Saturday, May 1, 2010

Overcoming Over-medication

A recent blog post by my friend (her blog is amazing check it about the recent infant/children's Tylenol recall inspired me to write a little something about our kiddos and medication. So I want to offer up some more natural approaches to dealing with some baby issues. We do not condone the use of standard medicines on babies-we have used them before. But, we are also into the more natural, homeopathic ways of dealing with "baby issues" and we hope you all find some of this helpful!

I am no expert and I don't plan on going back to school to be a doctor (well medical doctor, that is) any time soon, but I truly believe that our society is over-medicated (if you really want to argue with me and debate, send a personal note and I will tell you some of my thoughts).

This has trickled down to our little ones and now we find ourselves administering Tylenol, among other things, for very minor fevers, as well as for the expected aches and pains of the sometimes debatable first-year inoculations ("vaccines"-have you read Dr. Sears' The Vaccine Book?).

What ever happened to waiting until after the selected vaccines are administered to see if the baby really needs the medication?

Watch your baby!
Read your baby's signs!
Listen to your baby!

Also, a snuggle from mommy or daddy can really do wonders for a precious little one. Do not underestimate your child's need for love and affection. The physiological affects of touch, scent, and tone can impact a baby.

So here are some things we use that are more natural remedies (some are based on our pediatrician's recommendations-yes a medical doctor that believes in natural remedies-and others are from our own research, including an aromatherapy workshop at Whole Foods). Please speak with your doctor before trying any of this if you are worried or unsure.

Excess Gas and Gas Pains-brew chamomile tea and cool it to room temperature, administer a couple of teaspoons if less than 15 pounds, give up to four for a larger baby; bath with your baby and nurse in the tub; put baby in a non-soap, warm bath and massage between the belly button and the hips; do bicycle motions with your baby's legs to move trapped gas bubbles downward; take baby's legs together and gently move the knees toward the tummy, apply more pressure and repeat; Colic Calm is another useful thing to try (despite its name being "Colic Calm" is not not only for "colicky babies")

Fever-make sure your baby is getting plenty of fluids, put a cool, wet cloth on your baby's forehead, if the fever is less than 101 degrees (please follow your own doc's advice), let the fever run its course-the body is fighting off infection and eliminating toxins (important for vaccines! don't interrupt this process!); for nursing little ones, make an herbal tea and drink it so the baby can get small amounts through momma's milk, use lemon balm leaf and elder flower as well as peppermint

Sleeping Trouble-HA, US GIVE SLEEP ADVICE?
aromatherapy; administer a lavender oil bath and do infant massage, place a few drops of lavender or bergamot oil on a cotton ball and place in baby's room (not within reach! the scent will permeate the room so use just a few drops); more naps during the day, co-sleep if you are nursing so the baby can eat when he or she pleases and drift off to sleep

Postpartum-Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Momma Spray; aromatherapy using eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, and lemon essential oils; crying always helps release stress and anxiety; making love; new parent groups (try; hot baths or showers

Teething-wet a wash cloth and freeze a corner and give it to baby; make mommy ice for baby (another tip from "amomwriting"); frozen bananas!; Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets and Teething Gel; Sophie le Giraffe and other teething toys; snuggle with baby; rub baby's gums with firm pressure; spend lots of time interacting with baby

If you have questions about other issues let me know! We value the use of standard medications and know that there is a time and place for them. We also feel there is a time and place for the more natural remedies.

Bottom line=do what is best and most comfortable for you and your family

Dalia the Spoon Thief

Tis true. I am only five months and one week old. My mommy and daddy wanted to introduce solids at age six months or later, but I had other plans...

Not only do I want to eat your food, I want to feed pears and avocados to myself.


this is dalia
our undeniably Independent child
the spoon thief

She basically ate the food off of our plates so we thought, all right, time to give her some food-I mean we are all about "listening" to our baby, right?

So the evening started like this

and ended like this

This little girl of ours basically told us to go find a new hobby. She literally grabbed the spoon from daddy's hand and 1) fed her eyeball and then 2) fed her mouth

Dalia=Independent, with a very capital I

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sitting in Sunshine

What better thing can a girl do on a beautiful
sunny day than sit in the backyard with a bucket o' toys and two of her favorite people in the entire world...

The sheer bliss of the summer heat made everyone cheerful and smiley:
And to top it off, our little munckin' sat peacefully, all on her own, mind you, in the midst of buzzing bees, rustling leaves, and her #1 fan, daddy.

Don't believe us? Here's the proof:

Lucky momma had her camera handy!
She never misses a shot!
Say cheese!

Here is another nice shot of two peas in a pod :)

The bumbo is where Dalia practices sitting.
She absolutely loves her fish toy from Auntie Helene

It WAS totally worth trekking all of this to the backyard, well almost.

Babbling Baby

The recipe might be 50% imagination and 50% "by chance I stumbled across the M consonant with an O vowel sound afterwards", but I am prettttttty sure I heard the word mom this morning.

It was pretty awesome.

Follow that with getting peed on and spit up going from Dalia's mouth to her feet-man, today is going to be a good day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Are they really "wool" it?

The world of cloth diapering encompasses positive (fun) and negative (not so fun) tasks. On one hand, cloth diapering families get to shop around for cute diaper covers and learn all there is to know about the various options available, but on the other hand, cloth diapering families actually have to deal with the *sometimes* gross aftermath:

We currently own two "Little-to-Big Beetle Organic Wool Diaper Covers" (thanks to Grammi). These are two of the best covers in our stash. Worth the money and worth the serious hassle of cleaning them, these are natural fiber, breathable, absorbent, and adjustable covers. Not only are they super soft, they actually can absorb about 30% of their weight in well, lets just say it, baby waste. We use all kinds of covers, but I often worry about Dalia's little tushy not getting enough air, especially in the summer. And you thought wool was only for the winter? No way. It is the perfect hot-day cloth cover option.

To top it off, once they are washed and lanolized (more on this later) you don't have to wash them for a month, unless there the baby does a numero dos and it gets on the cover. If there is a small spot, simply spot clean!

We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to highlight one of the not so pleasant aspects of cloth diapering, washing. And wool does require a LOT of extra care. So those of you who want convenience, these are not the covers for you!

Get your materials ready:

1. Eucalan Wool Wash (You can't use a standard wool wash from the grocery store, it can really damage the absorbency of these covers. You need a natural, no rinse wool soap.)

2. 100% pure lanolin (Lansinoh brand is good, but any pure lanolin will be just fine)

3. 100% pure olive oil bar soap (this is for spot cleaning, we use "Kind")

4. Basin for soaking and a towel for drying

Step 1: remove any solid waste from cover using your preferred method

Step 2: use tepid water and the olive oil bar soap to spot clean heavily soiled areas, carefully use your thumbs in and up and out motion to work the soap into the area (do not ever coarsely rub the sides of the diaper together-it can damage the interlocking fibers that make it a quality cover)

Step 3: fill a basin with tepid water (water that is too warm or too cold will actually shrink your cover-you will have wasted nearly $40!)

Step 4: put some water in a glass and then add about 1 inch of lanolin, put this in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until the lanolin dissolves

Step 5: add this to the basin (you only have to lanolize every other washing-Eucalan uses a lanolin-enriched formula that helps maintain waterproofability between lanolizations)

Step 6: add the Eucalan to the basin (about a tablespoon will do for a couple diapers)

Step 7: soak diapers until you think they are done (this is about 15-20 minutes for me)

Step 8: remove the diaper covers one at a time and gently squeeze, then place on towel and roll with some pressure to get excess water out, lay flat to try (probably 24 hours)

It seems like a lot of work, and it is. Cloth diapering is a world unto itself, but it doesn't have to be so difficult-it is so easy once you get the hang of it!

Don't let wool scare you from puttin' the cloth nappies on your baby's bottom!

Baked Goods

I went to sleep last night smelling this awesome baked good, a creation of H-I know I am a lucky gal:

Somehow in our crazy life as new parents, we manage to bake-a LOT. If you know us, you know we love to cook and watch cooking shows.

And it just about made up for the complete lack of sleep we got last night. Yes, no sleep is exactly what happened. Oddly enough, when you (H) are running on empty to begin with AND you (H) find yourself stumbling around at 4 am trying to put a cloth nappy on a wiggling, screaming 5 month old baby, you (H) sometimes put the baby back into pee soaked jams only to hear the voice of a somewhat grumpy yet wide-eyed and laughing mommy.

It was a pretty hilarious run of events and we wish you could have had front row seats. But, our home smelled like fresh baked banana bread, and that, my friends, made it all better.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Family Friendly Coffee Date

Today a mommy friend of mine had a feeling that I was all cooped up in my house dealing with all the things new mommies deal with, and I love friends that recognize when a fellow mom needs to get out of the house. This friend tells me how it is and those are my favorite types of friends.

So off we went to Family Grounds Cafe, a very kid-friendly coffee shop in Lakeview with 1,500 square feet of play space. Her little girl is undeniably adorable, as you will see from the photos. E (Dalia's friend) and Dalia played together, well, as much as a 5 and 7 month old can play.

I saw Dalia eyeing this overstuffed rocking BUG (originally I posted horse--what was I thinking?-way too crazy of a toy for her. But I gave in to my usually nervous and over-cautious self and put her on it-she was confused and slightly uncertain, but she sat there for quite a long time. I think she was puzzled, honestly.

After a great glass of earl gray intelligentsia iced tea and some much-needed mommy talk, Dalia and I drove back to good old Jefferson Park. H was home from work early (sweet!) and he strapped on the Ergo so we could go on a walk to the local Polish Produce Center to pick up some items for our falafel dinner. DELICIOUS, but not like it is in Israel.

Food update: Dalia=not a fan of sweet potato, not a fan at all.

Sophie vs. Shroomie

Who do you want to win?

Most moms know about Sophie le Giraffe and her mushroom counterpart, whom we have named Shroomie (thanks to grandma for the latter). Are these teething, eco-friendly toys (colored with vegetable paint, mind you) all they are cracked up to be (I bet H would say no)? Or do the pretty, written in French boxes and "playground mommy pressure" prove to seriously hack a momma's sense of reason?

Either way, Dalia is obsessed. See below:

Dalia specifically loves to eat the face of Sophie as demonstrated below:

She has a really freakish affinity for any toy made of that weird rubber tree (does anyone even remember?). Obviously not, but somehow we all express our proud knowledge that they are indeed eco-friendly toys and made with "good stuff", whatever that means. I admit that I was a mom who lost her sense of reason, but judging from the Sophie sounds I hear at the local Starbucks, baby store, and, well just about everywhere moms are, I know I am not the only one. Admit it, you love Sophie and Shroomie as much as Dalia.

Glorious Sleep

Without doubt, one of the milestones parents love to brag about is when their kid started sleeping through the night. And you know what? Sometimes this is utterly and completely annoying, especially to those of us who have not had a full night's rest in over five, yes FIVE months (though the past three nights have been relatively good-only two wake ups).

Please, don't do this. Especially to me. I am fragile when I don't get enough sleep.

In fact, I recently had a conversation with a lady at Starbucks (we started talking because of Sophie, imagine that) that basically went like this:

Lady: Oh, look how big your beautiful baby is. Don't you love Sophie? Any teeth yet?
Me: Yes, she is getting big. Sophie is great! Dalia loves her! No teeth, though we think soon!
Lady: Remember when they were little? Ugh, I can't imagine not getting a full night of sleep now, you know what I mean? Thank GOD they are older and sleeping through the night.
Me: Hmmm. Lucky you, we still don't get much sleep.
Lady: I would seriously kill myself if that was happening to me.

Don't you just want to have a mommy meltdown in public sometimes? Seriously who says stuff like this? Needless to say this event was followed by a phone conversation with my mom...and my sister...and my husband...and a few mommy friends. Oh, and about 6 cookies.

Being a new mom is tough enough without random people pitying your life. She probably was just making conversation, but it sort of ruined my week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Night

Can you see this photo? This was our dinner thanks to Chef H: pumpkin ravioli with home made sage butter sauce. A husband who comes home from work and whips up a meal like this deserves some serious credit. Thanks, papa, for this delicious plate of too many calories!

You know who really appreciated it?
The little one. Boy, is she really grabbing at our food. Evidence follows:

numero uno

numero dos

This is the essence of baby led solids-look for the subtle (hmmm, real subtle, Dalia) hints that your child is ready to partake in the glorious task of eating. While she isn't fully on board just yet, it is nice to know her interest is slowly becoming quite apparent. Did I forget to mention that she tried to grab my fork? And spoon, and well, just about everything these days. It is a happy/sad thing to see your little munchkin showing so much interest in, well, not you. But on the positive side, my "you know whats" (otherwise known as nummies) might soon get a tiny, very much earned (and needed) break.

So, you may not know, but Tuesday is American Idol night in the H Home and that means everything else has to go bye bye, including the computer.

Lets see how sleeping goes tonight...perhaps Dalia secretly wishes to sleep for 8 or maybe 10 hours straight. Updates tomorrow-I promise.

Mom/Grammi the Nucleus

Nothing beats a nice conversation with your mom, you know?

I love talking to Grammi. It is a rare occasion if I don't call her once (or maybe twice) in a single day. We love to catch up and chat about the family. Grammi is the nucleus of our family-everyone calls her to hear about everyone and everything else. She knows just about everything, and I think she likes it. Well I know she loves it, actually.

Who wouldn't like being the one that binds everyone together? The one everyone turns to for advice? The one that knows just about everything. What is funny is that when I call, she is often on the phone with another family member OR her phone just happens to ring several times while we talk. And if she doesn't pick up right away, try the cell. Home cell home cell home cell...yep, that is how we roll.

Maybe I should thank her for being so available, all of the time.

In other news, today is the day I finally recognized a "tired Dalia" (she brushes her face back and forth on my chest, like she is itching her nose) and put her in her crib awake. She moved, wiggled, and fussed, but eventually, I heard nothing-not a peep, not a whimper of a nursing request, not a single thing.


Don't get me wrong, I love nursing her to sleep. It is a very special thing to feed your baby with your body and put her into a serene state-of-mind. I just don't want to HAVE to do it every single time, you know? I mean, nursing is serious hard work-no joke. And while I love to bond with her in that close skin-to-skin kind of way, I also want to know that she is capable of falling asleep on her very own. And that, oh yes, happened today.


Hmmm...I hear a strange assortment of pterodactyl noises coming from our second bedroom. I better go investigate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweet Goodness




Deliciously perfect home made popsicle goodies! And while Dalia was not able to participate in the eating, I can tell you with much certainty that these popsicles were heavenly.

100% delish!

The meet up was full of new moms and a couple soon-to-be-moms-of-2! We all piled into the house and played with lots of toys.

The children's hands were covered in sticky, sugary goodness! I have to admit that my hands were a bit sticky, too.

After the meet up, we drove downtown to pick H up from the courthouse and drove home together, just the three of us. Follow that with a delicious smoked salmon risotto-from scratch, of course, and we called it a night. Bellies full of yummy food and heads full of happy memories.

Gotta love a good Monday

Monday morning blues? Not here, not in the Horowitz home. Today, my friends, is a wonderful and beautiful Monday.

Nothing beats waking up to a smiling baby girl giggling and wiggling away, even if she didn't sleep soundly for the night. I often forget how nice it is to have such a great life partner in my presence. This morning, H took Dalia for an hour as I slept the early morning away-how lovely it was. Simple things such as an extra hour of sleep are cherished now that little Dalia is here. H came in and dropped her off in the bed and said his normal good bye. It was sad to see him go, but his day is full of learning, writing, and enjoying everything that law has to offer. He loves his job and that helps him love us more. What makes it even better is that I love my job, too. And while it doesn't pay much in the traditional sense, it pays more than I ever knew possible.

When H leaves, Dalia and I have the entire day to ourselves. We have time to get to know one another, to look at each other, and to grow together as mother and daughter. This is exactly what we did until about 10 AM this morning. After our morning nursing session and an hour of much needed playtime (of course she LOVES toys these days!), I thought it was the perfect day to take Dalia on a two mile walk through Jefferson Park and Edgebrook. This was a great idea! We strapped on our very new and very cool Ergo (see photo if you aren't familiar with this carrier) and prepared for the good old outdoors.

Oh how I love nature and fresh air. Nothing beats a good walk on a sunny and slightly windy day. We got to SBux in record time, though Dalia napped from our door to theirs, and then we ventured home to have another nursing session, play time in the back yard, and to get ready for the day's most exciting event-Popsicle Social.

I am in love with the mothers in my mom's group. We have such a good time together and we are all first timers, so we feel uniquely connected in that "first-time-mom-don't-know-a-thing" sort of way. Today's meet up is in the West Loop in downtown Chicago. After our delicious popsicles, we plan on taking all of the children to Skinner Park, a local favorite.

Nothing beats a Monday like this.

Cloth Diapers

So anyone who knows me knows that I seriously love cloth diapers-I find the world of cloth diapering extremely fascinating. Not only do I appreciate the styles, colors, and fabrics of everything out there, I also love the anthropology of cloth diapering.

H (Steve), on the other hand, was not as "gung ho" when I brought up switching from disposable to cloth. I assume he felt it was another pricey "idea" that I wanted to incorporate into our life. As usual, I managed to sway his somewhat leery self with a cost saving argument, though the eco-friendliness of cloth diapers equally swayed my own decision.

People who know me probably aren't surprised to hear that I chose the seemingly more difficult route-I mean, that is pretty much classic me! Still, just like breast feeding, cloth diapering has had a tremendous impact on my life and my role as a mother in the twenty-first century. I feel oddly powerful every time I reach for a prefold, pocket, or all-in-one diaper. I feel proud when I wash and dry the diapers on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. And while I realize that cloth certainly is not for everyone, it is for me-for us, really. Everyone should pick what works for their own life and family-boy am I a firm believer in that!

H loves using cloth and has even admitted that the environmentally friendliness of the diapers is another great reason to use cloth. Once you start using cloth diapers, you quickly realize that cloth wipes are a must, too. And while you are on board with all of those crunchy things, why not add a side of good ol' home made wipe solution as well?

Here is my recipe:

a turn of evoo
a few drops of your preferred baby soap/shampoo
1 1/2 cups of water
2 drops of tea tree essential oil
4 drops of lavender essential oil

Mothers who cloth diaper often enter the world of home made baby food, and yes, we have ventured there as well. Not only can we save money, we can also control what goes into our little girl's tummy, and that, my friends, is a BIG plus.


Well, it is about time. We finally have our very own family blog!

With all the moving we do and with the amount of family and friends we have spread across the globe, Steve and I thought it would be a great idea to chronicle some of the exciting (and not so exciting) things that happen in our life together as a young Jewish couple and as two new parents. To be honest, this blog was mainly my little idea and, to be even more honest, I have quite a few "ideas" that turn into half-finished projects-just ask my very supportive husband (wink wink).

I want to share with friends and family the world of mothering, cloth diapering, breast feeding, parenting, and all of the other twists and turns of the crazy life that I live. And while I can't promise to have a lot of daddy posts, I can promise all of you many fun stories and photos of the wonderful man I married on a beautiful summer day in August.

Life has treated us well. I mean, we found each other, right? And while this seems so normal, life could have ended up any other number of ways. I have to look up and smile sometimes and thank whoever is up there for blessing us with such a wonderful life. Now we want to open our home and hearts to all of our family and friends out there-welcome to Living Horowitzly!