Monday, November 30, 2015

Cecilia and Mommy: 8 Months Old

Up until a couple of weeks ago, she wasn't really very interested in food; it would take us well over a week to go through a little pouch. Now we're going through pouches every 2-3 days! She also cracks me up by following me to where I'm sitting with my breakfast and climbing into my lap, then waiting for me to feed her some squishy wild blueberries from my oatmeal. I suspect at some point, she'll even be interested in the actual oatmeal part.
Mom! I love Nutsy!

She is getting stronger and more coordinated every week and I have a sneaking suspicion she will be standing on her own within the next month. She's mastered getting from standing to sitting instead of getting stuck standing and crying at me to help. She only needs one hand to balance herself while standing now and she rarely falls over at this point.
Hi Mom! This is fun!

Alright lady with the weird black thing, fun time is over.
I'm out of here and I'm taking Nutsy with me.

I've been reading Babble's Brilliant Baby series for the last couple of months and this month had a week (34, to be exact) about establishing baby's temperament. I thought it'd be fun to answer the questions for Cecilia so that I can go back and look at this post some day far in the future.

Activity level: Is she very active, not so active, or somewhere in between?
I would say that she is very active, as she is constantly on the go.

Rhythmicity: Is she regular or irregular in regards to basic biological functions?
Teeth and upset stomachs aside, she wakes up at roughly the same time every day no matter what I do (5-5:30AM).

Approach-withdrawal: Does she seem to enjoy new situations or is she slow-to-warm-up?
She is undoubtedly slow-to-warm-up. She would much rather sit and observe a new situation before making any decisions about it. When I took her to Wegmans to shop for Thanksgiving, several people commented that she was "so serious."   She's not a smiley baby in new situations!

Adaptability: How rapidly does the novelty of a new situation or person wear off?
I'm not really sure how to answer this question. I would guess at this point, that the novelty of new situations and people don't wear off very quickly. She spent a lot of time staring at her uncle on Thanksgiving.

Intensity of reaction: When she is hungry, how intense are her wails?
Intense. They've always been intense. She's a lot like her mom (hangry!) when she needs to be fed.

Quality of mood: Does she seem generally negative or positive?
I think she seems generally neutral but leans towards grumpiness more often than pleasantness. It's really very situational and this a really hard question to answer at this age.

Distractibility: How easily does a new activity disrupt one that’s been ongoing?
It is frustratingly easy to distract Cecilia. I've been unable to feed her successfully outside of the house when there are new things to look at and sometimes feeding her inside the house when there are new things to look at is difficult.

Persistence: What’s the extent to which an activity, once undertaken, is maintained?
I'm pretty sure it depends on the activity. If she's trying to get something I don't want her to have, then she is extremely persistent. If I'm folding clothing in the same room as her, and she sees some folded clothing that interests her, I have to stop folding clothes just to focus on keeping her from unfolding all my hard work. I'll usually remove the basket from the room but if I put it too near the baby gate, she'll just crawl over and try to get it through the gate.

Level of sensitivity: How intense does a sensory stimulus (lights, noise, or activity) need to be for your child to respond?
I would say what an adult would consider an intense stimulus (loud noises, bright lights, etc. etc.) causes her to respond in a displeased fashion. I mean, she'll turn her head at new loudish noises in the house but mostly just to see what's going on.

  • Peas on Earth
  • Sipping through a straw - it took about three weeks but she has finally mastered sipping and swallowing!
  • Pears and any mixes with pears in them
  • Pumpkin pie bites at Thanksgiving
  • Sitting with Mommy at breakfast time to get bites of blueberries
  • Following Mommy everywhere she goes
  • Charlie, as usual.
  • Making weird and often creepy noises still
  • Hanging upside down in Mommy's arms
  • Pulling herself up on everything but most especially the dishwasher when it's open
  • Fingerpainting the floor with her spit-up (ughhhh)

  • Naps
  • Turkey
  • Teething - I hate it too.

I thought and thought (and thought) about this and I really have nothing to put here. Life is pretty balanced again, even with the occasional reduction in sleep at night.

Previous Posts:
1 Month
2 Months
3 Months
4 Months
5 Months
6 Months
7 Months

Monday, November 23, 2015

What Works For Me

If you Google "maintaining a healthy weight", you'll get a get a myriad of answers that focus primarily on a person's relationship with food and exercise. Undoubtedly, that's important to an extent but I think, and at least personally, that's not the largest piece of the weight loss and maintenance puzzle.

Everything that I'm about to write about is a skill, just like anything else you use your brain to do. It's something that has to be practiced and refined, tweaked and tailored. It's difficult at first but the more you use it and the more varied experiences you have using it, the better you become at it.

Is it worth it?

Back in 2009, when I had a Stickk contract to help me lose weight, I frequently asked myself if eating something was worth the possible loss of money that it could cause. By doing this, it helped take the focus off the desire for instant gratification that eating a treat (usually sweet and/or bready) would provide. Over time, this question evolved and the money portion dropped out; it's become more "Is this temporary and fleeing feeling of satisfaction adding or detracting from my overall life satisfaction?" This is a lengthy question to be asking yourself in the moment, but it generally works well.

I've noticed that the indulgent food I find worth it has an accompanying experience that saying no to would detract my overall satisfaction. The food on the Alaskan cruise that Eric and I took is an excellent example of this principle. Each and every one of those meals, indulgent though they were, were absolutely worth it.

Out of sight, out of mind.

As I'm sure anyone who works in an office knows, office areas are filled with people who have candy on their desks and bring in sweet treats year round. Having a strategy (or two) to deal with these situations is important because it helps you make better decisions in the moment.

My strategy for dealing with the random office candy is generally to just avoid it at all costs but if a particular type calls out to me, I will take one piece and return to my desk. I put the piece in my desk drawer out of sight and leave it there for twenty minutes. If after those twenty minutes have elapsed and I haven't forgotten about the candy, I'll eat it. Most of the time work distracts me from the candy and I forget I even put it in my desk drawer.

Deprivation is the enemy.

The moment that I start outlawing specific foods is the selfsame moment that I start fixating on obtaining them. I believe that moderation is key, but moderation looks different for everyone. I have a problem (as in, spoon in the jar) with the dark chocolate peanut butter by Peanut Butter and Company, so my version of moderation is to have it maybe once every two to three months. It's not outlawed but since I know that I can't control myself very well around it I just don't get it as often. I've essentially tricked myself into thinking that I could have it whenever I want but I'm actively choosing not to. I'm not sure that even makes sense but hopefully someone gets it!

Be a role model.

Lately, I've been asking myself if something that I'm doing is what I'd want to see Cecilia do because copying parental behaviors is what kids do best. So, my goal is to create a relationship with the food in my life that withstands the scrutiny of one small, but growing human. I think that's the hardest part of this entire endeavor. She's my little blank slate. I don't want to be the one who gives her a complex about what she eats and I want to teach her how to enjoy food in a healthy way. The best way to do that is to be someone she can look up to.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: Making a Plan

Over the last two weeks, I've taken my meal plan from its initial stages into the last stages of planning.

I printed all of my recipes and assessed them for their ability to be made ahead of time.

I made a spreadsheet with all of the ingredients and totaled them up so that I could make my grocery list.

I recently noticed that Google has a little chart for popular times at Wegmans and that Thursday between 7-9 AM seemed extremely low-key. Since Cecilia is up between 5:30-6 AM every day, that seemed like a good window to hit the store before her morning nap.

Thus the tiny human and I and set out to obtain as much of my list as I could a week in advance.
So many things to look at!

Moooooom! Let me ooout! I want to help with the groceries.

See Mom! I'm helping! I took this lemon out of the bag for you!
Lastly, I made a timeline of tasks required for Thanksgiving dinner to happen.

If you're not comatose from food overload, check back next Thursday evening for photos from the day!

Previously: Thanksgiving 2015 Menu Planning

Monday, November 16, 2015

Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake

Eric doesn't really like cake, so I thought it was a bit odd when he requested one specifically for his birthday.

I guess I shouldn't be that surprised since he's been drooling over the all the things on Goldbely for what feels like ages now. On my first pass through the recipe, my gut reaction was "holy ingredients batman!" After I got over that and watched the video I set about obtaining the only four things that we didn't already have on hand (uh, my pantry is well stocked, it seems):

  1. 6" Cake Round (affiliate link)
  2. 3" Acetate Roll (affiliate link) 
  3. Rainbow sprinkles!
  4. Clear Vanilla extract
Over the course of three days, and several very terrible naps on the tiny human's part, the cake came together.

Ultimately, I was surprised at how easy making this cake actually was. I would happily make it again and now that I have an enormous roll of acetate, I might even branch out and attempt to make my own chocolate peanut butter version come February.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: Menu Planning

You know, I don't think I've ever really talked about how much I love Thanksgiving. I've written about how to make it less stressful and how I have super cute earrings, but never about how much I actually enjoy the holiday.

So let it be known:  I love Thanksgiving.

I didn't love it as much when I started hosting it five years ago. I couldn't get anything timed correctly and none of my dishes would go out hot. However, I've finally gotten to a good place with my cooking skills and last year was well executed. It had to be because slaving over a kitchen stove at almost six months pregnant was not going to work for me. This year? It has to be even more well executed if that's possible because there will be an increasingly mobile almost-8 month old baby clambering about the house. I've been dilly-dallying with my menu planning and as I updated my tiny holiday countdown numbers on our kitchen whiteboard, I realized that I was pretty far behind my usual standard.

It took me most of today, but I finally have the menu drafted up and the recipes saved to my Google Drive.

Next step? Ingredient list making and grocery shopping!

Monday, November 2, 2015

DietBet Transformer: Month 1

Initial Weigh-In: 175.8
Beginning of Round 1 Weigh-In: 167.5 lbs
End of Round 1 Weigh-In: 162.0
Total Loss: 13.8
I solemnly promise to paint my toenails by the end of November.
Hooray! Still going strong despite a week of vertigo inhibiting my ability to be active, the rice from stir fry week carb-loading my diet and my husband (-.-) buying three enormous bags of candy for Halloween.


This has been my cooking bible since I started losing the Sarah-ate-too-many-grilled-cheeses weight. We've only made one miss (chicken piccata sauce, so bitter!) and the rest have all been hits. Or, well, let me rephrase that. I think the rest have all been hits and Eric says they still "taste light." Even so, it can't be that bad as we've eaten dinner together almost every night since I started cooking from the book. I actually like this cookbook so much, I'd recommend snagging a used copy for cheap off Amazon if you're interested.

I'm also toying with the idea of reviewing some of the recipes (complete with photos) for the blog. Maybe. That's a lot of work for someone with not a lot of time right now.

I started C25K using an app on my phone a couple weeks ago. I'm not progressing as quickly through it as I probably should be, but I've adopted a catch-as-catch-can attitude about exercise. I briefly considered buying a jogging stroller but then I remembered that I live in New England and winter is coming (apparently the Starks of Winterfell are also from New England). I had some serious sticker shock when I looked at the prices too, cripes! I guess I'll give it the winter before I decide whether or not I really want one. Cecilia hates to be contained (she's just gotta be able to move) and I'm not sure I'd enjoy pushing her in a jogging stroller while she is loudly expressing her displeasure with me.

Anyhow, now that you've made it to the end of this post, I will reward you with a (gratuitous) baby picture because this is my blog and I think she's cute.

Apples are tasty!