Monday, April 29, 2019

Feeding a Child

This post has been brewing in my head for awhile as the experience of getting Paul to eat the foods we want him to eat has been challenging at times. Outside of my gluten intolerance, I'd say I am probably one of the least pickiest eaters you'll encounter.

Enjoy his at home milk and banana muffin breakfast before heading to school at 6:50 am
Lately I've thought a lot about when exactly I became an open-minded eater. Was it when I was 1? 4? 7? I grew up in a big family so it was never a realistic option for my mom to make different meals for each kid. We all ate the same thing and if you didn't like what was served, you could always eat a peanut butter sandwich. Phil is also not a picky eater. There are more foods he doesn't like, such as mushrooms and chunks of tomatoes, but in general he is not picky. We want Paul to be the same way.

Eating his favorite post-meal snack - graham crackers!
But now that I have a very opinionated 14-month old that flat out refuses to eat a lot of things at home, I'm realizing that the road to creating an open-minded eater might require some detours along the way.

For example:  I had visions of us sitting down to dinner as a family to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. But Paul barely sleeps at daycare so he goes to bed around 6:30. That means he eats dinner around 5:45 which is just way too early for Phil and me. We get home around 5-5:15 so I would spend a good chunk of the limited time I get with him preparing dinner. And sometimes I want to work out after Paul goes to bed so eating at 5:45-6 just doesn't work for us.

At this current stage, it works best for us to make something for Paul and for us to eat something different after he is in bed. When prepping Paul's dinner, I make things that I know he will eat. There is not a ton of variety to what he eats - his most common meals are scrambled eggs, protein pancakes, chipotle black bean burgers, or organic mac and cheese and meatballs. He starts every meal with yogurt. We try to get him to eat vegetables at home but have had little success with the exception of cooked carrots which he gobbles up. He will eat any vegetable in puree form but I would rather he feed himself versus us spoon feeding him (he's a long ways off from mastering a spoon).

Jamming as many banana protein pancakes in his mouth as he possibly can!
At school, he is an amazing eater. He will basically eat anything they serve him and the food is very healthy. They eat a lot of beans/lentils, veggies, fruits and whole grain bread or tortillas. Everything is organic and prepared onsite. So I give myself a little bit of a pass on his dinners being heavy on protein/carbs and light on fruits/vegetables since he eats so well at school.

At some point, we'll need to adjust our approach to feeding him. But with a 4th percentile baby who is slow to put on weight, I don't have it in me to take the 'eat what we serve you or go to bed hungry' approach. I feel like that approach is more appropriate (in our opinion) when he's old enough to understand consequences (no judgment toward parents who take this approach from a very young age!). Right now he's still learning to communicate so I don't think he'd understand why he is going to bed hungry. I also have to think about the importance of a good night of sleep for all of us. Sending Paul to bed hungry could result in lots of wake ups and right now I don't have it in me to deal with interrupted sleep.

I look forward to a time when he can stay up later and we can all eat as a family, ideally around 6:15. I'll have to adjust our meals and cut back on the spices (Phil and I love spicy food!) but it will be worth it for all of us to sit down at the table and eat the same meal. In the mean time, I'm telling myself that we are all doing the best we can and his potential to be an open-minded eater is not dependent upon what he eats in the first 12-18 months of his life (other moms, please chime in and tell me this is true!).

Friday, April 26, 2019


The book I'm reading is Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. Omg, this book is maddening. I know how the story ends - the technology that Theranos was selling (a blood monitoring device that only needed a drop of blood) was a complete lie. Early in the book you find out that this unproven/untested device was put in the hands of cancer patients. What the? No decisions were made based on the data from the device, but still. As a patient I would be livid if I found out I was required to use a device that was complete BS. Why is our healthcare system so messed up???

The high of my week was hitting my weight loss goal. I've been tracking what I eat and trying to move a bit more for about 2 months and the combination of these two focuses resulted in meeting my weight loss goal (10 pounds). This goal was about more than seeing a certain number on the scale. It was about getting back to a place where I was happy with how I felt, how my clothes fit and what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

The low of my week was seeing Paul in pain from teething. My God, these molars are horrible! He will scream in pain at times. I can't wait for him to have all of his teeth!

A recipe I made was Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup. It's not really soup weather but Phil has been asking for this recipe for awhile so I made it this week. We skip the mushrooms (Boo! Phil hates mushrooms) and add 2 chicken breasts. They easily shred when the soup is done cooking.

The best money spent was on a new pair of Mizuno running shoes. The pair I've been wearing have  holes in them so it was definitely time for a new pair! Hopefully I'll log some running miles on the new pair as my old pair was mainly used for walking! I love going for walks but really miss running so hopefully I can add in 1-2 runs/week now that the weather is nicer!

A podcast I listened to was Dr. Death. This podcast is SO DISTURBING. It's about a neurosurgeon who botched so many back surgeries. People died or were paralyzed as a result. It's jaw-dropping to listen to this and hear how he continued to do surgery after surgery after it was clear that he was incompetent and was hurting people. I repeat my mantra from my thoughts about Bad Blood and their phony device: Our healthcare system is SO MESSED UP.

For workouts I went for lots of walks and did some running intervals during some of the runs. I decided to put my Daily Burn membership on hold as I'd rather spend time outdoors walking or running versus working out in our basement.

My plans this weekend include lots of adulting tonight (groceries, cleaning, laundry, etc) as we are leaving for the lake tomorrow morning after swimming lessons. My nephew has First Communion on Sunday morning, so we'll head to my sister's town on Sunday morning for mass + a celebratory meal. My grandma is going to be there so I am excited to see her. I haven't seen her since July. It will be a whirlwind trip as we'll drive back on Sunday afternoon. But it will be nice to get some family time in!

Bonus Paul Pics

Playing with one of his new Easter books.

We are all happiest when we are outside!

Feed me, mama!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! We had a nice long weekend. It wasn't the best weekend for Paul as his teeth are still bothering him and he ran a fever much of the weekend. But we made the most of it!

On Friday we got lots of stuff done around the house like cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, organizing the basement, and sweeping out the garage. I also went through all my pre-pregnancy clothes to figure out what still fits and was happy to find that most of my clothes now fit. Woo hoo! I was feeling like I had very few clothing options but now I've got lots of stuff to wear and after not wearing it for 2 years, it feels like I just went shopping!

He likes to walk on the "wrong" side of the walker
We put a few baby things out on our curb that we didn't use with Paul and knew we wouldn't use in the future with a free sign. They were gone pretty quickly, so that was nice! In the afternoon Paul and I got together with my friend Courtney and her boys. We caught up on each others' lives and went for a walk to the park and stopped along the way to see the house that Courtney's BIL is renovating. It was fun to see the progress they've made but confirmed that Phil and I could never do a major renovation to a house. Just seeing all the chaos and decisions they have to make stressed me out. Ha.

On Saturday morning, Paul and I had swimming lessons and he took a pretty good nap afterwards. Swimming lessons really wear him out!

After his nap and lunch, we headed out for a family walk to the park. The weather was absolutely gorgeous!

He had a blast swinging. He just giggles and giggles! I also went down several slides with him, which he loved!

That night, after Paul went to bed, we grilled sausages and asparagus and I roasted some potatoes. It was great to eat our first meal off the grill (well, first in Minnesota - we grilled in Florida!).

On Sunday morning, Paul was up bright and early with a low grade fever. I showed him the 2 Easter books the "Easter Bunny" had brought him. I went the lazy route with Easter this year since he's not old enough to understand the holiday or appreciate an Easter basket. He liked the Easter books we got him, though.

Then he "helped" me fold his cloth diapers that we had washed the night before. Paul has definitely gotten into a mischievous stage. He also dumped out my cup of coffee that morning. :/

After sorting/folding his diapers, I reactivated my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I had given up social media for Lent. Unfortunately, when reactivating my accounts I realized that I deleted my Facebook account instead of deactivating it. Ugh. So I lost everything and have to start over from scratch! If you received a friend request from me, it's legit. :) If we were friends on Facebook before and aren't now, please send me a friend request! I tried my best to rebuild my friends but was going off of memory and friend suggestions from Facebook.

After a super short morning nap, we picked up Phil's brother and headed to his mom's. He was pretty crabby on the drive but perked up when we got to grandma's as she had some new toys for him. He loved the walker that she borrowed from a neighbor whose grandchild had outgrown it.

Oscar has been at grandma's for 2 weeks. Phil took her up there before our Florida trip and she's staying for a couple more weeks since we'll be gone next weekend. Paul had fun chasing her around. Oscar was less thrilled by the attention.

Where is that kitty?
Grandma had lots of Easter goodies for Paul, as you see in the background of this picture. He got some bath toys, clothes, a book, and some graham crackers.

Paul loves playing with toys that his daddy played with, like this old school little people bus.

Later in the day, my MIL had an Easter egg hunt for Paul (we obviously did not hide them - they were in plain sight!) and one for Phil, Andy, and me! Paul had fun shaking the eggs, which had little people super heroes in them.

We headed back earlier than expected because Paul was just miserable. He had a fever and wouldn't go down for a nap so we headed home and went for a family walk. I was hoping he would take a cat nap in the stroller but he didn't. But he was in good spirits during the walk for the most part. I did some running intervals and he was NOT happy when I ran away from them! We have quite the mama's boy on our hands! It's sweet but also tough to hear him cry when I leave his sight! Hopefully he grows out of this soon!

How was your Easter weekend? How did you celebrate? Did the Easter bunny bring you anything? Phil's mom put candy in the eggs she hid for us but I am limiting myself to just a few small peanut butter cup treats! 

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Happy Thursday! I'm off tomorrow for the Easter holiday so today is my Friday. Hooray!

The book I'm reading is Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. This is a memoir about the author's experience of taking an genetics test and finding out that the person she thought was her father actually wasn't. Her parents have passed away so she can't ask them what the heck happened! This is revealed in the opening chapter so this is not a spoiler! I just started it so don't have many thoughts to share about it yet. But I think this topic is super interesting now that DNA testing is so prevalent these days and there are a lot of ramifications related to having all this information about your ancestry.

The high of my week was going for a family walk on Tuesday in 65 degree weather. It was so warm and sunny that day! I need more days like that!

The low of my week was seeing Paul in pain from constipation and teething. Those darn molars are just so brutal. He got sent home from daycare on Wednesday afternoon since he was running a fever and just wasn't himself. :( He's been struggling with constipation for quite awhile and it doesn't seem to be improving. We make sure he drinks plenty of fluids, avoid cheese and starchy foods like bananas, and make sure he gets a lot of fiber in his diet, give him P foods (prunes, pears, plums), but he still struggles. I picked up some Culturelle for kids which is a probiotic and fiber supplement. Hopefully that helps our little guy. If there are other moms who have dealt with this, let me know what worked for you! His pediatrician suggested we try miralax but I was hoping to find a more natural solution first! We might need to give up and give him some miralax for awhile until things improve.

A recipe I made was Stuffed Pepper Soup in the instant pot. I make this recipe about once a month as easy, healthy, and delicious!

The best money spent was another hat for Paul. Now that it's getting nice he needs one at home and at school. The material it's made from provides UVF 50 protection from the sun, which is essential for our fair-skinned baby. He does well with this hat and doesn't try to take it off!

For workouts I went for walks on the days when it wasn't raining. I haven't been able to do any daily burn workouts as I have a mild flare in my left hand/wrist. It's not a terrible flare but when I'm dealing with a flare I stick to walks.

My plans this weekend include laying low on Friday (we have the day off since financial markets are closed) since the rest of the weekend will be kind of busy. On Saturday morning we have swimming lessons followed by 2 play dates later that day! Our first play date is with a former coworker of Phil's who had a baby in September. We are going to walk over to their house after Paul's first nap so we can see their little girl. Then after Paul's second nap Paul and I are going over to my friend Courtney's to see their little boys. Their youngest son is 5 weeks older than Paul so are very close in age. On Sunday we are going to my mother-in-law's for Easter. She's doing a egg hunt for Paul and one for me, Phil and his brother! Paul's eggs will obviously be "hidden" out in the open. It will be interesting to see if he gathers the eggs or not. I never know what's going to interest him!

Bonus Paul Pics

Enjoying a post-dinner cracker. Crackers, especially graham crackers, are his FAVORITE food.
I could tell he wasn't feeling well when I picked him up on Wednesday as he laid on the carpet in my room when I changed out of my work clothes

Reading one of his favorite "lift the flap" books
What was the high of your week? How will you celebrate Easter (if you acknowledge that holiday)?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Our First Family Vacation

We survived our first family vacation! I went into it with an open mind and an expectation that it wouldn't necessarily be super relaxing/restful. But I will say that overall the vacation exceeded my expectations. Paul was pretty resilient and handled the change in scenery very well over all. He got 2 more molars during the trip and ran a fever most days (thank to the molars) but he was still in pretty good spirits, albeit a little extra clingy. The weather in Florida was amazing. It was in the 80s every day and me missed a snow storm that dumped 8" of snow while we were gone! Score!

Here's a photo-heavy recap of our first trip as a family!

We flew out on Wednesday morning. My mom, dad, and me had TSA precheck but Phil didn't so we were separated for the security process. My parents were great about helping get our bags through security. Overall it went pretty smoothly! Traveling with a baby is SO different from pre-baby travel. We used to never check bags. On this trip we checked 3 - a travel crib, a big suitcase with my and Paul's clothes, and his car seat.

Excited for his first vacation!
It took most of the day to get to our condo in the Longboat Key area as we had a little over an hour drive from the Tampa airport. We could have flown into Sarasota and had a shorter drive to the condo, but we would have had to connect through Atlanta. I decided 1+ hours in a car was better than 2 flights with a baby.

After we arrived, my mom and I hit the store for groceries/wine/beer and my dad and Phil took a walk on the beach with Paul.
Eating al fresco on our first night

The view from our balcony.
Our VRBO unit was great but the best part was our balcony. It had a great view of the Gulf of Mexico. We spent a lot of time out there!

We were all tired from traveling so my mom and Phil picked up take-out for dinner. After dinner Phil and I went for a walk on the beach. It was so beautiful and there was barely anyone else out! After our walk Phil and I played whist with my parents.

The sunset beach walk was beautiful!

On Thursday morning my mom and I went for a walk with Paul and checked out a cool park that was about a mile away. We hung around the condo that morning, went out to eat for lunch and then spent the rest of the day at the beach. I wasn't sure what Paul would think of the ocean but he loved it! He crawled right into the water and didn't care when a wave struck him!

Crawling into the Gulf

All smiles!

On Thursday night we grilled burgers. It was my first grilled meal of the year and it tasted so good! My mom and I made green beans and roasted fingerling potatoes as sides while the guys handled the grilling. After dinner we played a game of hand and foot with my parents. I'm glad my parents love card games as much as we do!

On Friday morning we enjoyed another al fresco breakfast. After breakfast I went for my first solo run since before I was pregnant!! It felt good to go for a run. I ran 3 miles. My pace was definitely slower than my pre-baby days but you have to start somewhere!

Ignore my crazy bed hair!
Later that morning, we headed to my aunt and uncle's for lunch. My mom has 3 siblings that live or winter in Venice, Fl which is about an hour south of where we were staying. My mom's sister hosted us for lunch. It was so great to see 3 of my uncles and 2 of my aunts!

When we got back to the condo that afternoon, we hit the pool. Paul loved the ocean but I thought we'd give the pool a try. We brought a flotation devise I had bought on Amazon. Phil and I took turns 'passing' him back and forth in the pool, which he loved!

Paul took a late nap that day so we decided to go out for dinner on our last night in Florida. Paul was such a trooper at dinner even though the night got pretty late due to a long wait at the restaurant. He absolutely LOVES eating out. He was in his best mood when we were eating out on vacation. He loves looking around at everyone and waving at people!

On Saturday morning, Phil joined us for one last walk before we checked out.

Then we rounded up our things and left the unit at 11 am.
A pre-departure book with Grandma
Our flight out of Tampa wasn't until 6:45 so we had lots of time to kill. We drove over to the park and went for a long walk in the hopes that Paul would nap in the stroller.

He didn't nap as long as I was hoping but we had to take what we could get. I'd say he napped about 40 minutes total each day of vacation. That's about how long he naps at daycare but we are used to him napping around 1.5-2 hours total when we are home with him on the weekends!

We had one last lunch out in the town of Cortez and then hit the road for Tampa. I was hoping Paul would maybe nap in the car but he was wide awake. He enjoyed playing peekaboo with me and my mom. He only covers one eye when playing peekaboo. So cute.

We landed around 9pm so it was a long final day in Florida. In hindsight we should flown out in the afternoon. The upside to the later flight was that Paul slept for the entire flight! I never get to hold sleeping Paul anymore so it was a treat to cuddle up with him for 3 hours!

All in all it was a great trip. I definitely got less sleep than I normally do as I stayed up a little bit later each night playing cards (by later I mean 10:30-11 so not exactly super late!). Paul was up around 6 each day so mornings definitely came early! My mom would get up around that time, too. It was nice to have some company while my dad/Phil slept in! I'd definitely return to this area of Florida but we would stay for a couple more days as the trip felt quite short. But it was a good first family trip and I'm so glad my parents came with!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Currently: April 2019

I can already tell April is going to fly by. We have our Florida trip next week, then it's Easter, and then we'll be at the lake the last weekend of the month. My nephew has first communion that last weekend and my parents' lake home is about an hour from my sister's house so it makes sense to stay there. I'm looking forward to lots of family time this month!

Here's what's currently going on in my world.

Reading: Less by Andrew Sean Greer. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018. I usually avoid award-winnings as they tend to be too high-brow for me. But I've been assured that this one is very readable. It's definitely a quirky read but so far it's very readable.

Loving:  the daily walks I've been taking with Paul. Sometimes Phil comes with if he's home in time from work. The fresh air is so good for all of us! The weather has been nice enough most days for us to get out for a post-work walk. We did get caught in a weird rain/hail storm on Tuesday night, though! Luckily we weren't far from home when it hit.

Our family walk to Lake Harriet last Sunday

Feeling: down about the environment at work. We just had a series of layoffs and they were done over the course of about 2 weeks with small groups of people getting laid off every 2-3 days. I'm pretty sure the way it was done should be a case study for an HR class on how NOT to go about laying people off. People have been pretty vocal about how poorly the layoffs were executed. I hope we don't go through this again, but if we do, hopefully it's handled better. I'm definitely looking forward to a little break from work next week!

Anticipating: our Florida trip! It can't come soon enough! It's a short trip as we are there Wed-Sat but I figured that was the right amount of time for our first getaway. I'm really glad we get back on Saturday so we have Sunday to do laundry/grocery shop/etc. Gone are the days of returning from a trip on Sunday night! I never liked doing that when I was kidfree but now I really want to avoid Sunday night returns if at all possible!

Grateful: that my parents are able and willing to join us for our Florida trip. It will be nice to have an extra set of hands to help with Paul. Phil and I will probably sneak away for a date lunch, dinner or drink during our trip since they'll be able to watch him. Plus I know how much my parents enjoy spending time with Paul so it will be nice for them to get to see him experience his first beach trip!

Working: out pretty consistently these days although my definition of a "workout" has really shifted as a mom. I consider long walks a "workout" now that I am a mom. I try to mix in some running intervals on those walks but sometimes I just walk the whole time. I'm slowly losing weight so I think considering walks as workouts is working out just fine!

Listening: to podcasts as usual! One podcast I'm looking forward to starting is Startup's season about a charter school in NYC. I know that charter schools can be problematic (ask a public school teacher about this - many of my public school teachers are well-versed on why they are problematic) so I'm looking forward to this deep dive look at one in NYC.

Watching: Longmire on Netflix. It's sort of a western, which is not my typical genre. We decided to check it out as my parents and another friend raved about it. It's been entertaining so far!

Wishing: Paul's molars would be fully in and stop bothering him. He's been getting his molars for a month+ and he's been miserable during the process. One has pushed through and 2 more are close to pushing through. He wakes up super early, I think from the pain of his teeth? Many days he wakes around 5:30 which is way too early!!

Bonus Paul pics!
We got together with my mom's group to celebrate the babies first birthdays. Getting 8 babies to sit for a picture was tough! One baby was especially unhappy to be away from her mom for the photo. Paul was very concerned about her crying!
He loves smiling for photos!

Our little monkey
Paul has learned how to play "catch" with a ball, which involves rolling it back and forth.

This little guy LOVES milk. The transition from breast milk to whole milk was a cinch!

What's new with you? What are you currently loving, wishing for and grateful for?

Monday, April 1, 2019

What We Read in March

Before Paul was born, I used to post monthly recaps. Those fell by the wayside after he was born. Since he was born on the 1st of the month, his monthly recaps replaced my monthly recaps. Now that he's a year old, I won't post monthly recaps so I decided to bring back a reading-centric post! I'll also share what Paul is reading each month!

Mom's Reads

March was another strong reading month for me! I read 9 books! People continue to ask me how I read so much between working and having a busy toddler. The answer is that I make time for reading. I read on the bus rides to/from work and I read for at least an hour before bed. Paul goes to bed at 6:30 so that gives me most of the evening to work out, eat, and get my adulting done. I try to be in bed by 8 so I can read for an hour before turning off my light around 9. Yes, I go to bed super early but I have felt so tired lately (no I am not pregnant!).

Here's what I read this month!

The Dollhouse and The Address by Fiona Davis

I heard about about this author on a recent episode of What Should I Read Next. Her books are set in an iconic building in New York and feature a dual narrative structure. One story is set in modernish times, the other is set many years ago. I read The Dollhouse first (set in what was called the Barbizon Hotel for Women in the 1960s) and really enjoyed it so I decided to read The Address, which is set in the Dakota on the Upper West Side. The novels aren't perfect. The protagonists make bad and at times annoying decisions. But they are really entertaining, quick reads!

Books 10 and 11 in the Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache Series

I started this series in October 2017. There are 14 books in the series and the 15th book will be published in August. Even though many of the books in the series have been out for several years, there is still a long wait for the eBook version of most of the books in the series. I've had to switch over to physical books so I can read them more quickly. These books get better and better as you read  them. So if you try this series out and feel 'meh' about the first book, keep reading! Most of the books are set in a charming village south of Quebec. The same cast of characters is featured in nearly every book so you really get to know the characters! 

Non-Fiction Reads

I read three very different non-fiction reads this month:

The Road Back to You is all about the Enneagram types! It helped me confirm that I am a 1 (there are 9 types). 

Tell Me More is a collection of personal essays. This was my first Corrigan book and I think I will read more of her work. I was impressed by how honest she was about the mistakes she's made and her character flaws!

March Book 3 is the 3rd book in U.S. Representative John Lewis's 3-part graphic memoir about the Freedom Riders movement of the 1960s. The graphic memoir approach is perfect for this story as it really brings the story to life. It was humbling to read about the sacrifices Lewis and others made in the effort to ensure African Americans received equal rights, inclulding the right to vote. The violence they experienced is unbelievable. There is still so much work to be done to achieve equality in our nation but we wouldn't be where we are today without the work of these brave men and women.

Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction

I read the iconic "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" after hearing others rave about it. It was a very cute read and something I plan to read to/with Paul when he's older. 

WWII Fiction

Last, but not least, I read a WWII novel called "The Tattooist of Auschwitz." WWII novels are one of my favorite genres. I liked this book even more when I found out that it was based on a true story!

Paul's Books

Paul is very into "lift the flap" books. He needs to read these with supervision but is old enough to not rip the flaps. His favorites are Dear Zoo, Little Blue Truck's Springtime, and Where is Little Fish. It's fun to see how much he genuinely loves reading!! We'll definitely bring A LOT of books for our flights to/from Florida. Hopefully they distract him so the flight is a somewhat pleasant experience for us and our seatmates! 

Reading Little Blue Truck's Springtime

If you are still reading, congrats, because this was a novella! What are you reading lately?