Friday, January 27, 2012

When Mean Girls Grow Up

It is only after much soul searching, praying and reading that I feel ready to write my thoughts on this subject. As a general rule, I try to do those 3 things (pray, read, reflect) before I write about any subject but especially one that I may feel emotional about. This is one of those.

Mean Girls is one of my favorite movies and the cast is AMAZING. Tina Fey, who happens to be one of my favorite writers (she is amazingly talented) put this incredible screen play together based on a book called "Queen Bees and Wannabees" by Rosalind Wisemen. It is funny and charming and most of all it really sends a good message. It's one of the movies I can watch over and over again... and thinking back to middle school and high school days, it is one that I can definitely relate to.

Female relationships have always been challenging for me. For as long as I can remember, it is by female friends that I have experienced the most rejection, betrayal, hurt, and ironically enough the most joy, sisterhood, and fun. It is precisely because the relationships between girls can be so rewarding, that they can also be the most challenging. It is for some a great mystery (especially men) and I assure you, I have worked hard to wrap my head around it and prayed hard to overcome it.

The movie Mean Girls is probably the last thing you would think of regarding friendships between intelligent, professional, mature adult women but I will say right here and right now (from experience) it is not too far fetched. Sure, we aren't parading down school hallways anymore, but we are in offices, houses of worship, mom groups, and social gatherings. The mean girls - the Queen Bees and Wannabees have GROWN UP and now they are just mean women.

I've been reading excerpts of the book "Mean Girls Grown Up" by Cheryl Dellasega and it is incredibly thought provoking. So much of what she has to say resonates with me that I don't know where to start but let me start here: Cheryl says that these "mean girl" behaviors are called female relational aggression or RA. She calls RA "the subtle art of emotional devastation that takes place every day at home, at work, or in community settings. Unlike openly aggressive men, women learn early on to go undercover with these assaults, often catching their victims unaware."

What is RA? (from chapter 1)
Whether or not you're a mother, you probably understand these scenarios intuitively: the girl who gets excluded from a crowd she previously belonged to; the newcomer who fails to be accepted by other girls no matter what she does; the girl who is somehow different and targeted for that reason; or the popular Queen Bee, who buzzes from place to place spreading discomfort and manipulating others with her words. Sounds pretty juvenile, doesn't it?
She classifies women into three categories and explains that they can switch between these three at different times or circumstances in life.

Queen Bees
These women are at the top of the RA chain, exerting their authority and jealousy protecting their power. At some point or another in life, we have all taken on the role of  Queen Bee. Deciding who and who NOT to include when planning a party, "venting" to a friend or two or three about another female friend, rallying the support of others when we feel threatened by someone. These behaviors come from all different places but I assure you, the "Queen Bee" is the most insecure of them all. She is not sure of who she is or where she is in life ... she subconsciously pushes other women down, emotionally excludes them and it makes her feel just a little better about herself.

Middle Bees
In my opinion, these are the most dangerous of the bunch. Often the Middle Bee is the woman who gathers information and spreads gossip, and sometimes she simply does nothing to stop the aggression she witnesses. "The Middle Bee's position of non involvement can be used… to turn her into an accomplice." This is my blog so I will be honest -- I have encountered many, many Middle Bees in my life. It's the girl who says nothing when others are gossiping about me, offers neutral comments or changes the subject. She is not technically participating in the slander but she does nothing to stop it. This is the girl I have the most difficulty trusting. It is also the girl I have many times allowed myself to be. Here's what I've learned -- if you are speaking negatively about one of my friends, I will kindly ask you to stop. Not in front of me, not around me. She is my friend and I care for her..  I will not aid gossip by my actions or non-actions.

Afraid to Bees
We have definitely all been here! The 'afraid to bee" is the victim in the particular situation. Victimized women are afraid — afraid to speak up, afraid to remove themselves from unhealthy situations… too frightened to allow their real potential to be realized. It is being in this role that has probably taught me the most about myself and though it can be very rough, I am grateful for it. When I have been victimized by "Mean Girls or Mean Women" it honestly brings me back to other instances when I have done the very same thing to others. It makes me look deep within myself (once I can get past the initial sting) and it reminds me of who I want to be. I have learned that when a woman uses RA against me, it is not because of me but because of herself. I have learned that sometimes all I need to do is set up healthy boundaries and I have learned above all that I want to be a kind, loyal, and true friend.

Out of my longtime group of "girlfriends" I was the first to get married, the first to have a child, and many times the first to be isolated from the group. Suddenly, the focus went from "friends hanging out" to "single friends hanging out" and for whatever reason I could no longer be included. I tried stomping my feet about it, I tried crying about it, I tried to retaliate and hurt right back... and I will even admit that I tried to downgrade my happiness in my marriage so as to gain acceptance again. But eventually I learned to move on... I learned to make new friends and I strive every day to allow myself to grow closer and form trust bonds with new women.  I learned with much effort, to forgive too. I realize now that I can only control me and I feel pretty great about that.

The bottom line here is us women need each other... we need to support one another and stop this crazy cycle of RA. Women are the glue that hold families together -- we are multi-tasking ninjas, we are nurturing and gentle yet strong enough to give birth... we are smart and savvy... I mean, where would this world be without us? We need to unite my Sistas! As Beyonce would say - GIRLS we run the world!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What NOT to Balance + Relationships & Emotions = Eternity

The second part of the "Balance" series at my church was in a word... overflowing?  I feel like part one was the top slice of bread on a very meaty, cheesy, flavorful sandwich. Ughh now I'm hungry - focus April!Anyway, I think that if any of the sermons will contain "April-isms" this one certainly did. My Pastor talked about Relationships AND Emotions in the same hour! It's funny because all I could keep thinking was "how am I going to blog my way through this?" You've had your warning, just bare with me here. The bible story we read was about Mary and her sister Martha -- Luke 10: 38-41

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

In this story, Mary and Martha are having a visit with Jesus. They could not be more different in their approach to making Jesus feel loved and valued in their home. Martha was running around preparing her home so that it would be perfect for Jesus' visit, while Mary was just sitting at his feet, listening and hanging on every word that he said. I totally think Martha was OCD but that is just a theory. Anyway, when reading about these two women, I can see pieces of myself in both of them and for different reasons. I love to have people come over and create a relaxing and fun environment for my guests. I usually clean up the house, put out snacks and light the scented candles. I am absolutely mortified if someone drops by unannounced because I did not  have time to prepare for their visit. In this, I can totally relate to Martha and why she was so adamant about making her home perfect for the Lord's visit. But then there is Mary ... 

Reading about her made me think back to when my husband (then, boyfriend) would come over to my house to visit. I lived at home with my mom and grandparents so we rarely ever got privacy and visits never seemed like they were long enough. When he would come over, I dropped everything to sit with him on the sofa and talk or watch a movie. Many times, a lot needed to be done around the house but I was just so happy to be with someone I loved... I wanted to soak up every minute we had before it was time for him to leave. I imagine Mary sitting there at the feet of Jesus and I think I can relate to her too.

What NOT to balance...
"God is not to be balanced"

Among the three people in this story, the first relationship here is the one between Mary and Jesus. He was obviously someone she loved (NO I am not getting all "Da Vincci Code" here) .. he was her teacher, the son of God, her soon to be savior and she valued every word that came out of his mouth. She gave all of who she was over in that moment to just soak up her time with Jesus. My pastor said it best - "Martha opened up her home to Jesus, but Mary opened up her heart."

In my constant search for balance, there is one thing that I don't need to balance... and that is my relationship with God. You see, I can't divide my life up into this perfectly sliced pie and make JESUS one of the slices. He is the pan that holds the whole pie together.. (doh!, there goes another food reference)  He is not to be balanced. I found such freedom in this and such comfort also.

... cont..."She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

"Effective communication and boundaries"

The next relationship in this story to look at is the one between Mary and Martha. Martha was obviously frustrated that Mary was not doing her share of the work and she made it clear when she complained to Jesus about it. So what was the problem with that? Martha was upset at Mary and instead of talking to Mary she talked to a third party about it. Boooooo Martha!! LOL

I have reacted exactly like Martha in moments when I am upset at a friend and let me tell you, it never, ever makes things better. There is so much about myself that I have been asking God to help me change and this is one of those things. Gossip is the kind of sin that sneaks up on you and once I share a frustration with another person (who is not the person I am frustrated with), a downward spiral ensues. In that same token, I have also been on Mary's side of things where someone who is mad at me, does not come to tell me but rather tells someone else about it...If I'm being honest, the latter tends to be more prevalent in my life for some reason... so, here's the problem with that -- it always comes back around and then I feel pretty darn crappy about it.  Why do we fall into this crazy cycle? It creates such imbalance in our relationships. Honesty and communication are so important. I would rather have a conversation that gets a little ugly, than have no conversation at all.

So here's what really spoke to me about all of this --- BOUNDARIES. My Pastor highlighted the fact that despite Martha's behavior, she did not allow herself to be swayed or manipulated because she established the appropriate boundaries... that is an area I really need to work on! I will admit that I tend to have an "approval addiction" and it is so difficult for me to deal with not being accepted by someone. It really comes with being more secure with myself and creating emotional boundaries. Relationships without boundaries are destined for imbalance. It is a truth that may be difficult to accept, but one that I am slowly  but surely learning.

...cont...“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,

"Anger and Anxiousness"

What are the two main emotions that throw us off balance? Yep, anger and anxiousness. I experience a little of those probably too often and that is something I am committed to working on. The bible says "do not worry about tomorrow"... I mean, how much stress and heartache do we add on to our lives by worrying? My husband calls me "the worry-bug" and I am determined to change that for 2012!

but Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


At the end of it all... eternity is in the balance. Mary's decision to open up her heart to Jesus was what I like to call an "eternity decision". It's so easy to get wrapped up in life and the many things we are facing on a daily basis. It's so easy to let eternity get lost in the shuffle... but as a Christian, what I am saying is - I am a follower of Jesus, this is what I believe and this is my goal for eternity..  maybe I need to stop focusing too much on all of my "life decisions" and start making some "eternity decisions".

Well, that was my take on Part Two. I am learning so much guys, and blogging through it is really helping me reflect. Thanks for reading.

BALANCE Ya'll!! =)

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy: Oh, How I Miss you!!

For the month of January, I am sticking to reading devotionals and faith filled books as a part of a 21 day journey I have decided to embark on. I am currently reading "Glory Revealed" by David Nasser which is really awesome. In case you didn't know, Glory Revealed is a musical project, put together by a group of some of my favorite Christian recording artists. Mac Powell from Third Day organized this "creative retreat" for all of these people - Mark Hall from Casting Crowns, Brian Litrell of Backstreet Boys, Kari Jobe, just a bunch of really talented people... and they prayed together and wrote songs together to bring bible scriptures to life through music. If you haven't heard it yet, I suggest you get the Glory Revealed CD. Sooo good! Anyway, there is a book that goes along with it and I am reading it and it's great.... but can I just admit something?? I CANNOT WAIT to pick up a good piece of fiction again!

And I mean GOOD fiction! Something with an addictive story, fantasy, feel good, light reading. The last thing I read like that was The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and I miss it so! I cannot wait for the movie to come out in March so that I can relive it again.

Have you read The Hunger Games? No? But you must!!! Seriously guys it is so good. It's about a post apocalyptic society called "Panem". It is where North America used to be and has been divided up into 13 districts. Each district specializes in a trade and all the districts are controlled by "the capital". In order to maintain this control and discourage a rebellion, the capital hosts an event called "The Hunger Games" every year where two teenagers (one boy, one girl) from each district are placed in an arena to fight to the death.... oh, and it's all on reality television! The last "tribute" standing is the winner and that person gets all sorts of prizes (money, food etc.) for his or her district.

Well, the main character.. her name is Katniss and as I am sure you have guessed by now - she goes to compete in the games. She is NO damsel in distress and I love her... she's bad ass. I loved reading this story and I simply devoured it. I think I finished the whole trilogy in a week. SO good you guys!  My only complaint is that the end felt a little rushed and it all just happened too fast for me. I thought the author would take her time a little more in wrapping things up but still, it was a  great read.

So, your homework for this weekend is to go out and get a copy of The Hunger Games and tell me what you think :) Also, I am taking suggestions for a good piece of fiction to read next! Let me know people.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Mother Lion

Yep, that's me!
This might be a rambling / ranting one but I don't really care ... I need to let it out! So, have you heard that motherhood changes you? Well, I can confirm.. it really, truly does! And do you want to know the biggest thing it has changed about me? I'll tell you --- having Aiden has turned me into what I like to call "the mother lion". Here's how it works:

Person A admires my baby.... I allow person Person A to hold my baby.... my baby begins to scream while being held by Person A and I turn into "the mother lion", grab my baby and will be ready to pounce on Person A if there is any hesitation to hand him over.

Now, this didn't happen overnight... and when I allow myself to think back to those first few weeks of motherhood, I actually get angry at myself for not breaking out "the mother lion" sooner. If someone would grab my baby and go into another room, I would sit there choking on my anxiety, palms sweaty, heart beating, because I didn't want to make them feel bad or be seen as the overprotective new mother. My poor little newborn just needed to feel his Mama close to him and I didn't respond to his needs because of this. It seriously angers me when I think back on it but you live and you learn and I have learned!

This does not mean that I immediately jump to my baby's rescue the minute he cries... not at all. I will happily give whoever is holding him a chance to soothe him... but here are the things I am looking for in said person's response to the cries of my precious baby --- 1) that they actually care he is crying. This means NO laughing or not taking it seriously that my little one is upset. 2) that they acknowledge my place as the mother.. this means that if I am in the room don't go walking away to get him away from me thinking that will help. Chances are, he is crying because he isn't too fond of being held by you, so take it slow and let me smooth things over. If he sees that you are cool with his Mama, he will be cool with you too.

Seriously, it is annoying and I am sick and tired of explaining this to people. I get it - you want to hold the baby, he is cute and all that... trust me, I get it. BUT babies are human beings who also need their personal space respected. How would you feel if you were standing on 41st and Lexington, and an absolute stranger comes over and picks you up off the ground? I bet you'd start screaming and hitting the dude with you purse right? Well, a baby is no different. If he doesn't know you, he isn't going to want you to pick him up. You have to take it slow... talk to him, play with him and let him see that you are his mommy's friend.

And just because I want to put this in writing, let me make it clear --- I AM the mother lion... I AM my child's gatekeeper. All access to my child will be through me and his father. On our terms, and by our rules. There is no such thing as "entitlement" and I don't care who you are or how much DNA you share in common with him. For the next 18 years at least  -- I am the boss of Aiden. Whoever cannot respect me, will have limited access to him. That is that.

Don't mess with the Mother Lion!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wrong Timing, Wrong People, Wrong Foundation...

In an effort to figure out why things have felt so imbalanced in my life, I am reflecting on the first part of my church's new series - Finding Balance! Yesterday, my Pastor spoke about 3 things that create imbalance in our lives and what a way to start! I was kind of blown away and this was only the first part of the teaching series so I cannot wait for the rest. So here are the 3 things -- Wrong Timing, Wrong People, Wrong Foundation.

Wrong Timing
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven".- Ecclesiastes 3:1

He gave an example of when he first felt the call to Pastor a church. He had just gotten married and when he approached his wife with the idea, she said "no" - she did not feel this was the time to take on such a huge calling. Although he admits that he did not see eye to eye with his wife, he realizes now that timing is everything and had he attempted to start up a church while still starting up a marriage, one of those two would have failed. Needless to say, both are entirely too important for that.  While I haven't been called to plant a church or start a ministry in Africa, I can certainly relate to this feeling in regards to timing. So much in my life has happened when I didn't think it was "the time" and there is so much I have taken on not at the right time as well. This week, I am focusing on TIMING and praying that God can help me figure out what it's time for but more importantly - what it is NOT the time for. Becoming a mother has changed my outlook on so many things but it has also made making decisions a lot more complicated. What I decide not only affects me, or my husband now but it affects our son. How can I, as a 26 year old align myself with the "season" God has me in? I can't go out and party, I barely ever eat in restaurants or see movies in the theater... I'm a new mom and it definitely sets me apart from my peers. Honestly, it was my plan to still be in that "party season" of life... I thought I'd be finishing up a graduate degree, working and hanging with friends on weekends... but things have turned out differently. I am not complaining at all! I ADORE my son and my family life... but finding balance during this season, embracing this TIME has not always been easy. I feel like with the timing thing, it is really about establishing priorities and that is where I plan to do some housekeeping in my own life.
Wrong People
  "And so, dear friends, since you already know these things, continually be on your guard not to be carried away by the deception of lawless people. Otherwise, you may fall from your secure position." - 2 Peter 3:17

He gave a really great illustration that literally brought tears to my eyes. He had one of the guys come up and attempt to balance on the edge of the stage. When the young man took a few steps, my Pastor would push him off. Over and over he tried it and obviously couldn't balance because he was being pushed. There is a similar thing that happens when we choose to be around the wrong people. There are those people in our lives who will help us balance, give us a hand and be there to see us get across... and sadly, there are those who will whether intentionally or unintentionally push us. I've made the mistake of allowing the wrong people too close of a place in my life... most times because I felt so insecure and just wanted to be liked and accepted. But it has gotten to the point of a "drowning feeling" because these were not the people who would want to see me get across and keep my balance. At least not in the areas that I needed to. I think God sends the RIGHT people into our lives based on what we need, the season we are in and how those relationships can grow us. 2011 was an extremely defining year for me in relationships. I am feeling really good about the people around me and I am so grateful that God helped me get on track with the right people for my life. It definitely hurts when moving on from relationships at times but what I am learning is that I don't need to work so hard for every one's approval. I can be ME and the right people will be there to support me, sharpen me, and help me keep my balance.
Wrong Foundation
  "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." - Psalm 18:2

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock". - Matthew 7:24-25

This one is simple -- my faith! He used the example of a little girl walking in her mother's high heels. She will stumble and fall not because she does not know how to walk, but because of what is under her feet! What is under my feet? Are they set on the rock? Who is the rock? I know that keeping my faith, cultivating a strong relationship with God and staying focused on that is what sets my feet on the rock. I know that even if I lose track in Timing... and even if I give in with the wrong People, my foundation can never be anyone other than Jesus. The minute I start to rely on someone else, something else... the minute I start to place another person or a career, or even my own Son as the foundation of my life, that is when balance CANNOT happen.
Pretty cool huh? Slowly but surely I know that I will find my way and this whole balance thing is going  to become a reality in life... I can feel it!!

  Display on stage at church... idea for the creative pose was all the Hubs ;)

Happy Monday people!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Unbalanced Scale

For as long as I can remember, I have been an extremely ambitious person. I have always set out to do many things and accomplish as much as I possibly can in my life. I remember in 4th grade, we had a graduation as elementary school was coming to an end and middle school started in the 5th grade. For graduation, two recipients of the "Principal's Award" would be selected (1 boy, 1 girl) and those two would get to speak at the ceremony and represent their class. I set out to get that award and did my very best all year so that I could be the one to speak at graduation. When I was informed that I had gotten it, I was ecstatic! The only problem was, I had also auditioned to sing the national anthem at the ceremony and I could not do both. The speaker would have to sit on stage next to the Principal and the singer would come up from backstage and then go back to his or her seat. I was crushed!  I wanted so badly to do both and could not understand why they just wouldn't let me.

My teachers were trying to balance things out... give more kids a chance to be a part of the graduation ceremony but I set these goals out in front of myself and I just wanted them all.  I've learned a lot about giving everyone a chance and sharing the spotlight since 4th grade, but in many ways I am still the same in that I want to have my cake and eat it too.

I want a career, I want a ministry, I want a marriage, I want a family... I want friendships and an avid social life... I want, I want, I want! My schedule is always booked because I am that girl who says YES I'll do it and YES I can attend and YES, YES, YES! There is so much on my plate all the time and though I have some overwhelming moments, I am never one to complain that I am too full.

If my life were a scale, it would just be one thing piled onto the next ... lopsided... completely unbalanced. I take so much on and lately, my "fix" to this problem has been to sit back and do nothing instead. I guess that really isn't much of a fix is it?

Finding balance is probably the single most challenging thing I have faced in my adult life. How can I continue to strive toward my personal goals and meet all of my other obligations as a wife and mother? How can I move up in my career while still continuing my education, obtaining additional credentials in completely unrelated fields that I am passionate about, and one day write that novel I've been mulling over?

And it doesn't just end with goals... I need to find balance in so many other areas of my life as well. What about relationships? Have a built up hedges around my marriage? Do I balance time with my husband while having some alone time or time with friends? Oh and speaking of friends,  GOD KNOWS I have failed time and time again at setting appropriate boundaries and learning which friendships are right for me, who to trust with my heart, who to lean on, and who to simply stay away from. I mean, why is that so hard? And let's not even start talking about extended family relationships! I have one word for you -- IN-LAWS. Double sigh.

For 2012, I really need to balance my scale. These things are not easy and I am hoping to get my ducks in a row somewhat this year. That's why I am SO EXCITED about the new teaching series at my church called "Finding Balance". Check out the promo video below.... I sooo needed this! Are you interested in finding balance? Come check out this series at my church! I know it is going to be a blessing and just in the nick of time too!

Friday, January 6, 2012

January's Devotional Guest Post!

This month, I wanted to post something encouraging, uplifting, something that had a message of HOPE. My "Sista from anotha Mista" Gaby, wrote her own reflection on reaching a goal she had been striving toward for quite some time... I thought it was a great post to start off the year with! Gaby and I have known each other for too many years to count and I am pretty excited that she is guest posting on my blog =)

Go over to the "Devotionals" section and check out her post!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Operation "Hungry Baby": Homemade Baby Food & Breastfeeding

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's January already and Aiden will be 9 months in just a few weeks... Seriously guys, he is growing so fast and it makes me kind of sad. I love getting to know him more and learning his personality but I try to think back to the very first time the nurse put him in my arms and it gets a little hazy. I want to go back and relive that moment so much... I look at him, all 21 pounds of him and still cannot believe he was once a tiny, sleepy newborn not even a year ago.

A year! He will be one year old in just over three months and YOU KNOW I am already planning his birthday party... but that's an entirely different blog post... I wanted to give some updates on how it is going with "operation hungry baby" because it seems that the biggest part of my job as a new mom has been to nourish this little hungry boy.


Yes, we are still nursing! I find it strange when people ask things like "you are STILL breastfeeding?" because my son is still an infant. Not that it would be less strange for them to ask when he is a toddler. But anyway, we are still nursing and I am over the moon about it! Giving my baby only breast milk (no formula) was a goal that I was not so sure I would reach.... we supplemented his feedings with formula for the first 8 weeks and I was NOT happy about it. But somehow, with some determination and lots of prayer I was able to ditch the formula and get Aiden on breast milk exclusively. It was so important to me to give him the VERY BEST and I know that God created this milk specifically for Aiden... Since I was pregnant with him, I have been very conscious of what goes inside of him because after all, he is dependent on me for all of his nourishment. That is a responsibility I have not taken lightly. I pump at the office throughout the day and store Aiden's milk in the freezer. He gets bottles throughout the day and then he nurses when I get home in the evening. He still nurses several times throughout the night and I hope to continue for as long as we can. I have no problems nursing Aiden until he is 2 years old and NO I do not think that is weird. For now, the plan is that we will introduce cow's milk when he turns 1 and then we'll see how it goes. I'm so grateful that I have been able to continue nursing despite the obstacles. I still can't understand the weirdness around breastfeeding but I hope to inspire and change the mind sets of people around me if I can. I feed Aiden on demand, anywhere we are. In church, at the doctor's office, the supermarket, - everywhere! I have a nursing cover and thankfully I have never forgotten it but if one day I don't have it and Aiden needs to eat, we'll just break out the mardi-gras beads cause "the girls" are coming out! Haha.

Baby Food:

Aiden started "solids" at 6 months and again, I am really conscious of what goes into him. After lots of reading we decided that Aiden would get homemade baby food and can I just say-- I LOVE IT! It is so much fun to cook for him and it is something I really, truly enjoy. We started with brown rice cereal that I mill into powder and then cook on the stove top for him. I also make him oatmeal this way and he loves it. After introducing all the basic "starter" foods like bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, peas, etc. we have started to mix things together and make some pretty awesome combos. I use breast milk when pureeing the veggies and water for the fruit. Aiden has also had pureed turkey and chicken. He is starting egg yolks this week... We use organic chicken/turkey/eggs because of growth hormone concerns. Just last night he had pureed chicken and apples for dinner and he ate it all! Another really great thing has been organic whole milk yogurt. We buy the Stonyfield plain yogurt and it is great. He enjoys eating it plain and it is also really great for mixing with everything! We mix yogurt into his veggies, fruits, cereals, and it really makes a difference. The main thing I look for with yogurt is that it have lots of good bacteria to help break things down in Aiden's tummy and keep him regular. Stonyfield yogurt has 6 active cultures and that is proven to aid digestive health. I do plan to compile my baby food recipes at some point but here are just a few things Aiden really enjoys:

Butternut Squash

Chicken and Apples

Turkey and Sweet Potatoes

Turkey and Peas

Oatmeal and Nectarines

Brown Rice and Pears


It takes me a few hours every weekend (after a trip to the supermarket) to peel, core, chop up and steam all the food, then blend everything into perfect purees! It can be a lot of work depending on the food and sometimes I'd much rather just hang out with Aiden instead on my day off but making sure he gets wholesome, homemade food definitely beats out that desire. I have these really great baby food containers that seal great and go right in the freezer. I label everything in freezer bags and it is all ready to go. The containers are super practical and easy to take when on the go too. We have a little ice pack and they go right in with spoons, a bib etc. I always pack a few spoonful’s of yogurt when we go out too!

And another really cool thing -- the MESH FEEDER. Aiden enjoys bananas in his, slices of pear, and his favorite - ice! It really soothes him and even though he still has no teeth, I am convinced he is experiencing teething symptoms. He really loves to suck on ice from his mesh feeder and I love how happy it makes him.

Aiden also gets to drink water now and get this -- he won't take it in a bottle or Sippy cup! He wants to drink from a cup just like grownups do. So we fill his little blue cup with water and let him go for it. He gets so excited when he sees anyone drinking from a cup. It's to the point where if I am going to be drinking something in front of him, I better have his cup with water ready. Breast milk and water are his only two beverages and I plan on waiting a long, long while before introducing juice. There's really no nutritional value so I don't see the point. Some other things I plan to wait on are - white rice and white potato.

Overall, "operation hungry baby" is going really well and he really isn't a very hungry baby at all. He loves to eat and I LOVE to feed him =)