Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A quick post

I have a few posts planned out for later this week, but I hate to go so long in between postings.  This week has been super crazy and I do not see it slowing down until Wednesday afternoon.  Yesterday I worked an 11 hour day, today will be a 10 hour day and tomorrow will be another 10 hour day.  I really don't mind the long days (especially if they start early and I can be home in time for dinner with my little guy), but last night was a late night.  We didn't make it home until 7:45 and then it was bath time and bed time for my fellow.  This morning it was so hard leaving him because I felt such a disconnect.  We didn't get any play time yesterday.  I know it could be a lot worse, but I miss my little man.  I may go visit him at lunch to give him hugs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


This weekend W and I took a road trip to visit my parents and have pictures done.  I know many parents are intimidated by traveling with a baby / toddler, but I believe the key to a successful road trip is planning and conditioning.  I took W on his first road trip when he was about 3 weeks old by myself.  The road trip that would normally take 3 hours took close to 4 because I had to stop and nurse, but was surprisingly easy since he still slept a lot.  I believe that getting your little one use to long car rides early on makes it easier on you in the long run.

I have learned a few tips to keeping your little one happy while road tripping. 

First and foremost is plan to leave about an hour before nap time.  This way your little will have a little bit of play time in the car before your little one passes out.  They will have just enough time to play before they get bored and cranky. 

The next tip is pack a car bag and keep it next to you that way you aren't turning around every five minutes to search for toys that were thrown or sippy cups that disappeared.  I recommend keeping a variety of dry snacks in the bag (animal crackers, dried fruit, puffs, Edamame).  I also HIGHLY recommend packing at least two sippy cups if you are traveling alone.  The sippy cup will be thrown at least once and you will need to pull over to find it if you do not pack an extra one.  You will also need to put toys in the bag.  I try to put a variety of stuffed toys, books and little cars.  Try to avoid balls or anything that can roll.  The LAST thing you want is for a ball to roll under your seat and get caught under your break pedal.  Here is a picture of some of the snacks I packed for this weekend's road trip.

When it comes time to give your child the contents of the bag try not to give them their favorite toys or snacks first.  I like to save these snacks as a last resort because they will help keep your child happier longer in the last leg of the car ride and prevent you from going nuts.

I know many parents have DVD players in their cars which I'm sure is a huge help for long car rides.  W is not a fan of TV so at this point it is not an option for us.

Another thing I have learned is it is best to break up your road trip if at all possible.  I know W can stand up to four hours in the car (if we travel around nap time).  If I try and push it any longer he will have a complete meltdown.  Now that he walks, it is easy to stop for 10 minutes at the rest stop and let him walk around and stretch his legs and eat a meal and get a fresh diaper.

Finally remember that when you arrive at your destination don't worry about unpacking your car right away.  Grab the essentials and allow your little one to roam around burn off some of the pent up energy from the car ride.  If you are staying at a hotel have your swim suits ready for a quick dip as this will burn off the most energy quickest making it easier for you to get settled in. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quick Healthy Breakfasts for Toddlers in Under 10 Minutes!

Almost every morning I find myself running out of the house to get W to his nanny and me to work on time.  We typically have about 20 minutes (at most) for breakfast.  That gives me about 5-10 minutes to get breakfast ready for him to eat.  We've been stuck in the same dull breakfast routine for awhile now so I decided to do some research on quick and healthy breakfast ideas.  One of the things I look for are finger foods that aren't too messy so I don't have to worry about changing his clothing after we eat.

Here's the list of things I came up with:
  1. Scrambled Eggs
    • When I'm running a little ahead of schedule I try and give him eggs in the morning.  If I have some left over veggies from the night before I will mix them in with the eggs for some extra vitamins.  I also like to sprinkle some cheese on top because lets me honest, just about EVERYTHING is better with a little cheese!
  2. Baked Oatmeal
    • I know what you are thinking, baked oatmeal in the morning? Yeah right! I agree, I'm not advocating that you make baked oatmeal in the morning, BUT you can make it on Sunday for breakfast and cut it up to enjoy for the week.  I've also wrapped it up in individual portions and put it in the freezer.  The night before you can put it in the refrigerator the night before then microwave it in the morning.  Here's a link to one of the recipes I really like (minus the nuts)
  3. Pancakes
    • I know making pancakes in the morning takes time.  That's why I recommend doing the same thing as the baked oatmeal.  I make my pancakes on Sunday morning and wrap three silver dollar sized pancakes up together and freeze them.  That way they are already portioned out.  In the morning I put them on a microwave safe plate and nuke them for about 30 seconds, flip them over and put them back in for another 20 seconds and voila! Check out my pancake recipe I posted last week. 
  4. Fritters
    • Fritters are for the mornings you have a little bit more time to make breakfast, or make them on weekends and serve them later in the week.  All you need is 1/2 a can of drained corn, an egg, a dash of salt and 1T of flour.  Then you cook them in a non-stick pan.
  5. Muffins
    • No there is no way you can make fresh muffins with only 10-20 minutes, but you can make them on Sundays and serve them throughout the week or even freeze them (can you tell I freeze a lot of what I make?).  W LOVES the pumpkin muffins I make. You can find that recipe here.
  6. Whole Grain Waffles
    • I try and keep these stocked in the freezer.  I buy whole grain organic once from the grocery store and pair it with some fruit in the morning.
  7. Breakfast Roll-ups
    • I can't wait to try these!  All you need to do is spread some cream cheese on a whole grain wrap and sprinkle with some fresh berries.  You can even do Nutella or peanut butter and add bananas.   
I'm excited to try some of the new things I listed above and I hope this post helps out your morning routine.  Please note that I would pair every breakfast item listed above with fruit.  Fruit is super easy and you can cut it up the night before.  I also try to keep some frozen fruit in the freezer so I can thaw it out quickly and give it to my little man.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baby Pictures on the Internet

You may have noticed that I do not post pictures of my son online and you may be asking yourself why? Am I not proud to show him off?  Is there something wrong with him? Am I ashamed?  The answers to all of those questions is NO.  I love my son and I am proud of him and he is the most beautiful baby toddler boy you will ever meet.  However, as we sat in labor and delivery 14 months ago my husband and I had a talk.  Do we post a picture of him on Facebook as soon as he is born? The answer we both agreed upon was No.

In 2010 Internet security firm AVG conducted a study that estimates that 92% of children under the of 2 have an online presence.  YIKES! Think about that, these kids are plastered all over the internet before they can have a say in what is on the world wide web about them and when things are on the internet and you try to delete it there is no guarantee that it is ever completely gone.

Yes I do realize that I blog about my son.  I do try and limit the types of details I put out there about him.  And yes, I do post a picture here and there, but the pictures I post for public consumption never include his face to try and somewhat lessen his digital footprint my husband and I may have created for him.  Can you imagine kids of this generation going out for a job interview and having 18+ years of pictures they never consented to all over the internet?!  I mean really? That could be THOUSANDS of pictures, status updates and Tweets. Don't we owe it to our children to let them be in charge of what is put out on the internet about them?

I know most people feel completely at ease posting things abut their kids online, but I came across an article on PBS Parents where they outline some guidelines for what you post about your kids online.  Here it is:

5 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe

If you do choose to blog or post photos of your children online, remember to follow these guidelines:
  1. Take advantage of privacy settings. By using the privacy settings offered on Facebook or other social media sites, you decrease the chances that online predators can view photos you post for family and friends, says Vivian Shic, spokesperson for Trend Micro, an Internet security firm.
  2. Protect your child from identity theft. “A thief could piece together what might appear to be random bits of disparate information and use it to impersonate your child—opening bank accounts, taking out loans, even committing crimes—all in the child's name,” says Jacqueline Beauchere, a director with Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group.
  3. Don't give strangers an "in" with your child. Beauchere advises against posting other kinds of information that could put your child at risk. “This includes not only facts … but also photos and feelings,” she says. “An appearance of vulnerability—sadness, loneliness or anger—could invite unwanted contact from strangers.”
  4. Be judicious about the photos you post online. “Consider that cameras made after a certain year tag the photos with an identifier that tells you the location the photo was taken,” notes Shic.
  5. Choose hack-proof passwords. Elizabeth Stanula, spokesperson for Geek Squad Agents, warns not to use personal information like birthdays or children’s names in your passwords. Nor should you use complete words, she says: “One of the most basic hacker tactics is known as a ‘dictionary attack,’ where an automated program will attempt the words of the dictionary.”
The PBS article in its entirety can be found here: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/article-revealing-too-much-about-kids-online.html

By no means do I think that I will never post a picture of my son on the internet (face and all), but at this point in time I'm fine with not doing so.  People who know my family and I know that if they want to see a picture of our son they can text us or email us and we will gladly send them one.   We do realize that some things we cannot control and that he may 'accidentally' end up online via someone's Facebook pictures or being caught in the background but as of right now people have respected our wishes and kept our son's pictures off of the internet. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Working Mom Problems

Is it me or do weekends just fly by?  As much as I try to spend as much quality time with W as possible I feel like some weekends I don't get quite enough in.  On Saturday mornings we go to My Gym (which we missed this week), but other than that I feel like we are stuck in the playroom the rest of the weekend and even then I'm working on stuff to get ready for the following week.

Our Sundays usually consist of us waking up, going to brunch then heading to the grocery store.  By the time we get back from the grocery store it's W's nap time.  After he wakes up from his nap it's lunch time and by then it is usually close to 2 o'clock already and he goes down for another nap by 3:30 and he won't wake up from that nap until 4:30 at the earliest then it's nearly dinner time.  After dinner time we get a few hours of play in before it's time for a bath and bed.  I'm exhausted just reading that.  I have come to the point where I dread Sundays because it feels like we go non-stop.

Why do weekends have to be so short?  Better yet, why do I feel so limited on the time I have to spend with my son? Don't get me wrong, he is with me all weekend, but the uninterrupted time I get with him never seems like much.  For example, he will be playing with pots in the kitchen while I am making meals I can freeze for the week. Sure, we will play in the playroom while everything cooks, but it's all interrupted.  Then I will have this great idea to take him swimming or something like that on the weekend, but without fail, something always comes up that makes it impossible to go to the pool.  Like on Saturday we both took a nap together but didn't wake up until 6pm and by the time I fed him dinner it was even later and I didn't want to take him to the Y that late at night.

Am I totally wrong in thinking that when spring / summer come and it stays lighter longer we will some how get more time?  Maybe that's what I am looking for is more time outside and we are in a winter funk?  I just don't know!  I mean we make it home around 6pm and that gives us a solid two hours to play, eat dinner, take a bath and wind down before bedtime, but it really isn't that much time.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

DATE NIGHT: Letting go of Control

Every now and then it's time to shake things up in our marriage.  This weekend Aaron and I have agreed to do a little shopping trip with a twist.  Aaron and I are both control freaks.  We both have our own sense of style and refuse to give it up.  He claims that I never dress sexy anymore and am stuck in an uber-conservative preppy dressing rut and my hubby, bless his heart, wears pants that just don't fit right (honestly it looks like he has a constant wedgie... I really hope he doesn't read what I just wrote about him on the internet!). So here is what we will be doing this weekend.  Aaron will pick out one complete outfit for me to wear and I cannot complain and have to wear what he chooses and I will do the same for him.  He has already complained about not wanting to wear pink, which I probably won't make him wear, but it's fun to tease him about it a little bit.

Then after the outfits are picked out (no matter how awful they may be) we are going to go on a date.  We haven't decided where yet, but I think I may wait to pick a place out after I see what kind of outfit he picks out for me.  I'm really hoping Aaron doesn't pick out anything trashy.  I know he wants to see me dress sexier, but I hope sexy does not equal slutty.  I'm also hoping he does justice to my curves.

I will update with pictures as soon as we make it to the store this weekend!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Breakfast on the Go! Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

I made these pumpkin spice muffins over the weekend and my husband and son both LOVE them.  I made a bunch in mini muffin tins as well as a dozen in the medium sized pans for my husband.  This recipe made a bunch so I kept 1/4 of them out and froze the rest for a rainy day.  Here's the recipe I used:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can Pumpkin (I used the 15oz can)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt in large bowl and in another bowl combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, apple sauce and vanilla in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture.  Next you will add the batter to your muffin tins.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Here is a picture I took on my phone of my yummy muffins.  If anyone can tell my why Blogger insists on publishing my pictures sideways I would really appreciate it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Quick Breakfasts - Peanutbutter Pancakes

Most mornings I am rushing out the door to get W to his nanny and me to work on time.  My awesome husband takes care of getting him dressed in the morning, but he has to leave at 7:30 and we don't have to leave until 8:20 so it is up to me to feed the little guy.

The problem I run into with breakfast is that's when I give him his multivitamin with iron so I have to avoid giving him anything with a lot of dairy in it (there goes yogurt and cottage cheese).  More often than not I feel myself falling into a rut with breakfast or I say to hell with it and give him dairy and move when I give him his vitamin that day.

Thankfully this weekend I was motivated and made a huge batch of Peanut Butter Pancakes and Low Fat Pumpkin Muffins.  I put some in the refrigerator and the others I froze so he has them to eat at a later time.  I like to think I make his pancakes healthier than most.  I really try to ensure he has a protein, dairy (unless he is taking his vitamin), whole grain as well as fruit and or vegetable at every meal.  These pancakes are full of whole grain, fruit and protein and I'm pretty darn proud of myself for coming up with the recipe.  Here it is:

1 Cups Old Fashion Oats
1/4 Cup of Apple Sauce
1/2 Cup of Milk  (add more if you want a thinner batter)
1 Small Banana
2 Tablespoons of Peanut butter
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon 
1 Tablespoon Vanilla (I LOVE vanilla so I always go heavy on it)
1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar or honey (optional)

I mixed everything together in my Magic Bullet and voila!  There is the batter.  After that I make the pancakes like I would normally.

Here is a picture.  I'm sorry it isn't prettier and that blogger won't let me flip the image.  I almost forgot to take it until I had everything all cleaned up and frozen.

Stay tuned tomorrow for low-fat pumpkin muffins!

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Nursing Journey with W

This weekend I was working on putting things away and organizing our freezer when I found a few of my last frozen bags of pumped milk that needed moved to the deep freezer with the rest of my milk.  While I am super happy to be done pumping I am bummed that at some point very soon W will be done nursing.  I seriously LOVE nursing.  It has been such an awesome bonding experience and to know that I am doing everything in my power to give my little man the best possible start makes me feel awesome.

Nursing wasn't always easy for me.  When I brought W home from the hospital he at lost a pound and a half and for the first month I had the most difficult time ensuring he kept weight on him.  I felt like I was nursing constantly, but he wasn't gaining.  Not only was he not gaining weight, but my nipples were so sore that my toes curled every time he went to nurse.  Thankfully, my hospital has an awesome nursing support group that meets once a week that was a huge help along with a mommy board I belong to.

On top of him not gaining weight I was terrified of what would happen when I went back to work.  I had a few ounces frozen in the freezer, but what if that wasn't enough? And how much exactly would he eat in a day?  I cannot tell you how much milk I gave my nanny the first day back to work, but it was enough (thank goodness).

When I went to pump at work I was fortunate that I do have a private office and could pump at my desk while I worked.  The problem for me came when I went to pump.  I set my pump up (complete with my sports bra with holes in it so I could pump hands-free) and turned it on.  I had a few pictures of W on my desk to look at as well as one of his blankets I could smell to help with the let-down.  I figured I would sit there for 15 minutes and I would be done.  WRONG.  It took me nearly an hour to get 3 ounces!  At that point W was almost 2 months old and eating about 12 ounces a day plus what he nursed when I went to visit him at lunch.  In order to keep up with how much he was eating I was going to need to figure something out quick.  My pumping schedule from January until July while working was as follows:
Pump 2-3AM  = 4oz  - 8oz
Pump 7:20-7:30AM (while nursing on the other side) = 1 - 2 oz
Pump 10-11AM = 3-6oz
Pump 2:30-4PM = 3-5oz
Pump 5:30-6PM = 1-2 oz
Pump 8:30-9:30PM = 1-2oz
At my height (and this only happened a few times) I was pumping close to 27 ounces a day. 
(the numbers above reflect when he was eating between 12 and 27 ounces a day while with his nanny).

I quickly came to the realization that I was married to my pump.

When he started eating more than I could pump I would freak out that I would run out of my freezer stash.  Thankfully that never happened and I still have a sizable stash in my deep freezer that I plan on donating to a milk bank.

I think the thing that drove me nuts was when I was on the road for work.  I took W with me on every overnight business trip I took and thankfully my wonderful mother made those trips with us.  My first one was when he was about 8 or 9 weeks old.  We had to drive 5 1/2 hours to the opposite end of the state.  I learned to pump when I drove.  This would save time, prevent engorgement and give W a fresh snack during the ride.

I always traveled with a big cooler (as well as my nursing cooler that came with my pump) to ensure my milk stayed cold and would only stay at a hotel that had a mini refrigerator.    I brought all my bottle cleaning and sterilizing supplies with me to the hotel and would wash bottles there.  As far as pumping while working on the road I still remember the first time I told my candidate I needed a 'break'.  Thankfully she was a woman and very understanding.

I really wanted to share this story with any other nursing moms out there especially the working ones who may be struggling to continue nursing their babies or may be struggling with returning to work.  YOU CAN DO IT!!!!  Looking back on all the milk sweat and tears the last 13 months I am so glad I continued to nurse.  There are so many memories that I will cherish and look back on and laugh throughout my entire experience. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bye Bye Facebook! - Facebook free for 4 Days!

On New Years Day I made the difficult decision to deactivate my Facebook account.  For me, it has been like a bittersweet breakup.  I find myself occasionally looking at my phone and clicking on my Facebook App and the sign-in page comes up.  I finally deleted the App off of my phone, iPad and internet browsers.  I had no idea how often I actually logged in just to pass the time and 'check-in'.  Those seemingly quick check-ins (5 minutes here, 10 minutes there multiple times a day) really added up and would distract me from the important things in my life, like giving my son the attention he deserves.

Why you may ask did I decide to continue blogging and Tweeting?  I feel those social media outlets have not monopolized my time in the same way that Facebook has.  I'm not constantly checking my blog or Tweeting, in fact I would like to blog and Tweet more often.  When i say more often I mean tweet between 1-4 times a day and blog at most once a day.

At the end of the day do I really think that I will be off Facebook for an entire year? No. I would be happy if I could stay off for a few months and see how that changes the dynamics in my home.  I already feel like I am a more attentive mother and wife and it has only been a few days.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Back from Holiday Break!

I am finally coming out of my post election haze and one of the things I want to work on this year is to improve my blog and keep up on posting at least once a week. 

This year we went to visit family on the other side of the state for a few days before driving home on Christmas Day only to be woken up by a stomach virus that wreaked havoc on our family for almost a week.  Now that the virus has worked its way out of our house and our work schedules are returning to normal (I have no clue how I'm going to handle a full work week next week) I'm sure it won't be long before we fall back into the same dull routines.  I already notice that our meals have been so boring lately.  Most nights I find myself too exhausted to put any effort into cooking. 

Last night I tried a new recipe I found on Pinterest.  It was for Cheesy Quinoa Broccoli Bites.  I paired it with some pasta sauce and voila dinner!  What I did:

  • Prepared two cups of Quinoa 
  • Defrosted some broccoli florets in  the microwave
  • In a separate bowl I combined eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese and milk
  • Cut the broccoli into smaller pieces (about the size of a dime) and add it to the bowl in the eggs
  • When the quinoa was done I let it cool for a few minutes then added it to my mixture
  • Once everything was thoroughly blended together I greased a muffin tin scooped it into the tin and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
I do not have exact amounts of the things I added.  I like to eyeball things when I cook, but I will say that they were super yummy and W really like them.  I baked some in a mini muffin tin for him and have leftovers for tonight.  I cannot wait for dinner!