Wednesday, August 29, 2012

immediate or growing l.o.v.e.?

Mamma's Reflections 

When we found out we were expecting, the number of unsolicited suggestions/advice came down pouring on us. Apart from all the "oh, your life will never be the same" lines, we also got "As soon as you will hold the baby in your arms, you will feel overwhelmed with love and you will understand everything your parents have gone through." Uhm? Ok, so when I held Maya for the first time, tears came down. Sure, they were tears of happiness but I did not feel the "overwhelming love" that everyone kept talking about. Mamma's instinct had definitely kicked in, but the never-felt-before-love? Not so much.
In fact, when we got home, things went down hill.
Post partum kicked in.
Exhaustion from sleepless nights kept growing.
Cries would not stop.
Feedings were happening so often, that I did not feel human anymore.
Ya right! Love was the last thing on my mind. 
All I wanted was for things to get back to the way they were. Normal. With a lot of sleep.
Instead, my life has been changed for ever, as all those premonitions had promised. But the rewarding feeling of love had yet to make its grand entrance.
7 MONTHS LATER...things are totally different.
I love Maya more now than I did 7 months ago.
My heart has expanded with every day that she has been in our lives, and the expected love has entered our lives little by little and it is growing every day.
Sometimes, I wonder how it is even possible to love so much, and care/worry/stress/work so much for a someone else. It is so true that the arrival of Maya has changed our has thought us a new level of love.

What's for dinner

We have been busy this week and I did not take too many pictures of the dinners we made.
Recently, however, I made this

Photo: Soba noodles stir fry!

{Soba Noodles with Chicken, Snow Peas, Grape Tomatoes and fresh Ginger}
We are big on cooking. I love to cook. It relaxes me. So when it comes to dinner, I don't see as a chore. It is almost me time. It allows my creativity to flow.
Soba Noodles are made with buckwheat. Thus, wholesome. Nutritious. Filling.  Just cook it like according to the package and toss it with your favorite protein and veggies ( I sauteed onions, snow peas and ginger in olive oil, and added the grape tomatoes at the end), and your favorite seasoning.
It is super easy!

What is new with Baby Maya

We went on a hike and a picnic last weekend. It was so much fun. A great way to show a curious baby what is going on around her. But it also a great way to get a good workout and spend time together.  This is where he hiked.

And this is us facing the last part of the hike.

Maya (and the stroller!) was such a trooper. 
 After the hike, we eat lunch.
This is what I had packed for the picnic.

Spicy Lemon Chicken Wraps.

I am currently on Weight Watchers, so I packed the portions according to
 our respective points allowance. Here my wrap.

I also packed Maya's sweet peas lunch so that she would eat at the same time we were.

Mamma's tip
If you go on a hike and are concerned about bugs, clip this to the stroller (not directly at the baby.)

It creates a barrier around the immediate vicinity and the bugs will not bother you. If you are on the move, it is a bit less efficient, but overall not a bad solution if you don't want to spray baby's bug spray. We also had the stroller's net, just in case.

Happy bug free hikes!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rigid Routine or Flexible Schedule

Mamma's Reflections

The one thing your hear from the moment you hold your baby for the first time is...babies like routine. They should not call it routine. They should call it groundhog day! You basically live the same day over and over and over and over again, for months, after months, after months. It got me thinking! All this talk about routine...does it mean that we should give up every little bit of possible fun that we have left over? Are routines so important? Well, as a mother, I will tell you, YES! Routines are important if you want to keep some sanity. When you follow a routine, you know that the awaited hour of sleeping baby is fast approaching and that you will be able to enjoy passing out from exhaustion. So, yes, routines are good. BUT, I refuse to give up my life because of routines.Thankfully, Maya is very cooperative and allows us to go place and do things we enjoy. However, we are also mindful of her needs, and we will not kill ourselves if she goes to bed without her bath or if she eats a little bit earlier than usually or sleeps a little bit later than normal. Believe me, the routine will not be broken because of a couple of sidetracks. And so our lives go on, one groundhog day at a time.

What is for dinner?

During this past week, my routine involved some cooking. I was able to get home early every day and take care of chores, including the daily dinner, so that we could spend good quality time with Maya.
This is what it is has been on the menu.

{boneless, skinless chicken thighs with Turmeric, Salt, Pepper, Sauteed Red Onions, Tomato Sauce to give it some red color, and a side of Dill Persian Rice}
Thanks to the dinner prep, as soon as Maya and Eric arrived home, we were able to go and take a look at some cars. We need a bigger car.

A couple of days ago, I was finally able to tap into the bread mix I had bought from Ikea. The package looked good and the preparation was super easy. Add water and shake vigorously for 45 seconds. The result? See below!

{Can you see the various kernels? I love love love these types of breads and this was pretty good for being an Ikea packaged food}
Anyway, the previous day, I was able to make some Adas Polo ( Persian Dish) which turned out to be so yummy! Thanks to the large quantity, both Eric and I had lunch for the following day.

What is new with Baby Maya? 

Maya is going to be a foodie like her mom. She eats everything! Likes to try everything and is always curious about colors, textures and tastes. Recently, I gave her some cucumber to gnaw on. Boy she loved it! 

I think the coolness of the cucumber and the easy chewing texture soothed her gums!
Also baby Maya likes to sit up and look around. Here we are at Costco.

{Product Info: Maya is sitting on the Floppy Deluxe Seat Cover. It is awesome, and its plush lining keeps her warm everytime we are close to the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It is an expensive item, so make sure you get it on the baby shower list!}

Home Made Baby Food

As mentioned in another post, I try to stay away from already prepared food, and I make everything that Maya eats myself. I even made the oatmeal cereal so that she does not need to eat that powdery dust that looks like wood saw.  Plus, making your own food is so much cheaper and it makes you feel more accomplished.
Here is what you need:

{Place oatmeal in blender. Pulse to reach the coarse level you like.}

 I decided to leave some chunkier pieces so that Maya can have fun learning how to chew.
This is how it looks.

Store the oatmeal in a Tupperware container and keep it in your pantry for when you needed.

We are going on a picnic and hike this weekend.
This busy mom decided that a regular sandwich was not going to cut it!
 So she made Spicy Lemon Chicken wraps. 
Here is what you need:

Chicken breasts ( I Cubed it)
red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Lemon ( I added lime and a splash of balsamic Vinegar)
Frank's hot sauce
grape tomatoes
wraps ( I buy the whole wheat flat bread with no sugar added, from Costso)
field greens

Here is the marinade. More to come!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Day care blues

Happy Friday everyone!
For those of you who work, yay! The weekend is here. And for those who stay at home, yay! The weekend is here, time for Dad to take over. ;-)
By the time Friday comes around, my To Do list has reached infinite length. However, motherhood is teaching me, unsuccessfully thus far, to be patient. And so my list for the weekend includes the following:

1) Cleaning
2) Decorating
3) Scrapbooking
4) Organizing
5) Car shopping
6) Swimming Pool time
7) Grocery Shopping
8) Pictures organizing

However, I have To Do List intruders who keep me off track...I have two meeting this weekend, for which I have to prepare. I also have Maya to feed, although THANK GOD for dads! And then, unfortunately, I have to sleep! I wish i did not have to sleep...


So on Wednesday, our day care provider informs us that she needs to change all the cribs because they all have to be compliant with the new federal regulations. ( So far all is well). Then she says, she would like parents to buy the cribs. (Blood pressure rising). She continues by stating that she cannot afford buying all new cribs (eyebrows start to frown).  By the time she was done, I wanted to scream. I said, "let me talk to my husband and I will let you know."

As soon as I sat in the car and I called Eric, the lawyer in me came out full force!


Anyway, I was so disappointed at the request, since as a business owner, the purchasing of cribs is a business expenses. She should calculate it in her fee. Plus, 6 kids at $225 a do the math!

I felt as if I was the only mother who was even thinking that the request was absurd. Thankfully, I met another mother, as she was leaving, and I asked her what she thought. I found out that we shared the same thinking but that she decided not to express it. I on the other hand was going to make sure that I was heard!

Finally, reasoning kicked in and I realized this: It is important to share with the day care provides your expectations, concerns and hopes and also your DISAPPOINTMENTS. I shared with our day care provider that I did not feel the request was just, and that we should not bear the cost. However, I also told her that  I have no problem buying a crib for Maya. We will buy it BUT it is our crib to keep. Therefore, once Maya will stop going to day care we will take it back. Problem solved!

What would you have done?
Are you ready to stand up for your belief?
What if you are going to be the only one who thinks that way?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

longing for time together

If you are a mother, you probably count the minutes to the moment in which your little one wakes up, so you can snuggle with him/her, and you count the minutes to the moment you return home where you can wait for the return from day care. From the moment I arrive at work, I count the seconds until I get to go home. I usually arrive before Maya and Eric arrive, and it is always so much fun to hide behind the door, see how Maya looks around and then pop in front of her. There is always a moment of pause. As if her eyes need a second to focus on the person who is standing in front of her and then......BAM! A huge smile, legs banging, arms shaking, and the desire to talk! It is my absolute favorite moment. Nobody. Has. Ever. Been. So. Happy. To. See. Me! We then snuggle. Play. Change. and go out for a walk. Today this is what we saw.

We walked for an hour. It was such a perfect walk. It is such a wonderful feeling to have such a curious human being. Her stares and head turns make me notice things that have not noticed before or I had forgotten about!

Once at home, the evening routine began, except that we were about 30 minutes behind schedule. Thankfully, I am not strict with time. Maya and I stopped at our HOA meeting (probably the last time I ever go! They only argued!) While eating, and while Eric was feeding Maya, I managed to squeeze in a small art project! And the irony....melamine was used!

This is the easiest thing that everyone can do it! Melamine plate and a clock from Target! Less that $10! I will add a couple smaller plates soon but in the mean time....our dining room has a dressed clock!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

7:20am. Saturday.

It is 9.30pm and it feels as if it is midnight. Baby and dad are sleeping and I am watching TV. Time for myself? Kind of. My mind cannot relax as I try to find the last ounce of energy to complete one more task for the day. The problem? There are too many tasks that need completion. So, I can predict that I will just lie on the couch and let the tiredness take over until bed time. Nevertheless, my Saturday was filled with chores and many completed task....and even a nice break...with cappuccino!

{This is actually made with Almond Milk, as I am off dairy for a while...delish nonetheless!)

After waking up at 7:20, after cleaning up, fixing the curtains, organizing my jewelry closet, and having breakfast, Eric went to Costco and Maya and I started walking towards Panera to meet with some friends. It took us 40 minutes to get there (in time for Eric to come back from Cotsco and meet us there). It was hot. But it was a great walk. By 11.45 we were home. Maya was sleepy and fell asleep for two hours...hence my cappuccino break above. 
Oh ya! Lunch was awesome too. I made this

{Grilled salmon salad with nectarines. Balsamic vinegar and Ezekiel bread}

Once awake it was time to get ready for a bday party!

{Maya with her curiosity look at the bday party in here Italian dress}

{Maya and I at the bday Party} Before leaving for the party, I managed to add one more thing to my plate (no pun intended)

{Zucchini Chips. Just thinly slice zucchinis, brush with olive oil. bake 225 degrees for 2 hours}

Oh Ya! This week is spaghetti squash week! Maya is in for a treat!

How do you relax during your weekends.

Happy Relaxing!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I am no Hippie Mom....

....but I have my limits! Maya has been on solids since she was 5 months old. She is of a ....let's say...chunkier size and has no problem trying new foods. We started with squash, then sweet potatoes, then pumpkin, carrots, and green beans. We are now on peas. She also eats oatmeal cereal at night. But, I was reading the ingredient of the oatmeal cereal and it seemed that there was every single possible vitamin but no oats. So I thought....can I make my own? I called the pediatrician. PAUSE: Let's talk for a second about the pediatrician. If you are expecting, my suggestion is to go and interview different offices, to see which one fits your expectations. Our pediatrician's office is awesome. They have an advice nurse line...I call it all the time..mainly because Julie, my favorite call responder, is so sweet to talk to and she is always so encouraging. But anyway, I love the fact that they have an advice nurse line. Now back to homemade cereal. After I talked to Julie, and she said, YES! You can make your own cereal, I decided to make brown rice for Maya's dinner. I started with this:
I boiled it. and boiled it. and boiled it until it became mooshy mooshy. Then I placed in the food processor for some pulsing. Just to mash it a little bit. And it looked like this

 It was a fun process, and I did feel I was preparing something more nutritious for Maya. Of course, she loved it! The texture was something new, and you could totally see that her taste buds were on a discovery spree. She had fun!

Do you have a favorite home made baby food? 

Doing it all!

It is amazing how fast time is flying. It seems like yesterday she was just born and now....she is sitting up, making noises, growing a personality and...filling our lives with never-before-felt-emotions.

{product alert: we love our seat cover. It is so plush and comfy, that makes you want to jump in it and get pushed around. Priced at $45(yikes!) it is a great purchase. It allows for less hassle while shopping as you don't have to bring the stroller with you ro the car seat} 

So, yesterday I got home early from work....but I did not pick up Maya. I decided to leave her at the day care so that I could take care of chores at home. Time is money right? Well, since we are paying for her time at daycare, I made sure I took advantage of the free time I had. And I ran! I was a busy bee!

Within an hour, I managed to vacuum the main floor, mop the floor, hang two new picture frames and prep for dinner...oh ya!...also sip on my favorite snack...cappuccino!
It is amazing how multitasking one becomes when motherhood kicks in. It is as if, a new gene is transplanted in the body. You become superwoman. SuperMom! Well, this super mom managed to make saffron chicken.
This is such an easy dish. Toss some chicken with onions, salt and pepper, saffron and lemon juice. Bake! TaDah! Yumminess. And since it is an oven dish...while it is cooking you can do the rest of the gazillion things on your list.

However, I do have a secret for doing it all... My secret is called...SuperDad! Once Maya gets home, we usually play for a while, we get chased by dad, and is dad and daughter time. Music is always playing in our home. Paul Simon, the Beatles, Reggae,  and even opera. The two of them dance until Maya rests her head on his shoulders and naps. While they are occupied in their "moment," I cook and prepare whatever needs to be done!

 {she fell asleep with Paul Simon}

Have you ever come home early from work and took care of chores in an incredibly super fast manner?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

....the happiest baby on earth..

...lives in my home! It is amazing how easy she has become. I wonder if someone came, while we were sleeping, and switched her. The first month of her life was not this easy, and now...the routine is in place, the laughs are plenty, and the moments of full love and pride are too many to count. Of course, you have to stop, pause and savor those moments. Too often we let the distractions get the best of us. One of my favorite moments of the day, is our morning ride to the daycare. We talk (I talk as if, sooner or later, she will answer by saying "yes, mom, I agree, I too think that this classical melody is beautiful"). We also say prayers, and I get a kick at the fact that she is still wondering how can she see my eyes through two mirrors.
{ can it be?} 

The rest of the day goes pretty much the same. work. work. work. home. play. nap (baby not me!)
And while she naps, we run like crazy to get things ready. Dinner. Maya's dinner. Maya's next day bag. Mommy's pump. Mommy's lunch. Dad's lunch..etc...etc...etc...Lat night on the menu? Black Quinoa with chipotle ground beef and veggies.

These little cubes are packed with flavor. There is no need to add salt or anything else. I used one cube.
Happy Monday!

How do you manage your daily chores while preparing for work?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mamma took a nap!

A nap sounds good to any person, but when you are a mom, napping is a dream come true. However, this time, my weekend nap was the direct result of every ounce of energy evaporating from my body. Here is why...Maya fell from the changing table this Saturday.

Both Eric and I got distracted while standing right next to the dresser, and the next thing we see, is Maya turning and falling! I died. Those seconds of free falling seemed an eternity and while I was waiting for the end of the fall, every possible horrible scenario flashed in front of me. Will I see blood? Is her harm broken? Is the head smacked? is she conscious? As I said...I died!
As I hugged her to comfort her, she wrapped herself around me in the most tender embrace ever, as tears filled her chubby cheeks. Two seconds later, she was all smiles. But it took 30 minutes for my hands to stop shacking.  The event drained me so much that I had to take a nap! It was as if I had gone through an accident.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mamma Pumped out!

Tuesday was one of those nightmare days for any mom that nurses and pumps! Since the birth of Maya, I had to get used to my breast pump being attached to my hip wherever I go. I am sure you have seen it of these...

It has become my frenemy! I am not sure whether I should be thankful for such an invention or whether I should give in to the strong desire to smack it against the wall. Regardless, every day, packing the breast pump, is just another routine thing I do. So on Tuesday, while at WORK, it is time to pump. I have exactly 10 minutes. I plug it in and....nothing! No suction. WHAT!??? I check everything. The connection, the suction cups, the bottles, the plus...still no suction. It was as if it was laughing in my face, while the clock was ticking. I look at it closing and I see that one of the plastic flaps had torn! NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Now what? I panicked. Panicked. I started sweating and all I could think of was that Maya would not have milk the next day. So I packed everything, intercomed my boss and asked if I could go home because of an emergency and that I would have worked from home. Thank God for the best boss ever!  What would you have done if you could not have left work?
I ran home, changed the plastic flap and, lo and behold, "Houston we have suction!" Pfiuuuu!
Lesson learned!

Mamma's Tip: Bring spare parts with you at all time when dealing with electronics on which you depend!!

Medela Breast Pump review: although I have a love/hate relationship, the pump has turned out to be quite good. It better, right? since it costs $300. Nevertheless, it is a good product. It carries like a work bag and no one knows that I carry a breast pump with me. It is fairly roomy so I can also carry in it my wallet, keys and cell. If you buy it at Babies R Us, you can use the coupons that they have and save a whole bunch. Mine, with all the coupons, came down to $160. Anyway, I give it four stars! Happy pumping!