Useful Tuesdays: Baby Food Pouches

It’s been a long time since I did a product review type Useful Tuesday post but I’m pulling one together today in honor of one of the things I’m most thankful for as a mom: the trusty baby food pouch.

I first saw one in the tiny hands of our friends’ two year old. This was when we were TTC, before we were pregnant. I was curious what it was because I’d never seen one before: they weren’t around when I was babysitting (oh so long ago). Our friends assured us that they were very useful as snacks on the go and were sometimes the only veggies their picky toddler would eat.

When we started weaning Isa I picked a bunch of these wonder pouches up. While I fed Isa mostly homemade baby food at the house, I LOVED these pouches when I was on the go. I could so easily squeeze the organic fruits and veggies into her mouth no matter where we were. If we didn’t have time to finish it I could replace the cap and store it with minimal mess.

Many brands of baby food are sold in pouches but Plum Organics seem to have the most flavors. Some of Isa’s favorites are Broccoli Apple, Mano Pear, Spinach Peas and Pears, Pumpkin Banana and Sweet Potato, Corn and Apple. I love the smaller Mish Mash (in blueberry, banana and apple cinnamon) pouches because with oats and quinoa they pack the same caloric punch via less food. Some other brands I’ve seen are Ella’s Kitchen and Happy Baby. Earth’s Best also puts out pouches, complete with Sesame Street characters to convince the kiddos of their coolness.

In the past week Isa has mastered feeding herself these tasty, nutritious pouches: she can suck one of those things dry with very little help from me (when she’s half way done I have to fold up the bottom to make the end more accessible). Being able to give Isa a pouch while she’s in the stroller and have her be done eating when we arrive at our destination has made my life SO MUCH EASIER.

The only problem with these pouches is the cost. They are EXPENSIVE! Turns out people are willing to pay a lot for high quality, organic food in an easy to access container. In fact, they are willing to pay anywhere from $1.10 to 1.29 a pouch. Luckily Babies R Us frequently has 10 for $10 or 8 for $8 sales and when they do, I go crazy.

Still, even at $1 a pouch these babies are not cheap. If you’re interested in the convenience but not so concerned about organic ingredients, there are cheaper versions. The pouch Isa is eating in the above picture is a Safeway brand snack pouch. They have much fewer flavors (all apple based) but they are also much more affordable at 4 for $2.50. Trader Joe’s also sells Crushers pouches at 4 for $2, offering similar flavors as the Safeway brand. To be fair these pouches are much smaller than the Plum Organics or Ella’s Kitchen (which are super expensive, coming in at a whopping $1.50 a pouch!) and none of the flavors offer veggies. While the Plum Organics can be a mini-meal the Safeway/TJ pouches are more like quick snacks to appease a fussy traveler.

Getting enough calories in my little girl has been something of a struggle of late. These pouches have been a great way to get an extra 50-70 calories in her in between meals, and on the go. Plus, I never feel bad about offering her organic fruits and veggies. There are times when I literally don’t know what I’d do without these pouches. This weekend we’re taking Isa camping for the first time and I’d be panicking if I couldn’t bring 10 or so of these mini-meals with me. No matter what the conditions we find ourselves in, with these baby food pouches I know my daughter will be getting something good to eat.

Blog Happy and other Current Conditions

I’ve been a little blog happy these past few days. I LOVE ICLW and while I didn’t do an intro here I’ve been participating every day, finding new people to follow or at least stopping by. While no one seemed to stop by at the beginning of the week, these past two days I’ve been flooded with thoughtful comments. It’s been great, amazing, wonderful, triumphant, lovely, interesting, fabulous, you pick a positive adjective and this ICLW has embodied it.

And all the time at home (have I mentioned I have this week off?) has got me thinking. About a lot of things. And when I think I want to write. And so the posts have been flowing.

I wanted to apologize for yesterday’s post. I know it came from a dark place but that is where I was. I was directed to yet another blog chronically the sudden, unexpected loss of a child to SIDS and it threw me into a tailspin. And the despair got me thinking and I came to a realization. And it was a big revelation for me, that I’m not so much worried about loss but about how well I’d handle it. Of course I still fear the uncertainty of life, but now that I know I have a sincere panic that I wouldn’t be able to handle it, maybe I can work through that and the intense anxiety I experience concerning things that haven’t even happened yet won’t overwhelm me so completely. I don’t want to live my life in these dark nether reaches, unable to appreciate all that I have. I don’t want to mourn losses that have not occurred. I have a lot of work to do but I intend to build up the perseverance needed to walk through this life with my head held high, resilient enough to face the possibility of life’s tragedies. Needless to say I look forward to bringing all of this up in therapy this Saturday, I have so much work to do.

On the home front I’ve been reveling in my time with Isa. Walking home from our city college mom’s class on Tuesday I felt immediately transported to those idilic months I spent with her this fall. Except I’m also reminded that they were not always idlic. They were also difficult and exhausting. I’m exhausted now! I can’t believe my darling daughter can wear me out like my middle schoolers can. Sometimes more! While I spend my time and energies differently at home than in my classroom, the hours with my daughter fatigue-inducing to be sure.

This little girl surprises me. Every day I learn more about her and as I get further glimpses of her personality, I see hints of who she’s going to be. So far I’ve determined she will be strong willed, curious, fun and … easily frustrated. Man, when this girl gets frustrated she becomes truly vexed. And when she is irritated, very little I will appease her. Things are definitely going to get interesting as she becomes more aware of her environment, of what she can and cannot do (either because of her own limitation or limitations I place on her – like how she may NOT wield a fork at the restaurant), there will be more frequent bouts of anger and annoyance. And not just from her.

Today a friend came to visit. We lunched at a restaurant nearby. Isa was the perfect companion until about ten minutes before we asked for the check, at which point she rapidly and thoroughly melted down. It took constant maneuvering to keep her from screaming with wild abandon. By the time I got her home, changed her out of the cloths she had peed through and got her in her crib I was WIPED OUT. I don’t think I’m fully aware of what it’s going to be like when she can crawl let alone when she can better express her likes and dislikes. Suddenly waiting awhile until we start TTC#2 sounds like a valid plan.

And now I’ll ask you to forgive me if this post meanders to and fro, I’m just following my thoughts as they come and go.

My sister came to dinner tonight. Actually, she helped me make dinner. We shared a bottle of wine and cooked the meal I had intended for my friends who couldn’t make it yesterday. We talked about our lives, our jobs, our parents, our friends, our hopes, our dreams, our similarities and differences. We talked of the things you talk about with people you love and trust and care about. It was nice. It was nicer than nice, it was needed. And appreciated.

At one point my sister told me that Isa had fundamentally changed her views of children. She said that while she always knew it would be a lot of work (and my experience supported that assumption) she hadn’t realized how enchanting a child would be. She said she missed Isa when she didn’t see her. I can’t tell you what this means to me, coming from my sister who has always scoffed at the idea of having children. My heart swelled and then softened. My daughter has truly touched someone profoundly and that means so much.

Another swerve on this thought train…

I continue to search for satisfaction in this physique. I don’t necessarily want to look a certain way, I just want to be happy with how I look. Does that make sense? I want to feel good about how my clothes hang from my body and how my hair frames my face. That is all. I’ve decided that at least once a week I will post a picture of myself somewhere here, in a post, as a post. I just want to acknowledge what I look like and try to find contentment in my physical form. In the coming together of my eyes and nose and mouth. The idea of it makes my stomach turn and for that reason, if nothing else, I know it needs to be done.

And without further ado, I’ll end this post with my first self portrait. Enjoy.

Oh that hair. What am I going to do with it?!

Resolutions

Every year I basically have the same New Year Resolutions. And so does the rest of America. Eat better. Exercise. Keep my house clean. Save some money. It’s so boring and obvious. I’m also like most people in that I focus on them for a few weeks and then sweep them under the bed with my gym card, my credit card bills and all the laundry I’m avoiding.

So this year my resolution is to actually keep checking in on my goals for the year. Every week (or two) I will spend a weekend post updating myself (and all of you lucky readers) on how I’m doing with my goals. Hopefully, by forcing myself to follow through with the follow through I will not let my goals flounder like I have so many times before. So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2011, in no particular order.

Eat fresh fruit and vegetables on the reg (every day). I feel so lame admitting this, but there are days when nary a fruit or vegetables touch my lips and many days when all my fruits and vegetables come in the forms of soups or sauces.

First steps: We’re still getting the CSA box so lots of organically and locally grown veggies there. I will also grab more berries to put into my yogurt or oatmeal at work every morning.

Exercise at least twice a week (or more). I used to exercise almost every single day. Now I can go weeks or months without even walking at a brisk pace. I want to find a nice place in between. I hope to at least walk briskly twice to three times a week. I’d be thrilled if I were running that much.

First steps: I have my running stroller ready to go and I’ve been breaking in my new tennis shoes with a few brisk walks. I plan on walking Wednesdays and Fridays when I get home and one weekend day. I also plan to start running one time a week.

Put $200-$500 in savings every month. This one seems impossible but I really, really, REALLY need to get my finances in order. I need to stop spending so much. I need to start paying off my student loans. I need to start contributing more to family bills. I need to do so much more to make my life financially viable. I feel like I’m sinking in quicksand if I don’t get out soon I will die.

First Steps: I downloaded two finance apps onto my iPhone. One actually has access to all my online accounts and tells me how much I’m in the red every month. The second allows me to input expenses so I can track how much I’m spending where.

Keep my house clean. If you read this past Confessional Friday Post this one will make perfect sense. I already have to keep the common rooms (i.e. all rooms but my bedroom) looking presentable for my SIL during the week. I’m also hiring a cleaning woman once a month to do a deep clean (my MIL is paying for this for us, and I am very grateful).

First Steps: I’m making a schedule for light cleaning and laundry during the week. I’ve requested the cleaning service recommendation from my SIL.

Practice mindfulness. I want to do yin yoga at least two times a week. I want to read works by Buddhist authors. I want to practice being in the present moment with my daughter. I want to write Mindful Monday Posts. So much I want to do here and so easy to let it fall by the wayside.

First Steps: Schedule days to do Yin Yoga and/or sitting meditation.

Make my relationship with Mi.Vida a priority. This one will be tricky to write about because it involves relations of the private variety. But besides the obvious, intimate ways, I want to reconnect with Mi.Vida, I also want to share in his interests and enjoy his company.

First Steps: We both have copies of Baby Makes Three and plan to read it and discuss it together. We also have some other plans in the works that I won’t speak of here. 😉

Work on my new (top secret) project at least two hours a week. This one I’m keeping under wraps for right now. Frankly I feel kind of silly pursuing this dream of mine but now that I’m done with graduate school and I’m coming to some realizations about how I can be happy professionally, I feel I owe it to myself to at least give this a try. As I become more confident about this final goal I will tell you all more about it. Until then, you’ll just have to be patient.

First Steps: I bought some informative books on Amazon and look forward to reading them when they arrive.

I know this is a lot of goals but the truth is I’ve always had them and will always have them and they continue to be works in progress. My resolution is to actually check in every week or two to see if I’m actually making any progress on reaching them. Hopefully I will, probably I won’t. We shall see.

Confessional Fridays: Virgin Post

I know I said I’d be doing Freebie Friday and I want to. I hope to continue giving free stuff away, but as I fund Freebie Fridays myself and don’t always have the money to do so, I thought I’d have another kind of Friday – Confessional Fridays. I’ve been thinking about how there are so many things in my life I don’t share with people because I’m embarrassed or ashamed. I try not to keep those things off my blog, but many times they are small things that don’t warrant an entire post, but still define me and bring to light my expectations of myself and others. Right now, as a SAHM, I have all sorts of confessions to make about the state of my house, the state of my daughter’s room, the state of my partnership with Mi.Vida. As a mother who’s suffered a loss I have confessions to make about how I (STILL!) feel when I see pregnant women and completed families. As a mother who hopes to have more children I have confessions about fears and anxieties that still well up inside of me. As a blogger who’s made it to the proverbial “other side” I have confessions about guilty and confusion and desperate questions of “why me and not them?” I have tons of confessions to make, and when I become a working mom I’m sure I’ll have even more. So today marks the virgin “Confessional Fridays” post. Here goes…

~ I have changed the sheets on my bed exactly two times since my daughter was born. She just turned 5 months old and has spit up and had diapers leak in that bed over a dozen times. You can do the math.

~ I never clean my shower until it starts to get pink around the edges.

~ There are days I don’t eat a single fruit of vegetable. Many days. Even when pregnant and while breastfeeding. I am so ashamed of that.

~ My daughter has started crying for 1+ hours at a time at night and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT. It’s tearing me up inside. PS I LOATHE the Daylight Saving Time change (though I adore Daylight Saving Time – I think we should get rid of Standard time, frankly).

~ Right now I would rather sleep than have sex. (And not just right now, at this very moment, but “right now” in a more general, since-my-daughter-was-born-and-actually-even-before-when-I-was-pregnant, sense.

~ I sometimes feel jealousy towards other bloggers. (More on this next week).

~ I love trashy reality television (and I know that Khourt.ney Kar.dash.ian’s son is named Ma.son). The more pointless drama the better.

I guess that is good enough for the first Confessional Fridays post. I already have so many great confessions ready to go, starting with a real doozy next Friday. Stay tuned…

Atop the podium

I want to thank Courtney at The Road Less Traveled for giving me an award this weekend! I’m sorry I’m just posting about it now, it’s been crazy coming home from our trip and resuming our regularly scheduled lives.

But since I’m so versatile, (foreshadowing…) I think I might just be able to pull it off tonight, and big time. So thanks again Courtney for the award!!!

The rules go like this (and I’m cutting and pasting this from Courtney’s blog so consider this my reference): Thank the person who sent it to you and link them in your post (check), tell 7 things about yourself (below) and then pass it along to fellow bloggers who you think are awesome (way below).

1. Seven is my favorite number because my birthday is 7/17. Also my daughter was born 6/7.

1.5 I write my seven’s like a European, with a line through the stem.

2. I sleep with a blankie. That is right, a blankie. As in a lovey that brings me comfort. My blankie was given to me as a baby and somehow it became my one and only love (at least it was until I met Mi.Vida). It’s in rough (let me reiterate) ROUGH shape. When you hold it up, it’s hardly could be considered a mess of loosely held together string. All the wonderful, prime real estate satin around the edges has totally come off. Any normal person would find it course to the touch (or down right disgusting) but for some reason it still feels soft to me.  To this day I have trouble sleeping without it. I know I’m a weirdo, but I’m okay with that. I’ve made my peace with the weirdness that is my blankie attachment disorder. And now I feel the need to own it.

My blankie. Isn't it glorious?

3. In the spirit of owning things, I make a weird sound when I talk. I call it a chortle (thanks Lewis Carroll) but it might be closer sounding to Ernie’s laugh. I generally make it after I say something and it may be mistaken for me clearing my throat. My sister also makes the sound and we both make it more when we’re around each other. I’m just starting a anti-chortle campaign because I’m worried Isa will pick it up. That sound is the one thing that really embarrasses me.

4. My sister and I have interchangeable nicknames for each other. They are as follows (and only used lovingly): Dorquito, Dweevito, Dorquish, Dweevish, Dweevito, Dork, Dwee, etc.  Can see a theme?

5. I’m a horrific speller. In college, a TA insulted my spelling on an exam. I’ve had fifth graders correct my writing on the board. I usually mangle words so badly that MicrosoftWord cannot suggest a correction for what I’m attempting. Interestingly, I can spell perfectly in Spanish, because unlike English, in that language the rules ALWAYS apply.

6. I’m a texturally-challenged eater. Most of my (myriad) food aversions are texturally inspired. My biggest offenders are bananas and mushrooms. While I will eat banana bread, banana smoothies and banana chips (though I don’t love that last one) I would rather stave than eat an actual banana. If the mushrooms are chopped up I can take it, but it feel one of those slimy suckers on my tongue (I had to attempt tongue three times there) I will probably gag.

7. If I could cure the world of three common grammatical errors they would be the following:

it’s not enamored with but enamored of

saying “anxious” when what is meant is “eager”

it is correctly said, I wish I were (not was)

To be fair to the world, though, “eager” is now the final dictionary entry for “anxious”. And the subjunctive tense is so rarely used in English as to be completely obsolete. I’m sure it will cease to exist shortly. Unfortunately it’s very common in Spanish (and remains my arch nemesis).

Now, on to my seven blogger buddies. I hereby bestow The Versatile Blogger award to:

Noelle at The Desire of my Heart.

Al at Mission Motherhood.

Kate at Bee in the Bonnet.

Flucky Mom at Flucky Mom.

NoodleGirl at Peanut Noodle.

Rebecca at The Road Less Traveled.

MommieV at My Little Slice of Mommie Heaven.

And one for good luck: Such a Good Egg at Such a Good Egg.

My so-called week off

Oh my week off. I swear I’m going to be more stressed out at the end of it than I was at the beginning.

Operation rearrange our house has begun. Mi.Vida actually spurred the effort by pulling five boxes down from above some cabinets in our living room and rummaging through them. They were left over from his when he moved in two years ago and have just sat up there ever since. So he cleaned out three of the boxes and will be restoring two of them. All in all, he’s done a great job, though the living room looks like a tornado hit it. But as I always say (or have always repeated) it has to get messier before it can get cleaner.

In the same vein, I started on the closet in the guest room. That closet was so full of crap that doesn’t even belong to me, it’s mostly the remnants of my past two roommates. It was very easy to go through all of it and throw it away or give it away. Then I went into the storage room and brought in many of the things I know we need to find new homes for; our big box of Costco-sized stand-bys (extra bottles of shampoo, body wash, face lotion, etc), the box of medicine and the box of first aid found new homes in the closet. Plus I found space for the paper towels and the toilet paper (also purchased in bulk). Finally I brought in the plastic drawer set that houses all of our tools. Finally, I used the precious foot of hanger space to put all our jackets. All in all the closet is looking great and I know we have somewhere to put a few of the things from the storage room. The rest of it is going to be much more difficult. Still, it feels good to have started.

Cleaning out the baby’s room has been much easier than it would have been if I weren’t using it to avoid doing grad school work. I’m so screwed on grad school work, and it’s all my fault. I’m actually in the middle of writing my last of three observation papers, which are all due today, and then I have two huge assignments due in a week. I’ll probably have to take a day off next week just to finish one of them. I have no one to blame but myself for all of this. For the past two weekends I avoided doing these papers telling myself I could get them done during the break if need be. I also didn’t know how intense the second of the final two assignments would be and so that has really thrown me for a loop, time wise. Needless to say, I’m having a hard time motivating to get this work done, despite the fact that I have no more time to procrastinate.

One thing I did get done was my taxes and thanks to how much I spent (or was spent in my name – thanks Uncle Sam!) on grad school last year I’m getting back quite a substantial sum of money. Probably just enough to pay off my third exorbitant VISA bill next month.

I also went to the nutritionist this week and found that despite my fears I’m a pretty healthy eater. When I weighed in there I was 158.5, which is slightly less than I weighed at the doctor’s office almost two weeks before. I felt great about that. I feel for the first time that my weight gain is on track and not totally out of control. I’m no longer so scared to stay on my Zo.loft, and I might even raise the 12.5mg dose to 25mg in the next week or so. God knows I have the stress in my life right now to justify it.

So that is where I am right now. I’m feeling completely overwhelmed by grad school work and this house project. Thankfully I have a pretty good idea of where I stand for work next week and missing one day to finish grad school is not really that difficult, given what I planned to get done. I guess everything will probably be okay in the end.

There have been many moments this past week where I’ve been completely overwhelmed and stressed out by things (like the day I spent 5 hours cleaning out my closet at my mother’s house) and then I’ve felt a kick from my baby, only to be reminded that none of this really matters that much. I’m so happy I have something to literally give me a swift kick to remind me of that. What a lucky woman I am.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I had amazing Chinese food for lunch and that is hard to come by. I also spent the morning at the Academy of Sciences, which is so, so cool.

Feliz Día de San Valentín

I have to say, I spent a lot of years not loving this holiday, as I spent a lot of years not having anyone to love… but I do love “love”, so here are ten things I’m loving today (in no particular order):

1. My wonderful partner who means the world to me and brings me more happiness than I can sometimes handle.

2. This beautiful life inside of me that constantly reminds me of her presence with kicks, pops, swirls and bops.

3. That my partner went to a couples prenatal yoga class today… and enjoyed it as much as I did.

4. That one of my three girlfriends emailed me from Thailand and told me that they miss me and are thinking of me.

5. That I have the whole week off from work (and that I’m going to get SO MUCH done).

6. That my SIL and MIL are taking me baby registry shopping tomorrow! FUN!

7. That we’ve started rearranging our house (more on that later).

8. That Mi.Vida is making me a very yummy, very healthy, sesame stir fry tonight.

9. Laying in bed this morning with Mi.Vida’s hand on my belly, feeling our baby kick together.

10. That I have someone to share this day with, someone who loves me for who I am and feels honored to be my Valentine. I know I feel the same about him.

I hope you’re all having a happy Valentine’s Day. If you leave a comment, tell me three things you love today (I “borrowed” this idea from Enjoying the Small Things, who’s blog is just breathtakingly beautiful).

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I actually had many more things I could have included in my list. I am truly a lucky, lucky woman.