Sunday, February 26, 2012

The amazing disappearing mommy!

Those that know me have undoubtedly heard of my recent efforts to lose weight, and I have to say it's been a success! Not one to toot my own horn often, I take pride in announcing that I've lost 12 pounds in 5 weeks. And it wasn't all that difficult!

What does this have to do with mommyhood? Lots! For example, becoming a mommy usually means having a much differently shaped mid section post birth. Not that I was a size 2 pre-pregnancy, but it still changes things up for you, no matter what your shape before. Being a mom to a daughter also means for me a desire to be a good role model, and that means having a positive and realistic body image. The fact that I also want to make my own wholesome baby food for my little one has made me reexamine the things I put into my own body. And of course- the desire to be healthy and live a very long, very full life all adds up to eating healthy and getting into shape.

So how have I done it? Well, a few different ways. Being at home for nine weeks and not wanting to leave the house because of sheer exhaustion has really changed my perspective on food. I want a kitchen filled with wholesome food that will last - not junk food that disappears as soon as it appears and does no good. Also, if I'm going go take the effort to go out to eat with a baby, it had better be some good food! So there went the desire for most of what I ate pre-baby! Money seems to go quicker and quicker out of my hands now that I'm in a house of three, so anything I can do to hold on to that money is key. If I'm going to pay for food (which, in the end, means paying for nothing more than waste... if you catch my drift), again, it's going to have to be pretty darn good food.

I also joined a weight loss program. No, not the one that ships you frozen food. The one that Charles Barkley spouts off about on the Science Channel. Is it expensive? Well, more so than not being on a diet plan. Is it hard to follow? Absolutely not. I'm all about making things simple, and with having a 4 month old, trying to sell my home, and working 40+ hours per week, I wouldn't do anything that would add a ton of effort into my hectic schedule.

I also have to give huge props to two new ladies in my life- Hungry Girl and Hungry Girl has a show on Food Network and also some great cookbooks. I recently got a cookbook of hers that has 300 recipes under 300 calories, and it's worth every penny I spent on it - which was not too many pennies since I got it on Her recipes are good, easy to follow, easy to make, and have ingredients that are affordable and found at the most vanilla of grocery stores. is a blog that I found through pinterest (a huge guilty pleasure and time waster of mine...). Her blog talks about healthy desserts and recipes. I'm truly in love with her desserts, which are sweet, but not saccharine sweet. I think that a big part of my success so far has been in reprogramming my taste buds to appreciate subtle tastes, vs. the huge sugar and salt tastes that are found in most foods today. I recently tried two of her recipes - one for a healthy cookie dough dip that is actually husband approved - - and another for roasted cauliflower that was so good that the husband and I ate an entire head of cauliflower in one sitting...

I urge anyone looking to make things healthier, simpler, cheaper, or just to liven things up to check out these two ladies of mine. If ever I meet either of them, a big hug is in order for them!!!

The best thing, is that the longer I stick with the good eating, visiting the gym, and being more active, the easier it gets. So when the baby is up and running and playing and getting into things, I'll actually have a chance to keep up with her!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

When your life is no longer your own...

I tried to put the baby down for a nap because I knew she was tired. She had other things in mind- like playing. I tried reasoning to her and explaining that we all have to do things we don't want to do. For instance, I have to go to work 40+ hours a week. I'd rather not have to- I could enjoy being at home those 40+ hours each week. I could read, and hang out with the baby, and have arts and crafts time, and cook gourmet meals, and actually make it to the gym each day. But I don't have that luxury if I want to be able to afford a home.

Sadly, reasoning doesn't work on a 4 month old, and she is now playing in her exersaucer while I sit in the chair blogging and wishing I had showered while I had the chance...

I've been thinking lately about the different types of social contracts you enter into once you become pregnant. Like the one about having random people ask you things that you wouldn't in your right mind feel comfortable answering if you weren't pregnant. Questions like "How much weight have you gained?" Or "You look huge- when are you due?" Not to mention the even more random people touching your belly. But what's odder still is how it doesn't seem to phase you as much as you'd think.

Of course, once you have the baby, a whole new set of social contracts begins. Like the contract that makes you just not care anymore about modesty or have any sort of shame in regards to the body. I remember my first "boobs out" moment in the hospital while I was trying to nurse and decided it would just be easier to do it with everyone in the room than try and shoo many, many people out of a hospital room that had never before seen me topless, and really had no reason to see me topless. I didn't even bother getting out of the hosiptal gown for the first couple of days, because every time I got comfortable a nurse or doctor would come in and need to examine some part of me- again for the viewing pleasure of all of my visitors.

But the most exciting social contract of all starts when you begin to venture out of the home with your new baby. This is the contract that states that no matter how well you do things, you're doing them wrong and someone else can show you the right way! Everyone has dealt with this, and everyone that has had a baby is also guilty of this! Admit it- you've had a moment where you felt like you were helping a new mom with a tough situation, but to the new mom, you were being overly critical. I know I'm even guilty of this, and I've only been a mom for 4 months! When these moments happen, it's best to try and remember that most of the time, it comes from a person's desire to see you have it easier than they did. And depending on the type of day you have had, you'll either bite their heads off, or thank them and walk off putting their advice back out the other ear. Every once in a while, you do actually get a helpful gem of knowledge.

I know that there are many more stages for me to enter yet. I have yet to enter the school stage in life where I encounter moms that are way more controlling than I am, and have a sense of accomplishment rooted in their child's social and academic performance. I'm sure once I enter that social contract of parenthood, I'll make many friends, some enemies, and learn even more about life and how fun it can be!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shocking lessons learned in the last four months...

1- When you need a minute with a fussy baby, Nick Jr plays all night long on digital cable and offers downright mesmerizing colors and pictures and songs...

2- ... and speaking of Nick Jr, Yo Gabba Gabba has got to be one of the oddest shows I've ever seen, and I own all of Pee Wee's Play House on DVD. It's like a rave for children. Its the kind of kids show I can get behind!

3- Pureed bananas smell awful. There's no getting around it - they smelled bad going in, and they will smell worse coming out.

4- Baby feeding takes 3 available spoons- one for the mouth, and two for the baby to hold so that the rubber bib isn't flipped up onto the face.

5- Flipping the rubber bib that's holding the spit out food up onto ones face is pure joy for babies and a nightmare for parents.

6- You will not work harder for anything in your life than when you work for that baby giggle. But no sound in the world is sweeter on the ears.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Use your common sense...

The baby has her first cold, which was bound to happen eventually. Thank goodness for infants ibuprofen! It brings to mind the recent recall by Johnson & Johnson of their children's medicine. It seems they have a medicine bottle that has a plastic donut at the top of the bottle designed to make dosing out medicine easier. As rumor has it, some parents were pressing too hard on the top, causing them to give their children too big of a dose. So while there is nothing wrong with the medicine, Johnson & Johnson has recalled the product and is offering refunds.

Now, I'm not saying that Johnson & Johnson is wrong in offering this recall, and frankly with the information I've read about recalls of their many other products and cancer causing agents in their baby shampoos, it's probably a good idea for them to be overly safe. But what is wrong with these parents that are overdosing their children simply because the top of the medicine bottle popped off? Who doesn't take a second and third glance to make sure they are giving their little ones the right amount of a controlled substance?

This leads me to my real question - when did our society put the responsibility for individual well-being into the hands of others? Why are we not expected to be responsible for ourselves?

It reminds me of a certain intersection in town that crosses paths with a set of train tracks. If the light at the intersection is red long enough, cars will back up past where the tracks cross the road. Logic would dictate that if traffic is backed up, you should stop your car behind the tracks, as opposed to on the tracks. But a sign was soon put up stating that one should not stop on the tracks, so obviously logic was not enough. The sign alone must also not be enough because now it has flashing lights surrounding it with a solar panel for round the clock power. At least idiocy is eco-friendly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day!

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, which, with a 4 month old, a house up for sale, and an aggressive debt payoff/put a lot of money away for a new house plan, means dinner at home and very frugal gifts! That's fine with me though- I'm not big into the commercialism of the holiday. I'd much rather have a homemade gift that has thought and care any day. And nothing says "I Love You" like a clean house, gentlemen!!

So I wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day - whether that means a fancy dinner and date, delivered flowers, buying yourself chocolate, or getting a sloppy burpy Valentine's kiss from a four month old.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baby, it's cold outside...

... so I'm staying in and keeping warm. The family is having a Big Bang Theory marathon. I think the little one likes Sheldon - he's got a very monotone voice!

Speaking of the little one... isn't parenting fun? Just when I start to get the hang of it and am able to truly enjoy the stage we're in, we enter a new stage. We're now heavy into the stranger danger phase. Strangers, unfortunately, include everyone except for my husband and I and his mother. If people even look at little one, she starts to scream and cry. I guess that just means we'll be spending that much more time at home until she gets through this phase. No sitters for me!

On the plus side, we are moving onto solid foods for sure! Brown rice cereal and apples so far are a big hit. Up next on the list of things to try are sweet potato and zucchini. I don't know why I was so excited to get to this point, since it means a messier baby and more intense feeding sessions, but it is exciting in its own way. She's certainly not the fragile little newborn she was anymore, and I have to say I do miss those times- sleepless nights and all!

I've been couponing lately, and I'm still not sure if it's for me. I'm definitely not one of those super coupon ladies that can get hundreds of dollars of groceries for just pennies. I understand the concept and how that works, but I do not have the time or patience for that sort of thing. I don't mind clipping coupons and storing them for regular use, however. The problem with that is that I end up spending more than I regularly would by buying things that aren't on my normal shopping list. So I'm not sure if I'll be sticking with this new found hobby or not.

Our house will be officially for sale on Monday! This means a whole new level of craziness added to our life. I keep reminding myself that in a few months (hopefully just a few!) we will be able to settle into our new home and really start to settle down. I try not to think of the insanity that will have to occur to get us to that point and keep visualizing the pot 'o' gold at the end of that rainbow!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Are you ready for some football??

The superbowl is going to be a special time for me. Not only it is a time for great commercials and usually a pretty good Simpsons episode (I hear there's a game going on as well??), but it was during the game last year that I announced to my family that my husband and I were expecting our first child. Now, I'm watching my husband juggle the remotes and the burp cloths and couldn't be happier! And he's finally got someone to burp with that's giving him a good run for his money...

I've got a batch of healthy chili on the stove to celebrate tonight. It's got tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, and ground turkey. I decided that since the little one will be 4 months this Friday and will hopefully get the okay to transition to solid foods, that I would make some baby food with the rest of the bag of baby carrots. Baby carrots never actually get eaten as a snack in our house. I buy them instead of "raw" carrots when I need a carrot for a recipe because they are already cut and peeled. Not exactly organic, or a cost savings, but it saves my time, which saves my sanity, and you can't put a price on sanity. So I threw the carrots into a steamer and got to use my new toy that I got for Christmas - the Baby Bullet.

I've never used anything in the Magic Bullet line before, but they look interesting and seem to have a big following. But somewhere in my pregnancy (probably the weekend I spent $40 at the orchard on apples and spent the whole weekend boiling, pureeing, and freezing them), I became dubbed the make your own baby food mom. So the Baby Bullet was an exciting gift for me. It really was easy to use, and even after the baby is on to real food, I'll be able to use it as well. It even comes with a milling blade so that you can mill brown rice into rice cereal.

So for my unofficial review - a great gift and well worth the cost. With half a bag of baby carrots and 5 minutes (add another 15 or so for steaming, but really - you don't actually DO anything other than turn the oven on for that step) I have 6 servings of baby food. I'm also a huge fan of Alton Brown and all of his theories, and this definitely fits into his multi-tasker theory. The miller can be used later on for milling whole spices, or even coffee beans, and the blender will make mommy some yummy margaritas once little one is moved on. I know that there are other baby food making "systems" out there, and I haven't looked into those fully, but the Baby Bullet has a good cost, name, and reusability factor that would be hard to meet in other systems.

Now, I have absolutely nothing against jarred baby food. I'll probably even have a stockpile of it around the house and in the diaper bag for those weeks where I just can't find time to make my own baby food. Making baby food from raw or flash frozen veggies and fruit is just something that I am happy to be able to do. I'd be happy to make some fresh baby food for my new mommy friends out there as well - just hit me up with some fruit and veggies sometime and we'll work something out!

Oh, and GO GIANTS!

Friday, February 3, 2012

How can you tell a winter storm is coming to the midwest?

... Because the grocery stores are hella nuts! Okay, that's not really a good joke, unless you still have to go grocery shopping tonight!

Yes, there is a snow storm coming, so that means that the grocery stores are being hit up in preparation for being snowed in. Add to that the big game this weekend, and it makes for madness at the market. I'm set - I've got my reusable diapers, a fully stocked pantry, a stack of DVDs to watch, and lots of chores to do around the house!

I have a bit of a "retraction" to make to my last blog post. I had mentioned that I love baby orajel, but I've since learned - thanks to some faithful friends - that there was actually an FDA warning about that product and some risky side effects. After doing some research, I found that it is the benzocaine in the product that can cause a rare, but serious, condition. Orajel does make a natural teething solution that does not contain the benzocaine, which their website offers a $1 coupon for (score!). However, I could not find the product at the grocery store (and wasn't going anywhere else with the mad storm crowds out there!). I did find a product that seems to be safe - Kids Relief Teething, made by Homeolab, from Canada. It's a homeopathic remedy. I haven't had to use it yet, and maybe I never will! But if I do, I'm hoping it works.

If anyone has used the Orajel Naturals, or the Homeolab's Kids Relief, let me know what you think!

I hate getting my cable bill in the mail. It reminds me that I'm paying the cable company WAY TOO MUCH MONEY and still never finding anything to watch on TV. This is where I have to give some mad props to my friend Bridget, who doesn't have cable but still watches all the shows she wants. I'm very envious that she can do this, and wish it was something I could do. Here's how she does it - she first has a subscription to Netflix that she streams through her game system (you can stream this through XBox, PS3, and Wii). Now, that alone would not be enough for me, because as much as I love the instant streaming from Netflix, there is not a large amount available for instant view. She also streams Hulu Plus, which allows for many more viewing options. Still not enough variety? She also subscribes to Play On, and gets many more channels of programming available that way. Of course, it's all legal, legit, and probably saves at least $100 a month from a cable bill. This does of course require internet, but then again, so does blogging, and viewing this blog, so I'm assuming you already have internet access...

Now, I could easily do the same, except for one thing - HBO. HBO - as far as I know - does not do any streaming of their series online without some sort of cable subscription. Their series are great enough that I am willing to pay the cable bill for them. I almost - ALMOST - got myself convinced that I could live my life by waiting for their TV series to come out on DVD, until I learned that HBO has met with my favorite (favorite favorite) author about making my favorite (favorite favorite) book into a TV series. A six season series being co-produced by Tom Hanks and getting a $40 mil per season budget. And this will be airing sometime in 2013. Thanks a lot, HBO - you've lured me in again...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Teething Bites

My baby girl has entered a stage of teething, and rest assured it is unpleasant, for the parents and the child. I've tried many different teething aids that haven't helped. It's got me to thinking about all of the things I've purchased for baby, and what we've used and have not used.

When I was registering for baby products, I tried to make it a point to not go crazy and ask for a lot of items that I was never going to use. I can safely say that I've used everything I got from my showers. Blankets, bottles, books - you name it, I've used it!

However, I've found that there are many items that I wasn't aware of, or didn't realize I'd need, that I've now found invaluable. These would be good shower gifts for a new parent - the kind that they don't know they'll need. Here's my list of items that I now can't live without:
1- Infant Gas Drops: thank goodness for these drops! I would have a very unhappy baby without them
2- Infant Orajel : the only product that's helped with teething
3- Wipes, wipes, wipes, wipes, wipes: I got some wipes at my showers, but no amount of wipes is ever enough
4- Backpack style diaper bag: Especially with the bulk of cloth diapers, those cute little over the shoulder style bags just don't cut it
5- Bottle drying rack: I didn't actually register for this, but got it as a gift at my shower. Thank goodness for this wonderful device!
6- The dumb little organizer that I got from the hospital for the changing table: Who knew I would need such an ugly item from Similac? It is very helpful, however!
7- Humidifier: I think the hospital should send everyone home with one.

I do find the array of baby products very fascinating and spend time researching them on the internet, even if I don't need them. For example - I'm very intrigued by these European bathing tubs. They are supposed to be very calming for babies - I can't see myself buying one, but I would certainly try one if given the opportunity.

Now if only someone could invent a product to make wet babies less slippery, or some sort of tub sling. I noticed that the baby LOVES being in the water, but she is growing out of her little infant tub. I tried giving her a bath in the regular bath tub but she was so slippery!! She sure did love splashing and kicking around like a little frog in the water, however. If only I could affix the tub treads to the baby...