If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free.

Okay, yes those are lyrics to a 1985 Sting song, but they rang oh so true today when I came across a quote on my igoogle page. I have a daily literary quote rss feed on my google homepage. Yesterday, it featured a quote from American Poet, Mary Oliver and all I could think about after reading it was, "that lady must have kids."

The quote went something like this:
"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."
I hate to reveal that it was only after watching "Benjamin Button" recently that I first had a paralyzing realization that I was indeed mortal. No, I didn't think that I was a superhero or a downy white unicorn bathed in light before watching the film, I just hadn't really given it much thought.

It wasn't until seeing poor ol' Benji aging in reverse--from a wrinkled and crippled infant to a wrinkled and crippled old man--that I truly came face-to-face with the fact that I am nurturing the next generation--someone who will only be budding into puberty just as I will be waning into the second half of life. I will be gray and he will be pimply. I will be mom and he will be my rebellious teen. I will be Grandma and he will be Dad. I will be a memory and he will be Grandpa.

Your 20's aren't really a time when you waste much energy thinking about your inevitable and eventual end--you are just beginning what will hopefully be a long and successful life as an adult. Not even turning 30 this year changed all of that. Having a baby did, however.

Now, several times a day, I am saddened by the reality of time's quick passing.

At nights when I am rocking my sweet suckling baby as he drinks and sniffles at my breast, I already envision the time, not very far off from now, when those gentle quiet moments of pure raw love and mutual dependence will come to an end.

And my breast will eventually return to me. And from my breast, I will have to let him go. On to a sippy cup. On to a big boy cup. On to a fork and spoon.

While my eye is pressed to the camera's viewfinder, I can feel time ticking each minute into the past and imagine Dean, myself and Noah Finn years from now watching what I am recording at that moment--laughing at our "dated" hair styles, cars, furniture, clothes--things which are for us now new and modern.

And, our home will return to us. And from our home, we will have to let him go. On to college. On to his own home. On to his own life.

There will come a time that I will have to let him go--let him flutter on without my constant guidance, nurturing, or intervention. And the time is coming sooner rather than later. The independence has already begun. I am preparing now for the"letting go".



Introducing "Feeding Little Foodies"!

My dear sweet friend, Carrie, has inspired me! I took her advice and have begun my own baby food making workshop . . . and well, here is the announcement that I will be selflessly promoting to every mom, mommy group and local mommy store that I know. I was also thinking of posting it at our local Whole Foods and Trader Joe's stores?!

In addition to the workshops, I have also launched a companion Feeding Little Foodies blog that will serve as the workshops' web page, as well as, an online baby food making resource for all parents.

Please spread the word, add the new blog to your "favorites" and don't forget to "follow" it too!

The first "Little Foodie Feasts" workshop has been scheduled for next month. The announcement is below for you to pass along to anyone you may know in the greater Los Angeles area . Cross your fingers that it will be a success!

"I am a first time mommy. I am a homemade baby food enthusiast. I am a former teacher and a lover of fresh organic produce. Put all of these together and you get an enthusiastic teacher of organic and homemade baby food making!

Making your very own incredibly delicious and nutritious homemade baby food from fresh and organic fruits and vegetables is easier and more fun than you think--and, it is incredibly rewarding knowing that you are filling your little one's tummy with fresh, wholesome, pesticide-free and incredibly pronounceable ingredients.

Please join me for my first baby food making workshop called "Little Foodie Feasts" at my house on Tuesday, August 11th at 1:00 p.m.

If you have any interest in making your own fresh organic homemade baby food for your little one but don't know how to begin, are intimidated by the mere mention of it, or feel as if it would be too much work/money/time, then this workshop is for you!

The workshop will include the following:
  • demonstration from start to finish
  • sample menus
  • sample recipes
  • sample feeding schedule
  • tricks and tips for making, spicing, storing and freezing
  • gear overview (what you'll need)
  • your own container of pureed food to take home with you!
  • discussions with other moms about common concerns/fears/anxieties/problems with starting solids
Feel free to bring your little one. I will have a fellow mom there to "keep an eye" on the kiddies. We have a padded playmat with tons of books and toys to share for your wee one's entertainment while you stick your head in the kitchen for the pureeing fun!

If you are interested, please RSVP by Tuesday, August 4th!

For more information, please visit my blog at www.feedinglittlefoodies.blogspot.com.

I hope to see you all there!"


All In A Good Day's Play: 4th Edition.

A little late, but better late than never! Here's our fourth weekly installment of, "All In A Good Day's Play"--a post where I chronicle, once a week, our day in snapshots!

Our Friday in snapshots:
  • 6:45 a.m.--morning snuggles with Papa
  • 7:15 a.m.--playing on the playmat with Mommy while listening to "Sesame Street Sings the ABC's"
  • 9:00 a.m.--morning nap in the crib
  • 11:00 a.m.--jogging in the park with Papa
  • 12:30 p.m.--a yummy lunch of sweet potatoes, green beans and papaya
  • 1:10 p.m.--snuggletime with mama on the bed--including lots of giggles and drool
  • 1:30 p.m.--afternoon napping with mommy
  • 3:30 p.m.--playdate at Asami & Kai's house
  • 6:30 p.m.--walked over to listen to jazz and picnic on the grass at the L.A. County Museum of Art (not pictured because mommy left the camera at Asami's house--drats!)


Sweet Barley Potato Balls.

I got this great finger food recipe off of wholesomebabyfood.com this morning. I think that I am going to make them this weekend--they sound absolutely delicious! Plus, for whatever reason we have an overstock of sweet potatoes. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Sweet Barley Potato Balls

  • 1 cup soft cooked pearled barley (not pureed)
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup apple or peach puree
  • pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg as desired


  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Shape into small bite sized balls or plops for a nice baby finger food.

Can be used as finger food or as a meal for "pinching" and spoon practice.

For more foodie tips and tricks, please visit my other blog, feeding little foodies!


Feeding Our Little Foodie: Part 2.

It seems that in addition to going ga ga for gear, mamas also like to chat sustenance. Once the boob or bottle gets it's walking papers (or more likely, bathroom pass, if you're like me and plan to nurse into early toddlerhood) at around 6 months of age, the bright, colorful and beautiful world of food suddenly opens up for both mama and baby.

It is extremely exciting--but it can also be very overwhelming. As regular readers of this blog know, I make all of Noah Finn's babyfood at home using fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. And, I want to make it one of my blog's missions to convince other moms out there, whether they're on the fence about making their own babyfood or entirely opposed to it, that it really isn't so hard and that the incredibly delicious, nutritious and loving results are well worth the time.

For all of you moms out there who may be looking for an idea or two--and to follow up last week's foodie post--here's another menu of the large two week or so batch that I prepared tonight:
  • green beans with fresh garlic
  • curried peas
  • plums
  • papaya
  • carrots with a little fresh ginger
  • prunes & bananas
  • nectarines
  • pumpkin with a dash of freshly grated cinnamon
I dabbled briefly with explaining my process last week, but if anyone would like for me to go into more detail, I'd be happy to--anything to get you started! Otherwise, as I have already mentioned, wholesomebabyfood.com has been an incredibly valuable reference as has the book, "Super BabyFood" by Ruth Yaron.

So, happy puréeing. If you haven't already, give it a try! If you're an old pro, please feel free to share any yummy recipes that have been successful with your little one--I am always looking for fun new flavorful ideas!

Beach Bums.

We beached it today. Yup, Daddy had a middle of the week day off and it was fabulous!

But, we don't have a single photo to show for it. Nope. Mama left the camera's memory card in the card reader at home plugged into the computer. So . . . no pictures of Noah ingesting massive quantities of sand--and loving it!--no pictures of the incredibly random and quirky pumpkin patch in someone's yard just one block from the beach, no pictures of our nifty new beach umbrella, no pictures of Noah's belly folding over the top of his swim trunks, or of him bare bumming it in the surf, or of him and Daddy rolling in the sand, or, or, or. Oh, well. I guess I'll always have this post to serve my memory.

Yay, for fun summertime family beach days AND video cameras. We did get a few minutes of footage . . . before the battery died.


When Baby Advice Goes Wrong. Seriously Wrong.

This is going to be a long one folks.

Where have I been? Living under a rock? Well, yes, kind of--I have an infant--same thing. But, still . . . how have I not been following the controversy surrounding Babywise? Seriously.

I stumbled upon a post about it today on SortaCrunchy's blog. Trying to find out what all the fuss was about, I Googled it, of course, and was shocked (to say the least) by what I found.

The book's "Product Description" on Amazon refers to the concepts found in the book as "Infant Management". Infant management!? Seriously? What the hell is that? The word "managing" near the word "baby" sort of replaces the warm and fuzzies with an image of a cold and tinny dictator waving a bull whip near a nest of baby chicks.

It continues by stating that the book is "an alternative to sleepless nights and fussy babies." Isn't that what babies naturally do? Seriously. They can't talk. My friend Asami told me that in Japan they have a one word sentiment that means "babies cry at night" and that Japanese people often refer to the first year with baby by using this word. Why? Because that's what babies do. The first year of life is wrought with jarring and tumultuous change and crying is the only way that babies can express their concern, or worry, or angst, or pain, or hunger.

And don't think I don't know what it's like not to sleep. I have a seven month old insomniac who hasn't caught more than an hour or two at a time of shut eye since the day he was born. I know. I so know. But, I am mom. I will mother and nurture and care for and parent him until he is old enough to sleep through the night and explain his woes through language rather than tears at 3 a.m. Am I tired? Yes. But, sleepless nights and fussy babies are part and parcel to parenting. It's the contract you signed when you made the kid bargain.

I saved the best for last. The description also claims that the book's methods aim to free parents who are "enslaved to the infant's unknown needs". Okay, hold the freakin' diaper cream. Enslaved? Unknown needs? Seriously? I'd rather refer to it as feeding my baby who has not yet learned the skill of lifting fork to mouth. I'd rather refer to it as removing the poop from the butt crack of my child who has not yet learned to control his bowels. I know what he needs and I intend to give it to him.

Point in short--I have never seen more terrifying words in the same sentence as the word "baby". What are these people thinking? This "so called sleep training method" completely removes nurturing from mothering and mothering from parenting and parenting from raising a child.

The most shocking of all is the description of the book and it's author, Gary Ezzo, given on Christianity Today--which is uber interesting as the book, it seems, is most popular among Christians.

"A central element of Ezzo's plan in Babywise is feeding newborns on a firm schedule, controlled by parents, rather than "on-demand," whenever a newborn seems hungry. Ezzo says his parent-directed method is essential to develop respectful, obedient, and godly children. Yet many breast-feeding mothers report that they have been unable to produce an adequate milk supply when following the program according to Matthew Aney, a California pediatrician.

A major focus of Babywise is to get infants to sleep all night as soon as possible. But some pediatricians, when comparing newborns whose parents use Ezzo's guidelines to other infants, have noted a higher incidence of inadequate weight gain, dehydration, and failure to thrive. Critics also sharply question other Babywise emphases, such as introducing a form of spanking in children younger than 2 (CT, Nov. 13, 2000, p. 70)."

Before I burst a blood vessel, I am going to close with the comment that I left for SortaCrunchy in response to her post and her other reader's comments. You'll notice my very agreeable and restrained tone. I posted it before I researched "Babywise". Nevertheless, it still holds true and it is a lot more eloquent than the above enraged babbling. And someone, please tell me that I've got this all wrong. Please tell me that I have gravely misunderstood an otherwise innocuous guide that simply offers gentle suggestions for helping your baby sleep more soundly at night. Please tell me that people don't actually envision parenting this way. Please tell me.

"Other than reading the post and comments, I have no personal experience with Babywise. But I do know that as a new parent, we can all use a little guidance . . . knowing where to find it, however, isn't always easy.

My husband and I have discovered the joys of "Attachment Parenting". It, so far, has provided us with a guide for a gentle, natural and rewarding parenting style. It's a "philosophy" that really only puts in print what most mothers already inherently know . . . go to your baby when he needs you to be there, hold your baby when he wants to be held, soothe your baby when he needs to be soothed--love your baby when he wants to be loved.

I don't believe that the answers to parenting can be found in a book. Parenting is not black and white enough to put in print. Rigid rules and dogmatic directions sour the natural instinct that a mother has for caring for her baby.

Following instincts and receiving a little bit of guidance when that instinct clouds from time to time is our chosen path . . . and so far, so good."

Can't Live Without, Or Always Leave Without.

I have noticed that baby gear talk frequently dominates my various mom group conversations. Whether it be bib babble, carrier comparison, or diaper debates, us mamas always go ga ga for gear. And it is no surprise that we do, either. Other than our babies, there are not many other things that we spend as much time with during the first year, than the things that we use to care for our babies.

So, as a way to provide what is hopefully valuable information to my fellow gear-monger-mommy readers while still managing to dish out Noah news for family, I've decided to start another series of posts called "Can't Live Without, Or Always Leave Without". In these posts I will dish out my two cents--more or less give my humble opinion about--gear that we have used and/or have owned (how it washed . . . or didn't wash, how it assembled . . . or fell apart, how Noah loved it . . . or hated it).

Each item will either be deemed as "can't live without"--because of its ability to in some way make caring for our little Noah Finn a little rosier and we, therefore, never leave the house without it--or "always leave without"--because of its inability to in some way impress us and we, therefore, always leave it at home.

I hope that this series will provide moms, both new and savvy, a little glimpse of other products that they may want to try or buy.

So, check back soon for my first post of the series, and please share your thoughts and own gear experiences . . . because, as a mom, I am always up for good gear gab!



I am without direction. Not in life, but in my car. I have a cruddy internal compass and I am easily distracted. These two qualities combined make for a very unsuccessful 4-wheeled voyage.

Imagine this: It's hot. It's summertime in Los Angeles. Your air is working and its working hard. You have "Sesame Street Sings the Alphabet" CD on repeat to soothe your sweaty screaming infant in the backseat. You're late, again, and you realize you've passed the street you were looking for . . . again. You're stuck in traffic. You give up. You pull to the side of the road to console your baby and . . . yourself. You eat the plate of cookies intended for the playdate--the one you'll never make it to.

Poor Noah Finn.

My husband must get on average, at least five panicked, frustrated or sobbing (it depends on the day) calls a month from me pleading for him to stop what he's doing at work and Google map me to my destination. It doesn't happen often, but every once in a blue moon, he doesn't answer--he's busy (imagine that, he's at work!). And then I call my dad. My dad lives 3,000 miles away in North Carolina.

The thing is, we have lived in California for almost 10 years now. That's no sneeze in the familiarity bucket. That's a decade's worth of burning rubber on southern California's potholed and pathetically congested paths of earthquake cracked asphalt. Why can't I find my way?

I know where I am going most of the time, but I just cannot reliably seem to always get myself there.

Does this direction dilemma sound familiar to anyone? Please say yes, then I won't feel so . . . lost.


I Heart Antilop.

So, after much feverish pondering for the better part of a month, Dean and I finally decided to simply *splurge* and purchase the Antilop highchair from IKEA this weekend. Well, Dean was actually working so I went with my friend Asami and her little one, Kai. But Dean was in on the decision as much was discussed beforehand.

Kai, who is nearly 18 months old has this chair and the rather spendy Stokke Tripp Trapp--and Asami simply swears by the IKEA bargain. If Asami's glowing recommendation wasn't enough to seal the deal, the review on Droolicious.com called "7 Days Of Highchairs", certainly was.

Once I recovered from pouting away my dreams at a Svan chair purchase, I must say, so far so good with the Antilop. Shelling out a whopping $25.00 ($19.99 + $5.00 for the tray) for simple modern efficiency that's easy to clean is enough for me to make the drive out to the valley on a sultry Saturday afternoon . . . anytime. And, our little foodie simply cannot get enough of it!

Hello, Human. I've Missed You.

I felt like a different human today. You know, a human, human--not a mom-human or a breastfeeding human--a human, human . . . for the first time in 7 months.

Don't get me wrong, feeling like a mom-human and a breastfeeding human are absolutely splendid. Honest and truly, I love, love, love being a stay at home mom and I absolutely adore breastfeeding. I am in no hurry to return to the world of work or wean my little Noah Finn--mommying suits me. It fits like a glove.

It's just that today, I saw another kind of human staring back at me in the mirror--one that I hadn't seen in quite sometime.

A few weeks ago, my former boss called to see if I'd like to take a temporary private tutoring job. I would be tutoring the son of the famous Japanese comedian, Masatoshi Hamada, from 9:00-10:30 a.m., Monday-Thursday for three weeks. After briefly discussing the logistics with Dean, we decided that it would be a perfect opportunity to pocket a few extra bucks. See, Dean usually doesn't have to go into the studio until noon or even as late as 1:00ish on most days. Because I am up breastfeeding a pint-sized Keith Richards who wants to drink himself into a drooling daze on most nights, Dean wakes up with Noah Finn in the mornings while I catch a few extra Zzzz's or enjoy a little baby free mommy-time. This being the case, taking this temporary job would mean take home pay without childcare expenses and just a little, not too much, of the "outside" world for mom.

So, I said yes--and this morning at about 7:30 a.m. I rose quietly from bed and left my groggy baby snuggling with Daddy. I groomed for longer than 2.5 minutes--like a human, a real human--not a mom-human. I scuttled through my pre-pregnancy wardrobe to find an outfit that would show off my new pre-pregnancy sized waist (yay!)--a tiny pencil skirt and a shirt that had been shelved for it's breastfeeding unfriendliness. I rustled through my bin of dusty purses in the closet to find the perfect coordinating accessory in which to house my wallet, cell phone, keys, etc. . . all of which have called the diaper bag home ever since Noah was born. Leaving the house with purse over shoulder, notebook under arm, freshly coiffed locks and my trusty travel coffee mug in hand, I tentatively approached school feeling fabulous but harboring unease--what will it be like being back at work? Will I be able to function without diapers, butt cream and chew toy near by?

But as I rushed from our front door to the door of my classroom, a wave of ease swept over me. I was late--just like I always was before. I was speeding down the bus lane past poky morning traffickers and honking at all of the idiots who were parked there before the 9:00 a.m. permitted time--just like I always was before. I was speeding into the parking garage and slamming the car haphazardly into park--just like I always was before. I was running up the flights of stairs two by two on the way to my classroom--just like I always was before. I breathlessly greeted an awaiting student--just like I always did before.

And . . . it came back to me just like riding a bike--I cracked corny jokes, scribbled away on the whiteboard, poked, prodded and questioned. I instructed and bossed. I taught--and it felt damn good.

If today were the first and last day, it would be just enough "outside" world for me--just a taste--just enough to last me at least until my last tot trekked off for his/her first day of school. But, it's not--I made a three week commitment and that is just fine too. Three weeks in which I will enjoy feeling human-human--and three weeks before I go back to being just a mom-human, again. I will leave the house every morning with the same zest as I did this morning, confident in knowing that my little Noey is cozy at home with his Papa spending his morning the same that he would even if I were at home for that hour and a half.

I told my boss to always let me know of any temporary morning opportunities in the future, because after all, a little childcare-free extra income is always welcome in a single salary family household. And, it seems, I also don't mind feeling a little human-human every once in a while--BUT only if there's some kind of reassurance that it's not for too long and that in the end I will get to go back to being ONLY a mom and breastfeeding human again.


New Look, Same Ol' Blog.

Two things have led to this radical blog change and horrible waste of precious sleeping time: 1) I am exceptionally energized after my IKEA trip today with Asami and Kai and 2) Noah has been sleeping for 3.45 hours . . . here that . . . 3.45 hours!? This truly is a record . . . at least since he was 2 months old, anyway. Perhaps it is because he was absolutely undeniably exhausted from waking up every 45 minutes last night in addition to crying/playing/crying/playing between the hours of midnight and 2:30 a.m.--but I'll save that sob story for another post.

So, deciding to use my newly-found free time this evening as wisely as possible (I kid), tonight I have done the following . . . tinkered around with the nifty collage application in Picasa to create a colorful new header, changed all of the "we's" to "I's" (my husband blogging with me as was initially inspired failed to ever catch on--perhaps because he works millions of hours a week), and officially changed my blog's name (though the web address will remain the same so as not to cause confusion or misdirect my hungry blogger fans--ha!).

Anywho, I think I am going to enjoy these new bloggy digs for a while. Though I am sure the next time that I get a wild midnight hair and a few new good pics, I'll tinker with Picasa 's collage feature again to whirl up another fresh header. But for now, enjoy and happy weekend to you all!

P.S. The sidebar text on my PC's screen is a magnificent dusty rusty vintage orange that matches the orange in the header pictures perfectly. However, on Dean's Mac screen it appears a very bright neon pumpkin orange . . . and this discrepancy just isn't sitting well with me--I MUST color coordinate at all times. If you would be so kind, please comment and let me know how it looks on your screen!?


Busy Bees Make The Sweetest Honey.

This week goes down in the record books as one of the best with baby so far. No, Noah is not sleeping better. He's actually sleeping worse than he ever has before (up every 20-45 minutes) at night. No, Dean hasn't had a ton of time off and no, we didn't decide to hop on a plane for a spontaneous family summer vacation. This week has just been busy--but in the best possible ways.

Here's a rundown:
  • Monday--we hosted our first large group playdate . . . and it was a HIT!
  • Tuesday--we went to a pool playdate at Mommy Sherry's house and swam with all of the other M.I.L.K. babies and mommies.
  • Wednesday--we hosted another large group playdate, "Babies On Blankies" and again, in MY humble opinion, it was HIT!
  • Thursday--we went to another pool playdate at Mommy Andrea's house and swam with more M.I.L.K. mommies and babies.
  • Friday--we went to a playdate at Mommy Fenche's house.
Actually, Noey and I have been quite busy ever since he was very young--we joined the Los Angeles M.I.L.K.S. mom group when we was only 8 weeks old, for example--and not to forget hiking in the Hollywood Hills when he was only 3 weeks old. But our attendance at events and all of the other activities on our social calendar for the last nearly 7 months has been spotty, irregular and unpredictable. Why? Because Noah has been possibly the most challenging sleeper in the state of California since the day that he was born.

But this week, and I am not sure why because Noah's horrible sleeping habits are still horribly horrible, we have successfully made it to an activity every day of the week. The end result is a super socialized mommy and, it seems, a very happy baby who has gotten to chew on a plethura of other babies' toys. I somehow feel as if I have achieved yet another mommy milestone. I am not so sure that it's not just Noah's age--about to turn 7 months next week--that is allowing us to mobilize more easily, and thus, more regularly . . . but hey, I'll take it!

With Daddy working hard in the studio on a project until possibly next weekend, we have even more other mommy and baby time in our near future. We have a Saturday trip planned to IKEA for a high chair purchase--and of course, tacos at Chevy's right across the street! I may even make a toast with my frosty margarita that goes something like this . . . Yay for busy happy, albeit sleepless, babies!


All In A Good Day's Play: 3rd Edition.

Here's our third weekly installment of, "All In A Good Day's Play"--a post where I chronicle, once a week, our day in snapshots!

Our Thursday in snapshots:
  • 5:00 a.m.--Yes, that's right at 5 a.m. Noah was up and ready for the day. So we played as we watched the morning sun rise through our living room window.
  • 9:15 a.m.--Playing the piano with daddy before he gets ready for work.
  • 11:45 a.m.--At Mama Andrea's Pool Playdate for an afternoon of fun.
  • 1:00 p.m.--Practicing some crawling moves after swim and lunch time.
  • 2:00 p.m.--Drying off and getting ready to go home and take a nap.
  • 5:00 p.m.--Chewing on Tommy the Toucan while in the jungle saucer before bath time . . . mommy is praying that bedtime is just around the corner . . .

Feeding Our Little Foodie.

We've been spicing it up . . . in the kitchen that is. That's right, over vats of puréed baby food.

We make all of Noah's organic baby food from scratch--and so far, so good. Though I consider myself to be more "the baker" of the house and Dean "the gourmand", it seems that I have a newly-found knack for puréeing too . . . though it's honestly not that hard.

Last night I whipped a few weeks worth of the following:
  • Apricots
  • Zucchini with fresh garlic
  • Asparagus with fresh garlic
  • Apples with a dash of cinnamon
  • Mixed fruit surprise! (Nectarines, Apples, Mangoes & Bananas)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Curried Butternut Squash
  • Mangoes
Our baby food cookbooks suggest several ways to cook the fruit and veggies before puréeing them, and though they say baking preserves more flavor, I think that it is a less energy efficient method for us. For example, in the time that it takes to preheat our oven and then bake the food, I could have already prepared several batches of steamed food using less resources. I have found that using a steamer basket placed in a pot on the stove top with just a small amount of water in the bottom produces quite yummy and perfectly softened fresh fruits and veggies--the only key is not to over steam.

The best part is the vitamin-packed juices that have drained from the fruit and veggies during the steaming process and fallen to the bottom of the pot. Though we think that we are going to avoid giving Noah juice more than just once or twice a week . . . we think that this is a perfect substitute to sugary store-bought juices. We just dilute the juice with a little bit of water and . . . voila . . . a refreshing treat!

Noah Finn is, unfortunately, still not too keen on avocados which greatly disappoints me because I love, love, love them--and they are oh so super nutritious! I continue to offer them once a week hoping he might cease to gag and spit them out the second they hit his little pink wagging tongue. Other than that, he is a super great eater and has no problem packing down two square meals a day plus plenty of mommy milk in between.

If you haven't already given making your own baby food a thought or two, I strongly encourage you to try it . . . just once. I truly take pleasure in the process--it's just a ton of fun. Plus, knowing EXACTLY what goes in to my little guy's tummy and knowing that it was prepared with love is the most fulfilling feeling in all of the land. The website wholesomebabyfood.com has been an incredible and indispensable resource for all things baby food. They even have a search feature that allows you to type in the name of any fruit or veggie to get detailed nutritional information, cooking directions and tasty recipe suggestions.



I've solved it! The ever-pressing mystery--what does breast milk baby poop smell like? And, by George, I solved it while making baby food! Well, it may not be a mystery or even a question you have often pondered. But during the many, many hours spent crouched over a changing table while wiping off the brightly colored orange and sometimes yellow goo from my little guys fanny cheeks, I've often wondered what it smells like?! For those of you who have never had the *ahem* honor of smelling the runny stuff, let me give you a quick rundown: it doesn't actually smell like, well, poop, per say, it's just very very unique and even faintly . . . .well, sweet.

This evening, while peeling cooked apricots that were on their way into the food processor, it dawned on me--it's APRICOTS! Cooked, or should I say steamed because I am not sure if it matters, apricots smell incredibly similar to breast milk baby poop!

Now that's out of the way, perhaps my creativity mojo will come back.

Brain Slump.

So, I have been feeling 100% uninspired lately. Some weeks the sight of a flower sends me into creative overdrive as I craft soliloquies in my sleep and think in "blogspeak" as I shower. But for the last few days . . . the creative tap has run dry--if you haven't already noticed. And I am not sure why. Perhaps it's the heat. Perhaps it's the lack of sleep (Noah is almost 7 months and still wakes up a million times at night and still takes forever to fall asleep). Perhaps it's just "mombrain" settling in.

Whatever it is, hopefully I'll be up and running with full mental cylinders within the next day or two. Hopefully . . .


Mommy Milestones.

Yup, moms have milestones too. And one of those includes being able to host a successful playdate with your wee little tot. Noah and I, today, hosted our first official "group" playdate--and it was smashing! Sure, we've had one or two babies over here and there, but most of our socializing has been done elsewhere--allowing our dirty dishes, piles of laundry and dusty furniture to remain a well hidden secret.

For six months I dreamed about the time, somewhere in the future, when I would be able to manage hosting again. Pre-Noah, Dean and I used to have somewhat of a revolving door--frequently throwing dinner parties, birthday parties, wine parties, funday parties, any reason to party, really. But, since baby that has understandably taken a back seat to say, just simply showering and making dinner for the two of us to eat cold and separately while the other puts junior to bed.

But . . . today we triumphed. Even though we gave up going to the Lotus Festival in Echo Park this weekend to stay home and scour the spitup stained floorboards and wrangle cathair tumbleweeds from the corners, it was well worth the sacrifice. Nearly ten moms brought their spectacular spawns to drooble and dribble on the playmat, hiphop in the jungle bouncer, bebop to the babytunes and teethe on all of Noah's toys.

As soon as I finish picking up from today's smash, I will mark this occasion in our "milestone calendar"--"Noah and Mommy host their first playdate: July 13, 2009"--right beside "Noah Finn's 2nd tooth: July 4, 2009".

And . . . we're doing it again on Wednesday!


All In A Good Day's Play: 2nd Edition.

Here's our second weekly installment of, "All In A Good Day's Play"--a post where I chronicle, once a week, our day in snapshots!

Our Friday in snapshots:

  • 11:00 a.m.--Playtime after morning yoga, breakfast and jogging with daddy.
  • 3:00 p.m.--On our way home from a mommy meeting at "The Coffee Table" in Los Feliz AND our trip to "The Pump Station" for our first sippy cup EVER!
  • 5:30 p.m.--Bathtime after an eventful visit with Mary Jo, Asami, Kai and Yumi!
  • 6:00 p.m.--A little bit of baby oil, a back massage and lullabies
  • 6:10 p.m.--Jammietime! (we had to cancel out of going to free jazz Fridays at 6:00 in the park because Noah's lack of napping today left us with one sleepy baby)
  • 6:30 p.m.--Noey's in bed and I am left to pick up the pieces after the storm . . . loads of clean laundry make just the perfect cat bed . . . I just wish they knew how to fold.


Art Is Meant To Be Seen, Not Heard.

Says who, anyway? Us, being devout lovers of all things music, have frequently questioned this--but not so well as our little Noah Finn did today at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

During on our evening stroll through the La Brea Tar Pits, just blocks from our house and next door to LACMA, we decided to take advantage of the free after 5:00 p.m. deal at the museum in order to see the visiting installation, "Your Bright Future", by 12 contemporary Korean artists. While meandering through the cavernous hall housing Richard Serra's 183-ton ribbon of weatherized steel, Noah discovered his voice in a way he never had. Shrieking his high-pitched shrills of joy as we advanced from one immensely large exhibition space to the next, Noah nearly shattered Gimhongsok's glass case containing Mao and Nixon's 1972 Cold War milestone conversation--and what a pity that would have been. Sheesh, near miss.

And as Noah squealed at registers migrating whales off the Pacific coast perhaps heard at that moment, Dean and I laughed ourselves to tears. We cared not for the few studious and stuffy patrons eying us from across the room (because, heck even the security guards were buckled over in amusement). We just mosied on through realizing that before Noah Finn, we used to be just like that--thinking that art was reserved for some special sect of childless persons clad in all black who mulled over the minutia of supposed symbolism and nuanced meaning during late Sunday brunch with friends named "Thad" and "Evie".

No. Noah single-handedly shattered the silent stuffy glass box constructed around the art of viewing art. He made it accessible for all--even families with a bright red stroller and an almost 7 month old tot who likes the sound of his own voice . . . especially when echoed in a large room filled with conceptual art.

On our walk home, Noah reasoned that art is meant to be seen and heard . . . and we said that we enjoyed it much better that way.

P.S. A happy, happy birthday to my beautiful sister who turns 21 today. My gosh, how old I do feel.


Our Screaming Banshee.

I realize that referring to our little wailer as a "banshee" is rather morbid, given that a banshee according Irish legend, wails around the house when someone is about to die . . . and that once this tidbit is revealed, the reference loses it's playfulness.

But I must attest, nevertheless, that our little cherub's happy sounds summon images of banshees for me--if nothing else, he sings in a register that perhaps only dolphins, whales, dogs and deer can hear . . . and because we are his parents and we love him . . . we think it's darn right adorable!

HELP: Locks In Postpartum Peril!

I have a feeling this could be a postpartum phenomenon--unlustrous locks. I mean, with all of the better parts of mom going literally into the baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it's no wonder that her hair might fall a little short of being an attraction-worthy mane.

As mom's natural hair beautifying potion bids a farewell and catches a ride out with the breast milk every few hours (or every few minutes on some days), I began to wonder if there is any saving serum that is, well, green--meaning environmentally and animal friendly, natural, organic . . . well, you get the picture.

I have naturally curly, or rather indecisively wavy, dry hair--even before we moved to the deserty sands of southern California with 0% humidity, it was fairly moistureless. But, postpartum hormones paired with a lack of every kind to spend more than 30 seconds on my mop, has left my locks uninspired and lifeless, dull and dumpy. My normal all-natural go-to's have been unsuccessful at resuscitating this nest and I don't want to fall victim to Pantene's claims only to pay a price--chemically coiffed curls.

It's been 6 months since baby and I am finally back to my pre-pregnancy weight. One milestone down for mommy and yet another one to go . . . now, it's time to tackle and tame my temperamental tangles. Does anyone have any suggestions for natural hair care products for the postpartum "hair" blues? And, miracle elixirs that won't break the bank are especially appreciated--because miracles should always come cheap, right? Ha.


To Party Like A Rockstar . . . Again.

So, alas, we have graced another celebrity birthday party . . . same family, different child's super special day. But this time, instead of an incredibly coiffed flock of petting zoo friends it was a Star Wars themed bash!

The news of each kid coming as a Star Wars character sent me scrambling last week to find the perfect get up for little Noey Finn's first costume gala. I found the cutest costume that perhaps has ever been spotted--an infant Chewbacca suit--but surprisingly, I could not find it anywhere in the city so we had to settle for ol' Yoda instead.

Noah still rocked the event and the long green ears. He had an incredible time watching all of the other party munchkins throw around lightsabers as they recreated movie action scenes and the hired Darth Vader tied long colorful balloons into dogs on leashes, flowers and bunny rabbits.

May the peace be with you and this pea, Papa . . .

Eureka! We've Struck Gold . . . Again!

Enameled gold again, means another milestone achieved! Just as I suspected last week . . . Noah Finn has sprouted his second pearly white on the bottom just beside his only other neighbor! Yay! We spotted it this Saturday and it has only made it's way higher and higher above the puffy pink gums since. Maybe we'll get a brief reprieve from teething? Maybe. I'm crossing my fingers . . .


Happy America Day.

July 1942 - Photo by Roger Kahan

I suppose it would be rather blasphemous of me to post on Oh, Canada Day and not on July 4th. So here it is, my official Happy 4th of July greeting.

In just a few hours we'll be headed with potato salad and baby under arm to spend the day lazing at a house on the Santa Monica coastline . . . before cycling down to the Marina in the hopes of spotting a firework or two through brief openings in sea fog.

Happy America Day from us to you and yours!


Mommy Zombie.

I haven't had as much zest this week, as much zing, as much umpfh as I usually do--I've really been somewhat of a mommy zombie.

Probable culprits are Noah's erupting 2nd tooth and Dean's intense schedule this week. He's in the studio working on a deadlined project--clocking 12-18 hour days--really just coming home to sleep before returning to the studio. That means 24 hour a day baby duty for mom--rise with the wee munchkin and set with the wee munchkin and everything in between with the wee munchkin (that means nightlong suckling, too). Between that and bouts of cranky crabby pants due to teething tribulations, Noah has been a tough customer to please and mommy has been operating on little sleep, few showers and thin patients. Point in short, I don't know how single mothers do it. I give them props, mad props.

However, I am not so much of a mommy-downer that I can't admit it hasn't been entirely all glum and grumps . . . there have been quite a few moments of giggles and goos and an incredibly overdo visit from the giddy newlyweds-to-be, Eddie Jo & Annie. Extra congrats to Eddie who is headed to Notre Dame to seek a MFA five days after his honeymoon! That's right, they have to get married, honey the moon in Europe and move to Indiana all in a month and half--that's right a little over 6 weeks. Crazy, yes . . . crazy in love!

And, happiness lies ahead for us, too, as we have a 3-day weekend off with dad shining like a beacon of hope ahead of us. Though it's already over scheduled with places to be and people to see, it will just be nice to have an extra set of arms to do some holding, hands to do some diaper changing and patients to do some consoling.

And, because dad at home means gourmet meals for mom, it also means no more of these . . . at least for the 3-day weekend.


Happy Birthday Canada!

My good friend from college, Jessica, and I have a longstanding running joke about beavers that stems from the fact that my family has always, or at least as long as I can remember, referred to the female genitalia as a "beaver". Whenever we find especially funny beaver-related things, we send them to one another.

She sent me this YouTube video today and I am so glad she did because it wasn't the rosiest of days in mommyland. Other than our afternoon outing for "Babies On Blankies" Wednesdays, Noah was a pretty cranky teething monster and I am operating on even less sleep than usual because of Dean's crazy work schedule this week.

So, in honor of "Oh! Canada Day!" (the 142nd Birthday of Canada) today, I couldn't think of a better reason to share it with all of you (other then the fact that it's pretty freakin' hilarious too!).

P.S. It's funny that she sent this today because this afternoon we were discussing what we were thinking of teaching our children to call vaginas and penises--the "real" words or slang terms. I, of course, shared that I was seriously considering the term "beaver".

The Swiffer Scare: Post #2.

In response to my first Swiffer post entitled "The Swiffer Scare", I received several helpful comments from loyal readers, as well as, an e-mail from an Account Executive that works with the Swiffer brand! Yes, that's right, an Account Exec.!

It's interesting how fast "she/they" found my blog posting and responded--talk about working the offense. Though we still will probably switch to a more natural cleaner (with Noah getting ready to crawl, we were thinking of it before this all began), I am impressed with their proactivity (product protection?) and would consider using Swiffer in a pinch after he begins walking.

I felt that it was only fair to post her e-mail below--to balance the scales of argument--and let you all decide for yourselves.

Happy Cleaning!


"Hi Dean & Joni,

I work with the Swiffer brand and in reading your blog post yesterday about the Swiffer WetJet Rumor, we wanted to share some updated information.

The Swiffer WetJet system and other Swiffer product ingredients are safe to use around pets. The safety of these products, when used in accordance with label instructions, has been confirmed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), independent veterinarians and veterinary scientists.

Independent veterinarians and scientists evaluated the Swiffer WetJet and Swiffer Sweeper Wet Cloths cleaners and found them safe. In fact, Swiffer products have been safely used in over 15 million U.S. homes--many with pets--for nearly five years. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has even posted information about the safety of Swiffer products on their site (www.aspca.org).

If you have additional questions about the rumor, please feel free to reach me directly and I'd be happy to share more information.

All the best,

Chelsea Moreno
Account Executive | MS&L
Global Consumer Marketing
1675 Broadway, Fl 10; New York, NY 10019
O: 212.468.3367 | F: 212.468.3031
E: chelsea.moreno@mslworldwide.com | W: www.mslworldwide.com"


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