Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peace, Love and Mommyhood (or, how I got to meet some of the coolest moms around!)

A little over a year ago, I joined a mommy group.. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I get to see my daughters eyes light up when she sees her little friends, and this mommy's eyes light up a bit too to see the ladies I have bounced things off of, complained to, laughed with, shared with and otherwise have grown to love!

When 'applying' to this group, they wanted you to give a rundown of who you are, what you are like and why you would be a good fit in this group.. I thought some of you would be interested to see what I wrote.. It sums me up in just a few paragraphs, and I love reading this email over and over to see where my head was at when I was still a SUPER NEW mommy!


Hi J and D.. I wanted to reply to your message.. 

Yes, a four month old does make it difficult to have any sort of 'normal' conversation.. it's amazing to me how loud and distracting a baby so small really is!

Anyway, yes this group does sound a lot like something I am interested in.. I will divulge a little more into my lifestyle now that I am not limited by character amounts.. Hehe...My husband and I are the first of our 'friends' to have a child, so it goes without saying that I am finding myself having less and less in common with my friends. I am the youngest of 8 children in a blended family, and I have always been the one who was told I marched to the beat of my own drummer.. I rarely did what was expected of me, and often let my emotions and feelings make decisions for me, rather than doing what was considered 'the norm'.. Because of this, I had many acquaintances in my life, but few very close friends who totally understood my way of thinking.

 I finally found the perfect husband ( most of the time anyway, after all whose perfect?!).. he's a musician, a little bit of a geek, likes to cook and eat all sortsa weird foods, loves to camp and hike, and shares my political values, and together we finally found a group of friends (through my playing on an all female roller derby league) that we were able to click with... We are however what I call the 'test couple'.. we are the first ones to do everything.. buy a home, get married, have a baby. And for all the well-meaning people out there, basically since I have had the baby I have seen my friends a little more than a handful of times, and although I am not placing blame on my friends for not understand that I cannot just drop everything and go out for a drink, it was a little disheartening to finally have made friends who share so many of our likes and values and to now be the odd men out.. 

Anyway, when I came across the description of your group each line made my eyes light up and my heart jump a little bit more with every paragraph.. Could it be that there are people nearby who also have children who might think a little more outside of the box, or at least won't judge me for doing so? I was so excited!

Although I am very close to my family and couldn't live without them, as previously stated I am the 'black sheep' (hey, there's always one!) and many of the things and ways I plan to raise my daughter don't necessarily coincide with my LARGE families beliefs or customs, so in my eyes it was fate/kismet that I came across this group when I was really beginning to feel a little lonely and a lot like an outsider.. Also, I totally understand your discontent with other mommy groups, and as a matter of fact I was leery at first even joining meet up because I watch as my sister struggled with another group who were very cliquey and backstabby and she has pretty much lost all faith in mommy groups and has chosen to make friends and playmates other ways, so her warnings to me were very well heeded..

However after reading about your group I decided to give this one, and one other a try. I feel I want to expose Isabel to as much as I can while I am still able to.. I want to not only meet people for me, but I want her to be around other kids, and even though she is little, I would love for her to have a mini group of friends to be excited to see and have fun with all while being given the opportunity to grow and learn.. 

OK, I am done rambling now! Have a great night and I look forward to possibly meeting you ladies soon.

Take care, Danielle B.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1 and half years of insanity, happiness, smiles, tears and the best time ever!

I remember it like yesterday the first time I heard her go from saying 'ma-ma' to 'mommy'... I also have an image burned in my mind of what her faced looked like when she grabbed and ate a lemon off of my plate at a restaurant. The time she grabbed my keys, went to the door and pretended to use them in the doorknob makes me proud to see her getting the idea of concepts, and I smile and giggle to myself if I think about the way she laughs out loud when I blow 'zerberts' on her neck..

I also remember the times days when 2 cups of coffee just don't cut it.. The guilt I felt  when I had to put on a brave face  and hold my daughter down inside the blood lab when she was getting her 12 months blood work, and then how lost it as I was was only 1 foot back out the door that I held her for 15 minutes outside my car because I just didn't want her to feel hurt.

 Teaching myself that like any other hurdle in my life, exaustion is something to overcome and work through, and not be stopped or slowed down by. How deep breathing techniques sound awesome in theory until your 15 month old is screaming, throwing her food, or just telling you quite clearly to 'stop' while trying to change their poopy and really smelly messy diaper and then you can breath all you want, but you're pretty sure that you want to just go into a room and close the door and scream and jump up and down and stomp your feel until it makes you feel better.

How my heart melts each time she leans in for a kiss, comes up behind me a hugs my legs, or when she stands on the couch yelling 'bye bye mommy' each night when I get into the car to go to work.

I love that each Holiday that I have celebrated for the past 18 months is so much more special than I ever thought, making them so much more meaningful and important.How my little family of three is the most important thing in the world to me, and how I love each minute of time I get to spend with them.

I'm amazed how a little tushie could be even cuter at 18 months (if that's possible), and equally amazed at how often that though crosses my mind... And how hilarious I find it when I see it running away from me as quickly as possible the second the diaper is off and the opportunity presents itself!

How it boggles my mind that such a tiny person can have SO much energy on such little consecutive hours of sleep...

And lastly, that this thing called love grows exponentially everyday, and that just when I think it's not possible to feel anymore love, or that my heart can't get any fuller with adoration for my baby girl, I wake up another day and it's SO much more than the day before...

Thank you for the most amazing 18 months of my life, here's to SO many more.

 xoxoxooxo Mommy love you baby girl!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Veggies on the sly...

So there's a new wave of parenting that is 'tricking' their children into eating vegetables.. Hiding them in things like brownies, cookies, pies and breads.. So, it got me thinking. I totally understand the concept of having to get your children to eat veggies because of their overwhelming nutritional value, but do we really want to spend so much time hiding the kids veggies that they never learn to like just a piece of broccoli or a circle of squash? Do we really want to depend solely on using other vehicles to get your kids to eat their vegetables, especially the kinds of things that we don't necessarily want them eating all of the time anyway? How nutritive is a carrot if the carrot is in buttery, sugar cake? I mean, if the cake recipe is modified as well, perhaps that would make more sense, but this is not the case in many of the recipes I have seen.

And yes, by all means kids should eat their vegetables, and hopefully like the process.. But that might be a little far fetched for the picky kid, or the even more stressed parent. So, yes, I say by all means offer your kids smoothies with greens and other veggies, and also add some pumpkin puree to their brownie mix..

As a matter of fact, I have been known to add butternut squash to mac and cheese, and beets to 'red' velvet cupcakes, as well as pureed and shredded veggies in everything from sauce to quesadillas, but keep in mind that studies have shown that it takes a child an average of 10 times to try something new food wise and actually like it....10 times! So think back to all of the peas that have hit the floor and the carrots that were pushed away to the furthest point of the highchair and tiny little mouths clamped so tightly shut a grain of sand wouldn't get in and add in some arms that were thrown up into the air in veggie-surrender, and you probably have less than 10 attempts do to complete and utter frustration.. 10 is a very high number when it comes to the cost of food, and the assumption that even a little of that will go uneaten/wasted. But we need as parents to fight the good fight and keep offering these veggies.. In their ordinary, recognizable, un-smothered forms.. Stalks of broccoli, slices of peppers, chopped squash, etc..

Something I have begin to learn is that kids are little sponges and need to know tons about everything... The more information people have about things, the more likely they are to be comfortable. Perhaps if your child is involved in the process of acquiring these veggies, they might be more likely to eat them.. Now that summer is slowly creeping upon us, take your kids veggie/fruit picking, or to a local farmers market or farm stand... Even to the supermarket produce section.. Let them be apart of the process of choosing which veggies, how many, what color, etc. Make it interesting.. Take the veggies home, and if age appropriate, let them be apart of the cooking and preparation, even if it means just letting them wash and dry them. If they went through the 'trouble' to prepare them, I can pretty much guarantee that they will at least try them, which could be a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, there are some tried and true recipes that I have used (both sneaky and not!) to get my little lady to eat her veggies, feel free to try them and let me know if you have any of your own suggestions or modifications that you think work!

Cheesy-Spinach Nuggets
1 cup chopped frozen spinach , thawed and drained
1 egg
1/2 cup mashed potato or instant flakes (instant potatoes work great for this because they bind well, but if you have left over mashed potatoes, that's awesome too!)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded cheese of your choice, we used organic mozzarella
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, plus more to roll them in..
Olive oil or other healthy fat oil in spray form

Preheat oven to 350...

Mix together all of the ingredients.. they should have a 'meatball' consistency, maybe a little dryer.. you can add a few drops of water if you feel that they aren't pliable enough.

Form a ball, roll it some of the whole wheat breadcrumbs and flatten the balls a little to give them a 'nugget' like appearance.. continue until all of the mix is used..

Spray cookie sheet with oil, place nuggets on sheet and spray tops of them..

Cook in oven for 10 minutes, flip and cook for another 5-8 minutes until they are crispy looking and golden.

For my little lady, I have to break them up into pieces.. but feel free to give your kids a whole nugget. The spinach is a pretty obvious taste in this, it's flavor doesn't get buried by the competitiveness of the potatoes or cheese, just complimented, so rest assured that this is a great way to introduce and continue a love for all things spinach-y!

Carrot, apple, raisin, ginger smoothie
2 medium carrots, washed and peeled if dirty, if not don't bother
1 medium apple, washed throughly if not organic... doesn't have to be peeled either
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon ginger root
( I also added a container of pureed organic green peas to this, because they were lying around uneaten and why not!?)
3-4 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to your blender, minus the ice cubes... Blend.
Add ice cubes, blend again..

Pour in cup... So here's the thing about this smoothie.. It tastes great, it's got zip from the ginger, which is also great for belly aches and helps aid in digestion, it's got raisins which is great for kids with pooping and constipation issues, it's got your apples and carrots (and peas), which a SUPER good for you and chock full of delicious vitamins.. I usually make a little extra because mommy and daddy like to drink this one too! It's also this awesomely vibrant orange color, which to little eyes is super appealing!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How to nourish the mind and body of a busy one year old (if I can catch her!)

I've been honestly working on this post for a month. It was supposed to be this amazing post about how amazing and incredible the past year with my daughter has been...

All sunshine and rainbows, peaches and cream, and all the lovey-dovey mommy stuff that dreams are made of! And it's true, my eyes teared, my heart ached, and my hormones kicked into overdrive about the fact that my little baby girl was turning a year old. And while I had the best intentions to write an amazing homage to her first year and how incredible it was for me, and I hope her, I just haven't had a minute... But while I lie awake at night, and have any moments of clarity and non-mommy brain fogginess, I think about how I can keep her safe and healthy..

I love to cook, and I love to watch my daughter eat what I cook, and I love to make things healthy and delicious...I am going to try my hand at blogging about what I cook for her, how she reacts and what she likes and dislikes... All of this as long as I can get her to sit down long enough to eat it, because I am sure as any other mother of a grasing toddler can attest, it's hard to coax them to sit down long enough to make sure they are eating anything at all, never mind all of the healthy things you'd like them to.

Anyone who has any questions about recipes, instructions, why I chose certain things, etc feel free to contact me.. Also, I love love love recipes and advice, so hit me up!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oh, s*%t! !

Poopie, doo-doo, ca-ca, stinkies, and crap-- call it what you will, but after you have a baby it takes on a new meaning. I realized this fact this morning, after just under 11 months into my motherhood, I realize that poop and all of it's cutesy named friends mean a whole new world to me.

First, the general way in which it is spoken of by mother's and father's alike in everyday casual conversation; size, frequency, consistency, smell, color, and amount are all acceptable and almost expected things to talk about amongst other parents at play dates, dinner parties and get togethers.

Second, The 'sniff test'.. Yes, as a married person with no children, I never in a million years thought that it would be an acceptable practice in my household for me to pick up my child and say something like 'babe, sniff her butt, did she poop?' Alas, these words leave mouth pretty much at least once a day.

I also never thought that I would find it quite so hilarious as I did, when my husband took a deep inhale, and practically smushed his nose to my little girls (thankfully) completely clothed behind and got a good whiff of one of her most stinky diapers to which he bellowed "come, on! Why did you make me do that?!" to which I laughed so hard, I cried and thought to myself, 'comes with the territory, my friend!'

I am pretty sure God punished my laughter a few minutes later when I went to go change my squirmy little person and while removing the offending diaper from underneath her less than cleanly tush, grabbed a handful of mushy hot poop instead. Gross..

Number 3.. Poop used to be a private thing... although as the famous potty training book says, everyone does it you had no reason to discuss it the way I do since I have been a parent. Not to mention that if and when the 'act' was taking place it was a time to go behind closed doors and take a few much needed moments to take care of business.. Nowadays, if I am alone with the baby I have to keep the door open for fear she will eat something off of the floor, break something, or hurt herself in someway.. There was a time only a few short months ago when she was content swinging in her swing while I took care of business, and if she was awake, I could put her in her 'excersaucer' to play for a few minutes and she would hardly even notice, however if I am in the bathroom, more than likely so is she.. So I have had to come to grips with sitting on the toilet, and having a small child standing in front of me, to whom I am trying to entertain long enough to keep her from unrolling an entire roll of toilet paper in record time.

As a new parent, I have learned that privacy is no longer a privilege that I am afforded, and I have begun to accept these things, and really appreciate those moments on the weekends when my husband is home so I can close the door... :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Long time, no time to write!

I know, I know-- it's been since November.. But, I don't know who I was fooling when I thought that I would ACTUALLY have time to write as often as I was, since my little lady has become mobile I have anything less than time to myself..

Don't get me wrong, I do a lot.. I chase her around the house, I plan birthday parties, I make breakfast, lunch and dinner that's cut into tiny-little bits, I pureed food, I breastfeed, I do laundry, I drive from playdate to playdate, I teach, I dance, I sing, I rock, and I cuddle, and this is all often before 345pm.

I also often eat on the run, wear dirty clothes, have to think when the last time I showered or washed my hair is, wear over or undersized clothes, only put makeup on to cover the under eye circles, and have perfected sleeping with my eyes open.

I also get my workouts dancing with my little lady, get my laughs watching her do new things and giggling when being tickled, get a full days worth of kisses in the first ten minutes I am awake in the morning, have a new found love for apple juice, little bits of fruit and cheerios, and realized that watching my husband jump around making monkey noises making his two girls laugh hysterically is often the best part of my day.

I am trying to enjoy each and every second of these stressful, amazing, and often 'fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' moments, because as clich├ęd as it is the time really does fly by....