Saturday, February 26, 2011

welcome dakota!

She's here! This Wednesday, February 23, Dakota Alicia Star Bilges came to join us. We are now a family of four! I am still trying to wrap my head around that one- everything still has a feeling of un-realness to it.

After having a horrible birth experience with Luna, I was really dreading this birth. With Luna we had such high expectations of what we wanted the birth experience to be, and nothing turned out like we planned it. I realized at some point that I was dreading this birth because I was visualizing a similar experience. My midwives helped me to visualize a positive experience ahead of time, which was very helpful in those last months.

And it did turn out to be a great experience this time! I had a wonderful midwife and nurse that stayed with us constantly and helped me through the contractions and pain. They were very supportive when I decided to get the epidural and still stayed with me. We actually had a great time in the hospital- very supportive and respectful staff, all around. What a change from only a year ago!

Now we're just hanging out at home enjoying our newer, bigger family. Love!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

baby pea soup

This weekend I was suffering through a horrible illness given to me by some lovely gremlin kindergarten trolls at my school. In a moment of lucidness Saturday morning I realized that 1) Luna was almost out of food and 2) I probably won't want to cook that first week after the new baby comes. So I decided to make a batch of my favorite, easiest baby food recipe: split pea soup.

I love this recipe for so many reasons. Easily the best reason is that it only takes 15 minutes to prep and then I can walk away and play with Luna (or clean, or whatever else). Split peas are also very good for you, and babies love the sweetness of them! They freeze nicely too.

Baby Pea Soup Recipe
Ages 9 months and up


  • 1 cup dried split peas (green or yellow)
  • 2 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cup veggie stock (or water if you are out)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 1 large pear
Rinse split peas and add to heavy soup pot with water and veggie stock.  Set burner to high.

Mince garlic. Dice carrot, parsnip and pear (I peeled the pears until Luna was 1 years old). Add to pot.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally. Add bits of liquid if needed. Cook until peas are tender and not grainy, about 2 hours.

Puree to a consistency that is good for your baby (this time I used my new hand held immersion blender- I am IN LOVE. How have I not tried one of these things sooner?). Add liquid (water, stock) if needed.

Voila! Done. Yummy. Makes enough for a big lunch and about 2 ice cube trays of frozen food. 

Add some salt and you can eat it too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

pregnancy woes

I had my first real, bonafide, weird pregnancy craving ever today! Up until now, my cravings have always been somewhat healthy (fish, walnuts, fruit, smoothies) or pedestrian (pizza, chocolate).

But today, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, all I wanted was to add american cheese to it (which I had just stole from my mom's house, thank god).

And I did. And it was so delicious.

Other than that high point of my day, I am miserable. I can barely move. I waddle more than a walrus. I'm as big as a walrus, and it's really hard to carry all of this baby weight. I have weird aches and pains. I can barely breathe. I start to hurt sitting down. I start to hurt standing up. I can't lay down in a comfortable position, no matter how many pillows I have.

Now, to make it even worse, I think I caught a parting gift of the flu from some of the kindergartners that I work with. They ran by my office yesterday, complained of sore throats, touched everything and breathed on me, then ran off. Gremlins. Now my eyes are burning, I have new, more intense body aches, a headache, a sore throat, and a nice feeling of nausea that comes and goes. Perfect.

And now comes another night of waking up 5 zillion times to roll over, or painfully get up and pee. Hopefully no pregnancy insomnia tonight..

38 weeks on Saturday. New baby, feel free to come any time you want!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

glass tryout results

It's been about a week now that we've been trying the glass Evenflo bottles.


We love them. The Medela plastic bottles and nipples are now in a box for giveaway (message me if you want them!).

What we love:

  • Super easy to clean. They don't get all filmy like the plastic ones.
  • How affordable they are- we are going to get a package of the 8 oz ones, and we can actually afford to buy them now.
  • The fast flow nipples are actually fast flow- Luna doesn't have to struggle to get juice out.
  • No worries about nasty stuff leaking from the plastic if we warm her milk.
  • They fit on my Medela pump.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Feliz dia de amor y amistad!

This is the book that Luna and I read for Valentines Day. Couldn't resist the cute giraffes.. Luna really liked feeling the felt hearts on the cover. She even wanted to turn the pages herself.
I am so in love with my daughter!
Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ranch girl

Just tried making ranch dressing from scratch for the first time!

I remember years ago, when I was 19, going to Yakima, WA with a catering group from my college to cater the bosses nieces quincenera. The boss made ranch from scratch, and I was amazed that you could actually do that- it never occurred to me that I could do something other than buy it in the bottle!

This is the recipe I tried- loosely based on the this recipe from Farmgirl Fare:

1 cup sour cream (I used thick, full fat organic Kalona)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (also Kalona cream top)
1/3 cup mayo
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
LOTS and LOTS of fresh ground black pepper

Mix these together, then add:

1 tbsp white vinegar (no balsamic for extremely allergic me!)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Stir. Yum. Kraft has nothing on me!

PS- I got all of the dried spices in the bulk section of the Seward Coop- their prices are sick! Why pay up to $8.00 for a jar of dried organic basil when you can get the same amount, but fresher, for 80 cents in the bulk?!? The Wedge Coop has a great bulk section as well.

Friday, February 11, 2011

baby leaps

Luna grows in leaps, I think. In the past week I feel like she has just taken off. She seems less baby-like- is it because she knows that a new baby will be here any day now? Is her therapy sinking in more? Is her brain growing?

Whatever it is, it's very encouraging. In the past week or so she:
-Has almost crawled (still working on getting the front part to cooperate with the back part)
-Has been using her hands more.
-Touched her lion book when we were reading it and tried to turn the page.
-Is sitting up better.
-Is "talking" more.
-Showed at therapy that she understood cause and effect.

It seems like she is losing some of the sensitivity in her hands. One of her therapists thinks that when she touches things, it stimulates her "fight or flight" response, which makes her not want to use her hands. Now, though, she is getting used to touching so many different things that the fight or flight response is starting to regulate itself. It's really fun to see her starting to explore more things with her hands!

We also started "brushing" this week- soft brushing of her limbs 5 times a day that should stimulate more feeling and movement. It doesn't seem to hurt, and she is moving more. We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Must Have Baby List pt. II

The Best Stuff for Bath time!
  • Baby tub- Resist the urge to buy a new one. Even if it's the cute whale sticking it's cute little whaley smiley snout in your face. Find a used one and save a plastic tree. We were given one that was kind of ugly, and leaked a little bit (fixed with packing tape). But it did the job for the short time it was needed.

  • Towels- We were given a couple, and found some at a garage sale. But the best one we got was an organic one by the little seed for Target, on sale for like 4 bucks. And now they are gone- if you see one of these being sold by someone, grab it! Soft, cuddly, organic, and big.
  • Baby soap/shampoo- California Baby for everything. Love this brand. Like I said before, you can only get it at Target and Whole Foods. The co-ops told me that they used to have it, but then it disappeared- I think they got bought out by a bigger distributor? They still rate really well on the Cosmetics Database, better than some of the products at the co-ops like JASON.
  • Baby conditioner- Luna has my dad's ears, and also a bit of his afro. She needs a heavy duty detangler for those curls. We love the Peter Rabbit detangling shampoo that we got at Whole Foods. **Did you know Whole Foods has a "try out" deal? Just ask if you can try a product, and they give you the whole bottle free! Better than paying crazy prices for another product that might not work and sit in your bathroom forever.
  • Baby oil- We just use a little jojoba oil- you can buy it bulk at the Wedge
  • Favorite Bath Toy- I love these stacking cups from Green Sprouts! They have different types of holes at the bottom that make different patterns, and they are great for rinsing hair (or scooping poop out of the bath).

Glass tryout

I'm so excited! We got our order of glass bottles in the mail today. Luna's plastic bottles are finally giving out, and we figured we would need more than 4 bottles for 2 babies, so we had to order something new.

Glass was something we always wanted to do in the first place. The plastic bottles came during that horrible first week when 1)Luna went into the NICU and 2)we were forced to start using a breast pump and bottles about 3 months before I thought we would have to, so I hadn't done much research into it. People said "buy these!" and at that point we were so beaten down I had no fight left in me to stick to my desire to avoid plastics.

But now, since we have to buy new ones, why not try the glass? I looked around and we settled on the Evenflo glass bottles. Yeah, they're not as pretty as some of the other ones out there, but they have great reviews and are WAY cheaper. They don't come with the sleeves, however, so we're going to try out this Silikids one and see how we like it.

My big problem now, however, is figuring out how to keep new babies slow flow nipples separate from Luna's fast flow ones, because they totally look the same. Although if everything goes well, I won't need to use these bottles for a couple of months, and Luna will be drinking out of a cup by then! Knock on wood for me.
 Baby Luna and her bottle in the NICU

Late pregnancy insomnia

It's back with a vengance. That late night, I just woke up to go to the bathroom for the 50 millionth time, and now I can't fall back asleep because I am sleeping and worrying about 50 million different things.

Top on my insomnia lists at the moment, in no particular order:
  • Has my water broke and I don't know it and the amniotic fluid already seeping out and something could get in there and hurt the baby?
  • Is Luna breathing ok? (Resist urge to go check and then wake her up)
  • What are we going to name new baby? Seriously now, she is about to be "X Bilges".
  • Did I close the freezer all the way?
  • Laundry- needs to be done..
  • Cleaning- needs to be done..
  • Random stupid work stuff
  • Have I forgotten to pack anything important in my hospital suitcase?
  • What is this new birth going to be like? When? When? Now? (No)
  • Do I have to pee again? (Yes)
And so on... I guess it's just practice for a couple of weeks from now when I won't be getting more than a couple of hours at a time. Of course then I will be constantly exhausted and falling asleep on my feet! Life is funny.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Online window shopping

Ok, I know it's been around for a while, but I've recently discovered the addictive-ness of window shopping on Etsy. I say window shopping because I have yet to ever buy anything- I just keep going by, and going by, and looking at the same things.

Right now I'm crushing on this artist Amy Perrotti who does the cutest little illustrations of girls around the world.

My favorites! So cute. Maybe one day I'll walk by with some money.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stroller Obsession

My latest obsession? Double strollers. I seriously need to buy one soon because I even dream about them. Strollers. Strollers. Over and over again, first thing in my mind every zillionth time that I wake up to pee.

We didn't do this with Luna. I really could have cared less about the stroller. We had a Moby, and that worked great for the first months, especially on the bus (which was our primary means of transportation).

Then we were given two different umbrella strollers, which were fine. Who cares. It's a stroller. The easier to fold on the bus, the better.

Enter coming of new baby. Now I am obsessed. I've realized how important it is to be mobile, reliably mobile. I've realized how much I hate bulky plastic baby crap. I want something that is going to last, and last well. Something that I am going to want to walk with, instead of dread using.

So at this point I have put in over 20 hours, at least, of stroller research. Although I don't want to, I've realized that we need to buy new. And expensive. But what brand? Last year or this years model? What color? As my sister said, it sounds like I'm buying a car. For real.

This was my first choice: The Bumbleride Indie Twin. Love it, just can't afford it.

This is my decided stroller: The Baby Jogger City Mini. Finally, I've decided...

Yay! We even went over to Baby Grand to test drive it. Love it. Folds down to nothing, in two seconds.

Now just to get the money together to buy it so I can stop dreaming about strollers!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Must Have Baby List pt. 1

So I always see all the lists that people make on Amazon, and I've always wanted to compile my own. What were our absolute essentials and my favorite things for the first years of Luna's life?

First off, we got a lot of things second hand, thrifted, or passed down. She slept in the same bassinett that I (and my brother, sister, and some other babies) did. Almost all of her clothes were given to us or found at various thrift stores around (I couldn't live without Arc). Reason: I really hate the idea of my baby already being born with the karma of having a bunch of plastic crap and chemicals produced just for her. I think we have done a pretty decent job of keeping this to a minimum.

Anyways, the list...

Eating/ Feeding
  • Breastpump- Essential. Overly essential. Make sure you get it ahead of time, because you never know if you'll have feeding challenges (as I did) and need it sooner than expected. We got a Medela Pump In Style Advanced. Seems expensive, but worth it. Note- if you have insurance through the county, you may be able to get it paid for, especially if it is deemed medically necessary. **
  • Bottles- I love the Evenflo glass bottles. They come with slow flow nipples.
  • Bibs- get A LOT of them. Get used if possible since they will get ugly pretty quick.

  • Spoons- I love the Green Toys BPA-Free feeding spoons!
  • Bowls- Our favorites were some super cute bunny and tiger ceramic bowls from United Noodle, which of course we broke pretty quickly. Now we just use mugs or other bowls.
  • Ice cube trays for freezing food, or if you want to buy a tray specifically for this purpose, the OXO tray is a MUST.
  • Snap top tupperware for freezing the baby food cubes.
  • Large pack of labels for labeling food (trust me, you won't remember what it is or when you made it).
  • Heavy duty food processor and blender for making baby food. I LOVE my hand held immersion blender!
  • Steamer and strainer.

  • We use a fabulous service for our cloth diapers- Do Good Diapers. I can't say enough about this place, I highly recommend them! I'll post more on them later.
  • Diaper pail- just grab a good metal one from Target. Don't buy a "diaper pail", they are just more overpriced plastic crap.
  • Wet bag- I love the Planet Wise bag we got at Linden Hills Coop.
  • Covers- After trying a bunch, I really like the Thirsties Duos and the Bum Flips.
 Luna wearing a Thirsties Duo, size 1
  • Changing table- a MUST. We got ours for $5 at the Linden Hills Garage Sales and I love it!
  • Squirtable container (we use an old honey bottle) filled with water and soap (we like Dr. Bronners mild baby castille soap- best bulk prices at the Seward Coop). No need for wipes.
  • Diaper cream- I love the California Baby cream. Works instantly. Great score on the Cosmetic Safety Database. By the way, the only places you can get this in town are Target and Whole Foods.
To be continued...

**Just found this about Medela pumps and their propensity for mold-growth. I knew about the tubing, but not the motor problems! Something to think about when buying the breast pump. I am now using the AMEDA, which I got free through my insurance, and I love it.


Aah heartburn, my best pregnancy friend. As my pregnancies go on, the heartburn just gets worse and worse!

I've tried everything:
-Rolaids (currently on recall): Work well but I hate the thought of eating all that dye and other stuff.
-Tums: No.
-Papaya Seed Extract tablets: Don't work nearly as well as Rolaids.
-Rubbing cardamon essential oil on my upper abdomen: This worked great at the beginning of my third trimester. It actually got rid of my heartburn for a month or so. And it smells absolutely delicious. Now it does a little bit of damage control, but the heartburn is still there.

I just keep telling myself, only a couple of more weeks! I do remember how the heartburn goes away virtually the second after giving birth- I'm focusing on that.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Late Night Silver Polishing

Trying to be more regular about polishing my silver. Silver is almost all I wear every day, and it seems to like to tarnish around  me. I, however, am notoriously lazy about cleaning it. In my younger, more wasteful days I remember throwing out jewelry rather than cleaning it.

I have a great silver polish recipe that I use now:

Fill a bowl with:
-1-2 Tblsp cream of tartar (buy bulk cheap at Seward Coop or The Wedge)
-1-2 strips of aluminum foil

Throw in silver for about an hour. Rinse and dry with soft cloth. Leave in longer if really tarnished.

Or just rub your silver with a little toothpaste and peppermint essential oil.

Just do it regularly or it gets harder to clean!!!


So this is a blog! I am a little nervous to start one, but it is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time, so here goes...

About me: I am 33 (!) years old Puerto Rican Jew from Minneapolis, Minnesota (south side). I love to travel, read, and cook.

And eat. Mmmmmm...

I am also mother of a beautiful one year old daughter, Luna.

She is the most beautiful, happy, loving daughter that anyone could ever want!  She is, I guess, what people call "special needs": She has severe microcephaly (small head) and a genetic disorder that involves missing part of one of her x chromosomes. As it becomes more obvious to people that she is "different", I find myself having to explain it more,  which has been hard, since she doesn't have an obvious condition like Down's Syndrome that everyone knows and can understand.

We are also expecting another daughter any day now! Currently I am 36 weeks and 1 day. Excited and nervous.

Dustin  is my willing counterpart.  In some ways my male double, which can be great and not so great. Always interesting, and always loud.

We both work part-time in order to avoid day care costs and spend the most time possible with bab(ies). I would hate to be working all the time and miss out on baby kisses! Of course, part-time means partly funded, so we live in a little one bedroom.  We also focus a lot on eating well and living as green and healthy as we can.

That's pretty much the bare bones of us!
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