Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

Well, hello there. Apparently I am posting now once a quarter. Ah well.

So, you guys who come to my little corner of the world get to see some silly potential Christmas card pictures:

I can't imagine what it is like for people with more than two kids. At least there was one adult per child in this scenario.

SOMEONE is a little too excited in this picture. (Remind me to tell you sometime about the passport photo I had taken in college....well ok, I will tell you now. After seventeen photos of me with my eyes half closed the photographer said, "For Pete's sake! Hold your eyes OPEN!" The effect was similar, though much more pronounced, to the photo above.)

It gets a little ridiculous after a while, doesn't it?

Ah yes, here is one we can use. FINALLY. It isn't perfect of anyone, but it is the best of all four of us. And so.....

Merry Christmas from our house to yours. And may your New Year be full of joy and peace and blessings.

(Please look back and note that my husband and my younger son almost always look pleasant and happy. Then look at how goofy my older kid and I are. Sheesh. I want a "photo" smile.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

It was a bright blue morning. Crisp, for late summer. There was a freshness in the air that made people here in the DC area a little bit more perky. I had been back to work for about a week after a terrible August*. My boss and I had a horrid day-long deposition to take/defend for one of our stupider clients who shall, obviously, remain nameless. I had gone to work a bit early to get ready and was listening to the radio. And the news started. And I called my boss at home and told her to turn on her tv, which we didn't have in the office. I found some internet video news site. We watched the news about New York, horrified. And then we found out about the Pentagon. And then we had to abandon the vigil and go deal with the stupid deposition.

I didn't get a chance to see the news again until late that afternoon. And the photos and videos of smoldering buildings, and clouds of debris, and people hanging out of windows fifty stories up while the building behind them went up in flames will stay with me for the rest of my life.

My sister was working near the White House at the Court of Federal Claims. She saw the plane that hit the Pentagon fly near her building, which is in a no-fly zone. She saw it from the window of a conference room where several had gathered to watch the news. She elected to evacuate prior to the "official" decision. She had to walk out of DC because the Metro had shut down. She had on heels for work as a law clerk. She walked six miles out of DC, mostly barefoot. Cell service was intermittent, but thankfully I was able to contact her once or twice to be assured of her safety and to call my parents and let them know she was "on the road" so to speak.

I have a friend who was working in the Pentagon at the time. I called his office and cell and got nothing. Nothing all day. I didn't seriously panic because I had a vague memory that he had told me that there was an off-site meeting all day. He had been several miles away from the Pentagon when the plane hit, three doors down from his office. It took him all day to get back to his home in Maryland and phone me to let me know he was ok.

When everything shut down at the Federal level, the local counties did the same. Our deposition was right across from the Fairfax County Courthouse. I walked outside on a break and marveled at the absolute stillness. There was no traffic. There was no one around. There were snipers on the roof of the Courthouse. There was still not a cloud in the sky. The air was still cool and crisp. Birds were chirping. The world smelled fresh and clean.
But everything had changed.

We were attacked. We were at war. We were, and still are, hampered by the fact that there was no clear nation-state to respond to. But we were attacked by fascists just as determined to destroy our way of life as the regime which sent the kamikaze pilots to Pearl Harbor. And though we didn't want to destroy the Japanese people, or the German people for that matter, we NEEDED to respond. We still do. The enemy is more elusive this time. And hides in a religion. And while most Muslims are quick to distance themselves from the extremists, few step forward to identify those extremists. And the attacks keep happening. I have no answers, but I am pretty sure that one answer is NOT to stop pursuing.

Never Forget.

*Story for another time. Suffice it to say, I was full up on grief BEFORE 9/11.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Funny toddler speak.

Jonathan turned four a week and a half ago and I need to write him a "Happy Birthday" post. But the tree fiasco has taken a bit of the wind out of our sails.

I primarily started this blog as a forum to document the changes in my children's lives so that I would not forget, and the other night, Thomas reminded me of this when he mispronounced a word. So here, for all time, are some of the funny words that he come up with:

Frog - pronounced without an "r" and with the "g" pronounced as a "ck". You can imagine. It reminds me of when Jonathan was learning to speak and he LOVED to shout the word "clock" whenever he saw one. Unfortunately he had a tendency to leave out the "l" sound. So I was reduced to saying, loudly, when we were in public, "Yes, that IS a CLOCK! See, it is 3:00!"

Wah-nee. It means water. Don't know why the funny pronunciation. Seems like "wa-ter" is easier, but I am not 19 mos old.

Why-Cause? - This is in response to me telling him what something is. I think it is because he started asking, "why?" and my response was, "Why? Because....." and he now just asks "Why-cause?"

Hot! Everything that is not room temperature, from warm to hot AND from cool to cold.

He knows a lot of body parts and will point them out (and poke them) with abandon! "Eyes! Nose! Errs (ears)! Hed! Herrrr (hair)! Chn! Mouse (mouth)! Tees! Tooeesss!!!"

And, of course, food. "Mluck!" "Chick!" "cookieeeeee! (cookies or crackers or anything crispy). "Ah-Pool" Loves apples. Mostly loves identifying and saying the word. "Nursies!!!!"

He also likes active words: "Danz!" "Wrunning!" "Hug!" As he throws himself full-body at you. And objects with wheels, cars and bikes and "twuck". And he is fond of showing and telling. "Come! Me!" accompanied by a demanding come hither hand gesture.

He is in a bit of a spurt and is adding about two words a day right now. Phew.

The Energizer bunny has NOTHING on this kid.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The haircut

Thomas had beautiful curls, as shown in the previous post.

But he used them like a napkin, necessitating a hair scrub, if not a full bath, every

Also, he is a sweaty little kid and his hair would be soaking wet after an afternoon at the park.

Marcus thought he was hot and miserable and asked me to get his hair cut. Since Marcus doesn't weigh in very much on these issues, I listened to him.

The haircut, from Thomas' point of view:

Beautiful curls.

I am fine with my beautiful curls, mommy. Can't you tell?

You wanna do WHAT? Cut them OFF? No.

This feels weird.

Hey, pretty girl cutting my hair, lollipop to suck on, life isn't too bad!

Still pretty happy, even missing half my hair.

I think I must now be quite serious, as I am now a big boy.

And what has big brother Jonathan been doing this whole time? All swimming, all the time:

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

And HEY, there are pictures!

I promised you photos. So, here they are.

This is a great pic taken this past weekend, on July 4, the boys with Great-Grampa. My mom's dad. He is 92. Thomas is almost 18 months and Jonathan will be four at the end of August. Precious.

These are the beautiful curls on my Baby. Toddler. Soon to be a little boy. I have got to get his hair cut. I don't want to lose the curls, but he is so hot with them, and he uses them as a napkin. But, oh my heart.....

Huh, that reminds me of another little boy (taken when HE was 19 months old).....

Who has turned into quite the sun worshipper.

And yeah, that is a slate patio. On the Fourth of July. In Virginia. He only lay down for about three and a half seconds. And I added that dark "towel" to the picture of him. Because I can and should.

Oh, and you guys were all interested in how wonderfully Thomas is sleeping, right? Well we got a nifty little video monitor so we could tell if he were standing up in bed hollering for us, or if he was just rolling around trying to get back to sleep. Pretty nifty, eh?

You can see the whole crib. Well, nearly the whole crib. And it is infared or some such technology that allows us to see into the crib at night. Coolness. Sometimes you see chubby legs crossed at the ankles. Sometimes a little bum up in the air.

He likes his crib. I thought I would grab a shot of him just waking up from a nap or something. He doesn't look too happy about being photographed, does he?

And that is what I expect to see when I look at the video monitor (only he would be asleep, and not from that angle, but you know what I mean.) However, often I see this.

Which would be fine if I hadn't JUST PUT THE BABY IN THE CRIB AND LEFT THE ROOM.

The number of times that I have seen this and had a slight heart attack is more than I would care to admit. Because he hasn't piffed out of his crib or been raptured. He is there. Really. See?

I have no idea how he fits himself into that tiny area, but he does, curled up in a tight little ball. I suspect that little nubbin that you see is the edge of his bottom as he is pressed cross-wise up against the head of the crib.

Anyway. I hope you enjoyed. And one last gratuitous cuteness photo, the boys making a train out of boxes from a Costco run:

Friday, July 02, 2010


So, here I am three months later with very little to say.

Thomas has been sleeping better, which just gives him more energy to run around and scare me half to death by climbing EVERYWHERE.

We are overwhelmed with swimming lessons and assorted summer stuff. Trying to keep a toddler from jumping headfirst into the pool to get to his brother is, well, trying.

Back with pictures of the growing boys.......

Thursday, March 18, 2010


So, here is the update on the sleep situation as detailed in my last post. We got struck by the stomach flu here, and then a bout of the snots and coughing for the baby and myself, so we didn't start anything until last Friday night.

We figured we were going to have to do SOMETHING that involved crying, but I am constitutionally unable to deal with leaving him in the room to cry by himself. So we settled on what is variously called the gradual approach (Weissbluth), the "stay in the room" method (Dana Obleman, The Sleep Sense Program), and the Shuffle (Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady).
(I will come back and give html links to those things in a bit, I want to just get this down while it is fresh. If you really want to know the links, shoot me an email.)

We read the above references and went with West's book. It is most thorough for the approach we took. Essentially it goes like this. Nights 1, 2 and 3 you sit beside the crib and pat and talk to your baby until he falls asleep. Pick him up if he is hysterical, but just to calm him down, he must not fall asleep on you. Nights 4, 5, and 6, move halfway across the room. Reassure verbally and occassionally go to pat and coo, and pick up if necessary, but mostly stay across the room. Nights 7, 8, 9 sit at the door and do the same thing. Then go out of the door but stay visible. Then out of the door, not visible, but so the baby can hear you. Etc.

All "sleep solutions" start with the same premise: routine is best, early bedtimes for babies are best, and good naps mean good nighttime sleep.

Our routine is simple, after Thomas eats, I change him into jammies and as soon as my husband gets home, he says goodnight to daddy and we go read some books (2-4 depending on my mood) and then lights out and we say a prayer and sing a song and I nurse him. This all takes about 20 minutes. And he isn't a long nurser at bedtime. (Naps are a different story....I have to unlatch him every time.) When he stops nursing, he gets burped on my shoulder and rocked for about thirty seconds, then I put him in the crib.

We are now on night six and I am already sitting beside the door. The first two nights he stood in his crib and leaned over the bars and clutched at me. Wailed his little head off. But, I was sitting right there, patting him and talking to him. Every now and then I would pick him up and snuggle for a few seconds. After about 45 minutes, he fell asleep. The second night he cried a little less, but figured out that he could lie down and poke his little hand between the slats and grab my leg. I didn't want that to be a crutch for him, so I scooted out of the way and just patted his bottom myself. Each of those nights he woke up once, and then started his early waking at about 4 a.m. However, on the third night and the fourth night he didn't cry much at all and we moved to sitting a few feet from the crib. Those two nights he only waked up once in the middle of the night and then at shortly after 6. The FIFTH night? Tuesday night? He slept the whole night through. Finally fell asleep at about 8 and woke up about 6:30. Last night, the sixth night, he fell asleep with no crying, and very little complaining, with me sitting right by the door. He did wake once, very gassy, but when I picked him up, he flung himself to the side and pointed at the crib, so I laid him back down and patted his bottom for a few seconds and then went and sat by the door. He then slept solidly, AND SO DID WE, until 6:45 this morning.

We anticipate a bit more complaining when we go out of the door, especially since his brother's room is right next door. We are not going to take that step for another few nights since I have a meeting tomorrow night and all day on Saturday and things will be a bit disturbed.

But kids, check it out. We have had some serious chunks of uninterrupted sleep! Now I don't know if it is the wonderful PLAN that has worked, or if it was just his time (Jonathan started suddenly sleeping through the night at about this age.) But what a blessing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To sleep, perchance to dream....HELP!

Well hello there, dear readers. In case you follow this blog and wonder why I don't post all that much, the answer is quite simple: the baby doesn't sleep and therefore neither do I and therefore I am beyond tired. All. The. Time.

So, I am asking for your help. We are completely tapped out of ideas. I will give you the back story and I would love your advice.

We are second time parents, so this should not be rocket science, but it is. Our older boy is now 3 1/2. Thomas is 13 months old. Jonathan didn't sleep more than a couple hours at a stretch until he was 15 months old, so this isn't new, but lack of sleep when you have one kid is much different than when you have two. Also, as I will detail below, we were able to deal with his waking in a different fashion.

Our philosophy is basically attachment parenting: baby-led weaning (I nursed J until he was almost two and I was five months pregnant with his brother); babywearing (see previous post); co-sleeping (see details below); and being very responsive to the babies.

With both of the babies, we co-slept full time for the first six months or so, and then brought the baby to bed with us after the first or second night-waking for the rest of the night. This was necessary with Jonathan, as we were in the middle of renovations and his crib was in our room.

We were somewhat desperate as he rounded his first birthday and was still waking up four and five times a night, but we realized that any of the sleep "solutions" were very hard with co-sleeping in the picture. So we were waiting until the renovations were finished and the crib went into his own room. And we functioned rather well, all things considered. Though I wanted more sleep, I was able to sleep between his wakings. He would nurse for a few minutes and then we would both fall asleep. It worked ok. It WAS annoying that the intervals between his wakings got shorter and shorter as the night progressed. Four hours, then three, then two, then one, etc. Which meant that he was the most wakeful after 3:00 a.m., which is JUST when I need to sleep the hardest. Nevertheless, we managed. And, miracle of miracles, the NIGHT that we moved into our addition and moved his crib to his room, he slept for ten hours straight. TEN. And the next night he slept eleven. And that was that. He is now a GREAT sleeper and rarely wakes in the middle of the night.

So. We never really had to do any sleep solutions for him, though we were prepared for the No Cry Sleep Solution as well as Dr. Jay Gordon's "program." Now, neither of those has worked for Thomas. And then my wonderful chiropractor, herself a mom of two small boys, sent me an ebook which had a gradual approach, which let the child cry, but we would be in the room with him, first beside his crib, and then a few feet away, etc. etc. etc. Supposed to do a few days on each segment. We have never managed to get away from the crib.

So here we are. I still nurse him, but he does not fall asleep, most of the time. And I am about 90% successful at putting him down when he is still awake, though very quiet. And about three quarters of the time, we are able to get him to go to sleep "on his own" at the beginning of the night. Starting with a book or two and ending with sleep, about 45 minutes. Which isn't bad. Same deal with the 3 year old, only his routine includes a bath and songs, etc. And it is ok if both of us are home, we split the tasks. The OTHER twenty five percent of the time, it takes an hour and a half for him to go to sleep. Much of the time is spent with him in the crib and one of us sitting next to the crib. Most of that time he is not crying, but if we try to leave, he starts screaming. Bah.

But as annoying as THAT is, the real problem comes after that. Some nights he will sleep for about six hours, until 1 or 2 a.m. Then he starts a waking cycle that is enough to make the strongest man weep. He wakes up with a roar and a scream, and continues yelling until we get in there. If it is me, and he nurses, he gets quiet instantly. If my husband goes in, he yells for another three minutes and then settles. About half the time we can get him quiet and back to bed in fairly short order: twenty minutes or so. (And occassionally, about once a week, he actually POINTS to the crib, or tries to throw himself back in it, and he goes right back down, two minutes, start to finish. And each time that happens, we have a glimmer of hope. Sigh.) But the other half of the time, it takes more than an hour for him to go back to sleep. Again, much of that time is spent with him in the crib. It is MUCH easier to rock him back to a deep sleep and put him down, but we are desperately trying to get him more used to falling asleep without being held. On good nights, he wakes only two or three times after he has gone (finally) to bed, usually at about 1 ish and 4 ish, and then 5:30 or so.

On bad nights? Every two hours. And it is making us crazy. Last night is a good example, and please bear with me with the details. Hubs got home at 6:45 and I immediately took the baby in to put him to bed. He was already dressed for bed. At 8:15, hubs came in to relieve me and the baby finally was asleep at 8:30. Did you get that? Almost TWO HOURS. He woke up with a yell at 11:30. I nursed him and put him in his crib and patted him. I was almost out the door at midnight when he jerked up and stood up and started yelling. I finally managed to leave at 1:00 a.m. Did you get that? An hour and a half. And then he woke up at 4:20. Hubs got up with him and got him back down and he crawled back in bed at 5:00. Baby woke up twenty minutes later. M got up again with him since he hadn't gotten to sleep. Baby slept on him for a while and then he was able to put him back in the crib. M lay down on the guest room bed (Thomas' crib is in the guest room) for another 20 minutes. Finally T was wide awake at 6:15. I heard him roar awake without the monitor and got up to give M a break. Marcus wasn't going to be able to sleep since he needs to be up and at 'em at 7 to get to work on time, but at least he could get some space. So, to sum it up, we had a crappy night, and Marcus essentially was awake from 4:20 on.

As I said up at the front of this super long post, I was able to deal with Jonathan because I just pulled him into bed with us. I have tried that with Thomas, but the problem is that he just does NOT unlatch when he nurses. He will nurse the entire time he is in bed with me. Constant. I can fall asleep and then wake up two hours later because I am in a cramped position and he is STILL actively sucking. And that created a real painful situation for me. I actually didn't think that was the problem, and got myself looked at. The doctor suggested not letting him nurse like that and magically, the pain went away. co-sleeping now. We have him in a crib in his own room and we get up and go in there and rock with him or sit by the crib.

Some people say, "Let the baby fuss for a bit before you go in." Which we do, when he is just whining and fussing. But most of the time he is YELLING, at the TOP OF HIS LUNGS. (Have I mentioned that he is a loud kid?) His room is right next to his brother's room, and until we have a plan, we are loathe to just let him cry. And we realize that unless we are totally committed to a plan, if we negatively reinforce the crying by sometimes going in and sometimes not, it will get worse.

His sleep hasn't always been this bad. Couple times a night was routine for the first nine months. Once he started solids more, the sleep got really bad and he would wake up five and six times a night. That is when we started getting super cranky. But we weren't happy about letting him CIO because he really seemed like he was in pain. Finally we thought it might be reflux and the doc put him on Zantac. Worked well after about a week, and the sleep improved for about two weeks. (only waking twice a night) Then got bad again and we upped the Zantac. Better for two weeks and then not so much. So the doc put him on Prevacid. Got better for about two weeks, and now not so much.

I would say that now, about 20% of the time he seems super uncomfortable and REALLY gassy. And 20% of the time he seems really mad. And the other 60%, he is just awake. Sometimes for a looooong time. But I am loathe to let him just wake up and cry and cry and cry if there is a 1 in 5 chance that he is really uncomfortable. That just seems mean to me.

But we are both shattered and short-tempered. The 3yo gets the brunt of my short temper because he is a willful 3 and I don't have much patience for that at the best of times. My diet has suffered tremendously (who wants to eat veggies and fruit when you have had four hours of broken sleep....only cake gets the serotonin levels up to functioning capacity.) Marcus and I have ZERO time together as we HAVE to fall into bed the very second that Thomas has gone to sleep if we are to get any rest.

I am pretty strict about naps for T....morning and afternoon. I don't do things that make him miss them, if I can help it, since he sleeps so little. He rarely naps for more than 45 minutes, and often only 30. I KNOW that naps are important and sleep begets sleep and all that. He just doesn't sleep ever. ONE night this week, for the first time in two months, he woke at 1, got right back down, and then woke at 6:20 for the day. Heaven. I tried to replicate that entire day, as well as the naps and bedtime routine. FAIL. Very disheartening.

So people, I need help. If you have done any kind of sleep solution, could you give me specifics about how it worked for you? I can read the books, but it is disheartening when they say, "for a few nights" and it hasn't changed in two weeks. So I need real-world advice. Did ANYTHING work for you? What do you do about the yelling waking up the pre-schooler in the next room? How many days or weeks did it take to work? HELP!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Winter Babywearing

What do you do when there is 2 1/2 feet of snow on the ground and you have been cooped up inside for days with a 1 year old and a 3 1/2 year old. Well, you bundle them up in their multi-layered snow gear, of course, and head outside.

And the big guy will have fun climbing snow mountains.

But what about the little one, who is in the "drunken sailor" stage of walking? He is fine barefoot or with his little soft leather shoes, but boots? No way. No walk.

Well, you can plunk him in a snow pile and smoosh some against his back so he is braced.

But then, especially if it is still snowing, he looks like this:

And so you take him in, after thirty five seconds. (And after dropping your camera in the snow, but that is the subject of a different post.) So, the snow is still deep. Still needs shoveling. (The hubs, of course, is doing the lion's share of the shoveling, but one has to help out, doesn't one?) And most of all, everyone needs fresh air.

So, being a babywearing kind of a gal, you want to put him in the Ergo. But that doesn't work well over a coat. And it would be really uncomfortable with HIM in a coat, too. But it is below freezing out there. What to do? What to do? Well, if we had weather like this all the time, I would buy a babywearing coat or poncho. But I live in the allegedly temperate mid-Atlantic. We get snowfalls like this once every five years.

But mama can improvise.

And the baby likes it, too!

Now, we needed a third person (Hi, honey!) to help tuck the blanket around him, but I just tucked the top corners under the ergo shoulder straps and the bottom ones into the waist strap.


*Updated 10/4/2010 - There is a recent kerfluffle over the safety of babywearing. Stephanie Precourt is raising awareness of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) which encourages safe babywearing. Go to her post to see more babywearing bloggers, and go see the BCIA Facebook page for more information.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nearly the best quote ever

A prophetess (for lack of a better quick description), giving a message to a man about to die from his God:

“Your Father calls you to His Court. You need not pack; you go garbed in glory as you stand. He waits eagerly by His palace doors to welcome you, and has prepared a place at His high table by His side, in the company of the great-souled, honored, and best-beloved. In this I speak true."

From Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm 1 (not 2 not 3 not 4)

Thomas, our little baby, isn't so little, nor so much of a baby any more. He turned one year old on Sunday a week ago. We had a little family party. Big brother Jonathan oversaw the cake sprinkles, Aunt Kristen provided presents for both boys (what a good auntie!), God provided just enough snow that both kids could go sledding at Gramma and Grampa's.

It is hard to imagine that it has been a year since he was born. It has been a sleepless year, which seems to be getting worse, not better, but that is a whole 'nother post.

Thomas, though, seems little worse for the wear despite not sleeping. He started taking a few tentative steps the week before his first birthday. He now is taking more non-tentative steps, though he isn't proficient at all. But he is VERY tenacious. And excited. He THROWS himself in the direction he wants to walk, little feet trying very hard to keep up with his torso. His favorite activity is pushing a barstool around our main floor. The hardwood floors make it easy, and he very rapidly moves from room to room. Of course, he also flings toys around with abandon, and doesn't know enough to look at his feet when walking, thus tripping and falling to his knees with regularity.

He is a very happy child (more so when he is on his reflux medicine...we are giving it a break too see if his behavior is different, to report to the doctor tomorrow) and loves to laugh. He has a deep belly laugh, which sounds like it comes from a much older child. His favorite source of amusement (his favorite source of everything, come to think of it) is his big brother. Jonathan doesn't find him quite as amusing, but generally they are big fans of one another. Frequently they seem to need to occupy the same exact square foot of space at the same exact time. Wrestling and yelling ensues, some of it between the boys, much of it from Marcus and me.

Thomas is a bit more of a risk taker than Jonathan was, so I am learning the trick of turning chairs into the tables, so he won't climb on them. I went into the front room yesterday to find him attempting to do chin-ups on the shelves under the front window. Strong kid.

He is just as much of a cuddler as his big brother, which is nice, though he has a distressing tendency to fling himself backwards in your arms. He likes the feeling and he likes hanging upside down, but it is quite disconcerting if one isn't prepared. The baby is slipping away into the toddler. I feel a pang of regret that I wasn't better able to absorb his babyhood into my memory. We did a fair job off taking pictures, but I am not sure how much I was able to enjoy it, in my fog of sleeplessness. I am determined to enjoy his toddlerhood, though I greatly fear that much of it will be spent saying, "THOMAS! Nooooooo!"

Sunday, January 03, 2010

How I cook: Rice Pudding edition **Updated**

So. This is a tiny peek inside my brain.

We had Chinese food last night and lots of leftover rice. Wanted to make rice pudding. Wanted a baked rice pudding. So I looked online.

Found this one. Looked good. And so I set out, preheating the oven.

1 C. cooked rice. Hmmm. I have a small takeout container. That seems to be about two cups. Probably fine. Smoosh up into casserole. SHOOT, forgot to grease pan. Oh well.

2 1/2 C milk. Well, I doubled the rice. But FIVE cups of milk? That seems like a lot. Let's start with 3 and see what we think.

3 large eggs. Obviously needs to be increased, but maybe not double since am not doubling milk. Will whisk up five.

3/4 C. sugar. Am thinking of avoiding white sugar when possible. Will use honey granules instead.* And since honey is sweeter than sugar, will only use 1C.

3/4 C. raisins. Hate raisins in stuff. Will use dried cranberries. And 1 C of them.

Spices. Will use pumpkin pie spice instead. Because I have a whole jar even though I don't make pumpkin pie nearly often enough for my husband.

Add honey granules to the milk, add whisked eggs into milk. Add cranberries to rice in bowl. Sprinkle spice onto of rice and mix with hands. GOOPY! Begin to pour milk/egg mixture into rice. Realize forgot vanilla AND salt. Add to milk, without measuring, in some quantity more than called for in recipe. Add rest to rice.

Find 9 x 13 pan. Realize that it (stoneware) is UNDERNEATH all other stoneware pans even though it is the only one ever used. Sigh. Do weight lifting for the day.

Follow directions for water bath and pop into oven.

Sigh satisfactorily for having successfully followed a recipe.

*If I have piqued your interest re: honey granules, don't buy from that link, it is way expensive. Buy from these people. It is where I buy grain stuff for my mill. The website is non-user friendly, but I trust the quality.

UPDATE: It turned out really well, though I cooked it about an hour and 45 minutes. And in the middle had to spin the oven up to 350 to quick cook some chicken. But when stuff is in a water bath on a low oven, it is hard to really mess it up. Next time I might add some grated orange peel. Because I didn't double the milk, it is a bit more solid than the picture of hers, which is fine with me. I served mine with a drizzle (ahem) of heavy cream.