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Oh, oh, it’s Maciek, you know!

I think it’s high time we had a Maciek update, don’t you? Especially since this is what I had I wanted to start off this post with:

And before I even had a chance to write it, he straight up started doing this:

So, here are the quick stats, in number form. See if you can guess what the number matches up to before you scroll down!

8

Months old, as of a week ago. Such a big boy now!

23

Pounds. At least. When we weighed him a week or so ago, he was 23.2, so who even knows what he weighs now.

18

Clothing size: 18 months. Yes, you read that right: 10 months “older” than his actual age. That’s more than twice his age, for the mathematically uninclined. Yes, I do realize that these sizes really match up to height/weight more than age, but it’s still crazy. I also wish there was size-AND-age-appropriate clothing for babies because a) Maciek is still a BABY and I want him to wear BABY clothes. But sorry, he’s the size of a toddler, so he must wear toddler clothes now, no choice about that. And b) his proportions are not that of a toddler! Luckily he has super long legs (part of the reason why he grows out of clothes so quickly, actually. Thanks, James), but his poor arms are almost always too short for his sleevies. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

2

Months, the average amount of time Maciek wears a size before he grows out of it. That means lots of trips to Carter’s for us. ๐Ÿ™‚

5

Teeth, officially! He’s got at least one more that’s just below the surface, but so far my bite marks say 5.

3

New skills learned within four weeks. Yep, in less time than it took him to turn a month older (he did all of this between turning seven and turning eight months), he learned to sit steadily on his own, sit up on his own, and crawl. Honest to goodness, crawl. Mobile Maciek is so different than stationary Maciek, and definitely more challenging to keep up with. But pretty entertaining as well! (I should mention here that he’s also learned to eat Cheerios and play the piano, as the video shows. No big deal.)

Many

Ok, so it’s not really a number, but that word refers to the amount of new foods he’s tried, which include millet, quinoa, blueberries, mint, green beans, cauliflower, bananas, avocados, mangos, and turkey!

I think that’s a pretty decent update for now. I’ll leave you with what my master engineer baby managed to do this afternoon.

Besides flipping over pianos. Hulk baby.

I sometimes entice him into playing with his blocks by building him a little pyramid, which he then promptly destroys by trying to take a piece out of it. Not so today:

Mayhaps he's just a master Jenga player.

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Bananas over birthdays!

This weekend my family celebrated some very special birthdays. My youngest nephew Kacio turned a year old (yay, happy birthday!) and my dear mother turned, um, 35 maybe? Something like that.

Anyway, we had a wonderful family dinner with TWO birthday cakes and lots of eating and talking and fun. Here’s Kacio with his delicious, chocolatey birthday cake made by his mama:

Happy birthday Kacio!

Yum!

When I asked my mom what kind of cake to make for her birthday, she requested no chocolate (what?!) and no citrusy flavors. Maybe she was afraid of the crazy cakes I’ve made before, ha. But this actually made things super difficult! As I looked through my amazing cookbook, I kept going, “Ooh! That looks good! Oh wait, chocolate. Ooh, how about thi-, no, chocolate. Hmm.” Finally, though, I found one of the most unique cakes I’d ever seen.

You see, most of the time when I think of layer cakes, I think of the basics – cakes that taste like vanilla, chocolate, some kind of nuts maybe, with pretty straightforward fillings and frostings. So the cake that I ended up picking was something completely different. I give you:

Banana Layer Cake with Caramel Cream and Sea-Salt Roasted Pecans.

Awwww yeaaaaah. I just thought it sounded so unique! It’s like bananas foster, elevated to cake status! I got to use some new techniques and new equipment (yay for candy thermometers!) for this cake, too, so that’s always good for my baking-education purposes. I will say this, though, if ever you make a cake whose filling is essentially whipped-cream-based, please, for goodness’ sake, assemble it on-site or make sure to chill it for several hours before you take it anywhere. Otherwise you end up with this:

A delicious avalanche.

Sad. Still tasted great!

So if you’re looking for something completely different, I suggest you check out this cake some time. I’m not even usually a fan of banana-flavored things, but honestly, this cake was fantastic. The sweetness of the bananas mixed with the saltiness and crunchiness of the pecans? Delish. Here’s the rest of the pictures to get you salivating… and baking! Seriously, try it!

Close-up of those home-roasted pecans. These are worth making by themselves.

Four layers!

That’s it for this weekend. Have a wonderful week!

Don’t pop the bubble!

I try not to rant on this blog. Not because I don’t have things to rant about, mind you – that’s just the problem. If I let myself rant, I could rant as much as the day is long, just because I can be a crotchety person like that. But let’s be honest, nobody really needs that. Hence I don’t rant.

But there has been this thing recently that’s really gotten my goat. Evidently more so than my usual pet peeves as I’m breaking my no-rant rule for it. I’ll just look at this as a sort of public service announcement, so that if you ever find yourself in this situation, you’ll at least have another perspective to think about. Here goes:

PLEASE don’t touch my baby if you don’t know me. Please.

Maybe this doesn’t bother other people as much as it bothers me, I don’t know. I don’t speak for all mothers everywhere but please at least keep this in mind. If I don’t know you, don’t touch my baby!

I read somewhere once that women get much more protective and confident when they become mothers, and I definitely think that’s true. But honestly, I think this is an issue of personal space more than anything else. I like hugs and chilling out cozily on the couch as much as the next person, but I wouldn’t go stroke a stranger’s hair or pinch their cheeks or anything. And I think most of us wouldn’t do that! So why is it that people have this insatiable urge to touch babies, even if they don’t know them? Aren’t babies even more vulnerable and in need of a personal bubble than the rest of us?

Now don’t get me wrong. I love it when people stop me on neighborhood walks, in the grocery store, at parties, whatever, to tell me how adorable my baby is. I totally agree! He’s amazing! But if I don’t know you, there is no reason why you need to touch him. So admire from afar, please!

I could have filed this away under the very few personal-space issues that I have (like pregnant-belly touching; I don’t really get that one either. I don’t touch your belly – don’t touch mine, friend!), but this one’s particularly important to me as it involves my child. So forgive this newly protective and confident mama, and ask before you touch!

Thanks for listening, and I promise I’ll try to avoid rants in the future! See you at the next dessert post!

Why am I not being used?

I have a bone to pick with modern society. You see, I spent five and a half good years of my life getting three degrees (yes, three!). I also have a beautiful son at home that brightens my whole life and who needs my care.

And here enters my bone.

WHY is it that in today’s society, you’re forced to choose between your career aspirations and your family? Most companies these days talk about a so-called work/life balance, but what they really mean is, “Give us at least forty of your best hours in one week and use the rest to spend some time doing whatever else you still have the energy for.”

Maybe I’m just a little pessimistic about all of this. Maybe some companies really are better than others about offering their employees the time and resources necessary to pursue goals outside of work. But the fact of the matter is that for you to be a valuable member of their workforce, you have to give over at least forty hours a week, and in their offices.

Now, I consider myself a fairly highly-educated individual. I’ve earned two undergraduate degrees and one Masters degree. I’d like to contribute to the working world using my skills that I’ve accumulated over the years. Why is it that, to do so, I have to give up all of my time with my son, instead handing him over to daycare and letting someone else raise him and see his first moments?

Please don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with women who want or need to go to work full-time and put their children in daycare. Everybody’s situation and goals are different, and everything works out fine in the end. But I, personally, want to be at home with my baby. I also want to show what I can do, professionally.

Perhaps I’m asking too much. This is most likely a case of I-want-to-have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too. But hear me out – don’t you think there are employers out there that could benefit from hard-working, valuable employees that work part-time and/or entirely from home? If they’re part-time workers, they wouldn’t even have to be given benefits.

James points out to me that most employers have time-sensitive projects and they can’t afford to have people working on them only half the time. But honestly, there have to got to be some projects that maybe can’t afford a full-time hire but could use an extra set of hands part of the time. Either way, I just feel like there’s a whole untapped pool of talent out there that gets overlooked simply because parents aren’t willing to give up all of their time with their children. And I’m part of that frustrated pool.

If I have to pick exclusively out of the two, I’ll most likely always pick my baby – but it’d be nice to know that my hard-earned degrees are being put to good use.

Just food for thought, I guess.

Babynappers

…By which I mean people who kidnap babies.

But by which I also mean babies who nap. Which now includes (are you ready for it?) Maciek.

*Gasp!*

So I have concluded that a babynapper has babynapped my baby and replaced him with a babynapper, or a baby who naps.

Because, seriously. How else do you go from a baby who takes four half-hour naps per day to a baby who takes two 1.5-hour naps and is currently working on his third one? Practically overnight?! Yeah, I don’t know either. Alls I know is that I hope this pattern sticks.

I also am starting to believe that Maciek is a tricky genius. I read somewhere that babies’ sleep matures at four months. And when did Maciek start sleeping better? This past Monday. The day he turned four months old. I kid you not, friends. I think he realized that he only had four months to live it up in bad sleeping behavior so he took it for all it was worth, and then instantaneously switched over to “normal” sleeping when it was time to do so.

Crazy kid.

But hey, I’m not complaining. He’s getting enough sleep and I’m getting things done. Good stuff.

Here’s to you, babynapper!

Passed out.

Let’s keep it clean

Out of all the recurring house-chores out there, keeping things clean is the worst. No sooner have you washed, dried, folded, and put the laundry away when the next load is ready to be washed. No sooner have you cleaned the kitchen to perfection when it’s time to make dinner. No sooner have you finally sorted through all that junk mail when today’s mail comes in. And of course all of this isn’t counting that secret messy office and the master bathroom that is never quite clean because, let’s face it, you’re the only ones who see it anyway. Keeping your house clean and in order is like a constant uphill battle. In snow. Wearing skis.

But today some good friends came over so I wanted to be sure the house was spick and span for their visit. As soon as the hurried during-Maciek’s-short-nap cleaning was over, that magical feeling set in. You know the one. It’s that feeling you get when, all of a sudden, your house is perfectly clean and all you can think of is wonder who replaced your home with that beautiful model home. You can actually *see* the kitchen counters. Your table functions as an eating space again. The baby toys and blankets are all contained. So you reverently tiptoe around all the rooms and only whisper in quiet awe so as not to disturb the wonderful cleanliness of it all.

What puzzles me most is the fact that I even GET this feeling to begin with. All my pre-married life, I was that person who swore by the “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify?” adage. Seriously. Every time I was, ahem, gently reminded to clean my room and desk when I was a kid, at the end I’d think the whole thing looked kind of eerie and creepy. I much preferred my lived-in, cozy clutter. But as soon wifedom descended upon me, the tables completely turned. Oh sure, I didn’t walk around with Clorox wipes attached to my belt lest I find a smudge, but I definitely got way more obsessed with cleaning. These days I have to avert my eyes from my kitchen sink if I know there are dishes in it because it makes me uncomfortable. I’m genuinely saddened to see mail strewn about my kitchen table. And the basket of clean laundry that’s been sitting around since yesterday, patiently waiting to be folded around Maciek’s erratic sleep schedule? Don’t even get me started.

So you can understand why, this evening, I am content to simply sit on our couch, being careful not to crease the throw pillows and blankets too much, begrudgingly marring the vast expanse of our clean coffee table with a coaster for my water glass, just to bask in all this serenely clean beauty.

Fortunately our couch faces away from our kitchen, which is already besmattered with this evening’s pots, pans, and dishes.

Today’s blog post: A novel

Phew. So after several days of not much to write about, I have an overabundance of things to share, not the least of which is this week’s dessert. But you’re going to have to wait for that because I’ve got other things to say first (*laughs malevolently*).

First, this week was kind of tough. Between Maciek still taking his short catnaps during the day and James working crazy-long hours because of a big push a work and me not getting enough sleep because I’d try to do as much as I could in the evenings after Maciek went to sleep, I was starting to go a little nuts. I’ve really dedicated myself to staying at home (or at the most, venturing out to one Grandma’s house or the other) as much as I can so Maciek could have a stable sleeping environment – and I have to say, it’s definitely paid off. Since I’ve last written about his sleeping habits (which is no true indication of how often I actually think about his sleeping habits, seeing as how I eat, sleep, and breathe thinking about how he sleeps), we’ve made progress. I can now put Maciek to sleep and then set him down (gasp!) in his crib, every time. This has given me a little more time to get things done, although it really is just a little bit – he won’t sleep longer than 35 minutes at a time. It’s INSANE. I’ve often wondered how wee little Maciek would do in the wild; he doesn’t even have the basic instinct to sleep. How is that? I thought every living creature knew to regenerate itself when needed! No. Not Maciek. But like I said, I can now set him down. I have to remind myself we are constantly making progress.

But then, today, he did something WONDERFUL. You see, when he wakes up after 35 minutes, he’s never actually fully rested. I always try to coax him back to sleep but somehow it fails every time. Even if I pick him up and put him to sleep, he’ll wake up a few minutes after I set him back down. Sad times. However, this morning I set him down for his morning nap as usual and he slept his usual 45 minutes (his one morning nap is somehow longer than his other naps. Go figure.) and then woke up. The difference was that *this* time, two of my coaxing tries were enough to get him to go back to sleep. FOR ANOTHER 45-50 MINUTES. I couldn’t believe it! It was trรจs exciting and literally made my whole day.

Who, me? Not sleep? Bah!
Cute kid.

At this point I should say that I realize that probably NO ONE else finds this as exciting as I do, but to a sleep-deprived, at her wits’-end Mama, this kind of stuff is golden. And it’s my blog, so nanny-nanny-boo-boo and all that.

Secondly, I am so super excited to have purchased two wonderful, glorious new dessert cookbooks. One is all about pretty and special cakes (although the author clearly uses that term loosely, seeing as how the book has cupcakes and tarts also) and the other has got to be the mother of all dessert cookbooks. Honestly. I’m pretty sure this thing is heavier than my college circuits textbooks, and that’s saying something. If I get my act together, I’ll definitely post a picture of it. It’s crazy. In any case, I’m so excited because these books represent an endless abyss of new dessert ideas. I’m pretty sure that between the two of them, I could bake for the rest of my life and never run out of recipes. Awesome.

Aaaaaand that’s about it. So it’s been a pretty good weekend to cap off a sometimes-frustrating week. ‘Til next time!

What? What dessert? Oh, you mean the dessert I make every weekend? What? That dessert? Ok, fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here it is. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with… Bananas Foster!

James helping me spoon up deliciousness.

Served over vanilla ice cream.

So delicious you have no idea.

I was tipped off to this week’s dessert when my mother-in-law sent me a link to a blog she and my sister-in-law absolutely love. I’d never checked it out before, but I clicked on the link to see what it looked like – and the Bananas Foster caught my eye. I immediately found myself thinking, “Man, I wish I had an excuse to make this dessert some time. Oh WAIT. I write a blog about desserts. Sweet! (no pun intended (ok, maybe a little)).” In an effort to cut down on the novel I’ve already written today, I’ll let you check out the full recipe here, but suffice it to say that this thing has copious amounts of butter, brown sugar, pecans, and rum (and fire!) and is absolutely scrumptious.

Next week, however, I think I’ll go back to baking. As awesome and low-key as these last two desserts have been, I’ve really missed getting my kitchen all floury and spiking up my AC bills by leaving the oven on and really getting into some good old-fashioned baking. So stay tuned for next week’s BAKED dessert. I hope you’re as excited as I am!