Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Attack of Beige Food

Oh hey, remember this post - Baby Food Recipes - the one with all the fancy baby food recipes? Those were the days...the ones when B would eat anything off a spoon and trusted mom and dad to feed him. As of a few weeks ago, those are gone.

He now refuses to eat off of any utensil and prefers beige food, mainly chicken. This has led me to extreme frustration and, honestly, some hurt feelings. Not the proudest of mommy-moments.

Waffles are beige...
B will have that, hold the eggs and oranges.

Something beige in hand...
get that pouch out of here.
I tried for about two weeks to basically force feed him. Pinning him to the high chair and putting food in his mouth when we would open it to cry. This sounds terrible, but most of the time he would stop crying and gobble it up. Then one day he didn't stop crying and it felt like I was torturing him. So I had to stop, or dad begged me to stop...that's besides the point.

In the meantime, I got creative researching recipes with hidden vegetables and strategically placed fruits. Some attempts worked (for a day or two), others failed immediately. I am still finalizing my plan of attack and luckily some of his hesitations have diminished. He got over a little case of hand, foot and mouth and has two new teeth. I have some recipes and tips that I will stick with and even more left to try.

He has decided he will eat out of a pouch, but only when he decides he is ready. He likes to feed other people, and will maybe take food out of your hand after close inspection. Then some times, he will gobble up anything on his tray regardless of color or texture. I am at a loss but will not give up.

So far we have tested... 
Vegeta-balls: Savory and packed with lentils, celery, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. BIG HIT and easy to make.

Banana-Apple-Carrot Muffins: Recipe calls for dates, but I used some apple chunks instead. B likes these about half the time, but would prefer other things given the option.

Sweet potato sticks: Cut sweet potatoes into french fry shape, toss in olive oil, and roast in the oven on 450 for about 15-20 minutes. Sometimes B will chew on these, depends on the day.

Chicken: The favorite...chicken any way he can get it so I just give him whatever we are having. BBQ, Asian, grilled with our favorite seasoning, rotisserie, etc.

Waffles: No Eggo's here. B likes Van's Ancient Grains (I swear they taste like carrot cake, Dad disagrees) and we are trying Nature's Path Buckwheat Wildberry next.

Multi-Grain bread: He likes it plain or with peanut butter, love the fresh stuff at Publix made with peanuts only! I recently topped the peanut butter with some wheat germ for added nutrients and he didn't mind.

Grilled Cheese: I pureed chicken and broccoli together with some fresh shredded cheddar, slathered that on multi-grain bread then topped it with another thin layer of cheddar. Toasted it up and tore in to pieces. He liked this a few times, but wised up quickly...much to my dismay.

The chicken/broccoli grilled cheese.
He liked this the first two times, not so much the third.
Cheesy Eggy Triangles: I made these twice, first time he loved it, second time not so much. I will try again though because it was easy and eggs are super nutritious!

Fruit Shredz: He loves these, the shape and texture are perfect for him. I like them because they seem healthier than the puffs. 

Veggie Burgers/Patties: I got the Publix brand veggie burgers and B seemed to enjoy those. Next we are trying the Boca Burgers to see what he thinks.

"Pizza, where have you been all my life?!" - B
So those are just a few things I have tried to get him through the teething and beige food stages. He seems to have moved on, although his preference for bread and chicken has not gone away...he is just more willing to select other things as well. This will do for now. And he has decided to sample some of my homemade concoctions from the pouches I make with the Kiinde system. This has been great! He actually prefers these to the store bought ones, so that makes me a happy mom!

Banana/Apple/Carrot Muffin and a homemade pouch
with blueberry, apple, banana, oats and spinach.
B's lunch on Wednesday.
Top: Vegeta-ball, roasted red pepper, chicken
Bottom: Strawberries and watermelon pieces

Monday, August 18, 2014

One Year Later...

This morning at 5:11 a.m. I was half way through the squat track during a Body Pump class at 24e thinking to myself:
I might not make it to the end of this...I think I added too much weight. My legs may give out. Is my quad supposed to burn like that? Oh man, I drank too much wine last night. And that bread pudding might not have been worth it.
Then I realized that exactly one year ago I was experiencing the worst pain of my life, followed by indescribable, surreal joy...followed up with more pain, then back to joy.

Barrett William Seal graced us with his presence at 5:11 a.m. on August 18, 2013. He was three weeks early, but fully developed and ready for the world. Mom and Dad were extremely naive and thought we were prepared. Needless to say, we have learned a lot in the past year and I am sure B has MUCH more to teach us.

B at two days old, still in the hospital.
I made it through the squat track and the rest of the workout because I kept thinking of the one, all-encompassing phrase that sums up the past year.
"This too shall pass."
From sleepless nights, endless feedings, seemingly pointless crying fits and miserable car rides, to runny noses and countless pediatrician visits...all the hard times dissolve into warm snuggle sessions, toothless grins, first words and baby laughter. The thing mom and dad have to remember is that all these times pass just as quickly as the others; being aware and present in the good and bad times is equally important. Knowing that B won't only eat beige food forever and will eventually stop teething is hard to comprehend in the moment. At the same time, while he is jabbering to himself, peacefully playing with his toys (or the remote) we have to take the time to adore the preciousness that is our sweet B.

Dad is seriously hysterical! 
"Ma, it's's beige and I like it." - B
Parenting is hard. Harder than the squats I did this morning, fighting traffic, or managing challenges at work. Seeing his sweet face, hearing him mumble "ma-ma-ma," and even waking up in the middle of the night puts everything in to perspective.

Ready for Auburn Gameday!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Missing Mr. B

When B was eight weeks old I went back to work. I was ready to get out of the house and back to a routine. I didn't cry when we left him at daycare, but I was beyond excited to see him by the time I got home. School is great for Mr. B and the routine is good for Mom and Dad.

That being said, sometimes making it through the work day is ridiculously difficult knowing B is doing important things without me. Teething, crawling, eating, napping, babbling, and walking attempts are the most essential things in life at the moment. While I am at work attempting to be a productive member of the team, I keep reminders of B everywhere.

In front of me.

Above me.

To the left.

Behind me.

On the go.

These pictures help throughout the day because I remember the exact moment all of them were taken. I feel happy to have such special memories and beautiful images, but am also a little sad that I can't squeeze B at this exact moment. 

I won't lie and tell you I miss him every moment...sometimes mom needs a break, whether it is work or a solo trip to the grocery store. I know that I enjoy working because it helps me to fully enjoy the time I have with B. I only occasionally envy my stay-at-home-mom friends, ya know, once or twice a weekday and every other hour on Sundays. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Rise of Super Dad

I was raised by two wonderful, hands-on, loving parents. My mom stayed at home after my younger sister was born while my dad worked hard to support the family. My dad changed diapers, got up in the middle of the night, and held us at dinner so my mom could enjoy her meal. My dad went to swim meets, piano recitals, dance recitals, gymnastics meets and everything in between. This is what I was used to and this is what I expected from Adam (now Dad). 

What I didn't expect was the unique dynamic that comes with a new baby. The past year has been a process that has changed our lives and relationship more than I imagined. For me, becoming a mother happened instantly. The second I saw B lying on my chest, looking all squishy and gross, I knew what I needed to do. When I didn't know what to do, I moved forward acting like I did. This is just kind of how I do most things in life...personally and professionally. 
About an hour after B's arrival. 
I feel like for men things happen differently. The foreign object that was just removed from the body of their significant other is now screaming and flailing attempting to comprehend the sensory overload that has just taken place. Nurses are scurrying about tending to Mom and Baby while Dad is left trying to get a glimpse of the new life he helped create. What ensues in the following months is difficult to describe and, I would imagine, differs wildly from one father to the next. 

Perfecting the football hold. 
Look at that sweet face.
 Our journey into parenthood has had its ups and downs. But the one thing I never doubted was Dad's ability. Three months after B was born, I had to travel to L.A. for work. Dad handled B just fine, despite his own nerves. Most every morning, we pack up B and Dad gets him to daycare. Most every night, Dad washes and prepares B's bottles for the next day, after he washes our dishes from dinner; he then cleans the entire kitchen and picks up the toys strewn throughout the house. 

Closely supervising tummy time.
This weekend I attended my sister's bachelorette party. Dad and B had a boys weekend - dinner with Grandpa Friday night, Dad got to golf with friends on Saturday thanks to my brave girl friends who managed three babies, B and Dad washed up then headed to a dinner with friends on Saturday night, then brunch on Sunday before I got home. 

The Super Dads and their boys before golf.
By the time I got home, B and Dad were waiting and everyone was happy. Dad didn't seem frazzled, there were no weekend mishaps, and we enjoyed a nice evening and early bed time. 

I don't want to provide a false sense of is not always easy. We have had our ups and downs as parents, but we have grown, adapted and overcome. Dad is amazing; he has the desire and ability to make B a happy, well-adjusted child. More importantly, Dad has the desire and ability to make me the happiest Mom and wife. 

Let's be honest, Dad is MUCH funnier than Mom.
Cheers to all the Super Dads who change diapers in the car because there is no changing table, who eat cold food because the baby decided the high chair was no longer comfy, and who strap on the diaper bag and sport that burp cloth. But let's not forget the private times when you let us cry on your shoulder, bring us a glass of wine in the bath, and remove our hair from the fist of a handsy infant. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bikini vs. One Piece

Bathing suit season has never particularly bothered me. I was a lifeguard for several years and sitting nearly naked on an elevated lifeguard tower gets you accustomed to being in a bathing front of people...while sitting on an 8 foot pedestal.

Want to know what is NOT fun about bathing suit season this year? Trying to hold, feed, corral and apply sunscreen to a rowdy infant who thinks the sand is amazing, beer cans are toys, and anything on the beach is edible. 

I decided before our first beach trip back in April that a one piece suit was necessary. The thought of having to bend over, play with and hold Barrett seemed less than desirable while sporting a midriff-bearing bikini. Bikinis are made for leisurely beach trips were tanning and drinking are rampant and flipping from back to stomach is the only stress of the day. And you can focus on sucking in and keeping everything in place. 

This is not how I would describe a beach trip with a baby. The only time I considered my tan lines was when he was napping. 

The plus side to all this? I found the cutest one piece (that cost a small fortune), Mr. B is a beach bum in the making, and has Mom's skin tone which equals tan! He has no fear of the sand or water and carried on about his routine as if we were at home. 

Cute and functional one piece. 
Here are some of the essentials we packed for the beach:
  • Sunscreen - apply to naked baby, pre beach time for best initial coverage.
  • Baby swim t-shirt for additional sun coverage 
  • Shade in the form of umbrellas or tent (preferably the latter b/c of standing room)
  • Back up pacifier (sand really sticks to these)
  • Portable, battery operated fan
  • Pouched baby food (anything that is hands free for everyone b/c of the sand)
  • Cooler (for baby food, of course)
  • Low, plastic beach chairs (metal gets HOT)
  • Inflatable baby raft
  • Inflatable baby pool
  • Blanket or sheet for putting over the sand and under the shade
  • Wagon with good wheels that will roll on sand
  • Towels, and extra towels
  • Bath toys (after all they are made for the water)
  • Wipes (not just for diaper changing, but for getting sand off everything)
  • Napkins, paper towels, or something of the sort

Mom car loaded up, down, and sideways.

Our travel companion snoozing away.

Beer at Eddy Teach's first. Check in later.

Pool time with Dad!

"How does my hair look?" -B

Nap time in the pop up shark tent. 

Or nap time on mom. Bikini was a bad idea. 

Nap time under the umbrella. See cooler, wagon and stuff. 

Play time at the house, in the drawers with whatever is accessible. 


Friday, May 30, 2014

The Photoshoot

Recently, I began stalking a local photographer. The lighting, editing and composition of her photos are beautiful. It doesn't hurt that her little boy resembles our sweet B. When I saw Sunny Jones was offering Mommy and Me mini-sessions the weekend of Mother's Day, I jumped at the chance! 

After I booked I was immediately nervous about the time frame - only 30 minutes - and our attire. Here come the rolling questions:
Will B be in a good mood? Was a noon start time the most preferable time? Will he get a good nap that morning? Would he need a bottle before or after? What if he gets sick in the next two weeks? What if he falls and scratches his face? What would he wear? What should I wear? Will 30 minutes really be enough time? What if he freaks out and refuses to smile?
The morning of was typical for me...wait until the last minute and rush out of the door, only to go back in to the house to grab the four things I forgot while Dad and B wait impatiently in the car. Luckily, B took a bottle and napped in the car. We arrived just in time for our noon session. 

Then the magic happened...

I put him on the pallet in Sunny's studio and he started smiling and posing like he was made for this. 

I'm this the same kid that produced these little gems from a previous monthly shoot at home.

Let us not forget these other quality photos that will make it in his wedding slideshow. But the cuteness doesn't stop here...

Those eyes...that pose...he was adorable on set but these photos are amazing! 

The book adds the perfect touch of reality; DUH, this is how we read books at home. Oh and let me know if you have a contact at Luvs Diapers. They are welcome to pay me royalties on the following pictures...

It's safe to say, the next time you visit our house, it will be disgustingly overwrought with pictures of our beautiful baby boy. 

A huge THANK YOU to Sunny for capturing these images. I can't help but smile, giggle a little, and shed a tear when I look at them. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tidbit Tuesday: Baby Food Recipes

B was two months old when he breastfed for the last time. I will tell you that I quit because my supply couldn't meet his demand or that anything I ate seemed to upset his stomach. But the truth is, I didn't like breastfeeding. This was tough for me to admit because I thought I would breastfeed until he was at least a year old. Realizing that not everything works the way you want it to is frustrating, especially when it comes to your baby. 

What Dad and I realized was that we were all happier with formula. It smells terrible, is a pain to mix, but it makes B's stomach happy, lets Dad connect with B during feedings and gives mom a break. We consider this a win/win/win. 

So I told myself after switching to formula, that when it came to baby food, it would only be the good stuff. So far so good! He has had some minimally processed foods, only the occasional food from a pouch and no french fries. Of course as he gets older and experiences new foods he will inevitably come across preservatives and highly processed snacks. But for now, I am going to keep him healthy with some of the following concoctions: 
  • Sweet potatoes - steamed with cinnamon and ginger, or roasted with savory spices
  • Peas - steamed and blended with olive oil, or served whole as finger food (which B hasn't quite mastered)
  • Corn - sauteed with cumin and/or garlic powder, blended with olive oil
  • Brussels Sprouts - steamed and blended with olive oil
  • Zucchini - steamed and blended with olive oil and garlic powder
  • Yellow Squash - steamed and blended with infused olive oil
  • Green beans - steamed and blended with olive oil and garlic powder
  • Lima beans - steamed and blended with olive oil
  • Spinach - steamed and blended with infused olive oil
  • Asparagus - roasted in the oven and mashed
  • Apples and Blueberries - 3 small green apples (peeled) with one cup frozen blueberries, steamed and blended
  • Peaches - fresh or frozen, blended and served with oats
  • Bananas - blended or mashed with cinnamon and/or ginger
  • Strawberries - chopped and blended, served with oats
  • Cantaloupe - cut and blended, served with oats
  • Mango - cut and mashed
  • Barley - cooked according to package directions and served with veggies
  • Bulgur wheat - cooked according to package directions and served with veggies or fruit
  • Steel cut oats - cooked according to package directions (plus about a tablespoon of coconut oil when making 4 servings) and add to fruit 
  • Chicken - grilled or baked with a variety of spices (Asian, Italian and Mexican, to name a few)
    • B first ate chicken at about 8 months old. I can't bring myself to blend meat, so he gets small bites. 
  • Chia Seeds - I started adding these to thicken some of the fruit. Great nutrients and they absorb liquid to help with digestion. I add these to my own greek yogurt and oatmeal. 

I use a Cuisinart food processor to blend and ice cube trays to freeze the food. I like to make baby food on a weekly basis, but usually only get to it every other week. Each night I get together his breakfast and lunch for the day to go to school. At first I blended the food so it was very smooth. Now, as he is exploring new textures, I like to leave it a little chunkier. He typically gets fruit and oats for breakfast and veggies for lunch and dinner. Sometimes he gets more fruit as dessert.

Ready to freeze - Blueberry/Apple, Banana and Spinach

So far he has been incredibly receptive to all types of food and spices! He definitely has weeks when he prefers fruits to veggies, but we try to mix it up so he doesn't get bored. And he has an extremely fickle appetite. I also like to be sure we eat meals together so at night we sit at the dinner table, turn off the TV and enjoy our dinner as a family.

B enjoying his first taste of rice cereal at 4.5 months.

Enjoying some sweet potatoes on the go! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Well of Emotions

You know that feeling you get when you are rocking your precious baby to sleep and he is calm, adorable and smells like heaven? It starts in your belly and creeps up through your chest to the bottom of your throat where it collects into a ball that you just can't swallow until you start crying because you are so overwhelmed with love for this human being you have created.

Precious sleeping B. 

It is a beautiful, scary feeling. You want to do everything you can for this child and be the best parent the world has ever seen. Of course, at this moment, the sweetly sleeping baby is awoken by your sobs and you have to collect yourself to get the little terror back to sleep. 

This is just the beginning of the well of emotions I have experienced as a new mom. Then there is the time when the tears of joy are replaced with sheer terror and dread. 

I get this feeling when I think B may be getting sick. Like when he vomits an entire bottle of formula or when he wakes up with a stream of green snot stuck to his upper lip and side of his face. The pit of my stomach that holds so much joy and love for my beautiful, blue-eyed baby boy is replaced with a gut-wrenching mix of anger and distress. 
Will the snot stay green throughout the day? Do we have any boogie wipes? Will I ever not smell like formula vomit? Will I vomit the next time it happens? Will the couch smell like vomit? Is there enough Febreeze in the world to combat the stench? Will he sleep at all? Will I sleep at all? How much baby Motrin can you give a child? Should I call the doctor? OMG, what if he needs antibiotics?! (see post from March)
Let me tell you, this kid can see the snot sucker from across the room and it sends him into a fit with arms flailing and head shaking. He hates having his nose and face wiped, acting as if his hand is being cut off. Sometimes when I see he has boogers in his nose, I leave them for a while. What does a little booger hurt? He could certainly care less.

But when I am rocking him to sleep, with or without a fever, it makes all of the terrible smells and snot-wiping well worth it. And in true B fashion, he is happy even when he is isn't feeling his best.

B at 4.5 months. Diagnosed with RSV three days later.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Momma's Wisdom

My momma left me with the knowledge I need to thrive in this life. She had 30 years to teach me everything she could, so by the time she passed away on February 17, 2014, I was ready. And I know that I am ready, not that it makes her physical absence any easier. Even throughout her battle with Alzheimer's she showed us all how strong a person can be and how much a mother can care for her family.

Linda Masden Steiner (1956-2014)

For my first Mother's Day, I want to share some of the tidbits my momma left with me. This is just a start and these are not things she necessarily said explicitly, more what I gleaned from her actions and admirable character. 

The one and only dance recital I performed in.
If you never met my momma, I am truly sorry. If you would like to get to know her better, we should hang out...I am trying to be more like her every day because she was amazing. 

My Momma's Wisdom (1 thru 25)

  1. Do what makes you happy.
  2. Racism and racial slurs are unacceptable. Everyone is equal and should be treated with respect.
  3. Eat dessert. Or have seconds, but eat what you want.
  4. Mourn death and then accept it.
  5. Wear less makeup and comfortable shoes.
  6. Marry your best friend.
  7. Smile.
  8. The kitchen is the best place in the house.
  9. Offer to buy homeless people food or give them your leftovers. If spare change is what you have, get it to them.
  10. Walk.
  11. Be nice to everyone. Hear their story if they want to share.
  12. Be confident.
  13. Sit at the table for family dinner.
  14. Good posture is important.
  15. Enjoy the beach.
  16. Spend time with family.
  17. Be a mother who is not always a best friend. 
  18. Don’t go to work or school sick. Perfect attendance isn’t worth it.
  19. Education is essential and good grades matter.
  20. No matter what you might think, it is not all about you. So get over yourself.
  21. Try not to judge others.
  22. Material things are not what matter.
  23. Birthdays are meant to be celebrated. 
  24. Encourage your children to try new things, but don't force them.
  25. Dinner should be enjoyed with music, not TV. 

Momma and Daddy on their wedding day (1981). 

I miss her but find comfort in knowing that she would be so proud. Happy Mother's Day. 

Momma meeting B at 6 days old.