Sickness + Parenting

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I'm getting my very own one of these baby things??
I’m getting my very own one of these baby things??

Here’s how it went down:

*Side note:  I am pregnant!  Yay!  Although we are very excited, unfortunately I’ve been struggling with lack of energy, morning sickness, weird food aversions, and all of that wonderful stuff that I struggled with when I was pregnant with FVB.  Keep this in mind as you read.

  1.  A large number of extended family members were coming into town:  cousin & cousin’s family, including FOUR small children under the age of 5, sister and sister’s family with ONE small child (aged 2.5), cousin (with, surprisingly, no kids to speak of), aunt, and grandparents
  2. Approximately 2 days after their arrivals (Friday), FVB gets sick with the horrifying hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD).  This disease is super contagious and especially affects young children under the age of 10, along with immune compromised people (for example, pregnant women).
  3. Approximately 2 days after that (Sunday), I come down with the horrifying HFMD.

Parenting a toddler is hard.  Parenting a toddler while pregnant is extra hard.  Parenting a toddler who is sick while you are pregnant AND sick AND sad about missing time with your family is really, super, extra hard.  I definitely cried at least three separate times over the course of the long weekend.  Hubs did his best to keep me upbeat, but even he had to shake his head when I left the table crying over a disagreement about the acceptable level of toasty-ness for a bagel (but he comforted me anyway and said he understood).

FVB was quite a trooper and did manage to enjoy some family time (when he wasn’t quarantined).  He saved his peak sickness for the night, when I was the MOST exhausted.  We had two (basically) sleepless nights that involved a never ending cycle of crying-nursing-pacing.  (Here is the point when you are to remember that I AM PREGNANT.  AND SUPER EXHAUSTED AND NAUSEOUS.  Sorry for yelling).  After the first night I asked hubs to please sleep in the guest room so that one person could be well rested and have the ability to get through the following day without crying or snapping, or both.  We got through the two terrible nights, FVB perked up, and things were looking up.  Then I realized that the minor sore throat that I had been noticing was getting much worse.  And that I had a slight fever.  And that my feet and hands felt like someone had set them on fire.  Next thing I knew, FVB was pretty much cured, but I (literally) couldn’t walk.  Hubs said I looked like an 80-year-old woman, hobbling around on my burning, itchy feet.  Luckily, I only had one sleepless night which involved getting up every few hours to experiment with new methods of calming the fire on my feet (aloe=fail; calamine lotion=fail, ice pack=win, for 30 minutes or so, then fail).  Also luckily, all of the family had left by the time my sickness really kicked in, so I wasn’t completely miserable attending our giant family reunion on Sunday.

I will readily admit that I did not keep a good attitude during this time.  I fell into a “woe-is-me, why-doesn’t-my-husband-know-how-I-like-my-bagel-toasted-by-now” pit of despair.  Pregnancy hormones, combined with HFMD, combined with sleep deprivation, make me a pretty miserable person.  I mean, I can struggle on a normal, not pregnant, not sick, not sleep deprived day to stay positive about parenting a toddler.  This shit is hard.  If I am well rested, and in a general positive state of mind, I view parenting a toddler as challenging, yet fun.

*CHALLENGING:  FVB is smart, and stubborn, and knows what he wants.  He does not give in easily, and is not distracted easily.  He (like every 2 year old in the entire world) is just beginning to throw tantrums, and whine, and become fiercely allergic to the word “no.”

*FUN:  He has a great personality, loves to talk, has a huge imagination, and is generally a joy to be around.  I love just watching him play, which he is doing independently for longer and longer stretches of time.

If I am sleep deprived, sick, and in a general negative state of mind, I view parenting a toddler as something akin to…..I don’t even know what to compare it to.  Hell?  This time was not fun for anyone in our family.  There was one moment (I am horrified looking back on this), after trying to get FVB to sleep for over 2 hours, where I literally laid him on the bed and SCREAMED at him to go to sleep.  And then I dissolved into tears on the other side of the bed.  But you know what happened?  He went to sleep.  Without crying, without nursing AND while listening to me cry.  I had trouble writing that, and I have trouble reading it back, and I have trouble just thinking about it.  It was a very low moment in my parenting.  But….we survived.  FVB got better, I got better, and we all finally got some sleep.  And life went on.  My pregnancy nausea comes and goes these days, but I am having more good days than bad.  I’m trying to give myself a little bit of grace and not worry that I have permanently damaged the bond between FVB and I because one night I lost my temper and screamed.

Since I can’t bear to end my blog post with that terrible story, I will leave you with three amazingly positive and uplifting things:

  1. We sold our above ground pool and now have a giant sand pit in it’s place.  FVB loves sand.  In one of his books, there is a picture of a group of children playing in a sandbox, with the words: “We’re seven, in sand heaven.”  The other day, while playing in the sand pit, he said to me, “I’m in sand heaven!”
  2. We (mostly hubs) planted a beautiful garden in the spring and it has taken off!  We have more lettuce than we could ever eat, our tomatoes and peppers are just getting buds, and we are shaping up to have an incredible pumpkin come Halloween.  Growing your own food is so fun!
  3. We are traveling back in Colorado in less than two weeks, we have TWO Farm Sanctuary visits scheduled for summer/fall, AND we just booked a trip to Nashville in late October.  So much fun travel to look forward to!

I hope you all have a fantastic week (and please don’t judge me for the screaming thing).

 

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FACON

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Almost every omni that I know has this crazy obsession with bacon.  I can’t say that I get it, because I’ve never eaten meat and in my eyes, bacon=pig.  And the thought of eating a sweet, intelligent creature (that is actually smarter than FVB is currently) just doesn’t sit right with me.  So, when I ran across this recipe for coconut bacon while browsing Pinterest, I was intrigued and figured I’d give it a shot!

You have all these ingredients in your cupboard.....right?
You have all these ingredients in your cupboard…..right?

It’s super easy, quick, and I thought it turned out really yummy.  But, my opinion doesn’t really count in this matter since I’ve never eaten bacon.  Here’s how it went down with hubs*:

Me:  We’re having BLT’s for dinner!

Hubs:  Yum!  Wait, what’s the B?

Me:  Remember, I told you I was making that cool coconut bacon recipe I found on Pinterest.

Hubs:  (eyes glaze over when the word Pinterest enters the conversation)

*this is a made up version of our conversation.  I do not make a habit of recording our conversations and then transcribing them for the blog.  That’s an interesting thought, though…..

After making our sandwiches (toasted bread, Just Mayo, sliced tomato, romaine lettuce, and coconut bacon) and taking a few bites:

Me:  I think it’s delicious!  What do you think?

Hubs:  It’s really good.  But it’s not bacon.  I think it’s deceiving to call it bacon.  I mean, it tastes nothing like bacon.

After finishing his entire sandwich:

Hubs: Man, I think I’ll make another one.  I mean, I’d say you should just make a giant batch of that stuff and keep it around at all times.  Is there enough for my lunch tomorrow?

IMG_6419
This is not bacon. But it’s damn delicious.

So there you have it. His verdict appears to be that it’s nothing like bacon but it’s still delicious.   Do with that what you will.  FVB wasn’t impressed, as per usual.  He managed to get a small taste into his mouth and immediately spit it out.  He did like the tomato part of the meal, and the fruit.  Hey, you win some, you lose some.

Sandwiches for dinner!
Sandwiches for dinner!

OK, that’s all!  Try this recipe out if you are brave and let me know what you think!

This is not a picture from the dinner that I just wrote about.  But FVB is smiling, so I'm posting it.
This is not a picture from the dinner that I just wrote about. But FVB is smiling, so I’m posting it.

Happy Eating!

 

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Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!

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GUESS WHAT?!?!?

How does this thing work?!?

That’s right, the Dyson arrived.  I think the fact that I basically got it for free makes it that much better.  But for real…. this vacuum is THE BOMB.  I had already cleaned my whole house before the Dyson arrived.  FVB was in a particularly cooperative mood; I think it was the Justin Timberlake radio station on Pandora plus the fact that I was singing, dancing, and occasionally yelling “this is my JAM!” that really helped him stay positive throughout the cleaning process.  Anyway, we vacuumed and swept everything with our old POS vacuum.  I was feeling pretty positive about how much we had gotten accomplished and felt we had reached an acceptable level of cleanliness (GUEST cleanliness that is, as we have family visiting this weekend).  Later that day when the vacuumed arrived unexpectedly early, I thought, “well, I guess I could just give it a try, even though the floors are already clean.” Three FULL canisters of dirt and dog hair later…… I was beyond thrilled at the prospect of throwing the old vacuum away (we may keep it around for a toy though, FVB seems to love it).

In addition to cleaning, we also cooked! I promised last time that I would write about what I’ve been cooking/eating.  If you follow us on Facebook, you no doubt enjoy our daily food posts. I can manage those a lot easier than I can manage a blog post, so you should definitely like us on Facebook to keep up with all of the yummy eating that we do throughout the week! In the meantime…..

Four food things to share:

1. Smoothies.  If you don’t make smoothies regularly, you need to start.  They are amazing.  I do not have a Vitamix (although I am trying to find free items to sell in order to save up for one), and I can still make really good smoothies (I have a Ninja Blender, which I don’t LOVE, but I don’t hate).  Anyway, the key to a good smoothie, IMO, is frozen bananas.  They make everything creamy and delicious.  Bananas are super cheap, so I always buy at least two bunches, sometimes shopping in the bargain bin for the ugly looking brown ones.  Then I just peel them and freeze them whole in small freezer bags.  I used to cut them all up, freeze the pieces on parchment paper, then transfer them into freezer bags, but I realize now what a colossal waste of time that was.  Seriously, ain’t NOBODY got time for that.  Especially me.  I freeze them whole and they work just the same.  I also sometimes throw in frozen strawberries or blueberries from Costco.  Frozen fruit + almond milk + nut butter + spinach + cinnamon + vanilla = heaven.

Hmmm..... how can I feed this smoothie to Kaeli?
Hmmm….. how can I feed this smoothie to Kaeli?

2. Spinach muffins.  Don’t say gross right away, you haven’t even tried them.  I used this as a base recipe, however I did NOT use 3/4 c sugar.  I don’t usually use sugar at all; I don’t really like my baked goods very sweet, plus run of the mill white sugar is super processed (using bone char, gross).  Plus, I’m pretty militant about FVB having any sugar in his tiny little body.  Also, I subbed in applesauce for the oil.  Once I got to the final stages of mixing the batter, I added a bit of maple syrup to taste to sweeten it up just a tad.  The muffins came out dense, which I’m assuming is because of the dry/wet ratio that I messed with by eliminating the sugar.  I’m guessing that you can play around with this ratio by adding less liquid to balance things out (?) but again, ain’t nobody got time for that.  I liked them, as did Kaeli.  FVB carried 1/2 a mini muffin around for 5 minutes or so, then fed it to Kaeli.  He may have gummed a little bit around in his mouth before spitting it out, who knows?

They don’t LOOK good, but they TASTE good

 

3. Alfredo sauce.  I used to love fettucini alfredo.  What’s not to love?  Creamy, fatty, and oh so delicious. I used Alicia Simpson’s recipe for Fettucini “Slim-fredo” from her cookbook, Low Cal Vegan Comfort Food.  I love this book.  Now, this is not a recipe that I would make *too* regularly, as it does have a lot of oil.  But it is super easy and super delicious, and definitely tastes like I remember alfredo tasting.  FVB enjoyed dangling the fettucini noodles off of his high chair for Kaeli to eat.  I bought these spinach fettucini noodles and they are pretty good.  Yay for sneaking spinach into everything!

Puppy love!

 

4. Applesauce.  FVB will eat a few things, and applesauce is one of them.  I love the little pre-packaged ones that are unsweetened, but I figured it can’t be that hard to make your own.  Boy was I right!  3 lbs. apples + 1/2 c water + a dash cinnamon in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours.  Couldn’t be easier- you don’t even have to peel your apples!!  Then you put everything in the food processor.  SO GOOD.

Love me some applesauce!

Believe it or not, FVB is turning 1 on Monday!  We are lucky because a. hub’s has family that lives here and b. hubs also has family that is visiting.  So…… FVB gets to celebrate with lots of people that love him.  Isn’t that what birthdays are all about?  I’m looking to make some low/no sugar cupcakes that both adults and kids will enjoy.  I have a recipe set aside, but I did no testing on it, so the debut will be on the actual day.  (Insert scared emoticon here).

I’m also testing a new recipe for Easter lunch- vegan scalloped potatoes!  I’m excited.  Again, did no testing (ain’t nobody…..do I really have to finish the phrase again?).  I’ll let you know next time how they turn out.

Happy Weekend!

 

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Neighborhood Watch

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Oh my……time has just been flying by and I haven’t had a chance to write, or even really think about writing, in a while.  My family was just in town, so FVB got to spend some quality time with his cousin.  It’s so fun watching them interact.  They are 3 months apart and SO different.  J-man is a bit of a bruiser, while FVB is much more reserved.  J is very easily redirected and is pretty happy to go with anyone (though he has a pretty big case on his momma), while FVB knows EXACTLY what/who he wants and will not be deterred, no matter the distraction.  They both love the outside, dirt, and getting into mischief.  I know they will be buddies for life, I just wish that we lived closer!

Hands are for holding, not hitting
Hands are for holding, not hitting

KK and Big Poppi (FVB’s grandparents on my side) were here, too.  I love when KK comes, as she does every ounce of cooking for me, cleans the kitchen, organizes my spices, and finishes projects that have been on my list for 2 years (like taking a box of old CD’s to the post office, only to find out it would cost $15 to send them.  I WANT to recycle…… but $15?!?!).  She also does yard work and obsessively down sizes items in my fridge.  Every time she leaves, hubs always finds something in the fridge in a random container, like garbanzo beans in an old peanut butter jar, or the tiniest smear of hot sauce in a .0005 oz container left over from take out.  This woman does not waste ANYTHING. If she lived near me, I would definitely pay her to keep the kitchen organized (she takes payment in the form of time with her grandson, luckily).

I love my KK..... but I'm not so sure about this shirt.
I love my KK….. but I’m not so sure about this shirt.

After my family leaves, I fall into a deep depression and proceed to undo all of KK’s hard work by doing nothing productive for days.  Well, that’s not totally true.  I did manage to sell a beautiful solid wood hutch on Craigslist that our neighbor’s had just put to the curb.  I added the cool $125 I made into my jar of savings marked DYSON.  That’s what my life has come to…..saving up for a vacuum cleaner and being super excited about it!  Seriously though, our neighbors basically put the contents of their home on the curb with a sign marked FREE.  You better believe KK and I were over there within seconds to rummage through the goods.  We took a couch (beautiful and in perfect condition), a coffee table, two end tables, and a set of brand new baskets.  Plus a leaf blower and a bucket of tools.  I guess our neighbors either won the lottery or are joining a cult and are giving away everything in preparation.  They moved out yesterday and basically filled the U-Haul with totes and boxes (presumably filled with items that are more valuable to the cult than the beautiful furniture they threw away).  I know this because I watch out my window obsessively and track the goings-on at my neighbor’s houses (Gladys Kravitz anyone??).  So far I’ve learned that the divorced dad across the street has a new girlfriend and my former next door neighbors may or may not be joining a cult.  If anyone is watching me, I think they would probably come to the conclusion that I wear PJ pants 24/7, have no shame about wearing slippers outside at 4pm,  and only comb my hair a few times a week. And I have an obsession for taking photos of my baby posed with our pug.

We put our dog in a wagon.... what of it?
We put our dog in a wagon…. what of it?

I have no new recipes or food things to talk about because my personal chef was here cooking for the last two weeks.  OH!  I tried the Silk Cashew milk and it was good, but not good enough for the price.  I made my own cashew creamer and it was way better.  I have no recipe or link to a recipe because it was over 2 weeks ago and my memory doesn’t go back that far.  Oh and I also made a super yummy “cheese”cake for Big Poppi’s birthday.  Again, too long ago to remember…..

OK, this upcoming week I am definitely going to try to remember some of the foods that I eat and save some recipes to share with you.  In the meantime, enjoy this photo of FVB “eating” chili prepared by his KK.

I'm too distracted by the fan to bother eating...
I’m too distracted by the fan to bother eating…

The weather is supposed to be fantastically sunny and warm this weekend, so obviously that means that I spend one hour last night researching sunscreen and becoming increasingly worried that NOTHING was safe for our baby except keeping him inside, fully clothed and wearing a wide brimmed hat with all of the curtains closed.  BUT WHAT ABOUT VITAMIN D?!?  Sigh.  Sometimes being a hippy mommy has its down sides.

That’s all for now, I’ve used all of FVB’s nap time to write this and I’m beginning to feel a nagging sense of guilt about the state of the kitchen and living room….. back next week!

 

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The Crazies Among Us

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Oh my gosh you guys, PEOPLE.BE.CRAZY.

Even though I really, seriously, already knew that people were crazy (I do read the comment sections on most articles), two encounters that happened to me recently IRL (in real life, for those that aren’t “in the know” about cool lingo) have really hit this point home.  In order to counteract the craziness that I am about to tell you about, I will add cute pictures of FVB throughout the post.  Here’s the first one:

FVB's new favorite activity, upon waking up, is immediately rolling over and crawling as fast as he can to the side of the crib, then pulling himself up.  Luckily we have a video monitor!
FVB’s new favorite activity, upon waking up, is immediately rolling over and crawling as fast as he can to the side of the crib, then pulling himself up. Luckily we have a video monitor!

ENCOUNTER #1: I’m in line at the dollar store the other day, and there is an older woman in front of me. She of course is very interested in FVB (who isn’t?) and starts asking me all the usual questions: what’s his name? How old is he? Was he delivered vaginally? Wait, what?

Backing up…… she was commenting on the size of his head (which is large).  I told her that he’s in the 77 percentile for head size and she sort of grimaced, then whispered her question containing the word vaginally.  I mean, what would you do?  Answer?  Not answer?  Laugh in shock?  I think that I did a combo of laughing in shock and answering, plus also making the obvious statement that his head wasn’t its current size when he was born.  Now if that wasn’t awkward enough, she then proceeds to tell me that her daughter-in-law recently had a baby but the baby was born “the other way.”  She said this in sort of a conspiratorial tone (I had to look up how to spell that word, BTW), with her hand over one side of her mouth, in a bit of a whisper.  Hmmmm.  The other way?  Like, the baby came out of her mouth?  Or the baby was born via C-section?  (C-section seems much more likely).  I sort of smiled, not sure what to say next and hoping she would finish checking out, while she continued on by giving me the baby’s stats.  Somehow it came back around to the baby’s birth and the strange “other way” comment that she made.  Apparently the baby was “flipped,” which I took to mean breach, i.e. feet first.  Now why would she not just say breach????  And why is it a secret???  Thankfully at this point her items were bagged and even the cashier was giving her a strange look, so off she went.

Wait.....I came out of my mom's WHAT?!?
Wait…..I came out of my mom’s WHAT?!?

ENCOUNTER #2:  I’m on the light rail with hubs and FVB, heading home after a fun afternoon downtown.  FVB is nursing (weird) and pretty much asleep.  On the light rail, much like regular trains, there are bench seats that face each other, so that when you ride you can face either way, like a booth in a restaurant.  I am facing the door of the train car and hubs is sitting opposite me.  The door opens, and a family boards (mom, dad, two kids).  The mom looks at me and basically panics, quickly hustling her kids to ensure that they sit facing the same direction as me, which is opposite of how they want to sit. She is literally pushing them into the seats and hissing at them to turn around (away from me). Her husband, pretty oblivious, is trying to understand what the big deal is and I hear she say (in the same hiss whisper): “She’s nursing” in the same tone that you would say “She’s smoking crack” or “She’s decapitating those kittens.” The kids, naturally now EXTREMELY curious, keep trying to turn around and want to know (legitimately) why they can’t. She, of course, can’t tell them, so she just hiss whispers, “I’ll tell you later.”

FVB loves digging in the dirt.  Here he is, digging in our garden boxes.  I will admit, he ended up with a few (small) splinters in his arms.  But they have since disappeared, so all is well.  Judge me if you must.  My kid loves dirt!
FVB loves digging in the dirt. Here he is, digging in our garden boxes. I will admit, he ended up with a few (small) splinters in his arms. But they have since disappeared, so all is well. Judge me if you must. My kid loves dirt!

Now, let’s be serious for a second.  When a woman is nursing a baby, there really isn’t much to see besides the back of the baby’s head and the upper half of the woman’s chest.  You see more when a woman is wearing a low-cut top.  Unless you are close to the woman, concentrating your gaze directly on her breast,  and happen to be watching at the very moment that the baby is either latching or de-latching, you have a pretty low chance of seeing a nipple.  Which I’m assuming is the offensive part, because in bathing suits, low cut tops, etc, you see almost every other part of the breast and apparently no one is offended by that.  So it must be the nipple. Anyway, I won’t go on a tangent about the stupidity of people who are offended by breast feeing in public.  It’s too stupid.  I will say, though, that people are seriously messing up their kids if this is how they teach them to react to a woman nursing her baby in public.  I had to SERIOUSLY bite my tongue to keep from just explaining to the kids what I was doing (in one sentence, very naturally, “I’m feeding my baby”).  It’s not a hard concept, it’s natural, and IT’S WHAT BREASTS ARE MADE FOR.  OK, sorry, I wasn’t going to go on a tangent.

I drink BREASTmilk.  It's from BREASTS.  Deal with it.  Oh, but here I am putting a cherry tomato in my mouth, just for fun.  I'll spit it out in a second.
I drink BREASTmilk. It’s from BREASTS. Deal with it. Oh, but here I am putting a cherry tomato in my mouth, just for fun. I’ll spit it out in a second.

I think all of those pictures did the trick.  Just inserting them into the post made me smile and NOT get re-worked up over the crazies in the world.  I hope you enjoyed them, too!

So much yummy food to discuss, but not enough time!  I made vegan “moxerella” for our pizza last week and IT WAS INCREDIBLE and super easy. I will tell you about it next time.  I’m using it for grilled cheese tonight to go with our vegetable soup, so next post I can show you the pizza AND the grilled cheese and you can be doubly impressed. Until then, stay safe out there- I know the crazies aren’t just in Denver!

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