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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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

 

 

Four weeks In: Sleepily savoring every moment…

WOW! Have four weeks really passed since this little one arrived? It’s already flown by, but looking back been filled with excitement, anxiety, plenty of love and adoration, and, of course, SLEEP DEPRIVATION (definitely now set in).

Amazingly, this go around, I’m not nearly as agonized by the lack of my most favorite commodity (yes, I’m the girl who needs 8 hours a night, and struggled through years of working in morning news). Somehow with this little one, the love seems to surpass the drudgery of being tired all the time.

I recently went back and forth with a fellow blogger on Instagram, who had similar sentiment. We both marveled in how these little demanding people can have us completely exhausted, and yet still so in love (cries, cluster feeds, gassy bellies and all!)  I can only conclude that God gives us all these feel good hormones and this overwhelming love to help us deal with the trial of the first weeks of newborn life.

I must admit too, that the second time around seems SO much sweeter. I did not have this positive outlook with Aria. Perhaps it was because my body was in shock. Back then, what I was actually thinking was ,”Yikes, life as I know it is over. What the heck have we done?!”

Yet, this go around, I’m savoring every second.  It’s in part that I now know how temporary the tough time is, and also how fast the sweet parts go. That scrunched up little body laying on my chest, those funny little milk drunk faces….ahh. The fact that this baby is most likely my last also has me holding on to every little mushy, gassy, crying, funny faced, sweet, lovely newborn moment.  I also am now well aware of just how much love and happiness these little people bring, and how as they grow, that love and happiness does too.

 

 

Pregnancy Take 2! Mo babies, mo problems.

2nd pregnancy woesThe countdown is on, and in these last few weeks (and for the last few months for that matter) I have been increasingly aware of my limitations. As mentioned this previous posts this pregnancy is SO much different (and more difficult) than my first.

With Aria all was a breeze, and I barely even felt pregnant until late in the game. I did yoga until the end, walked our 6 floor walk up with no issue and, aside from a couple late night charley horses, I barely even felt any side effects until days before she came (and she was a week late!)

So, it was a bit of a rude awakening this go around. I was thinking, “Pregnancy? No problem! I’m a pro. I’m made for this!” Well, perhaps I was a bit too cocky, and the powers that be decided to bestow upon me the realities of pregnancy that most women deal with, because this go-around is FAR from easy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, thank God I had no serious complications or problems, but I have felt this pregnancy for the last 9 months. From waves of nausea early on to ongoing side effects like shortness of breath, heaviness and pressure (also low lying placenta which fortunately receded up), to some serious debilitating leg and foot cramps (ouch) and, oh, and let’s not forget that ever increasing back pain, this baby has made me well aware that pregnancy is no walk in the park!

I also got much bigger, much faster (although thank you to all who say I look “so cute” or “amazing”, and yes, my standard response is still, “I wish I felt that way!”) I probably surpassed how big I was with Aria at about month 8, and sleeping and doing ANY sort of real activity has become trying (at best).

I’m also definitely more crabby (when I suffer, we all suffer!), and more emotional. When Aria cried going off to school the other morning, I cried with her (oh, silly mommy). I had to remind myself that she’s 4, and I’m pregnant, so it’s all OK.

From talking to various second time moms-to-be, I’ve realized I’m not alone in this pregnancy struggle. We’re older, often chasing after a little one and our bodies are just not a s tight or supportive as they used to be (seeing they’ve already been stretched out the first go around.)

I’m also not sure if it’s a boy vs girl thing, but I’m hoping that since Aria was so easy in-utero and then a tougher baby early on (colic, gas, etc), that means this one is going to be saintly when he comes out. I’m kinda counting on it.

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.

Mommyhood Take….2! Pregnancy the second time around.

Yes, so we’re six months in on pregnancy number 2, and, if you haven’t heard already, Aria is expecting a little brother come October.

pregnancy 6 months

He’s already suffering second child syndrome (yes, even in-utero), not nearly getting the attention that Aria did while I was pregnant. I can’t believe it, but I’m already 6 months. Time flies when you’re not really paying attention!

With Aria every week was relished — from tracking her size with baby.com updates to journaling and recording every little pregnancy milestone. This go-around I’ve barely even stopped to think about being pregnant. Perhaps it’s because I’m running after a toddler, or because it’s just old hat now (one kid, I’m a pro right?), but this time I already feel like I’m neglecting my second child.

He must sense this too because he has definitely tried to make his presence known. While Aria was a super easy pregnancy, this go around I got a little taste of what some women go through in pregnancy (albeit still just minor infractions). From waves of nausea the first trimester to feeling bigger and more limited physically now, I’ve been forced to reckon with this pregnancy.

With Aria I barely even looked pregnant at 7 months, did yoga until almost the end and amazingly, aside from a few minor infractions like the occasional charlie horse at night, didn’t have any real side effects. Only when I was overdue (she was a week late) did I feel heavy and limited and like she was bearing down.

But this time, it’s as my body recognized pregnancy and kicked right into it right away. Granted I still have it pretty easy compared to some, but I’m definitely well aware of my limitations, especially when teaching yoga or trying to lift my solid three year old. Lower back pain and carpal tunnel have already reared their head, and I feel much heavier and limited (despite having only gained 10lbs to date). I’m also much more aware of his very active movements, although I’d just like to think that I have a star athlete in the making.

Perhaps it’s my unborn boy already crying out for attention (“hey, I’ll show you mom!”), but I find it so interesting how we treat second pregnancies and, for that matter, second babies (imagine the thirds or fourths!) No more pregnancy journal, or lovely pregnancy photo shoot, but really, well, just moving right along.

And even as I write that, I get a tinge of mom guilt, and think I should commit to savoring these moments a bit more. I mean, to his credit, he has given me a little pregnancy glow this go-around (the old wives tale about girls stealing your beauty and boys giving you more apparently holds some merit.) So today, I’ll give him a little more love and attention and try to not let him get lost in the shuffle (already). I guess a dedicated blog post is a start… hang in there kid.

We are so lucky…

A particularly grateful moment! We are SO lucky to have family in Florida!

A particularly grateful moment! We are SO lucky to have family in Florida!

So, gratitude is a big thing that I try to instill in Aria. And myself. “We are so lucky”, seems to be my catch phrase these days. So much so that just the other day, Aria called me on it and said, “Mom, you say that ALL the time!” And indeed I do.

But realizing how lucky we are is something that I want her to know. I want her to look for all the good in every situation, and always focus on the positive that life hands her. To know that she is fortunate and blessed and to hold on to that.  To not be spoiled or complacent,  but really appreciate every good thing that our life holds.

Quite often she and I will run through all the good people we have in our life– those who love her so much, as well as all the good things we have. Or we recap our day and talk about how lucky we are to spend so much time together doing fun things.

I don’t think we could ever wear out the phrase “we are so lucky.” My hope is that she will always feel gratitude and realize the good and wonderful things life holds for her. After all, we are so lucky.