Tonight at 8:00, my friend, Sarah, reminded me about a baby shower we are going to tomorrow morning for a co-worker. All week we’ve been meaning to get up to Barnes and Noble to buy a few baby books, but I haven’t been able to get away. Until 8:00pm the night before the shower.
Story of my life.
My complaint is this:
When I told Chris that I had to run up to Barnes and Noble to grab a baby gift, he said (and I quote), “Fine.”
No, it was really more like, (heavy, dramatic, irritated sigh) “Fine.”
Nevermind that the kids were in bed. Nevermind that there was nothing going on tonight. Nevermind that I haven’t been out of the house (except for grocery shopping) in two weeks without Chris or the kids. Nevermind all of that.
(heavy, dramatic, irritated sigh) “Fine.”
And I get that sigh every time I have to go anywhere – from the grocery store to the drug store to a girls night out. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing. If I am leaving Chris with the kids – even sleeping kids after bedtime – I get the sigh. And every time I get the sigh, I want to pinch him on the underside of his upper arm. After years of being pinched by my mother in church, I know for a FACT that is the most painful place to be pinched.
There are two reasons that sigh makes me mad. First, I should be allowed to leave my house without my children sometimes. And I shouldn’t get a guilt trip via a sigh every time I do. I am really supportive when Chris gets away from the house. It’s good for him. Everyone needs time to themselves. So, when he wants to play golf (twice this week, by the way…), I am really happy for him. I even insisted he go golfing on Saturday when he wasn’t sure he wanted to go! But when it’s my turn to get out of the house, there’s the sigh.
Secondly – and this one is the biggie – I can’t stand passive aggressiveness. If you’re mad, just say something. If you don’t want me to go, just say it. Then we can argue and move on.
But when there’s a sigh? Then I am faced with the dilemma of either ignoring the fact that I know he’s pissed, making me the insensitive one. Or, asking him if he’s mad, which always prompts a fight, making me the insensitive one.
I CAN’T WIN WHEN MY HUSBAND SIGHS!
We moved into our house on a Saturday and Sunday. That following Monday, Bean Man started school. Normally, I am really big on avoiding too much change at one time for the kids, but the situation was unavoidable. So, we tried to love him up really good during that busy time so that he at least knew that we were constant and stable, even if everything else was changing.
The move into the new house went fairly smoothly for Bean. I think it helped that we spent a few weeks at the house before we moved in. While we were stripping wallpaper and painting, Bean came with us. Spending that time at the house helped him get comfortable being there before we actually moved in. We didn’t plan it that way, but it was a nice transitional period for him.
And then, one day, we were driving home from school and Bean was talking about the “new house” and “home.” He kept asking me if we were going to the “new house” or if we were going “home.” We’d been living in the new house for several weeks, but I guess he was just putting it all together that the new house was now our home. During our conversation while I was driving, I said a few things like, “Well, we’re going home to the new house.” He would repeat what I said, but you could tell he was really trying to think this through.
Then, when we turned onto our new street, Bean suddenly started crying hysterically. He literally just burst out in tears.
“I wanna go home!” he cried. “No new house! Want to go home!”
By the time we pulled into the driveway, he was sobbing and wouldn’t get out of the car. I tried to get him out of his car seat and he started kicking and hitting and crying hysterically, yelling, “No, Mommy! Want to go HOME! Want to go HOME!”
I kept it together long enough to get him inside and calmed down (snacks helped!), but then I called my mom and started crying myself. I felt terrible. What had I put him through?
For about a week after that, Bean had trouble sleeping at night. He woke up crying in the middle of the night sometimes and he cried a lot when we put him down. I spent a lot of time laying with him, rocking him, and talking to him as he went to sleep. Normally, we don’t do that when it’s bedtime. We put him to bed and then we leave the room. But this wasn’t a two-year-old just acting out. You could tell he was scared about being in a new room and we didn’t want him to be scared of our new house. So, we took some extra time with him at bedtime and did a lot of soothing.
At the same time this was going on, Bean was having a tough time at school, too. He was really excited about going to school at first. We talked about it for weeks leading up to it. He started carrying around his backpack at home. And he was super excited when he got to pick out his nap roll for nap time. He actually had a pretty good first week there, too. He liked his teachers and he came home talking about his “fends.” There were the normal amount of tears when I’d drop him off for the first few days (from both me and him), but overall he was taking it like a champ.
But about a week later was when he started having trouble sleeping at the new house and about that time he started having trouble at school, too. He cried harder when I dropped him off and his teachers said he cried a lot during the day. He cried at home whenever we talked about school. He didn’t want to wear his backpack. He was just so sad to see. First, he was sad during the day at school and then he was sad at night because he wanted to go home.
Honestly, it was one of the toughest things I’ve been through yet as a mom. Knowing that your child is sad or, worse, scared and that you can’t do anything about it was heartbreaking.
During that one awful week, Bean woke up in the middle of the night crying, but when I went in to help him go back to sleep, he was burning up. He had a really high fever. Two weeks at daycare and he was already running a fever. Perfect. We kept him home for three days with a fever and runny nose. He was whinier than usual, but we thought maybe that was more from him not feeling good.
When Bean got over his fever, we took him back to school starting this week. He cried a little bit when I dropped him off on Monday, but he was much better than the week before. And as the week went on, he grew more and more confident and comfortable. This morning when I dropped him off, he walked right in and waved goodbye to me like it was no big deal.
Since that second week after our move, Bean hasn’t had as rough of a time. He seems to really like our house, especially his bedroom. Anyone who comes over has to immediately go visit Bean’s room. It’s his rule. And at dinner, he tells us all about how much fun he has at school.
We’re still taking it pretty easy with Bean. He’s getting a lot of extra hugs and attention these days. But I think the worst part of the transition period is behind us. I’m hoping his therapy bills later on in life will be minimal…
I have a confession. I am a butter lover.
I have another confession. I don’t eat enough veggies.
I have a final confession. I don’t let Bean eat butter and I make him eat all his veggies.
It’s warped, but it’s true. The fact is, I just don’t like vegetables. I’ve tried ‘em steamed, grilled, raw, fried…you name it. I’m not a vegetable person. Which is why one of my all-time favorite comfort dinners to make is a one-casserole dish, oven-baked, chicken and rice number with nary a vegetable to be found on the plate. It’s a crowd pleaser, but my momma wouldn’t be happy.
Needless to say, when Country Crock (mmm….buttery spread of goodness…) asked me to make over one of my favorite dishes and include more veggies, I immediately thought of this dish. Heck, adding ONE pea would have been adding more veggies!
I did my due diligence though and discovered that the USDA guidelines for what a meal should include have changed a bit since the food pyramid of my youth which was built on a firm foundation of carb laden bread. Now, your plate should look like this for portions:
Guess my days of chicken and rice are a thing of the past… So, to move into this new age of eating, I decided to make over my basic and beloved chicken and rice recipe to include some, like, healthy stuff. Like carrots. And peas. And corn. And potatoes. And green beans. And whole grain wheat bread.
For the original recipe, I would make two cups of white rice and dump it into a casserole dish with a little salt and pepper. Then I’d throw two (or four) chicken breasts on top and smother them with cream of mushroom soup. Toss that puppy in the oven and bake at 350 for 45 minutes and – voila! – a satisfyingly unhealthy meal that will make you feel all warm and bloated-like.
This time, I decided to kick the rice and instead used diced potatoes for the starch. Better than the empty calories in white rice anyway.
Next, I threw those diced, raw potatoes into a casserole dish and added one can of mixed veggies, which included peas, green beans, carrots, and corn. I also added fresh diced carrots, celery, and onions because I’m from the south and you aren’t REALLY cooking unless you add the Trinity. (Hint: Frozen mixed veggies would work here, too)
Then I popped the top on a can of cream of mushroom soup because I’m from the south and you can’t REALLY make a casserole without cream of something soup. Pour half the can over the vegetables and mix that all around till everything is good and smothered. Be sure to season with salt and pepper at this step, too.
(Hint: If you are more culinarically advanced than me and can make your own rue, that would be a great way to add in some grains. Or, you could make your own cheese sauce and add in some grains and dairy. But, alas, I am a culinary misfit and so cream of mushroom saves me every time…)
Finally, take your chicken breasts (I used boneless and skinless because they were on sale) and brush them with butter or a healthy butter alternative (we’re a Country Crock family ‘round these parts). Place them whole on top of the vegetables. Season these with salt and pepper. Then cover the chicken breasts with the rest of your cream of mushroom soup. Cover and throw that bad boy into the oven on 350 for 45 minutes.
When it came out, it was like heaven on a plate. Seriously. I didn’t even miss the rice and the added vegetables made the meal much more hearty. Chris and I were so excited! When I try something new, we never know if it will actually be edible, but this was delicious! Still though, it had to go through the tiny food critic, Bean. Much to my surprise, Bean gobbled it up. He even ate the chicken, which is a rare miracle since I think he’s decided to be a vegetarian. He did tell me it was “spishy,” so next time I might cool it on some of the pepper. It was a little spicy for the little dude.
Overall though, I was pleasantly surprise that with just a little imagination and thinking outside the box, I actually managed to improve a household favorite by ADDING vegetables! Who would’ve thunk?
My favorite part of the meal though was the Italian multigrain bread with a dab of Country Crock. You can’t make this without a side of bread. What would you slop up all the gravy with?!?!
(Gravy is on that new food pyramid, right?)
County Crock is so excited about the new USDA guidelines and my fine culinary expertise…well, more so about the USDA thing… that they are graciously sponsoring a $100 Cooking.com gift card to one lucky reader to help you buy your own supplies so you can make my recipe.
To enter to win, break out your casserole dish and try out my recipe or try one of your own! Just be sure you are sticking to the new USDA standards and filling at least half your plate with veggies. Then come back here and post a comment telling me what you think. The giveaway will be open until September 30 and I’ll post a winner shortly after.
Good luck and happy cooking!
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When Gracie turned three months old, we started putting a little cereal into her bottles during the day. We did this with Bean to help him sleep through the night, but for Gracie it was to help with her reflux. She spits up so much that we put her on soy formula at the suggestion of her doctor. That formula is thicker and is supposed to stay down a little more. But the soy tore up Gracie’s tummy.
After trying it for a couple weeks, we went back to regular formula instead of the soy and started adding a little cereal to the bottle to thicken it up. We also cut her bottles back from 6 ounces to 4 ounces. We had to feed her more often, but the combination of smaller feedings and thicker bottles worked perfectly. She stopped spitting up so much and her digestive system went back to normal.
At four months old, we started giving Gracie cereal from a spoon. She took it like she’d been eating with utensils for years. Bean always had that darn tongue thrust that made feeding him a messy, frustrating ordeal. But Gracie instinctively knew what to do. After a week of just plain cereal, I started adding baby food to her routine. I remember with Bean I was so lost and worried about feeding him cereal and baby food. I was afraid I’d make the cereal wrong or that I’d mess up the order of the baby food I introduced to him. This time around, I’m much more laid back, but I thought I’d still document what and how we’re feeding her for any first-timers out there who are like me and need a step-by-step manual.
There are a lot of different methods and ideas for introducing your baby to solid foods, but Chris and I always default to whatever our pediatrician recommends and I strongly suggest you do the same. Pediatricians are great resources not just on healthy habits, but on practical ways to do things (like feeding your baby), so just ask if you have questions. Another great resource for advice and suggestions on feedings are your childcare providers, if you have them. They not only know your baby, but have fed lots of other babies, too. I always ask our daycare teachers what they recommend when starting a new feeding routine.
Gracie gets cereal and baby food twice a day (in addition to the 1/2 spoonful of cereal in each of her bottles to thicken it). We try to space them out so that they fill her up at optimal times. Here is her current feeding schedule:
7:00am – Wake up, 6 ounce bottle (bigger bottle because she hasn’t eaten all night)
9:00 – Cereal and fruit
10:00 – 4 ounce bottle
12:30 – 4 ounce bottle
3:00 – 4 ounce bottle
3:30 – Cereal and veggie
6:30 – 6 ounce bottle before bed
When she eats cereal and baby food, I start by putting one scoop of rice cereal into a bowl. I use a scooper from an old formula can just so we’re consistent with measurements.
(Side note: I keep her cereal in a Tupperware container because I like it to be airtight. Plus, it’s a lot easier to dip into it in the container than try to pour it from that little spout, which I always end up spilling…)
Once the cereal is in the bowl, I add a little bit of formula from a bottle.
You hear a lot that you shouldn’t make the formula too thick because you don’t want the baby to choke, but I make mine a little on the thick side for two reasons. First, it seems easier for Gracie to gum it when she can feel it. If it’s too runny, it just dribbles out of her mouth. Secondly, I keep it pretty thick because I add baby food to it and that adds more liquid and thins it out some. I’d suggest trying several different consistencies and seeing what your baby prefers.
Then, I add 1/2 a small container of baby food to the cereal. I mix them together because the cereal tastes pretty bad on it’s own and because the cereal gives the baby food a thicker consistency that seems easier for Gracie to eat.
Mix it all up good. When it’s done, it looks like the consistence of cream of wheat.
When feeding Gracie, I sit her in her Bumbo, but you can also put them in a bouncer seat or non-moving swing. Gracie sits on our kitchen table and eats during Bean’s two snacks (morning snack and afternoon snack), so we’re all sitting together. She likes to be part of the crowd. Also, I find using paper towels to clean her as she eats to be neater than using a burp cloth. When the baby food gets on the burp cloth, I end up accidentally dragging it across everything, getting baby food everywhere. With the paper towel, I just fold it over and wipe, fold it over and wipe, fold it over and wipe, and then throw it away. It seems to make clean up easier for me.
I put just enough in each spoonful that she can gum it, but not a whole spoonful. Otherwise, it’s too much and she just spits it out. She takes a little bit at a time and eats the whole darn bowl!
It’s a little messy, but Gracie loves it!
Every baby eats differently at different times, but this is what works for Gracie Girl. With her reflux, eating has never been a pleasant experience for her, even on good days. But she has taken to cereal and baby food like a champ. She laughs and coos all through her meals and it is really helping to keep her bottles down, too.
I can’t believe how fast Gracie is growing. Rolling over, cereal, baby food… SLOW DOWN, PUFFALUMP! YOU’RE MAKING MY WOMB ACHE, KID!