Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eyes Wide Open!

Our girl has had some major changes recently! Not only has she gotten to be a little chunky pea in a pod, but she has become much more alert! She stared at the pages of books as we read to her, she looks out windows, she looks into our eyes when we sing to her, she'll turn and look when she hears her favorite toy jingling...it's amazing to watch her grow and learn.

She used to be not-such-a-fan of her bouncy seat, but now there is so much to see!

"Hi Mama!", said Reilly, "Have you seen all of this great stuff everywhere?!"

"Yes, Reilly, I know! Isn't is fun?" replied Mama.

"There is this pretty blue dot over here..."

"And this pretty blue dot over here!" said Reilly.

"Very good Babygirl! You are a smarty little banana pants!" said Mama.

"Banana pants! You are so silly Mama!" said Reilly.

Love & Toothless Smiles,

Dirt Road Mama

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Random Breastfeeding Factoids

Okay, here comes another disclaimer. If conversations of breasts and breastfeeding and nipples and milk leakage makes you uncomfortable, grow up. I mean don't continue reading. But then, grow up. Ha.

I can't believe I've been a mama this long and haven't posted about breastfeeding. I'm just going to say this: breastfeeding is my life.

I am a huge fan of the breastfeeding. I love it. I'm not here to be controversial, I don't care to argue if you're a formula-feeder, and I won't fascinate you with facts about the unbelievable and uncountable benefits of breastfeeding. [Ahem. Click the link. You know you want to.] I know that breastfeeding is just not possible for some people or lifestyles. I'll just share my experience, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

I have a bumper sticker on my fridge that says "Babies were born to be breastfed." I'm just saying.

I read this book while I was pregnant, and was dying to breastfeed my little one as soon as I started. It's a hysterical, lighthearted, amazingly informative book. If you want to breastfeed, have ever breastfed, or at one time was a baby, read it right away.

While I was pregnant, I had dreams alternating every night. One night, I would be breastfeeding and would say "She latched on!" and was overjoyed. The next night, was my recurring nightmare, that my baby was born and alive for like 6 hours, and I forgot to feed her. My actual experience was much closer to dream #1.

Breastfeeding is instinct. My little Rei Rei fell out, stayed under her little warmer because she was a tiny little beanie, and then got to be held by her mama. And she opened her mouth and started eating right away. I mean, I thought she was a genius. Which she is. But the instinct was unreal to me. She knew what to do, even more than her mama did!

I just saw on Kourtney and Kloe Take Miami that they have little strips to test your pumped milk for alcohol content, so you know when to save and when to dump. I'm investing. Leave me alone, I like margaritas. And wine. Did I ever tell you that? But Rei doesn't need it yet. Hence, these strips are a wonderous invention for the present-day mama.

I love the connection Reilly and I have from breastfeeding. When Hubby started giving her bottles of my milk, I sat there next to him staring. And making little comments like "Oh, careful. Don't tilt it too much. Oh, she's spitting a little. Oh, she just coughed." I wasn't being annoying at all. But it was just so hard for me for someone else to feed her! I was solely responsible for her nourishment, and it was something that her and I did together close to 12 times a day. Her life depends on me and my body, and that's an unbelievable feeling.

Update: Hubby now gives her 1 bottle a day, at around 2 am. Thus giving me a solid 6 hours of sleep per night. I am no longer melancholy about the bottle feeding. The Hubby-bottle situation makes me the happiest woman alive. Hubby, I love you. The end.

Before all the Breast Milk: Teeny little chickpea banana.
After all the Breast Milk: Chunky little peanut banana!

I'm currently way too comfortable breastfeeding in front of my family. My sister's boyfriend said that he is going to have to remember dollar bills for the next time he sees me, due to all the boobage. Ahem. Oops. It's just so natural, I forget to be embarrassed! Sorry, America.

The contentment and the peace that baby feels when they're feeding is so powerful. So powerful, that it makes mama feel just as content. It really does. I find that she is feeding and relaxed and falling asleep in my arms, and seeing her so content in my arms makes me instantly so happy.

Purity. I'm a huge fan of all things pure. I love all-natural foods and cleaning products, and I love cooking using the purest of ingredients I can find. I was thinking recently, what is more pure than milk that my own body makes? God decides what goes in it, not me. God is essentially feeding my baby. As a mama, you are constantly second-guessing yourself, wondering if you are doing the "right thing", if baby is healthy and happy. I don't have to worry about her food - God takes care of it for me. Nothing is better than that.
[Fun fact: The name "Kate" actually means pure!]

Actual conversation that occurred recently:
[Background knowledge necessary to understand conversation: Poop of breastfed babies is yellow and looks like mustard, and doesn't smell ever.]

My mama: [While changing Reilly] Huh...her stool is bright green...
Me: [Running over and gasping] Oh my God! She's sick! What' wrong with her! Mom what does that mean!
mama: Why do you automatically go there? She is not sick. What have you eaten recently?
Me: Nothing!! I mean nothing abnormal! Everything the same always!
Mama: You haven't eaten anything different?
Me: [thinking] No! Yesterday I had cereal for breakfast, then a piece of toast, and then for lunch I had a big bowl of broccoli.
Mama: .....[stares at me]

I guess those are all my factoids for now. Comment if you have any questions, because my baby is a little feeding pro, and we have learned so much together in the past 6 weeks. I'm not an expert, but it's all I do every day and night. Let's just say, I've had some good practice. Talk to me in a year, and I'll claim to be a pro. Today, I'm a minor-leaguer. Now Reilly baby, she's a little pro!

Love and Happy Suckling,

Dirt Road Mama

How to Spoil a Daddy

As Hubby's first Fathers' Day, Reilly and I felt the need to let him know how much we love him and appreciate him.Thank you for protecting us, providing for us, loving us, changing poopy diapers, midnight feedings, 2am/3am/4am feedings, consoling, rocking, burping. Thank you for proudly carrying your girl around, strolling through town, worrying about her sun exposure, worrying about the brand of diaper cream we use, knowing all about bottles and breastfeeding, researching baby CPR. Thank you for understanding how I feel in the middle of the night when feedings are every hour, and for saying "You are such a good mama" when I come back to bed every time. Thank you for being the Daddy to Reilly, that my Dad is to me.

So first, the banana and I surprised Daddy with breakfast in bed! I set her up on her Boppy, with her gifts for her favorite man in the world.

Then I woke him up so this little face is what he saw first thing.

Then he started opening presents - we made post-it note clues to each gift...

We made him a CD with songs to remind him of his babygirl.

And an ornament with her footprint! Yes, I painted her foot. I mean really, are you that surprised?
[These are ornaments I paint, on slices of tree branch. I love rustic.]

A shirt with his favorite Red Sox...and his favorite title :)

And the grand finale, 2 tickets to see the Red Sox at Fenway!! He's never been there, and I decided to make his dream come true. He was very shocked. I think Father's Day will be Reilly and my new favorite holiday. It's so much fun to spoil him!

Reilly was pooped by the end of all the gift shenanigans.

Oops, this is us spoiling Reilly, not Daddy! I put her on a pillow for easy transport around the house. She thought she was still in the bed. I call her the princess and the pea.

We also made Daddy some delish Baked French Toast. Okay, this was like 75% for Daddy, 25% for me. What? I have to keep my calories up for breast feeding! It's all for the baby, in the end.

I'd say we had a wonderful celebration of our favorite man. He call us his angels. But you, my Husband, are our hero.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Conversations with Reilly

"Hey mama, whatcha doin?" said Reilly.

"Just playing! Look at your new toy, Rei!" said mama.

"Oh fun, where?!" said Reilly.

"Right here! Meet Mister Froggie," said mama.

"Oooo hi Mister Froggie! You are cute!" said Reilly.

"Um..Rei?..." said mama.

"Shh, mama, you interrupted Froggie. " said Reilly.

"Oh oops. Sorry, Froggie."

. . . . . .

"Mama this is comfy," said Rei.

"You are a funny little girl," said mama.

"You love me mama?" said Rei.

"You bet I do, baby!" said mama.

"Ditto, mama," said Rei.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Slices of Summer

Husband is home for the summer! School is over! Summer is here! The best part about being a teacher is that you maintain a part of your youth. The kids keep you young and excited. They make you laugh every day. You watch them learn, and learn from them. And inevitably, at the end of the year, you feel their same glory as the steamy summer starts to take over the classroom. Reviewing starts, prom excitement takes over, graduation and yearbook emotions run high, and then it happens. The last day of school. Clear out the classroom. Come home on a childlike summer high. Hubby loves his job more than most people I know.
But boy is he on that summer high.
Reilly and I decided to join him. We are just as excited that he is home, as he is to be home!

So naturally, we did summery things...

We made homemade pizza with our friends! This is only half the pie. We were even impressed with the results. I mean, that's brick oven quality right there.

We took an afternoon walk with Reilly Belle and found some pretty flowers. These are actually right in our front yard! Which thrills me, because daisies are my favorite.

These line a part of our road.

I'm not sure what they are called, but I love them because they close up when the sun goes down! See how the petals are starting to wrinkle? The flower isn't dying, it's getting ready to close up since the sun was setting.

We took afternoon nappies. And by we, I mean Reilly. Husband and I broke open some champagne. We decided a long time ago that we don't need a reason to have champagne. Follow that philosophy, it's a great way to live. And you get to have champagne all the time.

And can we pause to discuss the insanely precious ways that by little belle sleeps?? I apologize for those of you reading this and looking at that pictures, who can't squeeze those cheekies. I know it's an irresistible urge.

We found raspberry bushes. And then ate some. They're better than ones you'd buy at the store.

Then we woke up and lazy morning time with Daddy. On a Tuesday! Reilly was not used to this treat. She was overjoyed, can't you tell?

We love summertime. Thank you sun. Thank you Earth for rotating and bringing us summer. Or something.

Love & Sunshine,

Dirt Road Mama

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Love This Man

Coming Soon: How to Spoil a Daddy

For now, a little peek at our day with our best guy...

Rei wore her "I Love Math" shirt, just for Daddy.

We relaxed together, and Daddy got a well deserved nap!

Don't worry, I took baby from him while he slept...we have sleep walking issues. And by we, I mean Hubby.

Daddy and Reilly in the morning...we made him breakfast in bed!

Daddy giving Reilly her first bottle. I am in love with pumping. God bless the person who invented the breast pump.

What did we do to deserve him, Reilly?
He amazes me more every single day.
He loves his girls so much.

And Hubby, we love you right back.

Love & Daddies,

Dirt Road Mama

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fro, Yo - Part 2

Mima considers every post without a picture of her grandbaby a complete failure. So there's our little angel baby for ya!

To read about my pregnant meal freezing adventures, read Part 1.

More delish and simple meals to freeze! I defrosted my first one yesterday, and let me tell you, it was a dream. Part 2 of the recipes!

1. Kielbasa & Applesauce
Don't be dismayed by the name of this recipe. Every person who has tried this has been in love. It simple, and deliciously amazing. No one who you serve this to will believe the simplicity of the ingredients.

2 rings kielbasa
1 24 oz. jar applesauce (you can use chunky, but I don't like to)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. onion powder (you can use 1.4 cup real onion, but the onion texture adds nothing to this dish in my opinion - too crispy)

Slice kielbasa into 1 inch slices. Put into oven safe dish, add remaining ingredients, and combine. Place uncovered in a 325 oven for 2 hours. Stir after 1 hour.

Please try it. I know you're still tentative. I promise it doesn't taste like hot dogs that sat in applesauce for a while. It's seriously amazing, would I steer you wrong?

2. Pulled Pork
Just make a nice big batch of this deliciousness, and then defrost for sandwiches!
Recipe courtesy of E. Bates :) Sissy is a lucky girl with all the delish meals he cooks for her!

1 - 3 pound piece of center cut pork loin
1 bottle hickory brown sugar BBQ sauce
1 can beef broth

That's really all the ingredients - it's that easy.
You can use a slow-cooker, but I'm not a fan for some reason that I can't explain. I'll get into using mine one day. But for now I still use my oven.

Set oven to 250. Cut meat into 3 equal portion. Place meat into an oven-proof dish, so it fits snugly. Pour can of beef broth over into dish. Broth should just about cover meat. If it doesn't, your dish is probably too big. Cover tightly with foil. Place into oven for about 5-6 hours - the longer the better! Do not open the foil - just forget you're even cookin' and let it be.

After the 6 hours, remove meat from dish. I like to put it on a wooden cutting board with a lip, to catch juices. Shred meat using 2 forks. If it doesn't shred with forks, it's not done. At this point you can remove fatty pieces - it's very easy once it's all cooked.

Dispose of all but a few tablespoons of the broth. Place shredded meat back into dish. Pour entire bottle of BBQ sauce over meat, and stir. I like to put the few tablespoons of broth back into BBQ sauce bottle, give it a shake, and get all the BBQ sauce outta there!

3. Chicken Stir-Fry

These recipes are not re-inventing any wheels, as you may have realized. But that's what pregnancy is all about - laziness. HA. Just kidding. Obviously. I just wanted to keep things simple. And yummy. I'll stop typing in fragments now. It's addicting.

Everyone has their own yummy version of stir-fry, with their own favorite sauce. So if you have one, use that one! If not, this is the easiest one you'll come across. No chopping! I know, you're welcome.

What you'll need:
Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into small pieces (or steak, or shrimp)
1 bag of frozen stir-fry veggie mix
1 jar Polamer apricot preserves (or any other sweet flavor you like)
soy sauce (to taste)
spice brown mustard (to taste)

Cook chicken in your favorite seasonings on med-high heat. I like to keep it simple with EVOO, salt, pepp, and a little garlic. Add frozen veggies to pan once it's all cooked. Be sure to cook uncovered on medium-low heat, so the water cooks off. If it's covered, the result will be a watery soggy stir fry. Yuck.

Combine jar of jam, soy sauce, and mustard. I'm sorry I don't have amounts, but it really depends on your taste. If you like a sweeter sauce, you wouldn't use as much soy. If you like it salty, add lots-o-soy. I think you get it. Keep tasting and adding. The mustard adds a nice contrast, don't be afraid of it. I also like to add a little ginger.

Add sauce, simmer uncovered until desired consistency of sauce is accomplished. Affirmative. Over and out.

Those are my frozen meals in all their glory. New addition to my freezer - a shelf full of frozen breast milk. It's such a beautiful sight.
Another key ingredient (ha) to post-baby cooking: Husband Sous Chef. Mine happens to be a world-renowned sous chef. And by world, I mean my kitchen. And by renowned, I mean we sometimes watch The Next Food Network Star.

But really, he's amazing. Yesterday I defrosted a nice big pot of sauce, he made ricotta filling for Eggplant Rollatini, and I egged & fried the eggplant. Then I stuffed and baked and done! 3 step meal, I only did one of them. [Well technically I did 2, but one was months ago so that doesn't count.] Yummy meal + half the work (1/3 of the work?) + wine = HEAVEN.

Love & Happy Defrosting,

Dirt Road Mama

The Rebellion

In case it has not become clear, I now live in a female - dominated household. It may not be clear upon entry to the house, but it has a definite effect on the dynamic. I grew up in a mostly female house, and looking back, there are little things that are just more...girly. I think there is a sensitivity in the household that everyone adapts naturally, for example.

And of course, there's little touches. Like...you know...frilly footwear clotheslines...

Oh, come on, how precious is this?

I have the clothesline to hang decorations for each holiday. This just kind of jumped right out at my mama and I. It had to be done.

Thanks Auntie Mimi for my first frilly pink ballet slippers! Definitely not my last...

These socks MAKE an outfit. She's learning the importance of accessorizing early.

Anyway, yesterday morning, I woke up to find the first signs of a rebellion. Daddy had some fun before he left for work in the morning.

Funny, dear. Very very funny.

Don't worry...the pretty shoes are back in their rightful place. :)

Love & Pink Things,

Dirt Road Mama

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mama Said...

there'd be days like these.

Things I Have:
- an emergency defrosting dinner
- my pajamas still on
- a cute little babe
- who is covered in pee
- not really, but she was this morning
- laundry that needs to be done

Things I Want:
- my husband to be home
- sleep
- a shower
- to have 15 minutes to pump
- sleep
- my husband to be home

Things I Wonder:
- how Kate did it with 8 babies
- how my baby fits so much breast-milk in her belly
- when my hubby will be home
- how she got so darn precious.

Good night!

I'm just going to go stare at her for a little before I nap. It's fine, it'll only take a minute. I'm not really that tired anyway.


Love & Blissful Exhaustion,

Dirt Road Mama

Update: Our day is turning around! Pumping, dishes, and Father's Day gifts are done! And Hubby is food shopping and then coming home. Phew.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This Girl.

It's crazy the love that you can feel when someone grows inside you. And then falls out of you. And then stops crying just because you walk into the room. And then stares at your face like she's studying each part of it. And then touches your cheek and holds onto your hair as you carry her around. And then falls asleep on your chest, because you know it's the safest she's ever felt.

This girl is just slightly bigger than her Mama's paintbrush.

But she's got me. She's got me loving her the strongest love I've ever known. It's as strong as the love I have for her Daddy, but different. Because he and I love her the same, and more than anyone else. She's half him, and he knows it's he who needs to protect her, and no one else. His love for me made her, kept her growing, and keeps her safe. And see, she fell out of me. I am the source of her every meal, and my heartbeat is her favorite song.

So we are all tied by this love, our family. It's strong. And quite unbreakable.

I wonder when she'll know how much we love her.

I can't stop writing about it. Because I can't stop thinking about it.
This love that I have for her. It's crazy.


DR Mama

Monday, June 14, 2010


I can't believe my sweet baby girl has been here for one month! It's amazing. I can't remember my life without her little noises, her button nose, her chunky chunky cheekies, those bright blue eyes, and of course, her ravenous breastfeeding. I really can't imagine it.

My Hubby says every day since she's been here has felt like a vacation. He loves coming home to her so much, that he keeps saying he feels like we're all on a baby vacation together. Which I think is adorable. The fact that he has been getting up with me and her in the middle of the night and still feels this way is pretty amazing.

So here are our pictures of our baby at one month old! As well as some things that I've learned about the little sweet potato. [Note: Photoshoot was a hilarious event - attempting to take pictures after a feeding, after mama has a nice shower, when the sun is still providing nice light, after mama makes a cute "1 month" sign, and while dinner was waiting to be cooked.]

1. She's not a complainer. She tells us what she wants. If she's crying, she wants something. She never cries for no reason - she's either hungry or gassy. And she gives little shrieks, and then she's fine. It's quite hilarious. Sometimes she shrieks, and then just passes out the next second later, seemingly forgetting what she wanted in the first place.

[Case in point - she was hungry. Look at Aunt Mimi's cute shoes!]
2. She likes having her little fists next to her face. Since the day she was born, she punches those little arms out of her swaddle so she could wave hello to everyone. And of course hug her Mama.

[My poor banana! This is when we realized she was definitely hungry.]

3. She loves to eat! I mean, look at those chins! Since the moment she was born she's been a little breastfeeding champ. It is the most unbelievable thing. And if anyone is holding her when she's hungry, she'll suck on you until you give her to her mama. :)

[This photo came after a feeding break. So much for an awake photo!]
4. She loves her Daddy. His chest is her favorite place to sleep. And she'll just stare at him when she hears his voice. She makes him laugh every day. They're pretty much BFF.

[Notice we lost a shoe in this process.]
4. She loves sleeping, like her Mama! We just have to work on the length of time that she sleeps. We'll get there.

5. She's so content. She'll be awake and just lay there like a sweetheart observing her world.

[We left her sleeping to go make dinner after this ordeal. Then I turn around and I see this little banana staring at me.]

6. She likes to exercise. No one believed me that she had the strongest kicks in the world when she was in my belly. But now she kicks her blankets off, she kicks her diaper off (it's true, it happened once), and we can barely hold her legs when we change her! She's a strong little bugger.

[Get rid of this silly sign, Mama.]

7. She has her Mama's eyes. Which makes me so happy.

8. She loves watching the trees. Her changing table it right next to the window, and she stares at the trees in the wind when we change her.

9. She loves her Mama. We spend every day together, and taking care of her is my favorite thing I've ever done. She's my little soul sister.

10. She loves music. I sing to her, she she calms right down and listens. And her favorite song is Fur Elise. When we play her baby Beethoven, she is mesmerized when the song comes on.

Love & little growing babies,

Dirt Road Mama