Summer Days (& a power packed homemade baby food recipe.)

Summer is upon us in full force, and I can’t believe how quickly the time is going. July is almost gone, and the steamy days, and lush full beauty of summer are fully at our doorstep. (I almost just wrote lazy days of summer, but c’mon, who am I joking. I have a 4 year old and 8 month old!)

20160719_184500Our summer days are full and fun, whether spending hours on the playground and exploring all the city has to offer, or lounging at the lake, enjoying long days, cool swims and canopies of green leaves. Life is good, and I feel incredibly lucky to have so much time with these little people.

This morning I started my day off with a webinar, which was quickly interrupted with  requests for pancakes (check out the super healthy homemade pancakes here.) I figured while I was at it, I’d whip up some baby food for Bray. Now 8 months old, he’s been on the baby food for a bit, but I’ve been selective in what I was feeding him since at the start of his switch over he was dealing with a bit of baby constipation (although nothing like what Aria has as a baby).

This morning I did a simple Avocado-Spinach-Pear puree, as we’ve ventured into mixing, but are still staying away from the binding foods (think bananas and rice, and trying to include a P fruit to keep things moving. A few simple ingredients and a blender, Vitamix, Nutribullet or some other mixing machine, and you’re all set.

homemade baby foodSimple Avocado-Spinach Pear Babyfood 

1 Avocado
1 Pear  (I used Andou)
1 handful fresh baby Spinach

Directions

Boil water in a small saucepan, and add spinach for 1-2 minutes until softened.

Cut pear into quarters or even eights (lengthwise), de-core, and peel if so desired. If pear is super ripe (and soft) you can place straight into blender. If pear is hard, place pieces into boiling water with spinach for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly soft.

Cut avocado in half, de-pit and remove from skin.

Place avocado, soft pear and spinach (drain from water) into the blender, and blend for 20-30 seconds on low-medium until pureed. Let cool and serve!

For a chunkier baby food (which I made today), only use half the avocado in the first puree of avo-spinach-pear, and then add the second half to that smooth pureed mix and beat on low for 5 seconds or so (or until desired consistency). You can also blend in with a fork.

Enjoy!

baby tips

**please excuse any typos. I had about 5000 interruptions, and an 8 month old reaching for the keyboard!!!

 

 

 

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Stone Barns, snow days and one super healthy (delish) cookie recipe.

We’re waiting on spring here in NYC, or getting confused by the weather gods. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next snowing.

Here are a few sweet pics from last weekend that pretty much sum up the crazy weather.

princess picking flowers stone barn

Friday, we headed to our weekend house, making a pit stop at a favorite of ours, Stone Barns. It was a warm beautiful day, and Aria (ever the princess) decided to pick a few flowers…

until we realized they weren’t wild…(oops!)

spring flowers for oma

…but not before gating a sweet bouquet for Oma.

Fast forward to the very next day, where we woke up to SNOW covering the cars and deck…

snow

…and an anxious 4 year old ready to get out and enjoy it.

snow day kids

Ah…the parental joys of kids and snow gear.

The romp in the snow was short lived, so we moved on to a warmer activity.   I found this Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe online (always up for a healthy treat), and Aria and I baked them up. I’d cut the cinnamon down to 1/2 the amount called for, but really they were pretty stellar (and healthy!)

chocolate chip healthy oats cookies yum

So, here’s to making the most of any weather, and hoping spring finally arrives… for good.

Throwback Thursday: Welcome To Mommyhood: MONTH 1

It’s Thursday and I’m throwing it back to a video I did when Aria was one month old. It was my first go at mommyhood, and I decided after a full 30 days of it, I was ready to dispense advice (ha!) Actually, it’s mainly my experience as a new mom, and now having done it a second time around, now I’m including a few tips below. Take a look at how little my sweet Aria was (and see how much she and Bray look alike as babies!)

Some of my top advice:

1) Be prepared to be sleep deprived. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but necessary. This was by far the toughest part for me, but know it won’t last forever. Sleep training typically starts around 4 months old,  although some pediatricians like Tribeca Pediatrics will start some babies as early as 2 months.

2) Get support – whether baby’s daddy or grandma or a good friend, have someone take care of baby so you can get some rest.

NYC LIVING: Check out MUST HAVE product picks for baby HERE!

3) Take it Easy – Don’t overdue it as a new mom. Remember your body is still healing and you don’t want to do too much physically. Most doctors won’t clear you for exercise until week 6, but even then listen to your body!

4) Remember it will get easier- the first few weeks are tough, but, trust me, it will get easier.

5) Take Care of YOURSELF too. I remember a nurse in the hospital telling me if I needed to let Aria cry for 5 minutes so I could take a quick shower, that’s OK.  Part of being a good parent is making sure we are mentally and physically healthy. Don’t feel guilty if you need to prioritize yourself once in a while.

Good Luck! See you in month 2!

xxoo

Vanessa

 

 

Hurry up… and WAIT! Am I seriously “overdue”??

It’s been over almost 2 weeks from my last post when I thought this baby’s arrival was imminent. For much of my last trimester, I was fairly sure this boy would be early, and I definitely thought the night I last wrote about was the start of something. But alas, it was a false alarm. The pains passed, and then my due date passed, and now here I sit here at 411/2 weeks! I went from trying to hurry up and get all in order for him, to now waiting each day for his arrival.

41 weeks pregnantI was a week late with Aria, and it seems all the babies in my family seem to run late (a trait that also seems to have carried over to my adulthood). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised this one is taking his time. As I’ve had time on my hands, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading on due dates and the pressure/anxiety women feel when they fall outside of what they perceive as “normal.”

Forty weeks is what we’re all told is the term of a normal pregnancy, yet the more I read about (and experience) it, the less I like that women are given a “due date.” Perhaps a due window would be better (and less ostracizing), for in reality fewer than 5% of women actually deliver on their due date, with the majority of us giving it a go between 38 and 41 weeks. Due dates are indeed “guesstimates,” and all of our bodies are being completely different, need to be considered on an individual basis. In fact, new research shows that pregnancy length varies naturally up to 5 weeks.  In Europe, they even changed “full term” to 41 weeks to discourage women from getting frantic, and to also decrease the number of inductions happening. So, in reality, carrying past 41 weeks is still very normal and healthy.

Of course, after 41weeks most practitioners give extra care and attention, and  a few days ago I had to go in for a biophysical sonogram to make sure baby was all good. He was. Happy as can be in what seems my (all too) comfortable womb, scoring a “10 out of 10” on all their criteria. This of course, gives me extra ease, but, still, knowing that most doctors don’t let women go past 42 weeks does add a little undue pressure.

That being said, I’ve also been reading up on all the wives tales and natural ways to bring on labor. I’ve eaten quite a few curries, taken hot baths, walked miles and miles (thank you fall foliage for the pretty backdrop), and didn’t even curse the bumpy dirt roads after reading they also (strangely) have been thought to help. I decided against the castor oil and other more extreme measures, as the side effects are totally not worth it at this stage. As I move closer to 42 weeks, I’ll likely consider acupuncture or a membrane sweep, but for now though, I am just trusting this boy will come when he’s ready.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a control freak, and not so good at being in limbo, but some things can’t be rushed. This boy is showing me who’s boss already, and perhaps a greater lesson of letting go of expectation/control is being reiterated to me (again!).  I’m down to twice weekly appointments with my doctor and every day seems to revolve around the impending birth, but I’m trying not to let it be the end all and be all of each day. No body needs that kind of pressure. Instead, I’m trying to remind myself that my body knows what it’s doing, and the more I just let it do it’s thing and let nature take it’s course, the better we all will be

So yes, I’m still pregnant. Not overdue though. I’d rather say, we’re just right… for us.

Yoga & Pregnancy: What NOT to do (video!)

I made this video months back after being in yoga classes (regular group mind you, NOT prenatal), and being dismayed that some instructors are not giving the pregnant ladies special attention (or modifications!).  I wasn’t particularly worried for myself,  as I was aware of what NOT to do, but a few times I had another preggo in the class and was definitely concerned for them. One time in particular, I wanted to walk over and say “Please, stop doing that!,” to a mom-to-be who was taking class as if she wasn’t carrying a 7+ month fetus.

Problem viewing video? Click here to view on Youtube! 

Bottom line is, yoga is great during pregnancy, but in a standard group class, we typically can’t not rely on the instructor to guide us through the whole time. Many of them don’t even know enough about pre-natal yoga to offer great modifications as the standard RYT (registered yoga teacher) does a brief study on it, but not nearly enough (which is why pre-natal teachers have separate trainings.)

That being said, mamas-to-be, please arm yourself with knowledge before jumping in a regular group class. Or, better yet, take a few prenatal classes to get going on the right track. Regardless, here are some clear NO, NOs from me to you. Ultimately, remember to listen to your body, and don’t push it (no, matter what anyone says). Take care of yourself and baby!

Disclaimer: Always talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. 

Do more, say less.

wayne dyer parenting tip

Amongst the many other nuggets of wisdom, this one seems most appropriate to share here in honor of an amazing life lead by Wayne Dyer. This morning I found out he passed on, but there no doubt in my mind that he lived his life to the fullest– following his passion and excitement, and inspiring millions to do the same along the way.

I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to hear him speak at a Hay House Ignite conference a few years back. Amongst many other valuable things, he shared parenting advice– at one point bringing his daughter up on stage and talking about a children’s book they had written together, a true story of the power of positive thought and self healing.

This quote in particular struck me today, as just this past weekend I was thinking a lot about the power of our actions on our little ones. I was in the Hamptons at a friend’s and had picked up her book Babywise, expecting a refresher on feed schedules and the best way to get your baby to sleep through the night. Yet, the first part of the book goes deep into the power that our actions have on our little ones, and how exposing them to the security of a truly loving home (and that being reflected in the relationship of mom and dad) is one of the most beneficial things we can do for them.

Wayne Dyer believed in the power of love and forgiveness, and in seeing the best in others and ourselves. In honor of him, may we all try to lead with love, and remember that (in parenting and otherwise) the real power is in what we do, not what we say.

Sometimes we need to just breathe….

childs pose brightI just finished a yoga class and as always feel more open, relaxed and tuned in. These days it’s getting increasingly more difficult to move and breathe with ease (thank you baby #2), and I haven’t been able to keep up with my practice or usual exercise routine. It’s forced me to sit back, accept and try to take all a little bit more slowly (not my nature).

The latest pregnancy woe (or WHOA!) has been the excruciating leg cramps that I’ve been getting at night (think charley horse on steroids or someone stabbing you in the calf). The pain has been ridiculous, and I’ve found myself feeling it long after the initial attack. My calf muscles are all bound up, and I’ve resorted to stretching before bed (mainly long holds in down dog with deep breaths) to try and ease the pain.

So far stretching and breathing has been my biggest relief, and today in yoga class I found myself particularly tuned into the power of breath. Vinyasa, of course, is the linking of breath and movement, but we as human beings so often don’t fully breathe (in yoga or in life).

As I sat on my mat practicing pranayama, it became especially clear to me how the simple act of breathing opens us up, and allows us to move towards a place of ease and away from (even if only temporarily) pain and discomfort. We all have our own stresses and traumas, and although none can be healed instantly, the simple act of breathing is a powerful place to start.

The last 24hours, I’ve been thinking a lot about Alison Parker and Adam Ward, and the horrendous situation that occurred yesterday morning. As a former news reporter, it hits home with me, as I’ve stood in her shoes so many times. Countless mornings I’ve been out live, conducting interviews and watching the sun rise with camera men and crews who become a second family. My heart tightens when I think about this tragedy, her bright smile and potential, the lives so pointlessly lost, and the tremendous pain their families must feel. And then I need to breathe. Deeply.

We all have our own traumas. Some much greater than others, but inevitably in life we will all face hardship and pain. We will all come to a place at some point where the pain is so great that it binds us, and we feel like we simply can’t breath. It’s then that we need to most. To let the rhythmic steadiness of our inhale and exhale be our focus, and allow it to open us up, and help lead us away from the hurt. It sounds so simple (and perhaps silly when we are really suffering), but it is perhaps one of the most powerful things we can do.

So today, I say we breathe. Deeply, fully and deliberately. And hopefully, we can all find relief from whatever pain we hold.