March, 2016

Feeding Rocco

image1-2As a mom, I’m amazed how obsessed I am with what I feed my kid. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise as I’m obsessed with what I feed myself! But when researching meals for a mostly vegan [with the exception of organic eggs and some fish] toddler the information out in the world isn’t overwhelming. I’ve had to strip it back to what I know about food and what it’s important nutrition for a child, or any human really, to eat! I know people have so many questions on the matter, but I assure you it is a healthy diet for a growing kiddo as well as doctor approved. If you ever have any questions I’d be happy to answer them for you!! But here’s a list of some of the things we feed Rocco.

IMG_1334Veggie Calzone. Filled with chopped spinach, onions, red bell peppers and mushrooms. We dip it it marinara sauce and he devours it!! Seriously, he ate the whole thing. **Tip: Leafy greens are not the easiest thing for a little to chew up, so we prefer organic frozen chopped spinach which we simply defrost in use in calzones, soups, chili, etc and it’s loads easier for the kiddos to eat. I also dump frozen spinach into fruit smoothies**

IMG_1335Veggie Stir Fry with Sesame seeds: All of the veggies, with the exception of 2 or 3 zucchini, ended up on the floor. But Rocco’s two favorites, rice and avocado were devoured, plus 3 more servings.

IMG_1336Whole Foods Sesame Tofu, Beet Salad, Back to Nature Wheat Crackers, and Trader Joes Edamame Hummus: This was a snack for me, that ended up being a snack for Rocco. I ate all the beet salad and he ate everything else.

IMG_1337Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni in Marinara with Spinach and Veggie Meatballs and Nutritional Yeast. Rocco will eat anything if it’s covered in red sauce! This is the most basic of meals. We add the nutritional yeast for a pop of b-12.

IMG_1338Veggie Patty with Organic Ketchup and Whole Wheat Pita with Hummus. The Patty was iffy, he ate about 1/3 of it and threw the rest on the ground. He is obsessed with hummus and pita and literally ate 2 pitas.

IMG_1339Native Foods Mac n Cheese Kids Meal with Steamed Zucchini. I’m missing Cali pretty fiercely because this was the easiest quick meal. I would cut up the steamed veggies and put them in the mac n cheese. He tears through this like a boss.

IMG_1445Rice, Beans, and Roasted Veggies. Another take out meal, yes, moving and cooking do not go hand in hand. We served this with a cut up avocado. He loves tortilla chips. Like momma, like son.

For those who are wondering, Roc drinks unsweetened, unflavored almond milk. I look for the cleanest option I can find, Silk brand is usually our go-to. Other than that he drinks water and on occasion raw coconut water cut with regular water. He absolutely loves it!!!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Again, if you have any questions please ask! I’m not a doctor or a food expert, but I do know a bit about being a healthy plant-based momma! I am passionate about raising a mostly vegan baby, stay tuned for more Feeding Rocco!

Half Way

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Well, we’ve made it to the half way point and I feel decidedly more pregnant with baby number two. Things hurt faster, you pop faster, it’s just as crazy and unique as the first go around. But this time I have a major pregnancy goal. Buy less than 10 pieces of clothing. And have them all be amazingly glorious and things I could easily wear not pregnant with little to no alteration. So far I’ve bought this amazing dress from Hatch and a [soon to be photographed] tank dress from my sister’s shop. It’s still on the cooler side here in Florida, but soon enough it will be relentlessly hot and I will want to be as close to nekkid as I can get. Hatch Collection is the the chicest maternity wear that I’ve ever come across and while it costs a pretty penny, in my opinion, it’s more than worth it! I’ll keep you posted on my quest to purchase zero pieces of pregnancy gear, save bigger underwear for my widening hips. It’s a sad truth. I’ve accepted it. I’m moving on. In my big girl panties.

In Bloom

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After leaving San Diego, the land of perpetual summer, I’ve definitely been reintroduced to the part of the country that gets cold and rainy during the winter… I’m apparently a giant wuss because anything below 60 is absolutely frigid. #bigbaby So when I started talking to the fine folks at BloomNation about keeping things bright for the Winter I was inspired to tell you what we here at Blissful Happenings do to keep things happy and Spring-y all year long!!!

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Color: I want BRIGHT colors. My flowers are generally a hue of hot pink, but bright yellows and oranges do the trick too!!! I think no matter what the season a pop of color is going to make you happy. It’s inevitable. White and red is fine, but a lovely happy purple is sure to make you feel like Spring is just around the corner.

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Fun Vases: I am not the fan of a regular glass vase!! We actually prefer beer bottles to your traditional vases at our house! We also gravitate toward unique tumblers or shapes, generally items not intended to house flowers. I feel like fun items like that encourage you to get creative with your arrangements.

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Multiples: A collection of similar vases [or beer bottles] grouped together to create interest. I think it’s visually interesting and almost looks like a flower field! They look so happy and fun. Not stuffy or serious. And when the weather is gloomy, happy and fun are exactly what you need!

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And when it doubt, I have my favorite new vase from Oh Joy for Target reminding me, it’s OK, warmer weather will be here soon!! How do you do flowers in the winter? Share your tips in the comments below!!

My Identity and Motherhood

IMG_0560[So grateful to have a lovely guest post written by childhood friend and fellow mommy blogger Kristen of Oy! Kristen. She’s a genius. I love her. You will to.] 

I swear I am still eighteen. Living in the moment, messy hair, driving my mom’s convertible around town and dreaming about the future. Dreaming about traveling to Europe, dreaming about what college will be like, dreaming about the possibility of marriage and eek – maybe even babies one day. But above all else, eighteen is for dreaming. And I still feel eighteen.

The thing is. I’m not.

I am twenty-eight, living in my hometown (how did I end up back here??), married, with a baby. The past ten years have been a total surprise, and a total relief. I have seen so many dreams come true. I have backpacked across Europe, married my dream mate, finished my degree, lived exciting stints in New York and Boston, completed ministry school, pursued creative career endeavors of all kinds (Acting? Check. Voiceover? Check. Writing? You’re looking at it, checkedy check.) I have lived fully and I am proud of these elements that have been the building blocks of my young life. I’ve tried some hard things. I’ve boldly put myself out there in the world when I was actually feeling super scared and unsure in my heart. And I’ve seen success, although it never looks like how I thought it might. While success and accomplishment feel really good, putting myself in vulnerable positions over time has taught me to remain confident even through the toughest scenarios. For instance, the time I auditioned a monologue for one of New York’s biggest casting directors. There was some sweat involved in that one, especially while I waited in silence for, no lie, about 60 seconds after I was finished to hear his response. I left the room and felt relieved, shocked, and excited. Proud of myself. I didn’t get the job, but I did get the sense that by just opening myself up to that audition, I was doing something hard, something that would knock most people off their feet. And that pride really informed my journey. Until I really got knocked off my feet. By doing something many of you have probably done. I had my first baby.

IMG_0732My son is a wonder. His sunny hair and sweet eyes and easy smile, they have wholly captured me, heart and soul. There is nothing better in this world than holding him close when he just wakes up, feeling him snuggle into me a bit, and smelling his deliciousness. There is nothing better. He’s given me the gift of motherhood, awakened me to a whole other element of what it is to be a woman. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his precious life.

I am also really really tired.

Because my son is 19 months old now. Toddling around, far too curious about toilets, demanding lots of waffles. The past 19 months (plus 9 months, because pregnancy was definitely apart of the equation) have been exhausting, maddening, and constantly marked by this feeling of , “I don’t know what I’m doing!” Of course you don’t know anything when you’re pregnant. And when you’re in labor, you have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing. Then the child comes out and needs all sorts of everything all the time, and you’re like, “wait, is there a hand book on what I’m supposed to be doing? Get me a hand book!” And then they get bigger and when you’ve mastered their previous milestone and finally feel a millisecond of calm and “I’ve got this”, everything changes again. Like everything. Big things like when they sleep and what they eat. It’s kind of like being in the Hunger Games, trying to figure out where the next freaky phenomenon is coming from and when. Phrases like “reverse sleep cycling” and “what to do if…” fill your google searches, usually at about 3am. And while all of this is going on, you forget to do things like.

Bathe.
Put on makeup.
Wear normal clothes.
Wear anything pretty.
Wear anything clean.
Perhaps brush your teeth. Or your hair.

IMG_0724Go back to work? Sure, tons of people do it. But things are never the same. It’s like your brain has been snatched my aliens and you’re walking and talking and acting human, but your insides are aching for what things were like before the baby came. And it’s not the baby’s fault. But the sense of identity has vanished. It’s hard to decipher who you are anymore. You define yourself by the monotonous tasks that you do, day in and day out. So many diapers. SO many. And the schedule feels like a cage and your dreams seem like a faraway fantasy. That 18-year-old feeling that you identified with still rings true. But that 18-year-old suddenly seems very tired. And only interested in eating dinner while watching Netflix and then going to bed.

I want to propose to you that you’re not supposed to be an 18-year-old dreamer anymore. And neither am I. I’m not supposed to long for the simpler days of the past. It’s time to be the 28-year-old dreamer that I am. Dreamer and mother and lover of life. Because this gift of motherhood, while it defines me in so many ways, it shouldn’t be defining. And the urge to dream up new dreams and look forward to the future? It’s evergreen. Always emerging, in every season of life. I just have to stop longing for the old things to reemerge, I must seek out the new blooms, and recognize the season that I’m in. It’s time to be my 28-year-old self, imperfect and yes, rather tired, and own up to the joy that it is to be a tired mommy while still having a very bright, unencumbered future laced with extraordinary opportunities. This vocation of motherhood doesn’t define my life, it informs my life. I am lovelier for the child that I’ve had. And I will become lovelier still. And if you identify with any of the spazziness that I described, I promise that the greatest is still ahead of you, too.

Photography by Leidy Beltran of Venture Life Photography. You can find more about Kristen at www.oykristen.com