28 Months & 36 Weeks

I know I said the same thing last time, but I truly believe that this age, 28 months, is just the best age EVER. Who cares about terrible twos and tantrums? Sure, it isn’t easy to go anywhere with a 2 year old without him obsessing or going crazy about something, but guys, the words and phrases that are coming out of his mouth are just ADORABLE. Anil and I talk about how cute he is every single night. Here’s what else is going on with Dilan:

State of the Dilan

Sleep is great as well right now. He sleeps from about 8:30 PM – 7 AM, which is just about perfect for us. Ok fine, I do miss the days when I could sleep in until 9, but those are never coming back, are they? I expect some major sleep regression when the baby is here, so we’re savoring good sleep right now. We had to work on sleep with Dilan big time over Christmas break since he wanted Anil to sit in his room and hum for a full hour or two before he would attempt to sleep. Now, all he needs is his night light, Bobo in his toddler bed, white noise, and the door slightly cracked open to fall asleep by himself. Works for us. He’s been dropping naps on weekends for the last month or so (grrr), but whenever possible, I try to get him to nap in our bed on weekends. I don’t care how bad that is from a consistency perspective, I just want to nap with him, smell his hair, and stare at his beautiful lashes. It’s precious time that we won’t have very soon.

Dilan still eats up a storm every day. Pizza, pancakes, crispy Kale, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, meats, rice dishes and strawberry or raspberry yogurt are among his favorite foods right now. The latter ones have become a food jag since he asks for it at dinner every single night. I’m thinking it will pass soon enough, but if it doesn’t, at least it’s not candy or cake he’s asking for. We haven’t had a well check in a while, but I’m guessing this is where he’s at physically:

Weight: 30 lbs
Height: 36 inches at least?
Head size: No idea

He’s still in speech therapy once a week and will be getting some help with fine motor skills as well. He’s not terribly behind with either, but I’ll have to explain our whole rationale for putting him in therapy in a separate post. Everyone keeps telling me that he’ll catch up and I know he will, but I don’t feel bad about the extra help he’s getting since he’s in daycare and it’s helping him thrive there and at home.

In terms of potty training…he has zero interest. I’m not worried about that one either (someone reassure me here!) and am not going to start it now with a baby and move coming up. All in all, we’re just crazy about him right now. He constantly tries to push the limits, pushes his wants and needs until he’s red in the face, and watches too much Peppa Pig, but it’s all part of being two. He has an opinion about absolutely everything and although it’s annoying at times, I have to give him credit for sticking to his guts and not being easily swayed. It’s a quality that will pay off later in life :-). He also makes split second decision about things, which I think he gets from me since I’m very much the same way. I don’t spend too much time on any given decision, unless it’s majorly affecting other people’s lives somehow. Our favorite Dilan phrases are: “What’s that noooose (noise)?”, “Tapitty (strawberry) yogurt”, and “Bobo get it” (get Bobo for me). You’ll have to hear them in person to fully appreciate these.

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State of the Mommy

I am a pretty good blend between a nervous whale and a calm and focused mom right now. We’re most likely having an SGA baby and that definitely makes me nervous and worried at times. But then again, nothing has been found wrong with me or the baby, which makes me think that maybe we’re just part of the standard deviation with the small baby that someone has to have. A few more weeks (or days) and we’ll know for sure. I’m not afraid of labor pain (18 hours without meds the first time around will toughen you up), but I just want a healthy boy who can breathe on his own. I couldn’t care less about his weight, as long as he’s healthy. In the meantime, I’ve been super slammed at work and will probably continue to be until I go into labor. It’s all fine with me. Our house is getting packed up, we’re getting things ready for a newborn, furniture is getting sold, and we’re closing on our new house in the next two months. Things are SO exciting right now! I keep facing the sun instead of the shadows and telling myself that it will all work out. Cross your fingers for us, ok?

MommyandDilan

State of the Daddy

I don’t think Anil has ever been busier than he is right now. He’s actively working on growing his team while selling and buying new furniture and appliances with me and convincing Dils to brush his teeth (takes about 20 mins on average). He just moved into a new office and continues to do work almost every night until the lights go out. It’s nuts, but he somehow has it all under control. He brings me a giant bowl of Chex cereal every night and to me, that’s just the sweetest thing. I know cereal is about as unromantic as it gets, but when you’re starving at 10 PM, it’s just the nicest thing to have brought to you in bed. It’s really all I want for Valentine’s Day.

DaddyandDilan

7 Ways to Beat the Busy

Ok, I’m not going to lie…I’ve been daydreaming of someone getting Dilan dressed in the morning while I eat a sea salt sprinkled pain au chocolat and get 10 minutes to myself. You guys know how it goes. The third trimester is just tough. You’re running at the same speed as everyone else while you’re growing an entire human being. Sounds simple, but it’s actually pretty amazing…and exhausting. On top of that, I’ve been running behind a (sometimes tantrummy) 2 year old, packing for our move in April, trying to keep things awesome at work, and getting everything ready at home for a newborn. It’s hard not to drop the ball somewhere, but instead of beating myself up about it, I know better these days. I’ve got 7 tips for how to beat the busy…whether you’re moderately busy like me, crazy busy like I hope I’ll never be, or just trying to get your everyday tasks done.

1. Plan your meals ahead. We usually plan dinners for at least the 5 work days of the week, but many times for the weekends as well. This does not mean that you have to cook religiously every day. We do “take-out Tuesdays” and pick a healthy take-out option. It breaks up the week and gives me a break as well. The hubs wants to do “Wine Wednesdays” after I give birth. See why I married him? Sounds awesome, though this mommy really wants to nurse for a while first. We’ll get there eventually. The point is that you won’t feel as stressed when you’ve planned ahead. No one wants to be HANGRY.

2. Grocery shop once a week. Having the time to shop multiple times a week sounds amazing, but we really just don’t. I do one large trip for the entire week. This obviously requires that you’ve taken care of step 1 above. Want to know something else that’s awesome? If you’ve got a Harris Teeter around, you can shop online for a small fee and they’ll bring the groceries to your car. It is by far the best thing ever and I wish every store would do this. I can see this becoming super useful with multiple kids in car seats (and diapers).

3. Simplify breakfast. As I’ve mentioned before, we make healthy smoothies almost every single morning. It’s by far the easiest breakfast you can make because you’re simply throwing ingredients into a blender and that’s about it. You can drink your smoothie on your way to work (or play) and if you get your hands on a good blender, it’s super easy to clean up too. Frozen fruits are life savers, especially during winter.  Added bonus: most toddlers dig fruits and you can sneak in veggies too! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Purge one area per week. After living in the same house for 8 years, I’ve learned one thing: crap piles up. It just does, unless you are really diligent about purging cabinets and dressers. I’ve also learned that it can take ages to get through those plastic cups that used to sit in your dorm room and the useless kitchen gadgets your mother-in-law thinks you have the time to use. The best way to get through it all is to select just one room or cabinet a week and focus on that only. I wish I had done more of this over the years. It sure would have made moving a lot easier.

5. Use a great planning tool. We love Trello. We actually did drop the ball and stopped logging freezer meals a few months ago, but we picked it right back up last weekend. We also log things like furniture findings and purchases, car maintenance, and new home to-dos. It’s great to get that stuff out of your head. Let me know if you need any Trello tips once you try it out.

6. Get house cleaning help. This one is sooo controversial. I had a tough time with it for a while because I CAN DO IT MYSELF, DARN IT! I soon came to realize that getting our house cleaned from top to bottom is one of the best investments we can make. It would take me at least 6 – 8 hours to properly clean on a weekend, but now, I get to spend time with my 2 year old and husband instead. Uh-mazing. Seriously worth considering, especially if you’ve got a household with two full-time working parents. We still clean plenty in between. Don’t believe me? This is roughly what we’re cleaning up on a daily basis and it’s plenty for me:

mess

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7. Nap while you can. Nap time is time-out for adults. It gives you a chance to re-set, maybe think about what you’ve been doing with your life, or maybe just pass out in less than 10 minutes while you drool on your pillow. I think that once you become a parent, you get to appreciate naps much more than you did before. I don’t feel bad about napping on some weekends over the last few months. I know these are some of the last few weeks that I’ll be able to since we have just one child right now. I’m a better mom when I wake up because I had a chance to calm and slow down and sometimes even snuggle up with the 2 year old. And what could be more amazing than that?

Moving On

I can’t believe we’re at the very end of 2014. The first half started out nice and organized. We got Dilan into a fantastic waking-eating-daycare-bedtime schedule that worked like a charm. Lots of work travel for daddy especially, but we worked it all out. Our routines and schedules were just perfect. The BEST part for me was that I finally started waking up a bit earlier a few times a week (5 AM) and running outside. Nothing beats fresh air and being active so early in the morning. I absolutely loved it and can honestly say I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Fast forward to August and I had to give it all up.

At 8 weeks into my pregnancy, I started cramping and was told to discontinue all exercise and not spend too much time on my feet. You’re asking a toddler mom to do this?! Impossible. In the end, I did give up all the running and when the nausea started to settle in right around that time, I never picked it back up. I’ve beaten myself up about it so many times this year. I beat myself up about not exercising enough while pregnant, not cooking as much as I’d like to, and not folding the laundry right when it comes out of the dryer. These and many others are such silly little annoyances in the grand scheme of things. So I decided to move on and celebrate instead.

I’m celebrating a healthy toddler. One who doesn’t know his ABCs yet and isn’t potty trained. But he smiles more than any other child I know and he’s as healthy and happy as he can be. I’m celebrating my husband, who always knows when to extend a helping hand, every single day, at the times I need it the most. And I’m celebrating me. I may not be able to exercise as much as I like, may look like a whale, and may not have the energy to make it through a 2 hour movie. But I do have the energy to kick butt at work and come home to be a smiley and patient mom and wife (ok fine, most days, certain days I’m just HANGRY).

We’re physically moving on as well. Not an easy decision, since we have the best neighbors you’ll ever find and we know we’ll never meet amazing people like them again. But with an upcoming family of four (::squeal::), we just need more space. They just poured the concrete for our new house this week and we talk about how fantastic it will be to finally have a fabulous, brand-new home every single day. It makes me beam with pride because Anil and I both worked so very hard to make this happen.

Most end-of-year posts talk about how to get and stay motivated for the new year. I’m all about a fresh start, but this time around, I’m more about celebrating than anything else. Sometimes you’ve got plenty of motivation and accomplishments…but what’s missing is actually enjoying it all. 2015 will be full of amazing milestones and challenges for us. And by amazing, I mean moving in the middle of potty training a toddler, with a newborn in tow, while having to go back to work. Yep, we like our challenges. It’s what makes life fun and exciting. So before you beat yourself up too much about setting new year’s resolutions you can’t keep, think about the ones that you CAN and already have made happen. And then move on. It’s what I’ll be doing next year.

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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 care 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?

bigbellyme

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 :-)

It's a...

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.

Huge_Smiles

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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