Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Splish Splash Max was takin' a bath....

Baby Max had the best day ever with his girlfriend Natalie. She is only a little older than him and they play together so well. We were two tired mommies today, but with our bouncing babies and some mommy mojo we made it happen. Kelly is such a wonderful mother and I love being with them!

Blessed days like these are what dreams are made of. And it is my dream for Max to have a clean baby bootie all the time. Sounds like a win, win to have happy, clean babies, huh! Love that.....Heck, I just loved this day!

Sweet little Maximilian's updates include:

He slides down the baby slide at the park all by himself. He dives face first like superman....yikes!

He knows how to put the lid back on a water bottle. I was very surprised to see him turn the lid around to screw it on correctly.

He gives french kisses to boys and girls with his mouth open. He also helps himself to food out of his friends' mouths....even if they were planning on swallowing and keeping it for themselves.

He sits in his own little chair that has his name monogrammed on it. It's a fun game him and Marc play. "Go get in your chair!" And Max runs back and forth from his chair to his toys.

He says a lot more words. A few that I heard this week include up, blueberries, i love you, and kitchen.

If your cocktail needs a little stir, he does that with his entire fist. Then he will proceed to feed you ice cubes--even if you are wearing a beautiful dry clean only suit and you don't want your cranberry drink to spill on your front.

He climbs three flights of steps in less than a minute. This has become a daily ritual because he loves it so much and it wears him out.

He has 11 or 12 teeth, 3 of which are molars.

When he wants milk he rips off my shirt--regardless of where we are.

He cleans his air jordan basketball shoes in the toilet.

He falls about 3000 times a day and manages to get away with only about ten bruises on his knees and shins.

He growls when I take his pacifier away.

He gives lots of hugs and wraps his arms tight around my neck. He is the center of our world......xoxo

Monday, April 11, 2011

How to Feed Your Baby

Many moms have told me they don't understand how I am able to feed my baby fresh food for every single meal without buying baby food in jars. They are running out of creative ideas and I would like to share some of mine. Hopefully this will help other mommies give their babies fresh food for every meal.

First of all, you don't need to worry about introducing solid foods before the baby is six or seven months old when their gut is sealed. The digestive system is still very fragile and if you are able to exclusively breast feed they are getting exactly what they need.

Perfect first foods are avocados and bananas because they are naturally soft and don't require any smushing, but I don't think that's where parents are having problems. It seems like moms start to ask questions when the baby is about 12 months old. By that time the baby has been introduced to a wide variety of foods and the mom is kind of like, "what now".

The easiest advice is to feed your baby all the healthy foods that you are eating. If you eat big macs and cheese puffs every day then you are probably the exception to the rule. But if you can line up your diets to be similar, if not the same, it will make your life so much easier.

Even if the babies don't have teeth, they are able to chew quite a bit of food with their gums. Healthy foods include food that does not come out of packages or cans and is not processed. If you decide to make dairy and meat a part of your baby's diet, it is wise to consider delaying the introductions and those foods should be given in very small amounts since those are the hardest foods to digest.

Here are some ideas for a 12 month or older baby that is allowed to eat nuts. I know some people wait longer, but Max doesn't have any allergies and eats almost everything except for sugar, dairy (mama's milk only), and processed foods.

Quinoa is one of the most perfect proteins on the planet and is one of the healthiest foods. You could feed this to your little one every single day and it is always prepared in only ten minutes. You boil some water, pour in some quinoa, and then add any other vegetable you are in the mood for. We put everything from onions and kale, to broccoli and carrots. We cut up the vegetables to be really small and it would be easy for any one year old to eat. The best thing about this meal is that it is so delicious that you will want to make more than enough for yourself. By adding a little bragg's liquid amino acids, the flavor is to die for.

Oatmeal is a solid breakfast for parents and children. We like to put strawberries, blueberries, raisins, a scoop of all natural peanut or almond butter and a splash of cinnamon. Baby Max gobbles up a breakfast similar to this almost every single day and it is nice for us to be able to share the same bowl.

Another breakfast favorite or sweet treat substitution we love to share are shakes. It's almost the same as the oatmeal except it is cool and raw. I like to blend bananas, raspberries, almond or coconut milk, water, ice, almond butter, and oats. Max and I also drink out of the same cup and it is no trouble to share what I am already making for myself.

Our favorite dinner time foods are soups, stews, or big pots of beans with other random vegetables. Yes, it does take a bit of time to make the first initial pot of soup, but with some practice you can crank it out really quickly. And not all beans have to be soaked in advance.

Split pea soup can be cooked in less than one hour and requires no prior soaking. The split peas are so flavorful, that if you do not have a lot of time to cut up the fresh vegetables, you can keep the soup very bland with only one veggie. I like to make a vegan split pea soup with celery, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes and usually some kale or chard. Just throw in whatever veggies you have and it's impossible to mess it up.

It is very easy to keep packages of split peas in your cupboard. Even if you have not had the time to go shopping, the peas will always be ready to go. Once you have your initial pot of soup, every time you go to reheat it you can throw another vegetable in it. When I go to reheat a pot of soup, I just throw a head of brocolli in the pot. That way you haven't cooked the life out of all the vegetables and are able to get more healthy benefits from the food you are eating. The reason I always add a very green veggie to the protein is because that is how the body is able to absorb more iron.

Pinto beans are another one of my favorites. It is so easy and I have been shocked to get tons of compliments as I have shared it with many of my friends. I don't use recipes so it's NEVER the same, but here's what I do to make veggie stew.

Soak pinto beans over night. (Or 16 bean soup that you find at Trader Joe's or any other kind of mixed beans). I always throw in a few jalepenos, an onion, and at least half a clove of garlic while boiling the beans for the 1st hour. The 2nd hour I start throwing in carrots, celery, maybe more onion and a little more garlic, potatoes or rice, and any other fun ingredients. The last 2 ingredients I put in are a stalk of kale and a stalk of chard. I turn the heat off as soon as the greens are soft so the vitamins don't all get cooked out. Sometimes I will do a mix of broccoli and cauliflower. Fresh basil is always good too. Then some salt, pepper and whatever seasonings you want to add. I like spicy and if it were just for me I'd make it much hotter. My secret ingredient is Bragg's liquid amino acids. You get it at whole foods and it is the best thing ever.

Now that I share all my food with baby Max, I never use more than a dash of salt in the main pot. Yes, I use jalepenos for flavor even if I'm sharing with the baby. If you put it in as one of the first ingredients, it is more for flavor than spice. But we joke around here that he was born drinking jalepeno-flavored breast milk, so it's no surprise that he loves cayenne and the likes. I'm not suggesting that for other babies!

A couple nights ago, I made an eggplant dish that Max and Marc both devoured. All I did was slice the eggplant and throw it in a big pan with a mixture of water and oil. I also cut up peppers and onions and added it to the mix. When all the food was soft, I put in some marinara sauce and after a minute, turned off the heat. It is so easy, healthy, and delicious and the key is to wash each piece of eggplant after cutting it so it will soak up more water than oil. Also when you add marinara or tomato sauce at the end, add a little more water to make it more saucy.

Other foods like homemade guacamole are perfect for parents and children. It's really easy to cut open some avocados and add some lime, onion, garlic, and tomato. You just cut up the veggies really small.

I hope this gives my mommy and daddy friends some ideas on what to feed the whole family at mealtime. The key is that you always have food on your plate that you can share with your baby (other than fish sticks and french fries...ugh!). And if you have to eat some junk food, just wait until your baby is asleep!

If you are really tired, just dump the food all over the floor for the baby to enjoy. This is an example of what happens when daddy is in charge at our house. Fortunately Max eats everything and is happy to clean the mess.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"It's one more day up in the canyon....."

"And it's one more night in hollywood...." Counting Crows outdid themselves with this somber yet hopeful song. After spending last week in the grandest of all canyons, the tune continues running through my mind.

"I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself. To hold on to these moments as they pass." As a new mom I can't tell you how many times I tell myself to remember every single tiny itty bitty moment because they are all milestones. Love that song more than ever lately....

Speaking of hollywood, I was there yesterday for several hours. I took Max with me to an audition at Hollywood Center Studios and almost felt like an overly impressed tourist. It made me realize that I really am a west side gal these days. Gosh, I even miss good 'ol hollyweird and enjoyed reacquainting myself with the biz for a day. The fact that I was out of the house in clean clothes, hair and make-up done, a fresh pot of beans on the stove, and a happy baby all before 2pm was a miracle. Sounds nauseatingly domestic, huh....

But what about the grand mother of all canyons. Boo-yah! We did it! No, we didn't just go there and look at it or anything mundane like that. We hiked it and camped at the bottom with the baby and a large portion of the Perry family! How cool is that!

We are especially happy about conquering the 5000 foot descent and ascent two days later because we didn't think we were able to go. Marc and I did not even do any training hikes. So at the last minute when we got the "ok" that we could go, we had not done a single thing to prepare for this awe-inspiring once or twice in a life time trek.

Luckily for us, Marc and I have always been extremely active and capable campers. Between our supplies, a borrowed tent, and some muscle memory, we were able to conquer the feat without any preparations or problems. Whew!

I always forget how awesome America is. Yeah, yeah, my dad says we won the lottery by being born here. But what I mean is that we have such a large amount of culture and beauty in the homeland that we forget about. We don't have to go to Europe or other exotic countries or continents to be astounded or enlightened. Don't get me wrong....It's nice, but not necessary.

Since this trip was completely improvised for Marc, Max, and me, it should come to no surprise that on our way home from the steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River, we took a detour and went to chintzy las vegas. After a healthy, breezy visit to a national park, I guess a trashy town was in order. But we were really just too tired to drive in Friday traffic all the way back to Los Angeles.

For some off the strip fun, we took Max to the Hoover Dam. It made for a less sentimental goodbye to Arizona. The impressive engineering blew us away and and made for a most welcomed hello to Nevada. I was most shocked to learned that 112 people were killed during the construction of the dam. That is unbelievable and so sad that those hard workers lost their lives building the site that continues to be so important to civilization today. Interesting side trip for a family that has to stop, pee, and stretch their legs a lot....

Then we arrived at Treasure Island hotel where we would stay in the new-and-improved-family-friendly-Las Vegas. Yeah, right! Well, not that it's bad or anything, but I really don't understand how you call that city family friendly. I mainly say that because you are smoking a cigarette every time you walk through a casino. And then there's the drunkidy drunk drunk drunks....

And when you see a girl running through a bar in her wedding gown and tennis shoes, you just start to feel embarrassed for her. Maybe that works in two ways. Maybe that makes me feel less guilty for having a baby and not being married. Because if that is the way I had to get married, I would never do it. If a guy wanted to get married to me at a chapel in dirty vegas I would immediately break up with him. No thank you!

The city that doesn't sleep proved to be family friendly for our little crew. We took some nice walks, enjoyed the pool, and ate some great food. Marc got to play plenty of poker games and I got to play with the cutest 13 month old baby in the world. We were even able to catch my friend's show Fantasy at the Luxor on Sat. night after dinner at Cosmopolitan. Considering the fact that we showed up there with a suitcase full of dirty camping clothes, we managed perfectly.

Getaways can be so refreshing and rejuvenating. And exhausting. And fabulous. The previous week, I was in a total funk over having to cancel the trip, and we were so happy we ended up having the opportunity to go on a vacation.

While we're on the topic of funky, let's address the doom and gloom blog (someone in my family named it that)....preciseley entitled Accepted Accurate Predictions by M. M stands for Marc and that is his creation. I didn't think it was that depressing, but then again I was laughing the whole time I typed it for him. Of course it is a joke playing on the disdain he has for fortune tellers. Wasn't it completely obvious? Maybe not.....We'll see if he guest blogs again any time soon since some very vocal people missed his humor!

Get off your butts and stop reading my blog! Why don't you get out and conquer a canyon or something. Just sayin'....