Wednesday, March 30, 2011

breastfeeding inspiration

“Mother’s Milk” by Melanie Cervantes


Some great parent words from awesome blog Mammalingo:

OBCD n. [Fr. Obsessive Breath Checking Disorder] A diagnosis most common among new mothers, symptoms include obsessively staring at a baby’s chest to ensure the rise and fall caused by normal breathing, constant placement of the mother’s hand on baby’s chest to feel this motion, and frequent “breathing checks” when baby is sleeping.

I do this all the time. Luna is almost 16 months old and I still do it! Call me paranoid.

NIPPLETASKING v. [Fr. nipple + multitasking] When your baby is sucking, but ALSO, humming, trying to talk, kicking his leg(s), pounding his arm(s), wiggling his fingers, rolling his eyes, batting his eyelashes and generally twisting all over the place - all at the same time.

During the parent time of our class today, one of the mothers was breastfeeding with a blanket over her. This little black stocking leg kept poking out and waving around like a little tentacle, touching her face, the table, papers... 

HORMOTIONAL adj. [Fr. hormonal and emotional] To be in a heightened emotional state — one in which a cereal commercial can bring you to tears — brought on by a surge in hormones during pregnancy or following delivery. 

Um, yeah.... I should just tattoo this on my forehead!

NURP v. [Fr. nurse and nap] To nurse your baby into a drowsy state. Nursing and napping can go on, and on, and on until it’s unclear whether or not more nursing or napping is actually occurring.

Love this one! A new word for what I do all night.  

In other news, Luna went to her second ECFE class today. What a difference from her first class! The first time, she just kind of stared at everyone and everything with a scared, closed look on her face. 

This time, she gave lots of smiles and laughs. She even smiled at another little girl, which is huge for her! (Although in all honesty, I think she was smiling at the girl's skirt- it was very cool and colorful. But still.) She enjoyed the song time, and grabbed her name card when it was given to her.

I'm hoping that this class will help her interact more with other people, especially other little kids. Maybe she'll make a friend! I'm excited to keep going...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

pat the bunny?

Pat the Bunny- classic baby book.

Luna loves this book. The way that it is bound makes it very easy for her to play with, and she is really into the mini "book" within the book. Today she had tons of fun with dropping it on the floor about 50 times and waiting for me to pick it up, before she dropped it again.

But why, tell me, does the book need to have scented flowers?

What did they use to scent those flowers with? Is it toxic? I know the smell drives me crazy. I always try to skip over the flower page but the damn book still smells like it.

I need a non-smelly Pat the Bunny.

Monday, March 28, 2011

white bean soup

Feeling a little better today, or at least not so all over the place. Sometimes forcing myself to do things can be helpful. I also feel a little better when my surroundings aren't so scattered and messy. Made myself clean the bathroom yesterday, and do some random picking up and other projects today. Then spent some time cuddling with Luna on the bed, doing some baby massage, reading some stories, and sharing some hugs. Talked to a friend for a while. Hard to feel bad after all of that.

So between doing all of that, and nursing the ever-hungry Dakota, I didn't have time to make dinner. Luckily I had some bean soup in the freezer. I swear, this soup tastes even better after being frozen. How many things can you say that about? I created this recipe as a more adult version of the Campbells bean and bacon soup with hotdogs that my mom used to make when I was a kid. Comfort food.

White Bean Soup
Can of white, northern or navy beans
1 carrot, peeled
2-3 cloves garlic
1 medium/large overripe tomato
Chicken stock
1/2 pack kosher hotdogs
Salt, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes
Lots of fresh ground black pepper

1. Dice carrot and garlic small. Saute in olive oil and butter over low for 2-3 minutes in a heavy pot.

2. Dice tomato small. Add to garlic and carrot- make sure to get all the ripe juices in there! Keep sauteing until carrots are pretty tender.

3. Rinse beans, add. Add 2-3 cups chicken stock, depending on how soup-y you want it.

4. Cut up hot dogs, add to soup. Also add spices to taste (about 1/2 tsp of oregano, basil and red pepper, a dash of salt and lots of black pepper). Bring to a boil.

5. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

*Make double or triple the recipe and freeze some!
*I use dried beans when I think ahead of time. Just soak the beans over night. Rinse beans, and follow the recipe, changing the cook time to about 1 1/2 hours.

Mmmmm... yummy! Score one for comfort food.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Having kind of a down day today. Breastfeeding hormones are just making me cry at nothing. Feeling super un-motivated to do anything because 1) I'm exhausted from Dakota being up all night and 2) Every time I try to do something I get interrupted anyways. And at this point, really, why do I care if my floor is clean or not? Why waste my time cleaning it?

Yup, just a little depressed.

My maternity leave is ending soon, and I'm sad that I have to go back to work. Why can't I sit at home and cuddle with my babies all day? Especially Dakota, if I go back to work so soon, is she going to have trust and bonding issues? I guess that is some of that special mother's guilt, the thoughts that will keep me up at night when I should be sleeping.

I also got pretty upset last night about Luna's condition, after reading things on the internet. It's hard not knowing everything about her condition. I think sometimes I operate in a bit of denial, because I have to. I don't want to think about her not living past childhood. But what if that's part of her condition? I'm trying to focus on the good things, like how well she has been doing in therapy, and how fun she is to be around. But sometimes it's hard.

Probably the biggest reason that I'm feeling like this is because I have been cooped up in this little apartment for months. Spring keeps seeming like it's just around the corner. Maybe next week! Maybe next week! I'm still hoping that this weather will warm up and I can get outside for a walk. I think that shall do wonders for my state of being. Any day now...

laying around the house

Friday, March 25, 2011

cashew chicken yum

I love any recipe that tastes good, is easy and fast to make, and can be made with whatever ingredients I have in my fridge. That's why I love this cashew chicken recipe from the Rasa Malaysia website.

 So simple, you cannot mess it up no matter how much you try. And it is so, so good.

A couple of things to know:

-Do not skip the chicken marinade step. Yes, I know, it sounds weird, but it will show you just how magical baking soda truly is. Try it!

-Use whatever vegetables you have. Tonight I had some carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms. It was delicious.

-I recommend to double the sauce ingredients.

Yum... why go out for Chinese when you can make it much better at home? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

one month old

on breastfeeding

Article: Breastfeeding women viewed as less competent?

Apparently, according to this study, done by researchers at Montana State University.

Most disturbing:  Results were the same regardless of the gender of the participant. So it is not just men in our society that look down on breastfeeding, it is women too? Why do we have such a bad attitude about breastfeeding, when it is such a normal thing to do, and has been done as a matter of course up until the middle of this century? Was the propaganda being issued by the medical industry and formula companies that powerful? Apparently so.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

baby butts

All baby clothes should have something on the butt.
Outfit from Savers on Lake Street! 99 cents.

eco friendly toys

Melissa and Doug toys are on sale at Zulily today!

I really like their toys. Wood, eco-friendly, non-toxic paints, at affordable prices. Cute, too. Smiling alien bowling pins? Can't get much cuter than that.

Monday, March 21, 2011

on breastfeeding

The best thing about breastfeeding is that it gives you an excuse to sit back, relax, and do nothing.

The worst thing about breastfeeding is that you have to sit there and can't do anything.

i wish i looked this cool all the time! lol

two baby busy

Today was one of those days that I feel is but a glimpse into my future. And my future looks really, really busy.

Like this post- I've had to leave it and come back to it about 10 times.

Dakota was up at about 3:30 am, and did not want to fall back asleep until about 7 am. Which is when Luna wakes up. Luckily Dustin got up with Luna this morning, and gave me a couple of hours of sleep. All day long I was either nursing Dakota or trying to give attention to a still sensitive Luna. When I wasn't doing either of those things I was trying to eat, or shower, or clean.

I know that things are only going to get more hectic, as I go back to work, and Dakota gets older and more energized. I can't even imagine...

Things that are helping me right now:
  • Tag teaming. What if there weren't two of us? What if we had three or four kids? I have even more respect and awe for single mothers and fathers at this point. I don't know how you all do it.
  • Having a helpful partner. Yes, there are times when I want to kill him, because I do more cleaning, or getting up with the babies, or going to appointments, or cook dinner, or whatever. But the fact is that I do have a partner that makes an effort to be part of a team. He does pitch in with the dishes (which he hates) and he has been making an effort to clean the bathroom to my standards (actually using a disinfectant and getting into the corner behind the toilet). Currently he is doing everything he can to quiet this fussy, fussy baby. He is not one of those men that considers all this "women's work" (yes, those men still exist), he does care about me and my sanity, and for that I am very, very grateful. And again, props to you single parents out there.
  • The fact that I am on maternity leave. This is going to be much, much harder when I go back to work. 
  • Being organized. The more organized, the better. If I know where everything is, I waste less time searching for it. Of course, there is always room for improvement (as I think about my closets, especially my clothes closet, which I can't even walk into at the moment)...
  • Stepping back and remembering what is important. It's easy to get caught up in how hard everything is, or the stress of all the crap that I have to do, but I'm trying to remember the big picture: That I love my family and that I need to enjoy them. Because if I don't, what is the point of all this? 
The point is that two babies are much harder than one, but twice as cute and fun. And I am going to need to stock up on a lot more coffee.

amusing themselves- for the moment...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

i'll see you in the morning...

Goodnight Moon is great- we read it all the time.

But I absolutely love this little board book that I found at Corazon on Lake Street- I'll See You in the Morning.

Beautiful illustrations, fun rhyme that makes a great bedtime routine (I'll see you in the morning/for now it's time to sleep/ I will stay and watch a while/ Til you are counting sheep).

Umm.. I just realized I have the whole book memorized. That's how much we love it.

I'll see you in the morning!

3 1/2 weeks

taking time for yourself

If there is one thing that I learned after my first pregnancy, it is that it is so important to carve out some time to take care of yourself. I know, all the baby books say it, and in the weeks after Luna came I kept thinking how stupid those authors were, how they obviously never had babies because they didn't know how time-consuming this whole parenting thing is.

Well, yes, it is time-consuming. But nobody says that it has to be all-consuming. You still need to take care of yourself, and right after baby you need it more than ever. Before baby I felt glowing and beautiful (at least with my first pregnancy). After giving birth to Luna, I felt fat and tubby, super tired and drained, flat and dull. My hair was falling out and greasy. I dreaded leaving the house and looking in the mirror. This is not a good way to feel when you are already crazy with breast-feeding hormones that make you cry at any little thing.

With this post-pregnancy time, I am trying to make a better effort to take care of myself. I make it a priority to take a shower every day (even if it means jumping in at 6 am, or maneuvering Dakota and the swing into the bathroom). I try not to spend all day in pajamas. I try to keep up a little bit of my body care routine each day- even if it means taking my toenail polish off today, filing my nails tomorrow, and putting polish on the day after that.

Once a week I have been using a fabulous body scrub that I found in Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby. It takes about 5-10 minutes to apply and rinse, but it is soooo worth it- my whole body feels invigorated (and super soft!) afterwards.

Ground almonds 
Sweet almond, jojoba or olive oil
Rosemary, lavender, or geranium essential oil (optional)

  • Grind almonds in food processor. Combine equal parts almond and oatmeal in an airtight jar (use about a cup of each).
  • Put about 1/4 cup of the dry mix into a bowl. Add 1-2 drops of essential oil and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix. Add more oil if needed to get to wet, pasty consistency.
  • After showering or bathing, towel off almost completely. Starting at feet, massage small handfuls of the scrub upwards in a circular motion.
  • After applying to whole body, rinse thoroughly using a soft cotton washcloth to help rinse off excess scrub and oil.
Warning: it is a messy scrub! Little pieces of oatmeal and almond will get all over the tub. Luckily, they rinse away with little effort.

Even though I have been up most of the night with sick baby and nursing baby, I found a little time during nap time today to apply this scrub, which helped to clean a lot of my crabbiness away. Totally worth it. And it helps to have a loving mate who is cooking lunch while I write this!

Mommy relaxing.

sick baby update

Well, it was a pretty rough night. Not much sleep going on. Luna's nose was not responding to anything- poor thing could barely breathe. And of course, our trusty penguin humidifier decided to take this opportunity to break- isn't that always the way things go? (Hopefully I can fix it today?) We tried every position possible to help her breathe. The one that finally worked somewhat well was with her burying her face downward into Bunny Girl, who was providing some serious comfort to her yesterday.

So Luna is finally somewhat sleeping, and Dakota decides to wake up around 2:30 am and eat and fuss non-stop until about 8:00 am. No sleep for mommy.. and then at 9:00 am she surprised me with a poop so immense in size and scope that we managed to get it EVERYWHERE before getting to a bath.

Great morning! Looking forward to a possible nap today...

At least Luna seems to be getting better. She has found her voice again and is yelling, screaming and complaining about how bad she feels. She also is eating and drinking a bit more. Hospital avoided- yay!

Luna and Bunny Girl on a happier day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

sick baby

There is nothing worse in the world than a sick baby!

Luna is sicker than she has ever been, with a temperature of 102. It is so hard watching this baby who is normally so sparkly and happy lay around looking sad and pitiful. I tried to get a smile from her and the most she could do was twitch her lip. Heartbreaking!

We went to the doctor today, and she only weighed 16 pounds, which is less than she weighed in January. Which means she has lost 2-3 pounds in the past couple of days... Ouch. She hasn't wanted to eat or drink anything, although this evening we were able to get her to eat some pea soup and yogurt.

Sadness.. she wouldn't fall asleep until I laid next to her and held her hand for awhile. God, I love that little girl! Here's hoping that she is improved a bit tomorrow.

sicky sick lunita.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

sniffy noses and onion poultices

Poor Luna has a cold. It started with a little bit of a runny nose, and turned into a nose that alternately is running like a faucet and is so stopped up that she can't breathe. There is nothing sadder than a baby whimpering, breathing through their mouth and looking at you with sad eyes! She also has a dry little cough that is worse at night, making her stay up all night.. poor thing.

I tried a couple of things today that hopefully will kick this cold out of her system before it gets worse.

Onion Poultice: I've used this on myself and it did seem to help break up my mucus and give some relief to my coughing.

1. Chop (with knife or food processor) a bit of onion (white or yellow) into bits.
2. Use raw, retaining liquid, or warm with a bit of olive oil in a saucepan.
3. Fold into flat pouch using cheesecloth or some other thin fabric (preferably organic).
4. Tape onto babies chest using first aid tape.

If anything, it is working on the cough, since Luna has not coughed since I put it on her.  I even have her laying in her crib, propped up on a pillow, listening to her Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of The Cure CD, taking a nap.

Essential Oils: I made a synergistic mix in a dropper bottle of a couple of different oils that can be put in the bath or in a diffuser. I boil water and put 3 drops in, then put the bowl next to her crib.

10 drops Eucalyptus Radiata
10 drops Ravensara
5 drops Tea Tree
3 drops Lavender
1 drop Thyme

I don't have the thyme oil right now, but I had everything else. I know the eucalyptus definitely helps with the cough and breathing, and if anything, it covers up the onion smell!

Just checked on her- still sleeping! Hopefully she can get a couple of good hours in- and maybe so can I.

Onion poultice source: Natural Baby and Childcare: Practical Medical Advice and Holistic Wisdom for Raising Healthy Children
Essential oil mix source: Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child: More Than 300 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends

Monday, March 14, 2011


Yes, two babies are harder than one. It is very true. And I just see it getting harder, not easier.

There are a couple of things that are saving me from crossing over to the insane side right now:

1. Vibrating chair- I received a used one purchased at Once Upon a Child at my first baby shower for Luna. It is not the prettiest thing, but it is a life saver! It vibrates, has music and a couple of white noise options, and it bounces lightly when she moves.

Perfect place for daytime naps. Fits in our tiny bathroom and keeps her occupied when I am in the shower.

2. Swaddler- I found a couple of organic Summer Infant swaddlers on sale at Marshalls. We never used a targeted "swaddler" with Luna, but I am loving them with Dakota. Keeps her hands away from her face, and she is less fussy when the swaddle is tight.

Plus, she looks like either a cute little glow worm or a Hare Krishna.

With Luna in March 2010

3. Moby- Dakota likes to be held. Walking around with her in the Moby is comforting to her when other things aren't. Yes, I am lazy to put it on sometimes, but when I do, I wonder why it took me so long to decide to put it on.

4. Our fabulous double stroller- As you know, we were gifted the awesome Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller by my fantabulous siblings. Using this stroller is effortless. I cannot say enough about how easy it makes my life!

And hopefully, the weather will improve enough this week to actually take it outside. That will do wonders in keeping me on this side of insane.

5. Daddy- Without him, I would be running non-stop. And he deals with my crazy breastfeeding hormones pretty well. We love you!

6. Laptop- Keeping me connected to the outside world. Thanks grandma!!!

Now, like I said, if we could just get out in some sun and semi-decent weather, life will be a little easier.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the evils of plastic

Buying BPA-free bottles and other baby feeding products? They still might be leeching other harmful chemicals.

From this article on

"Are hormonal imbalances running rampant in your family? Blame it on bottles and sippy cups.

New research reveals most plastic products are releasing chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen.

And even BPA-free plastic products can leach a chemical that mimics estrogen, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives shows."

Scary stuff! Plastic is just evil. Happy that we switched to the glass bottles! Finding a good sippy cup alternative might be harder...

daylight savings madness

Daylight savings has now wrecked havoc on our house. It's 11:30, but Luna just had breakfast, nobody has bathed yet (except for me), and I am just drinking my morning coffee. This has been normal for 8:00 am, not 11:30 am!

How did I just lose 3 hours, instead of just one?

In other news, interesting little fact about daylight savings madness in Minnesota:

The Minnesota cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul once didn't have twin perspectives with regard to the clock. These two large cities are adjacent at some points and separated only by the Mississippi River at others, and are considered a single metropolitan area. In 1965, St. Paul decided to begin its Daylight Saving Time period early to conform to most of the nation, while Minneapolis felt it should follow Minnesota's state law, which stipulated a later start date. After intense inter-city negotiations and quarreling, the cities could not agree, and so the one-hour time difference went into effect, bringing a period of great time turmoil to the cities and surrounding areas.

Madness all around! Seriously, I love getting an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, but I am now seeing just how hard it is for babies to have their schedule shifted by an hour. Double madness.

Friday, March 11, 2011

newborn acne and post-pregnancy skin issues

Dakota's newborn acne is finally fading! This is a picture of her at 2 weeks. Such an improvement over a week ago, when she looked like a cross between a scaly lizard and someone with a really bad case of the measles. Our lactation consultant advised us to put breast milk on it (totally reminded me of the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding putting windex on everything) but that didn't seem to do much...

  1. Put one drop of lavender essential oil on a bag of organic chamomile tea and let dry.
  2. Boil water for tea. Steep bag with a cover on the mug to stop steam from escaping.
  3. Let tea cool. Bottle in a glass jar or squeezy bottle. Keep in cool, dark place.
  4. Discard after 3 days. 
We applied it to her face 3 times a day with an organic cotton square after washing her face with a warm water and castile soap* mix. 

*Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild, bought bulk at the coop, check out their cosmetic database score here.

After a day the acne started fading, and the parts that looked like they could be getting infected (turning red and slightly bloody from scratching against her blankets or hands) looked better almost immediately.

I've also been splashing it on my face to deal with the post-pregnancy skin issues, of which I have in abundance. Before my first pregnancy, I always had a super greasy, oily face in the summer and a pretty dry face in the winter. As soon as I got pregnant the first time, my skin totally flipped to the dry side. I figured after giving birth it would go back to normal (oily), but it never has. It has just gotten more and more dry, even in the summer, and if I am not careful I get more acne on my cheeks and chin. 

The chamomile water is a nice splash that I use in the shower after washing and exfoliating to help tone down redness. My main face-saver is an oil that I use every morning (and evening, if I'm particularly dry) after washing. The recipe is from Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby, by Allison England- an awesome book for pregnancy, post-pregnancy and newborn topics and massage.

Mix two drops of lavender and two drops of ylang ylang essential oils in a clean glass bottle. Add one and a half tablespoons of jojoba oil. Use a little each time, and massage well into face and neck. Wipe off any excess oil if needed.
Look at this beautiful face!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

two weeks old

dakota alicia star

summer dreams

I'm sitting here in the sun (coming through my window) and trying to imagine that outside it is actually warm out. Yes, I know that it is in the thirties outside, and in Minnesota that is considered a blessing, almost shorts weather in March. But I want it to be spring, summer, sunny, warm, with a breeze that smells like growing things rather than frozen tundra.

Sometimes I look at pictures from summer and try to imagine myself there.

To be in the water at Cedar Lake right now!

Laying on a picnic blanket, with the cooler next to you full of yummy ice tea and grapes... (don't you love Luna's curly-riffic hair?!?)

Letting babies lay around in just their diapers, hanging laundry on the line.. Just being outside!!!!

Minnesota, please let summer come soon. We need to get outside. Now.
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