Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Guest Blog: Daddy to the rescue!

Awe, man... I'm so proud of this dude. Here is post #3 from Daddy Bleauxs...
The Dad Post, Part III

Nobody tells you this, but being a father is mostly about being a coach. You’re not only a coach for your kid, but for mom too. I definitely felt like an assistant coach during the whole birth process. You may even call me an offensive coordinator, mostly because half the stuff I did was offensive to my pregnant wife. Sometimes though, the head coach looks to the offensive coordinator to call the play. This definitely came into effect when our whole natural birth didn’t go as planned, but also when we got home.

I took a week off to help with our transition to parenthood. We had a tough ordeal with the emergency C-section, and I was home to help make sure momma was getting enough rest. Kelli and I made a pact when we got married that we would do everything 50-50, so I was just trying to hold up my part of the deal. Our game plan was to breast feed. Kelli had a breast reduction years before, so we were both happy to see her milk come in after the birth. We went home with a confident latch and a good pump. Everything was going fine so we thought, but something didn’t seem right. Our little nugget was getting fussier and fussier on the tit and we were still seeing meconium after a week. We made an appointment with the lactation consultant at Oschner and went to see her on a Sunday morning. We talked and it seemed to her that we were doing everything like we should. However, when she weighed Keegan out of curiosity, he had lost almost 15% of his birth weight. The pediatrician on call asked us to check him back into the NICU.

This was one of those opportunities when the assistant coach is asked to make the motivational speech. Kelli was devastated and she felt like she was letting “the team” down. I had to be there for her and help formulate a new game plan with the doctor. We started our little tough man on formula while Kelli kept pumping to see if we could get her milk production up to where it was needed. Sometimes you just have to scrap a plan if it isn’t working, and eventually that was the decision we made. Keegan made a comeback victory after all and we went home after a day and a new expense we weren’t planning to spend.

Dang formula’s expensive! Diapers too! It’s a good thing that we were given a bunch of diapers at our baby shower, so don’t knock that as a good gift instead of a tutu. The other thing we found out is that all diapers are not equal. We quickly had to figure out which brand of disposables didn’t leak or had the fewest blowouts. It’s bad news when you’re sitting on the couch goo-goo’ing your little angel when a big fart and a squirt of poo shoots out of his bloomers onto your shirt. My poor old father-in-law had that exact thing happen to him. None of my friends ever warned me about that kind of nonsense. Or how to remove onesies full of crap over the head of your baby without smearing it all upside the head. They need to put that kind of stuff on the label. Kelli would get upset with me when I would change Nugget’s clothes because they weren’t cute enough. I wasn’t going for cute. I was going for quickness. I’d set a stopwatch when I started changing a diaper and would put it up against any NASCAR pit crew.

We were blessed with a great sleeper of a son. We ran into the problem of him sleeping too long if there’s such a thing. He would wet through his diaper every night. One of Kelli’s mommy friends suggested trying cloth diapers, which I thought was going to work opposite of what we were trying to accomplish. She borrowed a couple for us to try and bought a shower head bidet that I attached to our toilet. To my amazement they worked wonderfully. My skepticism about having to shake out a turd wasn’t near as bad as I thought either with the help of the bidet and some liner sheets. Next thing you know, we were full cloth diaper converts. I would get weird looks when I’d tell people we cloth diapered, but I would sell it so well that you would have thought I was a lobbyist for the cloth diaper industry. Kelli even talked our daycare into cloth diapering for us too. Away went all the extra change of clothes and the wet sheets.

I also became the baby whisperer. I would come home from work and Kelli would almost be in tears after spending the whole day with a cranky gassy baby. She would hand over the baby to the swaddle master, and Keegan would just melt away in my arms. I think I’ll call that my special teams play. I got that move down pat by practicing on our poor dog Murfy. Keeping with our 50-50 philosophy, I took turns with Kelli on diapers, feedings, baths, and everything. The assistant coach is supposed to support the head coach after all. I had a knack for calming down old Tuffy. Not always though. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to do it during a midnight feeding, or when we were sleep-training him, and I would have to call momma in from the bench. She would show me her tricks that she in her bag too.

One of the best gifts we got from our baby shower was a monitor with video. Kelli was anxious to say the least when we decided to move Tuff into his big baby bed in his own room. I’m not a psychologist, but I’d say it was separation anxiety. She loves him so much that she just wants to see him all the time. It helped with the monitor though. That first week she just about kept it in her pocket everywhere she went, and every little whimper she would turn on the screen to see if he was ok. This was a lot better than going into the room and checking on him every few minutes and possibly waking up. You’d be amazed how long a baby will sleep if: 1. you leave them alone, 2. they don’t wet through the diaper, and 3. you invest in a good sound machine. Kelli got this book from the Sleep Lady, and we were able to coach him to sleep all night… which meant we were able to sleep all night. People are amazed when we tell them that after 3 months, Keegan slept from 10pm to 5:30am, and after 6 months from 7:30pm to 6am.

I don’t know if it was all the free time I didn’t expect from taking off work, but that first week we were home from the hospital, I decided to make a garden. Tuff was born in March so the timing worked out just right too. I planted a garden of tomatoes, squash, zucchini and snap beans. It worked out just right that when we started trying solids out on Tuff, we just pureed what was ready from the garden. We started pureeing fresh fruits and vegetables for and he loved it. He’s definitely a chow hound. We only tried cereal once, and that was a huge mistake. He loved all of the foods that I would have never have eaten as a kid, and he has yet to have a jar of store bought baby food to this day. He became a foodie chow hound and would eat anything you put in front of him, except white potatoes. How could our kid not eat mashed potatoes. No matter, better that he doesn’t actually. We would make and freeze all of his food in ice trays and thaw out what we needed for each day. Once again, Kelli talked our daycare into our hippie ways, and we would show up Mondays with gallon zip lock bags of assorted frozen fruits and vegetables.

This is the majority of year one. I don’t have enough time or paper to describe every single giggle, fart, or crawl that our little man made, but it’s definitely been fun.  There’s not enough film or memory in your camera or phone to capture everything. I even get accused by my wife for not taking enough pictures of her with our son. I don’t think that a camera truly does my memories justice, nor could I properly explain the feelings that I have when my son smiles at me with those big eyelashes and dimples. I just hope that my recall will hold up on me through the years.

There were ups and downs throughout the year, but to all you coaches out there, make sure your assistant coaches are using the same game-plan. You may second guess your decisions sometimes, but parents need to support each other. Try to make a good plan, but remember to be flexible. You only learn how to be a good parent from others, but adjust if someone else’s parenting style doesn’t work for you. You know what’s best for your own child, even if you don’t know it yet.

Everybody is winner in life if you’re looking down at the flowers instead of up at the roots, but if you’re not enjoying your life, are you really winning? Do your best to teach your children how to live right, have fun, and enjoy everything. Every day is not going to seem fun, but you can smile and find enjoyment in any situation, even blowout diapers. Some people would rather have your blowout diaper than no diaper at all. Hold your babies close and tell them you love them every day. Same thing goes for your coach.

If you like, I’ll check in with a random post every now and then to give you the dad’s point of view. Let me see your comments to know how many fans I have out there.

The Eeb


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tuff-man's 16 Month Update

16 months is a strange and incredibly wonderful time for us. It's only been a year and 4 months since I've given birth to my precious angel, yet, it feels like ages ago that we brought Tuff home for the first time. I can't imagine our home ever without him.

Now for my man's update... When mom's say it happens fast, boy does it! Here are my top 5 milestones for 16 months:

1. "What's that?" I have heard this phrase for a month a million times a day. When I pick him up from school, he immediately starts pointing and wanting to know what everything is... The flip side is that he also wants to show mommy everything. "Mommy, 'yook... 'yook mommy..." Another question that is specifically clear is "Where’d it go?"

Of course, adding to the dramatic faces that I receive with each question (not sure where he gets that from???) is very extravagant hand gestures. The pointing finger, big arm circles (when explaining something very important), clinched fists (when something really exciting happens) and a little bit of sassy-hands (imagine Bon-Qui-Qui at 16 months old).

2. "Do you want to help mommy..." Never did I know it would be so much easier to get a toddler to do what you want them to do if you ASK, rather than TELL, them to do it. Nugget-man loves to follow directions, but he gets an attitude when he is tired or isn't into what is going on. However, I've noticed that if I ask him to "help mommy wipe your nose, please" he stops refusing and actually takes the washcloth or Boogie Wipe and wipes his face and nose. Instead of fighting with a tired baby to put night clothes on, I ask him to put in one foot or hand at a time, and he stops crying and lifts one leg… then the other… and then slips his arm into the sleeve, and when his fingers pop out it cracks him up every time.

Watering plants and herbs
 Swiffering the kitchen
Yes, I know, simple concept... and while in extreme conditions this doesn't always work, it's about
95% effective which is about 95% more than I expected. I'm positive the first time I asked the question out loud, it was directed to Jesus in prayer... maybe he gave me my answer! "Ask and you shall receive"

3. Chow hound! I can't help but be so proud of my kid’s eating habits. He eats everything but white potatoes (and that's just fine with me).

He loves to eat. The biggest milestone with meal times is probably his determinedness to use the spoon/fork to feed himself (and anyone else sitting within utensil-reach). He will actually pick items up with his hands and put them back in the bowl so he can try to spoon them out again. If he’s really hungry, he will let you spoon feed him… but most times he wants to do it himself, or all hell breaks loose!

 He totally fed all those fries to the dog, and opted for avocado instead :)
Water day at school
4. Sparkler Free Zone! July 4th was a fun day for us. We played in the pool outside, drew on the walls with chalk, ran through the sprinkler, cooked on the grill and popped fireworks… that last activity was not Nugget’s favorite. My husband was so excited to get him some sparklers and was overly confident Tuff would be AMAZED (me, not so much, but what you gonna do).

Brock started out with the little smoke bombs and whistling chickens, Keegan was not impressed. Out come the sparklers, and while my hubs face was alight with joy, my sons face was flooded with tears of fear! As long as he was sitting on someone’s lap, we were cool. Otherwise, he wanted nothing to do with the fireworks. He much rathered trying to fix my car with his toddler pliers or spraying the dog with the hose!

5. Ascent! I’ve read so many stories and seen so many pictures of toddlers climbing, but they do not prepare you for the moment that you turn your back for 5 seconds while your child plays quietly on the floor with a dinosaur, only to turn back to find that he has fashioned an entire step pyramid out of toys so he can reach atop the back of the couch to get the remote control. He has also started to climb in and out of the bath tub, and will any day be able to seat himself in his highchair.

I love how much fun he is getting to be. Watching his personality evolve amazes me every day! He picks up on things so quickly (good and bad) and sometimes I think he teaches me more than I am teaching him.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Welcome to the toddler house...

Food and crumbles are all over the kitchen floor. On the refrigerator, you likely will see a little green handprint… most definitely from the avocado the night before (or last week). Walking space in the living room is restricted due to a car crash between a tricycle and a fire engine that has also produced several fatalities, including one of the 20 TV remotes and a monkey named Nana. There are 7 rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom, none of which are on the dispenser. In the guest bathtub, the walls resemble an ancient Egyptian ruin… vibrantly colorful with my child’s first works of art (and maybe a list of groceries I thought of while giving the Nugget a bath). There is cornstarch powder on the mirrors, bespeckled with splashes of water which remind me of some kind of cheetah skin. When you sit on the couch, don’t be surprised if it squeaks violently at you (or if you are thrown out of the way by a little person who has been eagerly waiting to find the source for 4 long days). The kitchen table is a collection of diaper bag items, snacks, ingredients for homemade potions, several pairs of shoes and a couple phones of which I am sure my Nugget has pilfered from friends and family (if you are missing one, my bad). There are tiny little socks in every corner, and the ones on my sons feet probably don’t match. If you would like your beer or any other beverage cold, then you need to bring your own ice chest because all 3 of our refrigerators are chock full of milk, eggs, empty Tupperware, miscellaneous jugs, pureed food, a couple deer, half a hog, a truckload of veggies for mommy’s juice fast and some mason jars that I’m not positively sure of the contents. Yes, the milk is separated and you will have to shake it first because it’s raw… Oh, and if you find a little person hanging from the lamp shade or tangled in the mini-blinds, please remove him and place him on the floor so that he can retry whatever it is he was set out on accomplishing.

Yep, my house is a circus… and surprisingly, I don’t mind. 2 years ago, I could not fall asleep at night if I knew there were dishes in the sink, or if I suddenly remembered I didn’t wipe of the counter after cooking. The yard was always cut, the clothes were always laundered and put away, and the bathrooms were scrubbed weekly from head to toe… I had time to relax and watch a movie (on the same day)… I could work out or grocery shopping after work without worry. The winds they are a changin’ and for the better. Honestly, I hardly remember my other life. There was Kelli BC (before children) and Kelli AD (after delivery), and I like this Kelli much better, however big of a mess she may be!
Yes, that is food on the floor, this still kills my husband. That is what happens when a child is learning to feed himself with a spoon and mommy is brilliant enough to fix impossibly transportable foods like small field peas, corn, ground turkey, peaches, blueberries or pasta that roll and slide or can be wedged in the sides of his diaper (for a snack later) and the cracks in the floor. It’s funny, because he is so set on using that damn fork or spoon. If food spills outside the bowl, he picks it up with his fingers and puts it BACK IN THE BOWL! God forbid the husband switches on the table saw or starts the lawn mower at the exact moment li’l Nugget finally scoops a spoonful of veggies, his face lights up like a Christmas tree and his spoon hand instantly flies in the directly of the commotion, flinging whatever was on the utensil across the room and into vases, baskets and other random objects. You can sweep twice a day and still have a smorgasbord of food items in the most random places in your kitchen. If the hands are not immediately washed (which we are trying to teach him before and after eating), then little handprints litter the walls and cabinet doors. It’s impossible to spot them all until you go to get something from that specific place. Then most times I forget to go back to wipe that area because I am being dragged by little hands for a game of Ittsy Bitsy Spider, being begged for a horseback ride or am wopped over the head with the Clorox toilet wand.

We take turns picking up toys, but don’t really see the point on days when we are hanging out around the house. As far as the kitchen table goes, I have no idea what is on it. It’s layered like lasagna with tools and shoes and phones and articles of clothing and diapers (clean, I think) and I can’t keep it clear to save my life… and if it is empty for some special occasion, please do NOT go in the extra bedroom! Another area I can’t keep free is the sink. It always has dirty dishes because we cook and prepare every meal, and to be perfectly honest, I’m to the point of using all throw away dishes and utensils until after the age of 2 to free up some of our time.

It’s not like I’m wearing my underwear inside out and have mold growing in the ceilings, but I have relaxed many of my OCD ways as my Nugget man ventures further into toddler-hood. It’s really too much fun, who’s got time to worry about all that other crap. My husband and I work 50 hours a week… We get up at 5:45am, home at 5:30pm, cook dinner and feed ourselves and watch the toddler propel chunks across the room, clean up and play for 30 minutes, bath time and put him to bed. By this time it is after 8:00pm. We do a little more picking up, put a load of clothes washing and watch So You Think You Can Dance or Mountain Men while posting a couple pictures of the kid on Facebook so family can see what a lovely mess he is and then it’s snuggle (bed) time!
No complaints here, so don’t get me wrong. I am just not sweating the small stuff as much as I used to. Watching him explore and imitate and problem solve completely fascinates me. If my husband is hammering away, you better believe that Keegan is right there beside him trying to do the same thing. If mommy is sweeping, Keegan is right there waiting for his turn to push the dust mop around for a while. He can’t reach the light switch, no problem for li’l KeeKee, he spent about an hour figuring out that he could move the bag of blocks right by the coffee table so he can climb onto the chair and over the back to reach it (he’s also realized that this is a comfy place to take a breather).

He is blossoming into this absolutely brilliant human. While I know our house may be a little messier than what I consider usual, it works for us right now. It’s interesting that Nugget-man wants to help us do a good bit of the cleaning too. I like taking the extra time doing chores because I’m also teaching Keegan how to do them. He thinks they are fun and entertaining, and I’m hoping he continues to think so. If not, at least I would like to teach him the value of picking up. I also like to let him get a little bored so he entertains himself. That is most of how we grew up… no TV or video games for hours on end every day. We played outside, inside, and would make believe we were in far off places or in different worlds. Making a mess and getting dirty play huge parts in play time and in getting creative. I like to think I am being reintroduced to my creative side through my son. I have become too comfortable with all of this new age technology and it truly makes us lazy humans. While I appreciate the technology and the convenience it brings to life, especially when it creates more time to spend with my family, I find keeping it a distance makes our family so much more happy…


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Guest Blog: Introduction to Fatherhood

Every woman knows how hard it is to get your man to talk about his feelings. In asking my husband to do a post explaining our experience from his point of view with getting pregnant, dealing with loss and finally becoming a father, I think I half expected him to just jot some things down and blow it off. I'm 99.9995762% sure that he thought this blogging thing was super easy when he excepted the challenge. Turns out, it's a little harder than he expected to spill your emotional beans out on the table for everyone to see. Instead of one little guest post, he has informed me it will have to be spread out over a few posts which he can put out once a month (I'm thinking this may become a mommy AND daddy blog).

Reading over this post made me both choke from laughing so hard, and choke from crying so hard. I only give this one piece of advice while reading in my husband's hand, he writes the same way he speaks, with a little bit of "twang". So it may help you to understand his humour and vocal style if your put your inner monologue on "country accent" when reading. Hope you enjoy!
The Dad Post, Part II
When it comes to making babies, I knew I had years of practice, but when the spot light was on, how do you turn off all the years of not wanting to make a baby. It seems that it took a little more than practice and setting the mood. I was promptly handed a stop watch, some boxers, and bottle full of vitamins. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind the regular attention, but the stress of failed expectations builds after several months. The attention wasn’t all fun and games either. One of the worst days of my life turned from uncontrolled excitement and anticipation of wanting to see our first child, to looking at a lifeless ultrasound while trying to comfort my inconsolable wife. There I was, standing there with my camera phone ready, filled with confusion, heartbreak and sorrow inside, trying to be strong for Kelli on the outside, all the while the dull forgettable sound of our doctor trying to explain what happened in the background. Then we had to somehow get ourselves together to call our close family and explain that the first grandchild was only a misfortune so far, embarrassed and humbled.
Only when we finally said, “Screw it, let’s quit trying to make a baby,” did it actually happen. We couldn’t have planned the timing any better, conception in the summer to be big pregnant during the winter months. The whole first trimester was filled with skepticism and doubt. With fingers crossed and no camera phones allowed, we revisited the same fateful ultrasound room, with the same poor ultrasound tech to deliver the news. Could this be a sign of déjà vu? Nope, there entered Nugget to the show, dancing around (like he still does to this day). No sex and no name, that’s how Nugget came to fame. We planned to not know the sex until birth, but I hated calling my child “It.” We played around with some nicknames, but one day I called him my little butt-nugget and it stuck, just like he did. We were ready for Facebook to announce that this little nugget is for real and happy to dance around with my wife’s daily dose of all-day Pandora.

Then what? What if we actually have a baby? It didn’t seem real to me except that my wife started changing. I couldn’t feel the kicks and emotions that she was going through, so I guess my paternal nature was delayed until towards the end of the pregnancy. My wife started signing us up for birthing classes, and next thing you know, I had to look up the definition of “doula” because she had set us up a meeting with one. My wife wanted to have a natural birth, and I knew that meant bad news for me. All of the most horrible movie scenes of birth came through my head. I just knew that she would crush my hands, scream obscenities at me, and throw any loose objects in reach. I figured anybody who would willingly stand between me and that was worth the money. I agreed to a doula, but only if I could be the “Dude-a” (LOL). So my wife even made me a t-shirt for Nugget’s birthday.
Next thing you know we needed to start preparing for Nugget’s arrival. I painted the baby’s room different shades of green, and we filled our baby registries with the essentials. That was a plus for not knowing the sex. We got diapers, wipes, and useful stuff as gifts instead of clothes. I started reading up on what to expect, especially on business trips. I don’t know if some guys read baby books to pick up women, but I had more middle-aged women come up to me and strike up a friendly conversation because of it. I might as well have been wearing some BDU’s. I mostly got shared stories, “good for you,” and good luck’s. I never told my pregnant wife about those conversations at the time in fear of having to ride the hormonal roller coaster. I perfected my swaddle, and even had my wife time me as I practiced on our poor dog Murfy. My wife researched and fine-tuned “The Birth Plan”, and we felt ready.
So there we were, counting down to B-Day. Bags packed with the birth plan ready to go. Some of the more unique items I had prepared were tennis balls in a panty hose, honey sticks, exotic massage oils, and a bathing suit. Most of the crap I hauled up to the birth suite wasn’t needed, but better to be prepared than not. Her water broke at home in the middle of the night. She started laboring but was nowhere close to being dilated. We went ahead and took off to the hospital. We had everything planned out, the best doula in the world, and the most natural friendly hospital in the area, but after 28 hours, you can throw all that crap out the window. The grandpas were in the waiting room making jokes, saying “that’s got to be a boy in there, and he’s tough as nails if he makes it through this ordeal, we’re gonna name him Tuff.”
Emergency C-section it was. That was scary as hell too. They whisked my wife away, and the doula and I had to wait for at least 30 minutes before they would let us come into the operating room. My wife was freaking out. I was told to “stay here”, “don’t look at this”, “don’t touch that”, “be careful not to trip there”... All I could do was look at my wife’s eyes, hold her quivering hand, and pray with her, hoping it would all be over soon. Finally they pulled out our little Nugget. All I could do was blush and tell my wife that he had the biggest set of nuts I’d ever seen. She laughed so hard she cried, but we were both quiet after that because he was as blue as a smurf and not crying like I thought he would be. Was this really happening? After all of this work, emotion, and effort, could this life be over as soon as it started? We watched nervously as a team of doctors and nurses worked feverishly to get Nugget going.
Finally, one of the nurses asked me to come over and say hello to my son and see that he’s okay. I stared at my brave little Tuff Man with a smile as it was harder to tell who had a rougher morning, him or my wife. I took a picture and brought it over to my wife to see because she was still in pieces over on the operating table. I got to spend quite a bit of time in the NICU with Tuff while we waited on momma to get put back together. She was heartbroken every minute that she was away; blaming herself for what she felt was a failure on her part for not being able to have the natural birth that we wanted. She was motivated though. She was out of that hospital bed within hours and dragging her IV down to the NICU to see her little man. Once she got there, she didn’t leave. I’m not sure whether it was physically or emotionally impossible, or both, for her. We sat there and all got naked and did a skin to skin group hug.
All the grandparents took turns visiting, and my dad got the gift that he always wanted. He witnessed me change the first diaper when Tuff got out of the NICU. I got pee’d and pooped on, and my dad was fist pumping and whooping saying, “Yes! That’s why I came, right there!” We were all tuckered out after this whole ordeal and felt like we all got pooped on. After a couple of days of not really resting with the all the monitors and regular nurses visits going on, we were finally discharged to begin our little family and really know the meaning of not getting much sleep.

To be continued …..
Daddy Eeb


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tuff Bites: Breakfast for Dinner

Making breakfast for dinner is always fun. I always feel weird about posting recipes because I never (EVER) follow them, I think of them more like guidelines and inspiration.  When I'm actually cooking, every ingredient added relates to my current mood, and the "recipes" for my meals change almost every time I cook. You'll learn as I share recipes that my measuring is not conventional either, I use terms like "pinch" and "handful" because that is how I cook... with my hands!

Having a toddler that eats the way Tuff eats makes it all the more fun, and it has forced me to be so much more open minded about my own palate. Like the ingredients that go into my meals, my favorite food shift from week to week. One week I will be obsessed with mangoes and include them in everything from salad to sandwiches and even eat them dehydrated for an after workout boost. The next week it's bacon, and the next week it's sprouts. Needless to say, my plate is everything but boring.

I have made egg "muffins" when it's just me and Tuff-man on the weekends for breakfast, but they are usually basic (egg, coconut milk, cheese, bacon). This week my taste buds are craving eggs and cheese, and I want them for DINNER. Cheese is a staple in my diet and I could not go a week without it. Eggs are another principle ingredient that I mindlessly add to everything for a creamier, fluffier and richer texture. Seeing a blog post from a fellow blogger earlier this week made my mouth water, and I could think of nothing else (see original recipe here from Multiply Delicious). Then the evil of Pinterest got a hold of my computer and flooded my poor brain with more ideas for these little fluffy angel muffins.

So without further ado, here is the recipe I went with (and the whole family gobbled up):

"Tuff Bites" Ingredient List:
1 chicken sausage, out of casing (we used the apple and mozzarella)
1/4 orange bell pepper, diced
4 baby carrots, grated
handful fresh spinach, finely chopped
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

5 Italian parsley stalks, finely chopped (leaves and upper stems only)
pinch of Mediterranean sea salt
2 pinches of fresh ground pepper (or about 6 grinder turns)

14 rosemary leaves
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/2 C Colby Jack or Parmesan cheese, grated from the block
6 eggs (free rage, cage-free, extra large)

1/2 C unsweetened coconut milk

10 Steps to Perfection:
1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Chop vegetables and herbs, put them all in one bowl on the side

3. Remove chicken sausage from the casing, crumble with your hands and brown in a skillet on med-low (don't for get to wash your hands :)

4. Crack eggs in a mixing bowl and add coconut milk and melted coconut oil.. whisk, whisk, whisk!

5. Using a paper towel or dry (clean) wash cloth, dab in hardened coconut oil and then gently rub the insides of the muffin tin

6. Dump bowl of veggies and sausage into the whisked egg, turn over several times with a spatula

7. Pour egg mixture into muffin tin about 3/4 full each for full size muffin tin, almost to the top for small muffin tin (I find scooping with a small measuring cup makes this easier and reduces the mess)

8. Top each with a pinch (or so) of the cheese

9. Stick in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until you see the cheese bubble and brown up.

10. Let cool after removing for about 3-5 minutes, if you can, then GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GOBBLE!

This recipe is great for little hands if you use the mini muffin tin. I like that I can change this recipe so easily depending what groceries we have and it's still scrumptious! This is a more sophisticated version since it was for dinner, but I would eat them any time of the day. The mixture of the spices and sweetness from the orange bell pepper and apple make your tongue tingle. Then there is the smoky flavor of the chicken, so hard not to eat the whole thing by yourself!
I like pairing it with some Naan bread topped with the remainder of any seasonings I have left over (seen below with a few pinches of parsley and basil, and the rest of the cheese - pop in the oven for 10 minutes, voila!) Another cool thing about these is that I can put a few in the fridge (if any are left) and give them to Tuff for a little snack or pack them in his diaper bag to take with us when running errands. They keep about 24 hours in the fridge.

I really hope you enjoy my first recipe post, and I'm anxious to hear what your favorite "breakfast-for-dinner" food is in the comments below!



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mommy brain ?!@#$%^&*

As I stepped out of my car to walk into work today, I noticed my feet were so comfy...

This is not the first time this happened. In February, on our anniversary, I got all dressed up to go eat at a fancy restaurant, only to look down after our meal and noticed I was wearing these same house slippers "OMG, how trashy?" I thought!

Just this past Sunday, I continued to blow on my slice of orange while deep in thought about rainbows or something... it was not a very hot piece of orange.

Last Friday I put the hot coffee pot in the refrigerator and did not notice until I went to put the coconut milk on the burner... whoops!

Yesterday, when addressing some envelopes for a couple birthday cards I was mailing to family, I stamped them with my company logos instead of my personal addressing and didn't notice until I went to slip them in the PO box - this one not so bad, right?

I have severe mommy brain at least 2 days out of the week, in full view of fellow co-workers and the public (as do I'm sure most of us do).

Please help me feel more normal, and tell me your best mommy brain stories below!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Dad Post, Part I

My wife found her talent, and many others have found her talent as well, including me. Not only is she blessed with the gift of gab, but she can somehow put her wonderful personality on paper too. I didn’t think it was possible. I figured there’s no way you can understand my wife unless you met her in person. I was wrong. I must admit that I have become a fan of the Baby Bleauxs blog that she began. Much like yourself, I’ve found myself wondering when the heck is the next blog post coming. I blame myself. She was waiting on me to write a Dad post.

She began Baby Bleauxs as a way to vent her joys, feelings, frustrations of being a new mother without spilling it all out on me. She has a cache of notebooks, pads, and journals trapped away in trunks, closets, and her nightstand where she has spewed emotion in ink so that she didn’t have to keep it all trapped inside. As my best friend, she usually shares some of her inner most thoughts and life questions with me, but even I am unfit to be a muse for some of this stuff as sometimes I’m the cause of the vented frustration. She gracefully bashes me on paper so she can be sweet to me in person. I don’t mind. No use to keep hammering away at this hard head because there’s not much that penetrates unless its sports related.
When she asked my opinion about her starting a blog about motherhood, I was a little unsure. I guess I didn’t know enough about parenthood to realize there were pleanty of people out there that share the same situations as what we have been through. Now everyone else knows how much of a gem I’ve found. Some might find us unconventional or unusual with the way we are raising our little nugget, but it works for us. Trust me, I had to be talked into the whole cloth diaper thing. I believe she had to talk herself into that one too. She’s always thinking about her nugget and this family first and how to make it better. So I listen when she brings up a new idea or a new product to try. Haha, she’s gonna laugh when she reads the part about me listening, but I do, sometimes. I definitely encourage her creativity and will try anything with her in the name of Nugget. She does so much research before she comes to me, sometimes I can’t find a reason to say no. Deep down I think she’s a born again hippie, but I guess the incense has rubbed off on me too.

As we agreed in the beginning, we are going to go through parenting 50/50. When I promised her that I would write a Dad post, I’m going to stay true to my word. Next time you hear from me, I’ll tell you the Tale of Nugget from Dad’s point of view. The whole first year, from first days to first teeth. All you moms just go easy on me though, and don’t get all sappy either. I’m not as good of a dad as my wife lets on. I’m still in training.

The Eeb

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Birthday... Top 12 for 12 Months

Wow. I haven't written in a long time, so there is so much to talk about... especially if you haven't been keeping up with us on Facebook! So I've decided to cut it to our top 12 from the past month to get you updated on Tuff's first 12 months, starting with...

#12 ALLERGIES: Tubes in, adenoids out! After months of one ear infection after the other and tons of antibiotics, we had enough. Not sure why it took so long for us to ask the Pediatrician about these procedures, but so glad we did. We were doing 3 breathing treatments a day, plus Zyrtec... plus saline nasil wash... plus the aspirator. About two weeks after his surgery, we had a little emergency room scare where he had to be transported to the ER in an ambulance (not that you can tell he wasn't getting enough oxygen from his picture). He is better now, however, due to a crazy pollen season, we are still doing an inhaled steroid via nebulizer every night and the Zyrtec. But we have had to use the aspirator and saline wash less often. Next month, he will be getting tested for inside allergies. Until then, we do what we gotta do.

#11 MOBILITY: There is no stopping this kid when he wants to go somewhere. Sitting and playing is just a pitstop on the way to somewhere exciting, like under the table or on Murfy's bed. He is full speed walking (or running) everywhere. When you hold his little hands, he drags you along with him (head first) where ever it is he wants to go. It's like his body is not moving fast enough for his big ole noggin! Often he falls because his top half is "a-head" of his bottom half. We've had a couple bruised eyes from him wopping his head on a rocking chair or piece of furniture, and just this weekend he got his first busted lip from running through my legs head first. His knees and beautiful face are also scraped from colliding with the concrete when he's traveling at high speed down the driveway or on the playground at school. He doesn't just move across the floor, he's climbing too. He loves climbing on his little rocking chair, or on the step stool for the kitchen. Once he's standing on that stool, you can see his mind racing with ways to get back down. Not fear, of course, but shear curiosity. And he will climb up and get back down 10 times before moving on the the next obstacle.

 #10 COMMUNICATION: He is so much like his Momma, he loves to talk. He'll stand at the speaker by the entertainment center and "preach" to who'll ever listen. He's got his own little language and he's definitely a hand talker, waving his hands in the air as he explores the world of his voice and being able to finally hear clearly. He still signs for a couple things, but he's going through a phase right now where he is verbalizing everything in whatever form suits his mood. I think we kind of laid off the signing for a couple weeks, and it was terrible timing. That, combined with picking up habits from daycare, only proved that keeping up with signing for at least the important things (eat, milk, drink, hurt, etc.) are extremely important for us, not only as parents, but for him.

#9 EMOTIONS: I know every parent says this, but I have the happiest and most entertaining kid. He will do something big (like bonk himself on the head with a spoon) and he immediately looks at us and fake laughs, or puts his hands in the air and screams "TADA"...  He's starting to experiment with negative feelings too, like jealousy. If I'm holding him and Brock kisses me, Keegan pushes his daddy's face away from mine. It's playful 99% of the time. He'll seperate us and then lay over me so Brock can't get to me. We laugh about it and keep it light, trying not to make a big deal about it. He is starting to experience a little aggravation. If he gets a chair stuck on the corner of the table, he will cry and fuss for about 20 seconds and then move on about his business. If he is over-tired and done with the day, he cannot be satisfied. He wants to be held, but he wants to be put down... He wants to be touching me, but he doesn't want me touching him. He wants to lean on me and I can't move or walk off or he starts wailing in disbelief. It's not all the time, or everyday even. But we have noticed his range of emotions are widening, and I find it quite facinating. I try to explain my feelings when I make a face, i reflect the feelings in the books using gestures, and I let him work out most things by himself. He thinks all Mommy's faces are funny and exciting, so we'll see how that goes.

#8 FAVORITE TOYS: Toys are great and all, but they are not as good as carrying around a sock for a couple HOURS waiving it in the air, in the dogs face and dropping it and picking it back up and putting it in a box and taking it out of the box. And then there is moving furniture. He LOVES rearranging the chairs at the dinner table. He knows to pull them out, and then push them around. Outside is probably his favorite place to be. Leaves and rocks are apparently facinating. He's so excited when he picks up one that he holds it up like a trophy and smiles really big. He's fallen over many times from cocking his head back so far in victory. When he's done showing it to the sky, he immediately puts it in his mouth. He just chews on the leaves like they are tobacco (especially mint leaves from the garden). To my knowledge, he doesn't really swallow them. He just chews, and chews and chews until I remove it with my Captain Hook finger. He loves this rubber bracelet that I always wear, and will dedicate an hour of the afternoon carrying it around and showing it to all the furniture. Another of his favorites is anything with buttons or switches or velcro, this is including my iPhone. I really try not to use my phone in front of him because he gets so upset when I put it away. He knows to push the "home" button to make it light up, and he will hold it down so Suri talks to him. He also knows to swipe his finger across the screen to look at pictures, and loves being able to see the other person on the phone if we Face-Time. In fact, he looks so confused if no one is on the screen but I have them on speaker. He laughs and cackles when he hears them talking. 

#7 BOOK WORM: He loves books. I can be folding and putting up clothes in his room, and he will pull every book down from the shelf and flip through them, mumbling and going on like he's reading them, for like 30-45 minutes. Pointing at his favorite pictures and showing me different things. If I sit on the floor in his room, he will drag a book over, sit in my lap and put his hands crossed in his lap, ready for me to begin. It's so cute, my heart just melts every time he does it. He loves the books that have flaps with secret things underneath. He knows where they are now, so he'll turn the page and start fiddling with the flap until he can lift it, giggling with excitement. We still read a book (or two) every night before I put him in bed. Even if he's plum worn out, a short book puts him at ease and only then is he ready for bed.

#6 SOCIAL BUG: He loves people! Lately, it's taken him a couple minutes to warm up to male figures, but when a lady walks in they are best friends. He makes sweet eyes and hugs and snuggles on every woman.  Not just humans, animals too. Him and Murfy are best friends and he loves to "get kisses" from her. She's outside for now, until we get these allergies under control, but he steals moments with her every chance he gets. He will run over to her and sticks his face in her face (his communication for "hello") and Murfy will give him a couple licks. He'll turn to me and giggle and off he goes again.

#5 LEARNING CURVE: I know it's just because he is my son, but he amazes me every single day. Monkey see, monkey do! If I show him something, I may have to repeat it once or twice before he picks it up and tries on his own. He knows how to turn on/off light switches, flip the pages of a book, open/close doors and stuff like that for months. But he's starting to reference sounds and requests with actions. If I start beeping (imagine a dump truck backing up) he will walk over to his bike, sit on it and go backwards. Then he will start making engine sounds and going forward. Put a golf club in his hand, and he starts swinging at the balls on the ground (and your shins if your not careful). If something is on the floor that is mine, he picks it up and hands it to me, then smiles and shrugs his shoulders like " I know, I'm the sweetest boy in the world". I know these are trivial, but he's just learning and picking up things so fast now. Bittersweet is a great word for how I feel - proud that he is becoming so independent and sad that everyday he needs me a little less.

#4 CLOTH DIAPERING: We are still going strong, cloth diapering about 99% of the time. When we use disposables, we still use the Honest brand. Sometimes we get home after a long day and I know it's about 30 minutes before I put him in the bathtub, so I'll put a sposie on him so I don't have to waste a perfectly clean clothie. Sometimes if we go out of town I will use them as well, especially if we are going to get home late on Sunday, because I don't feel like washing a bunch of diapers after a long drive. My grandmother and mother also use sposies  during the day time when they keep him. Nighttime is 100% cloth, no matter whose house he stays at! It is really funny how his wardrobe changes when he goes with them. The cloth diapers are a little bulkier, so the same clothes over a disposable are kind of big and sometimes end around his feet - LOL! Daycare is still great with the cloth diapers, and I'm so glad for them being so open minded.

#3 SLEEPING SCHEDULE: He has been the easiest to sleep coach **knocking on every piece of wood I can find**. Yes, there are nights when he is particularly restless, but it's very rarely an issue. Right after his surgery, I had to rock in the chair in his room for about an hour before he would lay down and go to sleep. I'm thinking because he rested alot that day, and probably wasn't feeling good. He cried a good bit, but I put my hand on his crib and he just lay his head on it and stroked it with his fingers, exhausted and still woozy from the anesthesia. 99.9% of the time, he will just talk to his giraffe or sing while rubbing his Taggie blanket. He's usually asleep by 8:00pm at the latest and wakes up about 7:00am. His daycare did switch him to only 1 nap during the day, which shows sometimes in the afternoon when he gets home... in which I let him take a 20-30 minute nap to hold him over. On weekends he usually takes 2 naps to make up for the sleep, so I usually just follow his lead on Saturdays and Sundays.

#2 TEETH: He is a late bloomer, his first tooth not breaking through until a week before his birthday. However, he's now got a collection of 5 on the top and only 1 on the bottom. Strangest tooth eruption ever, but that's the way he is. I blame the majority of his tempermental attitude on these poor pearly whites on the basis that there is no other pain like mouth pain. And with all these teeth breaking through the skin at one time, I expect him to be somewhat uncomfortable and am proud of him for being in such a smiley mood as much as he is.

#1 DIET: Of course, I saved the best for last. Keegan is a total foodie. He loves food, every kind of food, and when he is hungry you better not get in his way! He has been introduced to everything, even the food that the pediatrician recomended to wait on (peanut and almond butter). His favorites are pineapple, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, prunes and raisins, chicken, pork, tilapia, sweet potato, scrambled eggs and yogurt. But he eats whatever we put in front of him. He also has learned how to feed Murfy. After he stuffs his faces enough, he will give a bite to the dog. He even teases her by holding the food out, and then snatching it back quickly and putting it back in his own mouth and laughing. I tried telling him "no, this is Keegan's food" and he shut down and threw a huge fit. Next time I just went with it, and it actually goes a lot smoother if he shares his food. He offers it a couple times to the dog, but he also offers it to us, and gets a kick out of nibbling on his fingers and squeeling "YUM-YUM-YUM". Finger foods have been so much fun, and I get so excited that we can go to a restaraunt and order him some veggies and sweet potato fries and give him bits of our food. 

So much is changing so fast, so I will try to blog more often. Just in the course of writing this, he has grown and is showing me new things every day. Seriously, I have been using the Facebook page as my daily blog. So go check it out to see regular updates, food tips, what inspires me in motherhood and other fun articles from my favorite mommy bloggers.