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Monday, October 26, 2015

When you are defeated by a swing.

If you follow my posts on facebook, of if you've spoken to me in the last week and a half, you know that my life has been consumed by a swing. Or rather, the lack of a swing.

We didn't start out using the swing with Max, and then when he was about 6 weeks old, I pulled it out just for fun one day. And it was like magic.

I could get Max to take a 2 hour nap if I laid in bed with him until he fell asleep and then I would sneak away, but I could get him to take a FOUR hour nap if I put him in the swing and turned it on.

I was pretty adamant that I didn't want him to be dependent on the swing. That I would just use it on the days that I *really* needed a break and didn't have the time to devote to getting him to sleep somewhere else. I wasn't going to take the lazy way out of this, I'd be a good mom and rock or lay with my baby to help him transition to sleeping on his own one day.

But like with anything else, that didn't last long. Because who has time to lay with their fifth born child in bed for an hour just to get him to sleep one extra hour. That's hardly enough time to just do all of the things you missed doing during the hour you were laying down. Eat, pee, clean up 1/4 of the mess the toddler and preschooler made while you were ignoring them in the hopes they would just stay quiet enough for the baby to go to sleep, get some water, sit down...and then pick up the baby who is wide awake from his nap and ready for some more one on one attention.

And then of course there was the sleep regression, or growth spurt, or whatever I was calling it that day to describe the baby being a baby and making it hard for me to do, well, anything without him strapped to me.

So we started using the swing a little more, and a little more, until the afternoon nap every single day we were home, was happening in the swing. He started to rely on it a little, I started to rely on it A LOT.

And then it happened. After 8 years, 5 kids of my own, several friends and nieces and nephews using it without issue, the motor died. 

Just when I couldn't live without it.

So I did what any frugal mom does, I googled "How to fix a Fisher Price cradle swing motor" and happily found several tutorials explaining exactly how to do this. And for really really cheap. I was thrilled!

I could have bought an $8 Airwick air freshener and taken it apart and used that motor, but soldering seemed like a skill I would wait to learn another day, and I opted for the $12 motor pre soldered on ebay. ebay told me that it was estimated to arrive in about a week. I could handle that, a week with no swing.


Aside from the week before Max was born, probably the longest week of my life. Why oh why did I get so attached to being able to put him down?! I feel like by baby #5, I should just know better.

A week came and went and NO MOTOR. So far all that had been done was print a shipping label. At this point, I was already wording my disappointed feedback in my head "Don't you know that when someone orders a new baby swing motor and it's an emergency?!" "This isn't something to take your time shipping" "Lives are at stake here"

So I was a little desperate, and probably going a little crazy now that reality had set back in and I had to hold my own baby for naps again, or spend more than 30 seconds getting him down for a nap.

Finally, a week and a half later, the motor arrived. I felt like it was Christmas. Miraculously, Max was taking the longest nap he'd taken during all of this, so I had plenty of time to pop out the old motor and put in the new one while Maddie napped and Elise played quietly watched a movie in the other room.

And then I actually watched the whole video about replacing this thing. It was more complicated than I had imagined.

20 some screws removed and an hour later, I'd taken the entire swing apart. Wires everywhere, grease all over my hands, too many screws to remember where they even went if I ever got it back together again.

Here was the moment of truth, what I had been waiting for, dreaming of for a week and a half. The video tutorial told me that if I had it all connected right, when I turned the swing on, the little lever inside would stare moving back and forth at the speed of the swing. If it was moving slowly, all that meant was that I had the wrong wires attached and I had to reverse the polarity by switching the wires.

I was feeling rather proud of myself at this point, I had a problem and I fixed it myself, even if it was way more complicated that I originally thought it would be.
I turned the swing on and held my breath, it moved! But slowly. No big deal, just switch the wires. Easy enough after everything I'd been through.

Switched the wires, turned it on again...and nothing. Wouldn't even turn on.

Adjusted it a million more times, switched wires back and forth to try and figure out this issue. Read 5 million comments on the video from people saying "Wow! It worked perfectly!" searching for just one that had the same issue as me. Nothing.

It's sitting in my dinning room still taken apart wires everywhere and a pile of screws, and I'm searching facebook garage sale pages for a *new* swing...while holding a sleeping baby.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pumpkin and Coconut Curried Black Beans and Rice

It's that time of year again! And I don't have morning sickness this year making it impossible for me to even look at pumpkin without feeling sick. So more pumpkin recipes to try out!

This one was really different from my normal pumpkin recipes I try out, but it was really good! I was nervous the kids wouldn't like it, but they even asked for seconds! Anthony said "It was actually alright" which is a pretty high rating from someone who hates pumpkin.

I skipped the cilantro because I didn't have it on hand, but I bet it would have been an interesting garnish!

And no pictures, because...I just forgot to take any.

Pumpkin and Coconut Curried Black Beans and Rice
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (Optional. I've done it both ways, and either way is great.)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. black beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water or 6 cups if you don't have stock
  • Cilantro
  • Plain yogurt
  1. Saute green pepper and onion for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  3. Add sauteed vegetables and all other ingredients except cilantro and yogurt to slow-cooker
  4. Set the slow-cooker on high and let it go about 8 hours.
  5. Check water level from time to time, adding more if necessary to prevent burning.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and a dollop of plain yogurt.

    Original recipe found here