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Friday, March 30, 2012

Q1: There's laughter in the air

3 months. Wow. Let's go on a quick tour...

And yes, the title of the post "Q1" references both a 3 month fiscal period and Quincy's name - witty or cheesy? I'll leave that for you to decide....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nursing Like a Ninja

Okay boys and girls, today's topic might not be something that everyone out there wants to discuss.  Don't worry, I always make sure any posts are appropriate for guys, gals, younger, older, ones with gold stars or in new cars... I just wanted to say this topic might not be on everyone's list to discuss.  But please, read on if you like!

Now that I've been a mom for about three months and am like totally a veteran and know how to do everything perfectly (*read with heavy, heavy sarcasm*), I would like to chat a bit about breast feeding.  Not everyone will breast feed - whether it be because they don't have children, or a mom had difficulty nursing, chose to use formula, adopted their children, didn't want to breast feed at all, or (more obviously) they're a guy - this also means not everyone will understand the challenges nursing moms face.  That's why I've developed awesome ninja skills when it comes to nursing outside of the home.

Not everyone out there is comfortable being around a nursing mom.  Before I had Quincy, I was kinda weirded out at the thought of nursing.  But once I began, it wasn't a big deal at all.  In fact, nursing has been a great experience to bond with Quincy and it's a great feeling to be able to provide him sustenance that only I can make.

Anyhoo, back to ninjas.  I definitely don't want to make other people uncomfortable, and I also still don't want to nurse in front of strangers, acquaintances, men, teenagers... okay, so there are a lot of people in whoms presence I'd rather not nurse.  That's why you have to have stealth like a ninja.  Here are some of my ninja skills I wanted to share:

Five Ways to Nurse Like a Ninja

1. Be One Step Ahead of your Enemy.  In this case, baby's hunger is your enemy.  No baby will ever be on a  perfectly timed schedule.  You may have a rough estimate as to when they need to eat, but there are other factors - growth spurts, naps, over-stimulation, sickness, tiredness - that can change when baby gets hungry.  In order to avoid a big meltdown of a screaming, hungry baby, have an idea of where you can take them if they suddenly get hungry.  When entering a store, someone's home or a public setting, scout out ideal places for nursing.  My back-up plan is always the backseat of the car while using a nursing cover.  No, my car is not heavily tinted but if I calmly sit in the back with a cover over top, no one will realize I'm feeding my child.  For all they know, I just enjoy hanging out in my backseat, chilling in the parking lot, with a pretty piece of fabric draped over me.  Who doesn't?

2. Find your Safe House(s).  Often times while running the usual errands, you will frequent the same stores and locations, so keep an eye out for nooks and spaces that can be your go-to nursing spots.  Malls sometimes have lactation rooms to use, but otherwise try family restrooms or a department store dressing room.  Most of the time, if you go to the women's dressing room, the attendant will be female and if you just ask to use a room to nurse, they'll be understanding.  And I'm speaking from experience - thank you Gap Outlet Dressing Room Attendant!

Recently while downtown with another friend who is also nursing, we shared our favorite spots which included the bathroom of a children's boutique (they have a chair inside the family size bathroom for nursing), the back stairwell of a home decor shop (secluded and quiet with minimal traffic), an indoor hallway between shops (another stairwell or be bold and sit on the antique organ bench on display), and a park bench offset from the main street (open area but again minimal traffic and peaceful).

3. Strength in Numbers.  It's usually easier to nurse in a semi-public setting when you are with friends or family.  I usually ask those around me if they are bothered by me nursing, and still use a nursing cover so that the conversation can still keep going and doesn't suddenly grow silent while I "whip it out".  Once you have established that your own party is comfortable with you nursing, they are more likely to stand up for you if someone outside of your group may disapprove of you nursing.

4. Seek the Wisdom of Others. I once was getting an oil change that turned into a lengthy car repair, and found myself in a fairly public setting needing to feed Quincy.  Thankfully, one of the employees at the dealership was so helpful when the time came to nurse.  He - and I want to emphasize that this was a man in his 50's who had never dealt directly with nursing as he and his wife had adopted all three of their children - kindly let me use a secluded conference room to nurse privately.  He even wrote a note on the door so no one would burst in the room while I was inside with Quincy.  Honestly, looking back at that experience it pricks my eyes with tears because he was so kind and understanding.  So if you find yourself in a similar situation - no clue where to nurse and a baby that needs food now - just ask if there is a private room or office that you could use for a short time in order to feed your child.  You may be surprised (as I was) at who rises to the occasion to help you.

5. If All Else Fails, Surrender Stealth Mode and Just Go for It.  Ultimately, your number one priority is the well-being of your child.  If you can't find the perfect perch to hide away to nurse before your child has an absolute meltdown, just go with your gut on how to get them calm, fed and happy.

The final goal of a Nursing Ninja is to cause a Milk Coma, a blissful state of your baby caused by a full belly and content demeanor.  In adults, these symptoms are commonly seen with Post Thanksgiving Meal Satisfied Sleepiness Syndrome (PTMSSS).

Over-the-Shoulder Milk Coma
Wrinkly Milk Coma
Sprawling Milk Coma

To the other members of the Nursing Ninja Clan, or spouses, partners, coaches, and friends who have helped nursing mommas, feel free to add any stealth skills you've developed down below in the comments.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another Epic Battle of the Mind

So, I did something crazy on St. Patrick's Day; something that took 3 years to accomplish and only minutes to erase.  More specifically, 3 years to grow and then minutes to cut.  We've talked about the Great Debate, but now there is another epic battle of the mind that seems to come along with motherhood.  Here are a couple photos of the aftermath of my decision:

Oh, the horror - ahhh!

It's amazing how long my beard was.... wait, what?!

Before getting pregnant, I had three personal goals:

First, I wanted to be in a regular exercise routine.  I took a Yogilates class (yoga + pilates) as well as a Zumba class (aerobics disguised as salsa/regaetón/hip-hop dancing).

Second, I wanted to give up caffeine.  I was able to drink a big cup of coffee, loaded with caffeine, right before bed without any affect to my sleep.  I figured it would make things a whole lot easier if I didn't have to cope with caffeine headaches along with the usual dose of pregnancy symptoms.  After two weeks of being an absolute crank going cold turkey, I kicked the habit.

And finally, I wanted to have long hair.  There is a stereotype that all women who have babies get "mom hair" which is short, unsexy, uncool, and lame.  Now, this isn't to say that short hair or women who are moms and have short hair are any of these things.  I'm just stating the stereotype.  For me, in my oh so naive mindset, I just wanted to stay clear of short hair so as not to fall into the dreaded grasps of the stereotype.  Needless to say, I have a much better understanding of why mothers choose to cut their hair short, and I found myself staring down short-haired strangers and friends to see how they styled short hair and made it look so good.

Let me preface the Big Reveal with a few explanations:

1. I've Been Jonesing for a Change.

Ladies (and guys too maybe?) - you know the feeling.  When you sit down and the stylist says, "what would you like to do?"  Your original intention was just to get a little trim off the ends but what comes out of your mouth is, "let's do something drastic".  That's what I've been craving.  I've had a few styles over the years:

Starter Hair
Platinum Toothless Hair
Brother Matching Hair

Dark Brunette Hair
Red + Blonde Hi-lights Hair
New Mommy Hair

2. Hair Can Lead to a Trip to the E.R.

Bears & Dogs - oh my!

What do the adorable little animal footies above have in common?  They are vessels for Hair Tourniquets (normally I would include a link to Wikipedia, but the article has some semi graphic pictures, so feel free to look it up on your own, but be cautioned that it isn't a pleasant experience).

What are these Hair Tourniquets, you ask?  Basically, Momma Hair gets stuck to clothing, becomes trapped in the footies of baby's clothing, baby slides their feet into the footies, Momma Hair gets tightly wound around baby's toes, and Hair Tourniquets are formed that have to get trimmed with razors at your local E.R. 

Resident Munchkin, ER Staff

No joke, this does actually happen (Brad dealt with these cases when he did a rotation at a pediatric emergency department).  Be sure to flip the footies inside out when washing, and remove any lint/hairs/threads before placing them on baby's toes.  Fingers can have a similar risk so watch out!

3. Growing out bangs is boooooooooooring.

Bang grow-out drama, ugh.

Nobody likes to grow out bangs.  You are forever trapped in a haze of awkwardness, punctuated with hair clips, bobby pins, headbands and hair in your eyes.  Why not create a compromise between your whiny bangs and your overly mature long hair by cutting your hair a bit closer to your bang length?  That way, everyone wins.

And now for the Big Reveal!

We first need the Before Photos:

Front, Side, Pony, yeah.

Special thanks to my AWESOME sister-in-law/stylist, Stacey, who worked her magic with a pair of scissors, hair dryer, and flat iron.

Front View...
Side View...

... and it even lulls babies to sleep!

 I opted for chopping.  Got any epic battles of the mind?  How did yours turn out?

Wishing you all a Happy Hair Day,


Friday, March 16, 2012

Baptism Promises

I've posted previously about how I am a natural Bawler.  A week ago was no different from my usual bawler-ness watching my son getting baptized.

Quincy, Pastor Lynn, Bawler Maggie, Proud Brad

For Quincy, it may feel like a brush of cool water across his forehead, but for me it was a huge promise.  A promise to love him and show him who God is and how he should lead his life for Him.  I'll admit, I've never posted about my faith before because I tend to shy away from talking about it in public settings.  This is by no means a soap box to preach the gospel to you, but just something I wanted to post from the heart.

Baptismal Font

I think with your first child you try to make sure everything is done right - make sure they eat perfectly, have every last bit of clothing they could ever need, use all the cool gadgets and toys out there.  For me, this promise to Quincy will be just as important for any siblings to follow him.

For those of you that are of the praying kind, please lift up Quincy, that he may grow in his faith and come to know God and seek out ways to live a life loving others.  Please also lift up his parents, that Brad and I can guide him in his faith and be good examples for him to follow.

It was a family affair, with Quincy's cousin, Beckett, getting baptized too!

Maggie, Quincy, Brad, Jeremy, Beckett, Emerson, & Annie
Grandpa Mark, Grandma Kate & Auntie Min
Grandpa Haveman, Maggie, Quincy & Brad

A special thanks goes out to my brother, Graham, for taking such great photos.  We were also blessed to have lots of family in town to celebrate with us, family out of town that kept us in their thoughts and prayers, as well as a church family that has always been supportive and loving.

Love and God's blessing to you all,


Foodie Food Food Food...

You may have noticed over the past year of posts that us H-G's enjoy food.  As a former pregnant H-G, I had my share of aversions, but am now blissfully in the stage of a nursing momma.  What does that mean?  All the caloric needs without the intrusion of aversions.  Bring it on food, momma likes her some calories!

A while back I had enlisted the help of Facebookers to send me some good recipes to add to our limited repertoire.  To all of those that shared recipes, THANK YOU.  Now, allow me to introduce you to a few of my new friends...


Megan's Mom's Enchiladas {Courtesy of Megan and her mom}
Ooey Gooey Goooooooood...

  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 can tomato soup (+ half a can of water)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (I use the small can)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt.
  • 3c. cheddar cheese (mexican blend is good, too)
  • 10+ tortillas (we have gotten 12-15 out of a pound of meat before; depends on how far you want to stretch it) 
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick stuff.
  2. Fry the meat and add the seasoning as directed. Set aside.
  3. For the sauce, mix the soup, half can of water, sauce, chili powder, and garlic salt in a big bowl.
  4. Get your tortillas out in a stack. Dip a tortilla in the sauce, covering both sides. Put on a plate. Put some meat and some cheese inside, then roll up and place in the pan. Repeat this until you run out of tortillas or meat, lining them up in the pan as you go.
  5. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the top, and then sprinkle on the rest of your cheese (or until you think there's enough!).
  6. Put in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.

White Chicken Enchiladas & Spanish Rice {Courtesy of Alison}
  • 8 fajita sized soft shells
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 3.5Tbsp butter
  • 3.5Tbsp flour
  • 2.5cups chicken broth
  • 1cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 can diced green chilies 
  1. Mix chicken and 1cup cheese.
  2. Roll up in tortillas and place in greased pan.
  3. In sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1min. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
  4. Stir in yogurt and chilies. Do Not bring to a boil.
  5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 for 22min + 3min on broil.
Spanish Rice:
  • 2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1cup salsa
  • 2cups chicken broth
  1. Cook onion in oil on stove for 5min, brown rice.
  2. Add salsa and chicken broth.
  3. Reduce heat.
  4. Cook according to directions on packaging (I cooked my rice for about 1hr 10min).

Simple, Tasty Pasta Sauce {Found by Megan, Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen}


CrockPot Quinoa Casserole {Found by Lindsy, Courtesy of Crockpot 365}
Pronounced like “Kee-nwa”… I think?

I used the above recipe, plus this recipe for Quinoa Butternut Squash & Kale Salad courtesy of Tartlette Blog and created my own blend of the two.

Quinoa, Butternut Squash & Kale Casserole


{Courtesy of Joan:} Boneless chicken breasts baked in your fav cream soups, topped with Durkee onions and served over rice!”


{Courtesy of Sarah #1} “Breakfast fajita (served at dinner) with chunked potatoes (I microwave first for speed then sauté), leftover taco meat (or chorizo), green peppers, onions, and scrambled eggs on soft shell tacos with shredded cheese and salsa.”


{Courtesy of Sarah #2} Frozen perogies (pasta with cheddar mashed potatoes inside)-I keep them around and sauté in a pan with either yellow and green zucchini or peppers, and sometimes I add tomato and cheese at the end.”


Need some other recipes?  These sites were recommended for great, easy, delicious recipes:

Some of you may know that I like to get into an organizing groove, so I thought I would also share with you my new system for shopping for these great new recipes.  There are three components: Ingredients, Meal Planning, and the Grocery List.

INGREDIENTS: I don't know about you guys, but I can never remember specifically which ingredients I need for a recipe or how much of each item is needed.  I also have various cook books and recipe cards to pull from, and it's a pain to keep it all straight.  I picked up a cheap index card booklet and wrote out the ingredients lists to my favorite recipes along with where the recipe is located (cookbook, online, recipe box, etc.)  Now when trying to determine what to make, I can look at only my favorite recipes (no need to page through every cookbook to look for something good).  I know exactly which ingredients to pick up, and where to find the recipe once I'm ready to make it.  There are tabs to separate the different sections, and different colors, too!  Yellow is for casseroles or one-item meals, Green is for veggie dishes, Pink is for meet dishes, and Blue is for desserts/snacks.

Recipe Options
RingDex® Index Cards - About $2.00
Ingredients Card...
... and Another One

MEAL PLANNING: As you can see above, sifting through just my favorite recipes can help narrow down the options when trying to plan out meals.  Once I figured out what sounds good for the week, I have a board to jot down what'll be on the week's menu.  I'm terrible about making sure leftovers get cleared out, so pacing the meals through the week helps me account for those bigger meals that last more than just one round.  Using a cheap frame, some scraps of paper and a dry-erase marker, I hung this on the inside of the pantry cabinet.

Hide Away Weekly Menu in Pantry
Monday through Sunday (plus a "Treats" section) Meal Planning

GROCERY LIST: I'm a list maker, but carrying around a notepad to the store can be cumbersome - things are listed as needed and not by section so sometimes I've skipped things by accident, or I forgot a pen to cross things off as I go.  Thanks to modern technology (and a recommendation from a friend), I downloaded this app, ZipList, that can keep track of your grocery items, organize it by section, and even store recipes.  Brad and I have a shared account, so we can both add to it at anytime and it is updated automatically.

ZipList App

Happy Fooding, everyone!


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Great Debate

I am writing this post looking for your feedback.  I'm curious, very curious.  And I'm not just looking for feedback from mothers-to-be, or just women for that matter.  Instead, I'd like everyone's input on this one, because I believe this topic can be discussed through generations, as well as across genders.  Now, I'm not referring to the actual Great Debate, but this can be a universal topic to discuss - sorry, couldn't resist the pun.  What I'm instead bringing to the discussion board is staying home with your children, going back to work, or finding something in between...


I resigned from my job a short time ago.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my job.  I worked for Language Services Associates (LSA), which is a language service provider - connecting you with translators or interpreters for a variety of projects and needs.  I specifically found independently contracted interpreters to match them with different clients' needs like hospitals, courts, insurance companies, government agencies,... services that English speakers use every day and the use of interpreters helps Limited English Speakers access as well.  It was awesome.  I should also clarify that I do not interpret.  When I've explained what I do in the past, some people have made the assumption that I am an actual interpreter, but this is not the case.  I speak Spanish fluently (though I'll admit I've lost a bit over the years), but am not an interpreter.  I'll leave that difficult task to the professionals!  In my four years working for LSA, I had so many opportunities to grow and experience new things.

2008 Holiday Party
(Me - yes, I am a brunette!, Sarahlyn, Stephanie & Lynn)

2009 DVTA Conference - Philadelphia, PA
(Patricia, Patty, Latifa, Irma, Stephanie & Me)

2009 New York City ATA Conference
(Vickie, Patty & Me)

2010 Holiday Party
(Me, Patty; Lynn, Stephanie & Noël)

2010 London Trip/Conference
(Stephanie & Dan)

2010 London Trip/Conference
(Stephanie & Me)

2010 Denver, CO ATA Conference
(Armando & Me)

2011 Holiday Party
(Noël, Nicole & Me)

I also worked with some very great people (as you can see in some of the photos above).  People that went on ski trip weekends, stayed out late dancing, laughed at my Castilian Spanish accent, gave me advice, guided me, and some who became my very close friends and confidants.  I learned so much about different cultures, countries, and each new project made me realize how big the world is, and how language and communication are so important.  

That being said, my priorities have shifted a bit these days.  Had I told myself five years ago that I would be staying home full-time to raise my son, I would have been shocked.  I was a career woman with goals and dreams and ambition.  Staying home would mean I had given up.

And yet, now that I hold my little guy in my arms, that is not what staying home means.  For me, staying home is seeing my son grow and learn and being a pivotal part of his development; pouring into him everything I can so that he can learn from my mistakes and experiences; speaking Spanish with him so he might breeze through Spanish class like a native speaker; meeting up with other moms and their children so that he can learn from the wisdom of other mothers and make friends... What does the future hold for me?  Once he (and maybe a sibling or two) get going to school, I might go back to the business world.  Or maybe I won't.  Having children is a brand new experience for me, so only time will tell.  All I know is that in this moment, staying home feels right.

Tummy Time with Mommy

This is not to say that parents that go back to work aren't doing great things for their children.  Every parent determines how they balance work, children, and life in general.  In our situation, Brad and I decided that he would work full-time, I would stay home full-time, and that's what works for us.

Here is where I want to know your feedback.  Are you a stay-at-home mom/dad?  Did you go back to work after having a child?  Are you single or married without children?  Have your children grown and moved out of the house?  Whatever your experience may be, tell me what your opinions are on the debate between staying home or going back to work (or maybe working part-time).  If you are of a different generation, what was it like when you were having children?  What was the expectation of men and women?

This was a great debate for me.  There is still a part of me that worries that I'm not cut out to be the Super Mom that I expect of myself.  And yet, another part of me knows I have other friends that stay at home, and there is an entire community of parents who stay home that I can lean on for support.  This is a new adventure that has been both challenging and exciting.  I see other moms (and dads) that stay home and it is very inspirational.  God has greatly blessed us for it to be possible for me to stay home full-time, and I am enjoying this new chapter in my life.  Not to say it doesn't get frustrating and I think about calling out sick some days, but that happened with my working life, too.

So what are your thoughts?  Please leave comments below!