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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Riding Out Hurricane Irene

When there are 13 family members trapped in a house during a hurricane, this is what happens:
First, you're a little bored...

and in disbelief.

You get a little silly
and put baskets on your head.

Some people sleep.

New friends are made.

And when it all gets to be too much, you go out in the hurricane.

Even some of the babies got in on the action.

But Little M wasn't quite sure about the wind and rain.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crispy Sweet Potato Oven Fries Recipe

I've been a little MIA lately. My family is visiting, and we had quite an experience during Hurricane Irene. My family rented a condo on the beach, so they all joined in my house during the hurricane. There were five people sleeping in Baby T's room. It was a huge slumber party.

Now that the festivities have died down, I'm back in my routine. But I ran out of eggs.

I've been eating eggs for breakfast almost every day since I've been on the South Beach Diet, and since I'm on Phase II of the diet, I decided yesterday to have oatmeal instead. Although it filled me up, I felt out of sorts until I got some protein in my stomach.

Since I still haven't bought eggs, today I decided to cook up some sweet potato fries. My favorite go-to recipe book is the America's Test Kitchen cookbook. I referenced that, but there were no recipes for sweet potato fries. Onto the internet I went. I found a recipe for sweet potato fries from Cook's Illustrated on the Riverland Farm website.

I made it, with a few tweaks. Oh, and a dipping sauce. And some sausage. It was an amazing breakfast.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: New Sibling Bonding (in Watercolor Portraits)

The Wordless Wednesday theme at Natural Parents Network this week is New Sibling Bonding. There is nothing sweeter than new siblings gazing into each other's eyes. The gentleness that older siblings have when they see their baby brother or sister for the first time is impressive (when they're not trying to poke out baby's eyes, that is).

I missed the deadline to put my pics on their site, but you can check out all of the beautiful pics on their website. And I decided to include mine in my own #WW post this week. But instead of giving you the photographs, I'm showing you the watercolor portraits I painted from the photos.

My nephews, L and A

My babies: Little M and Baby T

Cottage Cheese Diet Dessert Recipe

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I'm a little behind. My WW post for this week is coming later today. 

Cottage Cheese Diet Dessert

I've been on the South Beach Diet for a week and a half, and I've already lost 9 pounds. (Yay!!) I realize that this quick weight loss isn't the healthiest, but I do feel like I had a problem with sugar and possible candida overgrowth in my digestive tract, and I think I really needed to cut out the sugar to get these results.

I had huge sugar cravings before starting the diet, and they have largely disappeared. But at night, after dinner, when I'm sitting around on the couch, I still miss my dessert.

The South Beach Diet recommends a ricotta creme recipe, which is basically ricotta, cinnamon, and vanilla. But you're supposed to use part-skim ricotta, which is dry and gross.

I have a giant, Costco-sized cottage cheese, so I developed my own recipe. (After making it, I realized my Land O' Lakes cottage cheese is filled with all kinds of gross preservatives, so I have to switch to a different brand, but you can make this recipe with any brand. It's filling, it has protein, and it satisfies your cravings for sweets without filling your bloodstream with glucose.

Cottage Cheese Diet Dessert Recipe

It's almost too easy.
Mix together 1/2 to 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, a teeny-tiny dash of vanilla, a dash of some kind of sweetener (I've been using a tiny sprinkle of stevia) and an ample sprinkling of cinnamon. Mix mix mix (I mix with a fork to break up some of the curds) and eat.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sleep Training Part IV—The Data Behind the Philosophy

According to an article called “Sleep Disorders and Sleep Problems in Childhood,” written by C. Carolyn Thiedke, M.D., and published in American Family Physician, sleep behaviors are some of the most discussed concerns between parents and pediatricians. She makes a distinction between sleep disorders and sleep problems, however. Thiedke defines a sleep disorder as one “confirmed by reproducible findings in a sleep laboratory” and a sleep problem as “a sleep pattern that is unsatisfactory to the parents, child or physician.”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sleep Training Part III – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

I’ve been talking about how I’m not really into sleep training, and I think it’s more important to be responsive to your baby than to establish a strict routine or let baby cry it out. And in my last post, I mentioned that I’m confident that Little M will eventually sleep through the night without having to resort to crying it out.

And I am.

But it’s easy to doubt myself, which is what I did the other night.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sleep Training Part II – Then and Now

sleep training
Baby T asleep on Big T's shoulder
Here’s my history with sleep and Baby T. You’ve probably heard it all before. He woke up often, especially between three and seven months. Sometimes he was waking every 20 minutes. I soothed him to sleep every time; I nursed him to sleep, rocked him to sleep, or wore him in a sling or a wrap to get him to sleep. Even in the middle of the night.

I read Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry Sleep Solution,” and it made a lot of sense. There are people who say that it’s too complicated or it didn’t work for them. But I secretly think that the No-Cry Sleep Solution isn’t anything different than what you would do with a little common sense. It’s just a way to gradually (and she stresses gradually) wean your child off of being rocked, nursed, or worn to sleep. And eventually, they do gradually wean off of it.

But I was never alert enough at night to really try the steps in the “No-Cry Sleep Solution.” I just went back to the old standby: nursing, and if that didn’t get Baby T back to sleep, then rocking or babywearing did.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Inspiration Thursday: The Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks so much to one of my newest followers, Patricia of Lemondrops Dream Too, for awarding me the Versatile Blogger Award! It's inspiring to know that I inspire other people. I spend so much time stalking other people's blogs that sometimes it's a relief to know that other people are stalking mine, too! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

10 Things to do with Baked Kale Chips

 Since I’m on the South Beach Diet, right now (in phase 1), I can only eat meat and veggies, pretty much. Getting different textures in makes things more satisfying. I can make hummus and guacamole, but I needed something to do the dipping, and celery and zucchini sticks weren’t cutting it. So I remembered kale chips. They are the perfect snacks to make whether you’re trying to eat healthy or not. I promise.

We subscribe to a CSA in the spring and summer, and we get a lot of greens. I make kale chips pretty often and can put down an entire head in one sitting. They are so much better than you can imagine. If you’re wrinkling your nose at the combination of the word “kale” and “chip,” I urge you to try them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sleep Training Part I - What's the Problem?

This is one of a four-part series of posts that explores sleep training. I'll talk about why pediatricians push for it, my own experiences with it, and I'll conclude with a post that pulls together facts from actual studies.

 At Little M’s six-month well visit, the nurse asked me all the typical questions:
“Has he started solids yet?”
“Yup, he’s had some.”
“How often is he nursing?”
“Oh, every three hours,” I lied. No point in actually trying to put a pattern on it.
“And does he take both breasts?”
“Not always.”
“How’s he sleeping?”
I laughed. “Terribly! He’s up every hour or so,” I said with a smile. It obviously wasn’t bothering me. My babies’ sleep is like my own inside joke at this point. I have never met anyone whose infants sleep worse.
“And is he sleeping in his crib?”
“Yup!” I lied again.

Fast forward. Doctor comes in. Checks out Little M. Everything looks good. Looks at the chart. “You know, six months is a great time to start sleep training.”

Sunday Surf: Food, Sleep, Cloth Diaper Covers, and Games for Kids

Authentic Parenting Sunday Surf

I've decided to go on the South Beach Diet. I always told myself those diets were silly, because diet should be about nutrition, calories, and portion control, but I'm having trouble with those three things. I got a craving for sweets with my first pregnancy, and it never went away. Now I'm addicted to sugar, and I have belly fat (which I never had before), dandruff, and other stomach woes. I really need to make a change. I have been exercising, but I need some more motivation because the scale isn't budging.

That's right--I nurse all day and night, chase a toddler, wear a baby 50% of the time, and I still weigh 170 pounds. That might be ok for some people, but it's not for me. I feel fat. I don't fit into my clothes and I look like I'm six months pregnant.

So I've been doing a lot of research about food and nutrition these days. It's funny how most diet advice is the same, though: cut back on sugar, non-nutritional grains (like wheat, corn, white flour, etc).

I've also been researching baby sleep for an upcoming blog post I'm doing, and I've found some great links. And then there's just the crafty stuff and the good information about activities you can do with your toddler. This is what I've come across this week:

Go Vegan: Create rather than Re-Create
We so often remember the comfort food of our childhood and feel like, "If only I could still eat {mac and cheese, bagels, lasagna} my diet would be successful." Then we try to recreate it, whether we try to make it vegan, fat free, or whatever. And it's nasty. And we are all disappointed, unsatisfied, and craving something unhealthy. If we try to work with fresh ingredients and stay away from processed food (even soy crumbles and veggie cheese), we'll end up making tastier, more satisfying meals.

Five South Beach Diet Phase One Breakfast Recipes
These are great breakfast recipes, even if you're not on a diet. Starting the day off with savory meals filled with protein and vegetables can really stave off cravings for carbs all day long.

Coconutty Paleo Fudge Recipe
The paleo diet is similar to South Beach: It's all about fresh food and limiting sugar and grains. I found this recipe, which looks amazing. I can't wait to try it in a couple of weeks (when I can add some sugar to my diet).

My Date with Dr. Ferber
We've all been awake in the middle of the night, nursing or rocking our babies to sleep, wondering if we're doing the right thing. We read the advice: don't soothe your baby to sleep. But how can you not? This article describes a woman at her wit's end with the whole sleep thing, who made an appointment with Dr. Ferber because she thought sleep training was her only option. And then time went on, and things naturally progressed, and she realized she didn't need sleep training: her kids were developing their own healthy sleep habits, and she realized they didn't need to be forced into them. It's refreshing to hear sleep stories from parents who are confident that they are doing the right thing by not letting their kids scream their heads off in the wee hours of the morning. Because there is so much information out there that makes you feel like a bad parent for soothing your baby when he or she wakes up.

Cloth Diaper Cover Tutorial with Gussets
I have a bunch of PUL and two kids who are in between sizes. I am either squeezing Little M into small diaper covers, which make him get heat rash, or putting him in the next size up, which means he pees all over his clothes. I need some better fitting diaper covers. Nothing fancy--I use prefolds, so I just want something waterproof to put over them. Sometimes I use wool, but I like waterproof PUL covers too. So I'm going to make them. According to this cloth diaper cover tutorial, it can't be that hard.

23 Gross Motor Games and Activities for Preschoolers
Dionna from Code Name: Mama put together a great article about games you can play with your preschooler that exercise their gross motor skills. Baby T loves games like these. He usually cracks up the whole time we play them. We play Ring around the Rosie already, and just yesterday, we started playing Red Light, Green Light (he loves to tell me when the light is green at stoplights anyway. Probably because I do too much texting at red lights.). Try some of these games with your kid. I'll bet you'll get some amazing toddler belly laughs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Inspiration Thursday - Learning by Example

Tmuffin Inspiration Thursday

As you know, I have struggled with just about everything that comes along with motherhood. I am constantly questioning whether I’m doing it right, and whether the way I’m acting now is going to lead my kids to be psycho serial killers when they’re older. When I was dealing with Baby T waking every 20 minutes at night at six months old, I read Marc Weissbluth’s “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” And I closed it when I read that a baby who doesn’t sleep X hours a night will result in a bratty, obese kid. I thought that was a little much.

And I was also a little scared. Baby T never slept as long as all the charts recommended. And I wasn’t as consistent as the experts suggested. And I was afraid I’d be nursing him and rocking him to sleep until he was in college. And then one day I laid Baby T down after he didn’t fall asleep nursing, and he went to sleep without a peep. And I looked back and thought, In hindsight, I did everything right.

Fast forward to issues with discipline. I have wavered back and forth from feeling like I’m not setting enough guidelines for Baby T to feeling like all I do is tell him what he can’t do, even though I try not to. I was recently really insecure about how I was handling his neediness and his tantrums.

And then I went to Asheville last weekend to meet a bunch of women who I’ve known for a long time. We met in the TTC forums on when we were all trying to conceive our babies. Now our babies are all two years old, give or take a couple of months. It’s amazing to think that I’ve known these women through some of the most important parts of my life.

I know more about them than most people I am acquainted with in real life, and they know more about me. I have always shared my fears, insecurities, and triumphs with them. And I respect just about everything they do.

It was so inspiring to spend the weekend with them. One of the reasons why is because I got to see how different everyone was, and how similar we all were at the same time. We all have similar goals for our children: we stress gentle discipline and natural parenting.

But our kids our very different. Namely, my kid. Baby T was by far the craziest kid there. He was whinier, tantrummier, and louder than the other kids. And I was noticing something: even though I try not to say “no” to Baby T a lot, Big T and I had fallen into the habit of saying “no” to a lot of things that weren’t important. And my friends were more “go with the flow” kind of parents.

When Baby T wants to paint, sometimes I say “no” because I don’t feel like pulling out the paints and paper. When we were at the grocery store just to pick up one thing and he wanted to go in the shopping cart that looked like a car, we started to say “no,” because it would take longer. When he started to whine and yell about it, we realized that it wouldn’t hurt anyone to let him ride in the cart. Yes, he likes to grab things off the shelves and get in and out of the cart every time we stop. Yes, it would take a little bit longer than just running in while holding him. But would it prevent a tantrum? Yes. Into the cart he went.

It’s easy to get used to a particular way of thinking or acting when parenting, and it can be a vicious cycle. Stepping back every once in a while to reassess the situation, your child, and your actions can be a big help. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have inspiring role models around you.

Baby T hasn’t thrown a tantrum in a while. He has been much more agreeable since last weekend. And Big T and I have been going with the flow a little more. Thanks to all of those parents who continually inspire me to step back and reassess my parenting, making me a better mother.

What inspires you? 
Add a link to your Inspiration Thursday blog post below.
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Check back and vote for the ones you like!
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Vacation! #WW

We went to Asheville over the weekend to meet up with some amazing friends who I met on the forums when we were all trying to conceive. Now we all have toddlers, and we were able to get together for a relaxing (mostly) weekend in the mountains. It's crazy to think we've "known" each other for so long and only just met, and it was so much fun to watch our kids play together.
sprinkler at playground
Examining (and licking) the sprinkler at the playground

Little M pulling himself up all by himself

Little M was glad to have a playground he could actually play at

Our friend L "petting" Little M

Baby T and L playing with bubbles

This post is linked up at:
Hobo Mama Wordless WednesdayWordless Wednesday Create with JoyNatural Parents Network Wordless WednesdayI Thought I Knew Mama Wordless WednesdayCleverly Changing Wordless Wednesday

Creating With Kids - Don't Bite off More than you can Chew

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

When Baby T came home from daycare and his daily "report" said, "Baby T liked painting, but we had to put away the paints because he only wanted to paint his arms," I thought, what do you expect? He's two.

Doing crafts with kids isn't about a pretty result; it's usually about exploring materials and using all the senses. Give your kids the tools and stand back to witness the masterpiece. Then, give them a bath and start all over the next day.

Read more about how to create with kids on my guest post at Natural Parents Network!

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Moments: Dancing

Big T and I are not known for our dancing. I have some rhythm (he doesn't), but it doesn't mean I'm coordinated or can swing my hips gracefully. We realized we are both a little dorky when Baby T started imitating the way we "dance." Basically, we move our hands. Sometimes we keep our pointer fingers out and wave them around, and sometimes we just wave our hands around. It looks a little like this:

This post is part of Capital Mom's Monday Moments. Take a moment yourself to check out her Monday Moments or link up.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Inspiration Thursday: Baby at the Breast

One of the questions I’m asked by almost every couple in my childbirth education classes is “How soon can I start pumping so ______________?” Fill in the blank with: dad can give baby the bottle; I can go out with my friends; I can go back to work.

We live in a culture that promotes feminine independence. The feminist ideal of the working woman, the woman who can do it all, doesn’t always appear with a baby at the breast. But why not?

As I grew up, I considered myself a feminist. Misogyny pissed me off, frankly. I honestly couldn’t understand how any human being could treat any other human being as inferior. I believed women could do anything just as well as men and should be given the opportunity to do so. I still believe this.

I believe in the strong, powerful woman. The one with a baby at her breast. That, to me, is inspiring.

What inspires you? 
Add a link to your Inspiration Thursday blog post below.
You can add a link for one week after the post goes up. 
Check back and vote for the ones you like!
Link back to this post or grab the button: 

Inspiration Thursday Blog Party

Add a link to your inspiration below!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Shifting Positions in a Ring Sling

One of the benefits of wearing your baby in a ring sling is that it's versatile. It's versatile and it's quick. You don't have to set baby down while you get the ring sling situated, and it's easy to change baby's position. Contrary to what you might think, you can wear baby in many different positions in a ring sling; you're not limited to a cradle hold. In fact, I use the tummy to tummy hold most often when using my ring sling.

My babies have both liked to be held upright more than in a cradle hold, and I find it easier to keep an eye on them in a tummy to tummy hold. That said, there are times when I feel like they want to lay down a little. Either we're at the beach and the sun is in their eyes, or they seem really tired and staying upright is making them fight sleep. If I'm wearing them for a long time, I also like to change positions to prevent them from getting stiff or uncomfortable.

Below are two videos showing how to shift a baby from the tummy-to-tummy position to the cradle hold without taking off the wrap or taking baby out of the wrap. Then I show how to move baby back. It's just a quick flick of the wrist!

Shifting baby from the tummy-to-tummy to the cradle hold:

Shifting baby from the cradle hold to the tummy-to-tummy position:

Wordless Wednesday: Close to My Heart

I wanted to post a breastfeeding picture in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, but I think I've posted all of the ones I have at some point or another. I wanted to post something new. When Little M was sick a few weeks ago, I put him in the Moby skin-to-skin to help soothe him. I loved the fact that he was curled up so close to my chest, and he looked like he might have looked when he was inside me. I had Big T take a picture.

I love this. If this doesn't make you want to wear your baby, nothing will:
Using a Moby when Baby is Sick

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Lactation Consultant for a Gorilla

My dad is a docent at the Memphis zoo. Recently, he called me and said he was thinking of me because they had hired a lactation consultant for one of the female gorillas who had recently given birth.

“Wow! Why did they hire a lactation consultant for the gorilla?” I asked.

“Well, gorillas learn how to breastfeed by watching their own mothers and their peers. And gorillas raised in captivity don’t have that community to learn from, so even though the baby knows how to breastfeed, the mother does not.”

Wait. It gets better.

“And if the mother and the baby don’t create the bond formed by breastfeeding, the baby won’t thrive.”

Wow. Really. And they didn’t just think it was easier to give the baby a bottle, huh.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Breastfeeding Challenge: Excess Lipase in Breastmilk

Scald Breastmilk

In the 26 months that I’ve been breastfeeding, I haven’t had too many challenges. I dealt with the occasional nursing strike with Baby T and struggled with weaning, but it has been pretty smooth sailing. I did, however, have to deal with excess lipase in my breast milk.


Lipase in breastmilk? What is that?

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