Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Easy Meal Time: 2 fast finger foods

When my little one started feeding herself, she had a hard time picking up slippery foods. She loved bananas but unfortunately most of the "nan-nas" ended up smooshed all over her jammies and highchair tray, slippery little suckers. Cheerios to the rescue! I pondered, she can pick up Cheerios no problem? Cheerios...bananas...Cheerios...bana... I got it! 

Step 1: Put Cheerios in a plastic baggy and use the bottom of a glass to smash into crumbs.

Step 2: Poor into a bowl and add bite-sized banana pieces.

Step 3: Roll the bites around to coat in Cheerio crumbs and bada bing bada boom!

Bananas she can pick up and won't slip out of her little fingers! You're welcome :)

Now for oatmeal, another favorite! Certainly not a finger food and all she really wanted was the spoon to feed herself; you can imagine how that was going. I made too much for breakfast one morning so I popped the rest in the fridge. The next day I noticed it was breaking up into chunks, in fact I could pick it up with my hands. Chunks, I thought?...easy to pick up...finger food! So I gave her a few samples. She gobbled it up and didn't mind it cold at all!

Oatmeal chunks
Step 1: Make oatmeal per instructions on the box, extra thickPut in a plastic container 
and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2: Break into bite sized chunks.

Step 3: Very happy baby!

I would love to hear any tips or tricks you have for meal time!

Love, Allison

Saturday, October 15, 2016

City Living: Closet Babies

City living! "Location, location, location" often means sacrificing space. A few teal accents and man-chair replacement turned a bachelor's San Francisco industrial loft into a cozy space for two. It sometimes felt like a game of Tetris organizing our apartment, making use of every nook and cranny. When we learned our duo was soon to be a party-of-3, we started getting creative i.e. I started nesting! Where to put a baby?...

Well, we had closet. It was a unique space, just wide enough to move around in with a little nook off to one side. We removed all the clothes which ended up in an armoire in our living room (you make do). After we pulled the shelving out, I painted the closet a soft-white using FrogTape to outline stripes which I painted pink of course! Then my husband took a picture of me in front of it that we used for our baby announcement :)

I spent a lot of time researching mini-cribs and changing tables, I had to find ones that would fit. Finally I found the Bloom Alma Mini Crib
It's the perfect city livin' crib and folds down to the size of a small radiator. I'm not going to lie, it ain't cheap especially after you add a mattress but it was the only thing on the market that would work in the space. So to Craigslist I went! I eventually found one, ordered some sample paint from the manufacture, touched up a few teeth marks and voilĂ , good as new! As for the changing table, I wanted something simple, functional and inexpensive. I chose the South Shore Angel Changing Table. I used black tape to mark the dimensions to ensure a proper fit and spacing before making a final decision.

After some complimenting accessories and new rug, we had ourselves a baby nook! 

I had one final space to complete. I needed a small swivel chair to fit into a small corner. After an exhausting search, I found the Babyletto Madison Swivel Glider, again not cheap but worth every penny! It was perfect for nursing and rocking my little one to sleep, she is now 1 year old and it's still our favorite place to read books and cuddle before bedtime. Now, for the DIY bargain find of the day: Ikea spice rack book shelves! Just a few bucks each and you could totally paint them to match your nursery.

So there you have it, closet turned baby nook! 

Even if you don't live in a city loft, you could still utilize a closet in a nursery to create more living space. Check out what my good friend, Lauren did by putting their crib in a small closet. She created a custom backdrop made with a wood-flooring-kit from Home Depot, stained and nailed together, finished off with her little boy's name in letters from Pottery Barn. Love, love her style and DIY ideas!

Airplane shelf : Restoration Hardware

Best of luck on your baby nursery and nook adventures! 

Love, Allison

Monday, October 10, 2016

The F-Word

We have a rule in our home, no F-word. No, not the 4-letter word...

Lent, a time of repentance, fasting and reflection; or a second shot at that New Year's resolution. I pondered: Is there anything I'd be willing to give up for 6 weeks? Reaching for a snack above the refrigerator, the thought crossed my mind, "ugh, you're so fat". How rude
! In that moment I knew what I needed to give up and it wasn't the salt water taffy; I'm giving up the F-word: F-A-T

In the beginning I would accidentally let it slip out and immediately cover my mouth. I came up with alternative offensive things to say; It was amazing how hard my brain tried to find synonyms for "fat"! I
 became painfully conscious how many times a day I negatively thought of myself, and not just about my physical characteristicsIt made me sad. Then, I noticed just how nonchalantly I spoke of other women. Every time I looked in the mirror, walked down the street, opened a magazine or turned on the TV, I was acutely aware of how mean I was being to myself and my judgement of others. 

Midway through Lent, I had stopped shaming myself out loud and by the end I observed that my thinking started to change. In just 6 weeks I discovered compassion and confidence. I wasn't so focused on my "flaws" in the mirror anymore. I learned beauty really does start on the inside and that true beauty is kindness towards yourself and to others. I once saw a quote embroidered on a pillow that stuck with me, "Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions". In my case I had to create a better habit with my words first. 

A year later I found out I was pregnant. When I learned I was having a daughter, I knew my 40 day commitment needed to be a lifelong vow. It breaks my heart to imagine my baby girl one day staring in a mirror, feeling disgusted with her thighs, thinking her belly isn't flat enough or her arm looks fat from the side; or even worse, less-than or inadequate. Daughters look up to their mommas and they think we're beautiful, despite how we feel about it. Imagine their confusion when they learn that's not good enough for us; imagine the bar that sets for them? My daughter is only 1 year old but I refuse to step on a scale in front of her, even if she might not understand what I'm doing. I try really hard not to shame my body or intelligence in front of her. I want her to learn from me what confidence looks like and how beautiful feels.

So I challenge you too, to give up the F-word and see if that one little action might shift your thinking...and if for no other reason than, it's just rude!

Love, Allison

Saturday, October 1, 2016

PPD Triggers: Coming back to reality

I didn't know there were "triggers" with Postpartum Depression until I saw a video online that sent me into a sudden emotional downward spiral. I later read, "trigger warning" in the comments on the post. In the beginning, I found abstinence from tragic postpartum stories and articles was helpful. Sometimes I couldn't help myself. Perhaps it was curiosity or some deep down desire to feel bad; or to put it very bluntly, my brain trying to kill me. I even took a break from the news and social media; I felt too sensitive and impressionable. It's at times recommended to confront troubling issues and discuss them, for me it caused more harm. My thoughts were irrational and my feelings were based on situations that weren't real; trying to make sense of it and re-living them felt more traumatic. I now pay attention to trigger warnings. It's been a year since I had my daughter and while my Postpartum Depression and OCD has gotten better, I don't feel completely out of the woods. If something feels triggering, I just don't go there.

The tricky triggers are actual events I'm participating in that stir up a fear. When my daughter was 9 months old we were invited to a pool party. Her first swimming experience! Since her first bath, I've had a fear of her drowning. I tried to dismiss the growing anxiety as the date approached. The day arrived and there I was, holding her in the kiddie pool when the thought popped in my head, "I could just let go". The terror started growing in my belly but I couldn't afford to get lost in an emotional daymare. I had to stay present with her. 
I felt absolutely no desire to let go, the thought was horrifying! I took a deep breath and felt my feet on the bottom of the pool, the way the water felt as it splashed on my face; the feel of her soft, slippery skin where I securely held her under her armpits. I didn't entertain the frightening thoughts. I kept repeating to myself, "they aren't real, they aren't real." We were okay.

Yesterday we had our 1-year doctor visit. I knew vaccines were coming at the end of the appointment. I thought, "procrastinate, just keep asking the doctor questions!".
I tried justifying in my head, "she won't remember"... or will she? My heart raced as I held her and sang her a lullaby. It was over in less than 15 seconds. The nurse left the room giving me space to console her. I wiped her tears and held her closely through her sobbing and little breathing spasms. As I paced the room with her crying in my arms, the uninvited thoughts started. I began imagining her being hurt or in pain and not being able to save her. My eyes started to well up, but I took a deep breath. I noticed the white walls with thermometers and otoscopes hanging from them. I observed the brightness of the florescent lighting; I heard the paper crunch when I placed the diaper bag on the examination table. I was in a doctor's office. This is what was really happening. I had to stay present for my daughter. And I did. 

My ability to not succumb to the daymares and disturbing thoughts has been a process. I've learned what my triggers are and I avoid them when I can. 
I've discovered when I am able to make it through an episode, it gives me the confidence to fight through the next; my faith strengthens and those experiences have added up over time. Sometimes I'm not afraid at all.

It's been a year since my daughter was born. Childbirth while amazing, is traumatic physically and emotionally. It takes time to heal– sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. When I feel anxious or begin having intrusive thoughts, I check in with my senses: Where are my feet? What do I see? What can I smell? What sounds are happening around me? I take a deep breath and bring it back to present where reality is.

Love, Allison