Monthly Archives: December 2009

crawling in a winter wonderland.



I can’t believe it’s Christmastime already. Last night we had Christmas with my extended family, and today Sam opened his gifts from my parents as we’ll be in Atlanta with his other set of grandparents on Christmas Day this year. I couldn’t help but reflect on last Christmas — I was gigantically, freakishly, ridiculously pregnant and sort of miserable and ready to be done. This year I have an almost one-year old who looked so handsome in his Christmas outfit, which he wore to church today.

We’re heading down to Tim’s parents’ house in Atlanta for Christmas this year. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing family, but we’re not so much looking forward to the long drive with an 11-month old. We’re driving through the night on Wednesday and hope and pray he sleeps and doesn’t get his routine all screwed up.

If anyone has any tips for loooong car rides with 11 month olds, feel free to leave a comment! It should be an adventure to say the least. Which is how everything this past year has been.

bye bye dairy.

Today I took Sam to a chiropractor in Carmel. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first — who takes their babies to a chiropractor? But in our desperate struggle to figure out what was causing all of Sam’s night wakings, I thought it was at least worth a shot. I had really been struggling with what to do. I had so much conflicting information whirling and swirling around in my sleep-deprived brain. Was he waking out of habit? Did he just need to cry himself to sleep for a few really rough nights? Was all this waking up normal? For some reason neither of those strategies really sat well with me.  Somehow I just felt that something was bothering Sam, and that’s why he was waking up so much.

As it turns out, his neck was a little screwy. Probably from being posterior at birth. The chiropractor said his head wasn’t exactly aligned with his spine. He was also suffering from some tight muscles at the base of his head, which was why he didn’t want to nurse on the left side as a wee bitty baby. He couldn’t turn his head to get in the right position.

The chiropractor (who is a lovely, smart, holistically-minded doctor) also said that his puffy, red eyes were most likely due to a dairy allergy. I had long suspected a dairy allergy, but for some reason hearing it from someone else was the impetus I needed to go ahead and eliminate it from both of our diets.  She also said that the dairy allergy was contributing to his frequent ear infections. The tight muscles at the base of his head were also contributing, as they were preventing his ears from draining completely.  With a few adjustments, and no dairy, we’ll be on our way to (we hope) better sleep and fewer ear infections. Woohoo!

I think I will be able to find dairy-free substitutes for most things I love (like milk, and ice cream, and cream in my coffee). But I will miss cheese a lot. It’s not forever, and I’ll probably be healthier in the long run without it. And, of course, my baby boy is worth it.

So we waved bye-bye to dairy today. Sam just figured out how to wave bye-bye. It’s so cute. Now when we are getting ready to go somewhere, I’ll say to him, “Let’s get ready to go bye-bye.” And he’ll start to wave. He’s just cute.

resting, resting.

Sort of accidental-like, we selected Sam’s life hymn. If you know me you know that I am in love with old hymns, so when I was pregnant with Sam I gave some thought to what hymn I would like to be “his” hymn. I sort of had planned to sing this hymn right after he was born, but as it turns out I had vastly underestimated how completely wiped out I would be immediately after pushing a 9 lb 4 oz child out from inside of me, and we never really settled on a hymn before I had him.

Someday I’ll write a post about all our sleep struggles with this kid, but for now let’s just say that he’s not been a great sleeper. He doesn’t need as much sleep as other babies his age, he needs more parental help winding down/falling asleep than other babies his age, and he needs more help staying asleep than other babies his age. It’s just how he is.

So at some point, maybe 4 months, I started singing the hymn, “Jesus, I am resting, resting” to him when rocking him to sleep. (Yeah, it was really neat when he would only sleep if he was touching me — in our bed or in a rocking chair). I don’t really care for the original tune (kinda boring) but I love the version Matthew Smith sings on his album “All I Owe.” It’s been my prayer for Sam — that he’d be able to rest at night — but ultimately that he’d find peace for his little, sweet, restless, spirited soul in Christ. And, it’s been a comfort to me as well — that I’d find rest in Jesus even when my body longs for sleep and I am at my wit’s end trying to figure out why my child doesn’t sleep like the books all say he “should” or “can” if only I follow these 4 easy steps, etc.

thanksgiving recipe reviews

This year for Thanksgiving I made two different dishes, two times.  I’m always a little wary of making an untried recipe that people other than us will have to try, because what if the food is gross? This year, I’d say one dish was a hit and one dish was a miss.


Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread from Smitten Kitchen.

The first time I made this dish was for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday. Everyone raved over it, but I wasn’t totally satisfied with it. The fact that I accidentally used a 9-in pan when in fact the recipe called for a 10-in pan may have had something to do with it — the pan was overfilled so it spilled over the sides (all over the bottom of my oven) and the middle took way longer to cook, so the edges were more brown than I would have liked. This was easily remedied though — I only filled the 9-in pan 2/3rds of the way full the next day for the Birkel Thanksgiving dinner, and poured the excess batter in a small bread pan. It turned out wonderfully. My father-in-law said he could “eat [the cornbread] indefinitely,” so it seemed to be a big hit. I’ll definitely add this recipe to my Thanksgiving repertoire.


Turnip Gratin from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Oh, how excited I was about this recipe. The moment it appeared in my Google reader, I was drooling.  I dreamed about turnips in all their cheesy, melty, fattening glory for days leading up to Thanksgiving. Sadly, though, this recipe just didn’t meet my expectations. I probably added too much chicken broth and heavy whipping cream, so it was too liquid-y, even both times I made it. The first day I tried to hand-cut all the turnips but my slices weren’t thin enough, and consequently, the turnips weren’t as tender as I would have liked them to be for a gratin recipe. I even cooked it for longer than the 20 minutes the recipe calls for. The second day I got wise and used my food processor to slice the turnips, which resulted in much thinner slices, but they still didn’t end up tender enough. I didn’t use Gruyere cheese, either — I was going to, but then I saw that it was $15.99 a pound so I called Tim and made him look up substitutions for Gruyere all while reminding him that if I had an iPhone, I could look up cheese substitutions from Marsh myself (He wasn’t convinced that this was a good enough reason for an iPhone. I’ll keep trying). Anyway, both families were polite but I didn’t get the rave reviews and eye-rolls and moans and groans I was hoping for. I’ll keep it in mind though — I think if I researched some other turnips gratin recipes and perhaps parboiled the turnip slices first, it could be a winner.

All in all two wonderful Thanksgivings. We’re very blessed to have two amazing families. Sam is one loved kid.