Wednesday, March 30, 2011

D.I.Y. Baby Food

I absolutely love making our own baby food. It's super fresh and unbelievably easy. Just compare the color and texture of jarred baby food to homemade baby food and you'll be sold!

Most of the time I go to the grocery store (and soon the farmer's market!) and just buy whatever organic produce looks good that day. I've vowed to never feed Will anything I wouldn't eat myself, so I have tried literally everything he has. We mix it up a lot, but I almost always buy organic banana, avocado and sweet potato, as they are Will's favorites.

We are fortunate enough to have a Beaba Babycook (courtesy of my mother-in-law), but you could definitely get by with a basket steamer and a mini food processor if need be. The Beaba is a little pricey, but definitely worth it in my mind. In the Beaba everything is steamed and pureed in the same bowl, so it saves on prep time, cooking time and clean up. I also love that the Beaba saves the cooking liquid, so I can puree the nutrients lost during cooking right back in.

I have several baby food cookbooks, but I've really just been winging the purees as of late. I'll probably start consulting the books when we advance to more complex purees (like the one's that include meat and grains). But just to show you how awesome and easy homemade baby food is, here's a glance at one of the meals I made Will last week...

Spinach and Pear Puree

1 cup of baby spinach, 1 medium pear (chopped)

Add to Beaba steamer basket (water measure 2)


Remove steamer basket, pour contents into bowl, and puree
Mmmmm... enjoy!

So how 'bout it? Any tips, tricks or yummy combinations to share?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seperation Anxiety

Will has a pretty good case of the "I want Mama's", which is 80% cute and 20% frustrating. It's cute when he wants to snuggle and cuddle all day. When he can't get enough books and songs. When he's thrilled just to take it all in from my arms or lap. When I know I'm his greatest comfort and joy in this world.

But it's super frustrating when he refuses to be put down for five seconds (even though Mama really, really has to pee) and right now, at bedtime, when he bursts out crying whenever I leave the room.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

I apologize in advance

I've been a super good blogger this month (go me). But I'm sorry to say that it's a trend that won't be continuing into April.

You see, April is poised to be crazy busy. Insanely busy even. I have two papers and one paper re-write due for my graduate program, an exciting new freelance gig, and we're putting our house on the market. On top of you know, raising the baby, that won't leave much spare time for blogging.

So I apologize now for the impending online absence. Expect a lot of photos in lieu of actual blogging. But my child is attractive, so that should work out well for everyone.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We better start saving for braces

Guess who (finally) has two teeth poking through?

Chomp, chomp

Still hard to see, but they're right next to each other on the bottom.

I don't have the heart to tell him that he'll almost certainly need braces. Both Daddy and I had gnarly teeth as teenagers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sneaky Nana

Look what Nana caught on her iPhone during our recent visit...

Cuddle bugs

Swoon, that is just the sweetest thing ever.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No, we're not pregnant

Emma is (and always will be) our girl's name. But if we have another boy, I love the names Jasper, Emerson and Charlie.

Just sayin'.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I'm still tweaking the design, but welcome to our new blog, Baby Steps.

As you can see, all of my old posts are still here, so no content has been lost in the transition. Kindly update your links and bookmarks, as the old blog address will be deleted in a few weeks.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I'm debating a new blog title and web address. What started as a blog for friends and family has grown considerably, and I'm thinking I might want more anonymity for the fam (especially Will) online.

So stay tuned. Changes are on the way!

NOTE: For those that link to my blog on your personal blog or website, that's just fine! I still want the blog to be accessible to others. But I'm thinking I should remove our last name as the URL so that we can keep things a little more private. Just trying to limit our stalker likelihood/liability.


Will finally has his new helmet! I love being able to personalize with our own stickers. We purchased two designs from Bling Your Band. Badger baby to start!

Ready to hit the gridiron

On Wisconsin!

In a few weeks we'll change over to the airplane design. But as proud University of Wisconsin alumni, Daddy and I think this is pretty cool.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Seven Months Old

Toes are fun

Dear Will,

You and I have really found our stride in the past few months. You are at this fabulous age where you are on a really predictable schedule, which means I can (usually) figure out what you want/need rather quickly. We are just in sync you and me, and it's oh so much fun.

You are such a playful boy! You love to jump, either in your jumper or on Mama's lap. You also love rattles, crinkly paper, silverware and anything that spins. You are enamored with cell phones and the TV remote, and will dive to capture them whenever you see them.

You got your corrective helmet this past month, which was much harder on Mama and Daddy than it was on you. You are doing great with it, and I must say, you look awfully adorable with it on. Though I miss being able to kiss your sweet baby head whenever I want, I make up for it by showering you with kisses whenever it's off.

You can sit on your own now, but you really don't care to. You much prefer standing or being perched on Mama's hip. When I plop you down on the floor, you'll stay there for a few moments taking in your surroundings. But if nothing catches your interest, you'll go for your feet or just fall right over (so the helmet actually has its perks). You sit very well in Mama's lap at restaurants, which has proven to be a useful skill. It's fun being able to take you out with me for lunch and dinner dates.

You started rolling from your back to your front this month. At first you would just roll back and forth in the same spot, but later on you started actually rolling toward things you wanted (a favorite toy, Stella, etc). You aren't really showing any pre-crawling behaviors yet, but I'm in no rush for you to be mobile. I like being able to put you down and be (reasonably) sure that you will be in (approximately) the same place when I get back.

We introduced a few new foods this month, including peas, pumpkin, mango and apricot applesauce. Though you hated plain applesauce, you love the apricot applesauce, especially when mixed with the pureed pumpkin. It's fun to watch you try new foods and experiment with new tastes and textures. I'm raising a little gourmet!

We also introduced a sippy cup, which you're getting slowly but surely. If Mama holds the cup for you, you are able to get several good sips. When you hold the cup yourself, you can get the spout to your mouth, but you more inclined to chew on it than drink from it. We'll keep working on it.

You started babbling recently, which is just adorable. Your vocabulary mostly consists of ooh, aah, mmmm, wa-wa, ma-ma, and ba-ba. You usually babble in your crib after you wake up or while you're playing in your exersaucer. I love to hear you "talking".

Speaking of your crib, you morphed into an excellent sleeper this past month. You started sleeping through the night and taking 2-3 solid naps during the day. It's awesome.

We started an early-childhood music class at Lawrence University. It's so fun to watch you interact with the instructor and other babies. We sing songs and clap nursery rhymes, try out instruments and play games. You're a little more tentative than the other kids, but you love music and singing, so it's a blast.

Every month as I write this, I'm shocked by how much you've changed. I'm so proud of you and I love watching you grow. You are my entire world, sweet darling. I love you.

Hugs and kisses,


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A plague on our household

My poor baby is sick. Runny, stuffy nose and a fever (101.5 degrees). He's so uncomfortable, it just breaks my heart.

I'm anticipating a rough night sleeping, but that's OK. I don't mind getting up frequently with him when he's sick. My baby needs me! It's when he's healthy and just electing not to sleep that it gets old (for the record, he's been sleeping great for the past three weeks).

He can't wear his helmet while he has a fever, so I feel like we're going to undo all the great progress we've made so far. Rationally, I know that can't happen in just one or two nights, but parenthood is not always a rational state of mind. I just checked on him, and thankfully he's sleeping on his side.

Hoping it's a short-lived bug. Lots of fresh air and fluids tomorrow!


Remember how today was supposed to be new helmet day? Version 3.0?

Well, I just got a call from the orthotist's office saying that Will's helmet didn't arrive yesterday. They don't quite know why, but they have a call in to the manufacturing facility to find out what's going on. It took all my energy to be polite. I know it's not the receptionist's fault that this keeps getting messed up, but I'm getting really frustrated.

It's now been 5 weeks of repeated errors. Thankfully, Will is still getting treatment. Just ugly treatment.

I know it seems vain and silly, but I want what I ordered. I want to use the cute stickers we purchased. I want anything that makes this process even slightly easier. And for me, that's a white helmet.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The time I (almost) punched a woman out at the grocery store

This happened several weeks ago, but its taken me a long time to want to write about it. Mostly because it still hurts. And I still carry around a lot of guilt for Will's helmet.

For the most part, people have been really great about the helmet. Will still gets plenty of smiles. I get a ton of "pity eyes" now, but that's OK. I'm just glad he doesn't realize people are looking at him differently.

Little kids are super funny about it. At story time a few weeks ago, this little girl came up to Will and started gently petting his helmet. Too cute! And all of Will's baby friends think it's pretty neat too.

You can tell some people are really uncomfortable about it. They divert their eyes or scold their children for staring. I actually appreciate the people who ask questions. Many people assume that he had some sort of head surgery. Others think he has a disability. Most are surprised when I tell them it's for cranial remolding.

I really appreciate when parents come up and tell us their son or daughter wore a helmet too. It's so nice to talk to someone whose been through it. They get the challenges, and they've lived to tell about it.

For the most part, people have been awesome. But then there was this one woman at the grocery store a few weeks ago. We were in line checking out, and as I loaded the last of my groceries on the belt, I noticed that the woman behind me was staring at Will. I smiled and said, "Hi, this is Will. He's 6 months old." She stared blankly at me and asked "What's with the helmet?"

Always one for a teaching moment, I explained it was to treat  his flat head and that he would wear it for 3-4 months. She blinked a few times and replied, "Oh. You must not have held him enough."

Stab. Me. In. The. Heart.

Though I wanted to punch her in the face for being so horribly insensitive, I turned around, paid for my groceries and left. It took all my energy not to bust into tears immediately, but I held it together until I got to the car. And then I sobbed. Right there in the driver's seat, with Will in the back.

Even though I know my actions (intentional or otherwise) didn't cause Will's brachycephaly, there are still times that I blame myself. Why did I let him sleep in his car seat so much? (Uh, because it was the only place he'd sleep as a newborn.) Why didn't I push tummy time more? (Because he screamed his cute little head off whenever he was on his stomach.) Why was I such a freak about back sleeping? (Because the doctor said it was super important and I was terrified of SIDS.)

I know I didn't do anything wrong, but to hear a complete stranger articulate my greatest fear hurts terribly. Even if she has no clue what she's talking about.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On being a stay-at-home mom

Interesting perspective on stay-at-home moms in this CNN article.

My decision to be a stay-at-home mom really surprised me. It wasn't anything I ever thought I would want to do. But when we started looking at daycares, nothing felt right. And given the cost, I started thinking... what would I really be working for?

We were very fortunate that Ben's job allowed me to even consider staying at home as an option. I have many friends who simply need the extra income. Others that hold their family's benefits. And others that simply want to work. Whatever the reason, it's OK to work. Kids thrive in daycare. I'm not trumpeting stay-at-home moms as superior in any way. It was just the best option for us.

Granted, money is tight and there are some days that I practically throw Will at Ben when he walks in the door. But most days are totally awesome. I love the flexibility of being a stay-at-home mom, and I love that I get to spend my days with Will. We've developed a great network of other stay-at-home moms and babies, so we're constantly meeting for play dates or going to various child development classes.

My life as a stay-at-home mom is non-stop. It's hard to rarely have a break, and for my work and personal life to be one chaotic mess. But I love the time I'm spending with Will. And it's really nice to be able to stay in my jammies until lunch when I want to.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby Insomnia

Way back in December, Will slept through the night for the first time. Despite the fact that I woke up in a panic and poked him to make sure he was still breathing (he was), it was awesome. There is no greater thrill than 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep when you're a new parent.

When he slept through the night again the following evening, Ben and I were sure it was a pattern. We were sure we were finally in for smooth sleep sailing. Naturally, we couldn't have been more wrong.

Not only did Will stop sleeping through the night, but he virtually quit taking naps and started waking frequently. Like four or five times a night. So the most sleep we ever got was 2-3 hours at a time. Not cool, child.

To make matters worse, since Will wasn't getting enough sleep at night, he was crabby all day long. And since he was crabby and overtired all day long, he was unable or unwilling to nap for more than 20 minutes at a time. Kill. Me. Now.

Luckily I had a friend to commiserate with. Insomnia and sleeplessness is so much easier to tolerate when someone else is doing it with you. We grumbled about the parents whose children supposedly sleep through the night within the first month, and decided that if you have one of those blessed miracle babies then you should keep that information to yourself. All it does is make the rest of us feel bad.

But then, out of nowhere, Will suddenly started sleeping. First, he stopped taking his middle of the night bottle (on his own), and then one night he just slept. All night long (7:00 PM - 6:00 AM). And he's continued doing it. For the past 10 days. Bliss.

Now that I'm on the other side (for now), I see what those other moms were talking about. When your baby starts sleeping, it's one of the most thrilling things in the world. I literally want to shout it from the roof tops: My baby finally sleeps through the night! I'm rested for the first time in 7 months! He takes hour long naps, which means I get hour long breaks during the day! Wheeee!

So to my friend who continues to have sleep struggles, I'm sorry, and I love you. I've been there, and it sucks. Rest assured, when it finally does happen, you will appreciate it way more than those lucky bitches (er, ah, fortunate new moms) who had sleeping babies at 6 weeks.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mom guilt

Oh man. Found a great article on CNN today: 20 things moms should never feel guilty about. I'm easily half of these. Happy reading!

Play group

I'm trying to start a play group for babies in cranial remolding (helmet) therapy. I have joined a few online support communities, but I think it would be nice to connect with families locally. 

I made this flyer and asked our orthotist to pass it out to his other clients. Here's hoping I'm not the only one who thinks this is a good idea!

At the very least I got to put my marketing skills back to use.

And in case you're wondering, that kid is not Will. It's a photo I found on Google Images. Still cute though.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Age: 27. But I'm 17 days from being 28.

Bed size: Queen. Though we slept in a full for the first two years of our marriage.

Chore you dislike: Cleaning bathrooms. Blech.

Dogs: My beloved Great Dane, Stella.

Essential start to your day: Coffee (black), and lots of it.

Favorite color: Red (Go Badgers!)

Gold or silver: I used to hate yellow gold, but we're rekindling our relationship.

Height: 6'1" (and no, I didn't play basketball).

Instruments you play(ed): Flute and piano. I can still play scales on both.

Job title: Stay-at-home mom. Easily the hardest (and most wonderful) job I've ever had.

Kids: My sweet, darling Will (just shy of 7 months).

Live: Oshkosh, though we're planning to list our house next month. Then Neenah or Grand Chute.

Mom’s name: Francie. If we ever have a girl, her middle name will be Frances.

Nicknames: Literally none. This has always been a point of contention with me. I tried to give myself a nickname in college, but my friends wouldn't have it.

Overnight hospital stays: Two days when I gave birth to Will.

Pet peeve: The incorrect use of there/their/they're. It's the copywriter in me.

Quote from a movie: It's not from a movie, but I love this one by Vince Lombardi: "The greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall."

Righty or Lefty: Righty-o

Siblings: My smart, beautiful, funny, fashionable sister, Taylor. She's the best sister and auntie ever. I also have a super awesome brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

Time you wake up: Will is usually up around 6:30, so I am too.

Underwear: I have strong opinions on underwear. I hate panty lines, but I think thongs are weird. I require good coverage and cute colors or prints.

Vegetables you don’t like: Swiss chard. I love everything from our CSA, except that.

What makes you run late: Usually the baby. But I hate being late. So even with Will, it doesn't happen very often.

X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth (many times) and foot (twice). My dear friend's dad is a radiologist and did my foot x-ray in high school. He teased me mercilessly because I had a hickey.

Yummy food you make: Lately I'm focused on homemade baby food. Tomorrow: peas!

Zoo animal favorite: Otters. They're so cute and playful.