Wow, our little Max bear is 9 months old. This is definitely my favorite age so far. He is such a bundle of fun right now. He crawls all around the house exploring and he does a lot of “talking.” I can’t wait to find out what he has to say. There is so much personality in that little bundle. He is eating well and seems to like just about anything we are eating. Fingers crossed that it stays this way, at least for a little while. I am savoring this time and I am sure he feels very loved. There are lots of smiles, hugs, and kisses and giggles in our house these days. Sleep could be better but we are working on it and realize that these things work in cycles. We are looking forward to a fun weekend of cabin camping while the Knight races this weekend.
07 May 2013 Leave a Comment
It’s been a while since I shared a recipe. I haven’t been doing much cooking, or eating for that matter.
Whoever thought of putting avocado with pasta is a genius. Although this recipe is not lo-cal or low-fat, it is high on flavor and SUPER easy. Seriously. Assuming I can find fresh basil, this is my go-to weeknight recipe.
This recipe is from the wonderful website Oh She Glows. Check it out: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/01/31/15-minute-creamy-avocado-pasta/
15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta
Prep Time: 5 mins; Cook Time: 10 mins
Keywords: food processor stove top entree side pasta entree vegetarian vegan soy-free nut-free gluten free option
Ingredients (2 servings)
- 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
- 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
- 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil, (probably optional)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.
05 May 2013 1 Comment
Here are a some resources I found particularly helpful for breastfeeding:
1) Kellymom.com - a great source of information on all things breastfeeding.
2) If you’re local, you must go to the Breastfeeding Support Group at Virginia Hospital Center. It is open to all, and it is free. I could bring Max and feed him there, and practice getting out of the house. They have a listserv which is insanely supportive and helpful. There are meetings on Wednesday afternoons, Thursday mornings, and a bi-weekly Sunday evening group for working moms.
3) Baby Connect – this app was worth the money ($5, I think) and then some. It helps track feedings, diapers, and a ton of other things if you want. This was incredibly valuable for the first 6 months.
04 May 2013 Leave a Comment
Let’s talk about eating. I started this post a while ago but I find the whole “eating” topic so huge. There’s the breastfeeding part and the solids part. I exclusively breastfed (and pumped) for the first six months. Then we started solids. (I am still breastfeeding and hope to continue for at least another 3 months).
Such a difficult topic to discuss succinctly. I have become very passionate about breastfeeding and have a lot to say. I feel empowered by all of the knowledge I have gained and am more than happy to talk about breastfeeding or answer questions. Please feel free to contact me.
I am grateful that I have been able to nurse Max. That said, it has been full of ups and downs. We’ve persisted and we are lucky to have gotten this far. It is true that the start to breastfeeding can be challenging and let’s be honest, painful. But it really does get easier and more comfortable over time (well, until the teeth come in, but that’s for a later post).
I think a lot of people think breastfeeding is simply a matter of putting your baby on your boob and voila, magic. Well, yeah, sometimes that is true, but often there’s a lot more to it.
Breastfeeding can be hard and I think for most moms it is. Yet at the same time, it is awesome. When you think about the fact that you are providing all of the nutrition for your little bundle of joy, it is pretty amazing. Nothing soothes Max like the breast. No matter what is going on I can always calm him by breastfeeding him. Overall, the good so outweighs the bad.
The start of the breastfeeding journey
We were very lucky that we had a pretty smooth start. A few visits from the lactation consultants in the hospital and we were on track. It wasn’t easy, necessarily, but we didn’t have any major issues with latching or supply and Max returned to his birth weight relatively quickly.
At this point I don’t remember all of the details, but I do remember is that it was painful. It was a while before I didn’t wince in pain every time Max latched.
I also remember the seemingly constant, endless nursing sessions. Actually, I can look back and see that I spent a lot of time nursing (we used an app called Baby Connect to track feedings. See below). Lots and lots of nursing is pretty much the deal for moms of newborns.
Unfortunately, I had a tough first month post partum. That’s for a later post.
The Later Months
Come Max’s six week birthday, we started settling into a routine that involved 7-9 feedings per day. We were still dealing with a very fussy baby. Max cried a lot. A lot, a lot.
At Max’s two month appointment we were describing the situation and Max’s behavior and the pediatrician said it sounded like Max had acid reflux. She explained that sometimes babies just have reflux, and sometimes it is caused by food sensitivities. Sensitivities are like allergies, but when babies are little they can’t test for this. She suggested we try an elimination diet. (As a side note, we also started him on Zantac to try to control his reflux).
The Elimination Diet
The most common food sensitivities are dairy and soy. Soy protein is very similar to dairy protein and about a third of babies who react to dairy also react to soy. We decided to give the elimination diet a try.
I remember thinking that I would miss cheese, milk and butter, but soy wouldn’t be a big deal. I like tofu, but I can certainly live without it.
As it turns out, it can take up to two weeks for dairy and soy proteins to totally leave your system. Over time we saw a big improvement.
I gave it four weeks before we decided to do a test with a bit of “baked dairy” – meaning that rather than having dairy straight, it was in something that had been cooked, thereby weakening the protein.
I had a piece of cornbread that was made with milk. We saw a reaction the next day. Max was extremely fussy and was very congested. The Knight kept trying to explain it away. But I knew.
Later that day I walked into the kitchen with a dirty diaper in my hand. I showed it to the Knight, and with an unforgettable look he asked me what it was. “Dairy,” I explained. Green poop is a clear sign of a dairy intolerance. I’ll say no more.
As it turns out, Max has the same reaction to any kind of dairy or soy. Dairy is pretty easy to figure out, though they are some hidden forms. Soy, however, is way trickier than I expected.
Although most babies with a soy sensitivity are okay with the two most common forms of soy: soybean oil and soy lecithin, Max is not. If I eat even a bite of mayonnaise, he reacts. “What’s wrong with mayonnaise?” you ask. It is made with soybean oil. It turns out that most packaged foods (almost every single bread product, canned tuna, salad dressing, etc.) contain soy.
We’ve tried various tests – both intentional and unintentional – over the past few months but he is still sensitive. Most babies outgrow this by their first birthday. According to my mom, I was allergic to dairy until I was around three. So, it might be a while…
Shortly after his six-month birthday we started to introduce solids. Our plan was try the latest trend, called Baby-Led Weaning. It basically means you give the baby soft pieces of food and let him feed himself. Great idea in theory, but it didn’t work out that great for us. It was mostly just a big mess. So we started doing some purees. Max wasn’t too impressed with mashed sweet potato, avocado, or banana.
One day around three weeks later I was eating a piece of leftover chicken. I was holding him and he was reaching for it. I decided to give it a whirl – literally. I put a piece in the food processor with some breastmilk. Wouldn’t you know he gobbled it up (haha). The Knight and I couldn’t believe it. I imagine Max was thinking, “Enough with this vegetarian crap! I want some MEAT!” To this day, chicken remains one of his favorite foods. The more flavorful the better. Curry? Sure. With sweet onions and sherry? Okay.
I don’t want to jinx it by sharing this, but as of now I think we have a little foodie on our hands. He really enjoys food and new flavors. I shared on Facebook how Max was enjoying my stuffed grape leaves. He has also enjoyed sharing asparagus, spicy lentils, and whatever else we might be eating. I am always hesitant to introduce these non-traditional foods at such a young age, but he makes it very clear that he enjoys them. We are not seeing any adverse effects so we are going with it.
I could probably write a dozen or more posts about these topics so if you are interested in something in particular let me know.
30 Apr 2013 4 Comments
I know you’re surprised. It’s a race report. From me. It has been a while, I know. But, hey, I raced, so I will report.
This was my third race since becoming a mom. My first was a 5k last October. It was cold (30-something degrees) and I raced with the stroller. Not just any stroller, but the snap and go, which is not at all designed for racing. Heck, it is just passable for walking. But Max was just two months old and he wasn’t ready for the running stroller just yet. I can’t believe I did that. There was even an off road portion, which had me struggling just to walk. There was no way I was running over grass and gravel with that stroller frame.
Last month I ran the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. That was a whole other story. To make a long story short, it was after a week from hell (daycare issues, the Knight was away for 3 weeks, work was stressful). Until the day before I didn’t know whether I would even show up or not. I couldn’t figure out how to work the logistics with pumping and such. I finally decided just to go for it. I had no goals other than crossing the finish line. I accomplished my goal and was very proud of myself for not quitting before ever getting to the starting line.
Fast forward to this weekend. I decided that I didn’t want to “race” the Nike Half, but instead I would run for fun. I chose to run with a friend. She was going for a PR (personal record) and I wanted to try to get her there.
So together we ran the 13.1 miles through the streets of DC. You could not have asked for more perfect weather. It was beautiful. I helped my friend set a PR by over 15 minutes.
The race itself was a mixed bag. There were some kinks that come with it being the inaugural race. The corrals were jam-packed – to the point that you couldn’t actually even get into the corrals because they were so full. I’m not sure why Nike didn’t anticipate this, but hopefully next year will be better. On a related note, the course was seriously congested. Had I been trying to snag a PR I would have been more upset, but I just relaxed and kept running.
Overall, I think Nike did a good job putting on this race. I was particularly impressed with the “Expotique” which featured free makeovers from Bare Escentuals, free sign making from Luna, and a lot of samples.
The course was a great tour of downtown DC. For me it was familiar territory, which was nice. The starting line was right near my office. I imagine it was also nice for visitors as we ran by the monuments, over the memorial bridge, and past the Capitol.
I admit that a big motivator for me to do this race was the race medal. Or rather, that the medal was actually a Tiffany necklace. It is a nice memento. I also like the finisher’s shirt.
Photo Credit: Priscilla (“PDiddy”)
All in all, it was a good race. I feel so blessed to be able to go out and run 13 miles like it is nothing. The last time I ran longer than 4-5 miles was 6 weeks ago for the Rock and Roll Half, so I didn’t know what to expect this weekend. I would definitely do the Nike Half again next year. Then again, these things always sound like a good idea when the weather is nice. But sometime around January I start questioning why I sign up for Spring races. Winter training is hard. For that matter, so is summer training. Heck, all training is hard. But we love it, don’t we?
29 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
I’ve heard people say that gender differences are innate. I have a coworker whose wife is an early childhood educator. They have three kids. When they were little they tried to give them all gender-neutral toys. When they gave their daughter a baby doll, she rocked it, fed it, and gave it love. Their son tied his doll to his bike and dragged it behind him. I love that story.
Little Max is all boy. A mom recently posted on our breastfeeding listserve that her daughter freaks out when she starts the blender. She gets so upset. She has tried using it on the opposite side of the house but it is still too much noise for her. Meanwhile, Max literally bounces up and down with excitment when we start the Vitamix. He loves the loud noise of engines, motors and the vacuum. He thinks the pump is a cool toy, and tries to play with it. That is especially fun while I am using it.
We already do a little bit of wrestling. He doesn’t mind tumbling down a little and he giggles when you “tackle” him. He seems to enjoy hanging upside down and he is already climbing anything he can get to.
We have our hands full with this guy. And we couldn’t be happier.
27 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
It is Saturday morning; and it is a good one so far. The Knight is doing a training ride and he left early. “Early” was shortly after I came back to bed from a 4 am feeding, which lasted much longer than it should have. I am pretty sure that the little Thumper is teething.
He woke up for good around 7 ready to start the day. We nursed for a bit, and then Max crawled around the bed. When you’re 8 months old the dimmer switch for the lamp is a great toy. No need to actually use the switch. Just the little white box with a cord and a tiny red light is enough for amusement.
Tickling and belly raspberries followed this. I’ll do anything to get a laugh. It fills my heart to hear his laugh.
After we changed his diaper – which is easier said than done these days with a squirmy worm- it was breakfast time. While I prepped our food Max crawled around on the floor. He played his favorite kitchen toys: the empty coffee can and plastic container reserved just for this use. For extra giggles I gave him an ice cube to push around. We spare no expense on toys in this house.
Then we share a bowl of oatmeal. It is so neat sitting together and watching him “chew.” He is such a little man sometimes. Then I turn my head for a second and realize I probably should have seat-belted him in. Little monkey. Not only has he stood up inis high chair, but for the first time he has put one foot up on the counter. He is reaching for the oatmeal bowl. Guess I wasn’t fast enough with those bites.
We wind upon the dining room floor. Max has become a very fast crawler. I adore watching him crawl. He does it with such purpose and determination. I wind up sitting in the hallway while he explores. Max crawls into the bathroom and finds his rubber duck. He plays with it for a bit, always checking to see that I’m there. Then I start a little game of peekaboo. Never fails. Lots of smiles. Every now and then he stops what he is going to crawl over and touch me. He crawls up my legs and I pick him up and cover him with “kisses and hugs for Maxwell” until he squirms away to get back to his duck. We repeat this cycle a few times.
Finally, Max starts fussing, letting me know it is nap time. We don’t have a schedule. Max tells us when he is ready. The signs are clear. I put him down in the crib and he does the “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me” cry. It only last a minute or two and he is out. Now it is time for a mommy to get a much needed nap, too. It was a rough week, thanks to the above-mentioned teething.
Sleepy time. Ahhh. I can’t wait for him to wake up so we can do it all again.