Month: January 2014

Check-in Wednesday

I’ve finally started exercising again and I am very happy about that. I finally found a jogging stroller that was both affordable and doesn’t look cheap. I had my heart set on the BOB brand jogging stroller but to he honest I am not a runner, yet, and might never be. So it didn’t seem wise to spend so much money on a stroller that is so clearly geared towards actual runners. Jogging strollers must have a wrist strap and a front wheel that locks straight in order for them to be safe at high speeds. Since I am only planning on walking and doing some light jogging I decided that a suspension system was not something I need. The City Elite jogging stroller was another that I liked and it was a little less expensive than the BOB. I liked everything about it, the rubber handle, the size and feel of it. In fact, I liked it better than the BOB. In the end we went with the Eddie Bauer Endurance. Target had it on sale for $149.00. It’s a lot more compact than other jogging strollers we looked at. So many of them just feel huge and bulky. The stroller came with a parent tray (for keys and drinks) and a child snack tray. Diego has already enjoyed propping his feet up on it. 

The air filled tires glide along smoothly on the sidewalk and our sidewalks here are very uneven so that was a difference that I noticed immediately. It handles just as well as our Britax B-Agile in that it is light weight and responsive. I don’t feel like I am pushing something heavy. The canopy is smaller than I would like but it does the job. On the negative side, some of the things that are lacking/lesser than more expensive strollers. Firstly, the spokes are plastic rather than metal. The seat isn’t as comfortable looking and the harness is just ok. It’s not a perfect stroller by any means but it is perfect for my purposes. 

I thought about getting rid of our other stroller but this jogging stroller has huge wheels and would take up to much trunk space if it even fits at all. Also, it’s just big in general and I don’t like to bump into things when we are out in a crowded place so our of consideration to the world (and because we can afford to keep both) I am going to have two strollers for now. 

Food-wise we have been very bad this week. I have cooked some but we’ve also gone out a couple of times. Tonight, we ended up at Chuck E. Cheese’s  and had pizza. I was expecting some soggy mess but it wasn’t bad at all. The crust was crispy and I love a crispy crust. One of the things we have been trying to do is find kid friendly places where we can take Diego so he can run around and not bother anybody. He much prefers to walk on his own rather than sit in his stroller to be carried. We try to take him to the park as much as we can but sadly there aren’t any nice parks near us. I scoped one out the other day and was disappointed that a) it was sand and b) it wasn’t enclosed with a fence like the other parks we like. I will probably still take him there just to see how he does since he has shown a dislike for sand. 

Back to Chuck E. Cheese’s, I had never been to one before tonight. I liked that upon entering they stamp both parents and child(ren) with a unique number which they check upon exit to make sure you only leave with the kids you brought with you. The place was really clean and the staff were friendly and attentive. They had an area for small kids that includes rides and a play structure like the ones you find at some fast food restaurants. The three of us had a really good time spending the tokens that were included in our combo. It had been a while since I played skee ball and I still suck, ha ha. 

This post is much longer than I anticipated but I guess I have a lot to say! I made really good risotto style rice with leeks and asparagus on Sunday. Diego and I finished the last bit of it today. I also made whole grain mac and cheese with chicken italian sausage. I can’t remember what else I have made so far, we’ve been eating left overs a lot. I love that because it means less time in the kitchen. 

The mess never ends around here, between the daily picking up of toys, folding clothes and keeping the floor crumb free (an impossible task) I feel like I never make a dent in the work. At the same time I am thankful to have the mess because of who makes it. I’d rather have our messy house any day than be without the two that make it. 

Check-in Wednesday

This past Sunday was a busy one for us. We have started to develop a little routine of sorts that starts with breakfast at a diner. I love breakfast and I especially love when somebody else makes it. After breakfast we went to the Parkland Farmers’ Market. This market was much larger, and better than the one we went to the weekend before. There was a large variety of vendors and the produce selection was really good. 

Not all produce is locally grown or organic, so it’s important to read labels carefully. Something about an outdoor market feels very magical and I absolutely loved shopping for fruits and veggies this way. I didn’t buy much but I bought enough to cook with for the week. 

After the market we headed to Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach for an auto show. We had an okay time. Diego was fussy because he wanted to walk around unencumbered and therefore protested every time we tried to direct his trajectory. We have reached the willful infant stage and what a difficult stage it is. He cries and whines incessantly if he doesn’t get his way. 

My husband is averse to his crying, especially in public. He feels it’s embarrassing. I do not share his sentiments. I am not embarrassed. It’s normal! The important thing is to consistently correct the behavior. I don’t let him do as he wishes just because I don’t want to hear him cry. Let him cry. I quietly explained to him that if he wasn’t going to cooperate I would have to carry him, which I did. I later put him back in his stroller. He wasn’t happy but he needs to learn what’s appropriate and what is not. As much as it sucks to have him make a scene I need to set limits. 

We didn’t stay as long as we might have but we were there for a while. I like exposing Diego to different environments and just because he’s cranky doesn’t mean we can’t be out and about. I don’t think it’s a good idea to simply give up and go home at the first sign of trouble. If he were older and actually interested in the event then yes, leaving would be a good punishment for naughty behavior, haha. 

We were home by around 1:30pm, just in time for Diego to take his nap. All three of us snoozed until about 3:30pm. 

In the days since the auto show I have contemplated getting a safety harness for Diego for whenever we are in a crowded place. I used to think ill of these but now I feel differently. I’ve read really negative things from people who consider these abominations that reduce kids to pets. Well, kids are much like dogs! I say this in the best way possible. Diego doesn’t listen to me when it doesn’t suit him. 

I found a little cute backpack one from Skip Hop. I’m really considering it. I read some parents say that the solution is to pay attention to your child rather than restrain them. Well, I do pay attention to Diego and this leash isn’t a means to ignoring him. It’s a way for me to control him while we are out. 

I’ve been reading everyday now that Diego is sleeping through the night consistently. It feels very luxurious. Of course, as one thing passes another emerges. 

I’ve been cooking dinner every night. We had broccoli cheese soup on Sunday, stuffed peppers on Monday and tonight we had burrito bowls like the ones from Chipotle. All very delicious and home made. 

Sleeping like a human

I think, and hope, that we have now settled into a good sleep pattern. I had mentioned before that I had started to sleep train Diego. This involved some changes and behavior modification for me. 

One of the biggest obstacles to establishing this sleep routine was my own need to check in on him every time he cried. I was usually in his room in an instant. One of the first things I started doing was to let him cry for a few minutes in the hope that he would settle back down. My maximum was twenty minutes and in the beginning it was difficult for me to make it past five. 

As Diego has gotten older this method has proven valuable. When I first attempted this a few months ago he wasn’t ready and I could tell since his crying would gradually increase to inconsolable hysterics. Now, on most nights, he puts himself back to sleep within minutes if he wakes up at all. 

Obviously you have to use judgment here and not just ignore his crying for hours. He could have a wet diaper or not be feeling well. I think every parent knows their child and his/her cries so going by what you know is key. If Diego was sick, had his shots, or was having a tooth come in I would proceed differently but on a regular night this is what we do. He now knows that he needs to go back to sleep. In fact, he hasn’t slept in our bed in weeks!

His bedtime routine is still the same except he is off the bottle! He doesn’t even miss it. It’s been a little over a week since I just stopped giving him one before bed. Instead, he has a glass of milk before his bath. Then he gets put into his pajamas, brushes his teeth and is settled into his crib. 

My husband puts him to bed at night and insists on staying in the room with him until he’s asleep. I know this is unnecessary but it’s harmless so I let the two of them do their thing at night. During the day, however, I started putting Diego in his crib, closing the blinds, turning on the sound machine and leaving him to his own devices. The first couple of times were a little noisy. Diego cried for about ten minutes before falling asleep. Today he surprised me by cuddling up with his lion blankie and putting himself to sleep without a fuss. He didn’t complain or cry at all. It feels great to see that consistency is paying off. 

While writing this post I got to thinking that my husband I do things differently but still as a team. We are two individuals so it’s only natural that we have different styles and demeanors. I think it’s important to be open and relaxed in your parenting. I try different things and confer with my husband about what I’ve read and what I think we should try. That communication is important because it’s only a matter of time before Diego starts playing us against each other, ha ha. 

Check-in Wednesday

We started off the week with Diego finally being one hundred percent congestion free. No more runny nose and no more cough! It has made for happier days and nights. 

Our Sunday paper was missing the circular for our grocery store so I went in blind on Monday morning when I went to do our shopping. There were a few things we absolutely needed, like bananas, veggies, and bread, but by and large I didn’t have anything specific in mind. I was planning on purchasing some meats but only ones that were on sale or that I had a coupon for. I decided that our menu would have to be assembled as I shopped. I know this can be dangerous! In order to safeguard ourselves from junk food impulse buys Diego and I had breakfast just before heading out s little before 8am. 

Now let me just say how much of a fan I am of early morning shopping. The store is pretty much empty, employees are still fresh and cheerful, and they are likely to be in stock of discounted meats. I was able to buy a pack of cubed steaks for around $1 and I’ll get two meals out of that. That’s pretty good in my book. 

Whenever I shop for the week I obviously don’t always need much since I already have stuff in the freezer and pantry. On Monday I made pasta bolognese. This fed us for two days. 

On Tuesday I made guacamole again since avocados were still on special. My husband and I both had late lunches so we found that sharing a bowl of guac with chips was sufficient enough and so I didn’t cook anything else. Diego had some banana and a little bit of left over pasta from the night before. 

I cooked the cubed steak tonight. Tomorrow, I’m making whole grain macaroni and cheese with a sneaky butternut squash in the sauce. I might also add broccoli. That will be our meatless meal for the week. 

I have some pork for friday but I haven’t decided how to cook it. I also have a bag of kale, Romaine lettuce, and tomatoes. I’ll whip something up with those. 

We might end up going out for dinner on Saturday or staying home and having sandwiches. 

So far, I’ve stuck to the meal planning but I think that’s pretty much the only goal I’ve worked on so far. I have been reading a lot but finding time to read is hard because by the time I can relax and read I’m also tired. So I haven’t read as much as I would like but I’m reading every night. 

I’m on the hunt for a jogging stroller but I’m hesitant to pay so much for one. The good ones are rather expensive. I’ve tried looking for a used on on Craigslist but there are some dirty looking ones that I wouldn’t want even if there were free!

Here are a few pictures from the week so far:

Check-in Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and it’s time to review which goals I’ve worked on this past week. I have been doing a good job cooking every night but I haven’t stuck to the pre-planned menu. I am perfectly fine with this as my goal was to simply cook dinner every night not to stick to the planned meals. 

Yesterday I made sautéed beef with onions, cilantro rice and guacamole. It was a big hit with my husband. 

For the guacamole I used two small Haas avocados, some diced onion, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin and a the juice of one small lime. One of the things I like about guacamole is that you can modify the recipe to suit your taste. You can add things such as chilli powder, jalapeños, or tomatoes for a different flavor. You can also make it as chunky as you like. I like my guacamole to be a mixture of creamy and chunky which is why I reserve some of the ingredients and add them in one I’ve mashed up the rest to my liking. 

Tonight I made stir fried beef (I used the rest of the package of beef I used yesterday) with broccoli and served it over penne pasta. 

Going into the kitchen with a plan is so much better than staring at my open fridge and pantry hoping that inspiration will strike me. Now that I have a few recipe ideas already planned for I feel confident rather than stressed out when it comes to figuring out what we are going to eat. 

Planning dinners has already proven to be a great time saving method. It’s also been a great help at getting organized this week. I have been feeling very industrious these past few days. It’s almost as if I am trying to harness the power of the new year. Today I took down our Christmas tree and decorations. The house looks and feels very bare. It always makes me a little sad to put it all away until next year. 

Doctor visit

Today Diego had his 15 month check-up. He is weighing in at 23 lbs and measuring 31 inches. His measurement are average, save for his head. He has a big head. Just like his father. 

I really like our pediatrician, he’s a very laid back guy who always makes me feel comfortable. Our appointments are never rushed and he always has time for questions and concerns. Most importantly, he has great bedside manner and Diego likes him. 

We usually have a different nurse each time we visit the pediatrician and though they’re all professional and nice enough our nurse today was by far the best one I’ve dealt with. From the moment she called us she was very attentive to Diego. When it was time for his shots she was caring and gentle. She was so gentle that he didn’t flinch or cry after the first shot. He was perfectly still and smiling. The next one hurt him, I’m guessing it was the sensation or some other factor because her technique was the same. 

Unlike other nurses, she comforted him a little afterwards and didn’t leave us until she had earned a forgiving smile from Diego. This seems inconsequential but I find this such an indication of the quality of care she provides her patients. Going to the doctor can be scary in the best of situations, imagine not having any understanding of it? I think it’s important to create positive experiences now so that as Diego grows up he will embrace caring for his health. 

It was a chilly day here in South Florida. The temperature was in the 50s for most of the day. I don’t have much in the way of warm clothing for Diego since it’s not usually this cold here. I managed to throw together an outfit that kept him warm enough while we were out today. Once we got home I changed him into a sleep and play so that he could putter around without freezing his feet on the cold tile.

Meal Planning- week 1

In keeping with the goals I made for myself in my last post, I sat with my grocery circular and made a shopping list as well as a list of meals I plan to cook this week. The idea is to plan our meals based on sales as much as possible. 

Breakfast is a pretty easy meal in my opinion and I usually switch it up on a daily basis. Diego will usually eat some Cheerios (the plain ones) along with some yogurt, cottage cheese or apple sauce. Other days he will eat oatmeal with banana, or eggs. It all depends on what I’m making for myself. On Sundays we sometimes have a big breakfast such as pancakes and bacon. Diego loves pancakes and he eats them plain without any syrup.  

So my breakfast options for this week include: plain greek yogurt with blueberries, oatmeal with almond milk, eggs and toast. 

Lunch will vary but will either be made up of leftovers from the night before or a sandwich. Sometimes I even have eggs for lunch (if I haven’t had them for breakfast) and I always have frozen veggies on hand because they are easy to prepare and pair up with left over protein, such as chicken. Diego especially loves them because they’re easy for him to pick up. 

I have a few dinner ideas for the week and I am not sure when I will be making them but I at least have recipes to choose from for which I know I have all the ingredients. 

1. Home made pizza- I have the dough, sauce and mozzarella cheese. I also have onions and green peppers to throw on there. This would go nicely with a small side salad. This will be a meatless meal. 

2. Oven fried chicken and baked potatoes.

3. Chicken burrito bowls with a side of guacamole and chips. -Avocados were on sale this week so I picked up two of them. I’m going to portion out the packet of chicken cutlets and reserve some to sauté for this recipe. I serve the chicken over some rice, top with corn, cilantro, onions, sour cream and cheese. 

4. Stir fried beef with broccoli. Served with a side of brown rice. -Fresh broccoli was on sale and I couldn’t pass up a chance to make this favorite of ours. I usually make this with frozen broccoli and sugar snap peas. It’s a great way to stretch out the meat and eat more greens. 

5. Ribs – Now I have never made ribs myself but we got a whole rack on sale for $6 so I have to do a bit of research this week before attempting this. I might go whole hog and make mac and cheese as a side dish along with some mixed vegetables. 

6. I need something light to balance out this rather rich menu I have for the week so I am thinking about making some pasta topped with some parmesan cheese and tuna. It might sound gross but I promise it’s good!

In easing into this I have decided to leave room for one night of eating out. 

Resolutions?

I am not a fan of making resolutions that will go unmet in a couple of months time. Having said that, the beginning of a new year just feels full of promise and opportunities. A new year means a chance at a fresh start. It’s a blank slate. 

I always want to lose weight, visions of emaciated me float around in my head from time to time but even at my most self loathing I know that this isn’t healthy or realistic. Last year I was actually able to meet some of my health goals. They quickly slipped away and left me back to where I started but for most of the year I made some of the changes I wanted to make. It felt really good to hold myself accountable. 

Right now, I feel really close to nailing down Diego’s night time sleep. He’s sleeping through the night more often and when he wakes up he is putting himself back to sleep most of the time. I know that it’s only a matter of time before he will be sleeping so well that I will once again know what it feels like to get a good night’s sleep. 

Lack of sleep slows your metabolism and makes you more likely to eat garbage. This has been true for me. Before Diego’s sleep took a dive I was eating right, exercising a lot, and feeling great. When things got rough in that department it affected everything. 

Here’s what I would like to accomplish in this new year:

1. Find activities for Diego to meet and interact with other kids. I’ve already marked my calendar with a story time group at our local library. 

2. Write blog posts more often. 

3. Sort and organize my photos. Make a few albums and photo books. 

4. Eat more veggies. 

5. Plan a week worth of meals every Sunday, 

6. Collect my favorite recipes and finally use that recipe box that sits empty and collecting dust. 

7. Read more.

8. Be more positive. Silence any nasty body talk. If I don’t love my body how can I expect my son to not have unrealistic expectations of what women should look like?

9. Give up soda. – this one is going to be difficult for me. I love Diet Coke but it’s bad for me and full of chemicals that I shouldn’t be ingesting. 

10. Eat out less. In order to instill good eating habits we have to live them, as a family. 

These are my ten goals. I might post weekly blog posts on my progress with these. Maybe I will call them Achievement Wednesdays. We’ll see. 

Happy 2014!