Giving Thanks

I can’t get enough of all the expression of gratitude today. How wonderful it is to have a holiday devoted to giving thanks.

I’ve actually been thinking about expressions of gratitude a lot these last few months. I have worked on saying to BabyC, “Thank you for letting me brush your teeth so nicely – now they are so clean!” instead of “Good job with your teeth!” Once I started paying attention to this, I’m finding that BabyC does lots of things that I’m thankful for, and I make sure I tell her:

“Thank you for that loving hug.”

“Thanks for helping me change your diaper by holding still.”

“Thanks for dancing with me – that was really fun!”

I’m trying to model my expressions of gratitude by thanking Husband for all that he does, too. And really, we can all benefit from recognizing the things we are thankful for and from telling each other how we feel. The thankfulness rubs off, and someday, I know BabyC will genuinely say “thank you” as well. Continue reading

20 Tips for Smoother Travel with a Baby or Toddler – Fresh from a Travel-weary Mama

It has been a busy week. We’ve had in-laws visiting for BabyC’s birthday, and yes – a first birthday celebration! This was immediately followed by a 4-day trip to the East Coast for a wedding and a quick visit with my brother. I love visiting with family and celebrating momentous days, but I’m exhausted. More than that, I feel all off-kilter and out of balance – mainly because I’ve missed writing, I think. I’ve missed the daily routine of writing for a quiet hour with my cup of coffee in the morning. I had so many ideas for blog posts during the past crazy week, little bits of inspiration as I whipped up BabyC’s birthday cake late at night or lay awake in a strange hotel room or stood in line to board yet another plane. I was left just feeling frustrated at not being able to sit down and form the words to realize these ideas. I tried to jot them down, making little notes on my phone when I had a chance. But of course, now I am home with piles of laundry, Thanksgiving dinner to prepare, and a manuscript that MUST be edited by next week. The blog will continue to be neglected.

I did spend the better part of an hour on our O’Hare –> Portland flight laboriously typing out travel tips on my phone, thinking maybe they’d make a good post. These were fresh in my mind, since we were at the tail-end of what was probably our toughest trip with BabyC yet. We’ve taken BabyC on 7 plane trips in the last 8 months, but traveling with a toddler introduced us to new challenges. (I know, I might have to come up with a new name for BabyC now that she is no longer a baby – why didn’t I think of that before?)

Here are my top tips for traveling with a baby or toddler, most of them learned the hard way. Continue reading

Shareworthy Recipe: BabyC’s Baked Oatmeal Muffins

I created this recipe to solve a breakfast dilemma. You may be familiar with this scenario: Your child(ren) got you out of bed before you were ready, and you are groggy. You would like to sit and sip a cup of coffee before you start the day, but she is frantically making the “food” sign at you, and you have to respect her efforts at communicating her needs to you without whining. You need something fast and preferably healthy to appease the hungry toddler.

As a nutritionist with an increasingly picky eater for a child (I have been assured that this is totally normal), I also worry that my child is not getting enough iron or fiber, both nutrients that are often lacking in toddler diets. I like to start the day with something that provides a nice portion of BabyC’s requirement for both of these nutrients, so that if all she eats is cheese for the rest of the day, I know we made an honest effort. Fortified oatmeal is a nice way to iron (and a little fiber), but BabyC will not be fed with a spoon and is only just starting to make some efforts at feeding herself with a spoon. Enter… the baked oatmeal muffin.

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Thursday Paragraph(s)*: I’m Taking Gentle Back.

[*The Thursday Paragraph started as a way to inspire me to write a single paragraph about a simple idea on Thursdays (duh). You can see how well that has gone. I have learned that I am pretty much incapable of writing just one paragraph, and I've decided that I don't care. I always start with a single paragraph, thinking, "oh, that's a manageable little idea." But then, I want to write more, so I do. Oh well. We're calling them Thursday Paragraph(s) now.]

{Today’s Thursday Paragraph(s) were inspired in part by Squintmom’s post on Mom-dating and the struggle to find other moms to share our parenting adventures. I wish I could mom-date Squintmom. I’m pretty sure we are long-lost sisters or something.}

Somehow, I survived my pregnancy and BabyC’s first 8 months without seeking mothering advice from blogs and online parenting forums. How on earth did I figure out breastfeeding and how to get my baby to sleep? I read a few books (even some journal articles, but that was just to appease the nerd in me), talked to my friends who were having babies around the same time, and consulted with my #1 mothering expert – my own mother.

My mother and I, February 1980. I love this photo.

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Can Breast Milk Cure My Child’s Eye Infection?

Breast milk provides optimal nutrition for infants, and it gives them immune protection that no formula company has been able to replicate. How many other secrets does it contain? Many mothers claim that it is also an effective treatment for eye infections, or conjunctivitis. The anecdotal evidence for this practice is overwhelming, but is there any scientific evidence that it actually works? Continue reading

Romanesco and Celeriac: Our CSA Education Continues

Remember all those veggies we got in our CSA box last week? I am proud to say that by Friday afternoon, when BabyC and I headed out to pick up this week’s share, our fridge was empty. Yup, we managed to eat just about all of last week’s share. Only a few radishes and half a carrot remained, plus the Delicata squash that I was intentionally holding over since it should keep.

I tried a few new recipes in my efforts to include the bounty in our meals. I rely heavily on Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, especially for working with veggies that are new to me. His book has an alphabetized vegetable section with guidelines on storing and preparing each one, complete with recipe suggestions. His recipes are simple and highlight the flavors of the vegetables. To be honest, I’m not always blown away by the results, but I like the simplicity of this book and have found it to be a good place to start.

Some of the new recipes I tried this week: Continue reading

My Child, a Picky Eater? No!

It was bound to happen.  I was just starting to feel smug about having a baby who would eat anything. I was casually feeding her everything off of my plate, introducing her to new flavors every day, and watching with pride as she tossed everything in her mouth without a second thought. Curry? No problem. Cauliflower? Love it!

OK, not the most exciting foods on her plate here - you'll just have to believe me on the curry and cauliflower.

But you know what happens to people who feel smug about their parenting. Continue reading