Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Chilled Strawberry Soup

We’re nearing the end of strawberry season, but that’s not going to stop me from whipping up some chilled strawberry soup (post sleep regression, that is). Like many of my recipes, this one doesn’t have super clear measurements since I arrive at these concoctions through pure trial and error. Of course, with two beautiful rascals and less than 15 minutes to come up with a meal everyday, trial and error is no longer an option, so we’ll see how this year’s version of the soup comes out :-). If you do feel adventurous enough in the kitchen, here’s what you can do:

  1. Grab two pints of strawberries, remove the hull (the green, leafy parts), wash, and toss in the blender.
  2. Add about 1/4 cup of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar. Here’s where the experimental part comes in. You may need some more or less of this, depending on how sweet you want the soup to be.
  3. Blend until smooth, adding a very small amount of water if you want the consistency of the puree to be thinner.
  4. Add a splash of your favorite dry white wine (leave this out if you’re serving it to kids), a dollop of whipped cream, some basil leaves, and cut strawberries as garnish.

Tadaa. That’s really all there is to it. Easy, refreshing, and elegant looking. How elegant? As kitchen art, I framed black and white photos of some of my favorite recipes / creations a few years ago. They are now hanging in our kitchen (I know, Pinterest would be so proud, right?). The left one is what the chilled strawberry soup looks like. Quaint, right? Enjoy!

kitchenart

15 Months & Things We Love

A quick 15 month update! We just had Asher’s 15 month check-up and here’s how he’s doing:

Weight: 25 lbs, 10 oz – 85th percentile
Height: 32.125 inches – 78th percentile
Head size: 47 cm – 53rd percentile

We’ve come a loooong way from the 4 lbs, 6 oz and 19 inches you were born at, buddy. Needless to say, we’re all super proud of you for eating and growing so well. The tantrums have been plentiful lately, but so have the smiles, so we really can’t complain about anything. Here’s some more about you:

Favorite person: Easy – Dilan, with daddy coming in as a close second :-)
Favorite foods: Pretty much anything, but you’re definitely more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Anything savory is preferred over anything sweet, except blueberries and apples. You also like roasted broccoli, rice and curry, and quiche a lot.
Favorite things to do: Screaming for fun, speed crawling, banging pots, lids, and utensils together, and cuddling people. Your mama is in love with that last one. We still nurse once a day and it’s usually the most relaxation I get in a day, so I will continue doing this as long as you’re up for it.
Addicted to: Lotion and shampoo tubes and bottles, and daddy (sometimes mommy, it switches back and forth quite rapidly).
Pet peeves: Anything that doesn’t go your way, not being picked up when you want to be held, diaper changes, clothing changes, and sitting still.
At 15 months, Asher isn’t walking by himself yet. I’m saving everything we’ve learned about developmental delays and issues over the last 3.5 years for another post, because there’s a lot to say about these and I’m hoping our experiences will help others. In the meantime, here’s what mommy, daddy, and Dilan are consuming and doing to get through 15 month sleep regression. Yep, we’ve got our first major regression. I’m really hoping this is just the 18 month sleep regression that showed up early. It’s tough right now, with separation anxiety, moving to a new class, and vacations all mixed in (real first world problems right there…).  It’s a rough patch, but I’m sure we’ll get through the sleep issues soon. That is some desperation talking right there. I’m horrible with inadequate sleep. If Anil and I ever get into an argument, it’s because of lack of sleep as the root cause. So, on that beautiful and positive note, here’s what we’re into right now:

  1. Trader Joe’s Cold Brew coffee – Neither Anil nor I were (EVER!) big coffee people…until we met this wonderful little concentrate. Less acid than regular coffee, the same punch, and it tastes like bitter chocolate. We now drink it with almond milk and without any sweeteners. Anil prefers the regular kind and I like the organic one. Just one cup a day for me. Coffee is kind of like the Nose Frida to me. You’re like “hell no, I’m not using that”, until snot hits the fan and then you’re hooked. Cold brew has been fantastic for the less than 7 hours of sleep we get every day (I know, I know, Arianna would so not be proud!). Sorry, sister, workin’ on it.
  2. Grocery delivery – I think that for now we’ll be sticking with Harris Teeter Express Lane store pickup, but I have used Instacart to get some groceries delivered from Costco. I have to say it was wonderful to not have to spend the time or gas to pick up groceries during a really exhausting / difficult work week. Instacart will deliver groceries from Whole Foods, Food Lion, BJs, Petco, and Costco in the Raleigh-Durham area for a small fee + tip. Check them out here: http://bit.ly/instacartRDU.
  3. Summer fun – I love this list: http://www.efficientmomma.com/2015/06/03/summer-bucket-list-for-toddlers/. Some of these activities really apply more to pre-schoolers than younger toddlers, but they’re all such simple, mostly inexpensive activities that I miss from my own childhood. Dilan’s well on his way to checking off most activities. Of course, they’re not nearly as beautiful and straightforward as they look on this list. They’re messy, sometimes tantrummy, sometimes just plain don’t work. But, I like them because they don’t require a ton of grown-up planning and involvement. That’s just the way to go…minimal planning and letting the kids get bored from time to time. If all else fails, there are always Legos. Love me some Legos.

That’s it! Stay tuned for a chilled strawberry soup recipe and our experiences with developmental delays coming to the blog soon!

PS – picture by Asher’s infant class teachers who we love and miss to pieces! It’s actually a pic of a pic that they took for father’s day. I just HAD to post it. I. can’t. even :-)

ashersday

 

Mommy’s Must-Haves #4

Alright. I’m back with some new parenting / toddler / just plain awesome products I love. You wouldn’t think of putting these on your baby registry, but trust me, they’re great. So great that we have multiple ones of two out of three of these:

  1. Himalayan Salt Lamp. I know this sounds hippie and it kind of is, but hear me out: I’ve done hours of reading about how night lights can have a bad effect on sleep cycles (ironically, most of the reading was done right before bed on my iPhone…). However, most new parents know that some toddlers just HAVE to have a night light, or they need one in their own room so they don’t step on Legos during nursing duty / diaper changes etc. Enter the Himalayan Salt Lamp. It creates a natural amber light, which, according to my research, is the only type of light that only minimally interferes with sleep cycles (pure darkness is best). As a bonus, it has a dimmer and also purifies the air by counteracting positive ions with negative ones. This cleans the air and can help with allergies / headaches etc. Although neither toddler is currently sleeping with these lamps, we have one in the hallway and one in our bedroom. Great gift for any new parent…or anyone really!
  2. Silicone travel mats. Though I can’t find the exact one that we bought 3 years ago for Dilan, there are many of these out there on Amazon. Some people prefer to spoon feed their kids, especially when out and about, but being the classic Montessori parents we are, we try to strike a good balance between spoon feeding for convenience and giving our kids independence when it comes to almost anything. When we’re eating out, I like to take the mat along so Asher can have it in front of him and eat whatever finger foods we cut up for him (bring food scissors with you as well!). The mat is great because we don’t have to worry about Todzilla Asher throwing dishes on the floor (one of his favorite pastimes). I bring our mat along in a plastic bag and carry it home in the same bag after it’s been covered in food. Works like a charm.
  3. Books by Mo Willems. There’s only so much “Goodnight Moon” you can read. I know this goes for any book, but lately, we’ve really been enjoying books by Mo Willems. They may seem long, but each page has just a few words – perfect for toddler attention span. They’re cute and funny and all have a great message. My favorite is “Waiting Is Not Easy!”….because it’s just not. Especially not to toddlers.

PS – This picture: Asher & I just waking up from a nap. Messy hair, crankiness, and lots of cuddles. That pretty much sums up parenthood. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. #keepinitreal

messy

14 Months In

It’s been 14 months since I started nursing Asher. We had a rough start. Asher was born preemie size and my milk had not come in yet, so he was supplemented with formula for the first few days. Then, he got into a great nursing rhythm. He nursed like a champ, gained weight, but was also up every two hours and cried his eyes out. He was very difficult to soothe. We didn’t think much of it at the time because our first born was colicky, so the constant crying was something we were used to. As many of you know, it turned out that Asher had soy and dairy allergies, which meant dropping every molecule of soy and dairy for me for the next six months. I didn’t think I could do it at first, but I did. Worth it?

Eight months later, Asher outgrew his allergies and he still nurses every morning and night. He barely gets any milk out anymore, but it’s really not about the milk anymore since he’s 14 months now. It’s about knowing that he’s our last child and I want to hold on to those nursing moments and snuggles for as long as I can. I’m not writing this post to make anyone feel bad about not breastfeeding, not breastfeeding very long, or breastfeeding way longer than is the norm over here. I am writing it to let you know that all that breastfeeding research you read online is dizzying and it’s OK to feel overwhelmed at first. I know I did. To me, breastfeeding comes down to a gut decision. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes for a little while, and sometimes for a really long time.

Who knows if it actually prevents that extra ear infection your baby otherwise would’ve had. I think there’s plenty of evidence that breast milk is what’s best for your baby’s health for those first few months, but whether or not that’s actually noticeable or make a measurable difference, totally depends on the baby.  What matters is that you give it your best shot, whatever it is you decide to do. Don’t let anyone hold you back or tell you it’s not worth it. I’m glad I didn’t listen to that advice. As busy as we are, those extra morning and evening snuggles make it all worth it for me.

PS – For those of you who decide to go down nursing lane, here are my favorite breastfeeding resources. Read them on your phone while you nurse and enjoy it…once they get a bit bigger, they’ll slap that phone right out of your hands :-)

http://kellymom.com/category/bf/
http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb.html
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/default.aspx

happy_asher

How Varsha’s Getting Her Groove Back

“What do you MEAN he might have pinkeye?!” I was admiring the gorgeous skyline of downtown Chicago while on the metro, with Anil on the phone. He had just gotten to work in Durham. Dilan was sick and had to be picked up from daycare. At like 9:15 am. Seriously, why do the kids ALWAYS get sick the second one of us gets on a plane? Poor thing. I’m not even there to comfort him. Doesn’t he NEED mommy?! Normally, this wouldn’t faze me much. When you’re breastfeeding and pumping  around the clock though, hormones aren’t on your side in stressful situations like that. I had gotten up around 3 am to catch my flight and had to present in 20 minutes or so. Slight panic.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after having kids, it’s that they will constantly throw you curve balls. Nothing ever goes as planned, no matter how much you plan. I’m obviously a planner. I have to do-lists for our meals, clothes for the kids, weekend plans, travel, work obligations, birthdays, you name it. It’s helpful and helps things moving smoothly in our household, but for a good chunk of last year, I felt like it was never enough. Classic new parent burnout. I caught a good dose of it.

After a fairly smooth labor and delivery in March last year, I thought I was prepared for taking care of a baby again. I’ve done this before just 2.5 years ago, what could possibly be so hard about it? Well, everything. Everything that was easy with Dilan, was difficult with Asher. Food allergies, sleep issues, breastfeeding jaundice, recurring ear infections, developmental delays, you name it. I think both Anil and I did all we could to keep Asher comfy and keep Dilan as happy as he is. I can’t complain too much about his health issues because at the end of the day, they should all get resolved. They’re all first world problems. However, as trivial as taking care of healthy kids may seem, it can still take a toll on you. It’s ok to think things are hard. It’s ok to be sleep deprived. It’s all temporary, after all. BUT: if there’s one thing I absolutely hate, it’s becoming a mommy martyr. Not me. Definitely not me. I believe you can work hard and still be light on your feet. You can take care of the kids and still have a life of your own…really.

On most days, we wake up at 5:30 and don’t sit down until about 11 pm. Working full-time is actually very helpful for me because I get to eat lunch in peace on most days – HUGE working mom perk. However, there’s not a ton of “me time” at work either, no matter how well balanced I think my job is. Going non-stop still takes a toll on you. So the other day, I came up with some fun new habits for myself to get back into my groove. Everyone needs a groove, a rhythm to keep you going. Here’s what mine consists of:

  1. A little time to myself. For me, this translates into audio books and podcasts. (Or, just straight up brownies – pick one). I know this sounds really counter intuitive. You want to get back into your groove with more technology? How “un-zen-like” is that?! Well actually, it’s been amazing. I never get to read at home because our evenings are all about meal prep for the next day, cleaning the house, laundry / getting clothes ready, and some laptop work or HOUSE OF CARDS (can’t complain about that one). Having the ability to listen to books, sometimes even with the kids in the car has made a huge difference for me. I’ve learned so much while driving. It’s sneaky “me” time that makes me feel human and connected again (ironically). Stay tuned for my favorites coming soon.
  2. Device-less nights. As you may have guessed, Anil and I are constantly connected. It’s the only way to manage the household, work, and everything else. Like I said, we’re planners, and a lot of our planning and shopping gets done online and in apps. But sometimes it’s nice to just disconnect, have a glass of wine, sit, and re-set. It’s hard for two technologists to make this happen, but we’ve loved the few nights when we’ve done this. Tub time is the best. Steal your kids’ bubbles. Trust me. Also, you can make any dinner look fancy with candle light. Just wait until the kids go to sleep.
  3. Work-less weekends. Of course there are those weekends when you do what you have to do for work. But in general, we try to get out with the kids as much as we can. Museums, parks, even grocery shopping and outside chores can be fun with the kids. The main point is that staying home often forces you to clean, organize, cook, fix up stuff, etc. While that’s great, it’s not so fun for the kids, no matter how much you try to involve them. By getting out more, we’ve felt more balanced and the kids have much more fun. They learn a ton about the outside world too. It doesn’t always have to be expensive. You’re talking to a thrifty mom here. I hunt down those deals, girlfriend.
  4. Taking more risks. Last year was a great year for me at work, but I didn’t take as many risks as I’m planning to take this year. I didn’t drop the ball on anything, but when your mind is so consumed with a move, newborn, and potty training a preschooler, you’re just preparing for constant change at home and it’s just a lot to handle in addition to work. It chugged along, but this year, I’m planning to be much more innovative. Because…, why not? Innovation is refreshing and just as good for the soul as letting your mind rest, if you ask me.

onmyway

I’m typing this post while waiting for my flight back home from Dallas. Of course, one of the kids is sick again and Anil had to take time off work to take care of our poor sweetheart Asher. Thank goodness sis-in-law was around this time to lend a hand. Regardless, he’s done a fabulous job and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I married him. When you don’t have the grandparents or lots of family nearby, it can be hard to manage a startup, work, two kids, and all the glory that comes along with everyday life. I’m such a work in progress, but I’m no longer afraid of the chaos. I embrace it and make small tweaks to help me feel human again in all the blessed mess. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I’m on my way. On my way to getting my groove back…

Happy First Birthday, Asher!

Dear Asher,
I was about to start this post by saying that you’re the bomb diggity. I then refrained because by the time you’ll actually be old enough to fully comprehend this (sometime in middle school?), that would be really uncool ;-). In all seriousness, thanks for joining our family a year ago. I had a flawless pregnancy and yet you were born just a few grams shy of NICU time. I have never cried as many happy tears as when your brother came to give me the news (with daddy’s help, he was just 2 after all), that you were a perfectly healthy 4 lbs and 6 ounce baby boy.

Those first few months of your life, you grew huge! Some say that’s miracle, but it would only be one if there was something wrong to begin with. I say it was mostly mama’s milk. But I won’t go into too many nursing details because I know that’s the last thing you will want to read as a middle schooler as well ;-). Although you grew really well, we had our share of challenges: breastfeeding jaundice, ear infections, dairy and soy allergies. They were really rough for you at the time,  but I can’t help and think of how much we’ve all learned and how much stronger we are as a family because of all of these annoyances. Being a baby or being a parent is tough when things go smoothly. It’s even more challenging when they don’t. The biggest lesson you’ve taught me (in addition to patience) is that you are who you are.

Asher1

And I wouldn’t want it any other way. After all, what would we do without your curls (which I smell and run my fingers through at least 19 times a day), your giggle and smile, your lashes (!!!), and your beautiful eyes? You’re extremely strong-willed, just like your brother, impatient, just like everyone in our family, sweet, CUDDLY, fussy when things don’t go your way, talkative, and funny. You love to clap, roll around, shake things, bang objects together, bury your head when you cuddle, and do anything and everything wild with Dilan. You love to eat most foods, but lean meats and carbs seem to top your list. You like spices and love to drink from a cup. You LOVE Apple watches and remotes, too. I think your first words are “ball” and “mama” (not going to complain about the latter one ;-)). We still nurse twice a day and I never thought I’d say this, but I am cherishing every minute of it.

Happy Birthday, my dear. I am so sorry for traveling most of the day on your birthday, but I hope that one day, you’ll appreciate all the hard work that your dad and I have and will put into raising you. I also hope you don’t remember my dance moves. We’ll have a beer together when you’re old enough if you do. Here’s to another year of fun, being brave, and making a difference. Hope you enjoy these bytes of love.

Even though you’re one now, you’ll always be my baby boy. Love you,

– Mommy

PS – Stay tuned for all 12 of your monthly pictures!

Asher2

Asher’s 9 Month Update & The Best Resolution Ever

It’s hard to believe that just 9 months ago (almost 10 now), I gave birth to 4 lbs, 6 oz of pure chillaxed joy (that is the best way to describe Asher, after all). Other terms that come to mind? Boy diva, Bay dawg (long story, but that’s what Anil and Dilan like to call him), and pudge bucket. The latter one refers to:

Weight: 19.14 lbs (used to be a whopping 21 lbs, but he lost 2 lbs while sick) – 37th percentile
Height: 29.25 inches – 77th percentile (we like our babies nice and tall)
Head size: 17.72 inches – 43rd percentile

You guys, he was not even on the charts when he was born…He’s grown a ton and LOVES to eat. He’s eaten every purée and handfuls of finger foods we’ve fed him so far. He also loves to roll around (no crawling yet, he’s just too lazy), watch Dilan do anything wild and crazy, fuss until he gets picked up, let his voice be heard (he’s easily the loudest baby you’ve ever met), and flirt by giving people his signature “slow blink”. He also has the curliest hair you’ve ever seen on a boy and a smile that melts my heart faster than any ice cream you give to a toddler.

Asher has been through a very rough few weeks ever since Thanksgiving. He’s had 3 ear infections in a row and went through 5 rounds of antibiotics. We’re working on fixing this very soon, but he’s such a trooper for making it through it all. The toughest part about him being sick has been the sleep. We had Dilan sleeping through the night at 7 months. Asher? Until about a week ago, he still woke up 4 times a night. Sucks for us, yes, but also really hard on the poor boy. We got some sleep help because we forgot some fundamentals about baby sleep, which is such a rookie move, but it’s helped a ton over the last week or so. I am one of those people who needs 3 hours of consecutive sleep to make it through a full work day. Not 3 hours total, 3 hours of continuous sleep. Since I wasn’t getting that (and neither was Anil), we made some changes and are doing much better now. The good news for tired parents everywhere is that whether you’re co-sleeping or want a totally independent baby, there is almost always something you can do to get more / better sleep. Sleep is so important. Hit me up if you want some guidance / tips / a shoulder to lean on.

How’s the rest of the family coping with all of this? Here ya go:

State of the Mommy

As you already know, I’ve been dead tired (and unnecessarily cranky from time to time). On the plus side, work is going great and I’m never more than 2 – 3 loads of laundry behind on any given day, which is a HUGE accomplishment in the crazy Chawla household. I’ve been home (staycation) for almost two weeks and am loving it. I haven’t gotten out of yoga pants, t-shirts, and hoodies, guys. I’m still breastfeeding a little bit every day, which makes me really proud (breastfeeding + working full-time is HARD), but I’m looking forward to getting my (social) life back some day. Asher will let me know when that day will come. If you see me in the meantime, hugs, wine, chocolate, back massages, and a “this too shall pass” is always appreciated ;-). If you work with me, don’t worry, I’ll be kicking butt at work again when I return. Work never suffers.

State of the Daddy

I won’t lie. The daddy takes all the sleep deprivation and taking care of Dilan much, much better than I’m ever capable of. He’s so organized, positive, hardworking, and kind. This is why I married him. He keeps me sane. Ladies, be jealous. His company will grow to 18 people next year (next week, actually!) and I beam with pride every time I think of how hard he’s worked for it. If I make it through the next 9 months, he’s one of the biggest reasons for this.

State of the Dilan

Dilan is his usual 3-year-old self: an absolute sweetheart / moody as hell / determined / iffy on dinner pre-schooler. Yep, he recently moved up to pre-school and LOVES it. Much more work for him to do there and he’s learning a ton from the older 5-year-olds in his class. I’m happy for him. At the same time, I know a poorly sleeping baby brother, the holidays, and moving to a new school is a lot to deal with. We hear ya, Dils. We’re taking a big break to help you through all the changes. He does fantastic with going to the bathroom and his vocabulary is expanding every day. I think we couldn’t ask for much more right now (ok fine, sitting still during dinner and going to sleep on time would be nice…).

That’s it. Super quick update. We’re surviving. Asher is growing. I’m thankful for everything that comes our way. Every challenge provides a new way to learn and grow, after all. As far as resolutions for next year (tomorrow!) go, here is my biggest one: to simplify EVERYTHING. Yeah, yeah, I had that as a resolution last year as well, but when you go through a huge move and have a new baby, simplifying things gets lost in the mess and excitement somehow. But this upcoming year, I’m simplifying everything. Getting rid of everything I don’t care about, while keeping the things that make me happy. Because having less to worry about and having more fun never hurt anyone, right? Let me know what your resolutions are and Happy New Year, guys!

PS – this picture: pure joy. One of my favorites ever. We transformed it into a canvas and it’s currently hanging in our toy room downstairs, along with some other favorites. I love to look at it on rainy days like today when the kids are driving me nuts.

dilandasher

Mommy’s Must-Haves #3

When Dilan was 6 months, he broke four of my favorite necklaces while nursing. That boy has some serious arm muscle power. I haven’t worn any of my favorite jewelry since then. I’ve learned the hard (fun?) way and started mommy’s must-haves lists of useful products. This edition contains some of my current favorites. It’s funny how our tastes, attitudes, and preferences change over time. One thing I love about being in my thirties is that I’m so much more balanced, calm, collected, and easy going than I was in my twenties. It’s also a huge help to have a second child close in age to the first one. Your time becomes so much more valuable because of it and it really forces you to focus on what’s most important, and not care about what anyone else thinks (ok fine, this is still work in progress, but I’m slowly getting there…). So with that in mind, here are some products that have made my life easier and more fun lately:

  1. Honest’s Everything Cream Foundation. I’ve never been a big make-up person. I usually throw on some loose face powder and mascara and call it a day. I’ve never worn foundation, except for one or two big events over the last few years. One of them was my wedding. I think the last time I wore lipstick is over three years ago, at my sister’s wedding. Yep, that’s how low maintenance I am when it comes to make-up. I’m lucky to have a husband who is used to my bed-hair- and-yoga-pants look at home and honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. The bright spot is that when I do try to look nice, it makes a big difference. I’m also very cognizant of chemicals in make-up. With that in mind, I decided to try out the Honest Company’s Everything Cream Foundation. I love all their other products and got a $20 off coupon, so why not give foundation another try after all this time? Well, I LOVE how the almond shade looks on my face. It evens it out without having that “caked on” look. It’s not too greasy and not too dry. I’m a big fan. You can find the newly launched Honest Beauty line here: https://www.honestbeauty.com/c/makeup

honestcreamfoundation

  1. Teething necklace by Dimples and Grace. I found this one on Amazon and absolutely love it. Know who loves it more? Eight month old Asher, who is working hard on getting those first teeth out! He loves chewing on this and I love the fact that it’s easy to wash and doesn’t scream “TEETHING NECKLACE”. I love the emerald green as well. It gives a nice pop of color to my mostly black and gray sweater collection 😉

dimplesandgrace

  1. Toms tote bag. What’s one thing I don’t like? All the prep and planning to just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE with two kids. It takes me at least half an hour on a Friday night to gather everything we’ll need to get out on Saturday morning. Enter Toms’ “YOU’LL BE AMAZED AT WHAT THIS BAG CAN DO” tote. It’s expensive, but by purchasing it, Toms paid for the materials and care needed to ensure that one mom somewhere in the underprivileged world has a safe birth. Now that’s awesome. By carrying around this tote with diapers, wipes, extra clothes, etc., I remind myself that I’m lucky to have two healthy kids to gather stuff for in the first place. I’ve never been an expensive purse person. I own two somewhat expensive purses, both bought on clearance, but that’s it. And you know what? That not-so-sexy Tom’s tote is way more attractive to me than either of the brand name ones.

Tomstote

Enjoy your weekend!!

 

3

Well, we made it a full three years. I’m writing this post while absolutely beaming with pride. We went from a colicky newborn who had a difficult time soothing himself to an independent, thoughtful, and smart three year old. For all you new parents out there: there is a light at the end of the tunnel, although it’s difficult to see when you’re so sleep deprived that you can’t remember your birthday (true story). We’re right there with you with Asher right now. But, I wanted to take a break from baby duty to show you what happens when you hang in there for three years or so. We’ve got an excellent sleeper and eater on our hands (partial luck, partial persistence) and so much more to be thankful for every day. Sure there are tantrums and days when all he eats are crackers and cantaloupe (and we’re lucky he always picks a fruit), but those days are minimal and much more manageable at 3 than they were at 2 for us. Things still get messy and chaotic and STUBBORN, but our house is filled with laughter and fun and silliness at the same time. Rather than me telling you about him, I asked him a few questions so he can tell you what 3 is like:

How old are you?

“Threeee” <grins ear to ear>

Favorite color?

“Orange”

Favorite animal?

“Monkey”

Favorite food?

“Banana bread” (Editor’s note: probably because that’s breakfast this week and we just talked about it)

Favorite person?

“Bobo” (his monkey lovey). Daddy is usually ranked right below Bobo, for the record. Everyone else comes after.

Favorite song?

“INK!” (by Coldplay, from the Ghost Stories album – heavily influenced by mommy)

What are you scared of?

“Spiders”

Favorite superhero?

“Spiderman”. Don’t tell me you didn’t see that one coming. He’s smart, but still 3, after all 😉

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“A monster” (probably heavily influenced by Halloween coming up)

What’s the best thing you’ve done today?

“Create pumpkin art, work, see baby Asher”

 

Dils, if you’re reading this later, two things: 1) I’ll be reminding you of how much you loved your baby brother when you guys fight in the future, and 2) you are the best 3 year old EVER. We love you, pickle.

Dilan3

Sangfroid

sangfroid, noun: the ability to stay calm in difficult or dangerous situations. Also: self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain.

Remember that from your SAT vocab days?? Oh sweet memories. I thought about this word the other day because being a new mom of two under three requires A LOT of sangfroid. Like when you think your toddler is choking, but he’s really just faking you out (true story). Or, when he fails to reach a developmental milestone, which he probably should have mastered by now (also a true story). Even if you’re not a parent, I think there a ton of situations in which you can practice to become better at sangfroid. We are beyond blessed as a family to never had to deal with something truly traumatic or excruciating. However (and not to be too much of a debby downer, but you know where I’m going here…), I know that someday I’m going to be thinking about how glad I was that I practiced sangfroid, because it will prepare me a tad bit better for that gloomy day….Are you pumped yet? 😉

Even if you’re not preparing for doom and gloom, I’m still sharing my best sangfroid tips because I hope you may be able to use them on a daily basis. Here they go:

  1. Get really good at task switching. A few weeks ago, I woke up at 2:30 am to nurse the (crying) baby. I then got ready, went to the airport, pumped breastmilk in the restroom at RDU, ate breakfast, jumped on a plane, landed, pumped again at the Chicago Midway nursing room, jumped on the metro, arrived at our SAS office in Chicago at 8:45 am, and presented to a packed room of people at 9:00 am. I jumped back on a plane at 3:50 pm, came back from the airport, walked into our house, took off my heels and nursed our baby to sleep in my work attire at 7:20 pm. Crazy days like that make me feel empowered and lucky to have a mini village (daycare teachers and daddy) to watch the kids while I’m gone. They also make me realize how important it is to be able to switch gears in your head effectively. They prepare you for chaos, even if there is none in sight yet. No one does task switching better on a daily basis than Anil. He’s a startup CEO and a fantastic dad at the same time. It’s my secret goal to be as good as him, one day.
  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Here’s the funny thing: I have to admit that I’m not always prepared, so I won’t preach too much here. But, on the days that I am, things definitely run smoother and I feel so much less stressed. One of the biggest things I do with having two small kids is making sure that I always have water and snacks nearby for everyone. Dilan and I get HANGRY and can’t think straight when our blood sugar levels runs low. Always having something to nibble on makes a big difference in tantrums and everyone’s stress levels. So does carrying the right size diapers and wipes that aren’t dried out ::darts eyes::
  1. Be mindful. When I’m at work or home and things start to get tense, I try to stop myself and think about what the other person must be thinking. Could they possibly be having bad day? Sure, they get snappy at you, but what’s the real reason behind this? You can’t go and over-analyze this in every situation (because you simply won’t have time), but it often does help to think about how everyone is fighting a tough battle and everyone has rough days. A little kindness never hurts and could just make the situation a little better. Unless, you’re dealing with a jerk. Stay away from jerks.
  1. Get personal – down at “eye level”. I’ve been practicing this with Dilan a lot. Whenever I can’t catch his attention (which happens a lot since he is two, after all), I get down at his level and tell him to look me in the eye. I then ask my question or ask him to calm down and this works way better than when I’m simply yelling talking down to him. Great way to interact with kids, not lose your cool, and prevent things from blowing out of proportion.

Now I know I have some seriously hippie yogi talented friends out there. What are some practical things you guys do to keep your sangfroid?

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