In a few recent conversations with friends about one-year-old birthday parties, a theme arose: the one-year-old birthday meltdown. With my own son about to be a year old, I was curious why the one-year-old birthday meltdown seemed inevitable. And as my son approached his first birthday, it all started to make sense – one-year-old development is a chaotic time for both parents and babies alike. Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
It’s amazing how quickly the clothes and toys start stacking up in your baby’s room. My son is almost a year old and we have admittedly amassed more items than he needs. From hand-me-downs and gifts, to things we’ve purchased for him, his collection of “stuff” continues to grow. In an ongoing effort to keep his room tidy and embrace minimalism, I’m sharing my steps on how to easily do so! Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
My son officially turned one-year-old a few days ago. On the one hand, I cannot believe he is already a year old. But on the other, it feels like this was the longest year of my life.
From the very beginning, starting with a 77-hour labor, we experienced challenges with Camilo. We were absolutely relieved and blessed when he finally entered this world after such an enduring labor, but that was just the beginning of our struggles. Next it was acid reflux starting at six-weeks-old, then the emergence of food intolerances at eight-weeks-old; and resulting from both of those struggles was his complete and utter hatred for his car seat, stroller and baby carrier. We were damn near immobile half a year.
And when most babies start to get the hang of sleeping, around three months old, Camilo refused to give me more than 1-2 hour stretches at a time (and that lasted until he was nine-months-old when we finally decided to make some major changes to his sleeping routines and habits). Because of these challenges, the first nine months of Camilo's life were difficult for our family. We were happy and of course loved him more than anything, but as new parents we struggled a lot, and couldn't understand why we were experiencing so much hardship—what seemed to be much more than what most new parent experience. We were definitely in survival mode.
As we enter into Camilo's second year of life, I am happy to report that on most nights, he is sleeping incredibly well and in his own crib! I was able to get his food intolerances under control by following the AutoImmune Protocol for a solid six months, then slowly reintroduced foods back into my diet. I am able to eat everything now, except for dairy and soy. It has been life-changing to have Camilo's food intolerances under control and for him to be sleeping well. He enjoys the stroller and baby carrier now, too. And for the most part, can hold it together in the car if he's fed and has a few toys on hand.
There was definitely a point during the first (hardest) nine months of Camilo's life that I wasn't sure I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It sure is good to have caught a glimpse of that light and followed it. Seeing him develop these last few weeks in particular has been absolutely amazing. I can literally see the transformation from infant to toddler. He's walking and talking, and doing all kinds of amazing things like trying to put on his own shoes, dancing and engaging in imaginative play.
Being a momma is absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is also the most rewarding. When I look at him, I am in awe that my husband and I created him. I am in awe of his personality, his humor, his beauty. Thank you, Camilo, for choosing me to be your momma. Happy Birthday, my son!
Before you become a parent, you have expectations about what it’s going to be like. And of course, because you have parenting expectations, it’s easy to judge others who are already parents when you see them parenting their child(ren) in a way that doesn’t align with your own expectations. But all of that changes when your baby is born. And you suddenly realize there is zero reason to judge any parent for the choices they make in parenting. Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
The holiday season is upon us and I've been thinking a lot about the kinds of traditions I want to pass on to my son. When I was a kid, I grew up celebrating Channukah with my father and his side of the family. And although I never had a bat mitzvah and cannot read Hebrew, I have always culturally identified with my Jewish heritage. On my mother's side with Italian ancestry, we celebrated Christmas. Growing up in my full Italian grandfather's home instilled in me a deep connection with our Italian heritage. And thus, it was never strange to me to honor both cultures and celebrate both holidays. I still very much identify with both of my Italian and Jewish ancestry, and want to instill this identity in my son as well.
Camilo is nearly ten months old and just the perfect age to enjoy the holidays. He's smart and mobile—nearly walking already—and I just know he is going to get excited when we light the Menorah and decorate the Christmas tree.
My husband and I plan to celebrate all eight nights of Channukah, teaching him the blessing we say over the candles, eating traditional Jewish cuisine and opening one gift on each night. As a child, my father always bestowed upon us the gift of music for Channukah. I can remember many years that the gift my sisters and I all opened on the first night was always a CD. One year in particular, we all received a different Beatles album. Although most music is downloaded nowadays and Camilo wouldn't know what to do with a CD other than put it in his mouth, I still love the idea of carrying on the tradition of giving music. Camilo is already in love with music and I know that as the years pass, he will grow to appreciate the gift of music more and more—just as I did when I was young.
For Christmas, my mother always gave us a gift on Christmas Eve (in addition, of course, to our Christmas Day presents). The traditional Christmas Eve gift was always pajamas. She has been doing this for more than 30 years. I am beyond excited to continue this tradition with Camilo! There's something so special about putting on a new, snuggly pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve as you get into bed, excited for Christmas morning. In our Italian family, a lot of our Christmas traditions revolve around food. For instance, when I was a child lasagne was the dish of choice for Christmas Eve. And as I have become an adult, my mother, sisters and I have started the tradition of making quiches for breakfast on Christmas Day. Although this year will be a little different—because I can't eat dairy, gluten or eggs still—I do still want to carry on these culinary traditions in the years to come. Camilo and I won't be dairy/gluten/egg-free forever!
I can still remember the day we brought my son home from the hospital. We somehow managed to come home with triple the amount of stuff we took to the hospital; my dining room floor was a disaster for a week. Our hospital bag was still packed, but open and gone through for things I needed. And the large “goodie bags” from the hospital (full of pads, mesh panties, diapers, receiving blankets, and postpartum healing essentials) were overflowing onto the floor. Lucky for us, my mother-in-law came by after we left for the hospital to tidy up and wash our sheets before we returned home with the baby. But ever since that first day, my house has never been the same. I wasn’t used to new baby chaos... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
When I first got pregnant, I had a lot of anxiety about birth. I was nervous about how my body would handle it, afraid of the pain, and unsure how labor would unfold. I did a lot of work in my pregnancy to eradicate that anxiety. Among exercising, meditating, and reading a lot about birth, I also did a lot of research about doulas; in the end, I made the right decision to hire one... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
When I first became a mom, I had no idea the kinds of challenges breastfeeding could bring. And I certainly didn’t consider that my son might have food intolerances that would bring additional challenges to breastfeeding. But at nine weeks, my son started exhibiting all the signs of having food intolerances. He had blood in his mucus-y/foamy stool, eczema rashes on his skin, was fussy at the breast, and exhibited irritable behavior. The poor little guy was always uncomfortable and crying hysterically in the car seat, stroller, and baby carrier. He was diagnosed with acid reflux (which is often, though not always, linked to food intolerances). It wasn’t until he was 13 weeks old that I connected all the dots. That’s when I started to do research on how to continue breastfeeding a baby with food intolerances... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
You will never be ready for kids. Your life will never be the same. These are the two statements—or some iteration of—that you will hear over and over again before you become a first-time mom. But what they don’t tell you is why you’ll never be ready for kids or how your life will never be the same. You’ll never be ready for kids because they are entirely unpredictable and each baby is unique. You honestly cannot even begin to imagine their needs, because every baby is so different... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
Imagine my dismay when, as a new momma and long-avowed foodie, I learned that my son has food intolerances. A food intolerance is different than an allergy in that it is temporary and more of an irritant to the digestive system, rather than something that causes a severe reaction.
As a breastfeeding momma, the only way to determine a food intolerance and solve the irritation is to go on an elimination diet to determine the trigger food(s), and stop eating it/them altogether. By eliminating potential intolerances from my diet, my son will no longer ingest them via my breastmilk, and in about a month his digestive system should be clear of whatever food that is bothering him.
My understanding is that dairy and soy are at the top of the list, followed by other top allergenic foods such as eggs, nuts, seafood, etc. So, of course I’ve cut all of this out of my diet and then some, just to be sure we solve this issue. Casting a wide net seems like the best approach here, because it’s highly likely that whatever food is bothering him is disrupting his ability to sleep well—and lord knows this momma could use some more sleep after 4.5 months and counting of sleeping in 1-2 hour stretches at night, and catnapping with the baby during the day.
In an attempt to “clean” my breastmilk of allergens and help my son feel and sleep better, I’ve begun living by the Auto Immune Protocol (AIP). This diet, or rather lifestyle, is intense. The AIP is essentially the Paleo diet but even more strict—I’ve also had to remove fish, nuts and eggs as well, because they are top allergens. As a foodie, you can understand my shock in having to live by such a strict diet regime, literally cutting out everything besides fruit, vegetables and meat. It has changed our lives drastically, from how we shop to how much money we spend on groceries to what we plant in our garden, and fully restricted us from eating out. This is just about as intense as it gets for a foodie like me. Not being able to eat out ever is killer. And in fact, I learned the hard way by going out once when I was 2.5 weeks into this diet regime and backslid by accidentally eating a lunch that had dairy in it—boy did I pay for it the next couple days when my son very clearly reacted negatively. Having to hit the reset button and start over in my month-long cleanse countdown was devastating. Lesson learned—no eating out. (Happy to report I am now 2 weeks "clean" on AIP again with no intention of eating out anytime soon. And at least now I know dairy is a major trigger food!)
This drastic shift in my lifestyle has been a challenge for me, because so much of my identity is wrapped up in food and drink. I’ve never lived a life with a restricted diet and it’s hard cooking restricted meals for myself every day. At first, I wasn’t very creative and was making simple dishes, but then I got bored and started to do some research.
I've got a couple cookbooks from the library and Pinterest recipes by my side now, and I’ve taken it upon myself to try and make some delicious dishes—despite all the restrictions. Let me first say that coconut is a lifeline! I use the milk for sauces/bases and the flakes for crunchy toppings. And I’ve learned to get creative with ingredients I’ve never really thought about combining—like apple slices as a burger "bun".
I make a “yogurt” for breakfast out of avocado, mango, strawberries and spinach, with a splash of coconut milk. It’s absolutely delicious, and when topped with fruit and toasted coconut flakes, it mimics a yogurt and granola combo quite well! For smoothies I use frozen bananas as a thickener and opt for coconut milk in lieu of any dairy. For lunch I’m mostly enjoying salads with a ton of raw veggies and grilled chicken on top, or for a quick-fix lunch my go-to is chicken sausage and avocado slices. For dinners, I’ve made a few soups/stews, but generally just cook up a cut of meat and make a side of veggies and/or salad. I’m still looking to expand more for dinners, but it can be tough to spend time scouring recipes when I’ve got a 4.5 month-old demanding every moment of my attention.
As I continue on my AIP journey, I'll be sharing my experiences and recipes. Below is my very-own green breakfast smoothie recipe!