October 30, 2011

Adventures in Baby Food Culinary Awesomeness

Yesterday was so gross. Just so so gross. Some people got snow, but we got rain.

I was too chicken to poke my head out the door,
but it was just gross.

I don't think I can use the word "gross" enough to explain what yesterday was like.


We didn't leave the house, and it was just a bum around kind of day. I started getting antsy around noon and the house was already clean and I had a random squash laying around the house...so I made some baby food.

And now...I will share my baby-food-making-wisdom. Even though it's not wisdom at all. You can find ways to make baby food all over the internet. My particular favorite is Wholesome Baby Food because EVERYTHING about babies and solids is right there.

So anyway...this is a butternut squash, and in the background is an oven preheated to 400 degrees:

The immature perv in me giggled at the shape of this squash, a little bit.
Always in the gutter, my mind is.

Clean the squash. This little guy (a guy, for ooooobvious reasons) got chopped into a bunch of pieces like so:

And then I scooped out the seeds (like a pumpkin!)

See ya later, seeds.

Arrange your squash pieces flesh side down onto a baking pan filled with about an inch of water, like so:

I like to use foil, but I also hate scrubbing pans.
I can't be the goddess of domesticity every day, you know.

Roast the squash for about 45 minutes. When it's done the skin should be blistering away from the squash:

"I've got blisters on me fingers!"

The next step is very important: LET IT COOL. My overeager self thought, 'How bad could it be? I'll be careful.' There is no such thing as carefully handling food that has been heated to 400 degrees. Unless you use an oven mitt, so just let it cool. At least until you can handle it.

Once it's cool enough, scoop the flesh away from the skin.

And put it into your blender or food processor. There are all kinds of gadgets that are specially made for the purpose of making baby food, but I have a blender and my blender has a "puree" button, so it works for me and it was already in my kitchen so I didn't have to spend a ridiculous sum of money on yet another gadget. WIN.


Add water (preferably the water it was cooked in to keep the nutrients and not simply water it down). And puree.

After. I think it's gross,
but Peyton sure does seem to enjoy it.

Once that's done, spoon the puree into ice cube trays:


And freeze. Throw the frozen cubes into a freezer bag and they'll be good for about three months.

I bought two butternut squash at like, $1.50/lb., which yielded 64 cubes (approx. 1 oz. per cube, and 16 average jars of baby food). A four ounce jar of organic baby puree is about $0.70 each, give or take a few cents. My homemade food is about $0.30 for every four ounces. Sure, it's only a $0.40 difference, but that sure will add up as Peyton starts to eat more. Plus I have peace of mind that I made it myself and know exactly what's going into my baby's little body. Plus I have a jar of organic squash sitting in one of my cabinets and the expiration date isn't until December 2013. I kind of question anything that can stay fresh for so long.

Don't get me wrong; I will buy SOME jarred baby foods, specifically those foods in which high levels of nitrates are likely to appear, and the nitrate levels are screened in commercial baby foods: carrots, spinach, etc. But if I can save by making my own squash, apples, pear, sweet potatoes (which I have already), and other awesome foods, then BY GOLLY I WILL.

Anyway, here's my sweet pumpkin, whose first Halloween is TOMORROW!

Halloween pics forthcoming. Once Halloween actually happens.

October 26, 2011

Make me a liar

When I was pregnant, I had all these glorious plans for when Peyton was finally here. I'm pretty sure every future mother does: I'm going to do this, and I'm going to do it this way, and NO ONE CAN CHANGE MY MIND AND NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP MEEEE.

It's funny what having such a tiny little person around will do to all those perfectly laid-out plans.

Let's see:

"I will not co-sleep/bedshare."
When I was pregnant, I swore up and down that Peyton would sleep in her crib from DAY ONE. After all, she had this beauuuutiful nursery that we spent a lot of time and money on, so why not put it to good use right away?

Once I brought her home, that went right out the window. We didn't have the monitor we wanted yet, and the thought of shuffling back and forth with such a tiny, hungry baby in the middle of the night while nursing seemed so exhausting. So I slept on the couch in the living room while Peyton slept in the Pack and Play about five feet from me. Did I miss sleeping in bed? Sure did. Denny's parents gave us a gorgeous bassinet that I put in our bedroom at the foot of the bed in hopes I could sleep on a normal mattress again. Unfortunately, Denny never slept well while she was in our room, and since he was the one working I just manned up and camped out on the couch all night. When she was a month old we got the monitor, and I told Denny I would start putting her in the crib. But I just liked having her near me. So for three months, I slept on our couch every night.

Peyton is finally in her crib, but there are some very early mornings when I will bring her to bed with me. Sometimes you just need to sleep; Peyton's Great Sleep Strike of Fall 2011 is the perfect example.

Besides, morning sleepy cuddles are the best.

"I will not become a crazy Facebook mom."
I am, without a doubt, a HUGE offender. It started during pregnancy. No offense to my mommy friends with older children, but baby-related Facebook statuses drove me up a wall before I was pregnant. Plus Facebook raises such insane privacy issues that I promised myself that no, not everyone needs to see my kid's face every day, and no, not everyone cares that Peyton finally rolled over.

Now that I have a baby of my own to show off, it's like crack. There is a post, a photo, something baby-centric at least once a day. I can't really help it, though; this child is my life and I am consumed with love and adoration for her AND I JUST WANT TO SHARE IT WITH ALLLLLL 600 OF YOU.

To my non-parent Facebook friends: sorry. You'll get it one day.

"I will not talk about Peyton/kids 24/7."
I think this would be different if I was working, but it goes hand-in-hand with the Facebook thing. I spend 10-11 hours a day with my peanut, five days a week, just me and her. Truth be told, you forget how to talk to other adults and you forget what the hell you're supposed to talk about. Current events? The weather? What's going on in other people's lives? Yo, my kid is starting to sit up on her own, isn't that exciting? No? Not to you? Oh, alright then. I guess you don't care. JERK.

Case in point, a scene from this past weekend. A conversation between me and Heather (more or less summarized):

Heather (holding Peyton): Wow, she's got a huge boogie in her nose.

Me: I know. I've been trying to pick it all day, but it just won't come out.

Heather: You know what works? Try squeezing her nose and it should just come out on its own.

Me: I will have to give that a try, because that boogie is driving me insane.

Heather: Did you ever think our conversations would ever sound like this?

Me: Ha, nope.

End scene.

You see what I mean here? Booger talk runs my life. I'm okay with it, though.

"I will never leave the house looking like a hot mess."
HAHAHAHAHAHA. I thought I'd be the cute mom with the cute hair and make-up magically done. Seriously though, I look homeless ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes I totally forget to brush my hair before I walk out the door. I NEVER left the house in sweatpants (yoga pants were acceptable). Now I leave the house in sweatpants and a huge spit-up stain on my shirt. No joke, I went out the other day wearing: Uggs, gray cropped sweatpants that left a six-inch gap between the top of my boot and the hem of the pant leg, a navy blue nursing tank top, and an orange cardigan. What the hell?

You better believe Peyton is dressed to the hilt. Even if mommy is a hot mess.

Which leads me to...

"I will not buy a ton of baby clothes because she will not even wear half of them."
Oh God. The baby clothes. Do you even KNOW how cute little girl clothes are? They're so cute it should be a crime, that's how cute. I have not bought a single item of clothing for myself in almost a year. But you know I have baby jeggings with SEQUIN HEARTS ON THE BACK POCKET. 

I wish this photo was closer to truly get that there are A LOT of clothes there, and that's just 0-3 months.

It's really a cute little problem I have. To the point that Denny will give me money because he knows I enjoy shopping for baby clothes. Sheesh.

"I will not give Peyton a pacifier because I don't want it to be something I have to take away eventually."
Well, part of this went according to plan, but by no fault of my own. Peyton, until about two days ago, HATED pacifiers. When she was born I was terrified to give one to her because breastfeeding started out so shakily for us, but we got the hang of it so well she eventually started using ME as a pacifier. Then I started to wish she took a binkie. I tried every day for her to take one and she is just now coming around to it. I'm torn about this because before, since she didn't take one, it was something I didn't have to worry about taking away from her down the road. But if it gives my boobs a break, I'm just going to go with it for now. We'll worry about being a mean mommy later.

See that? There's a binkie there!

All in all, I had plans. Most of them crumbled the second I brought that sweet little girl home, and that's okay. If anything, becoming a mother taught me that things aren't always going to go the way you want them to, but it's how you adapt that makes it okay. Besides, Peyton probably isn't going to remember the sleepy cuddles, the bedazzled baby jeggings (and if she does she'll probably want to kill me when she's a teenager), or mommy obsessing over boogers, but I will. So I'm making the most of this time, plans or not.

After all, my baby won't be a baby forever. 

October 24, 2011

Still here!

Still kicking!

Peyton and I suffered our first shared cold experience together, you know, since we're both home all day, breathing into each others' faces and whatnot. 'Twas not fun. She's a little better, I'm almost back to 100%. Now that I can see through the cold-induced fog in my brain, I'm looking forward to writing a bunch more.

In the past few weeks, I've:

  • Made my own baby food. I will share my recipes, not that they're terribly difficult, but I will share because I know you care (or don't, but I don't care):
Not the most visually appealing sweet potatoes I've ever seen, but Peyton sure likes them. Also made apples, pears, and squash. Peyton approves of apples, turns her nose up at pears. Makes faces with squash--faces the likes of which I have never seen.

  • Ordered Sophie the Giraffe, AKA "The World's-Most-Overpriced-Dog/Kid-Squeaky-Chew-Toy-That-My-Kid-Loves-So-That-Justifies-the-Price":
Om nom nom.
If she hadn't taken to it, I probably would have wept openly about how much that damn thing cost me.

  • Gotten her ears pierced. This is a lie. I didn't go because I am a chicken. Denny took her, since he is all brave and manly and can stand to see our child cry. For photographic evidence of my daughter's cute little ears, please direct your attention to the giraffe photo. Baby got bling!

  • Gotten three nights of 5+ uninterrupted hours of sleep (!!!)

  • Done lots and lots of laundry:

Hello there!
For the record, my kid ALWAYS wears pants. This is the exception, apparently.
  • Applied to eleventy million jobs and not heard back from a SINGLE ONE. (RAGE.)

  • Gotten Peyton's Halloween photos done. Photos that involved wailing at the top of her baby lungs and leaving me with two useable photos: a.) a black outfit on a black background that makes her looking like a floating baby head, and b.) a photo of her with her eyes shut because she was crying but her mouth looks like she's smiling.

Even with the cold from hell, we've been quite busy. With the holidays coming up, I'm really excited. REALLY. EFFING. EXCITED. I'll be sharing all that fun stuff, and I'm sure you're all brimming with anticipation over it all.

Coming up soon: Things I said I'd never do, but do now. Every mother's got 'em, and she does 'em. If you don't, YOU'RE A DIRTY LIAR.

October 14, 2011

You can't always get what you want

Hello again.

If you missed me, my bad. Posting has been delayed because I've been chewing on an idea for a post that's pretty personal to me and I've been internally debating about whether or not I would want to share something about which I feel so deeply.

However, I've received a few comments (some in jest and some not) in the past few months from multiple individuals that really struck a nerve, so here I go. I'm laying it all out on the table, so everyone put your serious faces on for just a few minutes:

Just because I had a c-section does not make me less of a woman, nor does it make me less of a mother.

There, I said it. I feel better already.

I'd like to preface this post by saying that I am horrified at the high rate of ceasarean sections in the United States. Most of them are so unneccessary, but some cases just can't be avoided and in emergencies is the only way to actually have your baby. Such is my case.

If you've spoken with me personally since the birth of my sweet little girl, you'd know that I am not exactly thrilled with the way things went on the big day. Quite frankly, it bothers me quite a bit.

Maybe I sound selfish. I'm allowed to be selfish for 10 minutes.

During pregnancy, you have all these awesome rose-colored ideas--- on how it's supposed to go. Yeah, yeah...labor and delivery is a scary thought, but only because it's an unknown. You can ask all the mothers in the world how it was for them, but it's something you really won't know about until you've done it. What do contractions feel like? People can tell you, but you'll never really know until you're in the middle of one.

They suck, by the way. That's all the detail I'll provide.

Aaaaanyway, the last few months of my pregnancy I thought constantly about how it would go. I didn't really focus on the labor part, because we all know that it sucks, but I thought about the end...finally getting that baby out and laying her on my chest and we would look into each others' eyes and we would be inseparable from then on.

As luck would have it, my pregnancy wasn't easy. The last three months I dealt with major swelling and blood pressure issues. I had one pair of flip flops that were lose enough on my feet to wear since any of the shoes I owned were completely out of the question. My blood pressure sent me to the hospital so many times all the visits blur together in my head. Do you know what's it like to save your pee for 24 hours, keep it on ice, and then bring a huge jug of it back to the hospital? Do you know what it's like to do that three times?

I always thought I'd be the glowing empowered female during pregnancy that it never occurred to me that I'd be practically bedridden and helpless during the last few weeks. I also thought that I would be able to go into labor on my own, try to go for as long as possible without medical intervention, and have my baby the way women have been doing it for centuries (well, for centuries minus the cushy hospital surroundings). I never wrote out a birth plan because I figured I'd be able to go with the flow and make my decisions when I needed to. I had no idea someone else would wind up making those decisions for me.

When I was 38 weeks, my doctor finally said enough was enough. My blood pressure was at the highest it had been and we were worried. He scheduled an induction for the next day, a Friday, and told me I'd have my baby at some point over the weekend. I woke up the next morning, packed my bags, and sat around waiting for the call to go to the hospital. At noon I got the call. They told me there was no room at the hospital for me and unless I was the Virgin Mary and had no problem giving birth in a stable I had to wait until the next week (no lie, I was told this). I understand they were trying to make light of the situation, but that was heartbreaking. I cried all day. There comes a point when you are just so mentally and physically exhausted that all you can do is cry.

I finally went in for the real induction on Monday afternoon, June 13. My midwife started me on Cervadil (the start of my many interventions). By Tuesday morning, I was started on Pitocin.  Pitocin sucks. I'll also provide that detail. My contractions were happening so quickly and so forcefully that everyone thought that baby would be out in no time.

Everything pretty much snowballed after that: Nubain and an epidural for pain management and an eventual stall in my labor. After eight hours of the absolute worst pain of my life (with all my focus, of course, on the finish line), I stopped dialating.  My doctor eventually made the call that perhaps I should consider a c-section once he felt the swelling on Peyton's head. She was dropping, but my body wasn't letting her go. I was devastated.

The midwife asked my doctor to let me labor longer. He gave me an hour to make progress. A half an hour in, Peyton's heart rate dropped into the 50s (should have been at least three times that) and my blood pressure spiked. It was like a scene right out of Grey's Anatomy, with my doctor and nurses running in. At that point I gave up; "Just take her," I told them. And then I cried a little more.

I wholeheartedly believe that one of women's greatest gifts is the ability to carry life within and then bring it into the world (me, the girl who swore she'd never reproduce). I did the first part pretty okay, but the second part eluded me completely. I felt like my body had failed me.

Long story short: I was in an OR by 7:15 PM. Peyton was born at 7:36 PM. My face was not the first she saw; instead, she saw my doctor, the nurses, and an anesthesiologist first. There was no immediate skin-to-skin time that they say is so crucial in those first few moments of a baby's life. Instead, I got to rub her little hand and touch her cheek before they whisked her away so I could get stitched up. Everyone else even had the chance to hold her before I did. I got her last.

Really though, all that doesn't matter because she is happy, healthy, and most importantly: she is here. And my scar is proof.

So in the words of the Rolling Stones: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might just find you get what you need." Never truer words sung, Mr. Jagger. Actually, there probably are truer words that have been sung, but this particular song has been stuck in my head.

Enough with the seriousness. Here are reasons why my c-section wasn't all that bad anyway:

  • No egghead. This is actually a lie since Peyton had a glorious egghead. Behold:
Not the best angle, but holy moly was that thing elongated.

  • Bladder control...I don't pee when I sneeze. Snissing, I don't do it. Hallelujah.
  • Things, ahem, pardon me, remained intact. No stitches here!
  • If or when I decide to have another baby, I can always try a VBAC.
  • My scar, forgetting the few minor complications I had with it, will heal beautifully and in no time.
In other news, my baby is four months today!


October 4, 2011

Good things about the fall

I am really bummed that summer is over. Like, I'm finding myself kind of depressed about it. So to make myself feel a little bit better about the change of seasons, here is a list of things I think are awesome about fall:

Better sleeping weather (not that I'm sleeping since Peyton still thinks it's cool to be awake every two hours all night...hello, four month wakeful period!)

No air conditioning and open windows

Pumpkin spice EVERYTHING (seriously, if there is a hint of pumpkin I'm in)

PLAYOFFS! Boston was eliminated last minute, so Denny is sad. The Phillies made it, so I am beyond stoked. Tonight's game almost stopped my heart and introduced Peyton to a whole new bunch of expletives I hope she'll never hear again. Buuuut we won so I suppose inadvertently and temporarily subjecting my child to various forms of the F-bomb was worth it.
Just for good measure.

Hoodies (not that any of my cute ones fit anymore...yayyy, baby weight!)



Football (I guess. Even though I don't care about football until the Phillies are out and/or win the World Series.) 

Fun fall outdoor activities (I am beyond excited to take Peyton to a pumpkin patch. Even though she'll have no clue what is going on, it should still be a blast and a half.)

Thanksgiving (my new fat kid self is reeeeally pumped about this one.)

And even though I haaaaaate to think about it, winter will be here soon enough, but that means Christmas too! I'm such a geek for Christmas it's unreal. And again, even though Peyton will probably be all "WTF?" I'm going to go BATSHIT insane with Christmas this year.

That's really all I got. It made me feel a smidge better.

Anyway, all is well on the home front. Peyton loves screaming her head off, but now that the tummy issues are in check it's more like happy screams. I'll gladly take the happy screams over tummy issue screams any day.