In the last week or so I've noticed some subtle changes in Anna that I have been struggling to put a name to, but today I'm feeling like they're simply all evidence of her growing up. Why is it such a bittersweet process, this growing up stuff? I'm ecstatic and depressed about it all at once. My heart savors the gifts she gives us with each new day...a "love you," a spontaneous kiss or cuddle, a new word, reaching out to hold my hand while she eats her lunch, surprising me with a demonstration of a newly understood concepts(today it was "up high" and "down low"), laughing at herself as she carries away my neatly stacked piles of laundry. And, my heart aches as I say goodbye to our baby, and soon enough, to our toddler. While aspects of this growing process feel so slow, other pieces feel all to fast. This week I found myself wishing I could freeze the moments, the facial expressions, the innocence that is so fleeting.
Anna was so alive this week. It's like someone took a magnifying glass to her sensitivity, timidity, perceptiveness, silliness, and determination. She's always been all of these things (well, maybe not silly - she was a very serious infant), but this week she's like a caricature of herself in many ways. Her large circle of personal space has been immoveable for those she's not comfortable with. She's clingy and fearful of other kids at the store. While she's always more observant than participatory at music class, rarely walking into the mob of kids to grab instruments and only recently working up the courage to strum the teacher's guitar, she decided a couple of weeks ago it was OK to hug her. This week Anna refused hugs, strumming, and most of the activities that require some assertiveness (her mommy isn't a great role model here...if a kid stole a toy from me when I was young, I usually just let them take it, and so far Anna behaves similarly). She's knowingly pushing my buttons, throwing food or eating inedible things to get my attention or if she senses my tension and agitation. She wants to help me with everything ("Help me!" she says when she wants to help ME), asking to ride in the sling throughout the day. She's laughing more, teasing more, and making me smile more, too. Getting dressed to go outside yesterday, she put her arm in her coat, then took it out - repeatedly - reveling in her power to make us laugh. Last night, for the first time in months, she didn't want to go to sleep, and she woke multiple times in the night.
While I'm always quick to analyze her behavior and surmise that she's coming down with something or getting a new tooth (in this case, I do see one that looks relatively close to the surface), I expect that this is all just her growing up. She's separating and individuating. She's discovering her Self. And, it's hard work...for all of us. But, it's really great, too.
I tend to get ahead of myself, I know, but all of this change has me thinking about the transitions down the road and how we'll tackle them all in such close proximity. Weaning, trading a crib for a big-girl bed, potty training, a sibling, preschool, blah, blah, blah. It's enough to make me want to crawl under the covers, or worse yet, sew a whole new wardrobe to occupy my mind and hands and time.
Growing up is inevitable. While we can influence the process, it's going to happen no matter what - it's out of our control. It's beautiful and scary. It's predictable and tumultuous. It happens so fast. Each stage brings new joys, but it also means saying goodbye to joys that are outgrown. I guess that's why it's so bittersweet.
A couple of days ago I spent Anna's nap time browsing blogs, feeling both inspired by some of the amazing women I was reading and overwhelmed by the number of sites I wish I had time to follow every day. Foodie blogs, mom blogs, crafty blogs, photography blogs, kid blogs, and blogs that speak to all of the above suck me in lately. I think new favorites of mine are going to be the blogs over at Simple Living Media. They have blogs that cover all of my favorite topics with various contributors sharing their ideas and wisdom.
I was checking out their recipes and found the article How to Make the Best Muffins Ever. I've been infatuated with muffins lately. I love them. I can incorporate any number of fruits and veggies to make a relatively healthy, homemade snack for Anna and me that is portable and lasts throughout the week. The tips for muffin-making were helpful (why wouldn't I have thought to put a baking sheet under my muffin pan to prevent the muffins from burning?!), and the basic recipe here is different than anything I've made.
Anna, Mo, and I made the carrot and raisin muffins today. They were simply delicious!
It's no secret that I'm, um, passionate (obsessive) about natural living. I mentioned that we made the switch from harsh chemical cleaners to more earth and kid-friendly products, including things like baking soda, vinegar, and Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap.
These things take care of the floors, stove top, counter tops, and cleaning fruits and veggies among other things. We also use a few store-bought brands such as Naturally It's Clean and Seventh Generation. Needless to say, I scoured the labels for harmful chemicals prior to purchasing them for the first time.
Recently, my friend Emily asked me about the dish soap I use, and I happily told her which store-bought brand I prefer. I was shocked to learn from her a few days later that this company's soap now contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as its second ingredient. Blake noticed they have a "new improved formula," and he wondered if they added this after I scoured the label years ago. Or, maybe I overlooked it. Regardless, I have been a bit distraught this week since receiving this information. I'm sure Anna will be fine, despite the hours of splashing, playing and rubbing her face with the SLS-laden bubbles that she loves so much. What is more upsetting is that a company I trusted puts something like this into their products.
I realize I don't have ALL of the information available, but Emily and I have both heard and read information about the potential detrimental health effects of SLS. Needless to say, I've been searching for a better alternative, and I found one today.
Back in September my sister-in-law gave me Make Your Place: Affordable & Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs. She actually gave away a copy on her blog, but I didn't win. So, I was thrilled to receive this little gem of a book. She has so much useful information for us natural-living fans. It turns out Ms. Briggs suggests using the castile soap we already have on hand with a few drops of essential oils to clean the dishes.
We finally tried out our new Sherpani backpack today. We bought it a couple of weeks ago after Daddy and Anna fell in love with Darcy and Dave's during our Colorado visit. Blake took the day off and the snowfall called us outside for a walk. Anna's tongue spent most of the ride catching flakes. Believe it or not, there's a part of me that's going to miss this winter weather when it's gone.
My eyes are dry and drooping after a full, fun weekend. I'm finally here, ready to post a few pictures and share a few moments from the past couple of days. My energy and creativity is lacking, though - since we've been home it's been non-stop cooking, unpacking, cleaning up, mail-sorting, menu and grocery list making, and mind-racing. The mind-racing is due, in part, to my fatigue; but, it's also because I have so many things I want to do in these few evening hours. Shall I blog, read about photography (so I can finally do my Nikon D80 justice), knit the scarf that I'm behind on, clean out closets for donations, read my book, reply to e-mails, browse blogs, sew the shirt that is my next project, snuggle up to Blake on the couch, or just go to sleep? Tonight, blogging won.
Anna, Blake, and I traveled to Midland this weekend. One of my dearest friends, Amy, is getting married in May, and her pretty princess shower - hosted by very enthusiastic, thoughtful 8 and 9-year-old nieces - was on Saturday. Anna and I drove up early on a cloudless Friday afternoon (Blake arrived later after work), and after helping Grandma make Daddy's favorite seven-layer-dip, we soaked up some sun outside. I have too many snowy winter photos of Anna by now, but she just LOVES being outside and loves playing in the snow. She spent much of her time Friday making mitten prints and snow balls, over and over and over again.
Anna and Grandma in the backyard.
Saturday morning we spent some time with cousins Krysha and Grace. Krysha captured some great photos of our visit. I continue to be amazed with her pictures (after our visit I was reminded of how little I'm doing with our camera and how much I want to improve on my photography skills).
Then I was off to the shower...the princess shower for which we were all were instructed to wear tiaras and fancy gowns. I nervously arrived in my junior-year prom dress (I could post the picture, but I think I'll pass) with an obnoxious white butt-bow, wondering if I would be the only one to show up in full princess attire. I was not alone, and we all had a wonderful time showering Amy with gifts and well-wishes.
Meanwhile, Daddy, Mo, and Anna tackled the park, swinging and sliding and conducting trains. Just after we all returned home, one of Mo's friends arrived with two doggies for Anna to play with. I'm not sure if she was happier to see me or the dogs - she seemed pretty thrilled with both.
My day ended on a high note with a girls' night out. While Anna slept (obviously exhausted from her big day) and Blake enjoyed some much-needed relaxation time, I met up with Amy and two other ladies for some drinks and great conversation. Before I realized it, the clock struck 1 a.m., and this princess felt like she was about to turn into a pumpkin. I collapsed into bed shortly after 1:30 a.m., feeling so grateful for time with the girls. And although Anna slept well through the night, she was ready to go at 5:30am this morning. Mo played with Anna while Blake and I slept in, which brought this fairy tale weekend to a beautiful end.
I've never considered crafting one of my strengths; however, I've always been intrigued by, and really quite envious of, crafty people. I can't yet imagine dreaming up a new sewing project or a creative craft project for Anna; but, more and more, I can take an idea, bring it to life, and maybe change it up a bit. At night I've been focused on making gifts - I'm sewing another apron and knitting a scarf, both of which I find to be rather meditative. Of course, knitting while I zone out to mindless television isn't exactly meditation, but it makes me feel so much less guilty about watching TV! During the day Anna and I have been playing with glue, construction paper, tissue paper, the usual crayons, paint brushes, and anything else that isn't a choking hazard. Maybe it's because I'm not working outside the house or maybe it's because I want to foster Anna's creativity, but I'm a bit obsessed with all of the possible craft projects out there. Of course, Anna isn't at the age to even attempt most of them, but she will be soon.
Our Eric Carle-inspired butterfly made from tissue paper and pipe cleaners.
Anna and I made a couple of simple toddler-friendly things recently. I think she enjoyed the finished products more than the process, because I won't let her run off with the scissors or the stapler. I found the butterfly and paper plate shakers on Babycenter.com, but I wasn't that thrilled with their craft ideas overall. Then I turned to the blogs. You know how it is when you go from one site to another to another until you don't remember where you started? There are so many out there, but my favorite site that I landed on is The Artful Parent. I love this woman's blog, her ideas and thoughts, and her writing. I'll be visiting frequently, especially when Anna is a little bit older.
Paper plates, crayons, dry pasta, and staples made a great music shaker, although Anna still wants to figure out how to get that pasta out of there!
We have a pretty standard routine every night. And, although there are a number of other moments during each day that I love, like when we are greeted in the morning by monstrous Anna hugs and endless Anna kisses or when Anna and I are snuggled up in the rocking chair before a nap, many of my favorites are between the time Daddy arrives home and the time Anna is curled up in bed.
On a normal day, Anna and I cook dinner "together" and have it on the table by 5:45pm. Daddy usually walks in the door just in time, exclaiming "I'm home!" while I sing "Daddy's home!" and Anna squeals with delight. Kisses go around, and we sit down to our family meal. More and more often now we're able to enjoy at least some of our feast without any major food-throwing fits. After 20 or 30 minutes Anna exerts her strength and independence, announcing she is ready for bath time by pushing herself away from the table while signing and exclaiming "Done!"
We all look forward to the moments after dinner. Daddy gets the best snuggles as I "get" Anna all the way up the stairs, who hides out in Daddy's arms and laughs a deep belly laugh as we go. She anticipates it every night. Recently, our routine has changed from Anna helping Daddy fill up the bath to Anna jumping on the spare room bed. She stands up (thwarting my attempts to undress her for bath time) and waits for me to shake the bed so she can fall back onto the pillowy down comforter. Then Daddy comes in and joins the fun after the bath is ready. Her giggles keep us at it even when we're running late for bed time.
Minus the first couple of weeks of Anna's life, bath time has always been a sweet time of day. Anna loves the water. Blake and I love to watch her in the tub. Sometimes she's quiet and thoughtful as she focuses on her toys, making bubbles or dunking duckies. Sometimes she's unbearably loud, squealing, splashing, and riling us all up. She loves to watch herself in the mirror, too. (We still have her on the counter in a big plastic tub. I don't know why...maybe because it's more comfortable on our knees and backs...that's about to change, as she's getting way too big for it). Lately she's been making faces at herself, smiling, frowning, kissing, talking, appearing to be unaware of us in awe as we watch our little girl grow up before our eyes.
I get Anna out of the bath and she snuggles up in Daddy's arms to dry off, just barely, before wiggling down to the ground. Her hooded towel trails behind her as she asks for us to open the door. Her little naked, goosebumpy body underneath her hood runs into her room, and as we follow, we can't help but compare her to Rocky or Luke Skywalker. After PJ's, it's story time. Three stories is the rule since I-don't-remember-when. Daddy reads, and I go so they can have some time alone. I come back and we all say our prayer together. Then Anna and I settle into the old pine rocker for milk. We talk about the day (I talk, she listens or says "yes" or "no") and I sing to her. I sing songs Blake dreamed up when Anna was little. I sing a song my mom dreamed up when I was little. I sing oldies. We get quiet, and I just enjoy being totally present in the moment with my baby, who's not such a baby anymore. And, then we say good night.
Maybe not in this case. When it comes to speed, mommy is beyond cautious. I'm a self-proclaimed wuss. Anna also tends to be cautious, but she's also fearless in some situations, which I've mentioned before. It looks like she'll be riding with Daddy down the sledding hill from now on; she showed no fear this weekend on her first ever sledding adventure.
Our camera work is simply hilarious. In the future, we will laugh out loud at the mistaken footage - Blake and I didn't realize we were recording at various points during the trip, and I failed to record Blake and Anna flying down the hill when I thought for sure I was taping it. Blake did get the first and second time Anna and I crept down the hill, shown below. His commentary probably explains it best. Basically, I was scared to go too fast (it was a big hill!), so although I tried to pick up the pace the second time around, I whitewashed Anna as I put on the "brakes" with my feet. She loved every minute of it...until then. She recovered quickly though, and I'm sure we'll be taking Anna sledding again soon.
...these photos. Mo D (Grandma Deb) showed up today shortly after I changed Anna's very wet diaper. I guess she drank a lot of water this morning, so her cloth diaper leaked through to her onesie. I was letting her walk around with her onesie undone and no pants on (hoping it would dry), because I'd already changed her clothes once after a very wet dishwashing adventure. Mo, of course, came bearing gifts; specifically, sticky window decorations and shoes. Anna had to wear the shoes and try out the decor immediately, sans pants.
I made this Ragu tonight. Blake received the recipe from an Italian colleague, who passed it along from his Italian grandmother. We made it once before for the Mox-Kirker-Richards Christmas celebration. It was a hit, so we decided to indulge once again and freeze the leftovers for another time.
The recipe as given to us with the e-mail subject line "Talked to Grandma":
Can of peeled plum tomatoes (hand crush them urself)
1 large onion ( can add carrots and celery ) A bunch of peeled crushed garlic 1lb beef 1lb pork 1lb veal Red Wine Similar to what I told u yesterday, brown onions and garlic in a large pot with some olive oil, add the meat and red wine (as much as u want!). Once meat is brown add tomatoes… turn heat to med low and let simmer until thick She sometimes adds a carrot and celery at the begging with the onions I like to add a bay leaf at the end I think it adds great flavor for a ragu style sauce….
Serve with rigatoni and a scoop of ricotta !!!
What I did:
Olive oil (approximately 2-3 Tbsp)
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Italian red wine
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. ground veal (I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but we did eat the veal for the sake of this recipe)
1 lb. ground pork
1 can whole peeled plum tomatoes, crushed and juices reserved
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and saute until onions are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the meat and red wine to the pot (I broke up the meat before adding the wine), browning the meat thoroughly before adding in crushed tomatoes and their juices. Simmer over low heat until sauce thickens (about 1 hour). Serve with a generous dollop of ricotta cheese and pasta.
Angela cancelled music class this morning due to the snow, which could have been devastating; but our friends Emily and Harper invited us over to play. Not only did Anna and Mommy get some girl time, but Anna also got to snuggle their big, friendly Golden Retriever, Max.
This afternoon we geared up for the snow and headed out for some sledding, sliding, snow-angel making, and snow eating. It was Anna's first ever snow angel. I wish I'd had a third and fourth dry hand at the time so I could've captured a photo as she mimicked my arms and legs flailing. She looked just a little bit hesitant and confused as she reclined in the snow, but she smiled widely at the finished product.
After playing outside we shed our layers, Anna settled into the sling, and we cooked up some homemade chicken noodle soup with the homemade chicken stock Blake made a few weekends ago. It was the perfect dinner for this snowy day.
Although we started 2010 with a nasty stomach bug and a couple of molars, I feel like we're finally getting into a groove. It's just over one month into the new year, and goals are being accomplished, we've been having fun and trying new activities, and despite the nasty winter, I'm feeling not so funky most days. Maybe it's the beautiful snow falling today or a sunshine hangover from yesterday's gorgeous day. Whatever it is, I'm liking it.
I suppose SLEEP is helping the situation. I'm hesitant to jinx myself while Anna is 90 minutes into a nap, but I'm going to put it down anyway. Since Anna's last molars came through, she's been taking longer naps. Hallelujah! This means I've had a bit more time to myself, and I've been just a little bit better about resting, meditating, and/or napping to achieve my sleep goals.
Anna and I have also had a pleasant balance of activity and downtime. Play dates have been frequent, she enjoys helping out on errands (even if it's more difficult for me) or with chores around the house (dishes are particularly fun), and she can't wait for music class with her teacher, Angela, each week. We Skype with Papa and Mo (all of them) frequently. And, each evening around 4:30, Anna is ready to get cooking in the kitchen.
We've settled into a kind of routine that is hardly set in stone:
Monday: Play date with Aidan and Alicia in the morning, groceries every other week in the afternoon (Blake and I take turns with groceries every other week). Laundry folding day. I teach Spinning at night.
Tuesday: Either story time at the library, errands, or play date in the morning. ATTEMPT to get laundry put away. Play outside (we're trying to do this a little bit every day).
Wednesday: Music in the morning. Yoga in the afternoon (Anna ASKS to get out the yoga mats now).
Thursday: No set plan...play dates, errands, housework.
Friday: No set plan...usually crafting, baking, playing, and just being around home.
Saturday: Mommy runs!
Our weekends at home have been so much more peaceful now that we're not attempting to fit in the three-hour grocery trip. We've been busy, but relaxed. And, I've been busy, but a little more relaxed. I'm meeting my three-days-per-week exercise goal. I'm sewing a bit, knitting, and reading, and of course, blogging...all things I didn't find or make as much time for last year.
Nevertheless, the have-to-do list is ever-present and always growing, nagging at my brain sometimes. I'm going back to an old method of managing priorities and tasks that I learned from my coach a few years ago: Inventory and Commitment Lists. The Inventory List contains all things that you need and/or want to accomplish. Each day you move items to your Daily Commitment List. You move ONLY those items you know you can commit to. So, it may only be one or two goals, but it's realistic. At the end of the day, you've accomplished what you set out to do. And, the list isn't quite so daunting (even if it never shrinks, because STUFF just keeps getting added!)
Oh, it won't be long, and our groove will shift. My good-feeling will momentarily pause as I adjust to the next phase of our lives. The season will be changing, and Anna will be changing too. Her change is constant, a little bit each day, such that sometimes, I don't even notice it. Soon, the sun will shine until 7pm, and I'll wonder when that happened. Until then, I'm enjoying this groove we're in.
One of Anna's favorite things to do while we get ready in the morning...playing in my make-up bag.
A while back I wrote about my search for "healthy" make-up on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website and the personal care products we've been using these days. At that time, I had yet to switch my make-up to a more environmentally, health conscious brand. I finally found one a couple of months ago that doesn't contain harmful ingredients, and it works!
I discovered Earth's Beauty on EWG. I bought mineral face powder and concealer, both of which work well. The coverage is a little less than my previous brand, but I'm willing to make the trade off for a better product. I also have a sample of their blush, which I like. I have yet to buy a new stash of eye shadow...that's next on the list.
Now I don't have reservations about Anna playing in my make-up bag, at least not from a health perspective. On a side note, it's SO cute to watch Anna mimic me putting on make-up. She heads to the full-length mirror with my eye lash curler, and she very intently holds the contraption up to her eye, squints and smiles with pride like she can see a real difference!
We visited Uncle Chris, Aunt Amy, and Anna's new tiny cousin Allison Ann yesterday. She is so precious, all snuggly and smelling like a baby. Surprisingly, Anna was enamored with her. She kissed her feet and her soft little head more times than I could count. She even tolerated me holding Allison for a while. When Anna eventually had enough of my cuddling another baby, she informed me that I was "done!"
Congratulations Uncle Chris and Aunt Amy! Thanks for having us over to visit your new family of three!
"If everyone lived in a city they could never grow enough food."
"Oh, they do that out in the country. In big, big fields. Peanuts and soybeans and corn, all that. The farmers grow it, then they put it on big trucks and take it all to the city, where people buy it from the store."
"From the market."
"No, it isn't a bit like the market. It's a great big house kind of thing, with bright lights and all these shelves inside. It's open every day, and just one person sells all the different things."
"One farmer has so many things?"
"No, not a farmer. A storekeeper buys it all from the farmers, and sells it to the city people."
"And so you don't even know whose fields this food came from? That sounds terrible. It could be poisoned!"
"It's not bad, really. It works out."
-- Barabara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
I folded the corner of the page that contains this quote when I read it a few weeks ago. It reminded me of why Blake and I do what we do with respect to our food and why we are trying to learn and do more to make our family and the world a little bit safer and healthier.
Last weekend we sent in our check to Tantre Farm, hoping to secure a share of their crop this year through their CSA program. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows small farmers to directly market their produce to the community. This certified organic farm is not far from our house, and should we get a share (they only have 100 places available), we'll be rolling in fresh, organic, local produce for months! In addition to our small garden, we won't have to buy many veggies, if any, from the grocery store this summer. And, if Lisa's offer still stands, I'll be learning how to can and freeze our surplus for next fall and winter. And, since Blake is eating meat again (he was a vegetarian for seven years), we've been thinking about purchasing a portion of a pasture-raised cow. As it turns out, Lisa's dad has one ready this week that we are buying. We're also on the hunt for local chickens and eggs.
All of this occurred before we watched the Oscar-nominated Food, Inc. last night. Blake and I were moved, to say the least. For us, the information was not entirely new; however, the statistics and pictures and stories hit home, making our efforts to eat organic, grow some of our food, buy local, consume pasture-raised, cage free meat and poultry without antibiotics or hormones, and avoid heavily processed foods seem all that more relevant and influential. It made me feel fortunate that we can afford healthy food, because, sadly, our nation's "real" food is more expensive than the stuff riddled with high fructose corn syrup and antibiotics. It brought back that passion that sent me to grad school for public health in the first place, leaving me with a desire to do even more. The movie website provides suggestions for those of us who want to do something to change our food system, including a few simple ways we can get involved. Take a look...
How can this be possible? Each one of these socks is missing a mate. At least two of these lonely socks are from a brand new pair. Anna and I spent over an hour putting away laundry and cleaning up the closet this morning. Actually, I put clothes away, she pulled them off of hangers, tried on jewelry, and asked to wear every pair of shoes in the closet. Despite this, I managed to get the clean clothes off the floor; living out of laundry baskets was getting on my nerves, and I needed the baskets for the piles of dirty laundry. I thought for sure the sock mates would turn up as we sorted through the mounds, but no.
Where could a man who does not undress anywhere but our house (and maybe the golf course in the summer) lose socks? Could it really be the dryer's fault?
This book was a gift from Anna's cousins Ellie and Josie last Christmas, and although we've had this book for over a year, Anna just recently discovered the fun in its pages. Little Pea is a story about what Little Pea eats for dinner (candy...yuck!) and for dessert (spinach...yum!). Anna has gestures or words for almost every page now, rolling her hands quickly when Little Pea goes "super fast," snuggling me when Little Pea snuggles with Mama Pea, and repeatedly exclaiming "Blech!" when Little Pea has to eat his candy and "Nummy!" when he devours his spinach. I love seeing her so excited and involved with a book. And, it's kinda nice that it indirectly teaches colors, numbers, and days of the week through the telling of this cute story.
An Old Favorite: Too-Loose the Chocolate Moose
Blake insisted that I included Too-Loose the Chocolate Moose in one of my book posts. This was his absolute favorite book as a child, and although Anna hasn't become solely focused on it (yet), she does enjoy it. It's often sparse illustrations and interesting choice of vocabulary ("singularly solitary life" and "formidably edible" are two phrases that stand out) do not detract from the charming story about Too-Loose finding himself and how Chocolate Mouse came to be. Our copy of the book is Blake's original, rebound by his parents at the library. I couldn't even find a decent photo online; it's out of print I guess. We're fortunate to have a copy...check out the Amazon link. It's a collector's item! If you want to read it, come on over. We'll share!
Jessica (aka Sej) and I (aka Mox) were college roommates our sophomore year, and we shared a suite our freshman year. Twelve years have passed since we last spent any time together. Today we sat on the floor with two little girls at our house, caught up, and reconnected.
After years of not seeing each other, we caught up on Facebook, and Anna and I were thrilled to discover that we would be singing and dancing with Jessica's sister and her kids in our music class last fall. Jessica lives in Colorado, so we planned a get together during her recent visit to her sister in Ann Arbor.
I so enjoyed reconnecting with my old friend today and meeting her beautiful little girl. It is hard to believe that so much time has passed.
I took this picture Sunday morning after Anna devoured frozen blueberries for breakfast. Do you think she enjoyed them? That morning I asked her if she wanted blueberries, and she replied "NO!" without hesitation. She proceeded to refuse all fruit I suggested, so I just decided on blueberries and hoped that she would eat some. She ate them all.
On the other hand are vegetables. We've been struggling to get anything green or even orange into her little body in the last few months. Despite my very hands-off approach (never bribing, forcing, or coercing her to eat her vegetables), she somehow knows I want her to eat them! Or maybe her tastes have genuinely changed. She will often put something in her mouth and try it out, forgetting that she doesn't like it, and then she spits it out. It's actually kinda cute, especially now that she's (mostly) beyond the throwing it on the floor stage.
The whole food refusal funk has been surprising to me, even though it probably should have been expected from a toddler. It's just that after Anna's slow start on solid foods, she devoured almost everything we offered to her. Some days she would eat more asparagus or broccoli than anything else. Now, they barely touch her lips. Or, she eats them one day and not the next.
Sooooo, we've been trying to incorporate vegetables in new ways so she eats more than one per week. Last week we tried out a couple of recipes from The Sneaky Chef, which called for mixing veggie purees into standard recipes. The Speedy Stovetop Lasagna was actually pretty good, and Anna LOVED it! This surprised me, because we weren't actually sneaky about it and told her the veggies were in there. She ate more for dinner that night than she had in days. Interestingly, we've regressed back to making baby food and throwing it into our chile, zucchini bread, pancakes and macaroni and cheese.
I'm also trying out some smoothies this week, inspired by the recipes on Nourish MD's website. I stumbled upon this site ages ago, which has almost too much information on health and nutrition. While I probably won't achieve their recommendation of serving two different fruits or veggies with every meal and snack (even if it is ideal), I will be revisiting their recipes for ideas and their resources for valuable health-related information.
I hope it's just a phase that Anna is going through; although, I was a picky eater well into my teens. We'll continue to present her with all of the crazy vegetables, herbs, and spices we eat, and we'll just have to see what unfolds.
On a completely unrelated note, I have to put down for the record that Anna is now asking to sit on the "toppy" (potty) when she comes into the bathroom with me, which is every time I go, because, ya know, she can't be more than two feet away from me. She has yet to do anything but get comfortable and cute in a semi-reclining position with her pants around her ankles. I'm not even getting into the potty game; she can sit if she wants to, she can pee or poop if she wants to, but I'm not saying a word!
I'm mom to a four-year-old daughter and a growing newborn son. I'm a wife. I'm a life coach on hiatus from my career. I'm a woman inspired by relationships, health, natural living, self-discovery, good food and wine, dreams of travel, and making a difference. I try each day to remember Who I Am and honor that truth. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as I chronicle our lives and share what's on my mind.