Monday, September 23, 2013

A Night Out

Last Friday I got to go out and see Ian's band play at Macayo's and it was a much needed night out.  I hadn't seen his band in months - probably about 9 months.  It's hard because Lemon is so tough to put to bed and so tough to keep asleep, that we don't have many options for a babysitter at night.  Which leaves Ian and I going out by ourselves whenever we want to go somewhere.

But, in swoops my mom and just makes everything seem a little bit more normal again.  My step-dad went out of town for 2 weeks and although I love him, I also love having my mom all to myself.  She loves Lemon more than anything, they are totally besties, and wants to spend every free minute she can with her (and of course with me, we are besties too).  I am so lucky to have her, WE are so lucky to have her, and I thank the man in the sky for her every single day.

Lately it takes Lemon about an hour and a half, two hours, to fall asleep at night.  We get her in the recliner with us at 7pm and then she usually falls asleep around 8:30.  It is so annoying and even more annoying when you remember that we worked all day, got home at 4pm and then have to sit for 2 hours at night, with a baby climbing all over us, when we could be spending that time together, vegging out on the couch.  She won't nurse to sleep, she will freak if we put her in her crib without sitting with her (she can cry for 4+ hours, crying it out just doesn't work) and if we let her sit in the living room and watch a movie or something she will want to get down and play.  She is a party animal and loves us just so much she won't go to bed without us sitting with her in the chair that is getting a bit small for a 15 month old and a parent.

So, having someone babysit her at night is hard because who knows if they will be able to put her to bed?  Who knows if she will wake up screaming (like she does once or twice every two weeks) and then go back to sleep for whoever is there?  Ugh.  So my mom is a lifesaver because she loves her Nani and will go to sleep with her, cuddling as well, and will go back to sleep with a few pats from her in the middle of the night.  And, if you've ever been nervous about having the grandparents watch your babe - try it.  Lemon is always on her best behavior when it comes to sleeping at night, at my mom's house.

But, last Friday, my mom came to our house after I put Lemon to bed.  I didn't think she'd stay asleep all night (they seem like they can always tell you have plans) but she did and my mom got to just veg out on the couch and watch her on the monitor.  And, I got to go out!

It took me forever to figure out what to wear (what are the kids even wearing these days?) and I was seriously having a small panic attack thinking of getting to go out after dark without the baby!  I did my hair, settled on a crop top and jean shorts, took a deep breath and headed out the door with tears in my eyes.   I got in the car with Christie and Drew and cried - it was just so rare that I go out after dark with makeup on and by myself.  It reminded me of my old self and I just felt so old and just like a mom - with nothing else defining me anymore.  I remembered a time when I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and I was so nostalgic - hungering for that feeling again, then feeling it and then feeling guilty for wishing that for a moment things could be as they used to be.  Oh the mom guilt. 

It is such a paradox, being a mother.  You love your life (of course!), love your family and love your baby but at the same time there is a part of you that misses your FREEDOM.  And maybe it's because I was 33 when I became a mother and Ian and I were together 8 years before Lemon came - but it seems as if that was just a whole different life.  And sometimes I miss it.  (Even saying it is hard, admitting it is hard - I MISS IT.)  I miss it so much that I cry as a 34 year old in a Toyota Prius with my friends at 9pm on a Friday, on the way to a restaurant to watch Ian play for an hour.  So silly. 

Ian played for an hour and a half, my friends Christie and Drew drove me so I could have a few margaritas (one and a half and I died the next day!), we ate some chips and salsa and danced our pants off and had a blast.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.  I felt like a new person, like my batteries were recharged and like I could do this mom thing for another 10 months until I get to do it all over again.  I also felt a little like I couldn't wait until Lemon was just a bit older so that nights like this could happen more often.  But then here I was again, not living in the moment and just saying "I can't wait until . . ." again.  And then, more guilt.  Ugh.

So, I got a much needed night out and next weekend Ian and I will get to go out together, thanks to Nani again, for my birthday and I can't wait.  I hope that you have someone in your life that will watch your party animal babe, like we do, and that you and your husband (or your girlfriends!) get a night out as well.  Recharge those mom batteries and ENJOY YOURSELF.  You deserve it mama!!!


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

14 Months

I'm late, as always.  This month was full of sleepless nights, picky eating, lots of sign language, testing her limits and she's got two teeth coming in (I can feel the little nubs but they haven't poked through yet!).  Agh, I can't imagine more than a two teeth smile - it is going to be SO WEIRD.

This month was also tough because a week ago I got sick (the worst cold ever), and it hung around for a long time (I still don't feel that great), the baby got it and in the midst of taking two days off of work I had a student die.  Yep, one of my students died.  For the first time in 14 years, I lost a student.  I still don't know how I feel about it but I will attempt to put it into words.

This student of mine, I knew very well because he was in my junior English class last year, failed, and was repeating my class this year as a senior.  I will never understand why they put students back in the same class with teachers that they failed with, and tried to have him removed and put in night school (a place for students to make up credits).  He failed my class last year due to attendance and this year I maybe saw him for 5 days since school started (and we were in our 5th week when he died).  He had so many absences and when he was attacked, at his house (allegedly), it was while he was supposed to be at school, the Tuesday after Labor Day.  Without saying too much more I am saddened by his passing, of course, saddened by the area that we teach in (we are in an inner city school in the middle of a neighborhood where I am the minority) and deeply saddened that our district doesn't have an attendance policy that would have made him take school more seriously so he would have been in class that day.  He was also really successful in an activity outside of school and had the attitude that he didn't need to graduate from high school because he was so focused on this goal - something else that the adults in his life maybe should have worked harder about stressing the importance of.  I miss him every day in my 8th hour and even though he strolled in late, when he did come, and was a huge disruption I would give anything to see him waddle through that door (you know, because he sagged his pants).  Our school, students and teachers were definitely shaken by his passing.

Now, on to Lemon!  Some days of note (and this time I remembered to write things down!)

8.24.13          You wanted a whole cob of corn all to yourself and actually got two of them to gnaw on.  You thought it was just the coolest thing and kept teething on them and wiggling them around.

8.28.13          I let you play with the small change jar that we have in our closet.  I stood right next to you while you were playing and you knew not to eat the change (I taught you that before).  The next thing I know you dumped all of the change out all over our hardwood floors and I had to pick every piece up, before work, one by one!  You sat in the change, loved it, and wiggled your legs around; you thought it was the best.

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8.29.13          You picked up a stuffed doll, out of your toy bin, and talked to it and carried it all around the house.  This is the first time you've been into a doll or anything stuffed.  You looked at its face and laughed at it.

Today while we snuggled on the couch and watched Tangled you smiled during the song when Rapunzel leaves her tower and I looked at you, with that huge smile on your face, and I cried because it was just so cute.  A moment I've waited a long time for.

You didn't cry when I left for work today when Ashley came over.

You said "hot" today when you touched a hot french fry while out to lunch with your Nani and Ashley.

You said "bye bye" for the first time when we waved to Tom and Judy at the end of your Pat the Bunny book.

8.31.13          You started signing "please" for everything.  It's hard to figure out just what you want because everything is "please" but you don't know any other signs that go with it.  (You can sign please, milk, bath, more and water now.)

9.1.13            You said "water" when we were trying to teach you the sign for water.

9.2.13            You are super dramatic when you take a tumble or fall down.  You cry and make sure that we know that you bumped your head.  You have had some great face plants but you are also getting really good at catching yourself.  The best is when you fall and then do a sort of roll, that really makes you mad but it is oh so cute!

She hates the part in Tangled when Maxiums (the horse) kicks Flynn Rider in the stomach.  She cries every time!

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When we tell you "no" you make a scrunchy face, you scrunch up your whole face and your nose and throw your head back and let out a cry (more like a long whine) and sometimes I tell you "no" just so I can see you do it.

You are super ticklish under your neck and when we kiss or blow raspberries there you laugh out loud.

The last two nights I've fed you and then handed you to your Daddy and you went to bed earlier (than 9) both times.  Maybe it's me keeping you up so late?

9.3.13          You went to your first movie with us, Monster University.  You were so good, you just sat and watched in the back row of a super crowded theater.  You started getting antsy at the end and wanting to talk but we just fed you snacks and you were quiet.  Snacks are key for 1 year olds at the movies!

 

For the past three days you've gagged yourself at the end of dinner, shoving your whole hand in your mouth and almost throwing up.  It is so gross and we've told you to stop but you have done it for three nights now.  I had to google it to find out if it's normal (it is) and luckily you haven't done it since.



9.4.13          When I see you in the morning or when you pause from climbing all over me and you turn and say "hi" in your sweet, little voice it is my absolute favorite.

9.6.13          When you want to see something, or when we are looking at something that you want to look at, you climb up or walk over to us and look really closely at whatever it is and furl your brows.  You also do it with little characters in your books (like a mouse off to the side) and sometimes you say "heeey," smile and point at whatever it is.

Today I watched you follow Zipper around and when she stopped you smacked her a couple of times (pet her).  You also said "hi Zip" (hi Sip) and "hi Sinus" (Linus).  Cutest thing ever that you go up and pet the dogs.

9.9.13          Today you couldn't find the plastic, pink flag topper that goes on your Little People princess castle so you took one of the pink chairs and put it where the flag was supposed to go instead, just because it looked similar.  You are so smart.

You hate stringy stuff like hair, yarn or cords.  You always pick them up like they are so icky and toss them aside.
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Sleepless nights make for cute pictures:


 


 
Still nursing, STILL nursing (and asks for more milk when there isn't more in my boobs, at the moment, and I have to give her a bottle).

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 bed time music

We try to keep her busy after school (and after her second nap, before dinner):

 
Hot, summer walks
 
mall walks
 
 This little straight leggies, I die!

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Impromptu swim session because she wanted to just walk right in while Ian was cleaning the pool!

And bath time with Ian has become her favorite.  She runs down the hall as fast as she can (walks really!) and tries to climb in with him before he lifts her.  She can even sign "bath!"

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And, splash pad Fridays (I will be so sad when it gets too cold to go!):

 

 


 

 

Ashley, our nanny, and Lemon are becoming besties and Lemon doesn't cry every day when I leave now.  I love it and we are SO lucky to have Ashley, I don't know what we'd do without her!

 
Two teacher nerds at work.
At Gymboree, not our nanny's arms - this is another mom!

Sometimes Lemon gets a bath in the sink after breakfast (yogurt is messy!).

 
And on Fridays we get a lunch visitor!  I LOVE it!

Weekends and holidays are still my favorite: 


 

 

Trips to the mall, Target and the grocery store . . .

 



 
This girl must have gone through this sign over 30 times.  She was SO proud of herself and we clapped and said, "Yay" every single time!

 

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 This little fish is getting better and better at swimming!  We let go of her now, when we dunk her, and she swims to the surface and finds the wall herself!  It's AWESOME and she's almost ready for the level 2 class!

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 And impromptu zoo day with some of our IG friends!  Lemon didn't want to leave the splash pad and we stayed until it closed!

Even had a chance to get together with some of my favorite people!

We had our first real monsoon rain here so of course we had to take Lemon out to play in it!


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Labor Day fun after the movies:

 

 

And right after we were recovering from this stupid cold (that I swear lasted for 2 weeks) we got a chance to play a family looking for a house on a "sizzle reel" for my besties, the twins' reality show!  It was fun!

 

Oh Lemon, you are growing oh so fast.  Every day you look, and act, more and more like a big kid than a baby and I'm starting to forget the baby version of you.  You are so spunky, independent and entertaining - we are loving every minute we have with you, even if you still haven't gotten this sleeping thing down.  We love you, little Lemon, stop growing up so fast!


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Saturday, September 14, 2013

What the heck do I feed my baby (toddler)?!


(Did you see my IG and Vine videos of Lemon with this piece of steak?  Ridiculous!)

I recently posted a picture (a picture of text) on Instagram asking my IG mamas to give me some ideas of what I should be feeding Lemon.  I wanted to know what their little ones' favorite meals were.  I'm not talking favorite items, but I was looking for meals that I could make for Lemon.

I recently found this printable and used it this week to leave for Ashley, our nanny, so that Lemon was eating something different every day for breakfast and lunch.  For dinners we usually go with organic ground beef with spaghetti sauce (won't eat gf noodles or lasagna all of a sudden), gluten free mac & cheese and then some veggies like peas or corn.  She also likes black beans and avocado so sometimes she gets that for dinner too.  Until recently she wouldn't eat any other meat, even grilled chicken, but last night I got her to try some wild caught fish and she's been really into chunks of chicken lately.  I just felt like I was at a loss for what to make her and she really doesn't eat what we eat because we usually eat a meat and veggies and she can't chew up steak or pork chops.  She also hasn't been into any of the veggies I've cooked like broccoli or brussels sprouts.  I hate having to make two separate things - for us and for her - and I felt like I was just shuffling around the same old things all the time and she was getting bored and so was I.

Lemon never really ate baby food and has been eating chunks of food from about 8 months until now.  But these two teeth really hinder our chunks and solids like crackers and chips are tough, as well as meat, because she can't really break them apart.  I wanted some meal ideas that she could try and that maybe we could eat too so I wasn't making two different dinners.  Coming home from work and cooking is hard enough but having to do it twice (or cut things up) is such a pain.

Well, after my post, I got SO MANY great ideas I thought I'd compile them here for other mamas to use.  Lemon is 14 months and is gluten free, so I will be modifying some of these recipes and you can too if your babe has some food sensitivities as well.  I will do my best to google the things mentioned and included links of their are some.  If you have some meals that you make that your babe loves as well, please include them in the comments below!

First, here is a picture of Lemon's breakfast/lunch menu I made this week.  This is pretty typical for these meals, while we are at work, and next week I will probably just shuffle them around.  We also have some gf waffles we use as well and the hash browns are awesome (from Fresh n' Easy and look like McDonald's hash browns!).  The muffins I made from gf Bisquick and all of the food Lemon eats like fruits/veggies/lunch meat is organic.


And here are some IG mama suggestions:
  • Cottage cheese with chia seeds sprinkled on top
  • Egg muffins in a mini muffin pan:  Mix egg white (and yolk if you want), almond milk, chopped veggies and your choice of seasoning and bake at 350.  Can do a broccoli/pesto version or a veggie/tomato sauce version too.
  • Avocado slices, refried beans, dried apple slices
  • Garlic seasoned quinoa
  • Smoothies
  • Banana slices with peanut butter
  • Miso soup with tofu
  • Hummus with pita bread, carrots, veggies
  • Stews with potatoes
  • Rice and beans
  • Dried fruit
  • Quinoa
  • Yogurt
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Kale chips
  • Almond butter on apples or bananas
  • Steamed carrots
  • Tofu
  • Anything they can dip
  • Pancakes with jam
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Celery sticks with almond butter and raisins
  • Quesadilla with guacamole and sour cream
  • Hummus and steamed broccoli
  • Mashed potatoes with chicken or beans
  • Turkey chili
  • Tuna
  • Grilled cheese (with avocado spread or veggie puree)
  • Blueberry pancakes
  • Turkey sandwiches
  • Quinoa muffins with mixed chopped berries
  • Peeled zucchini strips sprinkled with nutritional yeast
  • Omlettes
  • Toast with butter
  • Quinoa pizza bites
  • Pigs in a blanket with crescent rolls wrapped around (cut franks in half)
  • Applesauce and yogurt as dips - like chicken and applesauce.
  • PB&J or PB& applesauce
  • Cheerios, Life, Chex (Chex is gf and the vanilla kind is amazing)
  • Waffles with applesauce
  • Pasta with pesto (instead of tomato sauce) or with butter and cheese
  • Squash mac & cheese - veggie pasta and throw in some peas!
  • Whole wheat pancakes:  1 cup whole wheat flour (could sub gf flour here), 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1 egg, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon coconut oil (and optional shredded coconut for garnish).
  • Diced chicken with veggies and scrambled eggs, add brown rice and gf soy sauce (genius!).  
  • Oatmeal and fruit (make it dry so they can pick up some drops of it)
  • Cutting fruit with cookie cutters (amazing), sandwiches too, eggs
  • Chicken porridge with some veggies
  • Meatballs with sauce or gravy to dip
  • Mushroom risotto
  • Egg pancakes with sauce
  • Mini turkey meatballs with spinach (or kale) and cheese with a side of pasta
  • Quesadillas with black beans and sweet potatoes (genius)
  • Grilled cheese with meat, tomato, spinach
  • Breakfast casserole:  bread, eggs, cheese, turkey sausage, spinach topped with avocado or tomato.
  • Breakfast muffins
  • Chicken fajitas with zucchini and quinoa
  • Hatch chili
  • Squash fritters
  • Cuban style black beans with peppers and onions
  • Boiled veggies like carrots, green beans, etc in chicken or veggie broth
  • Stone fruits like peaches/nectarines
  • Acorn squash prosciutto penne pasta:  wash, slice into wedges, toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, bake 30 minutes and peal.
  • Baked sweet potato cubes tossed in olive oil with cinnamon, salt, pepper and brown sugar.
  • Falafel (genius!)
  • Shepherd's pie with ground turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, corn, carrots, etc.  
  • Ice cube tray filled with little things like blueberries, peas, etc.
  • Chicken cubes with black beans and rice
  • Chick peas
  • Quesadilla with broccoli or zucchini puree
  • Cereal mixed with yogurt
  • Mixed beans
  • Pumpkin chips
  • Mini quiches cooked in tiny muffin tins
  • Ham and pineapple
  • Tuna pasta bake
  • Omelet cooked around bread:  cut hole in bread and cook omelet in center.
  • Bonognese
  • Chicken fettucine
  • Mini pies:  egg & bacon, chicken & tomato, spinach & feta
  • Progresso soups (big noodles easy to pick up)
  • Quinoa mac & cheese - cooked quinoa with butter, broccoli/squash, garlic and peas.
  • Quinoa waffle
  • Almond/egg pancakes
  • Pickles
  • Black bean patty
  • Vegan cashew cream sauce on pasta
  • Turkey fried rice
  • Chickpeas and spinach braised in coconut milk (this looks AMAZING)
  • Muffins in a coffee mug in the microwave with fruit as the filling - flax meal, almond meal, egg, baking powder, cinnamon, honey
  • Chicken/egg sandwiches
  • Tuna salad sandwiches
  • Avocado or plain greek yogurt instead of mayo on sandwiches
  • Soft tacos/burritos
  • Crustless chicken pot pie - chicken, rice, veggies and a binder (sauce) and a layer of mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash as the crust
  • Meatloaf with veggies as filler
  • Yogurt covered raisins
  • String cheese dipped in guacamole
  • Homemade chicken tenders or fish sticks rolled in egg and a mix of almond flour, parmesan cheese and other seasoning (baked or fried in coconut oil).  Can fry a mix of veggies the same way too.
  • Gf pasta cooked in a veggie broth with zucchini, spinach and tomato and use tomato sauce or butter and a little fresh parmesan cheese and garlic.  Can put in reusable squeeze pouches and freeze for on the go.
  • Little Grazers
  • Quinoa mixed with yogurt and diced strawberries
  • Quinoa with olive oil, garlic and diced roasted veggies
  • Avocado mashed with banana (two of Lemon's favorites)
  • Pureed veggies with mac & cheese or spaghetti
  • Sauteed green peppers and onions with mashed potatoes
  • Crackers with peanut butter
  • The Wholesome Baby Food Guide
  • And Julie, from The Girl in the Red Shoes, did a post about toddler food too and I didn't even know it! 
  • Shawna also has some recipes on her blog as well.
Phew, that was tough but I typed them all!  If you have recipes for any of the above, ladies, please share in the comments below.  Hope this helps, can't wait to try some of these!!!  Thanks again for sharing!!!


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Monday, September 9, 2013

Mexican Embroidered Bag Giveway Winner!

I had SO MUCH FUN hosting this giveaway with my bestie Christine!  We have known each other almost 20 years and she is one of my most favorite people on the planet, I don't know what I would do without her in my life.  She is SO talented and her bags are amazing - I hope you guys all go and shop at Block & Battaglia!  Supporting other mamas is my fav (as you know) and Christine is a mama to an awesome 7 year old boy named Espen.  She is a brilliant seamstress, a total inspiration and I hope that you will go and support her by buying one of her cute purses!  (She also reconstructs other things and shares how to do it with you, check out Work My Wardrobe.)

Congratulations to Suzanne C. (@lakemomster) on Instagram! 

And here are some bags Christine currently has in her shop. She's offering 20% off right now with the code BBSHOPSALE so now is the time to BUY!


Thanks for your support, I loved reading all of your comments.  Stay tuned for another giveaway this month!


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Friday, September 6, 2013

New IG Friends!

This summer we had some of our favorite IG mamas over to our house to swim and it was SO MUCH FUN.  Meeting their husbands and babies in real life was so crazy, I loved every minute of it. 
















And last weekend, we had them over again and added a new mom and dad that we met at the doctor's office, and our friend Melissa (and super cute Livvy) who used to watch Lemon last year.  Did I forget to take pictures because I was having so much fun?  Yep!  But here are some from the other girls: 











This past weekend was also super fun and we can't wait to do it again.  Can we squeeze in another before swimming season ends?!  I hope so!

If you get a chance, follow these mamas (and dads!) on IG, they are awesome!  Usernames:  namastetiff, toph_hub, moonbaby19, honeybadger4_u, cristiowen, melbrod, aekaufman and of course my hubs, spiritbee.  :)


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