Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Best Baby Items (4 months to 8 months)

I love lists!  You can read my top ten list, Birth to 4 months here, but many of those items are still on my favorites list and are still loved and used daily. 

Here are a few new items that have made my four month to eight month favorites!  If you are looking for unique baby gifts, these are highly coveted in my opinion. :-)

In no particular order my Top 10 Baby Items...

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether

India loves Sophie.  I don't have to say much more about it, because if you've ever met my daughter, Sophie is never too far from her.  Sophie is a #1 seller for children's toys, and I can see why.  I've never met a child who didn't love her.  She's made of natural rubber and painted with food paint, so she is safe for baby to chew on.  She is one of the best items for a new baby, or an 8-month old.

2. ERGO Baby Carrier, or other soft structure carrier -

ERGO baby Carrier Galaxy Grey/Galaxy

I reviewed my six baby carriers and ultimately, concluded that my ERGO baby carrier is my favorite. India has now reached the point where she tried to escape from my other carriers and other carriers don't provide the needed support for this growing, active little girl!  I LOVE my ERGO baby carrier!

3. Evenflo Exersaucer -

India hated the infant swing and bouncer (read: I never got to shower), and I'm not one to put a baby in one of those, unless I will be out of reach - getting the mail, changing clothes, etc. It surprised me greatly that India actually enjoyed her Exersaucer! Although she isn't so crazy about being confined in it so much now, at her peak, she would play in it for 20 minutes, which would let me get a few things done sans baby.

Another thing I WASN'T going to do. But this machine has been wonderful. When India hears it, she knows it's time for bed, and cuddles close instantly. I teach piano lessons from home, and those coincide with her nap, so this helps drown out the sound in our small house.

5. Munchkin Mesh Feeders -

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder 2 Pack ,Colors May Vary
While we do infant led feeding, infant led solids, baby led weaning, infant directed feeding (really, someone needs to come up with ONE name for it and spread the word!), mesh feeders are great for stuff that she could too easily choke on.  When we have beef, she eats if from here or in pieces that I tear up for her.  She also has bits of frozen food in here too, like Meshy Boobsicles. :-)  It's perfect for when I wash dishes or clean the kitchen.  She can safely eat without me having to watch every bite. 

6. Good, quality teething toys -

India's favorites are her Sophie, her Babi Corolle Babipouce doll, and ImagiPlay wooden teethers, all of which smell SO good!  We don't allow many plastic toys in our house because of BPA, PVC and phthlates .  The US has made great strides in beginning to eliminate the endocrine disruptors from bottles and pacifiers, and some countries have even made it illegal, but unfortunately, many toys still contain these plastics.  Since these toxins enter a body easily by the mouth, and children put EVERYTHING in their mouths, we've decided to use healthier toys.  Ironically, India chooses the healthy toys over ones made of plastic.   

7. Organic Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions -

Yes, you read that correctly.  Why coconut oil on a list of favorite baby items??  Since phthlates, one of the toxins mentioned above, is found in most perfumes, lotions, shampoos, etc (even baby products), we mostly use coconut oil for a moisturizer after baths.  Coconut oil is awesome for diaper rash, is safe for cloth diapers and is killer (no pun intended) on yeast rashes.  We also use it for cooking, and India loves to eat it in its semi-solid state.

8. Green Mountain Diaper Products - (previous top 10 item)  

The more I hear about Green Mountain Diapers and the more I use them and they still look the same, the more I love this feels-like-next-door-neighbors company!  I have several items on my 'drool' list, and love how Karen really listens to her customers.  Don't forget the SnuggleWool blankets that they carry!  We LOVE ours!

9. aden + anais swaddle blankets - (previous top 10 item)

Although India isn't swaddled any longer, these blankets are still used for everything!  Peek-a-boo, nursing cover, changing mat, chew toy, oh yeah, and blanket!  Talk about versatile!

10. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm - (previous top 10 item)

This balm has saved our butts so many times!  It's absolutely perfect for clearing up the slightest bit of diaper rash and it's safe for cloth diapers.  Earth Mama Angel Baby has great products: their Postpartum Recovery Kit was literally a gift from God after I had India!  You can't go wrong with any of their non-toxic, organic products!

What are some of your must have or favorite baby items from when your child was 4 to 8 months old?

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: This photo is not enhanced AT ALL!

The view of the sunset over the frozen lake from my parent's house.  Stunning.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My 10 Rules of Facebook

1. Facebook is not Myspace.  In case you're still stuck in 2006, you don't have to 'pic comment 4 pic comment', have lots of friends you don't know or take lots of self-photos of yourself staring up into the camera with your doe eyes.

2. You don't have to 'Reply All' on messages.  No kidding, there was one chain message I happened to get accidently included in, and this sucker would not die, because all 756 people that were included in the message just had to "Reply All". 

3. Don't accept a friend request right away.  You won't look cool that way.  Let it sit for a day.  Or better yet, accumulate a couple new friend requests and respond to them at the same time.  You look way cool that way.

4. Stop making FB the place where you declare your love for your significant other.  It makes it really hard for us to believe (and also makes us roll our eyes and throw up in our mouths a bit) when you post updates like "Can't wait til my boo gets off work so we can make out on a bearskin rug in front of my fireplace".  And posting ridiculous love notes on each other's walls just makes us want to vomit too.  It makes us wonder why you are being so obnoxious and it REALLY makes us want to yell, in all uppercase, of course: GET A ROOM!  An occasional "I love you" or "Thanks for the flowers!" is acceptable.  It's just when one-third of your interaction on FB is with or about your significant other, and CHEESY well, you probably need some friends.

5. Grammar.  tH!s Izz N0tt apPROpri8Te gr@mMmma ~~3Va eVA ~neVa  N doNt 4gEt 2 uSee P3ruds  k thxxxxxx byee!!  Translation:  This is not appropriate grammar, ever, ever, NEVER!  And don't forget to use periods.  OK?  Thank you, goodbye.

6. Don't sync your Twitter and Facebook.  They are two separate entities for a reason.  They both serve a very different purpose.  There are great programs that allow for selective tweeting.

7. Status updates (several points) -
  • Don't post a newb status update, which was really intended to be a comment (my FAVORITE) - "It was great seeing you John!  I'll be sure to tell Cy hello.  I hope Kathy's sinuses are draining and the infection is healing up.  Will I see you next week at Kristin's concert?"
  • Don't blabber on about your significant other, see point #4.
  • Don't give one update about 12 different topics.  We don't know which one to comment on or if it's OK to click 'like'. "Finally cleaned my house and made dinner.  On the way home from the grocery store, my van broke down, but that's OK because my uncle is a mechanic. Does anyone have any good movie suggestions?"
  • Don't update too often. "Gosh, this toilet seat is cold."  "Has anyone seen my toothpaste?"  "What to wear, what to wear...."  "Oh shoot, I need to iron my shirt!"
  • Skip the boring updates, "I burned my toast this morning" and the TMI ones "My new underwire bra is really poking into my left boob and I really want to scratch it".
8. I don't want to join your farm, city, mob or cult.  If I do, I know exactly where to look: your wall, because that's all it's full of. 

9. 'Fess up to your stalking.  Nothing annoys me more than when I'm talking to someone about something going on in my life and they let it slip that somehow they knew that information.  Quickly putting two and two together, I know they found out those details from Facebook and I wish they would just admit that's where they saw it, or they were stalking, or at least leave a comment.  Much respect to those who confess to stalking.  I have a few that I stalk, but I comment on their stuff to let them know I'm there.  No one wants a creeper.  And for goodness sake, STOP pretending that you "are hardly ever on Facebook"!  We ALL know you are!

10. Don't poke anyone.  Ever.  It's inappropriate and not Christian-like.

The end.  And yes, I am guilty of some (maybe all) of these offenses.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Breast Milk Baby Doll- Hypersexualizing our daughters?

A doll that simulates breastfeeding?

The Babe Gloton Breast Milk Baby

"That's exposing my daughter to sexual things."

"What's next, condoms for Barbie & Ken?"

"This is opening the door for teen pregnancy!"


People are up in arms about the $99 Bebe Gloton doll, that instead of a bottle, comes with a halter top the girl wears that has flower petals to show where the nipples would be. 

The above statements are verbatim responses of people. 82% of people who viewed this doll, said it as inappropriate. Some are campaigning to have it removed from sales.

It seems the main concern about this doll is that it exposes girls to something they don't need to know about at that young of an age. There has been talk that it is sexualizing young girls, encouraging promiscuity (yes, I'm serious) and forcing a girl to grow up too fast.

Wait, did you just really assume that a 7-year old doesn't notice breasts? Or that she hasn't wondered how babies are fed sometimes? Or maybe you've completely bypassed the breasts and wide hips on your daughter's Barbie doll that you let her play with? What about the Bratz doll, complete with fishnet stockings, a miniskirt and an attitude of "grow up NOW and be cool like me" that is 100 times it's size?
A Bratz Doll, one of the top-selling dolls in the US

Doesn't that seem hypocritical? 

If you really think it's weird or hypersexualizing, can that be your conviction across the board (with Barbie and Bratz dolls) and not just in the realm of a doll that simulates the God-given purpose of breasts?

The ludicrous idea that breastfeeding a doll is a sexual thing, is the very beginnings of how we make girls, who later become women, feel shame and embarrassment about their bodies. 

We deem it dirty and inappropriate.

A young girl imitating breastfeeding is nothing new.  Children role-play all of the time.  I remember pretending to breastfeed as a child and I don't remember ever seeing anyone breastfeed, although I must've seen someone along the way because I knew to put a blanket over my baby while it ate.  I'm guessing at some point I asked my mother what breasts were for and she told me feeding your children. 

I had a few dolls growing up, and some of the fancy ones had bottles.  So what did I do?  Sometimes I fed my 'babies' with a bottle, sometimes I breastfed them.  It was nothing weird or sexual. 

It may surprise you to hear that I most likely wouldn't buy this toy for my daughter.  I probably wouldn't because of the price.  She can play with other dolls and I'll buy her a pack of flower stickers if she wants. :-)

As my daughter grows up, I hope she pretends to breastfeed her dolls, bottle feed, spoon feed and have tea parties with them.  I also hope she pretends to change their dirty diapers, get them dressed and has pretend conversations with them.  I may be off, but I'm pretty sure 99% of girls do things along these lines at some point in the childhood.

But then again, it MUST BE because of all this role-playing with dolls, as young children, that we have such a pandemic with teen pregnancy, so maybe I don't want my daughter pretending to feed her dolls at all.

What do you think?  Has this doll crossed the lines?  Would you let your daughter have one?

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Saying Hi!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Biting while Breastfeeding: Oh the pain!

I've been breastfeeding India for over 8 months now, and throughout the course of these months, many people have asked me what I was going to do once she got teeth.

I just shrugged my shoulders because 1. most children get teeth around 4-6 months and 2. many moms breastfeed their children well into toddler-hood with full sets of little, sharp chompers.  So I never thought anything of it.  I normally responded with, "Keep feeding her??"  I have had zero problems with breastfeeding - no clogged ducts, no pain, no mastitis, no latch problems - and since I didn't have an issue with some of the most common problems, I never thought I'd have an issue with biting.

Then it started happening to me.  BITING.  With almost 4 teeth, all I can say is ouch, ouch and OUCH!

It's hard to believe this cute thing is capable of such torture! She's even drawn blood before.
Cute and cuddly, right? Wrong.
As I found out, biting is very common.  What I didn't know is that most kids stop after a few firm nos and stopping the nursing session.  Biting is caused by boredom, wanting attention, being finished nursing, or wanting to play.  Most moms report that after a few times of telling the child no, or removing them from the breast, they learned not to bite.

It seems that works for everyone right now, except my daughter.  We have spent hours in this progression: We start to nurse, she gets mad and bites, I tell her NO! and stop feeding her.  A few minutes later, we start nursing again, she bites, I say NO! and set her on the floor.  Then we start it all over again. 


Everyone says it's so simple and their child only bit once or twice after they implemented their firm NO! and stopped the nursing session, and since 99% of the biting took place after they were done nursing, that was a simple and effective solution. 

This was defeating for me because my daughter isn't biting because of the usual reasons.  She bites at the beginning of a nursing session because my milk doesn't let down fast enough for her.  Urgh.

Some have recommended I use the pump to stimulate let down first, which is a great idea, but I don't want her to be dependent on the pump for let down. 

I guess I don't have any answers, which is hard for me, as I love to learn and read and learn the why and how behind everything.  I love to know how to fix things, and problem-solving, well, it is one of my favorite things to do.

I normally have an answer for everything except for this.  I can't find any solutions for this form of biting.  If you are reading this looking for an answer, I'm sorry!  You are NOT ALONE!  I'm just going to keep trying and persevering and I hope you will too!  I know one thing I won't do though, and that is use force back on her.  Flicking, biting in return, spanking, pinching, and other forms of the physical nature have caused many, many babies to wean.  I even heard of one mother who yelped out in pain and her sensitive daughter refused to nurse again because it scared her so badly.  Can you imagine that guilt? The last thing I want to have happen is to have my daughter connotate breastfeeding with pain and frustration.

In the end though, after a few shrieks from me and a couple of tantrums for India, I love this little girl and her desire to eat!  She (and the painful bites) are worth it!
Pookie and two of the perpetrators!
Did you have a biter?  What breastfeeding obstacles did you have to overcome?

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Friday, March 18, 2011

You're going where? Afghanistan?!?! Part 2

Part 1 

In Afghan culture, when you marry a man, you marry into his family.  You move in with his family, and become the lowest of all the women, meaning you get the most work.  If your mother-in-law, sister-in-laws, or your husband's other wives are kind, it can work out as you all share the burden of the housework. 

If your mother-in-law, or any of the above women is not kind or doesn't like you, life can be very miserable.

This was the case for Jaweed's wife. 

Jaweed talked about how bad his wife was, as she had 'killed' his firstborn, a newborn son, a couple months before we arrived.  I asked for clarification, and Jaweed told me that his wife was depressed and could barely function.  After their son was born, she remained quite helpless and according to Jaweed and his mother, she didn't feed their son and he died.  I'm not sure how accurate this story is because women (Grandmothers even) will breastfeed each others children, so if this child wasn't being fed, I would imagine that his grandma or maybe a sister-in-law would have began breastfeeding him.
Jaweed, Dallas and Kabir
I wanted to know more, so I did everything short of inviting myself to Jaweed's house, just to try to meet his wife and share hope with her.  When I finally went to his house, I met family member after family member and kept asking Jaweed if and when I could meet his wife.  His mom kept saying she was 'no good' and shaking her head in disgust. 

I didn't want to press my luck, but I did want to see this girl, who had been a bride, wife, mother and lost a child all before she would even be able to drive in America.  Finally, after much begging, they let his wife (who served all the food) come into the room where we ate.

They talked poorly of her, while she stood there with her head down.  I tried to make eye contact and call her by her name, but before I could reach out to her, she was told to leave the room.  She was talked to worse than I would talk to a stray dog.

And that was all I saw of this young girl.

It broke my heart, but this is a reality in Afghanistan.  A young girl, is betrothed in marriage while she is years from menstruating, she leaves her family, becomes the lowest in her new family, and is expected to bear a child within a short period of time, or else she will be deemed worthless.

I can see why depression would sink in, and why the stories of suicide run high among women. 

I wonder what happened to this girl.  Jaweed was searching very hard for a new wife.  It's not his fault, and he's not a bad guy. Jaweed was a very good friend of Dallas', was very funny, spoke some of the best English we heard in our time there, was highly educated, and had a great job at the United Nations. He was just trying to complete his duties as a man: to produce offspring, particularly sons. 

Stepping into Afghanistan is like living something straight out of Genesis.  Remember that, before you throw any mind-stones at Jaweed.

Jaweed, busy at work
I hope and pray, that this girl is alive and well, and that she has earned favor and love in Jaweed's eyes and that she gets along well with any of Jaweed's other wives.

Many people ask how safe I felt in Afghanistan, and I would say, VERY safe.  We had a strictly enforced 5:00 PM curfew, because it wasn't safe to be out past that time.  We had safety precautions that we followed, but in spite of all that, we felt safe because of the Afghan people. 

The Afghan people are fiercely protective of their friends and family.  There is an Afghan proverb that many friends shared with me during my time there to express their love for me, and I think it sums up the protection we felt.

The first day you meet, you are friends.
The next day you meet, you are brothers.
Afghan proverb
On one of the days there, things went haywire in our relatively 'safe' town. 
There was a suicide bombing a few blocks from our house, targeting the local warlord, who was praying during a major religious holiday. 
Rumors spread quickly, and soon we were getting text messages from Kabul and emails from outside the country claiming that the news was reporting many deaths, which was untrue.  We had been forewarned that 80% of what you hear on the news about Afghanistan isn't true and I can agree with that statement, especially after the suicide bombing.
On top of that, the Taliban issued threats of kidnapping any foreigners in the town.  We were the only foreigners in the town, and we lived between two houses, and everyone knew where we were, Taliban included...
To be continued...
*suicide bomb and safety
*the average woman's life in Afghanistan

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Please kick me in the face if I ever...

Please kick me in the face...

...if I ever spend more on soda than I spend for those who truly need clean water to live.

...if I spend more time rescuing animals from a shelter than rescuing children from slavery.

...if I spend more on medications to get thin, and forget to give to those who need a simple medicine to live.

...if I spend more money on going out to eat than I give to the hungry. 

...if I fill my closet with expensive goods and don't clothe the destitute.

...if I spend more on disposable products than helping others who just need basic necessities.

...if I spend more on needless house upgrades, while others in my small town sleep in the Walmart parking lot with their small children.

...if I spend more money on my vacations than I give to mission work.

...if I spend more on bottled water, while others long for a sip of any water.

...if I ever spend more on my pet's food than I give to the homeless.

I could go on, but first I need to be excused so I can go clean my shoe and prepare my face for a kicking.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Why not donate formula to Japan?

In cases of natural disaster, it's always good to be generous and show compassion.  We should always be moved and willing to give whenever we see need.

As a mom, I immediately thought of the Japanese children's basic needs; food and shelter.  As we brainstorm how we can help, quite often, we reach the simple solution of donating formula.  However, until the Haiti earthquake, I never knew that donating formula would lead to greater issues, and just thought that I would be helping a baby eat.  That is not the case.
Sadly, we actually saw higher illness and infant mortality in Haiti and after the tsunami of 2004, because of infant formula donation and it was all in the right spirit of generosity.  We just gave the wrong thing.

This is not a breast vs. bottle debate.  Even breast milk donation is discouraged.  It goes much deeper than that, pricking the topic of clean water.  Read some of the articles and before you flame me, hear why formula donation, all done with the best intentions, can cause more harm than good.

Here is why we shouldn't donate formula during natural disasters:

- Read about the problem with formula donations for Haiti (if you read one article, read this one!)
- UNICEF talks of the damage of donated formula OR breast milk in a natural disaster
- More talk of why not, dealing with longer history
- The ILCA has issued a press release regarding the natural disaster in Japan
- ** Edited to add current article about Japan and breastmilk donation

Of course, for children who are displaced, ready-mixed formula is needed, but the widespread donation of formula can lead to negative repercussions for years to come. 

As we begin to donate and give, let's remember global health experts agree that we can donate other things besides infant formula to Japan.

Feed the mother, feed the child.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm unplugging from the world today

I am.  I'm unplugging today.

Remember when I begged you all to vote for my baby girl in a baby contest?  I won some really rad things, thanks to many of you who voted for my baby girl (sorry to those of you that developed carpal tunnel because of it)!  Some of the prizes that we won include a massage, a hair cut and color and some jewelry!  My wonderful husband and father of my child, took the day off of work so I can go to a nearby town and redeem some of the gifts!

I've also been a little crafty, making some knock-off boutique baby items (no photos, I'm not so confident in my work), so I will also be buying some more supplies for that with some gift certificates.

It is a huge thing for me to spend time on myself, because I could never justify buying a massage for myself or jewelry and I've been known to add a little lemon juice to my hair to make the blond last just a wee bit longer! 

Celebrating this way today really could not have come at a better time, as yesterday I reached my 100th post on this blog!!  Considering that most of those posts have come in less than 5 months, and I'm a pretty wordy blogger, well, I'm pleased.  For your enjoyment, I'm going to share my top five blog posts with you today!

A blog is a lot of work (I'm realizing this more and more every day as this really has become a part time job) and 100 posts, now 101, is a lot of hours (days, really) of writing and researching and editing photos and fact checking and missed meals! 

I am LOVING every minute of blogging and sharing my life with you all and I hope you all are enjoying life with me! 

When I write a blog post, I have no idea how read it will be.  I NEVER would have guessed that three of these posts would make it to the top (hello, lactation cookies?).  I just write what is on my mind or about what I am knowledgeable in, but it always surprises me about what people want to read about. 

So, while I'm relaxing, unplugging and celebrating today, I thought I would share my Top 5 posts with you.

Enjoy, and hopefully I'll be back soon with some new ideas!

1. India Josephine's birth story
2. Shame on you, John Piper
3. This ain't your average milk & cookies (lactation cookies)
4. Are breastfeeding mothers being obscene?
5. Yes! I do wear my baby!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: She sleeps in peace

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy 8 months, India girl!

Awwww, my baby India girl, I love you OH.SO.MUCH. 

We have now entered the stage where you are into everything.  You also chew on everything. You are crawling now, you sit up on your own, you can stand on your own for 10-20 seconds, and you can pull yourself up on furniture if it's the right height. 

You still don't really enjoy solid food beyond a few bites.  You like to share your food with me.  One bite for Mama, one bite for baby.

We're pretty sure you say Mama, Dada and Hi!

You give hugs and kisses when asked....if you want to.  Kisses from you warm my heart.

For the first 6 months of your life, you loved men.  Now you really aren't sure about them, and women are your favorites either.  If strangers and family members that you don't know too well get close or try to hold you, it sends you into a hysterical, crying fit.  I keep telling myself that means that you're healthy.

You love babies and other kids.  You really love people, in spite of a bit of stranger anxiety right now.

We still call you India, India Josephine, India Jo, Pookie(Pooka, Pook, Pooker, Pooka Face) and India jan.
You are SO much fun all day long.  Seriously.  We LOVE being with you!

You are very active! Always moving and wanting to move; hopefully your hyperactive Mama can keep up with you as you quicken!  Diaper changes are a challenge!

You are funny!  You grab blankets, clothes, books, toys and hide your face behind them.  When I call out, "Where is India?" you pull the item down and laugh hysterically, thinking you outwit me!  And of course you did!

You don't like to be too far from me, and I hate being apart from you. 75% of your daytime hours are spent in my arms.  You are still a delight.

You love your BabiCorolle doll, and attempting to eat paper and every cord in our house.  You are very good at the latter two.

You love to be nekked.  You squeal with delight as you roll around and crawl all over our cold, little house, flashing with pride, your cute, cold, little, bum.

You smile from ear to ear when you stand up, when the camera comes out and when you go potty on the toilet.  You make me smile too!

You still smell SO good!  I kiss you and smell your head many times a day!  Your skin is soft and sweet and I adore your chubby little every things.

You still like to go to sleep on your own, most of the time.  Every once in a while, you give your Mama great joy when you let me rock you to sleep!

You wake up once or twice at night, but I honestly can't remember since when you wake up you come to bed with me and eat, and I fall back asleep a few seconds after we lay back down.  You nurse SO nicely at night....your body squishes up as close as possible to me, you put your hand on me and your head fits right under my arm with your toes on my thighs.  It's one of the only times you cuddle me, and this is one of my favorite parts about being a mom. I am dreading when you no longer wake to nurse at night.

Another favorite part of my day is waking up with you.  You giggle, kiss me, talk to me and pat me until I wake up.  Then you smile and enjoy by body as your personal jungle gym.

You are a ham, a cheese, a little drama queen.  You know you are cute and funny, which makes you even cuter and funnier!  You love attention, and demand it quite well. :-)  You bless so many people with that cheesy smile!

You are still such a joy to us, India, and it seems nearly impossible that you are really this old!

I love you, my sweet, sweet gift from God! Happy 8 months!

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

My baby STILL doesn't really eat solids: Baby Led Solids

Baby led solids.

Baby led weaning.

Infant led solids.

Whatever you want to call it, that's what we've been doing baby led solids with our daughter for almost two months now. I posted on this topic 2 months ago and some have asked for an update on how she is doing with solids.  After thinking about all the exciting things I can tell you about, I've decided to stick with this! :-)

India wants to eat EVERYTHING that I am eating. Which was a bad deal the other day when I ate an entire package of Double Stuf Oreos. Yep. I did. You can close your gaping mouth now.

Ahem, back to eating healthy. Stop gasping. DO it.

India wants everything, but will only eat a bite or two of everything. The other night we were out for pizza, and she whined and whined and tried SO hard to get out of the nasty restaurant-provided highchair, to have a taste of my pizza. I brushed aside the jalapenos, and gave her two pieces of sliced black olives. When she was about half way done with the second, she saw me eating pizza crust and attempted to squirm her way out of the highchair again to get a couple of bites. And a couple of itty, bitty bites is all she wanted.

2 olive slices, and a quarter-sized bite of pizza crust later, she was satisfied. Hmmm, sounds like a celebrity diet.

So yeah, she still doesn't really eat solids.

The foods that she has tried, liked, fed herself and not choked (whew!) on:

-avocado, apple, banana, beans, egg yolk (this is her favorite), yogurt, mango, sweet potato, squash, olives, carrots, coconut oil, cheese, stew meat, 2 whole wheat pasta noodles (we're thinking about mostly avoiding grains until amylase levels have gone up, around baby's first birthday, and maybe even longer. This is HARD because flour is in everything!), and a couple spoons of oatmeal (again, avoiding grains, but curious girl wanted to try it. She liked the taste, but it made her sick. Boo, oatmeal!)

Foods that she has not liked, or she has choked on:

-organic baby food pears from a jar, frozen in a cube - throws her mesh feeder on the ground

Well, that's pretty uneventful. Baby led solids has worked out exactly as it says: baby led. If you are as confused as I was in the beginning, here is a great article on baby led solids.

When we sit down for supper, India joins us in her booster seat, with her food and feeds herself bits of whatever we are having. If we have taco soup, I squish up some beans. If we eat something with eggs, I make a yolk for her. If we have tacos, I give her avocado.

Pretty simple. It works nicely. No extra preparation of food and we can all eat together, at the same time.

Some may wonder why we don't just feed her ourselves and make her eat.

1. We've tried, she's not interested. At all.
2. The benefits of Baby Led Solids - hand-eye coordination, child determines fullness, learns how to clear throat at an early age to prevent choking, eats because they are hungry-not enticed by caregiver, family eats healthful foods together, no extra preparation, etc.
India 'eating' a banana
In all that, we've got a foodie on our hands. She is willing and wanting to try everything, unless it's baby food, because she just throws that stuff on the ground. Can you blame her? The girl knows what's up. But she definitely isn't interested in eating very much of anything, my little food snob.

She hasn't had a lot of green foods yet. I'm having a hard time finding organic produce in my small town.  We need to make a plan on how to get fresh, healthy produce here in the winter (I'm in MN, aka the arctic tundra). If anyone has any great ideas, I'm very open to suggestions! I'm hoping to get some organic broccoli (wish me luck) to make sure her iron stores are competant, and I will also continue to give her meat from my parents grass fed beef.

The gameplan: Same as before. I'll let her keep on trying foods that are appropriate, and she'll probably continue to eat a few bites, then enjoy them as her new plaything, all while this new mama chants the mantra the Dr told me, 'under one, food's just fun'.

And I promise to hold off on the Oreos, for both of us!

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quick, healthy & cheap recipe: Make your own cereal!

I love hot cereal.  Amen.  I could live on all varieties of it.  Really, I could! 

Before you go and call the boringmobile on me, let me share with you - beyond oatmeal.

But it sometimes costs over $4 for a pound of good, organic 7-grain or 10-grain cereal at our local grocery store. 

Being the healthy frugalista I am, I want to share with you how I remedied my expensive addiction.

OK, I bought my own organic grains from a store and mixed them how I wanted and made my own hot cereal.  I know.  Tough stuff.  This is the only recipe you may ever see me 'create'.

I spend about $.85 a pound, saving lots of money also eliminate excess product packaging and have less waste.

I mix up 5-grain, 6-grain, 7-grain, 8-grain, and heck, I even get wild and make 12-grain cereals regularly.  I usually grind (although the hot cereal in these photos is not ground) all the ingredients in a food processor, or coffee bean grinder, so they cook faster (hello, fast meal before school!) and are easily digested.

I should mention that it's also recommended that any time you are cooking with whole grains, you should soak the grains in an acidic medium, in order to fully enhance their nutritional value and to reduce cooking time.  Here is a link explaining a bit of how and why you should soak grains.

In case you haven't thought of this, and you are looking for a nutrionally dense, cheap, healthy breakfast, I wanted to share the endless possibilites of grains to make your own whole grain hot cereal.

Make your own hot cereal for breakfast:

First, mix your grains.  Whatever ones you want.  Go ahead.  Do it!!  And be brave

oats (great to help increase milk supply, breastfeeding moms!)
steel cut oats
oat bran
wheat bran
brown rice
quinoa (rinse first, quinoa is bitter!)
wheat germ
corn meal
cracked wheat

Grind away, baby!  Once you have decided on your own combination, you can then grind them, if you choose.  Again, you don't have to.  I grind my grains about 25% of the time.  The other 75% of the time I am lazy.

Next, soak them overnight in warm water and an acidic medium (some people put them in the crockpot overnight, so it's ready to eat in the morning).  Of course this step isn't necessary, but it will reduce your cooking and therefore stirring and chaance-of-burning time drastically.

1/2 Cup dry grains mix, soaking in whey and water
In the morning, you can begin cooking in either water or milk right away.

Good morning, grains!
Once cooked, well, this is the fun part! Add all the yummy toppings!

agave nectar
maple syrup

ground flax seed
wheat germ
dried and fresh fruits
sunflower seeds
milk, cream, half &half
brewer's yeast (another one that helps milk supply)

Unconventional additions:
eggs (add a raw egg and cook it the last few minutes, and you will never eat plain cereal again!  I learned this trick in Asia!)
sea salt (get your minerals)
almond butter (a spoonful will add protein, healthy fat and a nice nutty flavor)
butter or coconut oil (more healthy fats that help your body process all the carbs)

One of my favorite whole grain hot cereal recipes:
oats, oat bran, steel cut oats, millet with ground flax seed, agave nectar and an egg.

A mix of 8 grains, with flax seed, craisins, almonds, and organic half and half!
There are other grains and additional elements you can use to make your own hot cereal.  This is just the beginning!  

 Have fun and happy eating!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: I love the messes she makes!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shame on you, John Piper

I normally steer clear of major religious talk on my blog.  Because even though I am a Christian, I don't feel equipped to share deeply.  But something happened on Saturday in the Christian world, that still has my blood boiling.

If you weren't around this weekend, I'll give you a brief synopsis.  Rob Bell, the pastor at Mars Hill Church in Michigan, and even more well-known for his intriguing Nooma series, books and messages, has a new book coming out this month that has already been touted as highly controversial. 

 Justin Taylor, a blogger, wrote an article detailing his disdain for Bell and his book, which he hasn't read.  He based it off of the publisher's words about the book and the video promotion for the book.

Twitter basically blew up.  I was watching it happen, as Rob Bell's name was suddenly trending on Twitter - something that doesn't happen to Christians, or people of note, unless they die.

I'm not the biggest Rob Bell fan in the world, actually, I'm not a fan of very many preachers, but I have been blessed by him.

There have been many times, where I couldn't stomach another Sunday in church, or didn't want to bother being identified as a Christian, because I am SO embarrassed by the way we treat each other and the way we view the world.  Rob Bell has reminded me in those times to center with my Jesus, my God and His word.I've seen several of Bell's Nooma videos and one in particular, still plays in my mind, even now.  I don't agree with him on everything, but I haven't found one person that I agree with 100% theologically.  Have you?

As I read Justin Taylor's blog, I was saddened.  Not by what he was saying about Rob Bell's book so much, but for several other reasons.

 OK, for one, Taylor didn't read the book. That is a big point in itself.

And secondly, anyone who has ever watched of heard Rob Bell, knows he is edgy for a reason. He leaves many things open-ended, and leaves the opportunity for you to delve into the Scriptures. For the most part, he doesn't tell you how to believe. He leaves you thinking. I prefer his ambiguous nature to that of many teachers who are 'so assured' in their hermeneutics.

Without question, the description of this book is meant to leave you thinking and also shelling out the cash to read it when it releases. 

Mission accomplished.

I'm not here to argue Rob Bell's theology or question the universalist tone (that is another post) that has been set by Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

But what has irked me the most was this post on Twitter:

John Piper

Farewell Rob Bell. (link)

Really, John Piper?  That's what you have to say to Rob Bell, someone who has done great work in bringing a wayward generation closer to our God?  Really, John Piper, that's all you have to say to a brother?  You chose to publicly humiliate him?  Or did you ask him to coffee and discuss this?  Or maybe you called him on the phone and heard his heart?  Or at the very least, did you send him an e-mail, telling him you would pray for him?  Or maybe you read the book?

And hundreds of other Christians jumped on the Hatewagon, and tweeted and blogged and made a laughingstock of Christianity.

Shame on you, John Piper and others who vaunt and are so quick to dismiss and judge.


Why are we as Christians so eager to watch and condemn?  Why do we want to see Rob Bell fall?  Why do we huff around and pridefully proclaim, "Yep, I was right!"  Why are we so quick to judge?  Why do we give Rob Bell more of our time and greivances than we do some of the big dilemmas of the world?

Shouldn't our hearts grieve if our brother is off?   Shouldn't we be sad?  Why the self-righteous attitudes?  Why the pious comments?  

If Rob Bell is really that off, it greatly concerns me that these people are more excited to gloat in their 'rightness' (not righteousness), while they pat each other on the back for their sleuth skills, than feel the heart of God towards this situation. 

Apparently, they forgot humility, grace, prayer, compassion and love, the stalwarts of our faith, while consumed with the degradation of potentially many human beings.  They are more concerned with smearing Rob Bell's name, in order to jack their name one mark higher in the Kingdom of this World.

I once heard a very wise man say that we should NEVER rejoice when a scandal (or perhaps erroneous theology) is discovered in the Kingdom of God. 

The last thing we need as Christians is another name-calling, judgmental, mess to drag the name of Christ through the mud one more time, so the world can watch and laugh.

But it seems that that is just what has been created, by those who call themselves spiritual. 

If it breaks my heart this much, I can't imagine what God, our Father feels.

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