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Go Take A Nap

29 Mar

Yesterday I walked with Daisy in the carrier for about two hours. When we got home at 5pm, my back and legs were hurting, so I took two Advil and lay down for a few minutes. And then I woke up and it was 10pm. My kind husband took care of the baby’s bedtime routine and put her to bed and let me sleep. So I got ready for bed and went back to sleep, and then woke up at 8 this morning. That is 15 hours of sleep. Granted, I had to get up at midnight and 3 to feed and change the baby, like usual. But I haven’t slept like that in quite a while. It feels glorious.

I have two problems when it comes to sleep. First, when the baby is in bed (around 7), I feel like I have to make the very most of my baby-free time. And I stretch it until 11 or midnight. And with two or three night feedings, the next morning comes around way too quickly. Second, after I’ve fed and changed the baby, she goes back to sleep right away, but I lie in bed wide awake and waiting for her to need me again.

It is hard for me to frame “go get some rest” in a way that puts the focus on Daisy and not myself. The closest I can get to it is “I am a better mother when I am well rested.” That is so, so true. Because I am better at everything when I’m not dragging with fatigue. One early bedtime does not mean that I’ve paid off my sleep debt, however, so I’m going to try to head upstairs at 8:30 every night. Even though that means only an hour and a half of baby-free relaxation.

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Go Take A Walk

27 Mar

Taking regular walks is a habit I’ve formed shortly after Daisy was born. It started because Daisy loves to be outside and is at her happiest when we are walking together, either in the carrier or the stroller. At first, our walks were to Jim’s office to “pick him up” from work and walk home together. It was one of the nicest parts of my day – the three of us walking home, Daisy listening as Jim and I talked.

Now Daisy and I go for longer walks earlier in the day because it’s a great way to fill up that time in between naps. Last Thursday, she had a low fever, and wanted to be held and to move at the same time. So I popped her in the front carrier and we walked. For three hours. I think we walked about six miles total. When we got home, the baby’s fever was all gone and she was in a much better mood. I had a sore back and sore legs, but it was worth it.

I have the Omron HJ105 pedometer to track my steps and mileage and I’m very happy with it. One of my favorite features is the “aerobic steps” feature, which tracks both the number of steps and amount of time that your walking can be considered effective aerobic exercise. For steps to count as aerobic steps, you have to walk more than 60 steps per minute and walk for more than 10 minutes continuously. This is great for people on using the Weight Watchers program because you can use your number of aerobic steps to earn Points. My only problem with this pedometer is that it is hard to find batteries for it.

Many new mothers struggle with making time for exercising. I know that I certainly do. However, if I frame the walk as “Daisy really needs to go outside for a walk. It’s good for her and she enjoys it so much.” then I am lacing up my sneakers a few minutes later. My only consideration is how long of a walk we can take before we need to be home for nap time. And it makes me happy that I am setting the example that “In our family, we take regular walks.” Walking is such a good lifetime habit.

Picnic at the Park

16 Mar

The weather was in the seventies today, so Daisy & I met some other mothers and babies at Glasgow Park. This was my first time there and I think I have a new favorite park. There are separate play areas for small and big kids, porta-potties, green grass – everything you want at a park. I took a blanket and we sat down and had a picnic. Daisy ate squashed blueberries and quartered grape tomatoes and I had a PB&J.

Trying a grape tomato for the first time.

Daisy tries a grape tomato and gazes out at the swings.

After lunch, Daisy played “with” the other babies and tried to eat the grass and leaves. There was a four-month-old there and that little guy was just so squishy and adorable and still. I’ve forgotten already what it’s like to have a little little baby.

Daisy tried out the swings for the second time in her life, and this time she loved them. Her first ride in the swing did not impress her at all. She enjoyed them so much this time that she was swinging for an hour! We followed swings with one loop of the walking trail at the park. The trail is very popular, and for good reason. It’s lovely.

This outing reminded me why I love being a stay-at-home mother so much. At any other point in my life, 2:30 on a Thursday would have found me at a desk in an office building, either staring at my computer screen or sitting through a meeting. But on this Thursday, at 2:30 I was walking with my baby in the stroller, enjoying the first warm day of the year together.

Sliced eggplant about to be roasted.

Sliced eggplant about to go in the oven.

Tonight I am making eggplant parmesan with two of the eggplants I bought yesterday. The recipe is Lighter Eggplant Parmesan. It is different from traditional eggplant parmesan recipes in that the eggplant is roasted instead of breaded and fried. I coated the tin foil with olive oil before I put the eggplant slices on it, but I still had problems with them sticking. Maybe more olive oil next time?

I also had my first experience with different oven rack heights affecting the pans differently – my bottom pan browned much more than the top pan. I fixed it by moving the top pan to the lower rack and browning it a little extra. It’s still surprising that a few inches higher or lower in the oven makes such a difference.

I served the eggplant parmesan over gluten-free noodles and it was delicious! It’s not like my father’s eggplant parmesan, which is fried eggplant drowning in cheese with a touch of tomato sauce – completely delicious and unhealthy. This version is more tomato and eggplant heavy, but I still really like it. Definitely a make-again dish.

I went a little veggie crazy

15 Mar

Daisy and I took a little trip to Produce Junction today. I call it a trip because the closest Produce Junction is 25 miles away. But even factoring in the cost of gas into my groceries, it’s an amazing deal on fresh fruits and vegetables. For $60, I got a pound of sliced mushrooms, grape tomatoes, 2 dozen eggs, 4 eggplants, an enormous bunch of kale, 6 red peppers, 8 pickling cucumbers, 6 romaine hearts, 6 grapefruit, a dozen bananas, 8 sweet onions, 4 red onions, a half pound of blueberries, 9 leeks, 2 bunches of asparagus, 3 bunches of cilantro, 3 bunches of parsley, a dozen heads of garlic, 2 pounds of potatoes, 8 gala apples, a bag of cuties, an enormous bok choi, and 6 baby bok choi. If it were closer, I’d go every week.

Produce from Produce Juction

All the food I got, stacked deep.

Now that I have all these vegetables, I need to do something with them before they go bad! I made leek and potato soup and steamed asparagus for dinner (more on this later), so a little has been consumed, but there’s a whole lot more left! The fruit is for snacking, not cooking, so I’m not going to make any plans for it.

  • grape tomatoes: cut up for the baby, and in salads
  • eggplant: eggplant parmesan! eggplant and peppers with peanut sauce!
  • kale: sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes
  • red peppers: eggplant and peppers with peanut sauce, snacking, cut up for the baby
  • cucumbers: in salads and refrigerator pickles
  • hearts of romain: salad
  • sweet onions: a supporting ingredient in most recipes
  • red onions: in salads
  • leeks: already all used up in potato and leek soup
  • asparagus: steamed with lemon and salt
  • cilantro & parsley: supporting ingredients in many recipes
  • garlic: roasted garlic!
  • potatoes: used half in the potato and leek soup, not sure about the rest. Roasted maybe?
  • bok choy: stir fry
  • baby bok choy: wilted in soy sauce, over rice

So it looks like we have food through the weekend. And for sixty dollars! Woo!

Tonight I made leek and potato soup from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette, a Benedictine Monk in upstate New York. This recipe is very simple, healthy, and delicious. It doesn’t call for cream like most leek and potato soup recipes, which is great because not only did I not have cream, I didn’t even have skim milk. I’m not sure why the other recipes call for cream since the soup was superb without it.

A pot of leeks I am sautéing in butter.

Leeks sautéing in butter, a beautiful shade of spring green

The only difficulty with the soup was the nearly two hours it took me to clean and cut the leeks, and then peel and dice the potatoes. I didn’t have any of the baby’s nap time left to sit down and knit. The leeks and potatoes simmered for an hour while Daisy and I sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Daisy investigated grass with the intensity of a bomb-defuser.Then Jim came home and we all trooped inside for dinner. Jim ran the stick blender through the soup and chopped some parsley for on top.

Perfection.