent the last 3 days in WI with my parents and the rest of the family.  It was a wonderful trip but lots was going on, so indulge me in my bullet point recap:
  • It was a total breeze to send baby goat to a half day of daycare while we packed up. Saved time and baby goat was all set to go, fed and happy and ready for a nap after lunch.  I must remember this trick later on!
  • The drive went well.  Baby goat continues to be awesome in the car.  I hope he doesn't grow out of that.
  • Baby goat was still fighting a cold, particularly the first night there but improved rapidly.
  • So. much. food.
  • We did Thanksgiving buffet out as our family dinner was scheduled for Friday.  It was fun and baby goat was great in his high chair in the fancy restaurant!
  • Packers win!
  • Playdate with my HS friend Sharon, her hubby and her 3 month old Kenna was a great time.
  • Our second night there baby goat began cutting a top tooth.  Was up several times in the night.  Mama goat's sleep deprivation began!
  • Baby goat is cheerful despite teething night and had a great time meeting all sorts of mama's aunts, uncles and cousins he hadn't met before.
  • Even.More.Food. plus cucumber dip!
  • Games played this weekend: Bridge, Pinochle, Sheepshead, Catch Phrase
  • Slams bid and made by Mr. Goat and I - one. Slams we should have bid and made - one.
  • $.85 down in Sheeps.
  • Friday night, baby goat moved beyond cutting one tooth to working on THREE on the top.  Was up most of the night and finally fell asleep on mama goat.  Mama goat got no sleep.  Boo.
  • We made it to breakfast with our baby goat's Godparents and their kids anyway.
  • Baby goat not worse or wear.  mama, not so much.
  • Still, we made it back today.  Mr. Goat has a sinus infection.  Mama goat is tired.  Baby goat is teething but despite it we are all happy.
  • So so much to be thankful for this year.
  • Still, I'd be thankful for a good night's sleep.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Being thankful is awfully tiring.  We'll be back tomorrow with an update including baby goat's 9 month photos!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Loose Ends

Today has been a day feeling at loose ends.  I spent most of the day trying frantically to be able to go avoid going into work tomorrow.  I was late to pick up baby goat from daycare because of it (and traffic).   I'm worrying for a friend and for baby goat and his cold as it seems to have gotten worse (thankfully no fever, just snot and coughing).

I should be packing, or finishing a few work things that I should attend to, or cleaning, or even finding something meaningful to do.  Instead I'm blogging (with very little substance) and listening at the monitor.  I'm glad when it is quiet because it means he's sleeping, but I'm also sort of glad when he coughs or shifts because it means he's still breathing.  A bit crazy I know, but it keeps me from stopping in to see him every five minutes.

The reality is that he's got a cold, probably nothing serious.  Work stuff will work out and everyone understands it is a holiday weekend.  I will be able to take time to talk to my friend(s) over the weekend.  I will see family.  Baby goat will meet new family.  And hopefully all will work itself out.

So maybe I'm not packing or working or cleaning, but I am mentally tying off my loose ends before I unravel.  And that's time well spent after today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Defining Breastfeeding

Thanks to my friend Marketing Mama, I've been thinking a lot about breastfeeding today.  Her jumping off point was signage about nursing that used bottles.  (See her post here).  She expresses her point admirably and I'm not here to repeat the posts of others, but it did get me thinking about how we define breastfeeding in our society.

My question:  Is breastfeeding defined by the location from which a baby drinks the food (ie breast or bottle) or by the type of food (breastmilk or formula)?

I think breastfeeding is typically associated with whipping out a boob and feeding a child whenever needed.  And yet, the answer seems far more complicated than that.  Many nursing mothers pump on a regular basis, particularly if they work, so that their child can eat without being fully dependent on the mother alone.

But I would argue that even though my son never figured out how to drink from the breast that he has been breastfed because he's had only breastmilk since he was born.

I've shared a little about the difficulties we've had breastfeeding here a little but not in depth.  Since baby goat was born 7 weeks early he didn't have a suck reflex.  For quite along time he was fed almost exclusively through a nose tube that pumped my breastmilk directly into stomach.  I was pumping every 2-3 hours while recovering from the preeclampsia and the c-section and trying to care for him in the NICU too.

Eventually he started taking a bit by the bottle and we started breastfeeding attempts.  We'd try when I was there to breastfeed and each time they would strip him down to his diaper, weigh him down to the gram, and place him on my chest for our attempts.  We'd work at it for 15, 20, 30, 45 minutes getting increasingly hungry and frustrated.  From time to time they would bring him back to the scale and see how many grams he'd gained.  This was how many ml of breastmilk he'd drunk. 

The majority of the time it was 8 ml or less.  More times than I can even count, it was zero.  45 minutes of trying for zero food for my son.  It wasn't for a lack of milk.  The problem was his suck.  He figured out something that worked for him when he had the bottle, but he didn't have the ability to draw it in, rather he chewed.

We tried Lactation consultants who were rude driving to tears about my inability to feed my child.  I was told that if I just kept at it he would get the hang of it.  We tried for a long time.  The most he ever got was 20 ml, which was approx. a third of his feedings at that stage.  And even that seemed to be a fluke as it was never duplicated.

As we went on, he started having his heart rate drop due to reflux during eating, particularly when he was in a horizontal position.  This made breastfeeding even more complicated and frustrating for him and me (not to mention scary).  We saw a physical therapist who tried some techniques to get him to draw milk in more fully.  While we tried these techniques it didn't seem to help in the long run.

As all of these attempts were going on, baby goat was getting bottles whenever I wasn't there.  Our insurance would only let us stay for up to 4 days round the clock once I was discharged, and we saved that for the end when he was about to come home.  After 4 weeks I was out of vacation and he was still in the NICU so I was forced to go back to work which prevented me from getting to even more feedings.

It got to the point that breastfeeding attempts led to crying for him and for me.  Him from hunger and me from my inablity to feed my child.  But, I was feeding him.  I kept pumping every 3 hours and I was renowned in the NICU for my milk supply.  I think I was the only one who had a child who'd never needed to be supplemented with formula, ever, even after all that my body went through it still produced the milk to care for baby goat.

After he came home we tried for a while, but he'd figured out how to eat with a bottle and the damage (as it were) was done and he has been a bottlefed breastfed baby ever since.

But I still consider that baby goat is breastfed.  I ache at the knowledge that I've missed out on a beautiful bonding experience.  I am so sick of the breast pump too but I keep going.  My goal is to make it a year.

But is baby goat breastfed?  I hope so.  I have felt guilty about not breastfeeding before, but I'm going to say that I do breastfeed baby goat, in a manner of speaking.

*Disclaimer:  No offense was meant to anyone on any side of the breastfeeding spectrum.  I'm just thinking through some of my own thoughts from my experience.*

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random Thoughts

It has been a while since I've done some proper random thoughts so I thought I'd give you some true Lutheran Geek Random Thoughts.

* Yes, I saw New Moon on Friday.  I saw it with a mom and her teen.  The teen had gone with her dad at midnight the day before and still went to school Friday.  Yes I thouroughly enjoyed myself.  Truth be told, the second movie was VASTLY better than the first one.  That and I think there is something utterly hilarious about sitting in a packed theater with girls (and fully grown women) gasping, hooting and cheering.  It was sort of the same thing as going to see the star trek movie and all the men started cheering.  I guess I'm just a geek in either gender stereotype.

* That being said, it still feels a bit wrong commenting so apreciatively about a 17 yr olds abs.  At least Edward is played by a 23 yr old!  That didn't feel quite so naughty!

* Ok, so I'm addicted to baby toys.  I think I enjoy playing with them as much as baby goat.  And of course it is just for baby goat's benefit.  It has nothing to do UM, with the bright colors and cool noises and all of the cool sorting games you can do with them.  Yes, NOTHING to do with that.  Yeah.

* One of baby goat's Christmas presents arrived in the mail this week.  I want to open it so badly to um, give it to the baby goat (read: play with it myself, to show baby goat how it works).  It always seems harder for me to wait to give gifts rather than to wait to open gifts myself.


* At one of my church programs we've had a few occasions to do some general arts and crafts and the kids have me draw and paint whatever they tell me.  They keep saying that I should be an artist and it is all I can do not to laugh.  I am a decent doodler but no artist, still it makes me think that we should look at things through a kids eyes more often and see beauty in things that an adult my see as flawed.

* Baby goat seems to be working his way through his cold.  He didn't have a fever today and just has a small cough/sniffle so I'm hoping we are on the mend.  I want him to be his excited self when we see all the family this week. 

* Even though his illness seemed minor I still wonder whether or not I should have called the doctor.  He had 100.4 fever at one point but napped well, ate well and only seemed a little under the weather so I didn't bother.   Now I wonder if I'm not being cautious enough with all the baby baby germs out there or if I'm just in tune to my baby and my mommy instincts.  Who knows?  But at least he seems to be getting better.

* Why does it seem like kids get sick on the weekend?

* I hadn't watched the last few seasons of Survivor, but I'm so glad I've caught this season.  It is really something new and completely cool.  For the first time I'm cheering for the total game player Russell just to see what happens next.  He is masterful and it is really fun to watch.

* Last week Thanksgiving seemed a long ways away.  This week it seems really close.  While there is a lot to do before we can go to my parent's house I'm really excited about it.  Baby goat is going to get to meet his great aunts and uncles and I'm excited for him to meet this side of the family.  Plus there is the promise of yummy food, cards, and a playdate with one of baby goat's many potential girlfriends.  What could be better!

* I think this year I'm just extra excited for the holidays.  It seems like there is so much worth celebrating right now and baby goat just brings a whole new dimension to the whole thing.  I am just very very thankful that this year has turned out so well.  There is still lots on my mind that worries me but I am very grateful for all the blessings I do have!

* The weekend after Thanksgiving is Christmas Fest weekend and Mr. Goat and I get to go on TWO dates that weekend - to St. Olaf's Christmas Fest and Gustavus' Christmas in Christ Chapel.  Can't wait!

* Now I have a date with a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, a breast pump and the end of the Bears game.  Happy Weekend Blogland.  Keep an eye out for my NaBloPoMo giveaway coming soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I'm sneaking in under the wire here for the day without much to say.  Baby goat has a slight fever today and isn't feeling 100%.  Still we were able to get some naps in and play with Grandpa too.  I think he's doing ok for the night, at least so far.  Now, the laundry is done and put away and we are watching some SNL before bed.   Things are quiet and that is fine with me.  Goodnight blogland.

Friday, November 20, 2009

House sweet home.

There isn't a day that goes by where I don't dream about owning a house.  It seems like renting an apartment just makes things more complicated.  I dream of space for all our stuff, a room for baby goat that doesn't also double as an office, storage area and general mess.  I dream of a yard for baby goat to play in.  I dream of a basement in case of tornados.  I dream of not living next to dozens of other people with their drama, and dogs, and weird cooking smells.

But nothing, NOTHING, makes me long for a house more than laundry day.

First you have to lug all the clothes down the hall and watch your money be frittered away in washers and dryers that may or may not be working.  But then there are the people.  They will move your clothes if you don't get there at the exact second your stuff is done, but they also will keep their laundry in the washers and dryers for hours after they are done.

There is one fellow laundry person, who I know only by their blue laundry basket, who will repeated move my stuff, even when there are other washers open.  If there are multiple loads to move they will take the one with baby clothes and then play with the clothes, putting bibs on the stuffed animals and making a decorative mountain of baby clothes on the skany counter.

HELLO!  Don't touch my stuff.  There are open machines you have no excuse to play with my baby's things.  Now give me $3 so I can wash and dry them again to get whatever mysterious germs you are sharing off of them.  Don't play with my baby's stuff!

And there are those times when the laundry room defies explanation.  Yesterday I discovered that someone thought it fit to PEE in the washing machine.  !?#?!@!  I mean who does that. 

I can't tell you how much I want a house.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Edward or Jacob?

At the church where I work I have a whiteboard outside my office and every Wed I have a question there posted for the kids (large and small to answer).  Sometimes they are profound (what made you smile today?), seasonal (favorite halloween candy?), or church related (favorite hymn/church song?).

This Wednesday I was struggling to come up with a question, until it hit me.  There is a phenomenon going on amongst the teen girls and a surprisingly large amounts of cougary moms interested in this thing called Twilight.  Have you heard about it?

I have read it, and seen the movie and have the courage to admit that I have tickets for a showing of New Moon on Sat night.  It will be the first movie I've seen in the theater since Star Trek (my  mother's day present).

Inspired, I wrote three simple words on my whiteboard:

Edward or Jacob?

Within moments I had a dozen girls outside my office door professing their love for Edward or Jacob, or their respective actors, or for the wolves or vampire clans they represented.  They debated up until Confirmation and the other programs began.  When I arrived back at my office after the activities of the night every square inch of the board was covered with opinions.

I, of course, have my own opinion (Edward) but I'm curious about the phenomenon that Twilight embodies.  I am very supportive of anything that encourages reading, though while I've read the books and enjoyed them I hardly call them great literature.  But it seems that Twilight is a new mass media circus that we've really only seen with Harry Potter and a few other things.

Even when I was a young girl there wasn't the deep fangirl-ness that I see here.  Oh sure there was New Kids on the Block.  And Tom Cruise, or since we've already established my geek roots Wil Wheaton.  But was it as pervasive as it is now?  I'm not sure.

So what do you think?  Has fangirl-ness changed?   What were your childhood obsessions?  And of course, Edward or Jacob?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You Don't Forget.

You don't forget.  You don't forget your child with his scrawny fingers and his loose skin, gasping for breath.  You don't forget watching the numbers on a monitor with a manic need, as if the numbers guarantee that things are still working.  You don't forget the speed with which he was whisked away from the OR to get the oxygen he needed.  You don't forget being discharged without your child.  You don't forget watching the apnea events, or the panic you feel when his heart rate drops suddenly.  You don't forget the smell of the NICU's hand sanitizer or trying to breastfeed in a purple vinyl chair.  You don't forget any one of those 46 days that you called the NICU home because that is where your heart was.

But you also don't forget the love of your family around you.  You don't forget the nurses who cared for you emotionally as much as they cared for him physically.  You don't forget the joy of seeing him grow.  You don't forget the rejoicing over an ounce of weight gain, or a full feeding, or graduating off of oxygen.  You don't forget the first time you held him, even if it was almost 48 hours after you gave birth.  You don't forget that you and he were a lucky ones and that had this happened even 10, 25, 50 years ago things might have been different.

You don't forget this:

Even when you now spend your days looking at this:

You never forget.

March of Dimes: Prematurity Awareness Month
Fight For Preemies // Bloggers Unite

Monday, November 16, 2009

Geekling Gift Ideas

This post has been a challenge for me, mostly because there is now SO much fun stuff out there for kids that uses science, space, science fiction and technology in cool ways.  As a disclaimer, I have not yet purchased any of these items, nor am I reviewing them.  I am just giving you a sampling of the geek toys that I would want - either for my own grown up kid self or for an older baby goat.  The beautiful thing about Geek toys these days is that they are almost always gender neutral, so you can always find something awesome for you son, daughter, grandchild or whomever.  I hope you can find something awesome to share with your own geeklings!

(If of course, a toy manufacturer wanted to send any of these or other geek toys for me or my readers to review we'd be happy to oblige!)

Geek Babies:
 The Curiosity Cube
I love the look of this toy and can just imagine the fun it will bring for a baby.  Plus there are a variety of colors and ways to hold it and explore.  Awesome!  This is on my short list for baby goat's Christmas list!

The Mozart Magical Cube

I actually purchased this item for one of baby goat's Christmas gifts.  I love the idea of encouraging a love of music and as loud, sound making toys this seems to be one of the best out there!  Think Geek writes of the Mozart Magical Cube:
With the Mozart Magic Cube you have five different large buttons corresponding to the different sides of the cube each of which can play a harp, flute, French horn, piano and violin. You also have an orchestra button that can play all of the instruments simultaneously using eight different Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart compositions. Your wee ones will have the capabilities to add and subtract the different instruments while the music is playing which makes the versatility of the toy more appealing to the future composer. The lights also flash to the tempo of the music adding to the overall experience. 18th century musician’s wig is not included!

I figure it is a sign of a good toy that I want to play with it as much as my baby does and this toy appeals to my geek sensibilities.

Geek Toddlers:

Twilight Sea Turtle
This toy not only helps kids get to sleep (bonus) but does so while illuminating real constellations on the ceiling and teaching kids about Endangered species.  Plus it is adorable.  What's not to like?

This is another toy that I picked out simply because I want to play with it.  It combines a drum pad, xylophone and bell to give your kids a whole range of music making possibilities.  Rated for 18 months and up this is a create introduction into rhythm and music!

Young Mad Scientist Alphabet Blocks:
Oh how I crave these blocks.  I love blocks, they are a universal toy that can be used to create anything.  But these are charming use of the block form.  Since they are Alphabet blocks they are educational but they use wonderfully creative in their letter representations such as Q - Quantum Physics, or  K - Potassium (Ok, maybe I'm the only one who finds that hilarious!). While the set is only 5 blocks (with different letters on each side) they are handcrafted and made out of maple and chemical free. 

Geek Preschooler:
Wolfgang Amadeus Jr. Piano
What I love about this 18 key toy piano is that it is real.  It is tuned and uses mini-hammers to produce its sound making it a great first piano.  It comes with a songbook and some sticker strips to help introduce the piano keys to a child.  Plus it is adorable in red.  Who wouldn't love this?

Pacific Play Tents Space Module Tent
If you have a preschooler odds are they love to play in things - tunnels, couch cushions, or pop-up tents.  But instead of a tent devoted to Disney princesses why not get your kids their own Space Module and allow them to go on missions to strange new planets to discover aliens and other cool things.  Plus it fold flat for easy storage, provided you can ever get them to put it away!

Older Geeklings:
The Artsy Geek
Crayola Glow Station can create with Light!
I've wanted this item every since I saw a commercial for this on tv.  What makes a drawing item better - making it glow!  Imagine the possibilities  your child could use this for.  Amazon writes:
A 2009 Winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Best Toy Award, the Crayola Glow Station is a hit with kids and adults. Kids will love watching as their ideas literally come to light on the canvas. And parents will love how it works the imagination without creating a giant mess. It even helps cleans up after itself: Over time the light drawings magically disappear from the glow canvas, making room for more glow-in-the-dark works of art!
The perfect poster size for creating and displaying drawings, the glow canvas hangs well from a wall or bedroom door. The darker the location, the better it is for glowing. Made from durable blue plastic, the top and bottom of the canvas provide spaces for everything, including stencil-sheet hooks and holders for the light wand, crystal tip, and stencil shapes. And when it's time to be put away, the canvas rolls up for easy storage.

R/C Color Bug Doodling Toy
If glow-in-the-dark drawing isn't your speed, then what about a remote control doodling toy?  I love the idea of this one and it seems that it would bring doodling to a whole new dimension.  The adorable R/C ladybug is controlled by you creating new and amazing works of art with a wiggle of your thumb.  I do notice that paper is not included and I would definitely use large paper for this item in case of lady bug escapes!

The Science Geek
I love the Mythbusters and their commitment to making science interesting and fun and exposing how to do some really dramatic experiments, but the reason that this science kit caught my eye was the lack of dangerous supplies.  Water is an amazing substance and there are countless fun, family friendly experiments that you can do to explore its properties.  And if you disprove a few myths along the way, even better!

Elmer's Scientific Explorer Bill Nye Paper Recycling Factory

Here's another fun Science kit out there that encourages Green Geeklings.  It teaches children about recycling as they get to make real paper from the scraps around the house!  Plus, if your kids get good at it you won't have to spring for drawing paper or greeting cards again.

The Technology Geek:
Do your kids want the latest technology but you wonder how quickly they will break it?  Lego has come up with an amazing solution.  This digital camera and MP3 player are made from real legos but work fully.  They are durable and straightforward to use.  But what takes these toys beyond easy-to-use technology and into the realm of awesome geek toy is that they are fully lego compatable.  Build them into your Lego castles, spaceships or houses.  What would be cooler than a lego robot that actually plays music or take pictures!  I LOVE this idea and can't wait baby goat can play with Legos and these cool toys!

That concludes our first ever Geekling Gift List.  I hope you found something fun for the aspiring geeks in your life, or maybe even for your own Christmas list.  I won't judge.  I want play with all of these toys as any much as the geek kids I know.  So happy geek giving blogland.  Let me know if you are going to get any of these fabulous items!


No excuses, I didn't get to a post yesterday and while I'm bummed I shall carry on as if I were.  It seems sort of like a diet.  I cheated yesterday but today is a new day right?  No need to scrap the whole thing because of a few onion rings.

(Ironically onion rings inadvertently kept me from posting yesterday as I had a late night dinner after a work meeting to catch up with a friend and our router decided that it didn't want to work at 11:30pm last night!)

So, we shall commence with the carrying on.  Come back later today for my Geek kid gift guide!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What do you think?

So I'm thinking about changing the blog around some.  Maybe a new template, and a new name.  I still seems to be a true name for the blog but I'm not sure it fully represents the mom part of me now.  While I'm not sure I'll ever exactly be a "mommy blogger" it is just an increasing part of my life and I feel it needs representation.  So I'm in the market for a new name and since it is late and I'm sneaking in a post anyway I thought I'd ask your opinion.  Does anyone have any clever name titles, particularly including Geek, Mom, Lutheran and/or Goat Family?  I don't have a brilliant brainstorm yet but I'd love some thoughts to get me going!  Thanks in advance blogland.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blog post held due to real life

I was going to get to my awesome geek kid Christmas gift list today. Instead I:
  • Cleaned out my closets, finally put away my maternity wear, and got a goodwill pile together.
  • Watched Glee on Tivo.
  • Pumped.
  • Played with baby goat.
  • Went out to dinner with Mr. Goat and baby goat.
  • Put baby goat to sleep.
  • Played Lego Star Wars on Wii with Mr. Goat.
  • Snuck online at the last minute to post a lame post.
I don't regret it.  I will get to the geek kids list soon, but today was mostly away from the computer and it was great!  Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

20 Question Thursday

Today is a day where I have way more questions than answers so I thought I'd share some of them with you. Feel free to answer any you'd like, although they may not all have answers. And if you want to leave a question for me I'll answer as best I can in a later post!

Thursday's Questions:

1. What should I have for lunch?

2. Do you bring lunches to work? What do you eat?

3. What will baby goat weigh at his 9 month appointment in a few weeks?

4. Are we crazy for traveling so much over the holidays?

5. How will baby goat do on the plane?

6. How do you pack everything you need to travel when going by plane?

7. What should I get people for Christmas? Are there inexpensive, no craft talents, gift ideas for the broke?

8. Does baby goat need Christmas gifts at this age?

9. Am I a grinch if we don't get a tree since we'll be gone most of the holidays anyway?

10. What should I do with baby goat's baby clothes: keep for eventual next baby, sell to baby store, give to someone who needs them?

11. What should I be when I grow up?

12. Does anyone else find being an adult hard?

13. Why do I always spill on my shirts?

14. What gets out really old stubborn stains?

15. Consignment or Goodwill for the clothes I'm going to get rid of from my closet when I go through it tomorrow?

16. Should I keep some of the clothes that are too big for me even though I hope and pray (and am trying to ensure) that I'll never be that big again?

17. How many clothes do I really need?

18. Why do my attempts at being stylish always look foolish to me?

19. What green cleaners do you like - particularly for kitchen and bathroom?

20. How much breastmilk will the airlines let me travel with?

Whew...that was really way to easy. I could write a lot more but I think that 20 is more than enough. I'm overwhelmed by the questions but I don't want my readers to be. Weigh in if you'd like, leave your own if you want too, and play along on your own blog if you are so inclined. If people think this is fun maybe I'll do it again.

In other blog news - stay tuned tomorrow for some of my geek-inspired Christmas gifts ideas for kids. Baby goat isn't old enough and we aren't rich enough to get the all but I'll share my geek wish list with you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 ways my baby cheered me up tonight

I'll tell you, I've tried to write a blog post like 5 times today and I was in a serious funk.  I was feeling sensitive and vulnerable.  I was derailed by the smallest penny on the tracks today and the last thing I wanted to do was post something that was as whiny as I felt, but my negative thinking was the norm today.

And then I picked up baby goat from daycare and things got better.  Here are the top ten ways that baby goat cheered me up tonight, because that is far more imporant than any whines I had planned.

10.  His chubby cheeks in his hooded sweater when I picked him up from daycare.

9.  His soft baby snores as he took a cat nap on the way home.

8.  His glee for his oatmeal and pears.

7.  His *talking* to Grandpa Goat on the phone for his 60th birthday.

6.  His piano solo he played for me.

5.  His giggle when we played with the elephant.

4.  His bounce when the cat passed the exersaucer.

3.  His love of his books, even if it mostly for their eating potential at this point.

2.  His ability to go to bed wide awake and be fast asleep in minutes.

1.  His smile whenever I entered the room, sort of like this.

The fact that I get to be the mother to this precious child is still a miracle to me.  I am very lucky and am happy to be sensitive about THAT tonight!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Who'ya gonna call?

On Spacehook today I happened to mention that I hate talking on the phone.  I don't know why exactly I've never liked it.  Something about the mystery of who will pick up, combined with the fear of sounding stupid, and probably a bit of fear of rejection too.  To this day there are few people with whom talking on the phone comes naturally - my husband, our parents, our siblings, Tiffany and a few other close friends.  Otherwise I can and will call you but I'll feel uneasy about it.

I thought this was something unique to me, given my introvertedness and propensity toward anxiety but when I commented about my dislike on facebook all sorts of people came out and said that they felt the exact same thing.  It seemed that the people who liked the phone were of a somewhat older age, and my contemporaries disliked the phone.  So I'm curious about this.  Do you like talking on the phone?  Why or Why not? 

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Deadline Detour

I'm on a deadline tonight.  I have my outlines for a Sunday School curriculum I am working on due and have been balancing baby time and the deadline all weekend.  Things were going fine and I was thinking deeply about the Christmas story for the next section as I took a break from working to help Mr. Goat get baby goat's last bottle ready and get to bed.

Baby goat had other plans before it was time for bed.

Quite literally he sh*t on my plans.  (Up to his armpits!?!)

Suddenly the night called for a bath (it was an off night), some laundry and a tag team effort to clean up the baby.  It was awful, disgusting, and hilarious at the same time.  And best of all, baby goat was just being what he is...a baby.  He needs us to care for him and sometimes that requires a detour from my well laid plans.

It is ironic to me that I was busy thinking about the Christmas story.  In Seminary I had a professor who emphasized that God was born, literally, into the shit and stink of humanity in the stable.  If you've ever worked on a farm, you can understand that to be true.  Jesus was also born fully human, with all of the needs and normal functions that every baby, baby goat included, has.

It brought a whole new level to the Christmas story today.  Baby Jesus grew up in the same vulnerable, messy and needy positions that baby goat was in tonight.  It brings a whole new level to Mary and Joseph who served the roles of caregivers to him.  Baby goat brings a sense of reality to the nativity for me that the angelic hosts and smiling Mary statues fail to bring.

Christmas is coming, the ads have already begun, but I am just beginning to realize how being mom to baby goat has changed the story for me.  It may seem sacrireligious that a blowout led me down this new consideration of Christmas, but honestly, you had to be there.  There aren't swaddling clothes enough for the humanity of my baby tonight, and I'm certain he's not the first.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Packer vs Vikings Round Two

Remember when I said that my MIL was taking pictures of baby goat with Packer gear and Vikings horns.  They were especially for this post.  Without further adieu, my MIL presents:  The Packer/Viking Game ala baby goat.

Game Time! 

I'm So excited...

I think we're winning... 


We won!

Game Over.

It is true that my beloved Packers lost (again) to the Vikings but I am taking comfort in the fact that they needed a Packer to do it. In the interest of marital unity and allowing baby goat to ultimately make his own football choices I will agree to outfit baby goat in Vikings apparel willingly if the Vikings go to the Super bowl. If not however, his horns will need to be put on surreptitiously by my MIL during babysitting!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Uncharted Territory

This morning I was playing with baby goat on the floor during upright time after our bottle (30 minutes to help keep his reflux a bit at bay) while Mr. Goat showered and got ready to take him to daycare.  It came time to get him dressed so I left him seated and playing on his quilt.

Do you know where this is going yet?

I walked around the loveseat to the laundry bucket (I haven't put it away yet since I did the laundry when he was in three days, nevermind, the point is that his laundry is currently in the living room...stop laughing!).  Anyway I was 6 feet away and digging for socks which always seem impossible to find.

30 seconds later I found a pair and went back to baby.

Do you know where this is going yet?

I did not find baby goat where I had left him.  Instead of playing where he was he was 4 feet away, almost under the couch, playing with (read - trying to chew on) the laptop power cord.

Suddenly we have a mover.  I assume he rolled but I dont' really know.  He has rolled some but mostly back and forth since he still likes to avoid being on his tummy.

It seems like baby-proofing is going to be an imminent project now, and we'll have to be a bit more careful where we "leave" him when running to grab a bottle, bib or bathroom break. 

This is just one of the leaps it seems like he's made recently.  His sitting up has gone from wobbly to rock solid (most of the time) and when he sees something he wants it seems like he's going to find a way to get it.  He doesn't want to be in your lap too much any more, preferring to reach for some item that is more interesting than mom.  (By baby goat standards everything is more interesting than mom except when she is coming to break you out of the crib for the day or has a bottle).

So let the baby proofing begin.  In a way I've been dreading this and looking forward to it.  It is a huge step forward for baby goat but it is going to challenge my own cleaning and natural clutter tendencies.  Where are we going to put all our stuff to keep it away from baby?   What happens when he starts crawling towards the cat food, or worse, the litter box?  Do we need gates for our little apartment?  Who knows?  I suppose we'll just have to watch even more closely, but I'd like to get a jump on it before he electrocutes himself or topples a set of shelves.

Blogland, do you have any baby proofing ideas, tips or thoughts for me?  I am learning that a determined baby goat is suddenly a mobile baby goat!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

In my office...

When I began work at the church I was excited to have an office. Never mind that it was filled with the miscellaneous stuff that gets relegated as Children's Ministry "stuff" - curriculums, tag board with song lyrics, stuffed animals and art supplies. It was alright, it is still an office. With a door! And a window! (Even though the window doesn't open, what is up with THAT).

Still when I moved into the office I had to change a few things.  What was the first to go when I moved in however, were the cute posters and paintings of Jesus or Bible verses. There was a Jesus and Sheep painting, a Precious Moments depiction of the Nativity, and a few others. I'm fine with religious *art* but I find most of the stuff that gets hung up in churches to be cliche, forced and often supporting stereotypes of a white middle class Jesus. (Or in the case of precious moments just scary).

And then there is the Jesus painting:

The slack-jawed, dead eyed Giant Jesus sat over my desk staring at me from day one in my office.  (The picture really doesn't do it justice)  I had plans to take it down immediately but the guilt of taking down JESUS combined with crazy first week at my job kept Jesus up staring at me.  Everyday I would come in the office and think I'd get to it today.

But then at the end of my first week an elder member of the church and his wife stopped by after the weekly coffee hour to chat with me and introduce themselves.

"That painting was ours you know," they said matter-of-factly.  "It was given to us by some people after there was a fire at our house that killed our son and burnt everything down.  It used to hang about our mantle but it really didn't go very well and we thought the church could use it more.  We're SO glad that someone else can enjoy it."

So everyday for almost 5 years, the slack-jawed, dead-eyed Giant Jesus has greeted me and reminded me that what we see in one way there are others who see in a completely different light.  I may not see the Jesus I know it is face, but I see the faces of the family who lost a son, and that is enough to remind me what my purpose is here.

Still, there is part of me that wishes I had gotten it down before I knew the story of the Giant Jesus.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Baby Goat's first Halloween

As you saw in an earlier post, baby goat went as a Duck for our church's Trunk or Treat. And given his early love of all things duck it seemed like a good fit.  But it seemed like something else was needed for Halloween itself.  So, I am happy to present:  Baby Goat as a Baby Goat!

We spent Halloween at Grandma and Grandpa Goat's and trick-or-treated to a few family friends and had a great time.  Baby goat seemed to enjoy his costume - especially chewing on his goat goatee.  We got back late and he was so tired that he essentially slept through the fall back on Saturday night so he's still on schedule as it were.  It was a fun Halloween and I have lots of non-costume cute pictures that I'm sure will appear here and there during this month of posts.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Well it is November again (how did THAT happen?) and once again I'm going to give the National Blog Posting Month a try.  I did make it through last year and I'm hoping to again even though baby goat makes it a bit difficult now.  Ultimately I need to be on top of my life right now as I feel very scattered and I'm hoping that this will give me some control over something right now and that it might translate to other areas of my life.  I find when I am on top of one thing I do better in all areas of my life, so here goes.  Stop by each day this month and give me a shout out to keep going!  I am also planning a contest for later this month because hey, who doesn't like a contest.  Granted I don't have any wonderful companies giving me so much as a McMuffin to give away but I'm going to find something for you all from me with love to you!

So I hope you join me this month.  If you are new to the blog I'd love it is if you follow me here or on Facebook!  I may be all over the place but I like this blog and it makes me feel good to know that people are reading it.  I am also going to try to post a comment on the blog of everyone who comments here all month long and be more diligent about commenting myself.  Spread the love!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

For all the saints..

The day after Halloween is All Saints day in the church.  As a Lutheran Geek of the highest degree this day is marked on my church calendar and I look forward to it each year.   It is a time to remember those whom we've lost, this year in particular.   Now most years I have enjoyed this day in the church as a time to reflect on the promise of eternal life that God gives us and all of the saints who have gone ahead of us in a way, as it has been a while since I lost anyone I knew well.  This year was different however.  This year I lost two people who refocused this church holiday and moved it from the general to the specific.  So today I had two people on my mind:  My friend Emilie and Mr. Goat's Aunt Barbara.

I didn't know Mr. Goat's Aunt well but when we traveled down to her funeral I got to hear and know more of Mr. Goat's extended family than I had known before and it was clear to me that I am blessed to be a part of this family.   It made me said that I hadn't had more time to get to know her before she passed.  She never got to meet baby goat either, but in a way because of her funeral baby goat got to meet much more of his family more quickly than he otherwise would have.   I admire her tenacity though, her commitment to her community, and her love of books. 

The other loss this year is one I've talked about here before.  On Christmas Eve last year my dear friend Emilie lost her battle with cancer leaving behind a husband, two small sons and a cathedral full of friends and family who miss her.  I think about Emilie a lot.  I've dreamt about her.  I wonder what it would have been like to talk about our sons together, or to debate the merits of the H1N1 vaccine or the Lutheran Church assembly decision.  I wonder about her family and how they are doing, not just in general but in the everyday reality of missing her.  She has given me a picture of how to live a life of generosity, courage and grace and I miss her.  I wish she could have hugged baby goat but I am so glad she knew that he was expected! 

These are my saints who I remember today.  They join the ranks of my grandmother, grandfather and countless others who have shaped my life and my faith.  Who do you remember today?