The Magic of a Blink

It’s amazing how quickly time passes once you become a parent. You find out you are pregnant, blink, and then there is that little miracle looking back at you.


Before you know it, you foolishly decide to blink again and your newborn is becoming an interactive little one. Our Cupcake was so fascinated in the world around her and loved exploring. Every day was an adventure. You are happily going along when the urge to blink hits once more. Suddenly your infant has transformed once again.


Now you have a baby. She can play. She can coo. She certainly can tell you in her own little way what she likes and doesn’t like. A personality emerges. Time passes as it always does and you let those eyelids touch for but a moment and instantly a toddler is born.


These days are punctuated by a flurry of energy. Movement is the name of the game. What is this and how does it work motivates their world. Life is so fun as you crawl, walk, climb. But just as you settle into your new life of action, that blink is waiting.

IMG_7008Now you have a kid. Not a big kid, in global terms, but a bigger kid than you’ve ever known. She not only walks and talks, but she has opinions. Strong ones. And she knows how to express them! Not every adventure is a new one, but it is always an adventure. Don’t blink just yet, mama.



Easy Kale Chips

I am absolutely in love with this summer! This is now my second summer as a SAHM, and to be perfectly honest, I did not love last summer at all. We were in a location where all of our friends worked during the day, and I felt very alone! Cupcake could not do a whole lot, either, so it was all very quiet.  As a former elementary school teacher, quiet is not a word I tend to love too much. It feels foreign. Strange. Lonely.

And so, I am just loving my summer of 2015 with all of my heart! Every day, Cupcake and I go out and about. We have met so many new people in our new hometown. Things were going along swimmingly, until a park play date was canceled due to rain.


I usually wouldn’t let this stop me from finding an alternative, but I took one look at Cupcake and I thought: hmm, we could be due for some quiet. 

You see, my little Pooh Bear loves the hustle and bustle as much as I do! She is very social and pretty much in a constant stage of blur. I love it! However, I also want my daughter to be able to appreciate the slower moments in life. So, we decided to hang in together. We colored and read books nearly all day. When it came time for snack, I knew just what we had to make: kale chips!

Despite my Cupcake’s sweet moniker, she actually has not developed much of a sweet tooth yet. Both her father and I love sweets, so it is surprising! I should have expected this because one of my weirdest “cravings” when pregnant was that I didn’t crave sweets at all. I remember at one dinner with my in-laws at Chili’s, it came time for everyone to order dessert. I asked for an order of chips and salsa. So, it really should not surprise me that Cupcake has no desire for sweets.

This recipe is for my easiest kale chips EVER. So easy and they come out perfectly!


Kale Chips

Olive Oil

Garlic Powder

Salt, if desired


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees


2. Put small amount of olive oil on paper towel and spread over cookie sheet.  IMG_4970 IMG_4971

3. Cover cookie sheet with kale. We used baby kale here because it’s what I had on hand, but use any kale that you have. Make sure to remove the stems as those are pretty bitter.

IMG_4973 IMG_4975

4. Sprinkle garlic powder (and salt) evenly over kale




Seriously, turn it off.


6. Cook kale chips in (now turned-off) oven until crispy, but not burned (ours took about 10 minutes).
IMG_5003 IMG_50057. Eat the deliciousness!

IMG_5007 IMG_5010 IMG_5013 IMG_5017 IMG_5025We hope you love it as much as Cupcake does!

On Pins and Needles 

I’m just waiting. 

Waiting for the crying to start. Waiting to hear the tummy grumbles. Waiting. 

Who knew a bite of yogurt could evoke such fear? 

The first two weeks of Cupcake’s life were magic. Nursing hurt like all hell, but she was doing great. Within three days of leaving the hospital, she had gotten back up to birth weight, plus some. She ate like a champ. I was motivated to keep nursing until finally it stopped hurting. It was heaven and life was good.  

But it quickly became apparent that something was amiss. Cupcake spit up non-stop. We’d go through about 5-6 burp cloths a day and at least two wardrobe changes for all of us. My washing machine became my BFF. 

My friends meant well, but who wants to hold a pukey baby? The answer is almost no one. We tried every trick in the book, but it was getting worse. We held her upright after nursing. We let her sleep on an incline. Nothing helped. She was miserable. Admittedly, I was, too. 

I didn’t know how to help my baby. I felt like I was failing at this momming business. I spent hours and hours researching. I kept a food diary for two months to try and identify a link with when her spitting up was worst. We put her on Zantac to stop her potential reflux. Nothing was getting better. 

One night, as I changed my pajamas for the second time, I stumbled across a webpage that changed everything. I started reading about babies that have a cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI) These babies not only react to any dairy they ingest, they react to the cow’s milk proteins that get passed through breastmilk due to their mother’s diet.  Nursing mothers need to completely eliminate all forms of dairy from their diet if their baby has a CMPI. 

The difficulty is that a nursing mom can’t just stop eating dairy for a day to see a difference. It takes several weeks without these foods to notice a change. Additionally, dairy is hidden in SO many foods. As hard as it would be for this cheese and chocolate lover, I knew I had to try. I figured I had nothing to lose. If I went dairy-free for three weeks and there was no improvement, I wouldn’t be any worse off. At least I felt like I was finally doing something instead of just letting Cupcake be miserable. 

On August 10, I started my journey. I read every label in our house and knew which foods were “safe” (hint, hint, not many of them!). It was hard. I missed cheese. I wanted pizza and lasagna. I missed chocolate. I missed the freedom of ordering at a restaurant without having to talk to 5 different people to get my order right. 

However, within two weeks I noticed a change in my baby girl. She went from spitting up so many times a day I couldn’t even count, to just once or twice. She slept better. She seemed so much happier. I saw a lot less of my washing machine.  As time went on, she continued to improve. 

 I went to her next pediatrician appointment and told them what I was doing. They thought that her issues were strictly reflux and wanted to increase her prescription Zantac since she was growing and needed a higher dose. I declined.

Then came the inadvertent test in October. My husband and I had weaned Cupcake off her Zantac with no problems. We were at a party and, although I had checked the ingredients in one dish, I hadn’t checked closely enough and ended up eating some dairy. I had only has two bites when I realized. 

To try and make it a true test, I didn’t even mention it to my husband. I wanted to see if he observed any changes. Within 24 hours, Cupcake had spit up a few times, which she hadn’t done in quite some time. He definitely noticed the change in her and asked me if I had eaten anything strange! Thankfully, I had only ingested a small amount, so her symptoms stopped relatively quickly after one long night of not sleeping and quite a few tears. 

So I skipped all the dairy filled goodies of the holidays and had settled myself with the idea that I hadn’t had “real” pizza since August. Eating dairy-free was becoming easier and I was starting to not miss most of the foods I used to eat. 

Although I get the feeling the pediatrician might not totally agree with me, he’s being supportive. We found a dairy introduction guide to trial slightly before her first birthday, so that we could discuss the results at her one year appointment. 

So here I am. Waiting. 

I am about to give my daughter her first taste of dairy. If it goes well, we get to try butter next (yum!). If not, I willingly subjected my poor baby to the pain and discomfort that will follow.

Here goes nothing… 

Update: It has now been 24 hours since she had the yogurt. So far, all has been good! Totally as if nothing had happened. I am frightened to get too excited yet, but I am about to burst!!! 

Stomach Bug and the Baby

Oh my goodness gracious. The last few days have been some of the hardest momming I’ve ever done! I literally feel like it’s all been a blur and I cannot believe we all managed to survive. I need to write this all down so the next time this happens *shudder* I can remember that we made it through! 

On Wednesday, I felt off. I had been battling a rough cold, but it was starting to improve. My stomach wasn’t 100%, but it was no big deal. My husband had a late shift, so I did the nighttime routine with Cupcake myself. I spent the next two hours scrubbing the house because we were leaving the cold Northeast for beautiful Florida the next day (yay!). 

My husband got home at 11 and I woke up as he crawled into bed. I woke up and realized my stomach was in knots. I will not detail what the rest of the night consisted of. I will just say that I eventually gave up and just brought my pillow and blanket into the bathroom. Somewhere around 4am, I told my hubby to cancel our flight. There was no way I’d survive the trip. It was a difficult decision, but one I had to make. 

Thursday was horrible. I was no longer getting sick, but I was in so much pain. I had a million aches and pains. I was exhausted. Since we were supposed to be on a trip, my husband had the day off. I have no clue how single moms do it, but major props to them. I don’t know how on Earth I would have made it through the day without him. I wasn’t at my momming best, that’s for sure! 

By Thursday evening, I managed to have a bit of rice for dinner and we were getting ready to tuck Cupcake in. And then all broke loose, and my darling Cupcake got sick. It was like so sad to see how miserable she felt. We were so worried about trying to keep her hydrated, but she couldn’t keep anything in. After several hours, her tummy quieted enough to let her nurse and sleep for a few hours on me. 

I still felt miserable, but obviously when momming duties call, everything else gets put to the side. To top it off, my poor husband came down with the horrible cold Cupcake and I had been dealing with in the days leading up to the stomach troubles. We were all down for the count. 

Friday was a long day. Thank goodness, Cupcake seemed better. She was able to nurse and ate a few crackers throughout the day. She was super clingy, which usually wouldn’t be a problem for me. But, I still felt horrid. My stomach was constantly cramping, everything hurt, and I was exhausted. My hubby was not doing much better. It was like living the newborn days all over again, we napped when she napped. And we tried trading off as much as possible so we could sneak in extra naps. 

We are now into our third day. Cupcake seems mostly recovered, but still is eating cautiously. She wants to nurse on overload. This is probably a combination of her needing to rebuild my supply and overcome her mild dehydration. My husband’s cold is much more manageable and he’s managed to avoid the stomach bug (lucky guy seems to never get them!). I am definitely in a lot of pain still. I ate about a half cup of rice for breakfast and was stuffed. Sitting upright makes me kind of dizzy and feeding Cupcake is taking a bit of a toll on me while I try to rehydrate myself.

This has me seriously wondering how I will handle these situations next year when my husband starts residency and can’t take the time off. I mean, I guess you just do it because you have to, but ack! That’s a nerve-wracking thought for sure. I guess we’ll see when we get there! 

In the meantime, since we’re supposed to be in sunny Florida and now can’t, I shall leave you with an image of me today- rocking out on my beach towel with my Ginger Ale/Gatorade cocktail in my living room. Who said you can’t have a little fun when you’re sick? 

When to Have a Second Baby

I have literally Google’d this several times over the last few months, hoping that one website would tell me what to do. Cupcake will turn 1 in March, and I’m starting to feel ready to add another sweetie to our world. Since Cupcake is such an awesome baby, I definitely want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for all three of us! Unfortunately, everywhere I clicked said essentially the same thing, the right timing is whatever is right for you and your partner.

That’s not helpful! Can’t someone just tell me what to do?!?

From the oldest of my siblings to the youngest is a 17 year span. My younger sister and I are only 19 months apart. Having lived these two extremes, I know how close siblings are depends more on their character than on anything else. Thankfully all of us are close despite our age gap. However, when I was younger, it was easier to relate to my younger sister because she was going through what I was at the same time. Based on that and the experiences in my DH’s family, we always wanted our children to be relatively close in age.

It hit me the other day that if I want our kids to be 2-3 years apart, we are quickly closing in on the time to start ttc! The idea of bringing another baby into our family is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once! We have talked about it and feel like we’re definitely getting ready to continue growing our family. But, there are still a million questions we have!

How will this next cutie be like and unlike Cupcake? How will his or her personality fit in with our family? What unique traits with this little one have? Having recently emerged from the horrors of having a stomach bug with a baby, am I ready for morning sickness again?

Despite all the difficulties of adding another child, we know that we are getting close to ready. There is no one specific reason why, we just both acknowledged we felt it. Perhaps it’s that Cupcake is now older and gaining more independence. Maybe it’s because she’s sleeping better. I’m not sure I can pinpoint one reason; it just feels right.

So I know that I’ve arrived at the same conclusion of everyone else- the timing is right when the timing is right. So simple and so hard all at the same time!

Calling all parents of 2+ children. How far apart are your kiddos spaced? I would love to hear about your experiences!

Late Onset Separation Anxiety

Cupcake is 10 months old and I finally decided to take her to the babysitting at my gym. I figured she was old enough to not need me too much since I figured it would be too hard in the days when I ebf. I also figured she would not be too old where the separation would be at its peak. Online they tell you that separation anxiety starts around a year, so I was interested to see how she’d do.

When I walked in the Kids’ Center after my workout, Cupcake giggled and came right over to me with hands outstretched for me to pick her up. The girl running it said she did great and did not cry once. Cupcake played well with the other children. I was so proud of my girl!

What they forgot to mention in my online research was that separation anxiety also makes a resurgence during your first years of mommyhood! While Cupcake apparently was fine… I was not!

The whole time I was running, I kept checking to see if one of the employees was looking for me. I kept thinking I heard a baby cry, which would have been impossible even if she was crying as I had my IPod blaring and the Kids’ Center is pretty conveniently located to minimize noise. Instead of running my usual distance, I got to 1.5 miles and figured it was enough.

When I started stretching, I thought Eh. I’m limber enough. No need to stretch today.

I typically love showering at the gym because it is uninterrupted time. Today, I kept looking out from behind the curtain to be sure no one needed me from the front desk.

It’s snowing outside and 20-something degrees and I thought no need to blow dry my hair today!

When I walked in to see that button-nosed little girl smiling, ugh my heart just beamed.


At least I know she’ll be okay for next time! As for me? Well I’m just happy to have my baby girl back in my arms!

Did you have any trouble the first few times you left your little one somewhere? Please tell me I’m not the only crazy out there!

Baby-Friendly Painting!

I absolutely love living in New England, but oh my have we gotten hit hard with snow. First there was Blizzard Juno, which dumped about a foot on our little home. Exactly one week later, a storm brought us another foot!

IMG_3545Cupcake has no clue what to make of the snow! She started walking over a month ago (at 8.5 months!!!!!) and yet that little girl just sits in the snow like she has no clue what to do!

It’s super cute and makes me laugh that she’s so paralyzed by it! She loves watching the snow fall and has spent many hours sitting on our couch just looking at it. I wonder what her little 10-month old self thinks about all of it!


Although staring out the window for hours on end is super fun, I was getting ancy and needed a diversion! So I thought that painting seemed like the perfect snowy day activity.

Until I realized I had two problems:
1. We didn’t have any paint
2. It was a blizzard- so I couldn’t exactly go buy any

I was also supremely concerned because Cupcake puts everything in her mouth. Non-toxic paint just means it won’t harm her. It doesn’t mean it’s any good for her, though! So I decided to make my own paint.


I used to be an elementary school teacher and I remembered teaching a unit on different Native American tribes and how they used to dye their fabrics using plants and items they could find in their natural surroundings.

I did happen to have some blueberries and leftover cooked carrots in the fridge and I thought I’d give it a try!


I stuck the carrots in the food processor with a small bit of water to make a purée, not unlike what I was feeding her a few months ago. I took a very small handful of blueberries, smushed them up (very technical, I know), and voila! I had paint! Or should I say, “paint.” At it’s heart it was still smooshy blueberries and carrot purée, but Cupcake thought it was the best!




The best part was, she could sample her paint and I didn’t have to worry!


I will definitely be experimenting with other fruits and veggies since we are already forecasted for two more storms in the next week! Which foods stain your kids’ clothes the most? (Those are totally the ones I want to use!)

Crockpot Orange Chicken

Or maybe…
Why my Chicken Turned Into a Burger

Or even…
Stupid New Year’s Resolution

I made a New Year’s Resolution to try a new recipe each week and blog about it.

Let me start by saying that I don’t know if I have ever in my life ordered orange chicken off a menu. I have no idea what sparked the idea to make this meal and I was sincerely prepared to not even enjoy it much. But, go big or go home, right? Might as well stretch my comfort-zone a little.

It’s not like I stretched it that far – this is a crockpot recipe after all!

So today Cupcake did not want to nap. We managed a quick 15 minute nap this AM, though, which gave me just enough time to prep my masterpiece


For six beautiful hours, this sat and cooked. The house smelled like beautiful oranges. It was lovely! I was excited!

So dinner time rolled around and my hubby and I took our first bite. He smiled, but I know that smile. It meant he hated it.

But I hated it even more. Horrid. Tasted like orange, all-right. Way too orangey. Way too… Off.

Darling Cupcake loves oranges and makes the cutest little face when the sourness hits her. Since this was a super clean recipe and I was just going to throw it out, I gave her a tiny piece of chicken.!

That girl ate more of that meal than I think I’ve ever seen her eat before. She ate up all the chicken, baked orange slices and veggies that I put down. I couldn’t get it to her fast enough.

So while I fed Cupcake a meal that was no longer a waste, my sweetie got me a most delicious burger from a local restaurant. So, even though this meal was technically a “fail,” it was a most glorious success as I now have a whole bunch of meals for Cupcake already prepared!

Anyone out there have a yummy recipe for orange chicken that is at least somewhat healthy?


The Importance of Paperback

One way I will always spoil my little girl is with an abundance of books. Seriously, we have budgets for clothes, food, haircuts- but no book limitations at all! As a former teacher and bibliophile, I just can’t get enough.

Every morning Cupcake comes downstairs to all of her books neatly stacked in our book case (see right shelf). She promptly pulls them all down (see left side).


Then she picks a book or two to look through. Board books are just the coolest thing as she can easily turn the pages. She can chew on it and drool on it and it stays (relatively) in good condition.


When I was pregnant with Cupcake, all I wanted for my baby shower was books! My mom requested that in lieu of a card, people sign books for our little one. Those still remain my favorite gifts from that day.

A few people “apologized” for giving us paperback books since the baby wouldn’t be able to use them for awhile.


Why not?

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Paperback books are not something that need to wait until kids are a certain age. In fact, they definitely should not be held back!

Reading takes many forms. But, I let Cupcake have at it with paper. Sure, sometimes I wonder if she’s part goat.


But it’s always fun to watch her explore the wonderful world of books.

To be fair, We have had some casualties along the way. Clifford’s Thanksgiving Visit has seen better days!


I did not let her rip it up or tear it without bounds, of course! I make sure the paperbacks are ours and often we get them at Savers so that the loss isn’t a $15 book. If she’s turning pages and it rips accidentally, I simply take the torn piece away so I can repair it later. If she seems to be ripping it like it’s wrapping paper, I take the book away and redirect her to the others in the room.

I look at it as her exploring her love of books. Think of your favorite childhood stuffed animal. Probably a little worn down, right? My favorite sweatpants certainly aren’t a new pair, but old and worn in. I once knew a boy whose childhood blankie had been worn down to something literally the size of his pinkie. He still had it even though we were teenagers. That’s love!

So while we still adore our board books that Cupcake can explore more freely, paperback books remain an important part of the Momming household!