Ginger Mint Tea

Early on in the breastfeeding journey, I discovered ginger tea. This was because my daughter was gassy and read that drinking ginger tea could help settle her stomach. I am not sure that it made any difference at all, but I did find a new good tea that I really enjoy! Since mint is in season, I use fresh to enhance the tea and it makes for a great flavor.

This is a great tea either hot or iced, so it can go either way, depending on what you fancy.


I use this cool teapot I was once gifted, which has a reservoir for loose tea. I placed a handful of mint (about 10 leaves or so) and one Yogi ginger tea bag it and heated up my water (8 cups) 


Something I love about Yogi tea: it always comes with a message. This one is great, right?! 

Anyway, I poured in my water, and then..... 


My teabag burst. Now, I've been making an awful lot of this tea and the past two times I've felt a bit cursed...last time my favorite iced tea pitcher broke when I poured my hot water in (even though I had made it in that pitcher several times before), and this time a burst tea bag. Even though I had it in the special tea pot, I still had to drain some escaped loose tea. 

I let it steep a good long time (read: I totally forgot about it). This was mostly because I was also busy parenting an infant. But if you don't happen to be dealing with a baby, you can let it steep about 10-15 minutes. 


So this nonsense happened; I had to filter it through a coffee filter into a mason jar. 

But it still tasted great. Also, if you are into a little sweetener, you can throw some raw honey into the mix. Do it before adding the hot water, and you'll be in a sweet tea heaven! 




Baby Wearing: A Review of Three Products

Before I had a baby, I didn't even know that "baby wearing" was a thing. But it is, in fact, very much a thing. Now it happens to be a thing I am into because my daughter LOVES to be carried around. At first, I was a little bit worried about constantly carrying her around. So I asked both my mom and my mother-in-law about this who both said that they wore my husband and I when we were babies without giving it a thought!

It seems natural, of course, to have your baby close to you as much as possible, but in today's world there are a lot of voices out there telling you (the parent) so many ways to do it that it can become confusing. Suffice it to say that you have to do what feels right for you. If you like wearing your baby, WEAR THAT BABY! I have found that it makes my days easier, she sleeps comfortably and I can do whatever it is I need to do (like write this blog post, vacuum or even take a nap myself!)

As soon as I started with the baby wearing, though, I quickly found that I wanted to explore products to see which worked best for me. I have been able to try three different products and so I am giving you my review of each one!

The Moby Wrap

These are not THE most expensive products on the market, but they sure aren't cheap either. Coming in around $50-60, I was lucky to have one gifted to me while I was still pregnant. It takes a little trying to figure out how to wrap these suckers, so when I did master the newborn hold, I felt like a million bucks (YouTube was the lifesaver on this front!) I found this was a great product when my daughter was a newborn because she didn't move around that much, and this customizes itself to your baby's size as well as your own. There are also lots of ways to tie this sucker, so you can master different ways to wrap your baby...that assumes you have the patience to do so, though.

What I found as Ruby got bigger, and by bigger I mean like a month old, the Moby worked less well for us. This is because I noticed that she had some "transition time" between when I put her into the wrap and when she settled into it (this has not changed). The problem with this is that you spend all this time getting the dang wrap all tied and perfect, then you put the babe in it and she squirms and squiggles and Bob's-your-uncle, the wrap that was so perfect a mere 30 seconds ago is demolished. Oh the frustration. If you have a more docile baby, then you probably don't have this problem. My baby is a mover and shaker and, apparently, a Moby destroyer.

This is what led me on the search for another baby carrier.



The Infantino Carrier

A friend of mine had been using this front style carrier, and offered to let me give it whirl. I had been looking at the Snugli carrier (which is what my mom and my husband's mom both used) and this was very similar with one great difference: price! This sucker is just $18 on Amazon. So, of course it was worth the try!

Since my baby is still very little, I put a receiving blanket in the bottom so her legs don't come out. I love this carrier because it allows me to make use of both my hands, which is SO important and kind of a luxury at this stage of the game. I find that it can stand up beautifully to when my Ruby fusses when I put her in. This is great for when I'm doing chores, or cooking. The weight is distributed evenly and it's a very sturdy carrier.

The only downside? Sometimes when she falls asleep in it, she leans too far to one side and her face presses on the clips, which are hard plastic. I worry about them leaving marks, although this hasn't happened. I have, however, caught her gnawing at them a couple of time when she's hungry. So, I cover them with sweatbands.

The Balboa Baby Sling (Got mine from Babies R US, also available in more styles on Amazon)

Though I love that Infantino carrier, I knew I wanted a sling. Slings are great and just totally different than the above-mentioned carrier...and good for a different set of things completely. I read a million reviews online for the Balboa slings, and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not, but after getting it in the mail and trying it out, I have to say I LOVE IT!

The material is super soft, which is important for both baby and I. It's also very adjustable, making it great for both my husband or I to wear. Best of all, it seems to be one of my daughter's favorites for two reasons: 1) she LOVES the cradle hold and it puts her right to sleep (I call this sling "the tranquilizer") and 2) she can breastfeed while in the sling--an important feature for when we are out and she needs to be both carried and fed at the same time.

This is great for doing stuff like straightening my hair (because she's sitting lower in it, well away from my flat iron), hanging out, or grocery shopping. Sometimes you have to support the head a little more in this carrier, so for that reason, it's not great for all activities (hence, why I need the other carrier). Some reviewers thought that their child got "lost" in the material of the sling, but I didn't find that to be so and my daughter is a small fry coming in at only nine pounds. I know that this sling will continue to be great for us as she grows, and thats is an exciting feature as well.

Do you babywear? how has your experience been and what's your favorite way to wear your baby? 

Sex, Postpartum

I was pretty open and honest about my sex life while I was pregnant, which I feel is important because a lot of people don't talk openly about it. Also, during pregnancy, a woman's sex drive can vary greatly from wanting it all the time to not wanting it at all...and it's all completely normal! Postpartum, though, you have to take a little break from sex to let your lady parts heal. And after six weeks and a whole other human taking up residence in your home (and at your breast), things have changed.

So I feel that it's important to let y'all know what happens after baby to your sex life. Or at least what happened to mine.

Some of my friends and family said that they were back at their sex life before the six weeks. Me? I took the full six weeks and waited for the midwife to clear me for both sex and exercise. Was it completely necessary? Probably not. I felt completely healed and knew that I was doing just fine. But I was scared. Yes, you read that right...scared.

After having had a couple of small stitches after my daughter was born, I knew that things were, well, a bit tighter than they might have been before all this birth stuff. That simultaneously made me happy (no one wants a nether region that is big as a bucket) and ambivalent (because, obviously, it might hurt.) A couple of my friends warned me, "the first time back is gonna hurt!" So of course I had built it up in my head to be this crazy experience, full of pain. This is somewhat hilarious because I had just been through natural childbirth! What could be more painful than that?!

Nonetheless, the day before my appointment with the midwife, where I knew I would be cleared for sex, I went and bought a big old bottle of lube. I wasn't taking any chances. My midwife said that was a good call. While I was excited for my first sex back, I was also really nervous. I can tell you, I haven't been that nervous for sex since I lost my virginity. Now, it's been a loooooong time since I first had sex, so finding myself so nervous was actually a little bit fun in a weird way.

Here's my big suggestion for your first sexual experience back after baby: take advantage of your nerves. Remember how nervous and sort of giddy you might have been when you first had sex? Well, here's your chance to relive it! I kept saying, "Wait! I'm nervous!" And I totally meant it. Then I would start laughing because I felt sort of silly. My hubby found this all a bit exciting. If you, like me, did not actually lose your virginity to your husband, than it's a bit like getting to do it all over again and give them that "special experience." As I said to my husband, it was like hitting the reset button on our sex life (in a good way, of course).

The build up I had in my head (about the pain) was a bit unfounded. Yes, it hurt a little, but it wasn't unbearable or wholly uncomfortable. My husband was gentle and it was enjoyable. It was more the mental hump I had to jump over in my head, and hey, that was no small hurdle, I'll admit it.

One really cool thing I have noticed is that I am actually MORE sensitive than I was before I gave birth. In fact, right after my daughter was born, when the midwife was stitching me up, I remember commenting to her that my clitorus seemed more sensitive. Turns out, it is! Seems that after having a rocky road with sex during pregnancy, I've gotten a little reward after all! The biggest challenge is actually finding time with a new baby to have sex! Haha.


Homemade Pesto Sauce

I can hardly believe I am admitting this, but I have never made pesto sauce in my adult life. I know. I know. There are several reasons for this. One, you kind of need a lot of basil to make your own pesto. Two cups of packed fresh basil leaves is actually a lot of basil--more than you might think. The real reason though? Pine nuts. Those things are pricey! 

But the time came, I had to bite the price bullet and buy the nuts and make the pesto because I had a ton of basil leaves. That and my husband had a bad pesto sauce experience as a child and it was redemption time. I knew I could redeem his former experience. I consider myself something of a pesto expert, which goes back to the year I turned 13. 

When I was 13 we went to Italy where I had the world's best pesto sauce. I ate it as much as I could over the 10 days we were there and when I came back to the United States, I searched and searched for the pesto sauce that could stack up. Alas, I never really found it. By the time I became an adult, I kind of stopped going to Italian restaurants because I found that I could just make my own stuff. 

So, it's been years since I've had pesto sauce given all these things. My hankering was palpable, and if I was going to bother, I needed a stellar recipe. So I found THIS RECIPE. The great thing about the recipe is that it's simple (which I love) and easy (even better than simple!) I didn't want to mar this recipe with too many ingredients or over complicated directions. It's pesto, not rocket science. That, and, I haven't got a ton of time on my hands here. The only change I made as that I didn't add the parmesan cheese because I have had to give up dairy (I know, this is horrible). 


So I picked a ton of my fresh basil both purple and green. I was kind of afraid that my recipe was going to come out looking slightly gray because of this combo, but I was pleasantly surprised that it came out a lovely shade of green! 


Two good sized cloves of garlic which are made to look even bigger by the angle and size of this picture. Monster garlic! Mwahahaha! 


One fourth cup of pine nuts seems rather conservative to me, but I followed the recipe and really it was the perfect amount. 


So all these things go into the food processor and you get them gooooood and processed. 


Observe. 


Then you add one half cup olive oil and blend that all together. On the link for the recipe, it give directions for freezing after this step. But if you, like me, want to use it right away..... 


Then you add more oil and stir. 


YUM, right???!!?!

I prepared my pasta and tossed several tablespoons of my pesto in there. It was perfect! My husband got to top his with cheese, and I looked on in envy. There was plenty leftover too, and I was happy to slather this on practically EVERYTHING. One of my favorites was the pesto on toast topped with avocado and a fried egg. Seriously, just try that! 
Also, mixing some of the pesto with a little red sauce and tossing with pasta is a winning combo. 



Let's Talk: Breastfeeding


Before my daughter was born, I thought that breastfeeding was going to be this natural and wonderful thing that just happened and made me have all these lovely feelings. And that’s been sort of true and sort of not true. On the one hand, breastfeeding for us was in easy in that after her birth, Ruby went straight to the boob and latched on very easily. This, I know, is a major battle won. What I didn’t expect? That breastfeeding (at least in the beginning) would be emotionally difficult for me.

Having a newborn is a huge life changer. I knew it would be, but I wasn’t prepared for the demands that would be placed upon me. Breastfeeding adds an extra layer to this equation. A newborn needs their parents, and especially mom if they are breastfeeding, 24 hours a day. They are these tiny little developing pods that demand constant attention. Sure, they sleep a lot, but these moments of slumber find a new parent starring in awe until they wake again and then you think, “Where did the last two hours go?!”

With breastfeeding being constant throughout the day and the night, I found it was a challenge for me coming to grips that there was a person who needed me and was constantly hanging off my chest. That, and, for some reason I found everything mildly terrifying. First, it was my milk coming in. Holy cow, that is a scary occurrence if ever I experienced one! It hurts like hell and it’s just this monumental thing. It took two days, lots of ice packs and my mother’s help to get adjusted to that.

Then, next hurdle: the breast pump. Yes, that scared me too! I didn’t want to pump for some strange reason, but was forced to become better acquainted with the thing because of Ruby’s gassy tendencies. So, I found myself pumping out the more watery foremilk before each feeding. Result? Not only was I tethered to my baby, but also to the pump. It started to become overwhelming for me. I was also pumping out bottles in an effort to build my milk stockpile...so there was added stress in that.

Between my sore nipples, constant feedings, and pumping, I was beginning to feel more like Bessy The Cow than Billie The Human. My boobs were always out...what the heck to wear each day felt like a challenge and I found myself complaining and complaining about breastfeeding. As the words came out of my mouth, I felt twinges of guilt--wasn’t I supposed to love breastfeeding? Wasn’t it supposed to bring my baby and I closer together? But I couldn’t stop myself, I was feeling a bit resentful.

That was when I started getting some dizzy spells. I couldn’t tell if it was anxiety or dizziness from not eating and drinking enough....but I knew that somehting had to give. I began scaling back the pumping and making sure that I was eating enough. Within a week, I also introduced the laying down nursing position at night so that both Ruby and I could nurse and sleep more easily. That meant I cut out pumping my foremilk at night. Once I did that, I realized that maybe her system was getting more mature and could handle the milk as it came out. (She mostly can, and anyway don’t all babies spit up?)

I also realized around that time that I already had a massive stockpile of milk, and I wasn’t even sure why--I work from home!! Only occasionally do I need to leave to work outside the home and I can pump that day for a bottle. I ceased the stockpiling. I found that once I did, like magic breastfeeding became a different experience. I began looking forward to it because I was no longer tethered to the breast pump. I do still pump first thing in the morning when I read that women produce the most foremilk, but other than that, we only pump for bottles same day.

The point in all of this? Well, breastfeeding is a journey unto itself. I totally see now why people say it isn’t easy--sometimes it really isn’t. I learned I had to be gentle with myself and scale back when things felt overwhelming, especially when it came to pumping. I also want to say to people that you WILL find a rhythm if you stick with it, which I really think is the challenge. Sometimes in parenthood things feel like they are going to be FOREVER and you have to keep reminding yourself “this too shall pass.” Boy is that easier said than done.

Most of all, I want people to know that sometimes you feel that loss of your autonomy very keenly; breastfeeding brought that front and center for me. Don’t beat yourself up if at first you feel like breastfeeding is just too much emotionally for you, that can also change. As you and your baby begin to bond, you may find you look forward to breastfeeding. You also might not, and it’s important to know how best to care for yourself because ultimately it will make you a better parent.

Also, support is KEY. I have a great book (sent to me by a friend) by La Leche League called, "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" which is a great resource. I also have a good support system in the way of friends and family that I can always call with either questions or just to complain and say, "Today is a bad day, my nipples hurt and I want to cry!" Having this makes each day easier, and in today's modern world if you don't have the support in live people around you, you can get it on the internet. So don't hesitate to find your breastfeeding tribe, even if it is a virtual one!

So what has been your breastfeeding experience? Were you like a fish in the water or did you feel like a fish out of water? Leave it for me in the comments section below. Through expressing your experience you never know who you may be helping!

Frog Leg Recipe!

Most of you know that I don't shy away from cooking with off-beat ingredients, so when a friend of ours asked if he could catch bullfrogs in our pond for food, we were all over that! He got a couple for us, and it wasn't long before my husband was cooking them up in the kitchen. Thankfully, our buddy Rodney had done all the dirty work of preparing them for us, so all we had to do was cook them.

This is Rodney's bullfrog tool kit...as you can see, it's very primitive. I'm intimidated though. Frogs everywhere should be on high alert. 


So, my husband was in charge of the cooking of the frog legs. He used a recipe that we modified. One of the biggest modifications we made was using Dogfish Head beer instead of white wine. 


So first we soaked the legs in Indian Brown Ale for about 45 minutes. You can go a little longer if you aren't crunched for time like we were. They look a bit humanoid, don't they? 



Next we sprinkled them in cajun seasoning called "Slap Ya Mama!" and then dredged them in flour.


Flour dredging done, it was time to fry those suckers. 


We fried them up in a combo of butter and oil about five (ish) minutes on each side. Once they are browned, take them out of the pan and set aside. 



Next up...some more beer, this time Namaste, and a few cloves of garlic. We added them right to the pan and allowed it to cook and reduce slightly. Then add your frog legs back to the pan, and throw them in the oven on 350 degrees. 


I think we cooked them another 15 or 20 minutes. 

And then: VIOLA...or RIBBIT. Whichever your sense of humor allows. 


The main thing I am sure you want to know is, "do they taste like chicken?" 
Well yes...and no. 
They taste like white meat, that's a good classification. But the texture is different. 
This seasoning and beer combo was STELLAR though. I certainly plan on preparing actual chicken this way sometime in the near future. 

But if you have frog legs, I would say this a great way to prepare them. Especially if you are an experienced veteran with the frog legs. 



Cry, Cry Baby

So this parenthood thing, it's pretty interesting to say the least. I wrote about my mommy meltdowns a couple weeks back, which I think is an important part of the process. But I wanted to tae a few key strokes to talk about something that just keeps creepin' in my life:my anxiety. It was the reason I did the placenta encapsulation, and I had done pretty well at keeping it at bay. That is, until one afternoon when I thought I was feeling lightheaded.

Turns out, it was my anxiety. Funny thing about anxiety, it can feel like something else if you haven't had it in a while. So I thought I was dehydrated or sick or something. Nope. Just anxious. Luckily it wasn't a full on panic attack, more a generalized anxiety, which I have to say is better because I'm more functional (at least.) Anyway, the next morning when I woke up and still had that "wonky" feeling, I knew it was my old friend: anxiety.

That got my brain ticking...how could I get ahead of this?

I can tell you, the last thing I needed was to be anxious with a little baby who needs me for, like, everything! So I thought to myself: when was the last time I cried? And not like a little cry; I am talking a goooood cry. As a bit of an aside here, my mom is a therapist and she recently told me that when her clients come in and are anxious, she always asks them if they cry. So I put on some sad, have yourself a good cry music and I cried. Ah, now that felt good. But I knew it wasn't going to do the trick longterm.

That was when it occurred to me that I hadn't been meditating since Ruby was born! That's over five weeks! As a person who regularly meditated (daily) before she was born, I couldn't believe I had let this slip...well, I mean, I guess I can believe it because I've been pretty taken up, but really, NOT GOOD! So Ruby and I had our first joint meditation session together. It went well. I cried the whole time and I can tell you, it felt great.

Now, I've re-dedicated myself to meditation for about the umpteenth time in my life, and I hope it'll help me get back on track while also providing a little special time for Ruby and I. Not only that, but during my first session back I thought about this whole crying thing. (Forgive me, I'm new to this whole expression and emotion thing!) I realized I had to let go of my judgement for myself in order to let the emotion go.

This relates specifically to new mommies (and maybe daddies, too) because like I keep harping on, we're supposed to be in this supposed blissful state of new motherhood and crying is generally associated with sadness. But anymore, I have come to realize that through crying I am releasing so much emotion and it's not really sadness at all. This is SUCH an overwhelming time (not to mention my crazy hormones are all jacked up anyway!) and there is a great amount of emotion. So if you find yourself crying, don't judge yourself. It could be the release of joy, overwhelming love, and maybe even a touch of sadness for the life you've now left behind. All of that is valid and okay and it has to come out.

So go on. Give yourself permission to cry, cry baby!