Baked Sweet Potato Donuts

Lyra is so much fun these days. She starting WALKING about a week ago. At first it was just one step. And then it was three steps. And then TEN! It’s so exciting to see her learn to walk but at the same time I’m like, nooooo! I don’t want a walker. I want her to stay a baby forever. Or maybe just somebody that likes to sleep. She is such an early bird. I thought I liked to wake up early…

Lately, she has been grabbing on to everything, pulling things down, putting everything in her mouth and teetering on the edge of danger. It’s hilarious sometimes the position she gets her self into but other times, like when I’m trying to eat my lunch or drink a sip of coffee and she is lunging at me, it’s not so cute! I’m quickly realizing this is the new norm.

I want to eat things that are healthy so I can feel good about sharing food with her. I saw these Baked Sweet Potato Donuts and I knew they’d be just right! I substituted the whole wheat flour for oat flour and omitted the chocolate glaze. Lyra just eats them up!

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Healthy donuts you actually want to eat

She’s turning one in just a couple of weeks and I plan on making a bunch for her birthday picnic. This year has been a great one. I can’t wait to see her grow, grow, grow! And before I know it, she’ll be 30! Ha.

Life with Lyra: 9 Months In, 9 Months Out

I will probably say this each month, but holy moly where has the time gone!? I’ve been with Lyra for 18 months, sort of. The first 9 months were probably the easiest, ha. She went with me everywhere I went – didn’t cry, slept whenever, and let me have a pretty smooth pregnancy🙂 I remembered thinking how I couldn’t wait to go back to my pre-pregnancy self, but boy was I wrong! I wished I would have relish the time a bit more, especially to sleep and veg out since I don’t get to do any of these things now.

The past 9 months have been a sort of a blur. Last week Lyra and I were at Jiggle Jam (hee, love the name) and I saw an 11-day old baby, 11 DAYS OLD!! The baby was so new and precious sleeping away in his Mom’s arms. I was thinking to myself how I can’t remember when Lyra was that small!!!

Lyra is getting more and more playful each day. It’s so funny how the little things she does excites us the most. Recently, she started to clap two objects together with her hands and we were both like, oh my god, you’re a freaking genius!! Haha, I’m sure all parents go through this.

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Clap, clap, clap

Sleep

Lyra is sleeping much, MUCH better these past two months. She has slept for 6+, 7+ and even 8+ hours at a time at night. It might sound meager but to us it’s nothing short of a miracle considering how she used to wake every hour or hour and a half at night. I don’t know how we survived. Lots of cookies on my end for sure. Though the past three days she’s been giving us a run for our money and acting like she forgot how to go to sleep. Sleep regression? Teething? Growth spurt? Tuesday?

Development

Omg so much has happened developmentally with Lyra. She went from sitting on her own to rolling over, and then not too soon after, she was crawling! It all happened in a matter of weeks which was astounding for us to witness. She is now pulling herself to standing, waving and clapping! My next trick, I mean skill, I am trying to get her to learn is blowing kisses haha.

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Throw me up!

Likes

Her Mommy, most of the time her Daddy too
Watching the bigger kids run around her
Her activity walker
Eating string cheese, apples, eggs, bread, zucchini
Being tossed in the air
Playing with our hair

Dislikes

Napping
Eating avocados, bananas, peas
Having her diaper changed

We’re taking a long trip now – Dallas –> New York –> DC –> New York. I am curious to see how this affects her sleep. Fingers crossed! By the time we get back to SF, she will almost be 10 months old!

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Say bye, bye!

Copycat Love Crunch Dark Chocolate and Red Berries Granola 

When I find something to eat that I love, I really LOVE it. I can eat it everyday for a month straight unlike Chris who hates the idea of repeating a meal two days in a row. Not me. I am a creature of habit when it comes to eating.

I recently discovered Love Crunch. I tried the Macaroon and Dark Chocolate and Red Berries. Both were good, but I became obsessed with the Dark Chocolate and Red Berries. 

I love the combo of coconut, chocolate and the freeze dried berries. Though It was a little on the sweet for my taste so I decided to make my own!  

I wish I could give some to Lyra but because it has honey and chocolate in it I’ll wait until after she turns one. She’s been a really adventurous eater! I basically feed her anything I’m eating. Lately she’s gotten into hummus, pizza (crusts only!), chicken, and kale. 

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YUM

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped freeze dried strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk melted coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla in a small bowl and pour over oat mixture until well combined.
  2. Spread granola on a baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and stir in chocolate chips. Let cool for 1 hour. (This helps create clusters of granola!) Add in freeze dried strawberries.
  4. Store in an airtight container.

Surf, Jam, Live in a Van: Our Trip to Laguna Beach

Wish you were here!

We road tripped it to Laguna Beach this past weekend. It was a loooong ride. It took about NINE hours with all our stops. It’s not easy entertaining a baby that dislikes being in the car seat. Mental note: never do this again.

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We stayed at the Laguna Beach House which I highly recommend! The location can’t be beat – right next to Heisler State Park and just a short walk to the downtown. The staff was very friendly too! They had a pack n play set up in our room before we arrived.

This vacation was definitely very different than our past vacations. We were up at 6am each day (thanks Lyra!) and settled in the for night at 7pm. Though we were still able to do a lot. It was HILARIOUS watching Lyra touch sand for the first time. She absolutely HATED it. We’ve never seen her grip us more tightly than she did when we were trying to place her feet down in the sand. That girl’s grip is iron!

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Chris put her feet in the ocean which she also hated haha. Poor baby. I think she must have felt like we were torturing her.

Laguna Beach was very baby friendly. We saw babies everywhere! We can’t wait to come back with Lyra when she’s older. And able to be in car…

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Conveniences for the Modern Momma

It may be that each generation of parents wonder how the previous generation managed to raise kids without the conveniences they have. I know we certainly do! We’re raising Lyra in the age of Dr. Google and social media for better or for worse. There’s a lot of information to sort through (which is not always reliable) so I do take it with a grain of salt. I find the best part of being plugged 24/7 is seeing that there are other parents facing the exact same situation as us (guilty of searching “my baby only sleeps when held,” “my baby doesn’t nap,” “my baby doesn’t like to be put down” and “HELP”). It opens up this whole community that you may not otherwise have. And we learn that we are not alone.

Though in the same vein, we’re also facing information overload. I sometimes have to snap out of whatever rabbit hole I’m in, and close the computer before my mind explodes. Also when you have parents with opposing philosophies, things can get real snarky and judgey. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Truthfully, my best resources are my mommy friends who have been there, and done that.

The interwebs aside, there are some other conveniences that has made this parenting life slightly easier. Here are my favorites:

  1. Tablo X by Yogibo. It’s a pillow for your iPad! It was great to be able to prop the iPad on my lap especially in the early mornings when I was nursing Lyra and she would fall asleep on me. It allowed me to catch up on my shows (The Bachelor of course – my god, is that all I watch? The answer is YES. P.S. I can’t wait for JoJo’s season!) and read my news feed.
  2. Baby Connect app. I love this app! I can record every feeding, diaper, nap times and more – no more searching for a pen and paper or trying to remember the times in my head. I can also see Lyra’s info as a graph which is nice for us data-minded freaks. Also it allows multiple caretakers to log in and record data so Chris is able to enter in stuff and he can see how Lyra’s day is going from work.
  3. LoopyCases. This is such a lifesaver for me! I love being able to carry my phone with one finger and other stuff with the same hand, like Lyra! The loop also acts as a stand for the phone so it can be propped up which comes in handy if you’re doing something like watching a video.
  4. SnoofyBee Changing Pad. This didn’t really become useful until just recently when Lyra discovered her hands. It helps me keep her hands out of her diaper so I can change her without trying to hold her arms and hands down with my elbow.

Some friends use Owlet for peace of mind. It’s a little sock that goes on your baby’s foot and tracks their vitals. If there are any changes in the baby’s heart rate or oxygen, a red light goes off. They said they like it because they bedshare and it helps them know they are not smothering their baby at night. Looks fancy!

Let me know if you have any other favorites!

It’s Pouring

What is this mysterious substance coming down from the sky?!

Rain!!

I have lived in San Francisco for almost 5 years now and I can probably count on two hands how many times it has rained, like truly, really rain. I’m not talking about light misting, but torrential downpours where you feel like you’re being washed away.

These past few days have been downpours. Lyra and I got caught in it! I never seem to remember that dang ol’ umbrella. It was fun, for like a second. But luckily we were not far from home.

The rain is somewhat reflective of this whole last week. Starting on Sunday, we stretched ourselves a little too thin by trying to do all the things. We planned a hike and brunch in Oakland. Sounds innocent enough, right?

Right.

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@Redwood Regional Park

Except Lyra hardly napped in the morning and so we figured she might nap in the car on the way to Oakland. Nope. OK, well she might take a nice, long nap on the hike. NOPE. Technically she did nap but it was like an itty, bitty one that was more like a really long blink. OK, OK, maybe she will nap on the way to brunch. FINALLY. But it was again, short. Better, but short. She was fine at brunch and even fell asleep on the way back to the city. But we couldn’t transfer her to the apartment without her waking up, as sly as we were. SIGH. Another short nap. She was not a happy camper. Something you learn quickly as a parent of an infant is that shitty naps lead to shitty nights. And it was pretty shitty. We are used to her sleeping a long stretch (~3 hours) before waking for a feeding but that night, she woke up every 45 minutes or so.

The next morning, I thought it was a chance to start anew. Except, she wouldn’t nap. She fought it, HARD. After over an hour of trying to get her to nap, I felt myself bursting into tears. We were both crying at that point. It was very unexpected. Lyra is not an easy sleeper, has never really been- she just doesn’t like to sleep. We both agree she is a lot like me in this regard. But it had never been this hard to put her down before. I felt like I was in some bizarro world and I didn’t know what to do. Am I cut out for this?? After taking a deep breath, I decided nap time would be over and went about the rest of the morning as if she napped. We went to visit my friend who just had a baby five weeks ago and Lyra fell asleep in the carrier on the way there. So that was nice. EXCEPT it was for 19 minutes. At that point, I was like I GIVE UP. The day did eventually get better. (Eating cookies certainly helped.) That evening, Lyra felt hotter than usual. When I took her temperature, it was 100.7 and then an hour or so later, it was 101.9!

Poor Lyra. I realized she was having a hard time just as I was. We did as much as we could to make her feel comfortable while monitoring her temperature. Her sleep did suffer later that night but I actually felt a lot more zen about everything. We did extra cuddles with her to make her sleep easier. She’s gotten almost back to normal now.

When it rains, it pours. The next day my Dad told me Kara, our wonderful corgi, died. I knew her health was on the decline but I didn’t think, or want to think, that she could possibly die. I feel if there is one thing people know me for, is that I LOVE corgis, and I am OBSESSED with my corgi. My apartment is literally a shrine to corgis and my phone’s background and MacBook background is of Kara, not Lyra or Chris. It’s hard for me to explain how much a pet can mean to you to those who do not have any fur babies. But they become your family just as much as any human family member. You might actually like them more than your human family. Heck, I missed Kara the most anytime I went away. She was full of love and the best pup anybody could ask for. Truthfully I have not fully grasped that she is gone. I haven’t given myself much time to think about it since I am focusing my energy on Lyra. I know I will be a ball of a mess soon. Right now, denial feels like an okay place to be.

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Our last selfie.

I kind of wish Lyra was old enough to play with me in the rain. I laughed a little this week when we were caught in the rain. It reminded me of this one time in Boston when my friend Aleks and I were walking across the Commons when all of a sudden a sun shower hit. At first we started running through the park to try and get to Downtown Crossing so we could pop into a store. Then we started to slow down and stood by this tree, which provided no shelter at all, and started hysterically laughing. We were drenched. It was really awful, but so ridiculously humorous at the same time. When the cloud passed, and the rain stopped, we walked, sopping wet, into Wendy’s and ate some burgers. That feeling of just letting the rain fall on me felt wonderfully freeing. I’ll never forget it.

How I Survived The First Six Months of Parenthood

Isn’t retrospect grand? Chris and I spent so much time preparing for the labor and birth of our darling daughter that we didn’t leave much time to prepare ourselves for what we would do after we brought her home! (How hard can this be? Answer: Really fucking hard – Chris’ words, not mine.) Granted, her early arrival didn’t help either but now that we are six months in, this is how we survived (are still surviving):

  1. We put our pre-baby lives on hold. While we adjusted to our new normal, we put all the TV shows, hobbies, constant social media updates, and distractions on hold. When we got home from the hospital, my three main goals were eat, sleep and breastfeed. It was definitely tempting to just jump right back in the swing of things but I think you’ll just burn yourself out. When you make the jump from two to three, everything will change. And even though your newborn will be sleeping most of the time, you yourself, new momma, will need time to recover. When your baby becomes more interactive, you will spend your day playing with her, feeding her, and putting her to sleep…and REPEAT. Today, my goals remain the same except I see it as a win if I can take a shower every other day, brush my teeth at a respectable hour, put on sunscreen, and catch the latest Bachelor episode (#obsessed).
  2. Outsource everything that is possible (at least in the beginning). The first week home we hired a house cleaner. We used Instacart to get staple grocery items. Instead of asking for gifts, we asked our friends to set up a meal train. It was such a lifesaver not having to cook. This statement coming from a person who loves to cook too. We were grateful to spend our time bonding as a new family and not wondering, what’s for dinner? *Though, I must say if we had to do it again, I would specify to friends who want to visit, that 15 or 20 minutes would be great/ideal. We had some friends stay over an hour…there are so many ways you can say “please leave” with your eyes.
  3. Made parenthood our own. Meaning read all the books, listen to well-meaning friends and family tell you their tales and give you advice…and then choose what works for you and make parenthood your own. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time trying to follow the advice of other people and obsessing word for word what our parenting books were saying about our baby. Then we realized, what works for others won’t necessarily work for us. This helped immensely especially since Lyra is not your classic ‘textbook baby.’ And I really hated second guessing myself but once I shut out all the ‘noise’ I was able to be present with Lyra and take my cues from her and TRUST myself.
  4. Practice empathy. There were times (many, many times) when I wanted to clock Chris over the head because of something he did or said. And we would start arguing over a tiny thing that all of a sudden became a big thing. I’m not saying I was perfect or right in all of this – there were times I’m sure where Chris felt I was a raging monster. But when we were both able to practice empathy with one another, and really see and understand where the other person is coming from, it helped us 1) communicate better, 2) realize we are a team, and 3) appreciate each other more.  We also practiced empathy with Lyra! There were many, many sleepless nights where we would just be like go the F*%& to sleep baby! But when we were able to take a step back and think about things from her eyes – as in I want to go to sleep, but I don’t know how – it helped us be more compassionate and patient parents.

We are definitely not experts (nor plan to be) in parenting but we are learning each day. I can’t believe Lyra is growing up so fast already! I remember those first few weeks where she would snuggle and sleep on my chest. I miss moments like those! And as much as I gripe about having to hold her so much now, I know there will come a day when I’ll miss doing that too.

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If you have any survival tips for new parents, let me know!