Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three Years Ago Today...

He just came wandering into my life and simply seemed to take his place. And just like that, he changed everything.

Three years ago, on this very day at this very time, I married the love of my life. And I would do it again a million times over.

Happy Anniversary, LOML.
Lately it seems that all my favorite mommy bloggers, like her and her, have the same age-old question on their minds - how do you balance it all? How can you give 100% to work, kids, husbands, and (concept!) YOURSELF without having a complete and utter nervous breakdown?

This question consumes my thoughts regularly, and since I wrote my stressed-out mommy plea about a month ago, I have managed to streamline our daily routine. First of all, we stopped using cloth diapers, so the poop-scraping nights are behind us. This was a tough decision for me, as I fancy myself a pseudo-eco-mommy and had been obsessed with cloth diapering since long before I even got pregnant (y'know, back when I had time on my hands to sit around researching BumGenius vs. Happy Heinies). But I had set a goal of a year of cloth diapers, and I made it. I'm proud of that, and prouder of the fact that I am no longer fist-deep in my son's crap on a nightly basis. I discovered Amazon Mom's amazing diaper discounts (7th Generation for .15 each, yo!) so I'm also pretty proud of the crazy deal I'm getting. Now if only I could banish the pesky bit of diaper rash that has plagued us since we started on disposables, we'd be golden.

I also started giving the Roo school food, and stopped obsessing about potential pesticides lurking in the daycare cuisine. I bring him some yogurt from home, and a little container of fruit every day - if the day's menu has some Dirty Dozen produce on it, I ask that they give him my fruit instead. And he's EATING. My kid is EATING! MY kid! school, that is. Eating at home is a whole other cranky blog post in the works. SIGH.

I stopped pumping at night before I go to bed, so I'm down to three pumps a day - in the morning before I leave for work, and twice while I'm there. Dropping the nightly pump made an INCREDIBLE difference to both the quality of my evenings and my energy level. On Monday, November 1st (Arbitrary date? Yes! Crazy OCD mommy? Yes!!), I am dropping another pump, so I'll be down to TWO per day. I couldn't be more excited if it were Christmas morning and Santa had just pulled a pony out of his sack.

These small changes have made a world of difference in my quality of life, yet I still feel that I am running around like a headless chicken most days. People like to tell you how much having a child will change your life, and I thought I understood them. But the truth is, I had no idea how much motherhood would rock my world. I miss puttering in my apartment, rearranging closets, cleaning the kitchen, baking, seeing girlfriends, long, careless, non-exhaustion-filled dates with my husband (I have been known to yawn and slump over in the middle of date nights these days...). I miss primping in the mirror, curling my hair, applying make-up, doing face masks, taking baths, and all the other things that now I am simply too tired to do at night after the Roo has gone to sleep. I miss sleeping past 5:30 am (oh sweet little early bird, WHY must you rise before the sun??). I miss lazy Sunday mornings, lingering for hours over coffee and the newspaper. I miss having more than one glass of wine. I miss being selfish.

At work, I can no longer stay late, like I once did regularly. Hell, it's all I can do to make it in to the office by 9 - and usually I don't roll in til 9:30 (thankfully no one else does, either - god bless the entertainment industry!). Some days I go visit Carter at lunch instead of staying at my desk and working through like I once did. Then I leave early at 5:45 to make it to daycare before closing. While I'm in the office, I try to give 110% to make up for all the time away, but it's just not possible - there are bills to pay, appointments to schedule, blogs to read (ahem), celebrity gossip to catch up on (AHEM)...but I can cram it all in, right? Being a stellar employee AND dealing with the minutia that slips through the cracks each night at home? Frankly, work is the only moment I get a bit of a break - at home, it's a nonstop litany of tasks until I fall into bed at night and pass out cold.

My sweet husband is always encouraging me to take time for ME - go get your nails done, honey. Buy yourself a new dress, honey. Go to lunch with a friend, honey. And I should - I know I should. But it's just so difficult for me to justify any time spent away from the Roo on the weekend - I see so little of him during the week that I just want to completely smother him with affection and attention each weekend. But that's not good, and I know that. Too much work and not enough time for herself makes mommy a dull (and crazy) girl. So I hereby challenge myself to take time each week to recalibrate, for my own sanity and the sanity of my little family.

I'll end this with a long-beloved and newly poignant quote from our dear Dr. Seuss -

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that life’s a great balancing act.

Preach on, Theodor Geisel!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


At 13.5 months:

- The newest word in Carter's ever-expanding vocabulary is (drumroll...) BOOB. He has begun pointing at my chest and saying "boob boob" when he wants to nurse (although it's really more like "boo, boo" - apparently the second 'b' is tough). So it's official - I have now been nursing so long that my kid can ask for the boob. Does this make me a crazy hippie?
Sidenote: I wasn't even aware that I used the word "boob" around him often enough for him to pick up on it, but apparently so. Whoops.

- The Roo is now in-between sizes, so his 6-12 month pants still fit in the waist but are now high-waters, leaving almost an inch of bare ankle hanging out, but my skinny boy still swims in most 12-18 month ensembles. Small but mighty!

- Stranger anxiety has set in. Yesterday a woman from the preschool next door was filling in at the infant/toddler center, and Carter gave her a stinkeye the likes of which I have never seen grace his face. I finally had to switch him to a different table so that he'd relax and eat his breakfast.

Say it with me, people: Oy Vey!
(Every once in awhile, this little WASP has to get her Yiddish on.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Carteroo

This weekend we had our visit to Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch. The Roo fell on his face shortly before we left home and bit his lip, but aside from that we had a grand old time.

Getting him all decked out in his lumberjack chic, courtesy of Grandma & Grandpa:

At one point I became overwhelmed by his general awesomeness and attempted to squish him to bits:

He became very fixated on this squash and alternately ran around waving it like a sword and clutched it tightly to his chest like his baby:

Toddler + slow shutter speed = blurry, but fabulous:

Peeking out of the huge pumpkin at Daddy:

I love this one. The little hand in the air just breaks me:

So many pumpkins, so little time:

This is his "Enough with the pumpkins, I'm ready for my nap" face:

There are more pictures, including some family shots, that must be retrieved from Babushka's and Auntie's cameras, as ours died halfway through the extravaganza. In summary, a good time was had by all. I even think I almost managed to convince Carter that they weren't all giant orange apples (or "APPPPL!!!" if you're Carter).

I'll leave you with this - what a difference a year makes:
October 2009

October 2010

To see 'em all, clickity clack right here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mama's Really Cookin' Now

Okay, not really. But I am enjoying making breakfasts for the Roo each weekend. Last Saturday I made Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Weelicious again) in order to use up the long-neglected tub of cottage cheese languishing in our fridge. The recipe is easy, healthy and packed with protein, which is great for Carter, since he'll rarely eat chicken and lately has been rejecting his once-beloved tofu, too. You'd think they would have a bizarre texture because of the cottage cheese, but you'd be wrong - the cheese melts and leave behind nothing but mild, light pancake-y goodness. I topped it with a little honey and pureed fruit, and the Roo actually ate one entire pancake (that's a LOT for him, folks). I didn't take photos (d'oh!) but here they are in all their glory (thanks, Weelicious):

I was tinkering around with my FANTASTIC All Recipes app on my iPhone (iPhoners out there - you must get this. I could easily give up cookbooks altogether now) and did a search for Banana Bread to lay two rapidly decaying 'naners to rest. A bajillion recipes came up, along with accompanying reviews (and I read ALL the reviews, as they never fail to give helpful tips, substitutions, etc.). I chose the Banana Oat Muffins and then tinkered with the recipe to make it a little healthier, substituting applesauce for oil, whole wheat flour for white, and using slightly less sugar (1/2 brown, 1/2 white). The verdict? DELISH. The husband gobbled a few, and Carter ate almost an entire muffin. Bravo!
Not my photo, but they looked like this:

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (from TJ's)
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sugar (half brown, half white - although agave would be great, too)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg (can use egg white instead, or Ener-G egg replacer to make vegan)
3/4 cup milk (can use soy to make it vegan)
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas

1.Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.
2.In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper bake cups, and divide the batter among them.
3.Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes.

Bon appetit!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sippy Obsession

The first step is admitting that you have a problem. So here it is: I am addicted to sippy cups. I estimate that I have bought about fifty bucks worth of sippies, and when you consider that they only cost a few dollars each, that's A LOT of cups crowding my cupboards. I know I need to stop, but I just can't help myself! They are so cute and colorful - who can resist? I keep thinking I'm going to find the magical cup that Carter ADORES, which he'll drink his milk out of eagerly and effortlessly instead of sucking on it for a minute and then tossing it to the ground. It must be out there - right? RIGHT?? After all, the American Academy of Pediatrics touts the importance of getting them off the bottle by age ONE. One! Baaaah! Gaaaak! Booo!


So here's a quick (okay, not-so-quick) inventory of our current sippy stock (most ordered from Amazon - addiction #2 - damn you, free two-day shipping!):

We started out simple, with The First Years Take & Toss Cups (like these, but not girly):

They are great for mealtime, when I need something quick and easy to clean, but not good for travel or daycare, as they leak when turned over and the tops can sometimes pop off when they fall (or are THROWN...) to the ground. Still, not bad for everyday, and you can't beat the price.

Then I discovered the Munchkin version, which is almost exactly the same, yet slightly larger and with the helpful addition of a screw-on top. Slightly better than the Take & Toss because the lids won't pop off if (when) thrown, but still not ideal for travel/daycare.

Next up are these, the Playtex First Sipster:

These are actually the first sippies that I bought for Carter (whoops - out of order) - they don't leak and he still takes them well, but primarly for water, not breastmilk or cow's milk, so I kept ordering more...

...and decided to get fancy and try this, the Thinkbaby Sippy Cup:

I thought the Roo would love it because it doesn't have a filter - instead, it's just a soft silicone top, like a big nipple. The problem is that the opening in the spout is SO tiny in order to make it spill-proof (which it is) that he wants NOTHING to do with it. I can't say I can argue with his reasoning - I use level 3 fast flow nipples for his bottles, so why should he suddenly have to start sucking harder than necessary?

Next up were these, the Nuk Gerber Learner Cup, which had the same problem - no filter=tiny spout=too much work for baby:

I also tried Nuby Sport Sipper, thinking that they were just like a HUGE bottle - what's not to love? According to Carter, everything.

Finally I wised up and decided to try a straw cup (DING DING DING!). These are generally for older babies, but hey, my boy's advanced.

First I got this, the Nurtria straw cup, which was TOTAL CRAP. Leaks horribly. Bad news bears, people!

After obsessively reading Amazon reviews, I ended up with the Munchkin Mighty Grip Straw Cup:

He is a big fan of this one and uses it to drink his water every day at daycare. It will leak occasionally if he has fluid left in the straw when he turns it upside down, but it doesn't bother me. I haven't tried breastmilk in it because the straw is slightly too short at the bottom, which would leave a bit of milk in the cup, and I'll be damned if I'm wasting my liquid gold. He's taken cow's milk in it occasionally but not reliably, and it's not the best cup to transport milk in when we're out and about because it's not insulated. Still, it remains my cup of choice for water.

So there you go - I found a cup he really likes. You'd think I would be done, right? Well, YOU WOULD BE WRONG, because any trip to Target ends up with my husband finding me standing wild-eyed in the sippy cup aisle, vulnerable and salivating over all the cuteness. Which is how I ended up with these:
Playtex Insulator (HOW CUTE ARE THE CARS??):

...and this, the Playtex Insulator Straw Cup:

He loathes the regular Insulator Sippy - loathes it. Miraculously, he actually LIKES the straw Insulator! He's even taken cow's milk in it (okay, ONCE...but it counts). When we run around town on the weekends, I take some cow's milk with us in this (I am trying to encourage the cow's milk drinking to slowly get him used to it, but I also bring along a bottle of breastmilk - just in case).

After weeks of crazed sippy-buying, I had to stop the madness and put a moratorium on it, so I didn't buy ANY for months.

...but just last weekend I was at Target, and couldn't help myself. So I ended up with these:
the Gerber Sip n' Smile:

and the Nuby Straw Cup:

Cute as hell, am I right?? Well, my son is clearly not into aesthetics yet, because he doesn't seem to care for either one. Hrmph.

So there it is - our sippy inventory in all its horrible, ridiculous, rejected glory. There might even be more that I'm forgetting. Why do you have next to no desire to buy clothes for your son and yet can't stop buying plastic sippy cups, you may ask? I know not. But I do know that he likes (or at least doesn't HATE) a couple of those straw cups listed above, so we'll be sticking with those for the time being, in conjunction with his bottles for his breastmilk (yes, I am still pumping, and he still gets three bottles of breastmilk per day and one bottle of cow's...but that's another post for another day).

I also know that the AAP can take their "no bottles after a year" notion and SHOVE IT, pals! To quote my fabulous pediatrician, he's not going to college with a bottle - so if my boy wants it, my boy gets it.

For the time being, anyway.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Woman Army

Last week, in the interest of saving my sanity and streaming my nightly routine, I decided to let the Roo eat some "school food" at daycare. The daycare's food schedule consists of five mini-meals throughout the day, and he is now eating three of the five. Thus, instead of sending him off with my old standard (three mini-meals plus crackers), I only include a container of his yogurt (plain organic whole milk yogurt to which I add blended fruit - this week blueberries, raspberries, mango and banana - and ground flaxseed, with occasionally a drizzle of agave), crackers and some chopped fruit (for him to eat when the school is serving something pesticide-y, like peaches).

It is INCREDIBLE how much time this saves me in the evening. I make a large container of his yogurt in advance, so each night all I have to do is put some in a container and add the flax, then toss some crackers in another container. My husband is in charge of chopping up some fruit for him, and - TA DA! - our evening food-prep is complete.

The decision to start Carter on school food was a tough one for us, since keeping his diet organic has always been such an obsession. Until recently, I suspected that the daycare director wrote it off as yet another of my strange hippie obsessions, like cloth diapers and wooden toys - another reason to peg me as that crazy crunchy mom. That is, UNTIL LAST WEEK, when I mentioned the Dirty Dozen list while talking about Carter's food, and she actually expressed interest in learning more. I went back to the office and printed out both the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, the full ranking of all produce, and about a half-dozen articles linking pesticides to ADHD in children, and proving that organic produce reduces pesticide exposure by 80 percent. I even highlighted the key passages.

Suddenly, the school's menu has begun to include new items, like organic oatmeal and kiwi (a Clean Fifteen fruit!). She proudly announced to me that she has begun to buy hormone-free chicken instead of regular. And the other day I brought her a container of organic yogurt to serve in hopes that she might switch over (only $2.79 at Trader Joe's! What a deal!).

If you can't beat 'em, teach 'em.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

At long last, some photos from the Roo's big birthday bash last month. We didn't take a single photo that day, and instead (stupidly) relied on friends and relatives to send 'em our way - thus the month-late post. Here are some highlights, but to see the entire album, click here.
I went with a train theme - the invitation had a train on it, so I used it in all design elements (and oh, do I love me some paper products).

The hot dog bar:

My awesome birthday banner:

With his beloved car from Grandma & Grandpa:

This is called I Missed My Nap So To Hell With Your Homemade Organic Cake, Mama!

No, YOU eat it, Mom.

Shortly after this picture was taken, I detached my jaw and swallowed him whole.

I told you, I will not eat it and you can't make me! (Whose kid IS this??)

I will get you, bubbles!

Our Family