The morning my husband drank breastmilk

My husband has a hard time remembering things. Or maybe he has a hard time listening. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two, I don’t know. I’ve been told it’s a fairly common husband trait but I’ve nothing to compare him to–he’s the only husband I’ve ever had. I hope he’s the only husband I will ever have, but there’s a chance that he may be wife-shopping after he reads this.

To backtrack a little, we have two recent additions to our family. On April 1, our twin boys joined our family. They’re precious and lovely–and they eat like little monsters. At almost 5-months-old, they’re still nursing every 2-3 hours each. I also pump some and keep a small supply in case I want to leave them with their daddy or a sitter. So that means, more times than not, I either have a baby or a pump attached to my boobs. If you add the hours to date, I’ve nursed them for about 16 days (hi friends! That’s why you rarely see me!). That doesn’t even include the time I’ve spent pumping. My milk, as any mom who’s ever nursed or tried to nurse knows, is precious to me.

Along with constant feedings comes a lack of sleep. I’m so tired all the time, and I’ve taken to drinking several cups of coffee a day. In an effort to cut back on my sugar intake, I’ve starting mixing regular coffee creamer with unsweetened almond milk. If you add a bit of vanilla, pumpkin, or coconut extract to it, it’s very good! I convinced my husband to try it and now he drinks it too. If you open our fridge, it’s always sitting on the top shelf. He never knows what flavor I’m going to surprise him with, but he always knows where it is: I keep it in a glass bottle on the top shelf of the fridge.

Have I mentioned what a wonderful daddy my sweet husband is? He’s not like those fathers you hear about who don’t want to play with their kids or take on any of the responsibilities. He’s very hands-on and involved. In addition, once a week when he comes home from work, he takes over with all three children while I leave the house for a few hours by myself. It’s usually just to go to the grocery store, but it’s time away from spit-up and crying and being touched. I need that time alone to recharge and he understands that. So it’s without complaint each week on my “night off” that he comes home from work and takes over. Because I pump some, there’s always a big bottle of milk in the refrigerator for him to make bottles for the boys. I don’t have to give him instructions; he knows where the milk is: on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

Without fail, this is how our refrigerator is organized. I’ve told my dear husband many, many times, “Dear husband, the coffee creamer is on the top shelf. The breastmilk is on the bottom shelf. I will always, always keep these bottles separate this way. Please. Do not feed coffee creamer to the babies.”

And on other occasions, “Dear husband, do you remember that the coffee creamer is on the top shelf? This bottle right here is the creamer. Please. Do not feed creamer to the babies.”

And other times, “Dear husband, this bottle on the bottom shelf is breastmilk. This is for the babies. The bottle on the top shelf is the coffee creamer. Please. Do not feed creamer to the babies.”

In fairness, I’ve never clarified to him that he should never pour breastmilk into his coffee. Regardless, I’ve been so clear about this. So very, very clear. For instance, I bet you, a person who does not live in our house, could tell me right now where I keep our coffee creamer. Right?

But my husband, he has a hard time remembering things. Or listening…probably both. Hands down, it’s what causes the most arguments in our marriage: he doesn’t listen to me, and I go nuts. I don’t know how to fix this problem, it’s something we’ve struggled with for years. But what I do know is, this morning, we were out of coffee creamer. And when I opened the refrigerator and realized this, I yelled from the kitchen to the other room where my husband was, “Aww man! We’re out of creamer!” To which he replied, “no we’re not. It’s on the bottom shelf…”

He trails off a bit as he walks into the kitchen and sees me holding the glass bottle in my hand. He says to me, “that is coffee creamer, right?” I looked at the bottle, I looked at him. In my mind I’m thinking, “That asshole wasted my breastmilk! Doesn’t he know how hard I work for this stuff? My God, why doesn’t he ever listen to me?!” As I pictured him dumping my precious milk into his stupid coffee, I could feel the anger rising. But in that instant, I chose to avoid an argument. After all, why cry over spilled milk? The damage was already done.

So I looked at him sweetly and said, “Yup. Sure is.” And then I kissed him goodbye and sent him off to work.

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And Then There Were 5

Lesson 84: Mind your business

It’s been quiet over here for awhile, I know.

I haven’t known what to write.

I considered starting Lesson 84 about potty-training, but then I didn’t know what to write because my son wouldn’t use the damn potty, so I failed at potty-training (P.S. he got there in his own time, not much thanks to me). Once I hit that block, I was done. I was stuck at potty-training and couldn’t think of a thing to write about past that.

Well, I could. I had a lot on my mind actually, but it was a lot that I wasn’t ready to share. And I’m not completely comfortable sharing it now, but I have to start somewhere I guess.

Let’s talk about the question, When are you going to have another baby?

Can we please all agree to refrain from asking people about their family planning? I know the thought behind the question is good—I’ve asked it myself. But please know that, when you ask that question, you may be punching a woman (or a man) in the gut.

After over a year of trying, I was devastated when we couldn’t get pregnant with our second child–a child I always assumed we’d have with no problem. I never knew that kind of hurt existed, the mourning of a child who kept failing to exist every single month. So when well-meaning friends (or strangers! What the hell?) would ask me about the state of my uterus, it was hard not to scream or cry. Or both.

The simple fact is: family planning is none of your business unless it’s your family you’re planning. Maybe a couple doesn’t want kids, or maybe a couple can’t have kids; and just because a couple has a child does not mean that it’s easy to have another. Should a woman have to explain to you that she simply doesn’t feel a longing for children? Or that she’s been trying for years to get pregnant, and cannot? Or perhaps that one partner wants children and the other doesn’t? Should she have to tell you how many times she’s cried realizing she may never give her child a sibling? Or should she try to define to you the pain, joy, and jealousy she feels each time a friend of hers makes a pregnancy announcement? Should she explain to you that she just experienced yet another miscarriage?

This is a loaded question folks—just don’t ask it. It’s none of your damn business. And unfortunately, good manners dictate that we can’t scream that in your nosy face.

I won’t discuss our struggle any further because it’s not just about me or my husband. Happily, it’s now about our second baby too. Oh, and our third. We prayed so hard for another baby for so long, that God sent us two little blessings (which brings me to another point: When I tell you I’m having twins, an appropriate response is not, I’m glad it’s not me. You can think it all day long, but you don’t need to say it to me. I’m so incredibly blessed that it IS me. These babies are not our burdens.).

Now our struggle is a part of their story, and it feels very personal. But I just needed to say that it’s not always easy for everybody, it’s not always a happy story, and it doesn’t always have a happy ending.

I’m incredibly thankful that our story appears to be well on the track to happily ever after.

And Then There Were 5

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Lesson 83: Christmas isn’t about Santa–or cupcakes–but it’s okay if your 2-year-old thinks it is

Have you ever had that moment as a parent when you pat your back and nod approvingly, perhaps a little arrogantly, at yourself as you think what a good job you just did?

This isn’t that moment.

As Christmas has approached this year, we’ve been having a blast with J because this is the first year that he’s really into it. He’s talking about Santa, exclaiming over the Christmas lights, talking about Santa, asking to listen to Christmas songs, talking about Santa…

Have I mentioned that he’s talking about Santa?

And that’s not a bad thing. I like Santa–he’s a good guy. And I love the magic that comes with Santa, so I’m nurturing his curiosity and encouraging his joy.

But on the way home from school today, when he brought up Santa for the 1,424,398th time this season, I thought, maybe I need to tell him that Christmas isn’t about Santa. So I turned off the radio, put on my serious Mommy voice, and said, “J, do you know why we celebrate Christmas?”

Of course he replied, “No.” He’s 2. He always replies no.

So I told him, “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. We celebrate Christmas so we can celebrate Jesus’ birthday.”

He immediately exclaimed, “We eat cake?!”

“Sure baby, we can have a cake for Jesus’ birthday. That’s a good idea!”

So he’s sitting in the back seat all excited and clapping his hands. I let the moment settle and then I ask him, “So J, why do we celebrate Christmas?”

He says, “To eat cupcakes!”

Huh. That didn’t quite go how I had hoped.

I’m okay with his current understanding. He’s 2. Just trying to plant a seed over here…

However, we might consider talking about our Nativity set a little more.

Nativity

(I don’t really know where to credit this picture…it’s not mine. But it made me giggle snort.)

One-Pot Chicken Florentine

I found this recipe on Nurturebaby and edited it a bit.

Remove all the meat from a rotisserie chicken (remember to save the bones and fat for chicken stock!) and set aside.

01 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

(Or, if you’d prefer, dice and saute 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.)

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and saute 6 oz. of Recipe Ready onions and mushrooms (or 3/4 cup chopped onion) and 1 chopped squash in a large pot until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).

02 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 10 ounces frozen spinach (thawed) to the pot and saute for about 2-3 more minutes.

03 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Now, I have a picky toddler who doesn’t particularly want to eat vegetables these days. If yours is less picky, you can skip this step. To hide the vegetables, I remove them from the pot to puree them, then add them back to the pot. You’ll probably want to let them cool before pureeing them, but I’ve found that I don’t have to do that with the CuisinartBaby.

04 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup whole milk, 1 tbsp minced garlic, and 1 tsp sea salt to the pot.

05 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 1 cup small whole wheat pasta to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until pasta is tender.

06 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 1/2 c parmesan cheese.

07 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Mix in the cooked chicken.

08 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

If you’re making this for a young baby, poor the mixture by batches into a blender and puree to desired consistency before freezing.

For a child who can manage the bites, simply pour the mixture into muffin tins, cover with foil, then freeze. Once they have frozen completely, remove from the muffin tins and store in gallon-sized freezer bags.

09 One-Pot Chicken Florentine 10 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Yields 22 servings.

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To-Go Omelettes

Need a breakfast on the go? Make these veggie-packed omelettes ahead of time and freeze them for a fast, healthy meal for your kiddo.

You’ll need eggs, grated sharp cheddar cheese, milk, olive oil, ground mustard, garlic powder, and sea salt.

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You’ll also need about 4 cups of raw vegetables. I just use a combination of whatever I can find in the freezer. This mixture contains white onion, mushrooms, carrots, green peas, asparagus, and zucchini.

To-Go Omelettes (02)

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Sauté veggies with a sprinkle of garlic powder, sea salt, and ground mustard until tender.
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While the veggies are cooking, crack 12 eggs into a large mixing bowl.

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Add 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup milk, and another sprinkle of garlic powder, ground mustard, and sea salt.

To-Go Omelettes (05)

Mix well.

Now, at this point you can evenly distribute your sautéed veggies among muffin tins, so that each compartment is filled about halfway.
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Then just pour the egg mixture over the vegetables.

But if you have a picky toddler like I have, consider lightly puréeing the veggies.

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Then mix the pureed vegetables into the egg mixture before distributing it among the muffin tins.

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What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him…
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Bake on 350 for 25 minutes (35 minutes if you mixed puréed vegetables into the egg mixture), or until they are cooked through.
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Once they’ve cooled completely, remove them from the muffin tins, lay them in rows on a cookie sheet and freeze for 2 hours.

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Place in gallon-sized freezer bags to store.
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Simply heat in the microwave before serving.

Yields 23 Omelettes.

Chocolate-Vegetable Muffins

Steam 1 small chopped zucchini and 1 cup frozen broccoli florets until just tender.

Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (01)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup agave nectar, and 1 tbsp milk.

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Stir in 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup flax seed mill, 3 tbsp cocoa, and 1 tsp baking powder.

Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (03)

Once vegetables have finished steaming, purée them. Add the purée to the muffin mixture.
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This is disgusting. It truly looks and smells disgusting. I hate broccoli so much, so I’m really hoping these muffins don’t taste like poo.

Finally, add 1/2 c dark chocolate chips to the mixture. Mix well.
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Distribute among muffin tins, filling each compartment about 3/4 full.
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Bake for 20 minutes at 350.

And the result? These are yummy!! I can’t even taste any of the offensive broccoli!

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Yields 12 muffins.