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Yummy Yummy in my Tummy

I have always had a love affair with food, and not always the healthy kind. I don’t believe in skipping meals. I always have snacks. I don’t do diets, but I try to do moderation and variety. Having children has made me pay more attention to the food I bring into the house and how I prepare it. I spend one day every other week planning a two week menu, going through sales ads, writing up a grocery list, and finalizing everything before I head off to two grocery stores and the farmer’s market all to ensure that we are enjoying what we are eating, have healthy options on hand, and of course are getting a good deal.

Breakfast is usually cereal, oatmeal, or eggs. On the weekends we do bigger breakfasts when Felix is home, because he’s a big breakfast guy (and it doesn’t hurt that he cooks it haha) typically pancakes, french toast, or waffles. Lunch is PB&J, sandwiches, wraps, quesedillas – something quick, served with a fruit, a veggie, and raisins or graham crackers. Snacks are almost always fruit or veggies. Every now and then they will be a yogurt or some goldfish. Regardless of what’s being served I always try and offer a fruit or a vegetable. One of the proudest Mommy moments was when Dylan was presented with a french fry or a carrot stick at a birthday party and he chose the carrot stick! It even surprised me to be honest. I am a big believer in only making one meal for dinner. Dylan is served exactly what we are served, and now that Tillman is starting proteins he will also be eating what we eat more consistently, in a much smoother form obviously. From the beginning I have made my own baby food. I feel that babies at an early age learn to appreciate the intigirity of the food if they are given the opportunity to enjoy fresh, wholesome ingredients – jarred carrots do not taste as clean, and light as fresh carrots and jarred peas are not as sweet as fresh peas. I also make it a point to mix complementary foods to help open their palatte too. I take one afternoon a week, and I make and freeze Tillman’s food, making meal times as easy as popping the cubes in the microwave – done! I found this site via Styleberry that I love to refer to for questions and ideas with baby food making. Styleberry also has some great tips on baby food making and portions, as well as some yummy quick recipes like her pizza rolls she has shared. Just more Mamas helping Mamas which I love!!

At the same time if there is reason that you can’t make your own food don’t feel guilty about it. Make a few things here and there or do something simple like a mashed up banana and avocado every other day. Every little bit helps, and when choosing baby food do your research look into the organic brands like Earth’s Best. When we travel I will use Plum Organics and mix it in with a fruit that is easily mashable. They even offer these nifty little spoons that make traveling so easy! Only do what you can do, because adding stress only makes everything worse!

I feel the biggest keys are variety, and starting early. If several different foods are introduced in the beginning then they may be more inclined to be open-minded about food choices as they get older. Some other things that I have learned to be true, especially with toddlers and preschoolers, are that texture and size make a big difference and if they don’t like it cooked one way try cooking it another. For example, Dylan prefers his meats (pork chops, steak, chicken, whichever) to be cut up into bite-sized pieces or he won’t eat them. He also isn’t crazy about broccoli raw, but he’ll chow it down if it’s steamed. All I have asked of Dylan is to try everything, if he doesn’t like it it is fine, but he has to try it, and then usually I’ll offer it again a few weeks after maybe he’ll like it then. We also try not to say, “Yuck” or “Eww” when we see or don’t like a food because they learn these reactions from us, and if they just copy us they don’t make up their own mind about that particular food.

It definitely is a little trial and error, but it doesn’t always have to be stressful. Make meal time fun for them, which makes less stress for you. Tillman is a very noisy baby, and is very attached to me so while I am cooking I put him in his high chair with a couple of spoons in the kitchen with me so he can see what I’m doing. Usually their is music playing while I cook, so we’ll sing and dance during dinner preparations, or I’ll talk him through what I am doing and him touch and smell the fruits and vegetables we are cooking with. I will let Dylan help put the toppings on our pizza, or let him help toss the salad. He enjoys helping and is always so eager to eat what he’s helped with! There is also some obsession kids have with dips. Salsas, dressings, ketchup, cream cheese, peanut butter whatever they like give them some fruit and veggies and let them dip away! I don’t mind ranch dressing if he’s eating tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots with it. Dylan is doing his independence thing right now, and I have found that giving him choices helps out too. Make sure both options are healthy choices, “Do you want the grapes or the strawberries?” Bottom line is I will never give the boys something that I wouldn’t eat myself, and I want to make their relationship with food a fun and healthy one so that they can enjoy carrots and cake and not just carrot cake, and certainly there is nothing wrong with the occasional burger and fries.

Below is a little peek into dinner for us. I made a Autumn Chopped Salad (shared by my dear friend, Carolyn)but I added chicken to make it a full meal, and used walnuts instead of pecans. It is amazing! Dylan doesn’t prefer a lot of lettuce, so I modified his a little bit which is what I do if salad is being served as the main course. I’ll leave out the lettuce, and serve the other ingredients separately. If salad is the side I just give him a few pieces of lettuce and lots of the other veggies. Tillman’s is the same as Dylan’s, chicken, pears, and peaches (no ketchup and cheese) pureed. I even had some leftover for Felix’s lunch the next day! Enjoy 🙂

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Tickets for Two

We found out via our mom’s group that our local theatre was showing children’s movies at 10am, two days a week for $1 throughout the summer, which I find to be great! Gives the kids something to do and offers the parents with more options as well. Not only was I excited about Dylan being able to see some of his favorite movies on a big screen, but I was also stoked because I didn’t have to stress over Dylan maybe talking too loud or Tillman maybe being a little fussy every now and then. After all it was an early show and it was specific to kids. I was excited and fully prepared for there to be talking, crunching, running, and some occasional crying.

Dylan loves movies, and used to go all the time with Felix and I when he was a baby. He slept through Sex and the City, Tropic Thunder and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Once he got older though and became a little more antsy we became movie renters instead of goers. Our new favorite thing that works for us with both boys is the drive in. We get to watch two movies for the price of one, bring our own snacks, and the boys can fall asleep at will. I decided the kids showings were the perfect opportunity to try a trip to the theatre.

We arrived a little late since the boys decided to sleep in, but were able to wiggle our way into some seats. Dylan sat high on his booster seat, crunching on his popcorn, and laughing away at Marmaduke. He did amazing, but it was a little sad to see him act so grown up. He even told the little boy in front of him who kept standing on his seat, “Excuse me please.” I was a very proud Mama. Tillman was a little rough to start with. He didn’t like that it was a little dark and he couldn’t see everyone. He’s nosey like that I suppose. I walked him around a little near our seats to put him to sleep and once I returned to my seat Dylan whispered, “Mom how are you doing?” He was very sweet, and patient. He also would periodically feed me popcorn (just one) ever so often, since I was holding Tillman and “didn’t have arms.”

All went well, and it was a success! As I’m packing our stuff up to head out I overheard two older woman sans kids complaining about the kid next to one of them kicking the seat, and how the didn’t understand why moms would bring babies yada, yada. Umm…hello are we supposed to leave the babies at home or stay locked in our houses until our children can walk, talk, and stay out of the way? Sure there was a little girl, maybe about one, who was fussy through most of it, but so what! Her mom was handling it and it was a movie specifically shown for the kids. I chose to take the “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all” approach and walked away, but man I wanted to scream, “Stop being cheap and go see a movie that’s not entirely shown to small children.” Nonetheless, I didn’t let it ruin our day and both boys had a great time. We’re definitely going the rest of the summer!

Say What [pt. 2] | Memory Memos

The project continues with more funny ramblings from Mr. Dylan!

Dylan: “I can’t wait to go to school all by myself and leave Mama and Daddy here.”

Dylan to Tillman while Tillman’s crying: “Oh you’re talking about Daddy being at work. Oh you want Daddy. He can be here in no time.”

Dylan to Tillman while I change Tillman’s diaper: “You’re supposed to tell me when you have to go potty.”

Dylan: “Don’t worry Tillman I’m here.”

Dylan: “Momma went to the hospital and she bought me my baby.”

Dylan to Felix while Felix is punishing him and putting all his toys up: “Here Daddy you forgot these ones too. Whew! Glad that’s over.”

Dylan: “I have a little breast though, Mommy, not a big one.”

Part one.

Frazzle, Dazzle

I have found myself in completely new territory with my three year old lately. What happened to my sweet little baby boy? He has moments where I can still see him, but most of the time it’s some combination of an overemotional, high strung, yelling, ignoring, mean little person! I told my husband the other day, “I was prepared for diapers, bottles, sleepless nights, and the sweet ‘waa’ crying of a baby, but I didn’t sign up for shouting matches, kicking and screaming tantrums, and the endless ‘no’ that seems to answer every question I have. When things are mellow it’s heaven, but lately I even dread having to transition to another activity because a melt down is inevitable. On the rare occasion that we make a smooth transition I find that I’m still holding my breath expecting the worse.

I don’t walk on eggshells by any means, but because we have the same hard-headed personality (couldn’t he have just got my eyes?) it makes for quite a struggle. I’m finding that I spend too much of my time nagging or punishing rather than having fun. Now with my days running together I’m left with the chicken or the egg question – does he act up and then a nag or do I nag and then he acts up? I honestly can’t say, and either way I feel awful.

I also worry about this being a way of acting out with a new baby around. He’s been great with Tillman. Occasionally, he’ll push he’s swing faster than he should and wake him up, and recently we’ve found him pinching him, which I don’t understand, but considering what I expected it’s low key. I’m wondering if he’s channeling some of his feelings in a different direction that ends with him shouting and throwing things?

I feel that parenting is one question after the other, and the minute you find what works to answer the first question it stops working and you’re on to the next question. As stressed as I may be right now I know that this will pass, and I will come out stronger and smarter than I was, but Lord give me the patience and grace to see clearly to make it through.

These are the moments that I’ve realized in the past that have changed my life, and have given me such a new perspective on myself. From the very beginning I have felt love and excitement from my children stronger than anything I could’ve imagined, and it continues to grow. It’s those shouting matches that end with us both in tears hugging each other that have taught me the most. That breakdown in the supermarket has made me a humble person. I have found that I need work on my patience from the pumpkin carving and egg coloring he wanted to do by himself. I need to let go and have fun more often so that I may experience the joy that comes with blowing hundreds of bubbles for hours on end. I have learned the importance of being nurturing and understanding because when he comes crying into our bed at night there’s no better feeling in the world than being the only thing that can call him down. I suppose this is what I should be thinking about during the difficult times, but I can hardly here anything over the echoing “NO.”

Never Grow Up

I believe that having children magnifies every emotion you feel from the very moment you hold that new little baby. The love felt truly is watching your heart walk outside of your chest. The overwhelming emotions literally take my breath away. I cry because I’m happy, excited, sad, worried, scared – Let’s face it I’m a mess, and I never used to be a crier. While this was a surprise to me, even more of a surprise it how my husband has been affected. I agree with the statement, “A woman becomes a mother from the day she finds out she’s pregnant, a man becomes a father when he holds his child.” There’s nothing wrong with it, and it makes sense. Felix thought it was cool when he felt the boys move in my belly, but was awestruck, teary-eyed and speechless (which doesn’t happen very often) when he held them.

Felix is a special man, and an amazing father – mindful, patient, playful, and loving just perfect. When we had out first son he was so excited, but anxious to get to those “sidekick” days, when Dylan would be following him around, playing outside, fish, hunting, camping, watching the game, if nothing else at least talking. Now that school is over and he’s home every night he hasn’t missed one beat or one opportunity to do every one of those things with him. He doesn’t have it in him to tell his boys no, because he’s afraid of the days when they may not want to hang out with him. Although he does believe that they are going to WANT to come home during their summers from college and help him build a cabin.

Our second go ‘round with Tillman. I find my husband becoming a much more emotional version of himself. I think now that he has an infant again, and he sees just how much Dylan has grown up and changed in so little time he is being affected more. I’m not quite sure why he tears up during girlie movies now. I watched them play at the park the other day, and even though everything was Dylan’s size and very safe he couldn’t bring himself to let Dylan play by himself. It probably didn’t help that I told him Dylan fell off one of the higher platforms a few days before, but he didn’t get hurt or cry he just kept playing lol! Dylan is at a place right not where he’s testing out his boundaries (with or without our permission), and he wants to do things himself, and I know Felix is having a hard time giving him that space. I am as well, but at times now that we have Tillman I need him to be a little more self-sufficient. It’s a double-edge sword I suppose. Dylan still thinks he’s Daddy hung the moon and does everything in his power to be just like him (right down to his matching FSU hat), and Felix loves every minute, although I think he’s wanting Tillman’s baby days to last as long as possible. Changing diapers doesn’t seem too bad all of sudden.

Writing all of this remind me of this song. *SIGH*

Say What [pt. 1] | Memory Memos

I started this blog as a way to journal, and remember things about my day or my experiences, and sometimes there is just a funny comment from my son or my husband that makes me laugh or cry or just feel special. There’s not much of a story to tell with them, but there are the sweet nothings that brighten my day and make me smile. So I’ve started this series called “Memory Memos” where I collect all those special comments.

Dylan: “Hey Mama, I’m respectful but I’m not berry nice cuz I’m a kid.”

Dylan to me: “I love you berry much…and something else. And daddy loves you.”

Dylan to me at bedtime: “Mama go upstairs and tell Daddy that you’re my girl, and he’s my guy.”

A conversation between Dylan and Felix: “Daddy that hurt my feelings cuz you yelled at me. Felix: “Come and talk to me.” Dylan: “Daddy I needed some time.” Felix:  “I’m sorry that yelled but it frustrates me when you don’t listen to me.” Dylan: “Well i wanted to play with you and you said to wait.” Felix: “I can’t always drop everything and play with you, but I will always try my best.”

If these statements/conversations prove anything about Dylan it’s that he’s insightful, possessive, dramatic, and sweet. 🙂

Motor-Mouth

Long ago where the days when I talked at Dylan. Before he could respond I talked his ear off to point of probably seeming crazy in the grocery store. Now I can barely get a word in! I don’t remember there being a moment of silence since he began talking, and I’m assuming I set myself up for that. There is no doubt that my little boy is a social butterfly, mostly with adults. He finds them to be a better audience than the kids his age who lose interest quickly or who are intimidated by him and won’t talk to him at all. He hates being ignored and makes it so hard for me to have a conversation with someone else. He’s not necessarily rude, but “Excuse me, Mom I’m going to talk now” makes it very hard to handle any business with another adult.

He’s very sneaky in his approach like he’s hunting for his prey. He’ll spot a waitress, or a checkout clerk at the grocery store, and he’ll wait…

Typically, the stranger will say hello or comment on his hair and then he pounces and opens the flood gates!

“Hi, my name is Dylan. This is my baby Tillman. He’s my baby brother. He’s just a tiny baby. His belly was hurting this morning cuz he was hungry, and Mama feeds him from her breast. When I was a baby Mama fed me milk from her breast too, and I had a swing like Tillman’s swing. I peed my pants, and I cried, and Mama changed me, and I was sad. My Daddy’s at work for 20 hours. I love Daddy. He’s my favorite. This is my monkey his names is Monks. He’s my best friend.”

This is a snippet of the ramblings that he tries to get in with very little room for any kind of response and me usually whispering, “Okay Dylan that’s enough,” in his ear. What can I say he loves attention and sharing all his stories – Bless his heart!

Awhile back we were at the doctor’s office for my postpartum check up and an older woman sat next to us in the waiting room. That was her first mistake. Then she looked over at Tillman and asked how old he was and commented on him being cute. Second mistake. Dylan was playing in the kid’s area and must have felt his was missing out on something because he comes sprinting back and burst into full on rambling. She was very sweet and listened and responded with excitement just as he likes. About 20 minutes goes by we are still waiting and Dylan is still talking, so I whisk him and Tillman off to the bathroom so Dylan can go potty. When we come back the sweet older woman and changed seats to the OPPOSITE side of the waiting room. We smiled at each other, and I gave her an understanding head nod and returned to my seat. Proving that Dylan just enjoys talking he hardly even noticed and kept telling me all his stories for the millionth time, and I listened intently thinking that one day I’m going to give anything to have him talk to me like this.

Later when I recounted the story for Felix his first question was – “Was she rude about it?” nothing irks Felix more than when someone ignores Dylan (Now you see where he gets it from). I told him absolutely not, but I’m sure she didn’t come thinking she was going to be drilled for a half and hour by a two year old. I understood.