Five Must-Have Pregnancy Products

I am one of those people who is super picky about what I put in and on my body during pregnancy. I have to admit that the second time around, I’ve let loose a little, but I’m still pretty conservative when it comes to what I eat and use. Here are my top five favorite pregnancy products. Some of these make great holiday pregnancy gifts as well (except for #1 and 5), so guys, take note for your future mamas:

1. Belli anti blemish facial wash & acne control spot treatment – You know those ladies who have that gorgeous pregnancy glow on their face? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I break out, way more than I normally do and I refuse to use regular acne products due to the scary ingredients in them. Sure, they *should* be fine, but I’d rather not take a risk and choose to go the natural route. The Belli skin scare line was specifically designed for people like me and it actually does help clear up my blemishes. A bit pricey, but you can find it at Buy Buy Baby or Amazon, which means you can use coupons or get Prime Shipping :-D

2. Gap maternity pants – I have a neighbor to thank for these! I had not shopped at the Gap when I was pregnant with Dilan and now wish I did. These pants are the ONLY ones that fit right for me, without making me look larger than I already am. They’re pricey (I’m a bargain shopper when it comes to most clothes), but worth the splurge, especially if you have to look decent in the office or are looking for comfy skinny jeans. I bought a few pairs and will be wearing them all winter. A  great option for maternity tops that don’t cost a fortune is Old Navy.

3.  Honest Organic Healing Balm – I originally used this for Dilan’s adorable booty, since it makes a great diaper cream. The best part is that it’s clear, so it’s not as messy as some other diaper creams. Now that we’re entering winter (or at least, that’s what it feels like), I started using it for my own booty belly as well, and all over my skin really. It’s very thick and feels greasy at first, but then sinks right into your skin and makes it SUPER soft. I love it and you can now find all Honest products that I adore at Target.

4.  Honest Organic Breathe Easy Rub – Like Baby Vicks, but more natural and VERY soothing. I’ve had a stuffy nose since I got pregnant and a good night for me is when I can sleep past 4 AM because my nose isn’t completely clogged up.  This lovely rub keeps my nose clear for most of the night and I don’t have to worry about any chemicals that I’m putting on my skin. I use this on Dilan every single time he’s sick as well. Oh and for you Neti Pot lovers: yes, the saline rinse is wonderful, but not good enough to cut through all my snot. Pregnancy snot is a whole different ball game, y’all.

5. Toms Long Lasting Deodorant in Unscented – All-natural, aluminum-free deodorant that actually works pretty well, especially in fall and winter! You can find this at Target, Walgreens, all over the place really. It’s the only deodorant I found that’s both natural / chemical & preservative free and easy to find.

There ya go! What products do you guys love to you use when you’re pregnant or trying to watch what you wear?

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All About Infant & Toddler Sleep

Infant / toddler sleep has become suuuch a sensitive issue. Everyone has an opinion about it and thinks they know the best way to make your baby sleep (and sometimes, they actually do). Dilan was a horrible sleeper as an infant. We were given the usual advice: to put rice cereal in his bottle, rock him to sleep every night, and swaddle him religiously. Rice cereal didn’t work since hunger wasn’t his problem, rocking him to sleep failed as soon as we put him back down, and he broke out of his swaddle to the point where we had to double and triple swaddle the poor pickle.

After over 6 months of only sleeping 2 to 3 hours a night, we decided to do some serious research into what causes sleep problems and what we could do to help our bundle of sunshine sleep more peacefully. Both Anil and I can handle a bit of sleep deprivation, but I find it particularly difficult to try to code or do anything heavily analytical with such little consecutive sleep. I know six months does not sound like a long time, but when you’re going back to work full-time or have other kids / people to manage at home, it can feel like an eternity. I’ve gathered our favorite bedtime resources below.  If I could do it all over again and didn’t decide go back to work, I would have tried to sleep in the same room longer, or wouldn’t have cared about routines as much as I do now. Snuggling up with a newborn is just heavenly and there is no way you can spoil a baby…until they get around the 4-5 month mark or so. Right around that time, is when the sleep regression started for us. That’s when we seriously started to sleep train. Some prefer to cry it out, but we took five weeks (the “get me a Don Julio shot right now” type of weeks) to  gently teach Dilan how to put himself to sleep. Whatever you do, to me that’s still the key to your infant / toddler sleeping well: teaching them how they can put themselves to sleep when you’re not holding / rocking / feeding them. Unless, of course, you have the time and desire to keep doing this – nothing wrong with that.

But what do I know? I’ve only compiled these resources because they made a huge difference for us and because you asked for them :-). We take bits and pieces from these sites and books and apply the ones we think will work best. Every child has a different personality, so you can’t count on any of these to work perfectly by themselves (unless you have an easy baby). However, string a few of these together and you may just get rest sooner than you think. To Anil and my future self (4.5 months from now!): if you’re reading this, you’re probably up and desperately looking for something new to try at 3 AM. Don’t lose hope. You’ve done this before. You’ve got this.

Sleep Resources (in order of effectiveness for us):

1. Sleep webinars from ISIS Parenting – Hugely helpful. We watched a ton of these while eating one-handed dinners and holding Dils at night. They’re usually 30 mins each, so you can have this running while nursing / pumping / eating.

2. Troublesome Tots – An amazing and realistic blog on all things sleep, and hilarious too!

3. The Wonder Weeks – If you don’t have time to read the book, at least sign up for the wonder weeks alarm. You’ll get an email in your inbox whenever your child is likely to go through a developmental leap. Dilan was just textbook when it came to this and it helped us understand why he had a difficult time sleeping and settling down. I wish they would continue for the toddler years, since we’re sure Dilan is going through a developmental phase this week.

4. The usual suspects: The Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book and the Happiest Baby Books. I’ve read the first book listed, the Happiest Baby on the Block, and the Happiest Toddler on the Block – all great to read before you have your child, or before they grow up. Easier said than done, I know, but good tips in all of these.

My bundle of joy

The Impatient Gender Reveal

I’m probably the most impatient person you’ll ever meet. Really. I finished college 6 months early just so I could skip to the money making phase (seemed more fun at the time). Did it work? Of course not. I graduated early and worked a retail job for the next 6 months. I also volunteered at a soup kitchen during that time. Both great experiences, because they taught me how to stay humble and kind (I try, at least). I then landed my first real job and quickly became stir-crazy again. I got into business school, but attended it part-time in the evenings, while working my full-time job. I simply didn’t have the patience to “waste” those precious early career building years by continuing my education full-time.

My impatience has decreased a lot since having a child (it kind of has to), but I still refuse to squeeze the toothpaste until the tube is entirely empty and I won’t shop at stores where the check-out lines are too long. All this impatience and stubbornness did pay off over time. I do believe you need a certain amount of it to propel you forward in life and make you realize that every single of the 1,440 minutes in the day count. Anil isn’t much better with the impatience. He quit his very comfy job to try his hand at a start-up and you’ll never see him wasting time, not even during the weekend. He’s generally better than me, though. I’m tough to beat.

So there we were at 15 weeks into my pregnancy. Two very impatient parents trying to figure out the gender of our second baby. We just had a 4D ultrasound done and asked the technician to jot down the gender on a piece of paper for us. We waited SIX HOURS to find out, by handing that piece of paper to a local bakery, getting two identical looking cakes made, and then picking up one of them to take home and cut into. It would be either pink or blue inside.  No big party with tons of people for us, because honestly, I simply didn’t have the time to organize anything fast enough. Anil had been traveling and my work load had been taking its toll on me a bit.  Fast forward a few nerve wrecking hours and after dinner, with a bunch of family Skyped and Face-Timed in, we were finally ready to cut the cake. We had our camera rolling so we could capture our reactions.

Boy or Girl?

I am all about balance and would have loved a girl to round out our family. But as we cut that cake down the middle, I suddenly thought of what I’ve really known all along. Dilan is 100% boy. All tractors and bulldozers and wild games. He creates a constant mess and chaos in our house and I secretly love it. He would do so much better having a baby brother and that is exactly what he’ll get :-)

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I may not get the opportunity to be the girl-power role model I would like to be. But in 20 years, I’ll be the mom who will tailgate at football games with my boys. I love beer and football and anything stereotypically boy-ish. I grew up as a tomboy, climbing in doors and playing loads of video games, while my parents reminded me not to scrape up my knees too much. So as we cut that cake down the middle and saw the blue icing amid the chocolate cake, a sudden sense of calm came over me. Surely, it won’t be easy being outnumbered. Dirt and noise and tons of boo-boos. But what a great opportunity to teach myself more patience as our family is growing. And knowing all that I am and all that I’m capable of…I think I’ll fit right in.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Dilan!

Happy second birthday, cutie pie! Whew, what a year it’s been. You run, instead of walk now. You voice your opinion about absolutely everything. You pick out your own clothes, you only drink from a cup if you can do it one-handed, and you never sit still. You’re so independent and at the same time won’t play by yourself without us at arm’s length. It’s nice :-) One day, you probably won’t want us around and I’ll be reminding you of this then!

You’ve made the biggest strides in speech. Mommy almost had to pull over the car on our way to work the other day because you attempted to say “bulldozer”. She laughed so hard because it’s honestly the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. “Mama / dada hug” obviously scores big brownie points with us as well.  You often say “I like it” when daddy makes smoothies for breakfast. It makes our hearts sing because we’ve worked SO hard on speech and language with you over the last few months. I hope it taught you a big lesson: that you never give up in life when you can’t do something at first.

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Smoothies and pancakes are breakfast staples. Your other favorite foods are olives, paneer, pasta, tomato sauces, and rice and beans. You’ll eat all fruits as if they were to run out forever and we never have to convince you to eat meat either. Black olives, though, have gotten to the point where we won’t even put them on pizza or in casseroles. If we do, you’ll eat them all in one sitting and steal them off our plates :-). The result of all this eating is this:

  • Weight: 28 lbs, 8 ounces – 74th percentile
  • Height: 34.5 inches – 48th percentile
  • Head size: 49 cm – 71st percentile

You throw plenty of tantrums, but I think we are better prepared for these than some other parents may be, because you’ve protested if you didn’t like something since the day you were born. So, we’re used to the tantrums, but just need to help you work through them a little better. We’ll get there. They’re not making the two’s terrible, though, as people say. The daily dose of cuteness we get balances them out. Your best friends (by a landslide), daddy & Bobo tend to agree.

Cuteness

You love your daily routine to the point where you’ll now always give “Bobo big kiss” and “Paci all done” when we arrive at daycare. It’s SO cute to listen to. You give us two options when going down the stairs: “Pick up” or “I” (walk yourself). There are so many other daily acts of cuteness that we love, but most of all, we just love having you around. You’ll learn this one day when you have kids yourself. There is something very humanizing about having you. It allows us to slow down and think about what’s really important in life. Mommy often just lets the phone ring when she’s playing with you after work. It’s worth it. There is no amount of money or work satisfaction that can make up for what we’ve experienced with you in the last two years. And for that, we thank you! Stay strong, stay independent, and stay sweet!*

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*And remember: you always have to listen to mommy & daddy because we know what’s best. Yes, you’re stubborn and think you know everything, but we’re way ahead of you with that, buddy ;-)

Mommy’s Must-Haves #2

This month has been absolutely exhausting. The good news is that we have lots of potentially awesome things going on (more on this later!). The bad news is that I’ve had zero time to blog! I have made some improvements in the kitchen as well as in our medicine cabinets that I’ve been wanting to share. Check them out:

1. Earth Pans by Ozeri – I love a good non-stick frying pan. If you’re in a hurry (or in our case, when Dilan fusses for breakfast on a Sunday morning), there’s really no faster way to fry eggs or make pancakes. I use our frying pans more than any other pans because they’re so easy to create one-pan dishes in as well. My big beef with non-stick pans are the chemicals that they’re coated with. Enter the Earth Pans by Ozeri. They’re 100% PFOA-free. What does that mean? They contain no PerFluoroOctanoic Acid, or for us normal people, no nasty chemicals found in traditional cookware that can enter your food. The best part about these pans is that they’re AWESOME and work as well as I had hoped for. A HUGE thank you to my eldest sister for Priming these for me for my birthday!

2. Anil has had a crush on Josie Maran ever since I’ve known him – all of 14 years. I get it, she’s pretty, she’s a supermodel bla bla bla…but who knew she would one day help me get smoother skin?! I still love the Clarins products, but wanted to temporarily switch to face products with less ingredients in them. The main reason is that I’ve had a lot of break-outs lately and just want to stick to some natural products for a while to see if these would help me clear up my skin. It’s still work in progress, but I LOVE Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil light and her Pure Argan Milk. Excellent moisturizers and you only need a few drops of either one every night. It’s a common misconception that you don’t need to moisturize if you already have oily or blotchy skin. Just a few drops of these have prevented my skin from completely getting out of control. Maybe it will all clear up soon. These are pricey, but well worth the money, at least temporarily.

3. Another great kitchen improvement, guys! You may have heard me talk about the Boone high chair and how much we love it. Easy cleanup and it’s SO stylish. Dilan’s been growing (mostly vertically) pretty steadily, though, so it was time for us to move on to…the Prince Lionheart booster seat. My friend Jenny has this at home as well, so I got to see it at her house before getting it. GREAT seat and SO easy to clean as well. He’s been doing great in it and is so proud of washing his hands himself and then walking over to the booster to eat his meal. Highly recommended. Again, not the cheapest, but well worth the money. Or, if you can borrow this from someone, even better!

So this is what I’ve been splurging on enjoying this month. What products have you really adored lately?

 

Nine Ways to Fix a Toddler Dinner Rut

Hey, mom holding the box of mac & cheese with the neon yellow powder in it. Yes, you. I’m not judging. Really. Whether it’s time or money, I understand that you have to bust out the packaged goods from time to time. And maybe all your child will eat is mac & cheese and chicken nuggets. At least you’re feeding him/her. However, if you’re looking to break out of a toddler food rut and get your toddler on the road to healthy eating, I do have a few ideas in mind.

Anil and I are foodies, so we eat a wide variety of foods. We’re also health nuts, but treat ourselves to “naughty” food enough to the point where we don’t lose our minds or binge eat junk food. With that in mind, we’ve been feeding Dilan a wide variety of foods as well since he was about 5 months old. Different cuisines, textures, and tastes. It’s hard to say whether or not he’s just an easy going eater, or, if our efforts to introduce lots of variety paid off. Like most toddlers, he still has his days where all he eats for dinner is cantaloupe and black olives. Happened just this week. But in general, he at least tries to take a bite out of most things we put in front of him. Our meal policy is that he has to try everything. If he doesn’t like it, we don’t force him to eat it, but it will make an appearance again on the menu some other time. You can’t try enough with toddlers.

The biggest reason for not feeding your child healthy foods is often time. I can completely sympathize with that since I have under 20 minutes to cook dinner on a weeknight, with no one around to entertain Dilan while I cook. This often means my actual cooking time gets down to about 5 minutes. It’s beyond difficult, and that’s with only ONE child and an adequate food budget. However, somehow we still make it work. It’s usually thanks to lots of planning ahead on weekends and cutting and marinating ahead as well. Short cuts are a must for us too (hello, Trader Joes!). So without further ado, here are some of our best healthy toddler meals. Some cooked from scratch, some haphazardly thrown together, and some with a million short cuts…but none with preservatives or junk. Enjoy and please let me know what your favorite healthy toddler meal ideas are!

 

Six Years Later

Six years isn’t very long in the grand scheme of things. My maternal grandmother is close to 90. Now that’s a long and impressive life. Six years? Nah. I always try to put things into perspective, but on the other hand, I also think a lot can happen in just six years. This Friday marks six years of marriage for Anil and I. It’s not very long or impressive (or even a round number!), but it’s still so special to us. So what does life look like six years later? A lot has changed…

We’re now averaging about 2 to 3 real dates per year, which also means we eat dinner with food and toddler utensils flying around the rest of the year. Most of our conversations are centered around our toddler, food, technology, start-ups, or family updates. We also talk a ton about baby and toddler poop and circadian rhythms. I consider my evening a win if I have the time to put on lotion, not in peace, but while discussing our meals and groceries for the next week. Oh and car maintenance and insurance too, of course. I haven’t worn lipstick in about 5 years and to this day, don’t know how to put on eyeliner properly. Yep, I’ve got the make-up-less, au natural look down. I sleep in free technology conference t-shirts and pajama pants or shorts every night. Anil does the same (does he have a choice?) and his pajamas and socks are more likely to have holes in them. My hair never looks great without a lot of straightening. Neither of us is crazy about flowers, so you’ll rarely see fresh flowers on holidays or birthdays. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to most flowers. But good food? Loads of it. I know at this point you’re thinking about how unglamorous our marriage sounds. Surely, we must be miserable, right?

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Nope. Not for a single day. I actually love all of the craziness that makes up our marriage. I think it’s largely due to the fact that we both pay attention to small details. We enjoy the ones that matter to us, and (try to) let go of the ones that don’t. We’re pretty in sync on that and never take anything too seriously. It’s helped us a ton, even with a difficult baby, a start-up, and so little free time on our hands. So no, we’re not the couple with the flowers and the fancy dinners at The Melting Pot anymore, but I am still crazy about my hubs. He comforted me when I got food poisoning in New Zealand. He checked my teeth for broccoli during a dinner cruise in Hawaii. He flew to Vegas to keep me company when I had to present for work (ok fine, didn’t have to twist his arm for that one :-)). He rubbed my back for 18 hours during labor. He cleaned up that first meconium diaper (and reminds me of it all the time!). He let me nurse Dilan in his start-up office, as awkward as that was. He told me I would do great on my first day back to work, with a 3 month old in my arms and tears in my eyes. These are some of my toughest, fondest, and most meaningful memories. Six years later, I’ve learned that those small details are way more important than anything that’s filed under “romantic”. They are raw and pure life and they taught me how great of a partner I really have.

I’m sure you guys have similar experiences. Don’t forget them. They’re what makes your bond so strong and fun. Happy sixth anniversary, Anil. It’s been a blast. I don’t regret one single moment we’ve shared over these last six year. Hope you’re buckled up, because I don’t see us slowing down…

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Our 21 Month Milestones

Over three months have passed since our last update and although I can’t say we’re doing bad, this dark cloud hangs over our heads…everyone’s perhaps. It almost feels wrong talking about our lives when there are so many lives that have been lost in Israel and those recent plane crashes, just to name a few places and events. It’s one of those times when the world just seems to be on edge. My prayers and thoughts are with those who are suffering. With that in mind, here are our 21 month milestones, as small as they are compared to what others are going through…

State of the Dilan

I’m pretty sure that if you’re not crazy about your child around 21 months, something’s wrong with you. Dilan is absolutely amazing. He’s big enough to communicate in the cutest way, yet small enough to still have that “baby” feel to him at times. It’s perfect. We didn’t have a well check this month, so no real height/weight/head stats, but it’s safe to say that he’s growing faster than Germany scored those 7 goals against Brazil last month. Dilan’s going to be reading this in a few years and won’t have a clue what we’re talking about, so we’ll fill you in later, buddy.

Dilan’s favorite foods still include blueberries, pears, and bananas. Waffles, pancakes, pasta, lima beans, meats, fried rice, and daal (Indian lentils) come in as close seconds. He’s got a great daily routine down and knows it so well. We LOVE watching him put all his books back in the wicker basket once it’s bedtime. It makes us beam with pride because we worked so hard on his routine and we all just love it. That’s not to say that we don’t take him out of the routine from time to time. We visited the observation deck at the airport today and that was SO worth pushing his bedtime for. He loves planes, cars, trucks, anything that moves really. He said “bye bye train” today after a train went by on our way back from work. I melt when I hear him say things like that, especially since he’s still very slow with talking / vocabulary. But, he’s getting there! Just today, he said “mama play” when I dropped him off at daycare. Not what I wanted to hear.  I played with him for 5 minutes and then it took all the willpower in the world to turn around my car and drive to my office. Even if it’s only 2 minutes away, it seemed way too far. Sometimes it’s hard to be a career mom.

Back to Dilan: He still loves to rough house with daddy and he ALWAYS has to be part of any hug or kiss that he sees mommy & daddy do. It’s adorable. Bobo is still his best friend, closely followed by Thomas the Train, who takes up about 40% of his crib. Another 20% or so usually gets taken up by a Tonka truck. It’s amazing how he still manages to sleep through the night most days. We’ve battled two ear infections, the flu, and second time hand-foot-mouth virus this year. If you have no idea what that is, your child probably didn’t attend daycare. It’s annoying, but makes him so much stronger. The willpower and quest for independence is a struggle some days, but hey, it’s not like daddy and I can’t relate :-) Dils, if we could freeze you in time right now, we would. You are amazing. Please don’t ever stop smiling.

21 months

State of the Mommy

I’ve been doing MUCH better with running more consistently and I think it’s helped my energy levels a ton. I’m not a morning person, so didn’t think waking up before the sun’s around would suit me, but it does. Helps put me in a great mood, too. Sleep is for the weak. Unless you’ve got a newborn, then you’d be willing to pay top dollar for 15 minutes of sleep, of course  ;-). When work’s tough and everyone’s cranky or Dilan is teething, I still have a Don Julio margarita kind of day, but in general, I’m paying more attention to being well. I’m also taking an Ayurvedic class. It’s engrained in our culture, but I’ve heard so many conflicting theories and misconceptions that I decided to explore it for myself. I need something that fits my lifestyle. I learned some amazing things about myself. I’ll share them in a separate post. We made a family trip to gorgeous Punta Cana 2 months ago. White, powdery sand and blue water. It made me feel so refreshed and lucky to have what we do. I still don’t have the toys at home completely under control and it’s still a challenge to cook one-handed dinners, but it’s all work in progress. I do have some pretty good ideas for healthy and simple toddler dinners, so I’m planning to start a Pinterest board for that. Stay tuned! I also saw a chiropractor for the first time last month…another must-have, girls. Turns out that one of my legs is a full inch taller than the other. How hilarious is that. Proof that you don’t’ know everything about yourself after all…

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State of the Daddy

The daddy is traveling again as I type this. He does a phenomenal job balancing his work, which is as nuts as you think it would be for a startup CEO, and life at home. He’s by far the most organized and efficient person I know. It amazes me how much he’s able to cram into a day without losing his head. Today, Dilan spontaneously said “Dada play”. Shows how much of a daddy boy he is. His favorite things to do are taking Dilan to the pool and on bike rides. Those are closely followed by brushing Dilan’s teeth. I’ll have to post a video of this for you guys to understand that one. It’s become a favorite part of our day.

family

With all the horror and terror in the world, it’s nice to remember those little, sweet moments. After all, finding some goodness in life is the only way to keep it going, right?

4 Ingredient Chia Pudding

We’ve come such a long way since the chia pet….or have we?! Chia seeds are back in style. You hear as much about them as you hear about kale and coconut-anything these days. With our juice is loose movement still going strong, we’ve been adding chia seeds to our smoothies every morning. Then I read this post and had to try out chia pudding. Four Ingredients and some minor stirring later, Dilan, daddy and I devoured most of this creamy goodness in one sitting. I followed this recipe almost exactly, but reduced the tablespoons of maple syrup to 1.5. The pudding was still fairly sweet, so I may even try to leave it out next time. I used Silk’s unsweetened coconut milk instead of regular milk, but I’m guessing if you use the vanilla kind that you can just omit the vanilla from the recipe. I also used black instead of white chia seeds. I have yet to hunt for the white ones.

Just to recap: stir together 1 1/2 cups of coconut (or any other kind) of milk, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sweetener (maple, agave, or other), 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla, and 1/3  cup of chia seeds. Pop in the fridge for 4 hours or so and you’re done! The pudding will take on a tapioca kind of consistency. Top it with your favorite fruit and you’ve got yourself a wholesome breakfast or snack.

Now one thing to watch out for are chia seed recalls. Lots of them lately. I found a good site to check for these: http://jillsjuices.com/recent-food-recalls/.

Overall, this was delicious, quick, easy, and so much more nutritious than any type of Jello you’ll find in the grocery aisles. As a bonus, I got to sing the chia pet song to Dilan, which cracked him up. Give this a try and please let me know if you come up with any cool variations!

4 ingredient chia pudding

What’s in a Name & Why I Love Pickles

I wrote this post about 20 months ago…right around the time when Dilan was born and I went on maternity leave. I never got to finish it. I honestly wanted to take that time to just gaze at his huge brown eyes rather than type away on a laptop, which is what my normal working mom day-to-day looks like. Kissing his tiny feet (that are now a toddler size 6.5!) and smelling his barely-there hair on his head were way more attractive than my brand new MacBook Air. So when I finally got some “me” time this week, I decided to complete this post.

A lot of people have since then asked about Dilan’s name. “Why did you guys give him an American name when you’re not American?” and “What’s up with the weird spelling?”. Well, by nationality we are all actually Americans and I’m the only one in our little family who wasn’t born in the US. Regardless, Dilan is more of a hybrid name that combines our beloved Indian roots with other things we love. It means “son of the sea” in Sanskrit and has origins in Welsh and French as well, but we didn’t choose it for the meaning. In hindsight, he does love the beach, so that’s pretty fitting, but we chose it because we love two things: simplicity and hybrids.

Simplicity has been a general theme for us for the last two years now. Way too often, we clutter our homes, work spaces, and thoughts and all that really does is complicate things. We’ve been purging our house for a while now, down to the first world (let’s be real) basics. If we don’t use an object on a regular basis, we donate or sell it. We’ve cleaned up our tasks by using Trello boards and although I can’t say I’m great at this yet, I try to keep my thoughts simple in order not to get overwhelmed. When it came to naming our son, we stuck with the same concept. “Dilan” is a bit simpler than some longer and more elaborate Indian names, but it’s just as beautiful to us.

Hybrids are another huge part of especially my life. I’m Indian by background, with both my parents born in Surinam (look it up on a map, it’s in South America). I was born in Amsterdam, lived on a tiny island called Curacao (next to Aruba!), spent a good part of my teenage life in Florida and finally ended up in Raleigh for work. Some of my best friends are from Venezuela and Trinidad. As a result of all the culture mixes, the name Dilan seemed appropriate. It’s a mix of Indian and other backgrounds. Anil and I love hybrid foods and culture as well. Caribbean cuisine usually tops our list. Flavors of India, France, some of the Asian countries, and the West Indies are phenomenal when you bring them together. Speaking of food, a close third factor that influenced the name Dilan is really my love for Dill pickles. I hated pickles my entire life, but like many other pregnant ladies, craved them my entire pregnancy. I still love them 20 months later.

pickles

So there you have it, dearest pickle. A simple explanation of your name. We hope you always keep this in mind because your name really teaches you two lessons: to keep things simple in life and to always respect other cultures as much as your own. We look at you and can’t think of a better fitting name for you. The real test, however, will be how much you love eating pickles later in life. I can’t wait.

Love,

Mommy

babyfoot