Thursday, December 1, 2016

Baby Meals

Micheal is such an amazing eater.  There are only a few things that he won't eat.  Zucchini and carrots are amongst those few things, but he will eat them if I secretly add them to a puree. Muhaha.  Evil mama laugh. Roibeard and I are both vegetarian and we are raising Micheal a vegetarian as well.  We do our best to make sure that he eats mostly home-cooked meals made with simple ingredients. I do a lot of batch cooking, so his purees and side dishes are usually already prepared.  I freeze everything that I batch cook into little baby portions using ice cube trays.  At night I thaw a bunch of stuff for the next day and add it to his meals.  As a result Micheal gets all of the good stuff at every meal.  Well, we try anyway. 

Here is what a typical day looks like for us:


-Zucchini and Corn Soup
-Oatmeal with triple berry puree
-Fresh fruit


-Plain Yogurt (no sugar)
-Avocado slices
-Gnocchi with marinara sauce and a pinch of parmesan cheese


- Pumpkin and Lentil Puree
-Kiwi with Plain Yogurt (no sugar)
-Pasta with fresh tomato

Monday, April 4, 2016

Chicago Transit Authority and Strollers

Today I had my first very real and downright awful experience trying to board a bus in Chicago.  All of the details are in the letter below.  I'm trying to share this on every platform I can because I want it out there.  Here's the letter that I wrote to the CTA this morning:

To Whom It May Concern:

         I am writing to complain about the terrible and humiliating experience that I had while riding the #76 Diversey bus today.  It was very cold, in the low 30s, snowing, and my infant was not in a good mood.  I was just trying my best to get everyone home quickly.  The bus arrived and I waited back while any senior citizens and peoples with disabilities boarded.  Once the coast was clear the few remaining people to board politely motioned for me to board. I went to get on the bus and the bus driver very crossly told me that I needed to break down my stroller.  I told him that was fine but I needed to board the bus first because it was cold and I needed a place to set my baby while I broke it down.  He kept yelling at me to break everything down before boarding.  The few people waiting kept insisting to the bus driver to let me board with the baby.  I went to get the stroller up into the bus and the driver actually started pulling the bus forward!!!  He completely endangered my baby and no one could believe that he did that. 
It was very difficult, but I managed to break everything down on my own and finally get boarded. The driver continued to be verbally aggressive.  It was not rush hour, the bus was not crowded and the smaller handicapped section of the bus was available for the stroller.  He still continued to lecture me about the stroller and threatened that I had better not even think about opening it back up or else.  So I very awkwardly had to set my baby’s car seat on one of the chairs while the folded up stroller was leaning in the handicapped section.  This forced me to take up a total of 4 seats.  If the driver had just let me on from the beginning with the stroller intact, I would have only taken up 2 seats.  So this driver endangered my baby, verbally attacked me, and purposefully delayed other passengers boarding just because he wanted to have some sort of power trip.  It was incredibly humiliating.  I consider myself a reasonable and understanding person.  If it had been rush hour or a bus that was crowded, I would understand.  If there wasn’t any space in the handicapped section, I would understand.  If I had an older child who could walk or sit in my lap, I would understand.  If my baby was old enough it sit in a forward facing stroller without a car seat attachment that was easy to break down on my own, I would understand.  If I had someone with me to assist me in breaking everything down, I would understand.  If the bus driver was friendly and willing to offer assistance to a mom trying to board a bus with an angry infant all by herself, I would understand.  This bus driver really just wanted to see me suffer and was rude, threatening and unapologetic.  I am extremely disappointed in the CTA for hiring such an unbelievable individual.  When I got home to tell my fiancé what had happened he knew exactly which driver it was and told me that he had also had the misfortune of trying to board with this driver.  The first time my fiancé encountered this individual, the driver was so blatantly rude about my fiancé boarding that he was forced to walk all of the way home.  The next time the driver forced my fiancé to wait while he let about 20 people board the bus before him.  That is not how you treat someone with an infant.  It’s disgusting and I cannot believe that this person is being allowed to treat passengers in this way. 
It is very difficult to sit down and write this as I know that my letter will probably be thrown away or filed with all of the other complaints and nothing will come of it -- because hey, you’re just doing your job and you get to clock out at 5, right?  I am begging you to reconsider.  I’m not a bad person.  I’m not an aggressive or angry individual.  I’m a new mom who works full time and averages about 3 hrs-4 hrs of sleep a night.  I depend on the CTA to get around the city and to get from point A to point B with my baby.  I shouldn’t be harassed by my bus driver in the process.  If you have ever had children, you should understand that navigating the city with a baby isn’t easy.  I implore you to look into this issue and take action on it.  There are a lot of parents like me who are just trying to get their babies home safely.
For reference this was the #76 Diversey bus heading west.  The bus number was 6724.  The intersection was at Clark and Diversey and the incident occurred at approximately 10:30AM on April 4th, 2016.  The driver was a large, older, African-American male.  The driver’s badge number was 45506.  Thank you for taking the time to read this. 

If you know anyone who has struggled with crappy bus drivers please share my story.  It doesn't matter if you're in Chicago or not.  There's no reason for anyone to ever be treated this way.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

An Average Lazy Day

Wow, seriously every time I try to write a post it ends up taking me over a month.  Still, even though it's now officially spring this post works for this chilly, rainy day in Chicago.  

Regardless of the mild winter that we've had our apartment has still been absolutely freezing these past few months.  That's why it's been nice to snuggle up with a cup of tea and an over-sized sweater like this.  Even 7 months postpartum comfort is still the key thing as far as my personal style goes.  The dress is actually one of my maternity dresses from when I was VERY pregnant.  I've found that throwing a sweater over it though is one way to get a little more wear out of it before donating.  It makes getting ready so easy which is so important when you need to nurse, change, and get your little one ready for the day.  

I still have very little free time to myself, but I am trying to start working on "me" a little bit now.  I've started running in the mornings, about to start yoga classes, and I've been able to get in the occasional sketch here and there.  I'm also going to start working on getting myself certified as a substitute teacher!  Exciting things are ahead for sure.

Even with that sliver of free time the truth is that most of my day is focused on my little baby Micheal.  He is at such a fun age now where he loves his play time.  He's not quite crawling, but he scoots and pulls himself, and rolls around, and gets into EVERYTHING.  My favorite is when he has his little giggle fits for no reason.  Oh my.  He is just the best. <3

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Life with Baby Update: Three to Six Months

Wow!  It's so hard to believe that it has been 6 months with this little guy already!  Time goes by so fast but at the same time each day always feels like a unique little time capsule to me.  It's usually not until I start thinking about it that I realize how fast it has all gone by.  

Micheal is such a sweet and silly little baby.  He has his cranky moments, but what baby doesn't?  It doesn't matter how irritated or impatient I become -- the second this wee little guy smiles or giggles my heart just melts and I want to hug and kiss him forever.

The past three months have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.  Around 4 months he started sleeping through the night.  From 8PM until around 7AM.  It was fantastic!  Getting him to bed was so easy.  He would cry for about 5 minutes and then he'd be sound asleep.  Over the past three weeks everything changed.  His teething has gotten really bad and as a result he doesn't want to nap or sleep.  He will fight it and refuse sleep.  Of course, this just makes him grumpy and irritable.  It's almost impossible to get him into the crib most nights.  Not only that, but he has been waking up frequently overnight.  As a result I've been a bit cranky at work lately.  Cranky baby = cranky work mama.

Otherwise all is fantastic.  He's at an amazing age where he is just learning and picking up so much.  He's interested in books now and I just love watching him flip the pages and stare at all of the images.  He babbles all of the time and has even said what we think is his first word - "dada".  Well, it's actually more like, "a-da".  I noticed he's been repeating that one a lot and will hold his arms out to be held when he says it or when we're close.  The only thing is -- I think we're both "a-da" to him!  Silly little babe.

I've started learning more about baby sign language and a new goal of mine is to get him started on that in a few months time.

Speaking of goals, I just wanted to revisit some of my goals that I had way back during the pregnancy.

Goal #1 was to breastfeed.  I honestly never thought I would make it to 6 months with breastfeeding.  I am just so proud of myself and happy that I have stuck with it.  I was always just worried that something was going to happen that would interfere with my milk supply.  I'm completely confidant that if I made it to 6 months then I can make it the full year.  The hardest part of the past three months has been sticking with a pumping schedule.  I work 8 hour days, so I always have to make sure that Roibeard has enough expressed milk to get through the day.  That means that I have to wake up extra early, clean all of the bottles, prep everything, and pump.  I also have been pumping at work and occasionally in the evening.  Now that Micheal is on solids, I'm going to stop the work pump.  This has by far been the most difficult thing about breastfeeding...the work pump session.  We only get a 20 minute break at work.  For the first month I was skipping lunch and only using my break for pumping.  This was making me really sick though because not only was I not eating, but I also wasn't taking any time to get off my feet.  So I finally started eating first, but still only ever take 10 minutes to eat/relax and then the rest I spend pumping. It takes about 15 minutes to pump, so I'm always back from my break around 5 minutes late.  Now, I know it's the law that they have to allow me time for pumping (and they are pretty good about it), but it doesn't stop the comments that I overhear from people about me always taking extra long breaks or even just getting the "look" from my managers.  Since no one has ever said anything to me directly, I feel like I never get a chance to defend myself.  It just stinks because although I take a little longer, I'm only actually resting for half the amount of time as everyone else.  I am going to be so thrilled to not deal with that anymore.  

Goal #2 was to use cloth diapers.  At least while we were at home.  This one has been a bit of a bumpy ride for us.  When Micheal was first born he was a bit too small to fit into the cloth diapers.  We tried a few times to make it work, but it was a " no go" until about a month in.  For awhile we had a good run and were even at a point where we were mostly using cloth.  We didn't end up investing in a diaper sprayer due to the poor plumbing in our apartment.  Honestly though, a good pair of utility gloves and the toilet does the trick just fine and only takes a minute.  Oh, and it's really not as gross as it sounds.  The worst part is having to do the laundry every other day.  (And watching your quarter pile diminish).  After we hit our stride we had a few issues with our washing machine getting jammed up.  Not wanting to go to the laundromat every other day and get angry looks from the owners about trying to wash poop stained clothing we just stuck to disposables for awhile.  Our machine was repaired and all was going well until of course our giant baby out grew his prefolds!  We were really struggling to make them fit and it wasn't comfortable for him so we gave up and ordered the next size up.  Of course the next size up is more for toddlers so after we received them in the mail we quickly learned that they were too big. D'oh!  Again, we tried to make them work, but they were bulky, always leaking, and giving him a terrible rash on his tummy where the pee was getting through.  So, once again he was full time on disposables.  Another problem was that I was skimping on the wash cycle.  They are supposed to go through both a hot and cold cycle.  Instead of running them twice I started just doing one warm cycle.  Made sense to me, but it was resulting in less absorbant nappies.  Now that those kinks have been worked out I'm going to give them another shot.  One thing I would recommend to anyone thinking about cloth diapering is to put in the extra money and get All-In-Ones.  The prefolds require too many steps.  Which, usually is fine by me, but when you're trying to change a squirmy baby who has no problem peeing all over you it's just easier for everything to be one step.  We currently have two AIO nappies, but I'm hoping to invest in more.  Overall, I'm glad we have done cloth diapering.  Even if it's been a bumpy ride, the diapers have more than paid for themselves by this point.  Also, every time I use one I remind myself that's one less diaper/nappie that's crowding up a landfill somewhere!   

Goals #3 & #4 were to make our own baby food and to raise him vegetarian.  The vegetarian part has been a no-brainer at this point as he's only just starting solids and it has all been vegetarian anyway.  I think it won't be until peer pressure comes into play from school and neighborhood kids that vegetarianism could prove to be a challenge. 

Making our own baby food has been a lot of fun so far though!  We started him a little early (around 4.5 months) on rice cereal to help with his reflux.  It didn't really help much, other than make him constipated.  It has been fun watching him make a mess while eating though.  He loves his cereal!  I've started to put a bit of cinnamon in it to flavor it for him.

The photos below show the difference between the homemade and store-bought cereals:

The homemade version is definitely a lot more "ricey" looking.  It's chunky and looks a lot more appetizing.  The store bought stuff is obviously quicker to make and has a butt load of iron, which is nice.  It also has a butt load of other chemicals and stuff that he doesn't need.  Hehe, I just said butt load twice.  (Anyway, moving on...Cat, remember you're a grown up with a baby now!)  

Over Christmas he tried bananas and sweet potatoes.  He loved both, but the sweet potato really backed him up big time, so we have steered clear of solids until this past week.  Other than bananas and sweet potatoes he has also had prunes and pears.  The prunes resulted in an "ick" face, but he still ate them up.  The pears he ate, but only seemed to mildly enjoy.  I have carrots and zucchini ready to go in the freezer for him.  My plan is to take one day each  week and cook all his meals for the entire week and freeze them.  Also once he's able to mix ingredients my plan is to make a main meal for Roibeard and I and then give him the pureed version.  I just love watching his face overtime he tries new things!!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Holiday Market

Oh my gosh, a post!  A small amount of free time!  I've probably sat down to write this blog entry about 10 times over the past few weeks and every time Micheal decides to throw a tantrum and I have to go comfort him.  Oh babies.  Whatcha gonna do.

These photos were taken at the beginning of December when Roibeard, baby, and I all went to the Holiday Market in downtown Chicago.  We try to go every year.  It makes the holiday season feel official.  It was nice to have a chance to get dressed up in my vintage dress...even if it meant just throwing a big winter coat on as we left.  But hey...look...pre-pregnancy clothes!  Okay, so this is one of the few, but's happening.  

We spent Christmas with my family in Michigan and this little bugger got a TON of presents.  He was so happy.  He went right for the wrapping paper!!  I was so surprised, I really thought he was too young to care about opening presents, but he just went for it (with some help, of course).

It was his first train trip and overall he was very well behaved.  He did poop like every 5 minutes though.  Have you every tried to change a wiggly baby on a train with no changing station?  It's a bit tricky.  Still, he was a (mostly) good baby.

The sleep deprivation has gotten better as Micheal now sleeps through the night...but I still find myself exhausted all of the time.  Right now for's an hour past my bed time and I'm falling asleep typing this.  So here is where I shall leave you.

Thanks for reading!