Toddler Friendly Vegetable Stew

October 25, 2011

Aiden doesn’t like tomatoes.  Oh sure, he’ll pop anything with tomato into his mouth without hesitation and just when I think I got him, he’ll pull only the tomato from his mouth after swallowing the rest.  It’s like he’s performing some kind of a magic trick or something.

Same thing goes for carrots, only carrots generally don’t make it past his lips. 

Anyhow, since he’s been eating what we eat, we regularly make this vegetable stew.  As written here, it is actually the Weight Watchers one-point chili recipe first introduced to us by our dear friend Paula, but we think of it as more of a stew than chili. Regardless Aiden devours it EVERY time it’s served.  And get this.  One of the main ingredients of the stew is tomatoes.



10 ounces extra-lean ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, diced
2 (28-oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium yellow squash diced
1 (15-oz) can black beans
2 (15-oz) cans fat-free, reduced-sodium
beef broth
4 celery stalks, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 (1 1/4-oz) package dry chili seasonings.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and onion and saute’ until browned, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the browned turkey and onion mixture to a large soup pot and add the tomatoes, zucchini, squash, beans, broth, celery, bell peppers, and chili seasoning. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

We have never actually used packaged chili seasoning.  We’ll just season with what we like including garlic salt, crushed red pepper, chili powder, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, basil, bay leaf and paprika.  The best part of the recipe is that you can add or subtract ingredients and season to suit your toddler and/or whatever vegetables/spices you have on hand.  We like it because we always feel so healthy when we eat it and it’s really very pretty.


This last time I made it, I added sliced up carrots.  Tricky, I know.  He ate the first bowl so I know he had a least a couple carrots, but by the second bowl  (yes, he asked for seconds!) he was on to me. 


Disclaimer:  Generally my boy is a good eater so results may vary.


Happy 2 Months, Emmy K!

October 20, 2011


Smiling and cooing?: Yes, for 5 minutes a day if I’m being generous

Sleeping through the night?: Not even close

Crying?: A plenty

Kicking a soccer ball?: Like a pro

What? What the hell else do you do with a baby?

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You’re creeping your way into our hearts you beautiful baby girl.

2 month stats:

Height: 22.5 in (50%)

Weight: 9 lbs 12 oz (10-25%)

Head: 38 cm (50%)

Now Stop Ragging On Me

October 20, 2011

If I knew it was going to be that easy, I probably wouldn’t have waited until 2 days shy of my completely unlofty goal of changing my name before my first year anniversary. 


It’s official.  I’m a Louche.

Emily’s Birth Story

October 5, 2011

I started typing this out shortly after her birth, but I lost steam and it somehow fell off my plate.  Well now nature (that evil mistress that makes you forget things you should remember so as to never make those mistakes again) has already started to work it’s magic and some of the details are slipping away.  The good news is that all-in-all, Emily’s birth was somewhat textbook so a lot of the details aren’t all that important to the story.  Thanks to the epidural which will now henceforth be referred to as the nectar of the gods, I actually remember thinking that it was kind of an awesome, beautiful experience.  So join me as I attempt to finish what I started.

The day is August 16th – Emily’s due date.

11 AM: We arrived at the hospital.  We had never been to North Fulton because we didn’t anticipate delivering there (an induced VBAC prompted the last minute switch).


11:15: In the delivery room Dan shows me what to expect before I get changed into my robe (and these will be the last of the pictures to preserve what little modesty I have left)




Between here and when the doctor comes in, the nurse gives me an IV and gets me all hooked up to the monitor.  She asks me if I intend to partake in the nectar of the gods to which I respond “no”.  She says that she likes to go ahead and order it anyways just in case the patient decides to change their mind just so they don’t have to wait.  I agree that’s probably for the best since my desire to not partake was purely out of curiosity (masochistic much?).  I had not prepared mentally on any level to give birth naturally.

12:30 – The doctor breaks my water.  At this point I was 2-3cm dilated.

2:30 – Contractions start coming pretty consistently so Dan, my mom and myself take a walk around the hospital to help things progress.  About 5 minutes into the walk, I feel like I’m going to throw up.  I run to the nearest bathroom while Dan scrambles for something for me to use as a barf bag.  I make it to the bathroom but don’t throw up.  We head back to the room.

4:00 – My sister shows up with Aiden – a plan that was made when we were sure that the baby would certainly have been there by the time she got off work.  But Emily hadn’t arrived yet and I was in a LOT of pain.  Contractions were coming every couple minutes and I wasn’t handling it well.  Oh sure, I was breathing through them but I was not in a good place.  Super glad that Aiden got to see a little bit of me writhing in pain.  They left shortly after because it turns out a 2 year old is the exact opposite of what you want around in that condition.

5:00 – Midwife stops Dan in the hall and tells him to take me for a walk…for an HOUR or so (a detail that he fails to mention until we’re half way down the hall).  I stop not 100 feet from the delivery room and talk it out with Dan and ultimately decide I want to suckle from the teat of the gods.

6:00 – Nectar arrives.  Doctor checks my progress at this point. This was a pivotal moment for me because if they’d said I was 7cm, I would have been disappointed I had made it so far only to back out now.  But they didn’t.  I was only 4cm!?!  To which I said bring on the drugs.

7:30 – The last hour and a half were significantly better than the previous 3-4, but the nurse was concerned that I was still aware of and having to breath through the contractions.  She calls the anesthesiologist back.

7:45 – The doctor decides to redo the epidural which while not something I would wish for twice in one day, I’m deeming totally worth it.  I didn’t feel anything once he got that thing in there right.  I spent the remaining time questioning why anyone would choose to have a baby naturally when we have modern medicine.

9:30 – The midwife comes in for a random progress check and wouldn’t you know it – 10cm!!  She wants me to start pushing right then, so she dimmed the lights and that’s just what we did.  She determines I have enough control over my pushing muscles to keep the drip going (if ever there was a reason to get your muscles in check) and we do the thing – mom holding one leg, midwife holding the other.

A brief word on my midwife.  Her name is Diane Tandy and she is amazing!  I knew I’d have to find a midwife after having a c-section with Aiden to even have the option of a VBAC and I was lucky to have found her. She was just so encouraging and knowledgeable and fun through the whole process and I genuinely credit her for the positive feelings I took away from the delivery.  Her practice is Gifts From Grace so if you’re in the Johns Creek/Alpharetta/Roswell area, everyone there is wonderful.

9:45 – Nurse comes in, completely shocked that we’ve started…without her…which I thought was funny.

10:00 – Sometime around here they wheeled in a mirror so I could see how I was doing.  I didn’t want it at first (and I’m pretty sure Dan who was standing safely by my head could have done without), but then I couldn’t look away and was really encouraged by seeing the fruits of my pushes.

I pushed for an hour.  Emily finally decided to show at 10:29PM.  They plopped her down right on my belly and Dan cut the cord.


And then I got to hold her.


Very different from the c-section experience.  In the moment, it went quick and I honestly didn’t feel a thing.  The next day though I ached like I had the workout of my life…which I guess I had.

We Can So Relate

September 18, 2011

On August 3rd Dan sent me a link to this video because he thought this guy was funny (WARNING: beware of foul language).

On August 14th, he shot this video of Aiden.

On September 17th, I shot this video of Emily.

I don’t think this requires any explanation, but I will say that I’m glad that we got that video of Aiden when we did because we started off thinking that pointing behavior was hilarious, but we’ve since had to parent it away.  Instead of egging him on like I was in the video it goes something like “don’t talk back to me Aiden”.

One Month

September 17, 2011

Emily is a month old already.  Despite all the  newborn shenanigans, it’s crazy hard to believe that it’s already been a month. 


Seriously though, she isn’t a bad baby, and I have a lot more confidence with her than I had with Aiden.  If anything I have a tendency to get impatient with her because I know exactly the routine I want to get her in even if it’s still a work in progress.  I often have to tell myself to just go with flow and remind myself that she’s only a month old.


She’s a good sleeper.  I already get 4-5 hours straight at night so can’t complain there.  She cries, but not as much as her brother did from what I can remember.  It’s just that when she does get to crying, she has a tendency of getting all drama queen on me.  I feel like her world is coming to an end and thus my world is coming to an end and that’s when I can actually feel myself getting older.


Her brother loves her.  Can’t get enough.  Wants to eat her face and then lay on top of her and smother her to death which I’m pretty sure is what he’d do if I wasn’t there to run interference.  Sometimes I hurt his feelings when I tell him to be careful which hurts my feelings because I know he means well.  His favorite things to say in regards to her are “Emily!  No crying!” for obvious reasons and “I want my Emily” or “lay down Emily" when he wants to hold her. 



He reads to her too.  She almost never has both socks on.


Being the second, I feel like she’s not getting nearly as much camera time as Aiden. Before her first real bath (which she liked surprisingly), I asked Dan if he was going to get the camera to take some pictures and he just looked at me beat down and was like “I guess”. Very different in that respect but I’m trying to make a conscious effort until we find our groove.

Check out her Freddy Kruegar hand.


Overall, I think it’s fair to say that the newborn phase just isn’t for me.  Reliving it is definitely proof that you forget what it’s like as soon as they grow out of it.  However, I am forcing myself to forget about my to-do list (and stop mindlessly adding crap to it) so I can enjoy the ride more – a feeling I know I had to come to terms with after Aiden came along. 


Here’s to more of this in the months to come.

And for fun here is Aiden’s 1 month post.  They are definitely related.

3 week stats:

Weight – 8lbs 10oz (50-75%)

Height – 21 inches (75%)

Head Circumference – 30.5 cm (75%)

Here At The Zoo

September 13, 2011

Me: “Do you know why you’re in timeout?”

Aiden (crying): “Yeeess”

Me: “Why?”

Aiden (cry talking): “Because I hit daddy in the balls.”




And you thought I was talking about an actual zoo…

Panty Necklace

September 6, 2011

I decided that my post-baby body needed a couple new pairs of panties to help get me through.  My only mistake was bringing Aiden along with me to shop.


Home, Sweet Home

August 28, 2011

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Emily came home this past Monday and we’ve spent the last week get acquainted with her.  She’s not different from what I remember from her brother.  Three modes: asleep, awake and eating, and awake and angry.  Seriously, the girl spends maybe 10 minutes a day awake and chill. 


The big difference this time around is that both Dan and I look at her in the middle of her worst fussy time and wonder why we thought it was so hard with Aiden.  She’s so little and harmless.  Maybe it’s because she’s only adding to the craziness instead of being the sole cause of it.  Her cry doesn’t have nearly the physiological affect on me that Aiden’s did (although it does still wear on me after a while). I don’t want to speak too soon, but we might be able to get through the next few months without the yoga ball and vacuum cleaner.  (After last night, I considered removing the last sentence, but I MUST STAY STRONG.)  I did knit her up some mittens to at least keep her from clawing her eyes out while she’s wailing.

Friday was the first day that I kept both kids home by myself for the day.  I know I don’t want to take Aiden out of school completely during my maternity leave because he likes it, and I think it’s important for him to have that outlet for his energy a few days a week.  But I wanted to get a taste of how it’s going to be and exactly how many days I think I can handle both during the week. 

It actually wasn’t that bad, largely in part to the amount that Emily sleeps.  The only times that it got a little crazy were when I had to feed her and was somewhat chained to the couch for 30 minutes.  The boy can do a lot of damage in 30 minutes including a full thing of yogurt hitting the rug and several 20 minute hand washing sessions.  He thinks he’s fooling me by closing every door between me and the bathroom, but I know exactly what’s going on in there.  There were (only?) 2 times that I sent him into the backyard with the promise that I would be right there.  It’s fenced in and there’s nothing he can break back there.  Plus I was *right* behind him.  I finally realized feeding was a great time to get the iPad out because I was able to participate with him while Emily ate.

But I definitely did see potential for things getting pretty hairy.  We’ll just have to work on it, and I think getting more sleep as Emily gets older will obviously help with my patience and problem solving.

I took this picture of Emily to get her wearing the little mittens I knit up and realized that it also showcases the faux-mohawk quite nicely.


So I got out the hat that I knit her (same as above) while sitting with her in the NICU and took some more pictures.  I vow that the next think I knit for her will not be pink and will not include lace but I couldn’t resist this hat.


The hat pattern is here (rav) and the mittens here.  I modified the mitten pattern, adding an eyelet row because newborn mittens without ties are useless.  Plus it makes them match the hat for a little cuteness overload.  I never thought I’d see the day when I thought adding ribbon to knitting would be cute.

I Want To Touch Her Eyes

August 22, 2011

My mom brought Aiden up to the hospital to meet Emily the day after she was born.  I’m so glad she did considering he hasn’t been able to see her since.  We’ve talked about her a lot though.  I can’t wait for them to get better acquainted.


Love this video for 2 reasons:

1) The obvious…it’s the first sibling encounter.  You can hear the shakiness in my voice as I try to hold it together.


2) If you listen really closely, when my sister hands Aiden over you can hear him ask “I wanna hold you mommy”.  Love that boy.

We just got a call from the NICU this morning.  Baby sister’s coming home today!  Yay!