I’ve ranted about food before. Whole foods are best, take time to cook, blah blah blah. And while I don’t think that kids are a free “I don’t have time” pass, the first few weeks (months?) after a baby is born is a TOTAL FREE PASS. Read and remember this – one of the BEST gifts you can bring a new baby is food for the parents. They are tired. One of them has been through a major physical event. I can’t speak to the experience for the other partner, but I think it was fairly intense for him, too. Enter convenience foods. Here’s a guide, which is also applicable to students cramming for finals, people recovering from a major surgery, etc.
My mother-in-law came in August and froze gallons and gallons of a variety of homemade soups. I also froze 2-person portions from dinners I cooked instead of slogging through leftovers. This was invaluable.
I was lucky enough to be asked to review a few new cereals from Post shortly after Owen was born. While I’m not normally a cereal girl (except for my homemade granola, of course), a few buzzwords caught my eye, namely “protein” and “less processed”. The new Great Grains Protein Blend cereal comes in two varieties. Cinnamon Hazelnut was largely gobbled up by my sweet-tooth loving husband and my favorite was the Honey, Oats & Seeds. I loved seeing whole pumpkin and sunflower seeds from a mainstream cereal company with more protein per serving than an egg (6g for an egg vs 8g per cup of cereal). Of course, my inclination is to combine the egg and cereal (not in the same bowl silly!) for a nice hearty breakfast.
For lunch/dinner/snack/whattimeisit? haze, I love love love Amy’s Frozen Meals, too. They have more sodium than I would like but the ingredient list is totally recognizable and they have a ton of special diet varieties like dairy-free and gluten-free. Even if the mom doesn’t need a modified diet, a fair amount of breastfed babies have sensitivities to dairy and/or gluten.
One of our neighbors came over a day or two after Owen was born and casually mentioned, “I just made some pheasant* noodle soup, does that sound good?”. Food? Yes, that sounds good. Don’t be shy, don’t be proud. And reciprocate down the road.
*This is Wyoming. People hunt. Chew carefully.
I feel I have to address the reason for my looong absence from the blogosphere, but I’ll keep it brief. After a fairly difficult pregnancy complete with 8 months of vomiting and a 16-day hospital stay for pre-term labor, the baby went full-term and arrived on a beautiful winter morning without complication. His name is Owen Lowell Drechsel and he is the most amazing thing I have ever done (made?). But enough sappy sentiment. Here’s the knitty-gritty.
I wasn’t sure how intense labor would be for me. After all, I’ve pushed myself pretty hard physically in a variety of climates. It was still pretty intense. But it was also short. 4 hours, start to finish with probably 2.5 hours of super intensity. In the moment, I said some gems like, “How does anyone have more than one kid? You have three!” (to my doula/labor coach) and “I think I want drugs”. The drugs rational went like this: you know when you have a really bad headache and it’s distracting and you’re cranky until you take a loading dose of ibuprofen and poof!, it’s gone and you think “gosh, why didn’t I take that ibuprofen earlier?” I knew that such drugs were nearby and available, but I abstained, which was the right choice for me.
Owen amazes me every day. And I don’t think babies HAVE to have a lot of stuff, but some stuff makes life easier. Here’s my favorites:
1) A swing
This is currently my most useful kitchen item as it actually lets me have extended time to cook. It is also his favorite napping place. I like that this particular swing plugs into the wall, preventing massive battery buying and ensuring that it never has to stop. Ever.
The first toy Owen reached for and still his favorite as it’s easy to hook fingers into. It’s also light enough where he doesn’t mind it bopping him in the face.
Read this review from Amazon By M. Lyon:
I’m more tired than I’ve ever been. I am also a regular coffee drinker for the first time in my life. Bring me caffeine anywhere, anytime and I’ll thank you. But I also have had a long hot bath with a book almost every day since he has been born. I still cook and knit and am getting back into my old active routine with some modifications. It’s both better and harder than people make it out to be. And if you made it to the end of this post but could care less about baby crap, thanks for reading and I promise adventures will resume next week!
Almost forgot: Don’t love Origami? They make helpers for those swaddles! Try a Swaddle Me or for Houdini babies, a Miracle Blanket. See The Happiest Baby on the Block for why a swaddle works (another favorite, but seven isn’t as great of a number as five).
So Mountain Kidd has been lax on the postings lately. As I prepare for maternity leave in my real job, I’ve decided to drop off the face of the earth here as well. But I’ll leave you with a few pearls of wisdom before I go.
First off- all pregnant women are a little crazy. The degree of craziness is dependent on where they are in their pregnancy, but their hormones are doing completely psycho and unprecedented things. This is normal. And you should absolutely bear this in mind when speaking to a pregnant women. Without further delay, here are a few tips on how to talk to prenant women (bearing in mind that sometimes the best thing is to not say anything at all):
This also applies if you’ve never been pregnant. Yes, I realize that most women don’t vomit past the first trimester. I am not one of those women. And having my 80-year-old neighbor say that I should feel better than I have in my whole life doesn’t actually help me feel better. I feel abnormal, which is not nice. I also don’t want to hear labor and delivery stories from 60 years ago. They are scary and generally not representative of how things are now. The fact that your husband brought you cigarettes in the group recovery room in the hospital should clue you in that times have changed.
Someone send me a postcard with this in big bold letters. Because my mail carrier actually said, “Are we gaining weight or expecting?”. Seriously. He said that. There has to be a pun with “going postal on the post man” or something in here…
If the woman is under a doctor’s care, the doctor is monitoring her weight. You are not her doctor. Even “you’re so tiny” can be offensive to someone having a tough time gaining appropriate weight. And asking “How far are you?… But you’re so big!” is guaranteed to be a losing comment. I will harbor resentment towards that woman for many years, or at least the rest of my pregnancy. You can say something like “you look great!” or “I love that necklace!”. That’s about it.
As a general rule, remember the German proverb, “Never give advice unless asked.” I really, really did NOT want to hear that your stretch marks were so bad that they bled. And I kinda don’t believe you. Let the pregnant women clue you in on whether she wants to talk about the pregnancy at all. If your questions are met with recalcitrance, take that as a clue. She’s still a normal person under all that baby and may want to talk about something that non-pregnant people talk about in an attempt to feel somewhat “normal”. Mountain Kidd, over and out.
Disclaimer: The stupid stuff people say to me knows no bounds. I may follow up on this post at some point before giving birth. It may be irrational. The post may include the tip, “Don’t play a song entitled “pregnant women are smug” for a pregnant women.”.
What is it about the human psyche that relaxes when things are “normal”? Sure, “exceptional” might be sometimes desired but mostly worries are assuaged by the term “normal”. At a point in my life (pregnancy) where nothing fits my old definition of normal, I find this particularly fascinating and frustrating.
My old normal is unattainable. That whole “if you did activity x before pregnancy, you can continue it during!” is total crap. I am an aggressive single-track mountain biker. I don’t crash every time I ride, but definitely every season and sometimes every month. Of course this isn’t a good activity to continue during pregnancy. And I have no clue how a climbing harness would fit me now – my normal harness certainly wouldn’t and I don’t see a rapid weight load around my waist being a good idea right.
In the past, I have been critical of mountain athletes that lose their entire sense of self when they can’t ski after a blown knee, for example. They lose their identity as a person and often fall into a deep funk. I now have more compassion for these people. And it turns out it’s not all physiological.
The IMAX film Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk (which I have yet to see due to the utter lack of IMAX theaters near anywhere I have lived) notes that humans are the only animals who seek danger and risk their lives for fun. According to a synopsis of the movie, many extreme athletes have significantly lower levels of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase B. These people have a higher resistance to arousal of certain sections of the brain, meaning that it takes a higher amount of stimulation in order to get the same level of excitement and pleasure others get out of less extreme activities. This makes a lot of sense to me as it would appear that my mother-in-law and husband get this excitement from seeing me stand on the countertops (which I have yet to fall off thank you) while I need a nice exposed arete to get the same high. And of course, we can’t forget about the oft quoted sensitivity to dopamine also present in thrill-seekers.
So for now, I can’t think of a single way to get my monoamine oxidase B OR dopamine fix. My normal has also been changed and I for one am glad to say that this whole “sharing my body” thing is temporary. Yup, I said it – and the “pregnancy is wonderful” police are welcome to beat down my door. If I don’t answer, it’s because I’m cleaning projectile vomit off my shower curtain again. And that’s just not normal.
I am a diverse person. Yes, I LOVE heart-pounding adrenaline inducing sports, but I also love books of all types. Naturally, pregnancy has me reading all about the crazy happenings inside my body and this week (week 25!) brought a new one: the baby is now getting nutrition directly from me (instead of from the placenta)!
While I’ve long been a “healthy” eater, this brings new motivation to eat more whole foods and make the indulgences a little less indulgent. This can be difficult as baking season, otherwise known as fall, has recently descended on my little part of Wyoming. Luckily, this also coincided with a link from a dear friend called, “The 31 Healthiest Foods of All Time,” complete with recipes! I have selected five of my favorite for you, my dear blog reader, to download in PDF form at the end of this post. You’re also welcome to browse the entire article here.
I should caution you: many of these recipes use weirdo ingredients that myself and a few of my “people” (looking at you, Anne) regularly have in their pantry – like ground flaxseeds and chia seeds. This may require a trip to that hippie grocery store in your area, but the health benefits are astounding! Finally, I have left the recipes how I found them, but I don’t personally use much Splenda for a myriad of reasons. I will be substituting Sucanat for Splenda in all of the following recipes in about equal amounts as I like things a little less sweet than the rest of the nation and leaving it out altogether in case of the smoothie. Also, I don’t eat crap like fat-free whipped cream – that’s not healthy.
The download includes recipes from Time Magazine’s Guide: The 31 Healthiest Foods of All Time. Specifically the recipes are: spinach, apple and walnut salad; crockpot oatmeal; whole wheat chia pumpkin pancakes; flourless dark chocolate brownies with walnuts; and a chocolate smoothie with avocado and banana. Enjoy!
Random-Photo-Of-The-Day: Northern Lights shot from a Sept. 30
For the long holiday weekend we met up with friends in the resort town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. While I had visited the ski town before, this marked my first warm weather visit, and more significantly, my first visit since I’ve been a non-resort town resident. My how perceptions can change.
On my previous visits I found Steamboat’s gentle rolling mountains flat in comparison to the stark majesty of my beloved Tetons. While the ski resort stats are not quite as drastic as my blanket statement (Steamboat clocks in at 3,668 vertical feet and Jackson at 4,139), there is no denying the the younger Tetons make a more dramatic rise out of the valley floor. Obviously the mountains haven’t changed much since my last visit, but I have.
At over five months pregnant, I found the rolling green hills to be comforting. Somehow they just seemed more approachable and the lush green valley had an overall welcoming appearance. But the hiking at the ski resort was nothing to sniffle at with more than enough vertical to get my heartrate up in a hurry. However, my real excitement was directed at the dedicated downhill bike trails zig-zagging the mountain. The beautiful banked turns and one-way traffic had me drooling for my bike and a chairlift up the mountain, but since it’s not a biking season for me I was content just to know the option exists for future visits.
Another HUGE plus? The hot springs. Not shocking given the name of the town, Steamboat boasts a number of natural and developed hot springs. Since I need to be wary of water over 100° (it can fry the babies brain cells), the developed pools with handy temperature guide fit the bill for me. More than just a solitary pool, the Old Town Hot Springs has a number of very warm “adult only” tubs with a larger more moderately heated pool, a 25-yard lap pool, two water slides and a complete workout facility indoors (with child care!). The copious flowering baskets and landscaping was absolutely breathtaking and the convenient downtown location can’t be beat.
Final assessment? Steamboat is a pretty nice place to visit and maybe even a nice place to live.
Diet-Breaker-Of-The-Day: Want a cupcake? No? You will now.
Last week, we had company (okay, in-laws) coming in town on Wednesday evening. Wanting the house to be spic-and-span, I had a three-day cleaning approaching mapped out in my head. But on Monday, my sister called asking me to take her to urgent care. However, while we ate lunch and put in phone calls to various medical facilities, the bright red swelling began spreading up her leg and it became clear that urgent care wasn’t going to cut it. Our plan quickly evolved to a visit to the ER and more than a passing acquaintance with our local infectious disease center over the entire week. Suddenly, a little bit of dog hair at the house was the least of my concerns and I was reminded of some other people who seemed to embrace the proverbial dog hair a little more fully.
My many years as a nanny allowed me to observe a wide variety of families at their most vulnerable - at their homes. The last family I worked for probably had a more chaotic house than any I had seen – but they had fun. They spent huge amounts of quality time with their kids and wouldn’t hesitate to leave dishes on the table to make a last-second dash to the general store for ice cream treats. Baths could sometimes go one more day in favor of a sibling backyard soccer game. I never worried about covering the dining room table with frosting drippings because I knew they would value the cookie-decorating experience I had given their kids more than they would worry about the mess. The kids were amazing travelers and took the unexpected in stride. However, their sometimes complicated medical life was highly organized and never neglected, because that’s one thing that really matters. Dirty dishes? Less so.
And that’s how my sister ended up helping me while I shuttled her to various doctors. The real things that matter aren’t a perfectly organized house where you can eat off the floors but people to run, bike, hike, climb, ski and live life with. Very few memorable life experiences come from scrubbing floors.
What is it that makes some people crave safety and control, even in athletic situations (my husband), while others are having the most fun when they’re just on the edge of a complete and total blow-up (me)? Is it something we’re born with or something we develop?
I have one athletic friend who expressed a desire not to have children. When I asked why, his response entailed his mother (Freud, anyone?). His mom was an aggressive biker, skier and all around play-mate with his father. However, after they had kids, she stopped skiing the steeps and toned the biking way, way down. She explained that the consequences seemed too severe. My friend was knew that his eventual partner would also be an athletic woman and wanted her to stay that way.
So is that the key? An understanding of consequences? If so, wouldn’t all the pro skiers who have broken clavicles and femurs tone it down after their injuries? Instead, those that can seem to aggressively tackle physical therapy and often return to heli-ski another day. I myself have broken a few bones and torn a few ligaments, yet those pesky little things have done little to cramp my go-fast style. Instead, I think this comes down to a basic economics concept: cost benefit analysis.
We all have different lines for what we are willing pay for a good or service. Is someone cleaning your house worth $5 to you? How about $500? Is the best cancer treatment worth $10,000? What if it costs $1,00,000? $500,000? For me, the benefit (adrenaline rush, focus, feeling of accomplishment) of riding my favorite single-track faster and faster is worth the potential cost of crashing. Usually (not always), I find the fear of crashing is worse than the crash itself. But even I have lines, and I’ve drawn that at class V whitewater. The risks are high and my enjoyment is not, so I just don’t go on it anymore.
So will this change after I have kids? It’s a possibility. But what will be even more interesting is to see what happens when a cautious and non-cautious gene combine. Stay tuned…
Have you noticed that the adventures have been a little light-core lately? That’s because there’s a bun in the oven. Yup, I’m pregnant.
“But pregnant women can still be hard core!”. Of course they can. But not everyone, and especially not in first trimester, otherwise known as the exhausted puking days (at least for me).
Clearly, this was not “normal for me” and to make matters worse, some women couldn’t wait to tell me how they “were never sick a day of their pregnancy”. This fueled a myriad of not great emotions. If I was completely honest, I would say I felt lazy and had guilt about my laziness, but my body left me no choices. Then I had a heart-to-heart with an ultra-runner mom.
For those of you that don’t know, ultra-runners run 50 or even 100 miles at a time, and not on nice smooth pavement. They run up mountain passes and through mud. For one. hundred. miles. This friend had ran 50-miles when she was unknowingly 4 weeks pregnant. But a few weeks later, symptoms like mine started.
To quote her awesome blog post: “I found myself completely and constantly exhausted. For the first time in my life, allergies seemed to be an issue, making the simple act of breathing laborious. Food also became a difficult teeter-totter between consuming enough of it to sustain myself and my rapidly growing baby, while not taking in too much at once, which inevitably ended in a horrible sprint to the bathroom… Life became a bleak routine of waking up in the morning, going to work, coming home, falling asleep by 7 p.m. and taking care of the most urgent matters on the weekends… I basically abandoned thoughts of sneaking out for a run or taking a week off to backpack in the Wind Rivers. Sometimes I would have to sit down to take a break while walking our dogs around the block.”
Whoa. I couldn’t have said it better. I did occasionally hike and practiced some Pilates and yoga, but I spent a lot more time in bed than ever before. And while I’m feeling better now, it’s not normal Michelle and won’t be for a little while. But not to worry- I’ll just have to get a little more creative with the outdoor adventures while a big new adventure grows in my tummy.
Hurt-Yourself-Product-of-the-Day: It’s a motorized snowboard… for the streets. Probably as much fun and dangerous as it sounds. Check it out here.
It’s easy to look at the athletes competing in the Olympics as something akin to aliens. How do the swimmers get their legs to do that funny wavy thing in the butterfly stroke? And exactly how does one flip upside down in the air and land facing the other direction on a beam four inches wide? The answer: a lot of hard work.
I think it’s easier to dismiss “those people” (Olympians) as genetically predispositioned to their sport. While there is a certain amount of this (can you name a 6’1″ female gymnast? I can’t), a whole lot more of their success can be attributed to complete and utter dedication. Ironically, it was a commercial during the Olympics that drove this fact home for me.
The ad is by Citi (view the 30 second spot above or by clicking here) and goes like this:
“Take a day off? I don’t even take a morning off.
I haven’t ordered dessert in two years.
You know that best selling book everyone loves? I haven’t read it.”
Two years off dessert? Gulp. Sugar and I are no stranger. But it’s not a surprising statement from an Olympian. Sugar is known as an “empty calorie” and athletes need a full tank to perform. The tank looks a lot like fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein, which is how we all should eat. And honestly, I mostly do, but a recent bout of feeling “not great” had me cooking less and reaching for prepared foods more (which is the worst thing I could have possibly done). The difference in how my body felt was marked. I’m not saying that if you eat like an Olympian you’ll be able to do no handed backflips, but you WILL be able to sleep better, have more energy to run, bike, work or chase kiddos and generally enjoy a higher quality of life. Let the Olympians be your guide.
That’s-so-cool/cute-images-of-the-day: Underwater doggie pics!