Baby’s first Christmas

Happy New Year! But, first, Happy Christmas!

Christmas 2017_4

Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Spending time with family, eating delicious food, an expanded variety of candies, giving presents. Oh, man, ya’ll. I love it all.

I love the tree.

I love wreaths.

I love things that smell like pine.

I love the lights and the tinsel and the ornaments.

I love Hallmark Christmas — and I am not ashamed.

I love Santa.

I especially love the cookies and milk bit, and I can’t wait to lie to my son about it. SO excited.

New favorite thing?

Christmas jams. (He might have had three different pairs because I can’t control myself.)

baby christmas pajamas hm

And. This. Baby.

christmas baby

Shut up!

Not pictured are Matt’s and my Christmas pants. Mine — red with white snowflakes, a woman’s size large. His — gray with red snowflakes, a woman’s size large… But that’s another story about how H&M doesn’t size their clothing well and how my husband can wear pants made for women because OF COURSE.

Anyway.

We visited family in Indiana for Christmas, which is a 12-hour drive from Home Sweet Home, if you were curious.

Truthfully, we didn’t make the entire drive in one shot on the way out. We left the Thursday evening before Christmas, pit-stopped in Missouri overnight, and then drove the nine remaining hours Friday to arrive just in time for dinner.

The shortened drive didn’t seem to matter to my son. Near the final hour, he simply gave up.

All he was.

All he knew.

Was carseat.

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The long drive coupled with the excitement of seeing cousins — not that he understands ‘cousins,’ but boy was it exciting! — tuckered him out for a nice long sleep Friday night. He woke in a good mood for family pictures Saturday morning.

Unlike Kansas, which is currently dry and cracking (or is that my skin), Indiana is wet. Wet and cold. Just cold enough for snow.

 

Big, fluffy, Narnia level snowflakes, folks.

family christmas photos in the snow

During pictures.

family christmas photos in the snow

Absolutely magical.

family christmas photos in the snow

There’s nothing more storybook than waking up to a blanket of snow in the dim morning light just days before Christmas. For our son’s first, we had a white Christmas.

It’s Hallmark — and I love it.

I hope you, too, had a very Merry Christmas.

#mealprep: Baby food edition, vol. 2

I told you this story, but now, I’m telling you this one: Making my own baby food is exhausting, and this mom no longer has time for that.

My intentions were good, but my goals were unreachable. What’s that about making SMART goals? The R stands for realistic.

Making my own baby food was not a realistic goal.

Did the T stand for time-consuming?

Making my own baby food was time-consuming.

So here’s where I am. A shelf full of store-bought baby food pouches and tubs with a Baby Brezza shamefully stashed away in the cabinet next door.

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I tried.

Weekly, baby food adds $42-56 to my grocery budget (no, I’m not joking), depending on sales and whether or not I have coupons — and I always have coupons. I’m not buying the $3-per-pouch brand of rainbow-infused wheatberry ground by hand while a chorus of unicorns sings nearby. I’m just buying a lot of food because my son eats a lot of food.

He consumes 6-8 pouches or tubs of baby food a day, which equals 24-32 ounces. On top of his three square, he nurses when he wakes up, after dinner and before bed — and in the middle of the night. He also has a bottle when I’m at work or nurses before his afternoon nap.

So this kid is well fed, and it doesn’t matter how he got that way.

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The Baby Brezza eventually paid for itself in terms of how many weeks I didn’t have to spend $50 or more on pre-packaged baby food. However, as this article about Baby Food of the Future summed up so well, it could never give me back the time I need so desperately.

Or my sanity.

Feeding a baby is like so many parts of parenting: a constantly changing negotiation between time, money, the baby’s health, the baby’s happiness, and your sanity.

Quitting making homemade baby food for my son made me feel like a failure for about two seconds. The pre-packaged stuff, while $0.69-1.29 per 4-ounce serving, pre-calculates vitamins, minerals, calories, macro nutrients — all sorts of things I (could have but) didn’t have the time to figure out.

Have you ever tried to do math while simultaneously shushing a fussy baby, draining pasta water and testing the consistency of blended peas?

Not easy.

Plus, my brain’s incessant questioning — “Was he eating enough vegetables?” “Is all the fruit sugar bad for him?” “Did I feed him protein today?” “How many times can he eat carrots in a day without turning orange?” — no longer questions.

Recipes were a pain, too. The Baby Brezza made steaming and pureeing fruits and vegetables, even two at a time for a blend, easy. But what about meat?

Cooking ground turkey in the Baby Brezza was both disgusting and a failure. I ended up tossing all of it because I couldn’t be sure I’d cooked it long enough to ensure food safety.

And it was still chunky no matter how many times I blended it.

And it smelled horrible.

The $0.99 Simple Truth organic baby food pouches contain 4 ounces of blended fruits, vegetables and grains perfectly portioned for his little tummy (as long as he gets most of two). The $1.25 Gerber tubs are the best pureed meat products I’ve found — exemplified in the picture below courtesy of Chicken & Rice, which smells a lot like canned spaghetti.

And he friggin’ loves it.

 

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With nearly four full teeth, we’re just weeks away from moving on to food that requires a bit of chewing, and we’re testing the waters with diced fruits, puffs and Cheerios.

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Honestly, we’re not that into it so I’ll probably be buying baby food pouches for a while.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Baby’s first Thanksgiving

We rarely celebrate Thanksgiving. Not because we’re not #thankful or fans of the season’s food, but because we’re tired, busy and Thanksgiving is another commitment on a long list of commitments.

Plus, my husband nearly always has to work.

We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving this year, not really. But we spent time with family, went on fall walks, breakfasted and brunched, ate leftovers and (I) shopped small.

Oh, yeah, and WE SAW SANTA. omg, you guys, I love Santa.

We’ll start with Santa.

(Special thanks to Public at the Brickyard for bringing Santa in and Jenny Myers Photography for the pictures.)

Look at this jolly old man putting on a show for what is obviously the obsessive mother standing on the sidelines beaming joyously for her son to take his first picture with Santa.

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OMG, YOU GUYS. Look. At. How. Cute.

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We also went to see my grandparents and my mother and brother for Thanksgiving cookies — I bought Snicker Doodles. Then, we went to Matt’s parents’ house for a cranky baby nap and leftovers — and the best chocolate pie ever from the Bread Basket in Newton, Kansas.

Thanksgiving Cookies at Great Grandparents 2017 (11)

We also went on four fall walks, one for every day I had off. Our neighborhood’s trees lost all their leaves at once.

Thanksgiving Weekend Walks 2017

We breakfasted at Copper Oven — the single best breakfast place in Wichita — on Saturday, and then we brunched at our favorite restaurant in Wichita — Public at the Brickyard — on Sunday.

I got a runny egg croissant and a #scifri KMUW mug of Reveries Coffee Roasters’ coffee.

We ate local, and I shopped small, grabbing stocking-stuffers (and a new pair of resold shoes for me!) at The Workroom and Spice Merchant.

#SmallBusinessSaturday 2017

Our excessively busy weekend ended with a tiny bucket of baby fuss so I’ll be happy to get back on a more leisurely schedule.

You know, until Christmas.

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Writing with an infant was difficult. Writing with an almost-toddler is near impossible.

The baby that slept every three hours for at least an hour is no more. Now, I have a busy little 10-month-old crawling around the house, climbing over my blockades and getting into everything I haven’t nailed shut.

So I barely have time to think, let alone write down what I’m thinking. How other moms do it, I’ll never know. I will try to blog more. I’m full of wisdom now that I’m a mother ::face with rolling eyes::

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#mealprep: Baby food edition, vol. 1

meal prep baby food

Baby food is a racket.

At my local grocery store, a 4-oz. jar of baby food sweet potato is $1. An actual sweet potato is $0.87.

When peeled, cubed, steamed and pureed with a little water, I can get at least 16 ounces of baby food sweet potato out of one actual sweet potato. Four times more food for $0.13 less than the cost of one jar of baby food.

cubed sweet potato for baby food

This is my argument for buying a Baby Brezza — it steams and purees fruits and vegetables for baby food.

baby brezza baby food maker with sweet potatoes

True, the actual device could have bought me 100 4-oz. jars of baby food — but my son could eat through that in a week.

messy baby eating carrots

He. eats. so. much. food.

Four to six ounces at a time, he eats! Plus, a side of oatmeal and some breast milk to wash it all down.

Three times a day.

ice cube tray baby food storage sweet potato

Before baby — even during pregnancy — I did a good job of prepping meals for the week. Meal planning, coupon cutting, grocery shopping — that was my jam. I made smoothies and overnight oats for breakfasts and salads for lunches with a separate container for salad dressing and everything.

I even prepared 13 freezer meals for the crockpot in effort to prevent copious amount of takeout during my maternity leave. (And I’ll never do it again.)

smoothie packs and freezer meals

So it should be no surprise that I am an excellent baby food prepper.

baby food ice cubes

I’ve pureed carrots — like a lot of carrots. And sweet potatoes — like a lot of sweet potatoes. (Carrots and sweet potatoes make so. much. food. It’s ridiculous.) Plus, a yummy little mixture of avocado, banana and breast milk he lurves.

avocado banana baby food puree

Take two small avocados and two small bananas and blend with or without breast milk to get 16 ounces of food.

A few carrots with a little water make just as much.

Don’t even get me started on how many cubes of food I can make with a couple of sweet potatoes.

Add an apple, a zucchini, some squash or crown of broccoli…

baby food cubes

This kid eats better than I do.

The Baby Brezza makes the steaming and pureeing of the food much faster — and way less messy. Another argument for purchasing what amounts to being a $100 food processor I’m only going to need for just a few more months.

Soon, he’s going to have more teeth…

…so he can chew…

…so he can eat big people food…

…because he’s an actual human person, not some sort of alien that stays my baby forever and only eats mush.

Such crap.

 

 

Our favorite homemade baby food recipe

Avocado-Banana Oatmeal
about 1/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado-banana baby food cube thawed, see below
  • 1/4 cup baby oatmeal
  • 1-2 Tbs. water or breast milk

Directions

Thaw the frozen avocado-banana baby food cube in the microwave, about 30 seconds for one cube. Add 1/4 cup of baby oatmeal and 1-2 Tbs. of water or breast milk, depending on desired consistency. Stir and serve!

For the avocado-banana baby food cube: Mash two small avocados and two small bananas — or one large of each — and blend until smooth with a little breast milk or water. (I didn’t even need the Baby Brezza for this one.)

rock star baby bib covered in oatmeal

Not my first blog post

biceps and belly rolls from skinnyshae

So.

You might have noticed that I changed my Facebook page… and my Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts… from skinnyshae to “Biceps and Belly Rolls” (or shaevins because the other one is too long).

Why?

I started skinnyshae in 2010 in an effort to keep writing when all I could look forward to was a career without a lot of writing — I graduated around the same time as all the newspapers I would have worked for were laying off and offering only contract or unpaid positions.

And a girl’s gotta get a paycheck, yo.

Now, it’s 2017. In seven years, a lot has changed in my life.

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Hey, fam!

Like, obviously.

I’m far less concerned with fitness, exercise and dieting… and my eyebrows… than I used to be. I’m far more concerned with health, wellness and all. the. food.

I’m less concerned with the way I look… and more concerned with the way I feel.

I’m also way less concerned about myself and completely, totally, absolutely obsessed with him.

crawling baby
Stop it, look at that face.

Because who wouldn’t be?

I outgrew skinnyshae a while ago, but it’s been only recently I figured out what I grew into…

I’m a mom, a wife, a writer, a work-a-holic — and I’m working on that — and, now, I’m writing about Biceps and Belly Rolls.

Because I’ve got both, folks.

(Well, I’m still working on my rockin’ biceps. The heavier that baby gets, the beefier my arms get.)

Biceps and Belly Rolls by Shae
Still working on the biceps. Belly in full roll.