Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Do I Teach My Daughter NOT To Embarrass Me? Or Herself? Now Taking Suggestions.

As the mother of a baby girl, I spend a stupid amount of time worrying about what kind of little person and teenager she will grow into in the coming years. My hope is that I can teach her to be kind and sweet and friendly to everyone, and that the fact that she is gorgeous doesn't go to her pretty little head. So let's all hope it works out that way, right?

Anyway, I mention this because yesterday I was in the grocery store and I witnessed one of my biggest fears. A parent allowing her 13 year-old daughter (maybe, she may have been younger) to traipse around Hannaford in her BIKINI. Totes inappropriate.

Now, I went to UNH and we all know that the second the temperature got above 60 degrees every girl on campus started strutting around in grossly inappropriate clothing that revealed vast amounts of albino white rolls everywhere. Not cool. It was embarrassing to witness and made me feel sad because you know those chicks thought they were totally hot. And now, here I am in Hannaford witnessing the same thing only now the girls are younger and it makes me shake with fear. Because I don't want to have big fights with my lovely daughter about why dressing like a skank is wrong. So we are totally taking suggestions now about how to make sure we do not have this same problem. Thanks in advance for all your help!

And, Dad, let's refrain from any comments about how my daughter's teenage antics are well deserved payback for the huge pain in the butt I was as a teen. Because obviously I was perfect.

"Picking out my own clothes is going to be SWEET."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Free Flip? Oh Yes.

A few months ago I had to buy new tires for my car, which was obviously a bummer. I mean, safety is great and all, but believe me when I tell you that I could have done way more fun things with that money. However, as I forked over my credit card to the folks at Volkswagen, I noticed an enormous sign that said "Free Flip Video Camera With Purchase of Four Continental Tires!"

Sweet.

I happened to be paying for four such tires at that moment, so I gathered up the necessary paperwork and mailed it in with a quickness. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon, when my new FREE Flip video camera showed up in the mail. I'm in love. This thing is the business.

First of all, it is super small and lightweight. It also seems pretty tough to break, which is always a plus in my world. It runs on two AA batteries, but there is a rechargeable battery pack available. And best of all, the USB is built right in, so all I have to do is flip that bad boy open and plug it into my computer. No figuring out where the heck I put the cord! Holla!

Now, clearly since this thing was free it is a base model, 4 GB, 1 hour recording time situation, but I don't care. I just have to upload my videos when my hour is up and clear it out. Easy. I'm a fan.

Since I wasn't in the market for a new video camera, I can't say I would have bought it on my own, but I can definitely recommend it now that I own it. It could not be any easier to function, in fact, I bet CC could handle it if I gave her a chance. (although it would obviously end up soaked in drool, so that might affect its efficacy). The uploading process is so simple even my cats could do it. If you are in the market for a pocket sized camera, this thing is your man. So check it out!

Here is a little sample video recorded with my new Flip video camera!

video


"Yes, as a matter of fact I COULD operate that camera. However, we all know that my place is in FRONT of the camera. So let's not forget it."



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are You Eating Carmine? NOTE: This Is Not A Sicilian Thing.

If you eat red or pink foods, you might be eating carmine. And you just might be feeding it to your baby. What is it you ask? Well, it's gross. Here, let me paste a little wikipedia info for you:

CARMINEalso called Crimson LakeCochinealNatural Red #40, C.I. 75470, or E120, is a pigment of a bright red color obtained from the aluminum salt of carminic acid, which is produced by some scale insects, such as the cochineal and the Polish cochineal, and is used as a general term for a particularly deep red color of the same name. Carmine is used in the manufacture of artificial flowers, paints, crimson ink, rouge, and other cosmetics, and is routinely added to food products such as yogurt and certain brands of juice, most notably those of the ruby-red variety.
Carminic acid
To prepare carmine, the powdered scale insect bodies are boiled in ammonia or a sodium carbonate solution, the insoluble matter is removed by filtering, and alum is added to the clear salt solution of carminic acid to precipitate the red aluminium salt, called "carmine lake" or "crimson lake." Purity of colour is ensured by the absence of ironStannous chloridecitric acidborax, or gelatin may be added to regulate the formation of the precipitate. For shades of purplelime is added to the alum; thus the traditional crimson color is guaranteed not only by carminic acid, but choice of its chelating metal salt ion.

Is that not the nastiest thing you have ever heard? Crushed insect bodies? Seriously? Gag me. I am not usually one to meddle in what people want to eat, but let me assure you that in yogurt or juice that contains this crap, it DOES NOT say "crushed insects" on the ingredient list. It just says carmine or Red #40. So maybe people just don't know?

We try to eat natural and organic around here (with the exception of my sad and all-consuming addiction to the golden arches), and I try to cook frequently and stay away from processed foods (except Cheez-Itz, but really, can you blame me?), but I am not perfect and do occasionally buy stuff to feed my family that could potentially have carmine in it. And when I found out what it is made from, I vommed in my mouth a little. I mean, I have plenty to worry about without dealing with pulverized insects in my juice. And doesn't everyone? So now you know one more thing about what is in your food. You're welcome.

I guess you could argue that bug bodies are sort of a natural coloring agent, but I'll take beet juice as a red colorant over bugs any day, thank you very much. And since CC is a diva, you KNOW she has something to say about what she eats. Although these days, if it isn't a waffle, she isn't eating it. Sigh. At least they're whole grain. And bug free. Holla.

"I am NOT eating bugs. Sick."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eight.

Time is just FLYING by. Here is CC's 8 month letter! I love her so much. What a sap I have become in my role as Mommy. (quick question: Is anyone who knows me still blown away by the fact that I am a mother? that I have a daughter? trip out.) 

Dear Caroline,
            Happy 8 month birthday little bird! You are such a big girl these days. You always want to stand, you can hold yourself up if you have something to hang onto, and you even take little steps when holding our hands. I think you will be walking soon! You don’t seem to have an interest in crawling, but I hope you get over that, because it would be fun to see you crawl.
            You also have two teeth now and I think a third one is on its way. Those little teeth are such a powerful reminder of how big are getting and how fast time is moving. It seems like yesterday I was snuggling your little newborn self against me and now you are so busy when you are awake you hardly have time for snuggles! We cuddle at bedtime now and read stories, and you seem to love books as much as I do, thank goodness!
            You are a little chatterbox as well, and even though you are not saying any particular words, we hear lots of babble that occasionally includes ma-ma, da-da, and ca (cat?). I have a feeling one of these days you are going to just start chatting away with us, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. It is so neat to see you learn new things and experience the miracle of all your new learning. You astound me every day with just how smart you are.
            You are still gorgeous and your personality still gets you lots of attention we when are out. You love to ride in shopping carts and you especially love the grocery store. We take lots of walks now that it is warm out, and you could ride in your stroller for hours, You look around at everything and always have such a thoughtful look on your face. You seem to constantly be taking in your surroundings and thinking about what you see, I love how mellow you are and how much you enjoy being in the world.
            You bring incredible joy and love into our lives. We say every day how lucky we are to have you and how amazing and beautiful you are. We still shake our heads in amazement when we say “our daughter.” You are so much of us, and so much yourself, and the combination is just incredible. Thank you for being our little bird, our small one, and our miracle. I love you my darling girl. Love, Mommy


"What can I say? I'm the cutest thing that ever lived."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ole! Cinco De Mayo A Little Bit Late.

I've been busy the last few days, but I am working on some nice long posts for next week. Until then, you can admire my cute baby during her Cinco De Mayo photo session! She wasn't really in the mood, but I made her do it anyway. Its only a fair trade for the exhaustion she makes me feel on a daily basis.
















"I'm way too busy today to deal with commenting on all of these photos, but just know that I put up a decent fight here. I mean really, a sombrero? A papagayo? You have GOT to be KIDDING me. No me gusta."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Headband. (Thanks Glee!)

I recently attended a little Mommy and Me event with CC, and obviously I bought her some loot. Although she may not agree with me that it is amazing. We went to the event with another mommy friend and her baby (shout out to Stephanie, check out her amazing blog!) and then took a nice walk in the sunshine. I love having mommy friends because 1.) it is nice to know other people dealing with all the same baby questions, 2.) CC has little friends exactly her age to grow up with, and 3.) they enable me to do embarrassing things to my child, such as buy her flowery, feathery headbands and then take pictures of her to show her boyfriends when she is older. Fun for everyone!

Also, let's not forget that other mommies are like built-in drinking buddies who also enjoy ordering birdbath sized margaritas along with every fried item available on appetizer menus. The best kind of friends!

And now, let the humiliation ensue.
"you better believe there were tears involved here."


"but I do look pretty, so I better work it."


"feathers make me feel sneezy."


"aren't you done YET?"


"I can't wait to be bigger. then no more funny business."


"kill me."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Amazon Mom. Because Anything FREE Is Awesome.

You may have caught on to the fact that I spend quite a few of my baby-daddy's dollars on Amazon. Between books, baby gear, and home goods, I have stuff lined up in my shopping cart at all times. In fact, right now I am hoarding a small collection of used Betsy Haynes books, a Fisher-Price kitchen playset for CC, playpen mosquito netting, and an inflatable mushroom baby pool. Rad, right?

Anyway, you most likely know that if you spend $25 on Amazon you get free super saver shipping, but that nonsense sometimes takes weeks. However, you can join Amazon Mom for FREE, and get free 2-day shipping on everything!!! All you have to do is buy baby gear occasionally and they extend your free shipping benefits an additional month for every $25 bucks you spend in their baby store. But, the 2-day shipping is on everything you buy regardless. Isn't that a sweet deal?

So, in case you didn't know, now you do. Enjoy the freeness.

"Let's hurry up on that kitchen set. I'm bored."

Friday, May 6, 2011

I Read The BOOK First.

If you know me at all, you know of my obsession with True Blood. Sorry Bill. (my Bill, not Vampire Bill. But, I am on Team Eric, so I guess I could apologize to Vampire Bill.) Well, hopefully you also know that True Blood is based on a series of books by one Charlaine Harris, and that there are now eleven of them. The show takes on one book per season, so there is quite a bit happening in Bon Temps that you may not know about if you have not read the series. Anyway, since I had it on pre-order from Amazon, this is what showed up in the mail on Tuesday.
Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 11)

Ahhhhh. Dead Reckoning. I have been waiting so patiently, and now it is here! I am about halfway finished at this point, and am loving it. Sookie Stackhouse is one of my favorite characters of all time, so I couldn't wait to see what kind of shenanigans she has gotten herself into this time around. (If I didn't have a baby, I would have finished by now, but CC has little patience for books without pictures or rubber corners.) So far it seems that Eric is having some issues with his vampire child Pam, that he is still SUPER HOT, that the two-natured are up to their old tricks and may or may not have tossed a Moltov cocktail through the window of Merlotte's, that Sookie's fairy kin are practicing selective truth-telling (their M.O.), that Sookie is most likely going to have to kick some serious supernatural boo-tay at some point, and that some major shiz is about to go down with the vampire king. All good stuff in my opinion. 

I am nothing if not a little obsessive about books (as previously hinted at hereand proven when I infamously brought my new copy of the final Harry Potter book to a good friend's wedding on the day it was released -best wedding anniversary ever BTW, nice job L&R-, and read it), and so obviously I have the entire collection of Sookie books, and I re-read them frequently. The one downside is that I don't get this in the books.

Or this.

But, I digress. If you haven't read the books, I recommend them. Not too heavy, good sassy adult-themed vampire fun, and there is WAY more going on in the books than in the show, so you will get some background info and a glimpse into where True Blood is headed. And, you should know that Season Four of True Blood starts on June 26th, and you KNOW that I will be doing blog posts about each and every episode weekly. LOVE IT. Thanks HBO. And Charlaine Harris. Life is better with vampires. (But not those whiny PG-rated Twilight vamps. Puh-lease. Let's keep it real here.)

And now I leave you with this. An incredible combination of some of my very favorite things. Sookie, Snoop Dogg, gangsta rides, and booty shaking. See you all Monday!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

My High Tech Bottle Warmer. Everyone Has One Already. And If You Don't, You Should. Even If You Don't Have A Baby.

One of the things I was on the fence about when creating my baby registry was the world of bottle warmers. I nixed the idea of a wipe warmer early on, for one because I don't have an outlet where I would want to plug it in, and for two because I think they are kind of ridiculous. (although for the first few weeks of CC's life I stuck the wipes down my shirt to warm them up for her precious bottom. so I do care.) However, the bottle warmer seemed to serve a purpose, but I just wasn't sold, you know? Plus, the reviews on those things were all over the place, so I decided to wait and see.

Fast forward to CC's arrival. We breastfeed, but started giving her bottles of pumped milk early on to make sure she would take them. She never had an issue with breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and switched back and forth between the two with no problem. So, then we had to figure out how to warm up the milk! We did the bottle in the saucepan for a bit, but I was always afraid of melting the plastic, so that didn't last long. Then one evening, I had a stroke of genius. Here it is.
"why, hello there"

I totally warm up CC's milk in a martini shaker.

I fill it with hot tap water (super hot), drop in the Medela bottle full of milk, and that's it. It takes about seven minutes to heat up a 6 ounce bottle. Then I pour it into one of her Playtex VentAire bottles (these things are the best!) and off we go.

Let's take another look at this magic.
"I swear its not vodka."

So save the space on your baby registry for the Ergo. And a Jump-Jump. Happy Thursday!


"these bottles make me feel groovy."


P.S. I guess it is worth mentioning here that Bill is claiming credit for the martini shaker idea, but I have no recollection of that ever happening. However, I can be big about it and at least acknowledge that he thinks it was all his idea.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Caution. This Post Is Long. And About Baby Food. So You Might Be Someone Who Just Doesn't Care. That's Okay. Just Scroll Down For The Cute Pix Of The Baby.

As you all know, CC is seven (and a half!) months old. She has been eating rice cereal since she was four months old, and we started her on fruits and veggies not long after that. Then we introduced oatmeal and multi-grain cereals. At around six months, we introduced protein baby food made from turkey or chicken, and very recently, she has had a little yogurt, which she loved after a few confused looking faces. I am happy to report that she does not seem to have any allergies (except for the fact that she used to yack her carrots every time, but that is improving), and that there isn't anything she absolutely refuses to eat. That is the short version of the food situation around here. Now for the long version.
"those better not be carrots. carrots make me vom."

Pediatricians drive me crazy. Seriously. You'd think they would all have some of the same opinions, but they don't. Every single one tells you something different about foods and babies, and when and how and how much and why or why not you should or shouldn't do something. It is totally aggravating, and has caused me to lose much sleep over all this business in the last few months. Because I don't want to poison my child, or cause her to have a reaction that hurts her belly or her skin or her face or whatever.
"don't poison me."

Even the easy part is obnoxious. Rice cereal. Mix it with breastmilk or formula they say. Well. Princess Caroline does not LIKE her cereal mixed with those things. She likes water. Is that okay? Who knows? At this point, who cares? I just worried that she was not getting enough nutrients, but she seems okay. They tell me to keep trying to get her to like it, but THEY are not the ones having milk production issues who cry over every drop of lost breast milk, and whose child absolutely refuses to let even the aroma of formula near her precious mouth. (I am working on a separate post about our adventures in breastfeeding, so I will get into more of that later). We gave up on formula right quick, and went back to water in the cereal, but since you know me and Google, I discovered that coconut milk might be a viable alternative for mixing with food. In my research I found that, "The principle fatty acid in coconut milk is lauric acid, which is the same fat found in abundance in mother's milk and is known to promote normal brain development and contribute to healthy bones." 
And so I investigated. Please be advised that I was NOT looking to substitute coconut milk for her breast milk. She drinks plenty of breast milk. I just hoped to give her a little more nutrition in the cereal.
"Formula offends me. Don't bother."

Wouldn't you know that four different pediatricians all had differing opinions? My humble opinion is that most of them just don't know a lot about coconut milk, so they just say NO, when they should say, hmmm, I don't know maybe I should learn more about that so I can have an answer when someone asks me about it. They are doctors. They should know about these hippie alternative ideas, right?
"This stuff is confusing. I wish I could eat Smart Puffs all day."

And, this doesn't stop at non-dairy alternatives either. They all have different ideas about EVERYTHING. One says "feed her anything you want! Protein! Fish! Nuts! Give it to her and keep an eye out for reactions!" I like this doctor's attitude, although nuts make me a little nervous.
"Nuts? Eh. But I DO like apples. Even though I only have one tooth."
"See my tooth? I'm so big."

Another one says, no protein until nine months. No dairy AT ALL until one year. No yogurt, no cheese products, no nothing. But, she can have goat's milk as a breast milk supplement, and coconut milk in the cereal. Goat milk is pretty close to human breast milk in nature (although apparently donkey milk is the closest! thanks Google!). Soy milk is no good, for babies anyway. It is apparently not that healthy for anyone, so coconut milk is a good alternative. This is my personal doctor who also sees kids, and I am thinking of switching CC here because I like them all so much. Although, I am still going to give my kid meat proteins because she likes them and has no problem digesting them.
"See how good I am at feeding myself with this giant spoon?"

So, the breakdown in our house is this. Do what you want (within reason). I mean, don't get too crazy, but do what you feel comfortable with. There is no proof (that I can find) that delaying a food will lessen the likelihood of allergies, but it is (probably) safe to say that an older child can handle a bad allergic reaction better than a younger one. I probably will hold off on the peanut butter for CC until she is a bit older, but I doubt that she is allergic to peanuts given that our family history has zero peanut allergies on either side. I started giving her goat's milk (since they don't sell donkey milk at Hannaford) recently in her bottle with breast milk, she loves it and I feel better having options, especially because of my milk production issues. Life is never dull around here.
"These crackers are THE BOMB. And so easy to eat with one tooth!"

So, if you made it this far in the post, thanks for reading. I am by no means an expert or a doctor, and if you have questions of your own, I think you should talk to your trusted medical advisor, but I DO urge you to get a second and possibly third opinion. I found that even in the same practice, different doctors will tell you different things. And, if you don't feel like an answer is good enough then keep asking until you find someone who knows what they are talking about. I have found this website to be incredibly helpful in breaking down the solid food business if you need more information at a glance. This website is another helpful one, and does a nice job of addressing more "exotic" foods. And, for your reference, I'll leave you with a list of things my seven month old eats that have not poisoned her yet. Best of luck to you in your own baby food adventures!
"French toast? Don't mind if I do."

"I just love eating. Feed me!"

CC's Foods:
grain cereals (rice, oatmeal, multi-grain)
lots of different fruits and veggies (including avocado, mango, strawberries, blueberries,   raspberries, and cranberry)
cinnamon sugar (we put this on banana slices and french toast)
french toast
wheat toast
rice crackers
beans
chicken
turkey
beef (in baby food jars)
fish
lobster (I don't buy the girl a whole lobby or anything, I just give her bits from my stew)
pizza crust
french fries
waffles
barley teething cookies
Smart Puffs
yogurt melts
coconut milk yogurt
whole milk yogurt
cottage cheese
coconut milk
goat's milk
breast milk
remote controls
car keys
cell phones
books
cat toys
shoes
cat hair
"Don't hate on the goat milk. It's delicious."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Well.

Last night I went to bed early, so I missed the breaking news about Osama Bin Laden. Bill came up around 12:45 am and told me what had happened, but I didn't really process it until this morning when I saw the news footage for myself. My immediate reaction? Tears. Lots of them. (give me a break, I'm a mom, EVERYTHING makes me cry.) The quote that I can most identify with that I am reading over and over again today is "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." -Mark Twain.

Here's my truth. I am proud to be an American citizen. I am proud of our President this morning. I am happy that my daughter will grow up in a world that is less one madman. I am happy that none of our NAVY Seals were killed in the fight. I am happy that the families of those people that died on 9/11 feel that justice has been served and that they have a hint of closure on a senseless and horrible act of hate. And, I am happy that President Obama made the decision to bury Bin Ladin swiftly and quietly at sea, to avoid the kind of perverse shrine that may have come from providing a grave site, and to prevent a mass of media out in boats watching and broadcasting the whole thing.

But.

Something feels painful about it all. The celebration of death. The bloodstained carpet they keep showing on the news. Young children chanting in celebration in our city streets, riled and high on the rush of something of this magnitude happening in their lifetime. Some of the kids I saw aren't old enough to have been born, let alone remember September 11th. Something about this whole thing puts a heavy weight in my heart.

Don't misunderstand me. I don't feel sympathy or understanding or empathy for that madman. I am truly glad that he no longer exists in this world, because I believe he would have attacked us again given the opportunity. But, I feel uncomfortable for some reason. Uneasy. Those men that risked their lives yesterday in order to remove such a profound threat are my heros, but I still feel fear in my heart that their job isn't over yet. Thank you to them. To our Armed Forces. Every single soul that strives every day to protect my family and our country is a hero in my eyes.

My family is knee deep in NAVY men, and my own brother is out there right now, away from his family, working to defend all of us. His best friend served in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and he is a changed man for it. I know in my heart that they and every other military man and woman are happy and filled with relief today, but the trade-off is sobering. This fight is changing us all. Taking men and women from their families, sometimes forever. Wounding them in body and mind and spirit. Keeping the threat of destruction and terrorism in our minds all the time. I pray that in my daughter's lifetime, that will change, but I don't know if that is possible. Can we ever really go back, or move forward, to a time when we don't live with that fear in our hearts?

My world after 9/11 is still unsettled. I fly cross-country several times a year. On non-stop flights to California out of Boston Logan International. Every time I board those flights I feel fear. And now that I have a baby girl in my arms on those flights, that fear is magnified. It could easily have been me on one of those planes on that terrible day, and that thought is never far from my mind when I travel. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of 9/11 today. To those of you who have fought, who are still fighting, who have loved and lost, who have survived, and who have sacrificed. Thank you.