Monday, December 29, 2008

Teething Bites

All Miles wanted for Christmas was his 2 bottom teeth, and he has both now. The fear is that more are on the way...tooth eruption has turned our 7 month old into an orally fixated fuss bucket; we escaped colic, not teething pain. With unpacking from a week in Ohio and various other domestic challenges staring me in the face, my blog will yet again suffer the "photo only" cop out.

We had a wonderful holiday break, to be chronicled shortly, and I look forward to one more week home alone with my 2 boys. It will be a little lovely taste of what it is like to be a stay at home mom. :)

(Eric took these photos during Miles's photo shoot with Uncle Ryan and Aunt Heather. We attached some sort of gadget of Ryan's to our own point and shoot, and with Ryan's studio set up, Eric's photos are pretty good! He is chewing on a Christmas napkin--and did you notice his chub? Yum. I'll post Ryan's photos when they are developed at a later date. I cannot wait to get some more of his photos up on our black and white wall at home!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays (part deux)

Happy Holidays!

We wish everyone a restful holiday season...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We made the drive from Georgia to Ohio, and are enjoying a blustery blizzard. Miles is sleeping on his grandmother's shoulder, and the Vince Guaraldi Christmas album is playing...(ah, little Linus)...

Miles experimented with avocado and his Happy Bellies cereal this morning. It was a hit! Opa took pictures that we'll post at a later date. He hasn't been as delightful as he was in Boston as tooth #2 is working its way up through the gums. It's like we have a colicky baby all of a sudden. But we have many more hands to help comfort him than at home.

Miles came home from the ELC with a gift for US from Santa! A framed Christmas picture (and a CD with lots of the photo shoot). There is also a picture of Miles enjoying his Happy Bellies cereal...
Uh-oh. Now Gloria Estefan's Christmas is playing. I am off to make some musical changes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cuttin' Teeth

This will be brief. No, really brief. Not "Ali brief," but brief brief.

Rumor has it, that my mother-in-law's months long conjecture may now becoming true--Miles is cutting his first tooth! You have to click on the photo to enlarge it to see the little white bump.That, or he has some sort of oral abscess. (It's not easy taking pictures of an infant's gums.)

And for your enjoyment, outtakes of our attempt at a Holiday card photo with our camera's self timer. The boy won't smile for the camera, and even if he did, the mass of cotton shoved in his mouth would obstruct the gummy grin. We finally got an okay photo without Miles's hands in his mouth, and with the holidays approaching, it will have to do.

I.O.U. posts on:
PT/orthopedic surgeon visits
Baby product essentials.

They're coming...promise.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Journey to MA

(These are 2 of my favorite new pictures. No story with them. Just a proud Mom.)

I feel like I am still picking Thanksgiving turkey out of my teeth, when all of a sudden, everyone I know is finishing up their Christmas cards and sending out e-mails about the last day to ship holiday gifts with UPS. I wish I was Evie from that old (junior varsity) show "Out of This World." Any takers? Evie could freeze time by joining two fingers, and then proceeded to manipulate the "frozen world." When she clapped her hands together, time resumed as normal. Of course, this set the stage for all sorts of comedy of errors. As tempting as it would be to catch someone mid sit, and then pull the chair away from their body and unfreeze time just to watch them qualify for an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos, there are much more noble things I would do with the power (read: NAP).

Much has transpired since I wished you all happy tryptophan comas. We spent a long weekend in MA as our Christmas gift to my side of the family. Leading up to the trip, I bothered myself with far too much anxiety about traveling with Mr Miles. It was flawless. (Here we are at the airport.)The little bugger snoozed both there and back, and besides the fact that my right bicep is now more toned than the left, we got back unscathed. We had a great trip, sprinkled with lots of guest appearances. Miles got to meet one set of his great grandparents (Nana and GP-J), and AunT was up from Miami, and Grunkle Seth had recovered enough from Beaver Fever to accompany Aunty Shirley to my parents house for a visit. And, for the first time, Miles may not have had the blandest diet of the lot! Poor Grunkle is still workin' the BRAT diet, but Miles started eating organic carrot mush! I adopted the baby food mill that my mother used to make baby food, and we mashed up some carrots to add to his cereal. The boy couldn't get enough, and Pappi was surprised to find that carrots are fibrous and come out a lot like they go in...although surrounded by an unmistakable sour dough bread smell. I think our next journey will be with organic squash or sweet potato. I realize we may be starting the whole journey into solids later than most, but I don't feel the need to rush, knowing breastmilk is doing its job for the most part. For Christmas, I think Santa (i.e. MomA) is going to gift me with a Beaba. I have been coveting this piece of equipment, which is pretty incredible, given my distaste for gadgets that clutter the kitchen. It does it all for making your own baby food: cooks, steams, grinds, purees, and defrosts. Plus, it is BPA-free! I was going the Magic Bullet route, until I heard that it contains BPA. The Beaba has been around in Europe for some time, and is now making waves in the US.

Although not apparent in these pictures, Miles witnessed his first snow (out of the womb) and downright bitter temperatures.
I also got to see my friends Daniel and Mary's new (surprise!) baby girl, Mia. Although she was a pound more than Miles at birth, she felt super tiny as I cradled her in my arms. It's amazing how the memory decays. I miss all of the brand newborn gurgles and slow motion waves and yawns. We had a great visit, and Daniel reminded me that even though the two of us go back to, gulp, NURSERY SCHOOL, that Miles will still have to be a gentleman and ask permission to go out with Mia. Ha ha.

Two timing Miles also met another girlfriend. He is all about Big Love, and taking on as many of the honeys has he can. He had an unexpected visit from his friend baby C, who is just the epitome of a "happy baby." They decided to go to baby "first base" and hold hands. Next, we are awaiting the arrival of Mama D's girl "Frankie" in March. It's a girlapolooza.

Full album of pictures for those interested (namely, the family):

There is more to report, but I have some lactation tea waiting for me, along with a DVR'ed episode of my boob tube addiction: The Biggest Loser.

Forthcoming blog teasers :
-Product alert! Schlocks are now being sold
-Cooky foot (nighttime foot casts)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lactose Tolerance

Alison slowly crawls into bed, knowing it is only a brief respite from her job as a milking station to 2 entities: Miles and/or the Medela pump.

Eric: You smell like milk.

Alison pauses for a few moments. It’s been over 6 months of breastfeeding…is this really a surprise? How to respond?

Play dumb with a smattering of facetiousness: “Really? I wonder why?!?”

Proud: “Oh, thank you! I produced the creamiest jug yet, tonight.”

Embarrassed: “I am so sorry; would you like me to take a shower to get rid of the odor?”

Scared: “Oh no! Do you think I have some sort of disease?"

Ali: Eric, I don’t know how to respond.

Eric loves milk, but it must be skim, cold, pasteurized and come from a bovine udder. I know your next thought—have either of you tried it? Believe it or not, we haven’t. a) I really don’t like milk to begin with, and b) I have such a hard time getting enough for Miles that I hate to say it, but I don’t want to waste a drop! I did taste Miles’s rice cereal, which is made with my milk, so I guess by some sort of transitive property of lactose, I have tried it.

I continually have “what if” conversations with Eric:

  • What if we were stranded on a desert island and had only water. Would you drink it? Could I live longer if I drank the milk, too?

  • What if I only ate all organic food. Could I call my breast milk organic?

  • What if you had to drink one of the following: milk straight from a cow (not like him latching on the cow, but like out of Farmer Brown’s bucket), or Miles’s milk from a bottle—what would you choose?

To be fair, I think we both are still amazed at the whole keeping a baby alive with the personal milk bar. I used to make comments about Miles being constructed of bagels and lemonade, but it was a hard concept to nail in that the reality that my body CREATED Miles was filtered by weeks of nausea as well as an inability to truly “see” the baby grow while in utero. (Remember my whole visual thing?) There were ultrasounds, and as exciting as they are, I find the whole looking at a screen away from your baby/belly to see rough images of your baby kind of disconnected and unreal. If they could make see-through abdomens, it would be a whole different story.
Feet then...

Feet now!

Breastfeeding is more of an active process for me, and I realize that I am keeping Miles alive in a new, unique way. Every time I see his growing chubby cheeks, I shake my head in amazement.

During my nursing school stint, I had an interest in lactation consultancy. I swiftly reconsidered as I passed out in a new mother’s room while the consultant was talking to her about appropriate latch. (Sign anyone?) Granted, it was a related to blood sugar and locked knees, but “coming to” in the mother’s hospital room while the nurses and patient were taking care of me, handing me OJ and wiping me down with cool cloths was sign enough. During some wild and crazy day dreams, I think about starting an Atlanta-based milk bank where moms with an oversupply can bank their milk to be used for other babies. I recognize that there must be some insane regulations involved, but I hear so often (not in my house, though!) women who have freezers full of milk that they will never use.

Does anyone else find it simply amazing that women are able to keep entire beings alive with their breasts? Seriously…it blows my mind. My little 4lb nugget is now a supersize 15lb whopper, and all because of breast milk. I also find it interesting that my body produces different “flavors” of milk depending on the needs of the baby. Miles’s preemie milk bar was producing far different offerings than what I am producing now. It is even apparent in any milk that is stored in the fridge. Too much detail? Just stop reading (you should have learned after reading my initial posts). There are crazy layers and colors. Simply astounding I tell you…

I cannot quite reconcile how people are offended by seeing breast milk (e.g. in an office fridge). I know that the cow’s milk we buy has been processed, and that cow’s don’t need to put up nursing curtains when they are milked like women do when they pump at work, but the more I think of it, the crazier it seems. (And let’s be honest, there are many office refrigerators with far more offensive residents than bottles of pumped milk. How about old Tupperware containers filled with unidentifiable lunches coated with a light dusting of fuzz?)

If you didn’t catch it before, Miles has started rice cereal and loves it! He is just eating it once a day, and only about 2 T, but we are slowly working our way toward vegetables. He is also starting some PT next week for his foot, and our pediatrician’s office initiated an application for a GA program called “Babies Can’t Wait” to assess him for some other developmental delays, such as sitting up, rolling over and using his arms to prop himself up. He also started his every 4 weeks Synagis shot to ward off RSV. He may qualify given his premature status. It isn’t a vaccine, but a monoclonal antibody. RSV is a nasty, nasty respiratory illness that I don’t want to contend with. I cannot say I enjoy the amount of shots that this child receives, and I still struggle with the decision to go with the unaltered vaccine schedule, but the public healther in me says it is the right thing to do for my child. Miles is just getting over his FIRST illness—a minor cold. Hey, 6 months without being sick is pretty remarkable! We are thankful for such great health. (And I bet you that darn breast milk had something to do with it.)

Speaking of being thankful, we had an amazing Thanksgiving. Eric ran the half for fun, and I bailed. I am no running hero, and just wasn't prepared. March is my new goal for a half marathon. AunT and Mr Nick drove all the way from Miami to be with us. Videos of his impromptu morning concert, and an "uncle feeding" below. (The next one is a picture of a picture...pretty cool!)

We also had a truly delightful dinner at Mama D’s house (who is cooking her own little one, to make her debut in March!). Finally, one of my best friends from growing up, "Daniel my brother," was blessed with the birth of his first baby girl on Thanksgiving! Congrats! (Miles is going to have a hard time picking a prom date).


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Miles's first ELC art project; be still my heart...

I am busting at the seem with gratitude and thanks this year...good thing it is wordless Wednesday, or I would have you reading until 2009. I am most thankful for the 2 loves of my life, imaged below:(2 images above from XC banquet)

Finally, the lengths parents will go to in order to get a "rise" out of a 6 month old. (I swear the second the camera is on, he gets performance anxiety.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

we're back! (sort of)

Update: Brother ("brah" as one of his Dr's called him) is doing better. Out of the hospital, but certainly not 100%. They think all of his symptoms are related to his parasitic infection, and he is still sore in the knee and shoulder and having some slight GI issues, but is on the mend! (In large part to the wonderful care he received both at the hospital, but also due to his amazing wife. Nurse/Aunty/cheerleader Shirl!) Thanks for everyone's concern! I(n other news, my paternal grandmother is in the hospital as she had a heart attack. I tell throws you curve balls all of the time.)

Miles had his 6 month check up, and there is a lot to report. As a teaser, he weighs 15lbs 5oz, and hit the 13% for weight...but he is in the 55% for length!!! This kid is catching up. Additionally, Mr and Mrs Schlotty visited this past weekend, and we all had a great time. Details and pictures forthcoming...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mystery Diagnosis

I am going to veer away from my mommy musings for a bit, and just say that my sporadic attention to my blog is due to a number of factors:

1. Work is insane. I am also spending some of my weekends doing some contract work with a former employer (babies are expensive!)
2. Sleep deprivation.
3. My brother has been suffering from a mysterious illness over the past couple of weeks and was admitted to the hospital last night. It's a little scary as after multiple tests, IVs, it is still unclear what is going on. He is not getting better after treatment; in fact, he is getting worse. What started as a serious GI infection has now spread to some sort of joint infection, and I guess there is some chest pain involved. (HIPPA would not approve of my sharing.) For all of my infectious disease specialist readers, give me a buzz...we need your help!

Once life settles a bit, I'll be back to my loquacious self.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The 1st rule of Mommy Club...

1. The first rule of Mommy Club is you do not talk about Mommy Club
2. The second rule of Mommy Club is you DO NOT talk about Mommy Club
3. The third rule of Mommy Club is if you sneeze, sniffle, cry, fever or need a sick day, the baby doesn't care.

(So I took creative liberty with the rules...anyone get the movie?)

I feel that ominous presence of a virus creeping up on me. I am actually surprised it has taken this long. I won't go into a litany of my symptoms as I have been anointed a member of Mommy Club and am learning the gravity of rule #3. You cannot get sick, and if you do get sick, no one cares (especially your baby). I wanted so desparately to tell Miles that I needed a nap today, but his response was something along the lines of "Nnn-ga, Nnn-ga." (Translation: Wow. Listen to my voice. Can you feed me?")

That being said, it was a wonderful and busy weekend despite whatever is ailing me.

Friday night we had a lovely dinner at one of Eric's runner's parents house as it was State XC weekend. The nice thing about Miles is that everyone is eager to hold him, and I was able to eat a nice pasta dinner with a well deserved glass of red wine. I am telling you, my arms have never been so cut as holding this child is getting more and more taxing with each layer of chunk.

Friday late night is not worth discussing as I refuse to pay any mind to Miles's continued sleep strike.

Saturday morning was so early, it would be considered a late night for me back in 2000 at Bates College. Let's just leave it at that. Eric headed off to the state meet on the XC bus, and I got Mee-lays ready for a lovely 1.5 hour drive to Carollton, GA. He did surprisingly well, and I stayed awake with the help of NPR and a seltzer. It must be peak season in GA, because I felt like I was driving through a Bob Ross painting on route 166 W. (Minus that big, black, "happy" tree he always paints in the middle of the canvas--anyone with me?) The air was clear, and the stage was set for what ended up being an amazing meet. Marist won both the boys AND girls state meet! And, one of our boys was the state champion. Finally, Marist has come back to claim their spot as the eminent XC force in GA. The ride home with Miles was, well, interesting. We were doing well until his hunger struck--he had had a bottle that I had pumped, but lunchtime came too quickly. No amount of static on the radio would pacify his grown hunger. And to be fair, I was getting quite uncomfortably full, and knew we wouldn't make it home. So, I stopped at Cobb Galleria and found some random hotel parking lot and positioned the car in the back, near the dumpster in the shade. The milk pressure was too great, and it was a messy feeding session. A note: don't wear a sports bra and try to nurse after not pumping for 4+ hours. It was so comical, I had to call Eric. PLUS, not one, but two cars parked near me on 2 separate occasions. Why would they park for 10 minutes in an empty parking lot, next to the station wagon near the dumpster, with a mom nursing in the back seat? Anyway, it was an adventure...

I am not looking forward to the 11 hour drive to OH or the 3 hour flight to MA in December. I'll need some advice on traveling with a baby.

Sunday was full of yard work, and then we had the XC banquet. Again, Miles was a champ. Everyone commented on how well he behaved, and we were glad to be there to support Eric. Unfortunately, his bedtime routine has been disrupted, and I got home at 8:20, swaddled him and put him right into his crib. No books, no singing, and I could be paying for it in an hour or two.

I am not really sure if this post contributed anything to my readership, but I am avoiding the Medela pump that sits before me. With so much activity outside of the home, I used up all of the pumped bottles and have to miraculously produce 15oz before 7am. Wish me luck...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pulling an All-Nighter

I try to keep politics out of my blog, which is an exercise in extreme self-control, but I had to comment on the amazing events of the past 24 hours. (For all of you who stayed up late watching election coverage and feel the strain in functioning today, I challenge you to stay up again tonight, and the next night, and then the next night...or try 5+ months of pulling all-nighters without the distraction of an election, studying for an exam, or, say, a college party.)

Regardless of who you voted for, I think there is no question that what we witnessed last night is remarkable. I feel a renewed sense of trust and hope for our future ("Yes we can!"). For so long, I was that "kid" who was the country's future--and now I realized that I am raising that kid who is our future. Knowing that Miles is starting off during such a transitional and momentous time gives me the chills.

Obama's speech was wonderfully crafted, and pitted against footage of MLK just leaves one breathless. (The puppy part was great.) Additionally, I do have to say that McCain's concession speech was humble and genuine. I cannot say I dislike the guy, and do hope that what few glimmers of Ye Oldde Johnny Maverick that remained at the end of his campaign survive to do some good in the coming years. I think it best for me to leave the topic of Palin alone; it could get ugly. I hope that she spends some quality time with her family--especially with her new baby as well as her baby who is having a baby.

I am absolutely disheartened that Proposition 8 was passed in California. It is a state constitutional amendment-- Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Those who supported "yes" on 8 blazed on with the motto "protect marriage." From what, I ask? Here is a quick 30 second video on the no on prop 8 website. Divisive, intolerant, offensive...enough said.

Finally, I just need to give a shout out to some of my peeps who worked tirelessly during the campaign season. Studs and Bec in California and Mama D in Atlanta...I am so proud of all of your efforts. True, they were all supporting a cause I believe in, but I have a general sense of pride in the excitement of my peers over the past year--even the staunch Republicans! :) I really think that political apathy is decaying in those 35 and under, and it makes me energized (not enough to tackle the laundry next to me). If anyone has watched Luke Russert (son of late Tim Russert), he makes my heart flutter. It is a completely platonic crush, promise (I luckily married my soul mate). I get excited seeing how active he is in politics and issues, and think he is tapped into the younger generation.

Finally, I thought I would share a great Obama button website from Studs, and include a random sampling of ones I thought were fun. As I said to some others...if only I had my 1986 jean jacket littered with buttons, I think I would have some new additions.

(Next post--it's back to mommy mania!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Video taken at 7AM...

Miles's first Halloween was fantastic! As you can tell from the picture below, he had the stone cold Mummy face down (it is his "you are taking a picture of me, so I will look like a deer in the headlights" pose). He wore his Mummy outfit and carrot hat (that we pretended to be a pumpkin hat) for the day at the ELC, and then we put him in the legit pumpkin costume from Grandma and Opa for a brief photo shoot.

Full spread here.

Green-atude (I now think it should be Green-itude; oh well!):

October 20
Turn down your thermostat

October 21
Read your Consumer Report

October 22
E-mail an elected official to thank, inform, or discuss.

October 23
Try homemade shampoo. Mix 1 Tbsp baking soda with 1 C hot water. (We did not try this one...sorry!)

October 24
Have your kids try a new dip like hummus or guacamole

October 25
Make your own Halloween costume

October 26
Make your own minestrone soup

October 27
Get something or give something on

October 28
Turn your water heater down to 120 or lower

October 29
Cut fresh veggies into shapes and make edible art

October 30
Make non-toxic Gloop. Mix 1 C water and 1 C cornstarch. (This is fun! I did it a lot when I was younger.)

October 31
Host a Green Halloween Party! (Not sure what this all entails...)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An ELC first 1st

First, we have a talker! I'll post another video at the end, essentially the exact same Miles Monologue, but from a different night. (Apologies for showing the mobile twice...I was trying to get a good shot for a future post.)

I really don't have time tonight to compose something of merit for the blog, but needed to check one thing off of my blog topic "to do" list or I will go nutty.

I cannot say enough good things about Miles's ELC experience (Early Learning Center). I really struggled with the idea of childcare for such a young baby, and when I confront sentiments like this recent Newsweek article or this Mem Fox bit, I am still quite defensive, and then always feel pangs of guilt. To be fair, I love Mem Fox's books (10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes is a Miles favorite), and she has responded to the comment in an agreeable way. I do, in fairness, understand where she is coming from, and think she has some valid points. Yet, as someone who is not really in a position to stay at home at this point, I will always struggle with the thought that I could be doing the whole motherhood thing better. Enter Mommy guilt.

(Let me break here, and address a question someone had--when you see words underlined and in blue/purple, you can click on the word, and it will take you to a related link/story/picture, etc.)

I tried to find a Mommy group around the new area that we moved to, and all of them are for Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs). They meet during the week in the mornings, and that just doesn't work with my schedule. Now that I am trying to keep off of the Internet, there are days that I do feel lonely and like I am missing the connection of other moms. I do keep in regular contact with a handful of new moms via e-mail (and Facebook!) Additionally, I really struggle with not having family around-especially my 3 sisters-in-law and mother, mother-in-law, and also my California/WI "surrogate sisters" (Studs, Becs and Schlotty). Time to break, or I'll start tearing up.

Miles is at the ELC 5 days a week, and both Eric and I work more than 40 hours a week (plus, we are both full time parents!), and I'll be the first to say, it is not easy. But, we are fortunate enough to have had Eric's work decide that it was time to establish a childcare center for faculty families. Miles is in the inaugural class of the ELC with 3 other boys, and I just love the arrangement. What is nice is that the center is 1 mile from our home, and on days that I work from home, I can go see him at lunch, feed him, play with all of the boys, and just escape the working world. (Also, I usually coordinate my visits with Eric's schedule so I can see him as well.) Even on days when I am in the office, it feels so good to talk with Eric and know that he visited Miles for a few minutes a couple times a day. When I pick Miles up, he is usually being held by one of Ms J's sons, or like today, being passed around by the girls volleyball team. He is just so loved, and he has no idea what sort of celebrity status he has on that campus.

Earlier this week, there was the ELC's first 1st birthday party! It was for the oldest boy...let's call him The Mayor. He walks around the joint, talking gibberish, like he owns the place. He likes to pat all the other boys and I really think believes that he is in charge. Then, at just about 8 months old, there is The Baby. We call him this because he looks like a picture perfect baby. And then, at a little over 6 months is Bruiser. He just reminds me of a football player--like he could kick Miles's diaper any day. And then quirky Miles (they call him GQ because they think it is funny that we typically don't dress him in traditional baby boy clothes). So, the 4 of them together is like this stinky little fraternity (that will soon be disrupted when Princess joins in December!).

The Mayor's birthday was a hoot, and I laughed so hard as they dressed the boys up in hats and put them together in little chairs and Miles in the bumbo for pictures. I am not going to share pictures as I don't have the permission of the other families, but I will attach a link to a few of the pictures Ms J sent to me from earlier in the day. (Can you tell Miles is "posed" in the rocking chair? The kid looks so uncomfortable).

Hang tight for the last of the Green-itudes...I'll try to post them tomorrow with our Halloween update!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Urgent Care

My mind is buzzing with things to blog about: my "diet" stage 2, Shlotty's couture footwear, Mem Fox and the perils of childcare, milk banking, premature baby expenses (monthly synagis shots for RSV)...but there was a slight hiccup in our schedule as Miles took his first trip to urgent care.

With skilled dexterity, Miles scratched his left eyeball with his nails. If his hands aren't in his mouth, then they are making the bloody marks of Zorro on his face. Eric is in charge of the "Baby-cures" and I have to say that he does an excellent job cutting and filing. I think we just have a skilled masochist.

I have never been confronted with a shredded eyeball before. Miles didn't appear to be in significant pain, but I kept thinking, is this an emergency? Do I page the pediatrician? When in doubt call mommy. I called my mom and we both decided it would be best to address his eye issue sooner than later. I spoke with an advice line nurse at Children Healthcare of Atlanta and she suggested we go to urgent care in case he did any damage to the cornea.

Good News!
  1. Miles weighs 14lbs 15oz (So close! I wanted to spit on his tummy or something to push it to an even 15lbs)
  2. Miles's cornea seemed to escape the wrath of his fingernail, but the poor white of his eye did not fair so well. He took the whole dye in the eye and prodding by the doctor like a champ, and was actually worse during the time we waited to get care. Apparently 5 month olds don't understand words like "triage." There was some talk of an eye patch, but I told the Doc that "pirate" was not on our short list of Halloween costumes, and that there aren't many one-eyed jack-o-lanterns.

I just got home a bit ago from standing in line 2 hours for advanced voting, and am heading to bed for what I hope is at least 3 hours before the nugget cries for milk. Therefore, I am not pulling up my Green calendar, but will post my green-itudes on the next post.

But I do have the nursing balls recipe for those interested: (I usually double this)

1/2 cup peanut butter (honey flavored is good)
3 1/2 Tbsp nonfat powdered dry milk
A few Tbsp of honey to taste
1 cup raisins or dark chocolate bits or M&Ms
Handful of flax meal
** Here is where you can experiment--for a binder, you can mix in any of the following, or all of the following to the consistency of cookie dough: crushed graham crackers, Kashi Go Lean crunch remnants, grape nuts...anything else you like!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yo-yo dieting

First, I must come clean and admit that I cheated on my diet. I was so good for a few days, and then sleep deprivation got the best of me and I Google searched "five month old" and "sleep through the night." It was 3am, and I was desperate. Earlier that day I had a surprise message from a charming blog follower (not sure how she ended up at my blog) who gave me some encouraging perspective on having a premature baby. They are notoriously awful sleepers, and this last week of 3+ night wakings is not unusual I guess. Of course, it is certainly not preferable! It was a welcome correspondence, and I started thinking about this "midnight" society of women that are all up with me across the globe (well, eastern standard time) every night. And it is in the shadows of a 3:45am moon that I felt like I could cheat on my diet and not get caught (until Eric found the Berkeley Parents Network website up the next morning).

So, yes, I found myself at the Berkeley Parents network and read a good smattering of of posts regarding 5-8 month breastfed babies and sleep (or lack thereof). My exhaustion hasn't been tamed, but I do recognize that a) we are not incapable parents for not being able to schedule our baby to sleep through the night, and b) there are, in fact, advantages to night feedings. It's that part "b" that I find myself harking back to frequently in an attempt to stave off a breakdown.
  • Night feedings will continue to encourage my milk supply, which needs all the help it can get;
  • Night feedings help confer anovulation (i.e. birth control--controversial topic, here is a good overview--Miles does not need a sibling quite yet);
  • Night feedings give me the luxury of "Goldilocksing" through beds all night. I start in the Papa Bear bed with Eric, and then after the first failed attempt at a full night of uninterrupted sleep, usually end up on the couch for the next segment of sleep. It is probably 6.5 fewer steps from the couch to the nursery than from the bedroom to the nursery, and in the middle of the night, 6.5 steps is a lot of ground to cover! The next, and hopefully final stretch of "sleep" (let's use that term lightly, shall we?) usually has me curled up in an adapted fetal position in the nursery chair. En route to my different beds, I do pass by the fridge and knock back a nursing ball or two.
What are these nursing balls I keep speaking of? A 32+ year old recipe for a "healthy" kids' snack (adapted from a book called Feed Me I'm Yours). I find myself hungry in the middle of the night, but have been struggling to find a quick snack. I remembered these "balls" my mom used to make that highlighted peanut butter and honey. Good thing MomA was visiting last weekend. We made a batch of what I call nursing balls, and since, I have made 2 additional batches. Basically, my modernized version has you mix up the following into what look like cookie dough balls (contact me if you want more specific measurements. I am in Papa Bear bed right now, and don't want to get up until Miles calls for me):
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Crushed graham crackers
  • Non-fat powdered milk
  • Flax meal (you could use wheat germ, too)
  • Chocolate bits
  • Kashi Go Lean Crunch remnants (you know, the part of the bag with the crumbs that you always throw away)
Yummy! Eric even likes them, and they are great post long run fuel. Just roll up a batch, and store them in the fridge.

***One final addition to part "b" of Nightfeeding: bonding. Every night, after my eyes have adjusted to the dark in Miles's room, I look down and see the most perfect boy. (It helps that the dark masks his cradle "crap" and scratched face). Miles does this funny "movement mantra" as I call it--it's not words he repeats over and over, but this repetitive nursing movement--like booby tai kwan do. Whichever arm is not smashed up against my belly, he holds it above his head and gently paints imaginary crescent moons across the top of my chest, brushing my collar bone. Over and over and over...his paper thin nails (the same ones that gash his face) tickle my skin with his movement mantra. It is when I close my eyes and just sit "present" with Miles while he composes his invisible Monet, that I want to bottle up the moment to save for the day when I am wondering how I am to survive the coming night.

(You thought you were getting away with no pictures? Fools!)

For all of those who still think we actually comb our sons hair into a toupee, here is what the poor child looks like when you try to "normalize" his hair: And then this is what he looks like upon waking up. (Thanks to Great Aunt Dilys for the sea turtle kimono outfit, and to Aunty Shirley and Grunkle Seth for Egypt, Miles's organic monkey pal).

Green-atude: October 14
Unplug unused chargers and electronics.

October 15
Ban the can. Buy foods that are fresh, frozen or dried.

October 16
Make smoothies using organic yogurt, berries, juice and a bit of flax seed (Ali's addition: make nursing balls!!!)

October 17
Keep keys from kids. They sometimes contain lead.

October 18
Get rid of household hazardous waste:

October 19
Set up a yogurt buffet for your kids. (Miles is just fine with his milk buffet for now.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Going on a diet: stage 1

(This will be in classic Ali style: long and convoluted. To keep the reading audience happy, I am peppering the post with pictures of Miles from this past weekend when MomA visited.
Totally gratuitous photo shoot of the same photo over and over. We miss you MomA!!!)

Full photo shoot here

Diet: stage 1

Now now, it's not as you think; I am incredibly happy and satisfied with my daily quota of dark chocolate M&Ms and nursing balls (more on that treat in another post), and feel incredibly fortunate to be in that percentage of pregnant women who got back into her pre-pregnancy clothes with speed. The "diet" I speak of is related to expunging toxic influences in my life. In this perilous time of "golden parachutes," decaying retirement funds (45% reduction in our own retirement account in 1 week!), political mud slinging on TV, insidious dry weather that leads to infernos in the west and drought in the southeast, melamine and BPA ravaging baby products/food worldwide, polar bears stranded on melting ice islands, unemployment lurking around every is pretty easy to convince yourself that crawling under the covers for a good decade is the only solution. (For those of us all-nighter mommies who don't fraternize with our covers on a regular basis, this certainly isn't the solution.)

Stage 1: the Internet. One of the sempiternal challenges for parents is manage the polyamorous marriage between fear, intuition, reality and ignorance. It starts in pregnancy--you rush to research every little twinge you experience, diagnosing yourself with any order of condition, from maple syrup urine disease to gangrene. The Internet is a total "frenemy." You find blogs, message boards, "scientific articles," anecdotal stories from great aunts, and at first, feel armed with all the information with which to tease out the truth. What I found was that over time I searched longer and more fervently for the "truth" than being present in my day. Information overload. I worried excessively, and sometimes with good reason, but I don't think I gave enough credence to being truly present each day, trusting my intuition, and relying on my health care professionals (well, there was Dr Evil who I still don't trust) and well seasoned family/friends.Now that I have a baby, I have been compelled and enticed into doing the same: Miles hasn't rolled over since his 5th week--what could be wrong? I will Google search "baby doesn't roll over" over and over. Or, I will research "baby does not sleep through the night," or "how to increase milk supply." As someone with a masters in public health research, I am primed to do my own community (i.e. the Heintz family community) needs assessment. The truth is that I have already identified the handful of good Internet sites that I trust, and I have a wonderful pediatrician who will e-mail me in response to any concern I have. Yet, I still get frantic about figuring it all out, and at times, will realize an hour of my life has been wasted on tippity tappity typing away. (FYI, I pretty much only refer to kellymom and the Stanford Med School for breastfeeding advice.) I prefer to be informed, but am trying to avoid being over-informed at the cost of my sanity and valuable time with family and friends.

I had my epiphany one afternoon a few weeks ago one early evening in September. Here's your visual: Ali with her work shirt completely open, Miles nursing on the right side, Medela pumping on the left, and a work computer on her lap with windows shifting between work e-mail and Google search ("how to get rid of cradle cap"). I had an almost out of body experience, and wondered what I must look like to an outsider. First, I laughed thinking about the visual, and then I thought, SLOW DOWN. I had almost instantaneous guilt; I was not present--not for Miles, not for my second child (the Medela breast pump), not for my work, and not for my research interest. I was syphoning off attention in different directions, attempting to convince myself that all of my efforts were valiant and that I was somehow channeling wonder woman.

For my job, I have an 8 hour tryst with a computer every day. When I am home, outside of posting pictures and blog entries and catching up on some edited personal computer use, I am trying to cut out the fat, as they say, and stop worrying and binging on the Internet and start experiencing. Diet step 1: cut out Internet obesity. I have a family and community outside of a 13 inch Mac screen that are far more fulfilling. I don't know everything, and I certainly won't learn everything on the Web, but I will learn a lot more about Miles by being with him than researching him. I cannot swear off the computer completely, but I have been reducing my consumption substantially.
In addition to the Internet, our family has instituted a no TV during any meals rule (NPR on the radio IS allowed for now--there are worse things than a baby catching up on Market Place). Okay, I do DVR Ellen and Project Runway to watch, and I have been known to follow America's Next Top Model. I "like me a good" presidential debate, but I can do without 24 hours of spin and bogus polls. Here is where the NY Times online comes in--I need to get my news somewhere!
We have begun daily dance parties in our house, where Miles looks on as his parents pop around the house doing their best middle school Red Devils dance running man (Westy-B people will understand). His response is generally luke warm--sometimes I think his face is saying "puh-leaze!" But we'll get the occasional flirty smile, and that keeps us dancing.

Green-atude: October 7
Make a whole grain pita pizza with your kids

October 8
Change the air filter in your furnace

October 9
Use baking soda and vinegar to clean your toilet

October 10
Join Mission Organic 2010 (

October 11
Invest in stainless steel water bottles (Eric and I have had Kleen Kanteens for months. Love them!)

October 12
Visit a farmer's market

October 13
Conduct a hand washing refresher: sing your ABCs while scrubbing.