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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Unsolicited Advice to First Time Parents-To-Be

Here is some advice I want to give you.

  • Sleep as much as you can. Right now. Get off the internet and go take a nap.
  • Don't judge parents. I saw something the other day that said "I was an excellent parent, until I had children" and ain't that the truth. I swore up and down that my child would never dictate my schedule. And well, I guess that is still true. I choose to be home every night at 7, and wake up every morning at 7. Yep. My choices. Truth is, once your little bundle is here, you aren't as important anymore. Neither is your time.
  • Let your baby be fabulous. Don't hold your baby back.

  • Don't read parenting books. Since the beginning of time children have been born. The date of the beginning of time may be up for debate, but that fact isn't. Babies have always been born, as have parents. While undoubtedly, some have been better than others, there are a billion parenting books out there. How do you know you have the one? Before Isaiah was born I bought two books. And I gave both of them away shortly after starting to read them. These give you the worst case scenario, and that's fine if you can handle it. I, however, cannot. I'd rather deal with it as it happens. One piece at a time. I consult the internet from time to time, as well as friends who are parents for specific pieces of information I'm interested in, but to read every detail about what could happen only gives me things to worry about.
  • Don't be afraid to let your baby cry. Sometimes it can be hilarious. I was terrified to let Isaiah cry and would run to him every time he made a noise. That is officially over, and if I know nothing is wrong, he can cry. Call it vocal development, if you will.

  • It doesn't matter how many degrees you have, you don't know what you're doing. And neither does anyone else. I'm 3/4 of the way to my second bachelors degree, spent six years in college, and still do not to know why I had to buy my child organic puffs. He doesn't have allergies, and I know once he gets the pincer grab down I'm going to be sending him French fries from the front seat. See #2.
  • Let your baby take selfies. It's a rite of passage.

  • Don't take everything so seriously. Clearly, choking is serious, Blowouts, a bit too much television, or not having 74 vegetables with dinner? Nothing to freak out about. See #2.
  • Don't take unsolicited advice. It's crap and people don't know what they're talking about. Think for yourself.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Seven Month Update

I don't have any stats for him. We don't go back to the doctor until 9 months. We are getting pretty close to ditching the infant car seat though because he's breaking my back.

This guy loves to eat. He's getting bored with bottles though and wants all real food. He wasn't a fan of green beans and held them in his mouth waiting for something better, but went crazy over acorn squash and yogurt. I started giving him puffs, and while he isn't a huge fan of eating them, he's working on grabbing them.

We made it through without a six month regression, which I am immensely grateful for. He is still just like his mama, in that he loves his sleep. We're right in between needed two and three naps. Some days he takes two great naps, and others he takes three decent ones.

New this month:
He had a cold for the first time. Nothing serious, but he required extra snuggles, which we willingly provided. He's getting faster at grabbing, so I don't let him near bowls of refried beans anymore.

Funny side story: We were eating at Cebollas (a local Mexican restaurant) and it was too close to his bedtime to be in public, but there we were anyway. He started fussing as soon as our food came, so I was trying to hold him and eat quickly so we could go sit outside and wait for everyone else, because being outside makes him happy. Without realizing what happened, he reached his little hand into a bowl of refried beans and smeared them all over my shoulder and in the ribbed tank top I was wearing. So I wiped it off the best I could, loaded him up, and took him outside. When we got out I looked down at my shirt and saw that when I wiped the beans off, I just pushed them into the ribs on my tank and I had a bright pink and brown striped shirt. During the fiasco my brother William kept saying over and over, "Awww, look! He left his hand print in that bowl of beans! You should take a picture and put it in his baby book! Do it, Sissy! Do it!". Aren't family dinners fun?

He's becoming more verbal, and spent an afternoon yelling at my brothers. He rides in the shopping cart now at the store instead of his car seat, and he is mesmerized by his surroundings. He has started losing his mind when I walk away from him. So there has been more crying than usual, because I am not taking him with me every time I leave a room.

He was introduced to cats, dogs, and chickens this month and he loved them all. There isn't much he doesn't like.

As parents:
"Mom brain" hit me hard this month. My bff and Josh say I'm stressed, but I don't really have any added stress in my life. Just the normal stuff. If you read my #momfail post, you know I forgot to change him one day, and then a few days ago I forgot to feed him solids. I remembered when he started freaking out so no need to report me just yet, but I just keep doing stupid things like that. I've really realized this month how lucky I am to be home with him all the time. I love spending time with him, and even though I miss adult conversation, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Except maybe on a vacation.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

We are not on a gluten-free diet, but we are lazy cooks.We'll make anything that has very few ingredients or preparation involved. No shame in our game. One night we were sitting on the couch and wanted something sweet to munch on, and I decided to make these cookies.

These are our second batch that Josh made.

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used natural pb, but you can use whatever kind you want)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Directions: Preheat oven to 350° and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix sugar and baking soda in a bowl, add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Blend until mixed. Roll into 24 dough balls and flatten with a fork. Bake 12-15 minutes.


P.S. Can you imagine how amazing these would be if you used Nutella instead of pb?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mom Fail

There is not one other hashtag that irritates me like #momfail.

Why am I irritated by it? Because for some reason we judge ourselves so harshly that every little misstep we make is a fail. At the same time, we don't judge others this harshly.

But we want to project this perfect image onto others of the life that we're living. We may not do it intentionally, but other people see only the perfect happy lives we choose to post in pictures on social media. They don't see the not-so-happy moments, so they don't think they exist.

Hey baby, I bet she doesn't even edit this photo. #momfail
A friend sent me a message the other day in the middle of a nap meltdown (her daughter, not her) and said that she gives me props for being a stay at home mom and having it down so awesomely.

I kid you not, ten minutes before she sent that message, Isaiah was in his exersaucer, peed through his diaper, and was standing in a puddle of his own pee. Why, you ask? Because I forgot to change his diaper. Like you're supposed to do that more than once a day. Whatever. So right in the middle of my #momfail I got a compliment that I have it all together. Oh, if you only knew.

There are so many things to share that could qualify as #momfails of my own, but I really don't care. When I looked at Isaiah and saw what appeared to be his thighs crying yellow tears, I laughed. And then I cleaned it up. And moved on. No need for a #momfail. No use crying over excess urine.

Today I was sitting in the lobby of the spa waiting for my friend Jennifer, who is the most fab esthetician that ever was, to arrive. While I was sitting there worrying about the fact that my son was with my mom, refused his bottle, and was clearly going to starve to death, I fell asleep. Like asleep. In the lobby. And when I woke up, I wasn't even embarassed. I'm a mom. I'm tired. Judge away. Oh, and if you want more to judge, Jennifer waxes off my mustache for me.

You know why things like #momfail exist? BECAUSE OF PINTEREST. Excuse me while I go make six dozen cupcakes, do 10 perfect butt lifting exercises, and have my butler clean my already immaculate kitchen. And then I'll fire my butler for not just making the cupcakes in the first place.

When I got in, Jennifer and I started ranting about stuff like this. She brought up the point that the airbrushed and photoshopped models that were the target of the Dove campaign, are now the pictures of houses and food that are on Pinterest. And she is so right.

I hope you realize, the photos of Isaiah's nursery have been edited. I didn't do it, because I suck at photography (#momfail), but they've been brightened quite a bit by Bee who runs Hellobee. I'm sorry if you thought his room contained the sunlight of heaven, but it doesn't. He could never sleep if I let the heavenly light glow in there. Someone commented this his room was "perfectly pinterestable" and while I think it was a comment, it felt like an insult.

Nothing is wrong with doing things that you feel are "Pinterest Worthy", but it is wrong to feel like you have to. No one expects you to kill yourself over an upcycled canister set, or your made-at-home Pumpkin Spice Latte. They make those at Starbucks. Go there and get one.

Just before I sat down to write this post I discovered a substance that can no longer be called "spit up" since it's solid, therefore, it's vomit, on my dress. The crustiness indicates that it has been there quite a while.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Isaiah's Nursery

As soon as we found out that we would potentially be adopting a baby boy or girl, Joshua and I laid in bed that night discussing how we would decorate the baby's room. We knew we weren't going to have nine months or more to prepare because Isaiah's birth mom was five months along the first time I spoke to her.

We quickly decided, without hesitation, that whether it was a boy or girl, the nursery was going to be decorated in superheroes. Josh loves comics, and he has dragged me down with him. I mean, a little girl with a superhero room? What could be cooler. I also decided that it could not be a SuperSuperSuperman room. I like Superman -- he's great and all -- but I hate his logo. I'm sorry, but I do.

We eventually found out that Isaiah was a boy, but I think his room wouldn't look much different even if he weren't a boy.

This room was formerly our guest room, but we rarely had guests. We got the laminate flooring on a huge sale, and installed it ourselves. The wall color is "Seal" by Glidden, but I color matched it to Behr because that is my favorite paint ever. I use it for everything.

The mobile was a splurge Etsy find. Most of the room was very budget conscious (more on that later), and we were very lucky to have a generous friend who wanted us to have this mobile for Isaiah's room. I hung it with a piece of purple ribbon and we have to manually spin it. It can be tedious, but you know we'll do anything for him. Even boys need Wonder Woman. She rules all.

I found this amazing dresser at a resale shop for an incredible deal. It's a solid wood piece from the 1950s, and I love it so much. The dresser is also the changing table, which I love for the space saving aspect.

We have all kinds of creams and ointments. It's easy to move to the living room if I want to because the stuff we use consistently is in the basket. And I hated having pacifiers strewn about the house, so I confined them all to this canister that sits on the changing table. It comes in so handy because he always wants a pacifier after his bath and it never fails that I leave the one he was using in the living room.

The artwork above the changing table  is somewhat a piece of debate for us. I bought letters at Hobby Lobby, covered them with comic book pages and Mod Podged them to a canvas. Joshua thinks it looks unfinished (as do others), but since I'm the one that would have to change it, it's staying. I love it, and Isaiah loves to hear me spell his name after he gets changed.

I bought this little shelf to sit the camera on, but when I did that I couldn't see into the crib, so I mounted the camera and put Superhero Little People up there.

This is our reading chair that we never use because we read in our bed. The main uses are for holding clean laundry and taking his monthly pictures. He has a book shelf, but I love having these board books in a basket on the floor. When he gets older he'll have easy access to them, as well as the piggy banks, so I will be rearranging.

The lantern was originally purchased to be part of our wedding decorations. We didn't end up using it, but I love how it matches the stars in his room. The bowl was made on a wood lathe by Isaiah's grandpa, and the necklace inside was made for Isaiah before he was even born by his Uncle William. It was his first Christmas present.

Isaiah loves music, so the CD Player is a must. He loves to look at the globe and the little green Master Chief was his first gift from Josh. His superhero mask is a bit big still, so it hangs on his globe instead of getting regular use.

Finally this is a piece of art Joshua had commissioned for Isaiah at a local Comic Con that hangs above his bookcase. Shout out to Sterling Clark. Isaiah loves this and so do we.

In my next post, I'm going to show you what I wanted for the room and how I compromised to things that were more practical for us. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Six Month Update

I know, I know, all parents say it, but this month snuck up on me. I cannot believe it's been six months since he was born, and I cannot believe how much he's changed.

Weight: 19lb 3oz
Length: 27" 

We started purees at the beginning of August, so he had just turned 5 months. He wasn't quite ready, so I stopped for a week and then started again. He was ready the second go around and we've been doing well since (except for a few days of not feeling well after shots). I've been making all of his food with the help of our steamer, hand blender, and regular blender. He has loved our plentiful crops this year, and has enjoyed pears, apples, and peaches from our yard and other people we know. The only thing he hasn't liked so far is summer/yellow squash and zucchini. I think they were too bland and just tasted like the oatmeal that he doesn't like plain. I gave him a banana in a mesh feeder and he liked it, but I hated trying to clean the mesh feeder and ended up throwing it away. Not worth it. (Does anyone have a secret cleaning technique on that?)

Isaiah is a crib only sleeper now. I switched him right after he turned five months and for three days it was rough, but after that it was back to normal. I didn't sleep train him because it hasn't been an issue, but naps have always been hard for us. I nap trained him using Mrs. Bee's post for inspiration, and in five days we had it nailed down. I'm so relieved to have him in his crib and feel better about that being our final transition for a long while. We don't use sleep sacks because it has been too warm in our house for them. I may use them in the winter, but he's fine without them for now.

Umbilical Hernia:
The doctor says it's getting better and seems to have broken up into two parts (that doesn't make sense to me, but he said it). He said it's healing and is nothing to worry about.

New this month:
Teeth! I was so shocked when I put my finger in his mouth and found a tooth! He has both bottom teeth now. I wasn't ready for them and totally cried when I saw it. He loves sitting in his high chair to eat. Eating purees is new. I took the oatmeal out of his bottle that his doctor recommended I add for reflux. I had to because I tried making my own oatmeal and couldn't get it fine enough to come out, so it wasn't really a choice I made, as much as one that was made for me. Reflux is still happening. It isn't the liquid that it once was now, and plenty of our shirts were ruined during the days he ate pumpkin. Since then we've stuck with rather light colored foods for him. Some days it is better than others, and every once in a while there isn't any spit up at all. The first day he didn't wear a bib was like the happiest day ever. I'm so tired of them. He reaches for us now and for anything in his sight. Also, we finalized his adoption, so that's new too.

We have a Quincy doll from Baby Einsteins and he absolutely adores him. We've never watched the show, so he just likes this stuffed doll. He will come out of a flat out meltdown and laugh if you put Quincy in front of his face. He loves music and his uncles. He gets so excited to see them. He's started paying attention to and smiling at other babies. He dislikes summer squash and zucchini. He isn't really picky about anything else. He loves to be outside.

As parents:
I feel like a normal person again. It's amazing how long it took. I am reading for fun again. I'm cooking again. It just feels like we left survival mode this month and relaxed. I haven't found a way to get back into the gym yet, but that is my next hurdle to tackle (you like mixed sports metaphors, don't you?). It's fun that he plays now, and I love watching him explore and discover new things. The highlight of one of my days not long ago was when we both tried mango for the first time ever. I love experiencing things with him. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Meal Planning

I wrote this post for Hellobee and before you even get into it, I want to let you know that it was commented on more than once that I don't have any fresh produce in it. I politely responded that I'm lucky to even get dinner on the table these days and that we have a freezer full of vegetables that we often add to meals. So please, if you're concerned, either don't try this meal plan, or add whatever you want to it. It isn't hard.

Growing up, it was just me, mom, and dad, and with our schedules, it seemed easier to go out for dinner most of the time. If we were going to eat dinner at home, someone would have to go to the store and that would add hours to the time we would eat, and we would usually just decide it was easier to go out. However, when I got married, that wasn't an option. Not only did we want to eat healthier, but we also didn't want to go out to dinner and we didn't want to spend the money.

I'm a meal planner. I knew I wanted to go shopping once a week, or as infrequently as possible. I became a non-perishable hoarder and quickly had enough to last us a while in case of a zombie apocalypse or the end of the Mayan calendar. I started a routine of sitting down each weekend, picking out four or five recipes and making a shopping list. I would usually make the full size recipes (as opposed to halving them for two people) so we would have leftovers to eat for lunch.

I wrote a few months ago about freezer meal planning, but for some reason, I don't like using my crock pot in the summer. It just reminds me of winter food. We eat more sandwiches and grilled food during the summer so I decided to give my slow cooker a much deserved break. I made this specific meal plan for my mom. She wants to eat at home more, and I'm trying to teach her how to do this. I'm actually really excited because I know they'll save money, eat healthier, and waste less. It was a huge adjustment for my brothers coming to my house this summer because they thought I was going to be taking them out to lunch every day.

I typically gave them two sandwich options, unless I had time and make the sandwiches before they arrived; then they got what they had. I was told more than once this summer that I'm mean. If they didn't finish their sandwiches, I had them put it back in the bag and in the refrigerator because I knew they'd get hungry later. At the beginning of summer they got so mad at me because I was so mean, but as I found the other day going through our refrigerator, they've really gotten on board. I also had them take the compost bowl out to the bin and try to teach them about wastefulness.

Josh and I are adventurous eaters. We love all different types of food, and once we've been to a restaurant once, I usually try to recreate the meal at home. I've nearly perfected Indian, and am still working on Thai. My family, not so much, so I was challenged to go through my recipes and find five recipes that we would like at our house and they would like at their house. Also, I was looking for meals that were simple enough to encourage them to get into it and realize that it doesn't have to be hard or time consuming.
This is what I came up with:
English Muffin Pizzas (You can also do this with a store bought French Bread)
English Muffins
Pizza Sauce
Other desired toppings

Directions: Preheat oven to 400° Halve muffins and place open faced on a cookie sheet. Add pizza sauce and additional toppings. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is brown.  

Hot Ham and Cheese Roll up
Refrigerated Pizza Dough
Sliced Ham
Shredded cheese
¼ cup Miracle Whip
1 egg, beaten

Directions: Preheat oven to 350° Flatten pizza dough on a rectangular cookie sheet Place ham on the dough, leaving ½” around the edges Mix cheese and dressing, spread on top of ham Fold the dough lengthwise in thirds Turn loaf over so it is seam side down. Cut several slits on top and brush with egg. Bake 35-40 minutes or until dough is golden.

Creamy Chicken Fajitas (4 servings, I usually double for leftovers)
1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into strips) or tenders
1 c thin onion slices
1 c thin green pepper slices (optional if you hate green peppers)
1 tub Philadelphia Santa Fe Blend Cooking Crème
8 flour tortillas
1 c shredded cheese

Directions: Cook chicken and vegetables in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat until chicken is no longer pink. Add cooking crème, cook and stir two minutes Spoon down center of tortillas, top with cheese.  

Grilled Chicken and Red Potatoes
Boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
Marinade of your choice
One pound red potatoes
2 tbsp water
2 tsp oil
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp grated parmesan (if you have it, if not, use shredded cheese)
1 tbsp chopped parsley (if you have it, if not use salt and pepper)

Directions: Preheat grill. Cut chicken into strips or thin enough pieces that grilling won’t take as long (I use kitchen scissors and tongs because I hate to touch it.) Place chicken in a bowl and cover with marinade of your choice. Set aside for thirty minutes. Place potatoes in center of an 18” long piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, or a double layer of regular foil. Drizzle with water and oil. Bring up foil sides. Double fold tip and ends to seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Grill potatoes 18-20 minutes or until a fork goes in easily. Grill chicken until no longer pink inside. Brush extra marinade on top of cooking chicken for extra flavor. Cut slits in the foil to release steam. Open packet. Drizzle potatoes with butter, cheese and parsley/salt and pepper. Serve with cottage cheese.  

Fish Sticks and French Fries I have one meal a week when I do regular planning that doesn’t require any effort. You’ll still be eating at home and saving money. Pretend you're on Sandra Lee's Semi Homemade and make yourself a cocktail.  

Shopping list: To make this easier, group similar items together so you don’t have to back track through the store.
English Muffins (bread aisle)
Pizza Sauce
1 bag shredded cheese
Pizza toppings
Refrigerated Pizza Dough (with the refrigerated canned biscuits)
Sliced Ham
Shredded cheese
Miracle Whip
1 egg
Two packages boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 onion
1 green pepper (optional if you hate green peppers)
1 tub Philadelphia Santa Fe Blend Cooking Crème (with the cream cheese)
8 flour tortillas
Marinade of your choice (we like teriyaki, or lemon pepper. Italian dressing is also a good marinade)
One pound red potatoes
2 tbsp grated parmesan (if you have it, if not, use shredded cheese).
Butter (if you don’t already have it)
Fish sticks
French Fries
Cottage Cheese

How do you approach meal planning?


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