Tag Archives: new mom

The State of Affairs: One Month Later… {Part 2}

(If you missed Part 1, read it here.)

You’ve gotta understand…this is about so much more than my job. This whole identity thing, the anxiety, the depression, the stupor, the disconnectedness…it’s huge. This might be the biggest turning point in my entire life thus far, and I’ve been lost trying to figure it out. So, for those few weeks, I pretty much took it one day  hour at a time. Luckily, after a tough pregnancy, I was kind of used to that.

And then, I decided that it was time to start crawling out. I hate life when there is no destination, so I decided to set one. This business of mine: freelance copywriter/editor. Natural lifestyle focus. A lean toward small business, local if possible. But how would I make it happen? Well, it’s already started happening a little. I have a couple of clients, and I am actively searching for more, being careful not to overbook. The time is hard to find, because the kids sure as hell don’t care if I have stuff to do. They just want me, and I’m so, so, so determined to be available to them. I work on my patience at every turn these days, and all my other parenting skills, too, because every day it’s becoming more clear to me that this job is no joke. It was a lightbulb realization: hey! I have to do more than just watch these kids…I have to engage these kids, teach these kids, stimulate and challenge these kids, and I don’t get to be too tired or sick of them or annoyed or anything but someone who can take a breath, hit the reset button and redirect them anytime the day seems to head south.

And all that parenting stuff is well and good, but when do I get my work done? (If one more person says, “Enjoy this time…money isn’t everything” to me I will wig. I have to pay my mortgage. I never was working so much for, like, pants or cookies. It’s all about the security, not the stuff.) So I started doing things I said I’d never do.

Like buying big plastic crap and sitting it in my yard.

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(And that’s not to knock Step2. The water table is great, really.) But anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always, always sworn that I’d never have this stuff in my yard. It’s a ‘thing’ for me, kind of like my disdain for ranch dressing based solely on principle. But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, and if it keeps him occupied for an hour, that’s one more hour than I had before. So I lose one punch on my crunchy card. That’s ok. (…and omg he really loves the big lug of a thing.)

And then there’s the food. I have always advocated for real food, and I’ll prioritize that over almost anything – but as an X-treme working mom, I just couldn’t pull it off. I tried…god, how I tried. But now? We’re heading off the grocery grid and looking for new suppliers for everything from chicken and cheese to wine to walnuts. No lie, it’s like a full-time job. We also have a new pantry, a new chest freezer, a huge garden and tons of ingredients. Not food, just ingredients to make food. That means lots of prepping, tons of cooking, even more planning…and not quite as much eating since half the time I’m too tired to do it all. (Think I’m losing weight? Nope. And that’s decidedly unfair.) Committing to real food all the time is just so much work, but we’re getting there, and I’m proud of our efforts.

So, to wrap up: the kid situation is new. The work situation has changed. The food, refocused. Shopping habits? Totally revamped, along with the budget, which means entertainment, and basically all habits, are being rethunk. Everything, down to the way I dress, is different now. Holy wow…what have we done? This is either going to turn out to be the best, most reaffirming decision we’re ever going to make, or we’re going to feel really stupid when we can’t do it.

Which do you think it’s going to be? I guess you’ll find out, because I’ll be here, writing about it, the whole time. Because that’s what I do. And now that I’m done for tonight, I’ve got some cherries to pit, diapers to wash and I think I just might brush my teeth today.

I’m getting there. Thanks for hanging out with me while I do it.

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Filed under Parenting & Family, The Everyday, Uncategorized

Ugly food needs love, too…

I read a lot of blog posts that inspire me, but every once in a while one really gets inside my head and takes root…

That’s what happened when I read a certain chocolate-covered post about embracing your makeup-free self. I read Katie’s words, and posted my half-face makeup-free picture, and felt pretty good about it. 

But then I got a little crazy…

You see, my birthday is on Monday and it’s got me feeling a little introspective. I’ve been thinking a lot about my age, my new role as a mother, my goals and my achievements, the fact that the body I’ve struggled with for so long now nourishes another body, and what it means to be ?? years old. So, with those things and Katie’s challenge mingling in my head, I decided to do the unthinkable…

I went to work with. no. makeup.
8O

You heard me.

And get this–nobody even noticed. At least I don’t think they did. Nobody said anything.

While this may not be a big deal to many, it was a major big deal for me. As someone who spent years dealing with cystic acne, I know what it’s like to cake on makeup and panic at the mere hint of forgetting my compact at home on the bathroom counter. 

I know what it’s like to wear my long hair down in the middle of a 100º summer day because I don’t want to uncover all the glaring imperfections.

I know what it’s like when even a gentle touch on my skin causes sharp, searing pain.

And, for some reason I do not understand, I now know what it’s like when that all goes away. Maybe it’s because my stress levels have gone down, maybe it’s because of the hormonal changes that happened during my pregnancy, maybe it’s because I’ve all but given up processed foods, and maybe it’s a combination of all the positive lifestyle changes I’ve made, but I don’t deal with anything more than the occasional minor blemish now.

And this past week, when we had 4 or 5 days of 100º+ weather, I wore my hair up. :D

And this got me thinking even further…

I always try to put my best food forward on my blog, but sometimes the healthiest, tastiest and most satisfying meals just don’t have a whole lot of eye appeal. I’m sure you’ve all been there–working and creating in the kitchen only to produce an edible creation that, visually, is less than blog-worthy and photographs like a big pile of yuck. Or maybe, you just don’t glam your food up for the camera every single time you eat. (If that is the case, good for you. Blogging can creep in and take over…)

In the spirit of loving ourselves unadorned and unembellished, and accepting our natural beauty and intrinsic worth, I’d like to show a little  love to some of the “swept-under-the-proverbial-carpet” unblog food of the past few weeks.

I’m warning ya: it ain’t fancy, but it sure is functional.

Charcoal grilled burgers…SUNSHINE burgers, in fact. Can you believe it? Would you ever have guessed they were Sunshine Burgers? Nope. I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that they tasted fantastic, too! Nothing beats the smoky mesquite-y taste of food on a charcoal grill, except maybe that same charcoal-grilled food eaten with good friends…

And a whole wheat wrap filled with the leanest pulled pork you’ll ever see, some mango, a little pineapple chipotle salsa, and brown rice. 

Photogenic? No way. Healthy and deeeeelish? You betcha!

Since I often delete ugly food pics without a second thought, I don’t have very many. But I’m thinking that may have to change. The unpretties have served me well, and they, too, deserve their time to shine!

I salute you and appreciate you, ugly food, and from here on out I vow that you will have a permanent place on my blog, although not every day;)

I encourage all of you bloggers out there to share the love for less-than-perfect-looking food! Go back through your photo files and post those pics that didn’t make it the first time around!

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Filed under Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Date Night Snack Plate

Wow…what a day. I was up and at ‘em at 5am, getting ready to go peddle my goods at my parents’ yard sale. Business could have been better, but I made enough to cover my next shipment of cloth diapers! :D

We did a little visiting at an old friend’s house after the yard sale wrapped up, then headed home around 8pm with a very sleepy baby. He zonked in no time, leaving a little bit of time for mommy and daddy to sit and breathe. The perfect opportunity to break out some of the fun finds from our last shopping excursion! (Many of which required me to put my disdain for dairy on hold for the evening. I’m telling you, I don’t even miss most of it, but that darned cheese gets me every time…)

The husbo set to work poppin’ corks while I started assembling a happy snack platter for us to graze on while watching some random whatever on TV. Have I mentioned that we used to do this a lot when we first started dating? Despite all that’s changed, I guess some things stay the same, and we still like our foodsploration!  Do I mind that our date night isn’t fancier, or spent out on the town? Nope…not one bit. I love knowing that my son is safe and snuggly in the next room. Wouldn’t have it any other way, or at least not yet, anyway.

The array of tidbits included: 

One apple and a few Medjool dates (SUCH a treat!)…

Jicama slices, sprinkled with lime juice and an individually packed teaspoon of organic chile pepper…

And finally, a lovely cheese trio: some heavenly cheddar curds, a sharp New York cheddar, and my new favorite…

A French cheese called Mimolette. It’s dry and tangy, and if you like to pair cheese with fresh apples, you’ve GOT to try this one!

It’s a little ugly on the outside…

until you get to know it. :D

A healthier-than-usual pour of this Hunter’s Valley Berry Mountain Red

Not too fancy, not too sweet – just the way I like it.

Did I mention it’s a local wine? Two woots for buying local!

I was wishing we had some fresh berries to cap off the evening, but there were none to be found.

But we did have… *drumroll please*… Chocolate (What else?) in the form of 70% cacao dark chocolate covered cocoa nibs!

Nice and bitter, barely sweet. I must have these sprinkled over vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream, or maybe vegan banana soft serve. 

Just a few, though. It’s a rare occasion when the entire ABCGP family has the opportunity to sleep late in the morning, and I wouldn’t want anything to mess with my much-needed Zzzzz’s!

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Imagine your perfect snack plate…what’s on it?

What’s your favorite cheese?

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Filed under Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Mommy and Me Hummus Recipe

I have been accused of being a little too cautious when it comes to introducing solids to my son.

My response? Well, I’ll let you guess. :x

I care...really care…about the relationship my son has with food, so yes, I’m pretty careful. The way I see it, that’s my job as his mother, so he doesn’t get a bite of french fry or a lick of an ice cream cone just to elicit a cute reaction. He’s 8 months old now, and so far his diet has consisted of:

  • Breastmilk
  • Water, as long as it doesn’t interfere with nursing
  • Oatmeal (at 5 1/2 months), organic
  • Veggies (at 6 months), organic
  • Fruits (at 6 months), organic
  • A total of 4 organic maple oat teether cookies
  • I’ve not yet introduced wheat, dairy, eggs, meats, soy, citrus, juice, sugar, salt …well, you get the idea.

But, I’m not a big meanie, either, and lately I’ve noticed my son noticing my plate. He always has, but it’s getting more obvious and he’s definitely getting more vocal about it. This tells me two things: I have to be super aware of the example I’m setting, and I need to start letting him try some new things.

So, a few days ago, while eating hummus on pita chips, I caved in and gave him a little taste.

How did he like it? Well, I think we may have a little hummus monster on our hands.

It was fun to share my food with my boy. Exploring healthy new foods together is one of the things I’ve been looking most forward to. But, as soon as I gave him a few smidges of my hummus, I immediately regretted it when I remembered that sesame, which is in most hummus, is a common allergen and should be avoided until about 12 months. ACK!

When I snapped back into reality and realized that one taste wasn’t going to hurt him, I set my mind to making some baby-friendly hummus that we could enjoy together, and that I could feel good about.

The recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked organic chickpeas
  • scant 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 drizzle olive oil
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon

Add all ingredients into food processor and process until well blended and smooth. Add water to thin if needed.

There seem to be different schools of thought about citrus fruits and babies under one year in age. The acid in oranges, lemons, etc. can cause reactions and rashes, but I am not freaking out over a small squeeze in a bowl of hummus. I think WholesomeBabyFood.com put it best:

There is a big difference in using a drop or 2 of lemon juice as a preservative in a fruit purée, as the drop or 2 is spread throughout the purée and your infant will not be consuming the drops with each bite of fruit purée that is taken.  It is entirely different than offering your baby a few slices of oranges or chopped tomatoes for example.

Little did I know when I started making this that my husband had already unearthed our garden garlic and had it drying in the sun. This bulb was so warm and fragrant,  it felt like it had been in the oven! Heaven!

Looks pretty bland, huh? Well, it is. But that’s OK…it’s supposed to be, at least for now. Just a hint of garlic, and the cumin is barely detectable. I believe in introducing herbs and spices early, but little tummies are sensitive so they have to be introduced slowly and carefully. Besides, what seems bland to me is a whole new taste exploration for my little guy.

Since Mommy likes a little kick, we discovered a fun way to share our little pot of hummus so that we’re both happy…he eats his plain and unadulterated, and I keep a bottle of hot sauce nearby and drip a drop each time I pop a chip! Perfect!

The new hummus won rave reviews (or big smiles, at least.) He’ll never go through this whole bowl, but it was a good practice run. Next time, I’ll remove his portion and add some peppadews or sun-dried tomatoes to the rest, to be enjoyed by Mommy and Daddy (with some wine, after he nods off at night. ;)

The best thing about this recipe (besides the fact that it’s cheap, easy and healthy, of course) is that it can grow right along with your baby! Veggies, spices and any other flavors you want to introduce can be added as his palate develops, and for toddlers, it’s right at home spread on whole wheat toast or nestled in a heated quesadilla, served with salsa. 

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What’s your favorite “Past Purees” baby or toddler recipe?

How do you respond when/if others challenge the way you feed your child? Would you ever challenge the way someone else fed their child? 

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Cloth Diaper Update: I’m a FuzziBeliever!

What a difference a week or two can make!

When I last checked in with a cloth diaper update, I had given the covers and prefolds a whirl, but the majority of my attention was being given to the gDiapers, which I had so badly wanted to like. Fit issues were pretty much handled and I was trying to teach my husband and my mom how to properly fit the G so that my boy didn’t end up with red chafing around his hips. 

That probably should have been when I called it quits (it just shouldn’t be that difficult to learn how to use a diaper. Who had that kind of time?) but I persevered! Then, I noticed the issue with the velcro.

After a little research, I found that gDiapers has had an ongoing issue with weak velcro that doesn’t stay attached. I’ve found lots of comments about it online, and I was (un)lucky enough to get 4 pairs of gPants that were manufactured before they found a better velcro with a more dependable “stick” (I guess it’s the hook part of the velcro that was the problem.) 

Just magine what could happen with a poopy diaper and velcro that won’t stay stuck!

So I contacted the company, for the third time, and they happily sent me an envelope containing this:

A pile of little velcro pieces to sew on the diapers, instructions, and 3 coupons that were set to expire in exactly 7 days. 
:x

OK, so you can’t really say that you support small business and then complain when they can’t give you the world, and I don’t mean to bash gDiapers because their customer service is pretty good, but what mother of a 7-month-old baby has enough time to sit, uninterrupted, long enough to sew that many pieces of velcro on, by hand no less, and do it well enough that these things aren’t going to come loose after months of diapering? (I can’t even have a glass of water without my son climbing up my body to get it; I can’t imagine a needle and thread!)

…and the coupons? Come on, now. :|

So, at this point I was really on the fence. And then IT arrived.  

My package from Kelly’s Closet. I ordered some liners and a few odds and ends, and used a coupon code for a free one size cloth diaper of the company’s choosing.

What did I get? A MAC AND CHEESE FUZZIBUNZ!

As soon as I opened the package, I got excited.

Soft? Yes. Cute? Yes. Easy to understand construction? Yes. It even came with an extra insert (inserts get stuffed into the inner pocket) and extra elastic!

I couldn’t wait to put it on his little bum! But I had to wash it first…Boo. (at least I didn’t have to wash it 6–8 times like my prefolds and gCloth inserts…that’s a lot of laundry!)

When I had the diaper washed and ready to go (these air-dry really fast–a big plus!), I put it on with ease. There are lots of sturdy-looking snaps and adjustable elastic to ensure a really good fit.

Here’s a look at the little man, showing off his fluffy bum. (Can you believe my son is the only child I’ve ever even seen in a cloth diaper? The only one I can remember, anyway…)

We used our Fuzzibunz for a few hours, then for naptime, then overnight with a doubler, and we have not had a leak yet! Even when it was really, really wet, no leak. 

Why didn’t anyone tell me it could be this simple?

At this point, I’m a believer. I’ve since ordered three more Fuzzibunz in some really cute, bright colors and I can’t wait for them to arrive (pretty smart sales tactic on the part of Kelly’s Closet.) I have plans to increase our stash to at least 12 or 16 before long (the recommendation for full-time diapering.) Each Fuzzibunz runs right around $19.95 in most places I’ve seen, but a little time online can yield great coupon code savings. Be sure to take advantage of free shipping when you find it! Kelly’s Closet also offers rewards points: the more you buy, the more points you get!

I am sad to see my gDiapers go, but I just couldn’t spend that much time trying to make them work, when the one-size Fuzzibunz just work. As all you mommies out there know, there are better and far more important things to do with your time…

Will I find any problems with my new Fuzzibunz? Maybe. Am I open to other brands? You bet! But I think I’m sticking with the one-size all-in-ones or pocket diapers. Sure, I’d like the perfect diaper, one made in America, with organic fabrics and no synthetics, but I’m getting closer all the time, and I’m really not out to save the world. I just want to find a diaper I can feel good about for our family and our little pooper. 

I think we just may have found it! 

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If you’re on the prowl for cloth diapers, too, the hunt can get expensive! Check out these giveaways and maybe you’ll increase your stash for FREE!

Fluff Friday 85 Giveaway at The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

The Willow Store’s Sprout One Size AI2 Diaper Giveaway and Savings Code

The Cloth Diaper Report’s Real Nappies Giveaway

Me and My Boys Summer of Fluff Smartipants Giveaway

BTW, I’ll be posting a fun baby bathtime giveaway in the next couple of days…be sure to check back and enter to win!

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Parenting & Family