Copyright © June Cleaver in yoga pants
Design by Dzignine
Friday, July 30, 2010


So, we are officially co-sleepers. As in, we get kneed/elbowed in the face nightly by one or two children (usually two) out of choice.

Well, necessity really.

I sound defensive, don’t I?

Here is how it happened and why I am okay with it.

Mainly, I like to sleep.

I used to sleep in till noon no problem, pre-kids (obviously on those days I wasn’t at work.) I loved to sleep. Lying in bed with a book on a Saturday morning. Oh Lord, it’s heaven on earth. (Especially when dear kind husband would get up and make coffee and bring me a cup, GULP – seriously for real trying not to tear up here – I LOVED THAT. Coffee in bed? And not even on Mothers Day?? Oh the memories…)

So then we have babycakes.

I swore I would never sleep with my kid in our room, let alone our bed but of course, when it came down to it the thought of my sweet dear babycakes all the way in another room was too much to bear. We got a nice sweet little co-sleeper and set it up next to my side of the bed.

We brought our little bundle home from the hospital…evening turns into night…and then, say what?

They don’t just drift off to sleep with a little milky??

Ummm, what, what, are we supposed to do then?


Blank looks.

We were baffled.

He didn’t just NOT sleep. He cried. And this is in our arms mind you. We hadn’t even attempted to lie him in the sweet-little-bed yet!

That first night he, at some point, ended up in a heap on my chest. His little nose nuzzled up to me, swaddled tight in his blanket. I called my mom in a panic the next day. “Is it SAFE to sleep with your baby?? Because that is the only way he will sleep!”

And so it began.

After that it was not about the sweet little bed. It was about sleep. Period. End of discussion.

So what did I do? Being the research oriented person that I am I got the best sleep book in the world  “Happiest Baby on the Block” which details the Five S’s of good sleep “swaddle, shushing, swaying…” something like that.

Anyway, this book, as the kids say these days, is the bomb. Saved our lives.

Pacing and bouncing up and down the hallway turned out to be key to getting him to sleep – the calories I must’ve burned! – a tight swaddle was key to keeping him that way.

So, most nights, after this whole swaddle/walk/bounce routine I had no desire to try to put him in his own bed, not to mention daddy being in law school and mommy usually doing this all on her own. I just collapsed into bed with babycakes and called it a day.

Naptimes usually meant snuggling him into the babywrap while I worked (at home, on the computer) or me holding him, watching Lifetime movies on mute with the titling function turned on. (No joke. Ridiculous eh?)

By months 3-4 he got big, too big to hold that long and I kinda wanted to try and use the sweet-little-bed before he got too old for it. I spent two agonizing days trying to get him to sleep in his sweet-little-bed for naps. Finally it worked. Then, naps got better. He would nap in his crib! On his own! (freedom! I can shower? During the day? Check email? Eat? YAY!)

Still bedtimes were toughest. I was intermittently going for the little bed, if my energy was up for it. He would be there for a few hours on his own and then wake up wanting his milky-milk and into the bed he came.

By month six crawling and pulling up started. He still was swaddled tightly every night for bed though so I wasn’t too worried about him getting out of the sweet little bed. It just seemed with this new found creeping stage his little brain was working overtime. His sensitive little self had an even harder time sleeping. (Ask my family, I spent every family gathering shushing people and started telling everyone he was teething at 4 months…yea, he didn’t get his first tooth till 8 months!) He wanted mama. ALL THE TIME.

So, into the bed he came. Again.

It’s just…So. Much. Easier.

Basically, I can’t understand getting out of bed walking into another room, up stairs in some cases, getting baby to sleep, going back downstairs, waiting for the yelping to come across through the monitor and doing it all over again. Especially with an intense kid like my spirited babcakes. I am exhausted typing that. Maybe I am just lazy? I don’t know.

In any case, with this arrangement I would roll over, offer up my goods, pat him a bit, roll back down to sleep. Simple. But yet, being convinced that sleeping was “an-essential-skill-that-I-must-not-neglect-to-teach-my-child” I still attempted to put him in his crib.

We tried all sorts of arrangements. His crib, in his room. A pack n’ play in our room (this worked from maybe months 9-12 fairly well, or at least he was in there the first few hours of sleep which allowed me to say, drink a bottle, er, I mean glass, of wine, while watching Grey’s Anatomy.)

By a year old he was just too mobile, too vocal, and not into nursing to sleep. We would both lie on our bed, on our backs, watch him go from bouncing up and down on the bed to sitting, rolling over us, and eventually, poor little bugger, falling asleep nestled between us. After all this (more than an hour, most nights) we didn’t dare try and move him.

Somewhere around then, we admitted it to ourselves, this is just easier. And there he stayed…
Around 20 months or so he was ready for his “big boy bed” and we were able to hype it up sufficiently to get him to go for it …for at least the first couple hours…and that is where it is at, still.

He gets up every night and runs to our bed.


No, seriously, I don’t think you get it. EVERY NIGHT.
I think he has sleep in his bed all night maybe, MAYBE, a dozen times? Maybe less.

[Note re babycakes the first, super duper intense little man. Sensitive. Intense. Spirited. Funny as heck. But did I mention intense? All this greatly contributes to his sleep issues. A long day at the mall/playdate/grandma’s = tossing and turning for hours before finally FINALLY going to sleep. We still have to lay with him to get him to fall asleep. Every night. No. seriously. EVERY STINKIN’ NIGHT.]
So, when babycakes the second came along you know what we did?

Tucked her into her blanket (easygoing kid that she is she doesn’t need or even like swaddling!), nestled her between the two of us (no bouncing, no walking), and fell asleep... And there she has been every night of her life.

And you know what, when I wake up in the morning to see my two babies cuddled up to each other, holding hands, well. I kinda like it.

[caveat #1 Ok. So that is all nice sounding some days yes, I scream inwardly “how-I-wish-I-could-put-you-in-your-bed-and-kiss-you-good-night-and-shut-the-door” but alas, my babies do not work that way…]

[caveat #2 obviously there are safety concerns sleeping with little ones, particularly babies. Read here for more on that. We sleep on a king size mattress (heaven!) purchased out of necessity when babycakes the second was a few months old. It is pushed in the corner. She sleeps between daddy and me. When brother comes to bed I flop her over to my other side, against the wall. I have blankets rolled tightly and pushed against the bed and wall to prevent bumps/getting stuck. With newborns, especially squirmy ones, you really have to be careful with that gap issue. Also, never go to bed after drinking/feeling buzzed. Stay up. Drink water. Be safe. Also I never take any kind of cold medicine/sleep aid that might make me unresponsive to my baby. Ever. Other safety items are listed on that site. We have had one, maybe two scary middle of the night baby crawled off the bed incidences, but never with a newborn – I think my son was 14 months old and crawled off the foot of the (low-lying) bed in his sleep. I think that has been it. Maybe he rolled off the bed napping with me too once? In any case, kids climb out of cribs, get limbs stuck so to me it’s not a “risk” of this sleeping arrangement per se, just worth mentioning.]

[caveat #3 re SIDS. I don’t even want to bring this up. But….from what I have read SIDS is now more correlated with improper serotonin levels in a newborn rather than sleeping environment alone. Also, once your baby can lift their head the risk becomes much lower. Newer studies show that sleeping with a baby can actually DECREASE a risk of SIDS because baby responds to mothers breathing cues. Also, re studies with deaths in co-sleeping…apparently they are skewed, from what I have read, because they include deaths that happen on unsafe surfaces (couches, etc) or in unsafe conditions involving drugs, drinking, etc. It is amazing how the nursing mother is in tune with her baby. You really do know where your baby is. Its like, your body knows not to roll off the edge of the bed so even more so your body knows where your baby is.]

[caveat #4 I hate contention/arguments/debates. Perhaps it is my polite Midwestern upbringing? Being from a large family? In any case that is not the point of sharing all this. Some babies need their space, mommies and daddies too, and I hear that. I get that. I am not FOR or AGAINST any particular sleeping arrangement mind you, just for doing what is best for you and your baby. Being a responsive parent but taking care of yourself too. Ok. End of caveats.]

Sleep. Love. Be happy!

Next up: Baby gear

crazy mommy

hi mommies.

our internet is out. ack! i hate that.

now crazy me i am attempting to post from a coffee shop with wireless down the street. i am feeding my children corn-syrup laden fruit snacks in attempt to keep them civil...which they are promptly spitting on the floor.


i will post though. i will.

here goes.
Sunday, July 25, 2010

Anti recipe #2 Roast chicken and veggies

Pulling off a good roast chicken is probably the most I could ever hope to channel June Cleaver.

And I do, make a good roast chicken that is.

So, this is it.

Buying whole chickens is just so much easier on the wallet and tastier too, especially if you can find locally raised chickens (my parents raise them! Yay for me!)

You can also then use the roast chicken for dinner, pull off the end bits of chicken for a second meal, and then make broth for soup or for cooking with later (more on this in a bit.) So you get three meals for one hour of cooking, not bad, eh?

So. Start with a thawed chicken. (believe me, I have tried to roast one that wasn’t thoroughly thawed, mistake! It doesn’t cook up properly!)

First off. I don’t touch raw chicken. I hate it. The whole concept makes me ill. (So, pulling off a good roast chicken is even more admirable, right?) I have been known to make young visiting siblings slice up the raw chicken breast because I didn’t want to touch it.

My solution? Tongs and a fork.

So, preheat oven to 450. Yes, 450. Good and hot.

First step, rinse off chicken, pull out bag of guts/neck/etc. Second, and this is key, pat draw with paper towel (yes, I am handling the thing with tongs and a fork this whole time!) Apparently a dry chicken roasts up better than a slightly soggy one, which wont crisp properly (I learned this from watching Julie/Julia)

Salt (sea salt)/pepper/drizzle chicken with olive oil on both sides. My husband would use a cooking brush for the olive oil part. I really, really, REALLY dislike this. Why? Because then you have to wash a paintbrush saturated in olive oil and bits of chicken skin/grease. GROSS. Drizzling is good enough for me. Also, place a bit of olive oil (or butter) in the bottom of the roasting pan to prevent sticking. (also, you can smear with butter instead of olive oil, obviously).

A note on roasting pans. I went and bought a big old-fashioned roasting pan (found at my favorite thrift store for a couple bucks). More room for all the potatoes too. I also use a wire rack thingy on the bottom, to prevent sticking/pooling grease.

Second, chop up a few potatoes, skins still on (I never ever skin potatoes before cooking them, even for mashed potatoes. Too much work. Lots of good stuff in skin) inch size pieces are good. Then do a few carrots too. (Other veggies might be yummy too... experiment!)Toss in olive oil (maybe a tablespoon or two, not too much as they will mainly be roasting in the yummy chicken juices to come) then shake in some sea salt.

Throw the veggies in the bottom of the pan. Place chicken on rack in center, upside down. Put in oven.

In 15 minutes, or when it starts browning a bit, flip the chicken over to breast side up. In ten minutes, or so, reduce heat to 350.

If you want you can baste with juices from the bottom of the pan. I never do this. 1) I always seem to forget 2) I can never find the baster, as it makes a really good Harry Potter wand (all of my chopsticks are missing for this reason.)

Make sure you toss the potatoes/carrots occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

When juices run clear, your chicken is done. I think its like 180 on the thermometer, but I always pull it out to poke into the meat and look.

Let chicken sit to cool for awhile before carving. Scoop out lovely carrots/potatoes.

Now eat.

Oh yum.

Sometime in the evening, after digesting all this (usually after kiddies are in bed - or you can just throw the whole thing in the fridge and do the below in the morning, if you can fit it in of course - just push aside those half eaten yogurts and juice boxes and shove it in there) anyway, as I was saying, at some point pick off the remaining meat, place in ziplock bag in freezer for another meal (casserole, chicken fajitas, etc) Put chicken carcass in big stock pot, cover bones with water, bring to boil and let simmer, until your bedtime. (You can be fancy and add veggies but I never do, my husband does though, and, to be honest, he is the real stock guy at our house.) You can then let the big pot cool and throw in the fridge overnight (which we usually do). The next day skim off fat from top, reheat on stove top, pull out carcass, pick off remaining meat (for soup) strain out bones, pour cooled broth into old container (old yogurt containers work perfectly) then freeze (it’s a good idea to write date on top, just so you know what it is, especially if you are like us and old yogurt containers make up the vast majority of your food storage containers. (Hmmm, old frozen beans and rice? Split pea soup? Ah, here is the stock.)

I use stock in all sorts of things. Crockpot meals (throw in a containers worth of broth, even frozen, some chicken pieces, some rice, some herbs, wait a few hours, voila, dinner!), casserole, and of course, soups (potato soup). Bone broth adds so much nutritional goodness to your meals, it’s healing, and boosts your immune system (more on this here) plus, it’s yummy.

So. That is my roast chicken. Bon appétit!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Survival Days

Some days. Some days, the glow of motherhood is not so rosy.

You are sick. Baby is teething. You are out of coffee. Day three of a tension headache. Whatever the reason, you are just NOT into mommying today.

You know what I say? It is ok.

It’s a Survival Day.

Today is one of those survival days at our house.

I spent the weekend camping. Camping with children is one of those more-fun-in-anticipation-or-in-memory kind of things. We will make S’mores and hang out singing songs and go for nature walks and swim in the lake. The actual camping part. Not so much. They get bit up. The porta-potties stink and your kid is scared of them. It rains. You wake up to put on the tent flap at 3am (ok, husband dear does that, but you told him to earlier in the day and he insisted it wasn’t needed so, you don’t mind waking him so much.). Dinner takes forever to cook over the fire and then it is burnt. Kids whine for hot dogs, you made hamburgers. Etc. Etc. You come home exhausted late Sunday night with five loads of smoky laundry, a missing shoe, and mosquito bites.

So then I spend Monday picking up after camping. Then Monday night is a late one, errands to Costco/Office Depot. Then the kids won’t sleep.

So what does mama do Tuesday? Throw in a load of laundry (to feel productive) and hunker down on the couch with French press coffee, a good book and let the kids go to town.

Survival Day.

I really should post a picture of my living room right now. They have torn it up. Couch cushions on the floor (playing hot lava/jungle gym), toys dumped everywhere (playing garbage truck). Babycakes the second is still in her pajamas. (Although that happens a lot, why not? Cuts back on laundry, right?)

Today is not the day for conquering motherhood. Today is the day to survive it with your sanity intact. You know that saying the put on welcome mats and aprons “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” Well, it’s true. Right?

I have a friend who takes a WEEKLY Sabbath from her family. She goes out from noon-9pm one day a week. Goes shopping, sits in a coffee shop, writes, watches a movie.

I admire/envy/can’t believe her.

We don’t put enough of a priority on mommies when it comes to mommying. All the pressure to do this or that with your kid, keep the house looking just so, hot dinners every night when dada comes home. And then if you work outside (or inside the home) at another occupation you have to do that AND fill this role.

Mind numbingly tiring.

Mommying is tough emotional work. We don’t get recognition for that.

It’s emotional.

It’s draining.

It saps you of your you-ness.

Suddenly you find yourself eating food off the floor like a savage (and smelling like one too) and you think. My God, I can’t remember the last time I carried a purse rather than a diaper bag. I seriously pulled my cute little coach purse out the other day and realized I hadn’t taken it out in public in YEARS.


What happens to us? It’s like we disappear.

And, I have realized. I can’t disappear for myself, or for my kids for that matter. They need ME to be their mommy. Not some shell of a mommy operating on autopilot. They need to know who I am what I like, what I am good at (tinkering away on the computer, putzing in a garden, doing yoga, running, putting on make-up, God forbid, and going out with daddy.) They need me to be me. Which means I can’t lose who I am.

So we need to cut ourselves a break every now and then. Get out our paints, if that is what we loved to do. Knit. Do some yoga, and show the kids your moves. Buy those impractical skinny jeans. Volunteer in a political campaign. Pull out a book on the history of the Arab world, or a biography of Dorothy Day.

And when the day gets rough let the kids jump on the couch. Turn on the Curious George DVD (playing all 6 episodes of course). Surf the internet. Daydream while looking through a JCrew catalogue. Get your mind out of the game for a minute. Pull out a frozen lasagna. (HMMMMM.) Go for a walk with your babies. Run away with them to a museum. Come home. Bedtime. Glass of wine. Start over again tomorrow.

Remember, YOU are the best mommy for your kids. So don’t forget who that you is! (preaching to self here, insert smiley face guy)

Next up: Eh not sure yet. I will surprise you. I am sure you are all aquiver with excitement….
Friday, July 16, 2010

Googling Parenthood

I remember the first time I ever used an online search engine. Freshman year of college, researching the recent Rwandan genocide (that ought to give you enough of a timeline to determine how long ago this was…)

I typed in the key words and BOOM. Information.

Really amazing.

Googling has come a long way, now part of our everyday vernacular (there is a word I don’t get to use around my three year old, oh, how I love blogging. Big people. YAY. HA.)

Of course, back then it was Yahoo. But one can’t really “Yahoo” something. “I am just yahooing the movie first.” Nope, doesn’t quite cut it.

Google got me through my graduate degree research (especially a particularly challenging stats project finding global civil society data and Freedom House Index numbers. Sounds fancy huh? I know. I went to look at it the other day and basically had no idea what it was talking about. My brain has atrophied over the past four years, I am telling you.)

Cut to a few days ago.

I type in “green diarrhea.”

You know you are a parent when you are googling about poop, right?

We all do it though.

“Green poop”

Hmm, a common symptom of a gut bacteria. (I mean, it was VIOLENT green, like he must’ve-eaten-a-friggin’-leprechaun green. I eventually diagnosed consumption of a green crayon to be the true cause.)

“Hacking cough, infant”

Phew, it says here it’s not a problem unless she seems lethargic and struggling to breathe.

“Allergies in children”

“Preschool readiness”

“Potty-training regression”

“Difficulty latching”

“permanent marker, couch”

“Constipation, newborns”

“Getting your child to sleep better”

“Getting your kid to stop throwing his shoes while you are driving” (Ha. Joking. Kind of)

Seriously, what would we do without google? I think I would be calling my mom or my sister or a pediatrician every three days. Heck, every day. “Mom, he is just pooping like every other day, I mean, is that normal?”

(In fact, I did do this when Jack was first born, calling and calling and calling and calling. I have lightened up a little now that I am more of a, shall we say, experienced mother – read, less neurotic – I do call my mom a lot but I try to limit my discussion of my children’s bowel habits. You didn’t really mind too much, did you mom?)

But of course, google can be frustrating too. Opinions differ, arguments abound, who can you believe, especially on delicate matters as say, the best pee-stick out there?* (For the record is really the best out there.)

I have found a few websites, especially about health, that I trust above all else. is the best for general health issues. But Dr. Sears is the best, THE BEST, for health, parenting, sleep issues, etc.

But still, google is my friend.

So, I gotta say it. Google. I love you. Thank you. Really.

Now, what are some of your favorites?


Next up: Survival Days
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anti-Recipe #1 A lazy persons quiche

I make a darn good quiche.

Two secrets:

1) it’s a very forgiving dish (no, really it is)
2) I have a secret way of making pie crust that is totally easy and yummy.

You don’t believe me, do you? Its true. I discovered this pie crust recipe in an Amish cookbook when I was 14 or so (remember my cooking phase?).

Here is how it goes:
Take 2 cups flour, plus some more, dump in pie plate (10 inch)
Add dash of salt (for a quiche)
Add some wheat germ or flax (for a quiche)
I also like to add a dash of garlic salt sometimes.
(if you were making this for a fruit pie or something add a sprinkle of sugar instead of the last two things.)

Mix this stuff up in pie plate directly (no bowl! One less dish to clean up!) you can use your fingers, I use a fork.

Mix 1 cup vegetable oil and one cup milk in a bowl. Whisk it up (using same fork!) Pour three quarters of this mixture into pie plate flour mixture. Using the fork, start slowly mixing into flour. Use your fingers to form crust up around sides of pie plate, pat down around bottom of pie plate (kinda like playdoh right? Fun!) Pinch finish crust edge (to hold goop in better)

Prick sides and bottom of crust with fork (yes, the very same fork! I think my obsession with minimizing number of dishes used in cooking comes from my youthful cooking phase, you mess up the kitchen, you clean it. Unlike my husband who, God bless him, typically uses every single dish we own to create his masterpiece dinners, they are scrummy, just not fun to clean up after…insert winky smiley guy.)

Bake at 400 (something like that) until brown-ish and crispy-ish looking. Maybe 10-15 minutes.

See?? So freaking easy. The trick is not to mix too much and to press the sides and bottom fairly thin. This keeps it flaky.

Ok, the filling.

My standard for this quiche:
Spinach (cook it and drain it first! Otherwise the eggs never set properly, learned this the hard way a few years back.)
Bacon (cooked to crispy – chewy bacon pieces are gross)
Onions (sauté in bacon grease of course, hmmm.)
Cubed swiss cheese
Handful of grated mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle of salt/pepper
6-8 eggs (whatever you have on hand)
Milk (maybe half a cup? More if you are using fewer eggs. My mom likes to use cream, but I can’t taste the difference in the final product)

Other tasty additions, add to your liking:
Asparagus (cook first!)
Fresh chopped herbs (parsley? Cilantro? I typically throw in a dish whatever smells right, if that makes sense)
Sausage (cooked, obviously)
Chopped ham
Crumbled dried morels (a recent discovery, YUM)
Mushrooms (sautéed in bacon grease, of course)
Broccoli (I am not a fan of this addition, but whatever floats your boat)
Kale/swiss chard, etc. (same opinion as above)

Whip eggs and milk, add in ingredients, pour in pie crust. Cook at 350 until not jiggly on the top (roughly 45 minutes?)

Seriously, seriously, seriously yummy.

Mommy Confessions

Let’s be honest. Mommyhood is rough. Some days are flowers and unicorns and warm fuzzies of course. People talk about this all the time.

But some days…some days are HARD. Do people want to talk about this? Not so much.

And then we lay the guilt on ourselves (and each other). "Did you see how she just gave her kid a lollipop to get into the car without screaming?? How could she?" and "Ugh. I haven't engaged my child in directed educational/socially expansive activities all day! Oh the shame!"

So. I think it’s good to have a little confessing every now and then. Embrace the imperfect. It’s good for the soul.

I will start but you MUST join in. Ok?


Here goes.

I sometimes turn the music up in the car so that I don’t have to listen to my three year old whine about the toy he dropped on the floor that I can’t reach.

Shocked? No?

Ok, I admit that wasn’t that bad.

Let's try again.

I don’t like folding towels and sheets. What is the point? I don’t understand it. Clothes, sure. But sheets? Why? My mom can fold these items so neatly and perfectly. When she came to help us move she organized my new linen closet. My God. It was incredible. Even the contour sheets! (Although apparently there is A Method for doing this properly. I have actually seen a diagram in a magazine about this. Seriously? A diagram? Like I am going to go find this diagram the next time I fold sheets?? Who does this??)

Here is another one.

Sometimes when babycakes the second dumps her cup of chopped up apples on the floor I scoop them up, put them back in the cup and give them to her.

I may or may not rinse them off.


Hmmmm…I’ve got more. Let me think.

Sometimes if babycakes the first is pretending his lego creation is a gun I ignore it. Even though we Don’t Allow Guns In Our House I get tired of saying this ALL DAY LONG.

How horribly inconsistent of me.

Ummm. These are not as revealing as I had hoped. Let me think of more.

I sometimes dress my kids in color coordinated outfits. I may or may not try to match them myself.

My gosh. I have become one of THOSE moms?? But it IS so CUTE. I just can’t help myself.

Hmmm. That was embarrassing maybe. Not really a confession.

Here is a good one. I don’t like playing with my kids.

Ok, that sounds super bad. I mean it like this. When my kid is playing super hero or dinosaur or whatever I happily let him do it. I don’t try and make one of the guys talk. If he asks me I might participate for a few minutes but I try not to too often. Why, oh cruel hearted mother?? Because I discovered when babycakes reached around 10 months old that building tower after tower for him to knock over was neither productive (in terms of washing that sink full of dishes) nor enjoyable (in terms of mommy going bonkers, not another tower!!! NOOOOOOOOOO……………) I realized he could entertain himself. And now that he is older it has paid off. I don’t need to tell him how to play with his toys or sit and oversee every interaction with his sister. They PLAY. Its like the clouds have opened and a golden light is shining down onto my in-need-of-being-mopped living room floor “LAAAAAA!” Pure bliss.

So. What are your confessions?

Next up: Googling Parenthood
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Mommy Diet

With both kids I gained an obscene amount of weight during pregnancy. Like, rivaling or possibly outweighing my 6’3 husband. I can’t remember exactly, I think I blocked that out.

I don’t know how women can gain all of 25 lbs with a pregnancy. I even heard of someone gaining 12lbs once (granted, she threw up her whole pregnancy but that is beside the point). Twelve pounds is like, what I can gain over the holidays, you know what I mean?

So, when, the year after I have had a babycakes, I am back in my skinny jeans people say “oh it’s that breastfeeding” (which, yes does help. My babies LOVE their milky) or “oh, it’s chasing kids” (certainly, this does do some of it).

But no. it’s also, I must confess, due to the Mommy Diet.

I am not talking about a dieting kind of diet. I don’t really do that kind of diet. I like food (especially when other people make it for me) and it tends to lead to nasty calorie counting obsessiveness. I don’t do that.

No, I am talking about Diet as in “what people eat on a daily basis.”

You all know what I am talking about.

The Mommy Diet.

Here is what we eat:

Breakfast – coffee, at least Two Large Cups (and I capitalize this to emphasize its importance…I am talking full travel mug size cups – travel mugs prevent spills when you stick it on the floor by the couch in the morning and also keeps it somewhat warm when you forget it on top of the washing machine. I highly recommend it.)

(A note on breakfast, I did try, when pregnant, to eat some kind of protein in the morning. Eggs or peanut butter. Just had to add that in because, as we all know, breakfast is The Most Important Meal Of The Day.)

Snack – half eaten apple that your kid threw on the floor. You wash it and, to your horror, finding yourself taking a bite.

Lunch – four bites of mac ‘n cheese (cold, after trying to entice teething babycakes to eat more) one corner of a peanut butter and honey sandwich and three corners of crusts.

Afternoon snack – half a rejected granola bar. (“its too crunchy mama, where is the CHOCOLATE part??”) Perhaps also a few chocolate chips eaten quietly out of the freezer where the chocolate stash is kept while kiddies play in the other room.

Dinner – Perhaps a real meal, lets say, huge slab of meatloaf and roasted potatoes. Kids leftover broccoli (cold, yuck, because you don’t want to throw it away.) This is all consumed within 15 minutes and no seconds of course because babycakes the first requires bribing to eat and teething babycakes the second has thrown half her food on the floor in disgust and you find yourself pulling out the broom to sweep up the mess before even finishing your dinner.

Dessert – Perhaps ice cream that daddy goes to get after babies are asleep and we eat in grateful silence while watching television on low because once again teething babycakes fell asleep in my arms on the couch. Perhaps also, a vodka tonic.

This is quite pathetic.

And then on days where there is no real dinner it’s even more pathetic: Daddy is working evening job, mommy makes kiddies ravioli and steamed veggies and perhaps eats two full raviolis because babycakes the first wants more, and perhaps eats all of three steamed carrots because said kiddies for some reason refuse to eat cooked carrots. And then of course there is no daddy to go get ice cream later in the evening, sniff, sniff.

Also, there is the really bad thing with this of eating most of my calories in the evening, which for some reason I feel like Oprah is the one who preaches not to do this. Is that right? I don’t watch Oprah I just seem to associate that It Is Very Bad To Eat Lots of Calories At Night with Oprah.

But, this is the Mommy Diet. This is what we eat.

Needless to say after months of this coupled with nursing and chasing kiddies, and hauling babycakes around all day (25 lbs of love), and double stroller walks daily, sometimes twice a day. Well, there you have it, 60lbs gone in no time. (Gulp, did I just admit that. It’s true.)

I have come to a point where daily nutrition is important though. I don’t like the shaky feeling of not giving my body what it needs. When my husband was studying for the bar exam when babycakes the first was little I got really bad with the mommy diet. He was always gone and with my aversion to cooking things got out of hand.

Now, with two kids to chase I can’t afford not having enough energy to get through my day.

So, a couple things I try to do:

Have “Mom” Bars on hand. I get Kashi bars with NO chocolate chunks or any kid enticements like that. Carry these in your diaper bag along with your kiddie snacks (ironic how we do this huh, shove healthy food at our kids ALL DAY and forget to do the same for ourselves??)

Have almonds in your house, or some dried fruit.

Try to limit chocolate availability. I know this last one is awful. I went through a phase post-baby#2 where I seriously had to have chocolate to get through those afternoon doldrums. (yes, I just used the word doldrums…) Almonds or dried fruit is a nice alternative and prevents the inevitable crash from the sugar and caffeine of chocolate. This one is touch because I DO love chocolate. But I have found myself to react more and more to sugar as the years go by. Not just a crash in energy but even mood swings. Best to limit oneself – hence the occasional sending daddy out to get a chocolate delight blizzard at the end of a particularly long day – insert wink guy here.

Drink kefir. My kids will stand it but don’t LOVE it. More for me I say. It’s like a fizzy yogurt drink. A swig in the morning from a big carton of it and you are good to go. Its really good homemade, the best really, and simple to make but my grains died awhile back (you use a culture-like “grain” to make it, simply drop in milk, raw milk is best, and leave out at room temperature.)

I also take probiotics every evening, two capsules at 15 billion strains per capsule. I SWEAR by this. It helps with digestion and keeps your immune system strong.

I also take Omega 3/DHA daily. Several capsules (Carlson brand) every night (then you aren’t tasting fish taste while your body absorbs it because, well, you are asleep)

The other great thing to have on hand is Emergen C packets. I got these for my home birth with babycakes two (are you surprised?? Yes, home birth. It was lovely. I will tell more about it later if anyone cares to hear.) and I realized they were nice to have on hand. A burst of energy and anti-oxidant goodness to fight off oncoming colds. (I take a packet a day at the first sign of a cold – being sick as a mommy is THE WORST, to be avoided at all costs!)

I also make and drink Kombucha (more posting to come on this) which is, apparently, wicked good for you. (I mean, if LiLo drinks it it must be good stuff, right? – remember how I know too much about celebrities? Yea. Not joking about that.)

Other snacky ideas:
- Spreading peanut butter straight onto a banana, just bite by bite. A great quick energizing snack.
-Popcorn, the homemade kind, made with coconut oil and stevia for a kettle corn affect. YUM. I pop up a huge batch and store leftovers in a ziplock bag. (can share actual anti-recipe later if you are interested)

A lot of my eating philosophy comes from these folks. Basically emphasizing eating “whole” foods (no, not just shopping at Whole Foods, I actually never shop there. So freaking expensive. But more on that later.) Avoiding processed foods. Giving your body extra help (kefir, yogurt, Kombucha) Etc. etc.

However, I do, as I have confessed before, eat the occasional double cheeseburger from McDonalds. Yum.

So, what are your Mommy Diet thoughts/snack ideas/pathetic anecdotes? Tell me I am not alone in this!

Next up: Mommy confessions
Sunday, July 4, 2010

Facebook and Mommyhood

I spend WAY too much time on Facebook. I mean really. It’s sick. A sickness really. Sick. You get the picture.

I hope I am not the only one that does it but I find myself thinking in status updates. Frequently. Like, through the whole day. I friggin’ narrate my day to myself in status updates.

…is wondering how long after Easter she will be unclogging the vacuum from Easter grass.
…is wanting the sun to come out and play.
…needs a shower.
…has about two minutes of patience left. DADDY COME HOME!

Etc. etc. etc.

Only a mere, hmmm, 10% of these pithy thoughts make the cut. I try to update my status updates once a day. Or less. Although some days I can't help myself. I don’t want to give away my lack of life to my non-yoga-pant-wearing friends and/or acquaintances. The rest of you understand though, right? And you do it too, right?

Facebook is to the 21st century mommy like church socials were to mommies a generation or two back, like quilting bees, that kind of thing. Except its instantaneous. Gossip, on demand. ALWAYS there. ALWAYS new. ALWAYS changing.

Unlike my life, I suppose.

Undoubtedly tomorrow I will do the same as today. Find the missing Ironman action figure (behind the couch cushion, again) change several diapers, drink too much coffee, eat leftover peanut butter sandwich crusts for lunch, and so on. But Facebook. Ah, Facebook. An ever present source of entertainment and change. Living vicariously through former colleagues and classmates now in exotic places around the globe. Empathizing with other mommies as they mourn the loss of their two year olds naptime. I feel your pain my sister.

Oh God, naptime. I have posted an obscene amount of status updates about naptime. My status update topics range thus:
-Naptime (lack thereof)
-Sleep (lack thereof)
-Caffeine (the need for more)
-Funny things my kids did
-The weather
-My need for a drink (yes, THAT kind of drink)

Wow. That makes me look like a boring-ass person. The weather?! Really though it’s true. Minnesotans live and die by the current weather state.

And yes, I am one of those moms that posts the funny things their kids say on Facebook. Of course I do it because I think my kid is truly a genius and needs an audience to appreciate his wit and spunk (HA).

Come on though, this gem? “Mommy, do I have five fingers? Yes dear you do. I wish I had three fingers. Why? Because then I would be like a T-Rex” Or what about this one “Mommy, what are you doing? Scrubbing the marker you drew on the couch. Mom, its not gonna work. Its MARKER.” Or one of my all time favorites “mom, do you know the diffence between boys and girls? Boys have golf clubs!”

My kids are hilarious.

Everyone appreciates this, right?

Sometimes I wonder if I irritate people with my witty kid stories and I vow to control myself. But then my kid tells me that he is not shooting at his sister he is doing magic. What kind of magic? The kind to make people disappear. Come ON, that HAS to go up there!.

Its funny how Facebook really does create a community for mommies. Even if no one in my real life appreciates the number of times my child woke up last night (except daddy of course) SOMEONE on Facebook is bound to give me sympathy.

There is also the element of voyeurism that is undeniably interesting. You don’t have to have one on one communication, you simply inform each other of your doings. I can keep track on who got married, who is having a baby, if that pregnant person looks skinnier than I did (damn, look at how great her arms look!) who is traveling to foreign locales, who got to go out on a date night (LUCKY), etc.

Its always strange to run into someone you haven’t seen in a few years but yet you know all about their lives because of Facebook.

“Hi,” you say. “Uh. Sorry about your grandmother.”
“Thanks.” Awkward pause. “Your kids comments always make me laugh.”
“Yep, they are kinda funny. Oh and congrats on the job”
“Thanks… Have you seen XXX (person of common acquaintance)?
“No. Not in years.”
“Yea, neither have I. Well then, see you later.”
“Yep. Bye then.”


We are almost too intimate with people who would normally be by-gone acquaintances.

And yet, of course this is also the best part about Facebook. Many people with whom I was never that close in real life have been Facebook buddies on various topics (typically mommy related) like cloth diaper care, first foods for babies, and of course, appreciation for a good merlot at the end of a long day of mommying (yes that is a word).

I know exactly three mothers my age who are not on Facebook. How? Why? Do they let you even BE a mother in 2010 without showing the world pictures of your kid with spaghetti sauce on their face?

One of them does have a blog though.

So, FB addicts, come out of the closet. Let’s hear your confessions. (Make me feel better, ok?)

P.S. this is not a patriotic post, even being that it is the Fourth of July. This just happens to be the moment I have time to post this topic, something I wrote up a few days ago. Daddy is home for a long weekend. (YAY) So. Just wanted to acknowledge that yes, I know it is the Fourth. And yes, I am a fairly patriotic person, having a father who was in the Navy, a brother headed there, and a new Brother In Law in the reserves. I appreciate them. I get choked up at parades (we took the kids to one yesterday) Also at the WWII memorial in DC (which I went to recently). I feel lucky to live here and raise my kids here.
Happy Fourth of July my fellow mommies!

Next up: The Mommy Diet
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Me and cooking.

First off. I don’t cook.

Judge away if you like (I can see people shaking their head slowly, how CAN she admit to this!)

But wait, hear me out!

I make food for my family, sure but I really don’t lovingly create awe-inspiring Julia Childs worthy meals for my adoring family with pearls in place, a la June Cleaver.

Here are my reasons:
1) I don’t have the patience.
2) I luckily married a man who loves to cook.
3) I don't have the patience. (Oh, did I already say this?)

As my three year old said yesterday when I told him we needed to go inside and start dinner, “Why? Daddy does that!”

Good point kiddo.

Like all those with hang ups from our generation, I blame my childhood.

I come from a large family. I mean crazy-ass huge. I love them to death but as the second oldest I was assigned to cook a meal a day from age 12 onward. Maybe earlier. I would create these elaborate and creative lunches and dinners for my siblings (I remember making meat pies and strawberry pudding). Not that it scarred my psyche but I had my fill of cooking by the time I had my own family.

My husband however was raised on casserole and grilled cheese. He will stir a sauce all afternoon to get it just right.

I will open the freezer, the cabinet, the fridge, the freezer again and have no idea what to make.

Umm, spaghetti? Hmmm, we have noodles, no sauce though.

Come on kids, let’s go get a pizza.

I am terribly uncreative.

Maybe its the pressure. Being a mom/homemaker type has a lot of focus on creating food for your loved ones. I can remember the first real meal I made as a newlywed. Baked chicken sitting on top of a bed of rice, cooked in, gulp, canned mushroom soup. Nice, huh? A staple Midwestern meal. Of course I made enough for a small army (see large-ass family comment for reference) and the rice was crunchy because I forgot to put in the extra water. I am pretty sure my husband smiled and gulped it down. Quickly. With a large glass of water nearby.

My main problem is that I don’t like following recipes. I find them too…constraining. (recipe for disaster, you are thinking, right? insert smiley winky face guy.) I don’t like measuring. I never have all the ingredients. I like to throw some of this or that in.

I also have little personal interest in food. Sure, I can appreciate a great meal, chocolate, a good steak, chocolate, etc. But left to my own devices I would survive on Saltines and canned tuna... out of the can (so as to not have any dishes to wash).

My husband and kids however would NOT appreciate this sort of diet. So, out of necessity, I have found that once you know your way around a few dishes you can improvise and things turn out alright. Banana bread. I make good banana bread. Quiche also. Really good quiche. I can also whip up a great white sauce (I owe that one to my mother). I make great rice. I can roast a mean chicken. Pies. I make good pies. Also bread, yeast bread (OOOOH!)

A good cookbook, more of an instruction manual than a list of recipes, can help with this. I have learned a LOT about cooking from “How to cook everything: Simple recipes for great food,” by Mark Bittman. Want to know how to bake bread? A whole section describing the process is in here. Roasting a chicken? Same thing, it even has pictures. This book covers ethnic food, has ideas for meals “Elegant dinner menu” and “Picnic Lunch” and everything in between, it even has recipes for how to mix up the perfect cocktail. Now that is MY kind of cookbook.

The other thing that has helped is to create meal lists for the week, prior to grocery store trips (this also helps avoid those trips to the grocery store where you wander around for 45 minutes, end up spending a hundred bucks and have no idea what to make for dinner when you get home.) If a meal sounds appealing I will throw it up on the list. Then when we go grocery shopping I get stuff for that meal. Or I make sure to have things on the list with ground hamburger if we happen to have a lot on hand, things like that. I don’t do anything fancy like assign meals to certain days. That is a little TOO organized for me.

In any case, this method makes me feel really fancy and prepared.

And it helps me to avoid last minute trips for Take 'n Bake pizza.

Or, we could just go with the 3 year old suggestion and let daddy cook. (Which often happens.)
More on my favorite anti-recipe creations (lets call them, cooking techniques) down the line.

What are YOUR favorite tricks to make yourself organized in the kitchen? (And please, don't make me look TOO bad, ok folks? insert smiley face guy.)

Next up: Mommies and Facebook
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...