Monday, December 24, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like ....a mess

It's baby's first Christmas and I wanted to delve into tradition. I was ready to incorporate Christmas-y goodness, things that my daughter will do with her children one day. One of these traditions was baking and leaving milk and cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. I usually make a wide array of Christmas cookies and wrap them up nice to give to family members.
But as you know it's tough to make Ramen noodles with a baby, let alone bake a batch of cookies. I bought cookie mix (i know.. but it said "homemade cookies" on the bag...) and had nearly forgotten about them.
The other day my cousin called and said she wanted to bake brownies.  I remembered the cookie mix and we decided to bust that out as well.
Seeing as she is nearly 6 months pregnant and I have a 4 1/2 month old... well... let's just say our brain cells aren't necessarily functioning in their highest capacity right now...

I should have known by the way we started out... I put the brownie mix in a 9x13 pan.
Me: Uhm... are you sure this isn't supposed to go in a smaller pan?
Cousin: Oh, oops, I guess it is ..but trust me i've done this before, they'll just be super thin.

On to the cookies...
I read the directions for the cookie mix and it calls for a stick of butter and an egg. Mix together. Idiot proof right?
We wanted to cut the cookies into cute little shapes though but the batter was so sticky. I look at the bag again and it says:

"If you want to make cookies into shapes, use 1/3 less butter and add a tablespoon of flour."

Oops again... but we'll just add two tablespoons of flour and it'll be alright. It was still such a terribly sticky mess... So we add a few more tablespoons of flour..

adding flour...

Then we had a brilliant idea! Why don't we make it into one big cookie and then we'll cut the shapes out after!!!
yep. this happened.

Needless to say they didn't turn out, and tasted strangely like flour. My cousin texted me after this debacle and said: "I'm baking some homemade cookies and bringing them over so that your husband doesn't think any of this was my fault."

Sorry Santa......

Merry Christmas to all,

and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

To birth a child

A fellow mom once told me "there are different shades of green." Meaning, my green lifestyle can mean buying organic green lettuce, while you're in your backyard making deodorant from dirt and your unshaven leg hair.
There will always be extremists, but the issue that's been weighing on me is the judgment that is cast on women about their birthing choices.
So many times do I hear that hospitals are evil, homebirths are the way to go, doctors are the devil, and you should eat your own placenta (seriously).
And there are women who feel guilty, read that again feel GUILTY, for having birthed their first child in a hospital, and then experiencing the holy grail of childbirth at home with no medication and whatever else.
Or worse yet, make other women feel guilty.
I have many problems with this: first off, no woman should ever feel guilty about birthing a child, a healthy one at that, ever, in any scenario.
I'm a nurse, so I may be biased about the whole home birthing thing because I know just about every single thing that can go wrong, however I did play with the idea of getting a midwife/doula, having a non-medicated birth, etc.
But the thing that I really want to stress to all you mama's is that you have choices.
The reason I decided to really address this is because I read a lot of blogs, and I read a lot of b.s. on these blogs. And the one that really got to me is a post I read the other day where a pretty popular blogger said " ...and so I told my friend that she didn't have to be induced and that I'd walk with her tomorrow, and to just tell her doctor NO."

Sighghgh... where do I start with that? I was overdue with baby. (and just for the record, I walked my happy ass around my neighborhood every single day, on our most record-breaking summer with 103 degree heat...and still nothing..not even a measly contraction) She came 10 days late, a product of cervidil, pitocin, an epidural, and a vacuum. ...go ahead, gasp... I'll give you a minute to compose yourself...

Back? ok. Moving on. And here's the thing.. I had the most AMAZING, peaceful, wonderful, beautiful birth experience, and I certainly don't feel like I missed out on anything. And my baby didn't come out in a drugged up stupor. And she nursed like a champ right away. And later she developed jaundice (potentially because of the vacuum). But she was fine, and healthy, and beautiful and people were commenting about how alert she was.

BUT. I knew my choices. I knew that my doctor doesn't let you go over 42 weeks. So I knew I was getting induced. I did my research about cytotec vs cervidil and when I asked my doctor which one he was going to use he told me that most prefer cytotec because it works better. I told him that cytotec was not FDA approved - and his open jawed blank look confirmed this - and he said fine, I'll put cervidil on your chart instead. I went in without a birth plan, my plan was to get this baby out safe and healthy.
I labored in the tub, on the ball, and walking around before I asked for the epidural 8 hours later. I had at least met my goal, which was to make it til 8pm before pain medication.
I pushed for four hours until the doctor got the OR ready and said, ok if she doesn't come out with the vacuum you'll be a c-section.
I knew the risks of a vacuum and told him he had one shot to try and get her out ...and he did.
And my beautiful perfect healthy 7lb 12oz bundle of pure heaven was born just a few short minutes later.

Basically, not everybody is a candidate for a home birth or any certain type of birth. Try as you might, you will possibly have a c-section. You may want a pain-med free birth only to realize that the pain is too overwhelming and you need them anyway.

And all of that is ok. It is ok to have pain medication, it is ok if you have to have an induction or a c-section, or a vacuum or forcep delivery. It does not make you weak. Know your options, know what you're willing and not willing to do and then go with the flow a little bit. Do not grieve your delivery. The thing that makes me so incredibly angry is when women who birthed HEALTHY CHILDREN say that they grieved the birth because they did not get to do it the way they wanted to.

Here are my rules of birthing a baby:
1. Have a plan
2. Be prepared to throw said plan out the window
3. Have a good support system, be it your partner, your mama, your neighbor, or the guy that fixed your furnace last year.
4. Know your options. Do your reasearch.
5. Enjoy! It is the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing experience in the entire world.

After all was said and done, I felt empowered and overwhelmed with love. Which is what you should feel after giving life to a baby, no matter how your little one came out.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I smell poison

Boy did I just get a swift kick in the behind from the Living Green Fairy!

Let me just tell you about my array of cleaning products... I have a ton and they are all terrible life-sucking, cancer-causing bottles of doom. I decided I was going to make my own cleaner (and I did), but that I wasn't going to throw anything else out until it's been used up. Why waste it right?

So Husband started cleaning the kitchen sink a moment ago, and I hear him hacking out a lung like an 90 year old life-long smoker. He comes in the living room, takes a big breath, and says "man that stuff is strong."
I knew he was going to use it and I didn't stop him. Here's the thing..we have hard water, so after a while our sink will start to have rust stains on it. It's made out of I have no idea what really, but it's not metal or ceramic, so it takes a harsher chemical to get out the rust stains.

Then my throat started to burn... the smell started permeating the entire house. And then a nightmare-ish thought hit me... we wash our baby's bottles in this sink!! And he was cleaning the surrounding area where the bottles are sitting... And stuff is probably spraying everywhere without him even knowing it! I'M LETTING MY BABY DRINK POISON!

Baby and I escaped into another room and I yelled, "we're never using this crap again!" as my husband shook his head.
This is what we consider good cleaners?! It's really not cleaning anything. It's eating my sink, causing it to suffocate, and die a slow death. Disgusting.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I was judgmental. Oh, was I ever. Why isn't the mom in the grocery store spanking her kid? ...What??! Your three-year-old still sleeps in bed with you? YOU STILL BREASTFEED YOUR THREE YEAR OLD? Ew! The list can go on.

But then I had my perfect, fuzzy, chubby, little bundle of joy and (much to my husband's disdain) everything I said I'd NEVER do went out the window.

Whether you need a name or not, it's attachment parenting. Read up on it, but it's basically reading your child's cues when she's hungry or tired, breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping (though we room-in instead), and whatever other kind of label you want to put on it.
I see it as this: A mother's primal instinct. I know what's right, I know it is, deep within me, and I know this sounds asshole-ish, but I really don't care what anyone else thinks!

I get angry when people tell me that she doesn't need to be held all the time, I get angry when people tell me that she doesn't need to be held for a nap, and I get angry when I'm told that I need to be away from her. Basically, I get angry a lot.
But, who made up these rules anyway??? Society!
And society, you are wrong! Oh are you wrong!

Another blogger put it best: Mom's in the stone ages slept next to their babies so they wouldn't get eaten, they put them in a sling and carried them around with them because that was the only way.. etc. And though we're not in the stone ages anymore, nobody texted baby in utero and told them.... (ok that's not a direct quote, and if I had the link I'd totes stick it in here, so dear blogger if you're the writer, e-mail me and I'll source ya!)

Anywhoo my point is this: Babies still have this primal need. And thank goodness my primal instinct kicked in and I woke up from all the bullshit that society makes you think is "right." Babies need all of these things, and call it attachment parenting or not, it's what's right for my baby and I!

All of the studies that have been done on attachment parenting show a benefit (!) in the development of the baby. (Imagine that!)
Guess what: Attachment parenting actually promotes independence.. hmmm!
There are so many benefits. psychological and physiological, and I will leave links at the end if you're interested in further reading.

  • is more trusting
  • feels more competent
  • grows better
  • feels right, acts right
  • is better organized
  • learns language more easily
  • establishes healthy independence
  • learns intimacy
  • learns to give and receive love
  • become more confident
  • are more sensitive
  • can read baby's cues
  • respond intuitively
  • flow with baby's temperament
  • find discipline easier
  • become keen observers
  • know baby's competencies and preferences
  • know which advice to take and which to disregard
Parents and baby experience:
  • mutual sensitivity
  • mutual giving
  • mutual shaping of behavior
  • mutual trust
  • feelings of connectedness
  • more flexibility
  • more lively interactions
  • brings out the best in each other

So don't you "worry" your pretty little head;
She is not going to become overly dependent, she is not going to breastfeed until she's 9, and she's certainly not going to be sleeping in my bed at the age of 21.
But she is going to grow up a confident, smart, secure, independent young woman.

I will not be told what is "right" by society's standards, and I know I will make mistakes as a parent, but I will parent the best way I know how: from my heart!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

The heavens have parted, the angels are singing, and pigs are flying...not really, but pretty darn close. My mom, The Cook, asked ME for a recipe. And no, not out of pity!

Normally I make what I lovingly dubbed "unstuffed peppers" meaning I throw a bunch of tomato sauce, peppers, meat and rice in a pot and serve it with a heaping side of mashed potatoes.

side of mashed potatoes. seriously.

In order to try to make things a little healthier, I tried something new. I know things can be even more healthy, but that's not the point... baby steps!
Also, disclaimer: by no means is this a food blog, so don't expect any spectacular pictures like over at my mom's blog.


4 Green Peppers
1 cup rice (i used jasmine, brown would be better, none would be best)
1/2 can corn
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning ..I made my own
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb. ground beef (or ground turkey if you prefer, but I do get all my meat from a local butcher and it's all hormone-free)
1/2 onion
Shredded cheese - I used Mexican 5-cheese
Green beans

Preheat oven to 400. Brown meat and cook rice. Chop onion and throw in with the ground beef so it softens.
Prepare your green peppers, cutting them in half length-wise and de-seeding.

Brush the peppers with olive oil and stick 'em in the oven for 20 minutes.
Now that your meat is done, pour can of tomato sauce in the pan, some salt and pepper, and the taco seasoning and mix together. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl combine cooked rice, meat mixture, corn, and black beans. My husband hates beans so I smushed them up with a fork, and he never noticed.

Stuff peppers with mixture and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until peppers are soft. Cover with shredded cheese and leave in oven until melted. Serve with a side of green beans. Yum!

You can find many variations of homemade taco seasoning online, but here's the recipe I used:
Equal parts cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder, and 1/2 part red pepper. Mix together and store what you don't use.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My husband ate lettuce!

Let me tell you something: Aside from green beans, Husband refuses to eat anything remotely green. So when I suggested that we eat lettuce wraps, and he agreed, I practically fell over and ran out the door to gather supplies for dinner, lest he change his mind.
I ground some chickpeas in the food processor, made a dijon mustard dressing (dijon mustard, olive oil, cumin, and paprika), and Husband made the chicken.
He did also make green beans as a side. We wrapped it up nice and snug into a lettuce leaf and it wasn't half bad.
At least it was a good protein kick, if nothing else.
Few things I wish I'd have done differently:
1. Different sauce - the dijon didn't do it for me and I wish I had some Tahini, I think it would have been perfect.
2. More veggies - I forgot to get tomatoes, and didn't have enough green peppers (saving them for stuffed peppers later this week). Baby was unhappy since it was past her bedtime, so we got too lazy to cut up the onions once we calmed her down.
3. Avoid chickpeas - they weren't terrible, but I've never cared for them. The only reason I threw them in is because people seem to love them and put them in practically everything. I don't get it.

All in all, a half-way successfull "healthy meal of the week". Now that I know Husband actually liked this, I'll try it again, with a few different ingredients. Lettuce wraps can be pretty versatile and I'm excited to see what combo we'll come up with next!