Thursday, July 10, 2014

Starting Baby-Led Weaning (& a recipe)

Guess what?! I suck at blogging. Maybe it isn't my forte. Maybe...? No, it's definitely not. My time management skills seem to be lacking. But only because there's a little person who is quite the time suck these days and he's much cooler than blogging. Sorry guys!

So why am I here about to blog if I suck so badly at it? Well, that's a great question. It just felt right. Owen is napping and I'm listening to music and sipping my daily iced coffee. All those circumstances make for great blogging time. However, I feel by just typing the words, I send signals to Owen in his sweet slumber to wake up. Don't do it, child.. stay asleep for mama!

Okay, so updates... Owen is pretty much an adult now. 6 months and a half months... He eats normal people food (well he practices.. he's still an avid milk drinker though, in case you needed to know?) We have decided to skip the purees and do Baby Led-Weaning (what the heck is she rambling on about...?) I know, I must be crazy... But hey, being a parent rocks because I get to raise my child whatever way I want.

Anyways, I have had lots of people ask me how BLW works and I figured this would be a great blogging opportunity. Let me start off by saying, I have absolutely no problem with mama's who decide to feed their babies purees. That is what they choose to do and if that works for them, then that's okay, too! We are all parents and we get to make those decisions for our children.

I decided to do BLW because I'm a weird mom, some would call me "crunchy". I wouldn't say I'm at that point, just yet, but I'm getting there. Haha. Anyways, BLW... it's the idea that your baby is able to eat normal food from the get go. It makes meal times much more enjoyable for the family instead of having to feed the baby something else, while everyone else is eating. BLW lets your baby take control.

They (who are these people anyhow?! The American Association of Pediatrics, or simply, AAP) recommend you wait until your baby is 6 months because that is generally the time when your little one is able to sit up without help and bring things to their mouth without missing. It's also when their digestive systems are geared up and ready for solids, which is the most important part. Now, you may be like... well what about cereals?! Feeding your baby cereals is absolutely unnecessary! It has little to no nutritional value for your baby. The only thing that your baby needs for the first 6 months of life is breast-milk or formula. Again, if you feed or have fed your baby, cereals that's totally okay, I'm the odd one out!

Now you're probably wondering how babies eat solids without teeth?! Babies gums are incredibly strong (if you've ever had a your finger gnawed on by a teething baby, you know this..) and they can mash foods up pretty well. There are some foods that are going to be harder for babies to eat, so you're not going to be able to give your baby a raw carrot and expect him to eat it, sorry! But, you will be able to give your baby soft foods and they will be able to eat it. Foods that Owen loves right now are avocado, peaches, cucumber, baked zucchini, bell pepper, and toast. He has even sucked a piece of steak dry; again, he can't eat it but the juice of the steak is high in iron which is amazing for babies!

Here's a video of Owen eating solids for the first time! It's in fast-forward mode but it's hilarious to watch.

So here are some pointers that helped me immensely:
  • If you don't have a history of any food allergies, you don't have to wait to offer wheat, dairy, or  egg products but if you are concerned, discuss with your pediatrician first
  • Nuts, honey, and peanut butter should be delayed until after 2, or after discussion with your ped
  • Cutting fruits & veggies into fry-sized pieces with some skin on helps your little one be able to pick up and grasp them easily
  • The first couple weeks to a month of BLW it's more of getting to know the food and playing with it, your baby doesn't realize that it's food, so allowing more opportunities to "play" with the food will allow your baby to quickly realize that its food to eat
  • Gagging and choking are two VERY different things, babies gag VERY easily as their gag reflex is right at the front of the tongue, so naturally, when a piece of food is on it, they will gag, the more opportunities that babies get to eat, the more their gag reflex will adapt and move back 
  • If your baby is gagging and you are worried, don't be afraid to offer a little sip of water to help wash the food down for them 
  • Brush up on baby CPR and print out step-by-step instructions to put on the fridge or somewhere nearby, this will ease your mind in case something does happen
  • Try to limit salt intake to little to none; if your baby does have something salty (like ham) just make sure they up their fluid intake
  • Never substitute a meal for a milk feeding and remember "food before one is just for fun." Babies still need all the condensed nutrients that breast-milk and formula offer until they are one; around 9 months they will naturally start eating milk less and solids more but milk will still be the primary form of nutrition 
  • BLW is MESSY! Buy a high chair that is easy to clean! 
  • Don't overload your babies plate with foods, they will get overwhelmed easily, start by offering just a couple pieces of food
  • Do what works for you, BLW is very lax and doesn't need to follow a bunch of exact times. We try to have breakfast every morning right now and that is what is working for us. If lunch or dinner work for you, that's great, too!
  • If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! There is probably a bunch of stuff I'm leaving out and I'll edit as needed.
With all that said, I wanted to share a waffle recipe that Owen & I both love and eat on a regular basis.

BLW-friendly Blueberry Waffles
// makes about 3-4 depending on how much batter you use

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose, do what works for you)
1/2 cup oatmeal (we used quick cooking)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp olive oil (coconut oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, could all be substituted)
1/2 cup milk (coconut, soy, almond, even breast-milk can be substituted)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp of water (if your batter is looking a little thicker, you can put a bit more)
& blueberries to top when baking, I put about a 1/4-1/2 a cup per waffle

I usually just put all the ingredients into my magic bullet and give it a whirl. But if you don't have a mixer, just combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined, then add your wet ingredients and mix until no longer lumpy. Pop about a 1/2 cup of the mix into a griddle or waffle iron and cook about 2-3 minutes. Let cool slightly (for baby) and cut into thick strips (again, for baby) and enjoy! These are super healthy for you and baby and can be whipped up relatively quickly.

Baby-Led Weaning has worked really well for us, but I absolutely understand that it doesn't work for everyone. I just wanted to share these tips for starting BLW. These are the tips I wish I knew when I started and I thought I'd share with other moms who might be wondering the same things.

Thanks for reading!


update //
I just received a comment from an anonymous person telling me that I should be careful about what I post on my blog and that someone should call CPS if they know what's good for me. I am really offended for someone to think that I would ever even think about endangering my child! If you do not agree with BLW, that's 100% OK, but don't come on my blog and threaten me. Just because it is different from what you would do, doesn't make it illegal or wrong.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Life as a New Mom

These past 8 weeks have blown by incredibly fast, as I mentioned in my post below. It's hard to remember what life was life before Owen graced us with his presence. It's even harder to think I've only been a mommy for 8 weeks (plus 40 weeks, if we're counting pregnancy). I was looking at my bump pictures the other day and I couldn't believe how big I was!

I'll be honest with you guys, when we first brought Owen home, I never thought I would sleep again and while I enjoyed life with my new baby boy, it was so rough getting used to life with a newborn. That, on top of recovering from giving birth and dealing with all the insane hormones (or lack thereof) that my body was trying to adjust from was so hard. I was so thankful that Tyler was able to get a week off of work to help me regain some strength but unfortunately, he had to go back to work the first day that we were able to take Owen home and I had no idea what to expect and that first night was so tough to push through. I thought it would never get better...

Even though that was only seven weeks ago, I wish I could go back and tell myself that it is all going to be okay, so I'll tell you guys, as some of you will be new moms soon: life will get easier, taking care of a baby will get easier, it just takes some time to get into a schedule, and don't be afraid to cry and let it out. Cry.. and cry some more! I don't think I've ever cried as much as I did those first couple weeks after Owen was born.

Now that it's been 8 weeks since Owen's birth, we have gotten our routine down. While Owen still runs the show over here, life is easier and I'm much more adjusted to the lack of sleep. My days are filled with many lattes (my espresso machine is a life-saver), feedings, diaper changes, diaper washes.. (hooray for hand-washing cloth diapers everyday... we really need a washer & dryer), google searches (if you have kids, you completely understand), and lots of cuddles. It's amazing when I find time to make dinner for me and Tyler (yay for bacon-wrapped meat loaf tonight!)

Espresso is good for the soul... and sleep-deprived moms
Even though I have a lot on my plate, I still find myself craving to work and craft. There are so many things I keep adding to my to-DIY list (I have even been looking at 1st birthday party ideas.. I'm getting a little ahead of myself) and I can't wait till I have an opportunity to do some of them. Some crafts I hope to do sooner than later are: baby leggings, making a tablecloth for our dinner table, and hopefully getting around to getting our photo gallery up. We moved into our new apartment in the middle of November and still really haven't gotten around to doing any home decor (we still really need an ottoman and end tables). By the time we have it all situated, our lease will be up!

I wish I had unlimited space & money for fabric alone..
Being a new mom has been such stress and fun and I wouldn't have it any other way (okay.. maybe I wish Tyler could work from home) and while there are days when the house isn't in the condition I would like it to be, it's still filled with the people I love the most and if I spend more time cuddling with my son rather than cleaning a few dishes, who cares? I am going to enjoy every moment I can as a new mommy with my adorable family..

Little Owen enjoying his first fire!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Quiet Morning

Good morning, sweet people. 

This morning, I find myself reflecting on this past year, especially these past couple months and how much they have changed my life. I am sitting in bed, coffee in hand, enjoying the oddly quiet feeling in the apartment this morning. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that my little guy slept for 5 1/2 hours straight last night (an all-time record!) or what but, it has me in an extremely reflective mood.

I am in utter shock as to how quickly life is going by now that I'm done with school, married, and have a little one.. to think that I did all of these things in just under a year is impressive and I'd like to say I'm at a point in my life where I am just content, I don't need anything else in my life right now. It is just right.

All my life there has always been something to strive for whether it be a degree, a perfect guy to share my life with, or a sweet little person(s) to fill our home with.. there's always been something, but today, I find myself really relishing in all that I have. I am truly grateful for my little family and to be honest, a little emotional towards the fact that time is just going by too fast, no matter how slow the days seem to go by. I had my precious bundle of joy almost 7 weeks ago and in all honesty, it feels like just yesterday I was in the hospital. You always hear people tell you, "cherish every moment, they will be grown up before you know it", and I'm just now realizing how true those words are. Tyler and I were talking yesterday about how we're going to be old before we know it and if time continues to go at the rate it is, we will be in our 60s by next month.

I can be extremely uptight sometimes and it's easy to get wrapped in frustration from the day-to-day activities, so I hope I can hang on to this peaceful feeling for a while. I am so happy that I'm able to document these experiences and I can only hope that by reading this posts in the future, I can recapture this sense of calm and peacefulness I am experiencing today.

And I'm off to go to tend to my sweet baby boy.. I hope you guys have a great day.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Something Sweet Sunday

Hello everyone! I hope you all had an amazing week. Things were pretty boring in the Johnson household (well as boring as they could get with a newborn), but we enjoy the slow life here. Before we get started here are my favorite pictures from our week. The many faces of Owen. Life with a newborn is so much fun... we are getting good at this!


He cracks me up! 

Anyways, for this week's 'Something Sweet Sunday' I made a blueberry-cream-cheese-croissant-bake! For names sake, let's just call it Blueberry Bread Pudding, because that's what it pretty much is.

This was such an easy dish to pull together and with my little guy, easy and quick meals are a necessity. My favorite part about this is that it serves well as a breakfast or dessert dish (at least it started out as breakfast and I found myself eating it later for dessert.. Haha). 

Okay moving on to the recipe.

Blueberry Bread Pudding:
  • 3 large croissants (I had 6 smaller sized ones)
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 16oz package of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 package of blueberries (8oz, fresh or frozen but, fresh is best, frozen blueberries tend to retain a lot of water)
  • Powdered sugar

    ** if you want to use regular sugar it's 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup of milk
 I'll start with my ingredient picture, doesn't it all look so pretty together? Haha, anyways, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and gather all your supplies! 

Now get to whipping your cream cheese (so there's no clumps!) and always make sure it's room temperature.

Mix in your honey with the cream cheese until combined, then add the rest of your ingredients. 

Then put your croissant pieces in a bowl (or you can put them in an 9in square pan and skip the nonsense) and then add your cream cheese mixture and let sit for 20 minutes.

Then sprinkle your blueberries all over. I put half the blueberries in first and kind of mixed it in with the croissant pieces and then topped the rest with the remaining blueberries. Then put in the oven for 20-25 minutes. YUM! Almost there...

Okay, now let your beauty cool just a bit... and get the powdered sugar ready! (I love my oven mitt and I thought it looked good with the picture :])

Cut a nice slice out and powder it up! Of course you can always put maple syrup as well, or you can eat it plain. Either way, it will be great! The cream cheese definitely makes this recipe shine. Yum, yum, yum! 

Next step, EAT and enjoy!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Something Sweet Sunday

Hello everyone. I hope you are enjoying your Superbowl Sunday (& Groundhog Day, too!). This week I have been wondering what to post about and while I came up with a couple good ideas (I'll save those for later), I wanted to find something to inspire me to continue to post on here and I thought what better way to do that than by baking!

Over the past few months, I have found that I have not been baking nearly as much as I'd love to and of course since having the little guy, there really is not a ton of time to get that done. So, my recipe collection has continued to grow. To eliminate this problem I have decided to set aside one day a week (or maybe more) to make one of the delicious foods I've been meaning to! So, this Sunday will mark the beginning of that journey for me and I thought that it would be a pretty great thing to blog about since there's no better inspiration than food.

This Sunday I made Oatmeal Cake w/ Coconut Pecan Frosting! Ahhh, I have been meaning to find a recipe like this since me and Tyler went to San Francisco for our anniversary this past July. We stopped by an adorable little (seriously.. it was maybe 150 sq ft) coffee shop, Hollow. At Hollow, we enjoyed this cake, coffee, and endless conversation. Ah, I love San Francisco. It brings out a whole new personality in me and Tyler. We need to go back soon!

Anyways, this past week, I saw that a friend had pinned a recipe for that cake that I forgot about and I knew I had to make it this week!

So here it is--

Oatmeal Cake:
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of butter
Coconut Pecan Frosting:
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Now gather all your ingredients and take hundreds of photos of them! Haha... I'm kidding.. sort of. ;)

Then combine your oats & boiling water and SET ASIDE.


Take the remaining ingredients and combine well. 

 Then add in your oatmeal mixture and it will look like this picture above. 

Butter & flour an 8x8 pan (square, circle, whatever floats your boat) and pour mixture in. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Gather all your frosting ingredients!

And combine until it looks like this.. just take a spoon and mix it all together.

 Then once your cake is out of the oven, spread this on top and send it back in on BROIL until the coconut is browned (this part goes quick, so keep an eye on it), then VOILA, you have a cake.


Then the hard part comes and you have to wait for it to cool. Yep, awful.. to speed the process along, I usually just set it in the fridge because I'm impatient and tired of waiting! 

Once your cake is cooled, cut that bad boy up and serve with a couple shots of espresso or a big glass of milk. Or whatever you want. I don't mind.

Welp, that's all I got for this evening. Tyler and I loved it and I haven't officially had a slice yet so I better go do that before the babe wakes..


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Owen's Birth Story

Hi again, everyone! It's been awhile hasn't it? Of course it has, because while I have a million ideas of things to blog about, I just never seem to sit down and do it. You guys should try to get me motivated. See what I did there? I'm already putting the work on you. Ha!

Well anyways, I have been wanting to post on here for a while. I always want to post and since an amazing thing happened, I figured that is reason enough for me to get on here.

So last time I was on here, you guys found out we were expecting a boy and guess what?! We just had him over a month ago. A month! Seriously where does time go? I mean, I've been a walking zombie this past month and yet, it was the quickest month that has ever passed. Oh, the joys of parenthood.

Anyhow, back to the point.. so we had our son, the cutest, chunkiest, little boy. I have always enjoyed reading birth stories. I spent countless hours perusing countless birth stories while I was pregnant and knew that I would have to share mine once I had the chance. This may seem weird to some of you and you're probably wondering why the heck I would be sharing such an awkward thing, but honestly, even though it was such a crazy experience, it was one of the best times of my life (I mean, I must really be insane..) and I actually miss anticipating the arrival of my little guy.

So please bear with me, this is going to be a REALLY LONG POST. Oh, and any grammatical errors, as intelligent as I am, I don't have a lot of time to edit with a newborn. You have been warned.

On Monday, December 23rd I had an ultrasound to see how Owen was measuring to determine whether or not I would have to be induced within the week, since he was turning out to be a pretty big baby. When I went in for my ultrasound he was measuring 9lbs 1oz and the cut off for the induction was 9lbs 4oz, so it was looking like he was just going to come in on his own time.
After my ultrasound, Tyler and I went to lunch with my parents and while we were all sitting there I started to notice I was getting cramps that would come and go. My mother insisted that these were contractions and I should head on over to labor and delivery. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to get my hopes up! Could he really be here before Christmas? Ah, the excitement was unbelievable, as we had been beyond ready for our little man’s arrival.
As we headed home from lunch that day, I went home and packed up our belongings that we would need and then we ventured off to the hospital. When I got there they had me hooked up to all these machines, like some science experiment and guess what, I WAS HAVING CONTRACTIONS. Tyler and I sat there anxiously as the monitor picked up more and more contractions. We were so hopeful that this little man was going to be here soon. So what was the hold up?!
Well if any of you have been pregnant, you know that it is NOTHING like Hollywood plays it out to be. My water didn’t break abruptly and I didn’t have to panic on the way to the hospital worrying about having my baby on the way there. Nope, instead, when we got to the hospital we were sent to the labor and delivery triage, where they play God and decide if you deserve to be admitted (at least it felt this way… I’ll explain more). Anyways, I was not progressing enough to be admitted, even though I was in ACTIVE LABOR. UGH. So, they had me walk around the hospital for an hour to see if this would help speed things up…

It didn't and we were sent home.

I continued to have contractions through the night and as the morning approached, (Christmas Eve!) I was dancing about the apartment to Christmas tunes (this was the only way I could tolerate my contractions, I had to move around) and wrapped a couple last minute gifts for Tyler. As the morning progressed, I got ready for my prenatal appointment, where I was hoping they would give me some good news and they did! My OB told me it looked like it was time and for me to get some lunch, walk around, and then head in to the hospital! Ah, I couldn’t even begin to tell you guys how excited I was. Finally. My little one was going to be here possibly on Christmas Eve. What a day. So, I did exactly what my OB told me to do. Once Tyler got off work we headed into L&D again and started the process again.

Low and behold, I STILL was not progressing enough to be admitted. Yay, just what I wanted to hear. Couldn’t they just call my doctor and listen to what she told me!? Apparently not. So back to the hospital halls we went, to walk for another hour. Nothing changed, so we were sent home again and unfortunately, I was in an abundance of pain. My contractions were unbelievably strong and I was trying my hardest to breathe through them, like me and Tyler so diligently practiced. I was trying to picture myself on the beach in Hawaii. In the mountains. In the snow. I tried everything, but nothing worked.
After I was discharged for the second time, we stopped at my mother-in-law’s house to celebrate her birthday. I thought that I could handle an hour of visiting everyone, but by the time we arrived at their house my contractions were hitting me like bricks. I felt bad for making everyone watch me in agony while they were all celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday.  My mother-in-law suggested that I hop in the shower to alleviate some of the pain. I was probably in the shower for about 45 minutes and while I was still in a tremendous amount of pain, it felt better than being out of the shower. Well, I eventually had to get out and there my contractions were getting closer and closer together. Tyler started timing them to try to get an idea of where I was in terms of labor. They were averaging 3-4 minutes apart and lasting over a minute and a half. At this point I was in pure agony. We were going on nearly 30 hours of constant contractions.  
Back to the hospital we went. They wanted me to walk another hour. Yeah, right. We started walking and my body was not letting me. I stood for most of that time. And again, I was sent home. They gave me something to try to help me go to sleep that night since I had not gotten any sleep since Sunday night. Again, if you’ve ever had contractions that were 2-3 minutes apart, you know that it’s impossible to sleep through them, so that definitely was not going to happen. We got home around 1AM on Christmas morning and the rest of the night was a blur of me pacing the apartment through each contraction.

The next morning was Christmas (yay!) and Tyler excitedly woke up and arranged our gifts and stockings perfectly so we could begin to open them. I felt so bad. It was Christmas and I knew that I was not going to be able to enjoy the festivities, regardless if I was in the hospital or not. I told Tyler, Christmas is going to have to be postponed for me and that I wasn’t going anywhere unless it was back to the hospital.

An hour or so later, I told him we needed to go back to labor and delivery… so off we went. I don’t even remember the drive there, but I remember the exhaustion and hopelessness we were feeling. Off to the triage again, off to wander the hospital halls again… ready to be sent home again… we just were not feeling it any more. This time I did not walk at all, my feet might as well have had bricks attached to them because they were just not going to move for another hour. Tyler and I went outside of the hospital and just sat there in silence, enjoying the fresh and cool Christmas air. When our hour was up, we slowly walked back to the triage, knowing we were probably going to get sent home for the fourth time. At this point I asked my nurse if there was anything she could do to STOP this labor. She asked me why I would want to stop my labor. Uh, lets see. We’re coming on 48 hours of nonstop contractions, 48 hours without anything to eat, and over 48 hours without sleep and clearly this baby is not coming! I was so annoyed and as she checked me I prepared myself to hear that I had not progressed any, that was until she told me I was at 6cm (I had been at 5cm since the very beginning) and I was going to be admitted.

Thank freaking goodness.

Tyler and I finally got settled into our room. The room that we would be having our son in. We were in utter disbelief. This would be the day and Christmas, at that!

As many of you might have known, I was going to try to have an all natural birth, meaning no epidural or pain relief, but the second that they came in asking if I would be having one, I said yes. I had made it this far without any pain management and not knowing how much longer I was going to be in pain was my main influence for getting the epidural and let me tell you, I am so happy that I did. The second that the epidural kicked in, “Michelle” was back. For the past couple days I had been walking around like a zombie and I felt so terrible for Tyler having to see me this way, when we are so used to always laughing and being dumb together, so when I finally got the epi, I was finally making jokes and felt as “normal” as I could under the circumstances.

I was admitted around 12PM and they broke my water around 3PM to speed the process along since I was still at 6cm. When that didn’t work they had to give me more medicine to help things progress. Hours later and the threat of a c-section, I was finally fully dilated and ready to push. At 10PM I started pushing and at 1032PM, Owen Charles Johnson was officially here, all 9lbs 14oz of him. My doctor and nurses all raved about how well I handled giving birth to him and told me that I was made to have babies. I didn't scream and I never yelled out any profanities or blamed Tyler for causing me all this pain. I was a champ and I felt good about it, I still do! Owen was 21 inches long, brownish-red hair, and big blue eyes (he also had a major case of conehead). I’ve never felt so much love in my life.  
We were able to spend a few hours with him before they took him away due to his heavy breathing. Unfortunately, the first moments of us being a family were experienced in the NICU while Owen received antibiotics.  It was so hard watching him be attached to so many machines. I’ll be happy if I never have to hear those annoying monitors again. 

 Owen was finally able to leave the hospital on New Year’s Day and begin his life with his mom and dad at home. I can’t believe it’s already been a month since he was born… while he has brought me many sleepless nights and many more to come, he has also brought me incredible joy and fullness. I have loved every moment of mommyhood, even though it hasn’t always been perfect and watching Tyler become a daddy has been a heart-melting experience. He is so sweet with Owen and I love watching them together.

Starting a family is something that I’ve wanted for a very long time and now that I finally have it, my heart feels full and my life feels complete. It’s been such a short month with Owen, but I can’t imagine what life would be without him anymore. This story is something that I want to remember vividly, and this helps me do so. Thanks for letting me share with you guys & if you got to the end, you deserve a cookie.

ps: to see more pictures of Owen, you can click here!