Thursday, September 27, 2012

Elijah 365- part 2

Day 11- Sept 20.  Being offered to a whale shark for dinner!

Day 12- Sept 21.  Hanging with Daddy

Day 13- Sept 22.  It's a hard life being this cute!

Day 14- Sept 23.  So sleepy!

Day 15- Sept 24.  Big brother was reading him a book!

Day 16- Sept 25.  Rocking and rolling in his swing

Day 17- Sept 26.  Snuggling and burping with Daddy

"It won't be like this for long..."

He didn't have to wake up
He'd been up all night
Layin' there in bed listenin'
To his newborn baby cry
He makes a pot of coffee
He splashes water on his face
His wife gives him a kiss and says
It's gonna be O.K.

It won't be like this for long
One day we'll look back laughin'
At the week we brought him home
This phase is gonna fly by
So baby just hold on
'Cause it won't be like this for long

After days of anticipation, I finally received an email from the photographer who took photos of Eli last week.  He has already grown so much (in his cheeks, he can eat!) since these were taken.  It breaks my heart that he will never again be this little, but then I think about all the fun we have in store for us in the next years as a family.  Those first steps, years of bickering with his big brother, the first day of school, getting on mommy and daddy's nerves, vacations, and so many wonderful memories to make!  I cannot wait to continue this journey together!  Until then, let us enjoy the time he is small while we can! 
Thank you to Truly Faithful Photography for helping us capture this precious time in Elijah's life!

Love these boys!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

End of summer/start of fall!

Wow, can you believe it's already the fall?  On Sept 22nd, we officially entered the beginning of fall.  That means that the Summer 60 is officially over!  Right before we approached the 22nd, we decided to cross one final thing off our list- the Aquarium!
The Okinawa aquarium is like no other.  It is the second largest aquarium in the world!  The best part of  the Okinawa aquarium of course is the whale sharks and manta rays.  You can sit and have lunch with them.  Zach loved watching the fishies swim by and devoured all of the food he was given!  We had a great time, probably our last trip there before the big move in a few months!
The mist here confused him at the entrance!

Who doesn't want a pair of shoes with tails??!!

Touching the sea snakes and sea stars!  He was more interested in splashing the water!

Fishy Fishy!

Shark Attack!

Daddy and Zach got swallowed by a shark!

Whale sharks

Manta Rays

Having lunch- he devoured his entire hot dog and pita, plus ate some of daddy & mommy's food!

Elijah being offered to the whale sharks

He wouldn't stop eating in the car!  

And so Stepanoff Summer 60 is officially over.  Unfortunately, we did not finish everything.  We did not play ladder golf (one of the neighborhood boys lost some of the balls awhile ago).  We did not get to do sidewalk body outlines (you try getting a toddler to sit still).  We also didn't get to make giant bubbles.  Can you believe they don't sell wire coat hangers here?  And not a single friend had any!  We didn't get to have a water gun fight.  None of the neighborhood boys wanted to share their guns and Zach hasn't exactly understood how to use a gun, not a bad thing.  So all in all, out of 60 things, we only missed four things!  Pretty impressive considering I was very pregnant all summer and have a toddler!

The beginning of fall is now upon us.  I celebrated by making some yummy grain free pumpkin muffins and began brainstorming what we will be doing this fall.  I'd love to set up something like the summer sixty, but decided it will have to be a shorter list. For one, okinawa does not exactly have the fall type activities that America has.  No pumpkin and apple picking when it's still 85 degrees out!   I also just had a baby so it may be hard to get as much done.  We will most likely be planning a very quick move in the next few months as well, so the timing of a lengthy list is just not in the cards right now.  Instead, I decided on a short list- the Fall Five.  

Fall Fun Five
Decorate for fall
Fall feast (fall themed foods and of course Oktoberfest)
Carve Pumpkins
Thankful tree
"Boo" a friend/neighbor

Here's to a fabulous fall!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies?!

After the birth of our newest boy, I falsely made the assumption that my milk would come in sooner then it did with my first.  I mean, it hadn't been that long since I was still breastfeeding Zach, and my body had already done the process once before.  Surely it would come soon?  I was wrong. 
I was desperate to get things moving this time.  Elijah is so much smaller then his big brother was.  I was in a huge hurry because with each passing day, I looked at a tiny tiny little newborn (5lbs, 12 oz at one point) worried that he wasn't gaining enough weight.  I became desperate.  I drank half a beer (I got a bit tipsy from just half the beer- proof that it's been awhile) because rumor has it that yeast speeds things up.  I nursed, and nursed, and nursed, and, oh yeah... did I mention I nursed?  Nothing was working.  So I began researching online to see what else I could possibly do to get this poor boy milk.  Eventually I stumbled upon something that caught my eye... lactation cookies.  
No these cookies are not made with breastmilk.  And no, they aren't shaped like boobs.  Instead they are made with ingredients that have been shown to increase milk production in lactating mothers.  Just what are these wild ingredients?  Believe it or not, they were all things I happened to have in my pantry.... oats, yeast, and flax.  Not to mention the recipe called for chocolate chips.  How could I go wrong?  It wouldn't hurt to try right?  I ended up finding a LOT of recipes but eventually settled on one that looked super easy and was healthier then the rest.  I was shocked at how easy and wonderful they were.  They came out perfect.  Cooked just to perfection, moist, chocolatey, and perfect in every way.  Not to mention this recipe produced a TON!  I counted at least 50 cookies.  So many that I shared them with the other friends up here who are breastfeeding their little ones.  And before you ask, yes, these cookies are perfectly safe for anyone.  They won't suddenly make my 1 year old son start lactating.  They just happen to contain ingredients that will help support breastfeeding.  
And so the results... they worked!  The next morning, Elijah was eating and gaining weight!  Since, he has started to gain some weight in his cheeks and is developing perfectly.  I can't say for sure if the cookies helped me produce milk, but hey you can't go wrong with chocolate chip cookies can you?  

Lactation cookies

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c. rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 c. peanut butter (I used almond butter)
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. ground flax seed
3 T brewer’s yeast (I used regular active dry yeast)
1/3 c. water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 c. (12oz) chocolate chips (I recommend organic or chips made with non-GMO soy lethicin.)
1 c. chopped nuts of your choice (I skipped the nuts)


Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

Gradually beat in flour mixture. Mix in nuts and chocolate chips. Slowly mix in oats. 

Place Tbsp.-sized balls of dough onto greased cookie sheets.

Press down each ball lightly with a fork.

Bake 12 minutes at 350F.

Allow to cool.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Our water broke!

I know what you're thinking with this title... I had the baby already!  How can my water break?!  Don't worry, another baby is very far away right now (if at all for that matter).  Instead, we are sharing the story of our neighborhood's water break!
On monday we realized we were without water.  We couldn't flush toilets or even do laundry.  Perfect timing, as Elijah had just had his newborn shoot and peed on a LOT of blankets!  Turns out, they were doing some repair work down the hill and a pipe broke.  We were without water for about 12 hours.  
When we woke up on tuesday morning, we were very excited to have water running again.  I had time to begin a load of laundry and get a few things done that required water.  I then sat down with Elijah to nurse (which is a constant occurance these days- just like his brother he LOVES to eat!  There was a quick knock on our door followed by our friend Jess yelling to fill up any containers we had because there was a huge water break in front of Ashley's house.  And a huge water break it was.  Dima ran out to help Ashley and take photos of what was going on, while i filled bathtubs and every container in our house.  I even had time to start a load of dishes in the dishwasher and take a very very quick shower!  
When I finished the rush to save our water, I finally got to see what had happened.  A mess doesn't even cover what happened.  
Just opening the door I could already hear the water flowing like a waterfall!  When I got closer, I saw rocks going all the way down the hill.  The sidewalk had even shifted from the pressure of the water.  Just sanding on the sidewalk felt like an earthquake!  
Don't go chasing waterfalls

Guess she doesn't need to water her plants

About an hour later, they came and shut the water off.  They then cleaned the rocks up and left.  Um, we were still without water!  Eventually, after the Japanese had their lunch (they take their time having lunch, often napping in the front yard during their break) they came back and got to work.  They dug a huge hole in the front of poor Ashley's house the size of a swimming pool with a deep end.  Eventually, at around 4pm we had water once again.  But quite a mess in front of Ashley's house.  We are just waiting for this to happen again.  Here's to hoping!

the sidewalk actually had shifted

the pipe was in there somewhere

looks like an earthquake

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Elijah 365- The beginning

As you recall, a year and a half ago I began a little photo journey.  It involved taking a photo of Zach every single day for an entire year.  365 photos of Zach.  The whole purpose of it was to document as much of the first year as possible.  Since our families are over 7,000 miles away and in different time zones, it was a much appreciated journey to take.  I succeeded in my journey.  I am proud to say that a photo was taken EVERY day.  In the end I even created a beautiful photo album with all the photos!  Sometimes it was a bit hard, as life would get in the way and I would often forget until the last moment.  It was also very repetitive, some days we had nothing exciting to show but Zach in his bouncer or eating dinner for days in a row.  But I stuck my guns and successfully completed mission 365. 
I am writing today with the same goal in mind.  A photo of Elijah every day for a year.  I imagine it will be much harder this time with two boys under 2, but know the end result will be just as rewarding.  And so begins another eventful year!
Day 1- Introducing Elijah Stepanoff! 6 lbs, 4 oz, 19.5 inches long

Day 2- meeting big brother Zach!

Day 3- Mommy and Daddy, ready to leave the hospital!
Day 4- Elijah loves his spacey swing!
Day 5- at the hospital for a check up! Elijah gained 2 oz since we checked out.  5 lbs, 14 oz here!

Day 6- Newborn Elijah!

Day 7- snuggles with Daddy!

Day 8- having our newborn shoot today!  Elijah was a pain and would not sleep like we needed!

Day 9- Daddy and his boys!

Day 10- Elijah at the park so big brother could play!