Archive for July, 2012

Diaper Free – Week 25

OK, so I actually counted the weeks and we have just finished week #25. Strange hwo the numbers don’t really add up, since Olivia isn’t 6 months old until next Sunday. But whatever. week 25 it is.

Olivia has really improved her bladder control, and so I am catching more and more pees now, even in the mornings! Woohoo! I’m not sure if this is just my “mother intuition” getting better, or whether she is getting better at letting me know, but I have become much more relaxed and everything is flowing better now. We are really in a groove! I don’t really pay hardly any attention to her pottying any more, and yet somehow I am still catching a good 75% of pees and 90% of poos. It’s crazy. I will just be sitting there and suddenly it will pop into my head that maybe she has to pee, and she does! Other times she will fuss quite a bit (5 or 10 minutes) without me even thinking about her needing to pee, and when it finally dawns on me, I take her and she has held it all that time. I think she has learned that I take a long time to respond, and so she lets me know extra early.

I’ve also really started making the switch to cloth diapering instead of disposables, which has probably helped her be more motivated to signal to me. I have 4 All-in-One diapers, but mostly I am using diaper covers with flats. The all-in-ones are super cute and I love them, but to be honest they are almost TOO nice, and I am afraid of staining them!! Good thing most of our poos go in the toilet, or I would hate cloth diapering. The directions on the diapers say that you don’t have to pre-wash them or even rinse off the poo – just throw it in teh washing machine with an extra pre-wash cycle, and that’s it. But I have visions of poo floating around in there and contaminating all the other diapers. I just really hate the thought of it. So whenever I happen to miss a poo (which is about once a day) I rinse it off first in the sink. I am not afraid of touching it as long as I wash my hands afterwards. But it really is more work, and I don’t think I would do cloth diapering if I weren’t doing EC, since Olivia poos every time she nurses (about 8-10 times a day). That would be a LOT of poopy diapers. Thank goodness for toilets!!

Olivia has also found a very effective way of telling me that she’s done on the potty. She puts up her arms and kind of “jumps” very slightly out of my hold! (don’t worry, there’s no danger of her falling) She’s been doing this for about a month now, and I’ve found that if I try to take her away before she TELLS me she’s done, she almost always complains, and sometimes even has an accident immediately after. Sometimes we will be sitting there for a good 5 minutes, and she will have already done 2 poos in the toilet, and I will think, “Ok, that must be it. you’ve just been sitting her singing to me for the last 3 minutes, you must be done… right?” but if I try to take her away she will get mad at me and start stiffening up her legs to get me to take her back to the toilet! She’ll be fussy until I do. And then out will come another huge load. So I’ve learned that I really do need to trust in what my baby is telling me. She knows best whether or not there is more on the way! At night usually she just kind of puts up her arms a little bit rather than leaping away, since she is half-asleep. But even that is enough for me to know.

I am really quite impressed and fascinated by how close our connection has become, and how much I really understand about my daughter. They don’t call it Elimination Communication for nothing!

I read this today from a blogger I love. I am a Maryann in many senses of the word. Ok, I can’t smoke a goat, but I can paddle a canoe, solve rubik’s cube, and weld the exhaust pipe back onto your car.

fearfree living

the great debate heard in locker rooms on park benches water coolers bus rides to amusement parks and the back seats of surburbans maryann or ginger; sure ginger is hot she moves like jazz and somehow took enough hair spray on a three hour tour to last 3 years into a shipwreck; everybody wants to bed or be ginger with the auburn hair and legs that go into next week; ginger ginger ginger; well I AM A MARYANN and no i do not know how to apply eyeliner in the midst of hurricane and i refuse to wear strappy heel sandals i believe them contraptions fit only for my demise and i couldn’t give a rat’s ass about  perfectly coiffed hair or make up that gives my cheekbones just the right blush; no no no I AM A MARYANN i can climb a tree crack a coconut and start a fire without a match i can smoke a goat and  build a nest for two or three or whoever drops in; i’m comfortable…

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A Solid Attempt at Solids

Yesterday was the big day!  Although we had playfully given Olivia a few things to chew on over the past weeks (watermelon, apple, pear, a noddle and an orange slice…) all of that was mostly just for fun and she enjoyed sucking the juices out of them.  Well, except for the noodle, which she played with for a while and then spit out.  But I didn’t consider any of that to be “introducing solids”, especially since none of those things are really considered to be good first foods except for the pear.

So after a lot of thought and research, I chose to give Olivia Avocado as her very first solid food.  Avocado is perfect not only nutritionally, but also since she is half Mexican, I feel it is also symbolic.

Plus, they are just really cool looking!

I cut up some long slices which she immediately snatched right out of my hand and put in her mouth!  What success!   She even wanted to wipe her hands in between slices.

Olivia eating a slice of avocado


Olivia playing with a paper towel

But instead of mashing it up with her gums, she decided it was better to push it all the way to the back of throat, which of course caused her to gag.  I tried several times with new pieces, always with the same result, until she suddenly barfed up all of the milk she had drunk at her last nursing session all over the floor.  Eww!  Poor Olivia.

Barf all over the floor

So long story short, I don’t think she is quite ready yet.  I might try some avocado mushed up this week, or maybe just wait another week to try again.

It kind of makes sense, since she has been gagging herself constantly with her own fingers, and even her toys if they fit far enough into her mouth.  I am wondering when she’s finally going to realize that “hey, when I put stuff to the back of my throat I  start gagging! ” I’m guessing it’s going to be a while judging by the looks of things.

Green Smoothies

Since I do all of the cooking in our house, I realized a while ago that I play a large role in my family’s health.  Oscar is not picky at all, and he will eat basically anything I put on the table even if it’s burnt to a crisp.  But now we have a child, and soon enough she will be eating food too, and she may not be quite so accepting.  So I want to do this right from the beginning, so that I don’t create any bad habits.  And that, of course, starts with what I put in my own mouth.

Unfortunately I happen to be a huge fan of everything unhealthy…  meats with lots of marbled fat running through them, savory dishes with lots of carbohydrates (lasagna, creamy noodles with ham…), not to mention every kind of ungodly dessert known to man.  But I am not one to just give up everything I love and turn into an all out health nut.  I really believe in “All things in moderation”.  So a little reduction on the unhealthy foods while increasing the healthy foods will suffice for me.  After all, I don’t want to scare my husband off!

That’s why, when I ran across something called a “green smoothie”, the idea really caught on with me.  The green smoothie was invented by Victoria Boutenko, who was looking for a good way to get her family to eat more leafy greens.  The basic idea is to blend leafy greens like spinach, kale, etc together with fruits in your blender.  You can really do any combination you want, but adding some lemon or ginger helps it to taste a bit more “zingy”.    It’s also a GREAT place for all those leaves from the tops of carrots and radishes!  (just make sure they are organic, since you don’t want lots of yucky pesticides getting into your system.)

So here is my very first green smoothie!

Green Smoothie


Crib Gymnastics

This post is actually from last week, but as always… I didn’t have time to upload the pictures until now…. so here you go!

Olivia has hit that stage where she loves to practice her rolling skills anywhere and everywhere!  She especially enjoys moving around her crib as if it were a jungle gym.  

I don’t want to start baby food…


Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

I know it should be a fun event…. filled with smiles and photographs.  Baby’s first “real food”.  But I’ll be honest, I really don’t want to start.  Olivia is almost six months old, and is making grabs at our plates and spoons… I know it’s time.  I can’t avoid it any longer.  but I’m just not there yet; I love breastfeeding too much.

Breastfeeding is so convenient.  If the baby is hungry you just have to find the nearest bench and sit down.  No preparation time, no warming up… you don’t have to bring anything with you, and there are no dishes to clean.  Breastfeeding really is a gift from God to us busy, overworked mothers.

I realize that when you first start with food, it is only a little bit, and really just once a day.  The rest of the time I still get to breastfeed.  But everything starts small… it’s only a matter of time until I will be fighting with a toddler who only wants to eat bananas with ketchup.  I’m not ready for that!  I’m really not!

We are going to be traveling a lot in the next few months, and I’m also really not excited about dragging baby food on the airplane… I’ve got to admit, it makes breastfeeding pretty darn attractive!

God, why can’t you just slow down the clock a little bit?  I’m not ready for this!  She was just born yesterday!  What is happening to my tiny pink bundle of joy?!  Am I going to wake up tomorrow only to find that she’s turned eighteen?  Oh, the agony.

Olivia at 5 days old

Olivia at 5 days old

Olivia chewing on a toy

Olivia at 5 1/2 months – she is HUNGRY!

Our first train trip

Last week Olivia and I took a day trip to Stuttgart to visit a friend of mine who recently had a baby.  It was Olivia’s first train ride, so very exciting!  We took the TGV – the French high speed train – on the way there, which was fantastic since it only took 37 minutes!  (The trip is normally about 45-60 minutes by train, and well over an hour by car)  Trains really are fantastic since you get to skip right over all the traffic jams.  Of course, it also forces you to travel light, which is tough when you have kids, but still definitely do-able with some planning.

I skipped the stroller completely and only used my front carrier.  I packed all of our stuff, including 3 huge tupperwares of home-cooked food for my friend, into one of those granny-style rolling carts, and pulled that behind me.  I had planned on taking the bus to the train station, but as usual I got pretty behind, and ended up having to drive.  I pulled into the parking lot just 7 minutes before the train was supposed to leave!

I ran all the way to the platform – Olivia observing contentedly from the front pack – and arrived huffing and puffing with 2 minutes to spare.  Olivia did not seem a bit concerned.  We found a nice seat and I took her out of the carrier and held her on my lap the whole trip.

Oddly enough, there was a group of Americans just two rows in front of us – some teenagers and one mom.  The mom saw me with Olivia and kept telling the teenagers “now that is ONE cute baby!”  they didn’t seem to care at all, and acted more like their mom was embarrassing them by going ga-ga over some baby.   I guess that’s teenagers for you…

 Olivia did really well on the trip;  mostly she just sat there looking around the seats.  Even the pressure changes due to all the tunnels didn’t seem to bother her a bit. Once we got to Stuttgart we took the subway to my friend’s house, and spent a wonderful day with her.  Her baby slept basically the entire time while Olivia played with her toys 😛  Then we went out for coffee together before I finally had to catch my train back home.

The return train was full of commuters and for some reason stunk like sweat… I picked a compartment where the people had opened a window, and sat right next to the window.  It didn’t seem to bother Olivia at all though.  I ended up nursing her, and then she napped in the carrier for the rest of the trip.  I would have thought that the huge “whoosh” made by trains going the opposite direction would have woken her, but it didn’t, thank goodness!

So we arrived back home safe and sound, with a nice day behind us.  The whole experience was so easy and simple… I hope that our upcoming airplane trips go this well…. knock on wood!

A visit from friends

Today we had some visitors!  They are some good friends of ours from the Czech Republic.

They have a son who is almost 4, so we spent most of the day at the park.  Instead of blah-blah-ing, I will show you in pictures 🙂

Our friend’s son busy pumping water

We hung out on the picnic blanket while Olivia enjoyed her new toy (present from our friends)


An excursion to the garden center

And here is yet another eons-old post which I never published due to not having any pictures uploaded. This one I originally wrote on June 4th. (Which means the actual trip to the garden center was in mid-May.) Enjoy!


On Monday two weeks ago I finally made it to the garden store to buy flowers for the balcony. I know this is really nerdy and lame, but I LOVE visiting garden centers, even just to look. It was always one of my favorite activities to do with my mom, and sometimes back when I was living in Paderborn I would just ride my bike over to the closest garden center and explore all of their beautiful displays.

In our new apartment we also happen to have a wonderful long balcony which was woefully void of all plant life, and ever since January I have been longing for the day when I could fill that space with a million colors and green leaves spilling out every which way. I wasn’t sure if I would have any time to do it at all this year with a brand new baby, but I suppose it’s true that we choose our own priorities, and we can ALWAYS make time for something we really love to do. It was tough, but I managed to make time for my balcony.

After several cycles of nursing, pooping and sleeping, I finally had Olivia in a reasonably content state so that I could pack her in the car to drive the 5 minutes over to the local garden center. I normally would have walked that distance except that I needed the car to transport back the flowers. I also brought the stroller since Olivia generally seems happier in the stroller than in a wrap, but also because the flower stores always put so many things on the ground, and you have to keep bending down to get them. I had tried it several weeks earlier with Olivia in a wrap and she cried every time I bent down, so I had to give up on that and go home. So pushing the stroller in front of me and pulling a cart full of flowers behind me, I bumbled my way through the narrow aisles trying not to knock anything over.

I spent nearly 2 hours at the store, and even had to carry Olivia in one arm for a while since she was a bit restless (the infamous burping problem…) They have such a nice set-up… at the pond section I heard a whole variety of frog sounds, which I quickly wrote off as recorded to make the atmosphere seem complete. It still seemed pretty neat though. But as I approached, allt he frogs stopped! They didn’t start up again until much later, after I was nice and far away. I guess they had simply moved in from the surrounding bogs. And to think I used to paint Europe as totally urbanized, with only small pockets of nature left.

We made 2 trips to the car since the cart wasn’t big enough to hold everything I wanted to buy. A nice store employee helped me by pushing the cart on the second trip. And also I met a nice woman there who told me about a spanish-speaking friend of hers with 2 kids who wanted to start a play group – I gave her my contact info, so lets see what happens there.

I had to seriously stop myself from buying a banana tree for the balcony. It was pretty tempting… but you know we really only have so much room.

By the time we got home Olivia was pretty hungry so I left everything in the car and took her upstairs to eat. After that she played on the floor while I unloaded the car. It took me tons of trips to get everything upstairs, and I had to leave a bunch of plants on the front lawn of the apartment building for about an hour to take care of Olivia, but by the end of the afternoon I had everything on the balcony, which I’m quite proud of! Of course, nothing was actually *planted* yet, but hey, one thing at a time.

Flowers waiting to be planted

Flowers waiting to be planted – they sat for a whole week like this.

It took me an entire week before I actually got the time to plant the flowers. But I did it! here is the end result:

Flowers on LH side of balconyFlowers on RH side of balcony


OK, so remember how I said I had a bunch of posts which I never had time to actually publish? This is one of those… I originally wrote it a month ago – before Olivia could roll! Now that I’ve finally got the pictures uploaded, I will share it with you now 😀


Last week I went to our neighborhood butcher shop, where the ladies know me very well and are always excited to see Olivia. I bought some ground beef and sliced ham (Kochschinken, to be specific… since in Germany there is no such thing as “just regular ham”.) Anyways, after slicing the ham for me, the woman behind the counter asked me if I was planning to make Schinkennudeln (“ham noodles”) this week. Confused, I said “well… I hadn’t planned on it, but I suppose I could… why?” She just goes “I think you ARE going to make Schinkennudeln this week!” I still didn’t get it until I saw her wrap up the rest of the chunk of ham and place it in my bag. “OH! ” I said, “Well, thanks! I guess I will!! ” Haha.

So, with a rather large chunk of ham on my hands, I got creative and used a bunch of things I had laying around the kitchen to create my own version of Spaghetti Carbonera.

Olivia is excited to help out

First I chopped up a small onion and 4 mushrooms (that’s what I had left.) Then I chopped the ham into strips. I would guess there was about 300g of ham. I sautee’d the whole thing in a little oil.

Ham, Onions and mushrooms in Olive Oil

At the same time, I started some spaghetti boiling. We didn’t have enough, so I threw in some Penne too. (No need to get picky, now!)

Then I added about 200mL of cream, and half a container (ca. 100g) of light cream cheese, and brought it to a boil.

Added cream and cream cheese. This is definitely not a dish for losing weight…

Olivia trying to roll

I want to roll over, but my legs aren’t cooperating…

I warmed up some frozen peas and corn in the microwave for about 1 minute, and then threw those in as well. Gotta get some veggies in there! I didn’t add any salt becuase the ham is already salty enough.

Then I brought the whole thing to a boil one more time, and threw in some chopped parsley, and that’s it!

Chopped Parsley

The finish product! It tasted fantastic – but probably mostly due to the high fat content… oh well. Getting good quality ham is the most important thing. But having something sweet, like the cream and the pees, is a really good idea.

The finished product


Pair it with a salad! I just cut up some oranges and tomatoes.

Enough already! I’m hungry!

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