Monday, April 30, 2012


WILT...7 months

More specifically, what I learned about myself, my body, and my baby over 7 months of nursing and pumping.

The latest recommendation is to breast feed for at least the first year of your baby's life to provide the best nutritional start you can. My goal from the beginning was to make it 6 months. Whew-success!! Maybe not sweet success, but success none the less. It was a struggle in the beginning and if not for great patience and persistence from the nurses at the hospital I may have given up before I even really got started.

I can't believe how tiny she was just a few short months ago...and the Boppy was a constant accessory. Wherever we were, it was never far away!

One of our other constant nursing accessories was the Milk Saver from Milkies-a cup that catches milk expressed from the breast not being nursed on. Nothing wasted, and this stuff is like liquid gold at some points! My sister in law turned me on to it, she didn't discover it until kid #3! Seriously though, this is the stuff they need to teach classes about-not birth. You don't remember a thing about birth, that's how nature intended it, we need to know about Boppies and Milkies!!

I have been really fortunate that G has always taken a bottle easily. Maybe that's because she had to have one those first days in the hospital or because we were asked to supplement her at home for the first few weeks until she put weight back on, but we've never had an issue with going back and forth between the breast and the bottle.

Can you believe those thighs?! I have to say I am a proud mama for having had a hand in creating them-and not just genetically! I think she's filled out rather nicely :)

I did enjoy all the bonding time nursing created for G and I but alas, I am a full-time working mom so this bad boy and I quickly became traveling buddies. I do mean travel, I have done this in the car more times than I'd like to count, and no-it ain't easy! But I also got alot of reading done since I always kept a good (or trashy!) magazine with me to help pass the time.

That's the other thing they should teach in a class- just how time consuming and stressful it can be to keep track of all of this. And yes, there is an app for that...and I have it. Overall though, I think we both made out just fine!

I've said it before, I'm EXTREMELY grateful that I was able to nurse G and provide her breast milk almost exclusively for the first 6 months. It was a rewarding experience for us to share and I'm glad to have given her the best start in this crazy world that I possibly could. We're not quite done with the transition yet, but with the freezer supply diminishing it will only be a few short weeks away. One more milestone to cross off the list.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weekend with the Folks

I'm getting bad about posting things in a 'timely' fashion! Honestly, time is not something I have in abundance these days so I'm happy to get anything out there! On top of dishes, laundry, working out, preparing food, and then everything baby, even sleep can get squeezed out of the picture!

Anyway, I live about 500 miles from my immediate family. That has always been hard, but now with G here it's even harder-on all of us. So when we do get to visit we try to take advantage of every minute. This time it was Mom & Dad's turn to make the trip to WV. This was 2 weeks ago, when the weather was it's practically winter again :-(

We went to a park near the townhouse I bought when I first moved here. Unfortunately for me (and Nallah) this little park did not exist when we lived here. We often walked the sidewalk and the looong gradual hill in the background though!

Little G hates wearing her sunglasses, but how cute does she look in them...seriously! It was a perfect spring day and I wish I had the opportunity to take her out more like this. I really want her to enjoy and appreciate nature and wildlife.
This is such a beautiful state and there are plenty of places I haven't seen yet, so I look forward to taking her along and experiencing them together.

Grandma & Grandpa insisted on getting her a walker for her 6 month birthday. Although she can't touch the floor yet so it's more of a play seat-gotta be honest, I'm kinda grateful for that!! She's gonna be scooting all over the place in this thing in NO time! Oh yeah, and grandpa was asleep on the couch behind her-she really can wear you out ;-)

We also visited a (somewhat) nearby zoo. We thought it was going to be another nice day, but it was quite windy and chilly and no one was dressed for that. Poor G had to peek at the animals from around the blanket we surrounded her with! Needless to say it was a quicker than planned trip due to the weather. Don't worry G, we have plenty of these guys right outside...and the raccoons too. Yes, I do mean that we have bears-not these big daddies but they are definitely out here and we have the tracks to prove it! They even got into our garbage the other day. It makes me nervous to think that one was right next to the house-yikes!

G also got her first, of what I foresee will be many tractor rides with Daddy. Her favorite color will soon be John Deere green! Red heads look good in green!

I can't say enough about how great it always is to spend time with my folks. They are tremendous people, parents and role models. I hope one day G looks at me the way I look at them, that would be the ultimate compliment. Can't wait to see you guys again soon...this time in MI!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Green Cleaning-Laundry Detergent


Oh wait, that was yesterday! It is pretty easy to lose track of the days around here and the weekends never fail to go WAY too quickly. But we do try to be a pretty green family and considering that I run the environmental programs at work I figured it was a good idea to make a post in honor of Mother Earth.

Granted, we are convenient greenies-meaning we do the easy things and maybe a few of the more difficult but I am a realist and I know that using and buying only organic is not going to happen in our house but we make an effort every day and I think that is worth something. Hopefully this summer I can talk more about composting, farmer's markets, my meager gardening attempts and other green adventures in our house.

I ran out of laundry detergent last weekend so I thought I'd go ahead and share the recipe I've been using for the past few months. It works for us and Gwyn hasn't had any problems either, no special baby detergent here!

4 cups water
1/3 bar of 'cheap' soap grated
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
5-gallon bucket for mixing
3 gallons water

Mix the grated soap into a saucepan with 4 cups of water heating on low until the soap completely dissolves. Add the hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, stir in the washing soda and borax and continue to stir until thickened. Let stand for 24 hours.

I pour what I can into an old detergent bottle and keep the rest in the bucket. It does need to be shaken (or stirred-that sounds better in a Sean Connery accent!) before use as it tends to settle. And get some help for the first pour; 3 gallons isn't light and a bucket of sloshing liquid can be awkward-trust me, I know from experience dude (thank you Billy Madison for that line-movie references all over the place!)

Easy as pie...or detergent :-) As always, when reusing any type of bottle relabel it so there is no confusion for safety sake and the sanity of those that share your household. I also make my own multi-purpose spray cleaner which is in an old Febreeze bottle. It is now affectionately labeled 'Weirdo Mixture' after my husband sprayed the furniture with it in an attempt to get rid of dog odor. Oops.

One other note for today-G has been on a bit of a sleep strike. Or at least a sleep without being held strike. I can only hope it's a phase, I don't want a spoiled baby who is still sleeping in the big bed when she can verbalize how old she is but it is kinda nice to have a snugly baby right now! She went down easy tonight so fingers crossed....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gwyn's World: 6 Months

Gwyn's World: 6 Month Update

I can't even believe it's time for this post! Maybe that's why I am a whole week late in writing it. I'm so amazed at how time has flown, and yes, I was warned over and over by other parents but you honestly don't realize it until you experience it.

So, what is new with G? First, she LOVES to bounce! :) She is now able to touch the floor in her bouncy seat and will gladly spend hours (yes, hours!) happily jumping and screeching in delight. In fact, she doesn't even have to be in her bouncy seat, she'll jump around anywhere.

We've also continued to do a little of the baby led weaning. G seems to really enjoy the independence of this. So far, we've only tried a few fruits and they are always slippery suckers, which can be frustrating. Most usually end up lost in her high chair somewhere but she still has fun and you can tell how proud she is of herself when she succeeds.
She still hasn't refused any food we've tried and I even made up a few containers of homemade baby food last weekend (with help from my mom-thanks mom!). Although her pediatrician did say to back off the orange veggies since he thought she looked a little orange-WHAT? Has anyone ever noticed just how many of the veggies out there for babies are orange? Aside from green beans and peas it's a little limited so I may have to make some more of my own.

She is getting very good with her pincer grip though and is definitely interested in how her hands work. She'll watch them for entertainment and is beginning to wave. She's also been enjoying some of the baby cereal puffs that dissolve so there's no need for chewing. This was a 'treat' from Grandpa Jon when he was here last week and I think they were a hit!

Oh yeah, and the other day I set her bottle on the high chair tray in front of her and walked away for a moment to grab something and came back to this!!! I was shocked, impressed and a little sad all at once. I knew she could hold it herself but to pick it up, get it in her mouth and hold it all in the few seconds I wasn't looking was pretty amazing.

We're transitioning to formula now and are at 50/50 formula/breast milk throughout the day. In fact, we're not nursing at all anymore (that is an entire post itself!) Long story short, I'm happy and sad about it but she honestly doesn't seem to care and I am definitely happy about that!
Oh yeah-and she's almost cut ALL FOUR of her top teeth!! I only saw one coming for awhile and thought she was going to look a little goofy but in no time the rest appeared and though fussy (for her) she has been pretty darn good for getting them all at once.

So Gwyn at 6 months:
  • 2 bottom teeth visible and cute!
  • 4 top cutting through
  • loves all fruit & veg tried and is enjoying BLW
  • adores hands (hers and everyone elses) and is starting to wave
  • loves: her bouncy seat, putting her feet in her mouth and piggy sounds (it's one of the few things that make her laugh-who knew?!)
Love you baby girl!!

Monday, April 16, 2012


WILT...Week in Workouts

This week I'm posting the workouts I completed and a few things learned from or during them. All in all not a bad week, only one hiccup! :)

Sunday     Run 4 miles (41 minutes)

Monday    Bob Harper -Inside Out Method (45 minutes)
  • This is a tough one to make it all the way through, so I set a time limit and do my favorite moves until I reach it.
  • My favorite move in this workout is the Down & Outs (with push-up) to bicep curl, shoulder press. It gets your heart beating and hits so many muscle groups. In fact, you could do a few sets of these when pressed for time and feel like you did some good for your body!
  • To Do: Lower into squat, placing weights on floor in front of you. Jump back to plank position and perfrom one push up. Jump feet back in and return to standing. Lift weights toward shoulders in a bicep curl, turn palms to face out while pressing over head. Reverse to starting position.
Tuesday   Run 3.5 miles (36 minutes)
  • I mouth the words to my music. I always have, it helps keep me going. But I need to curtail it so people don't think I'm crazy when I start running outside, or when I run the Earth Day 5k in a few weeks!
Wednesday  Off
  • This was my scheduled day off since my Mom & Dad arrived here from MI that afternoon.
Thursday     Run 3.2 miles
  • I'm trying not to run any distance shorter than this so I feel confident in finishing my upcoming 5k.  
Friday          P90x Core Synergistics
P90X Core Synergistics
  • I enjoy this workout; it's tough enough to feel like I'm making progress but not so tough that I feel completely burnt out after. Plus I know it's importatnt to have a strong core for so many reasons in life, not just to have a (relatively!) flat stomach.
  • My favorite move in this workout is the Lunge & Reach. Again, it works several muscel groups, gets your heart pounding and is totally real-world. Meaning it's a move you might actually perform in your real life!
  • To Do: Hold a light weight in both hands. Pivot to the left, lunging and reaching weight to left foot. Stand up pivoting to the right and lifting weight across body extending arms above head. Repeat reps and repeat on opposite side.
Saturday      Off
  • Laziness. I was scheduled to run but I didn't have time before we went on a family road trip and by the time we returned I was tired and a bit nauseous after some rolling, curving WV roads! Mark this one up to poor planning.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gwyn's World: My 1st Easter

Gwyn's first Easter. Not her first big holiday but the first where she's been big enough to enjoy any little gifts she gets. Mommy and Daddy just got her a few things, some books, a new (cheerleader!) rubber ducky and a summer outfit. She stared down the ducky bath mit and then promptly tried to remove him from the pail posing as a basket. And we wasted no time reading all of the books Easter night!

She also got her very first cell phone courtesy of Aunt Kristi (Gwyn has been sending text messages from Aunt Kristi's phone for quite some time now!) and this cool toy that sticks to her high chair tray from Grami. This concept is pretty awesome considering her new favorite thing is to throw all her toys on the floor and then look around to see who is going to pick them up. She's a comedian like that. She also got super cute summer duds that I can't wait to get on her. Little shorts to show off those michelin man legs :-) 

We also had a bit of food, between all the playing with Gwyn. I made a pineapple-strawberry trifle dessert. I have an aunt-in-law that does these kinds of things to the nines. She truly should have a catering business (she did my bridal and baby showers-awesome!) and I judge my efforts off her. I think she would have liked this one, if she hadn't been in Japan and could have joined us that is! Delicious!

Gwyn has been trying some more BLW and has been pretty fussy about that new upper tooth coming in, but I'll save all of that for her 6 month update coming later this week. WHAT?! Is she really 6 months old?! Almost makes me sad!

It's a big week, my parents are also coming into town from MI and we are all very excited to see them.

It's been 2 months and I think they will hardly recognize this little person! She's done alot of growing and has an even bigger personality now :-)

It is always nice to have them around and I love to see Gwyn with all the people that adore her. It is also always nice to have an extra set of hands (or two!). They actually get to spend Thursday alone with her since I'll be at work; I'm sure they will all have a great time while I count the hours until I can join in the fun!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012



This week for WILT... instead of talking about what I learned each day, though I undoubtedly did, I also found a consistent theme. PLANNING. Sometimes it sounds like a bad word, probably because it takes effort, but my goodness does it pay off on the other end!

I never used to do anything without at least having a plan in my head, and more often than not, on paper too. I needed to  know what the hours of my day held, or the miles of my trip, or the minutes of my workout. But lately that has really gone by the way-side.

I'm sure alot of that has to do with the unpredictability of having a new baby around. Although I keep an eye on her schedule (yes, there's an app for that-and I have it!) she basically does what she wants, when she wants and I just follow along. But beyond that, I have a full time job, 2 dogs, a husband and a house to keep up with.

I have always used a to-do list. One for home and one for work. But I also used to have weekly meal and workout plans too. My to-do lists still exist, and once in awhile things actually get crossed off of them, but not like in the past. I do have a running plan I've been "trying" to follow but it hasn't worked out that well. And as for meal planning I haven't managed that in months.

I have to say all this is making me feel a bit lost, and more than a little scattered. Deep down I know that for me, if I take the time to plan I'm much more likely to succeed. So why is it so darn hard to get back in the habit? Maybe I should take these few hours before bed and think about planning for the upcoming week, or maybe I should just think abou it a little more ;-)       

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spinach Smoothie-really!

In my first ever WILT... post I mentioned that spinach in a smoothie is good. I made that smoothie again tonight with a few minor modifications. And guess what? It wasn't just a fluke-it's still good! I'm sure you could use other green leafies if you had them; mixed greens or kale but I almost always have spinach, and rarely use it all before it goes bad so this works well for me.

Spinach Smoothie
2 servings

1 cup pineapple-fresh tastes best of course but I used canned :-(
1 medium banana
1 cup spinach
1 cup light vanilla soy milk
3/4" slice firm tofu

This is the original recipe from The Gracious Pantry, but tonight I decided to splurge and add about a teaspoon of stevia and because this is my dinner tonight I also added 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder. I tried the original too, also delicious, I just needed some additional calories and protein to serve as more of a meal replacement.

With these additions the nutrition content per serving is:
Calories:  219
Carbs:     42
Fat:          3
Protein:   13
Fiber:      8

Is it too obvious to say that you place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth? I might also suggest some ice if you like your smoothies really cold (I do!) This is the first time I've ever bought tofu and as with the spinach, a good way to try something you're unsure of, but that definitely has nutritional benefits.

I'm going to play around with the fruit used as well-maybe some berries will mask the green color!! ;-)

Gwyn has become my kitchen assistant now that she has a high chair. She loves finally being able to sit up like a big girl and I'll also be able to try more baby led weaning now. I'm sure that will make for some great pics! She was not all that happy tonight since we were running close to her dinner time-hence the smoothie for my dinner, drank while nursing!!

She was also very sleepy as I was told when I picked her up from school today that she "played hard all day" and only took one short nap! Now if only I didn't still need to get up in the night to pump I'd be really excited by the prospect of a heavily sleeping baby all night! Oh well, go enjoy a smoothie. Cheers!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

W(hat) I L(earned) T(his)...

WILT-Or What I Learned This...Maybe those dots will be followed by this week, this month, this Wednesday, or whatever strikes. I just think it's good to reflect sometimes and I did learn alot this week so for the first time may I present:

  • Monday-Slow cookers are fantastic inventions and mine is terribly underused. I threw some pork loin, bbq and veg in before work, then some rice and pineapple for 30 minutes later and voila-an actual meal!! One that we were able to eat again later in the week and I still had leftovers to freeze. Note to self: find more healthy slow cooker recipes ASAP.
  • Tuesday-Gwyn has a mean left hook. One of her new things is slamming her hands up and down as hard as she can. Let's just say Grami Rita got to experience it first hand.
  • Wednesday-Spinach in a smoothie is good. No, really. Not as in, "I love that spinach smoothie", but as in, you don't taste it at all so why not amp up your veg intake in yummy drink form? I'm really bad at getting any calories before getting to work (when I've already been up 3 hours!) so these are great make-aheads for me. Recipes later.
  • Thursday-I still have new mom brain because somewhere I wrote down what I learned on Thursday and now can't find it, so I guess really I learned something entirely different!
  • Friday-I need to start logging my meals again. I think I've gotten carried away with the mindless snacking at work lately and it's time to reign it in. has always been my go to of choice.
  • Saturday-My new F word is flexible. You know what? Life happens-and it often messes with the best laid plans, sometimes you just have to go with it. I skipped my run tonight because I was plain tired-but I did sub with a shorter elliptical session, and darn it, that's ok!!
  • Sunday-I can run 4.5 miles. This is not much to some, and certainly nowhere near 13.1 but it's the furthest for me in a very long time, and considering I was hoping to manage half that when I started the treadmill I'm pretty encouraged.
And yes, my ipod really is that old! This is with 4 minute (each) warm up and cool down. I don't run fast, but I get it done! Even with the skipped interval run I got over 12 miles in this week.

All in all, I'd call it a good week. I spent alot of time in the kitchen today so maybe I'll post some recipes next time. The girls that write the blogs I read take Ah-mazing food pics. Like I-want-to eat-the-turkey-sandwich-they-had-for-lunch-right-off-the-page good! So there's a new goal-take better pics for the blog :-)

But you can't get there without practice so I'll start by just taking some to go with the recipes. I've been tweaking a few from a site I like called The Gracious Pantry. It's a really nice resource for all things clean eating and I've only been making minor changes to fit my palate. I'm easing myself into the clean eating thing; summer is a good time for me to make a real effort as salads and juicy fruits are all I ever want once it's hot. Well, and the occasional cold brew which I am SO looking forward to having again this summer, in moderation of course ;-)