Mar 23, 2010

My Picky Eater

For those out there who have ever thought a baby or child with a picky appetite is that way because of their parents, you better stop right there! Charlotte is one of the pickiest eaters and I swear I have done nothing wrong!! It absolutely drives me crazy as I try to give her a balanced diet, yet she eats only a small list of foods, and sometimes will even refuse these.  I pull my hair out at meals while trying to keep a calm and pleasant demeanor for her sake. Foods she likes: waffles, mac n' cheese, grilled cheese, cheesy rice, Cream of Wheat, boxed cereal, applesauce, canned carrots, yogurt, and almost any Gerber snack (yogurt melts, puffs, wheels, crunchies). She'll occasionally eat string cheese and oranges. I've tried so many other things, and a lot of kid classics.  Epic failure.  Without even giving most foods a chance, she will tighten her lips, arch her back, fling back her head and push the food away with both hands. What a pistol!
I worry most about her protein intake. This is such an important nutrient for her development.  For fear of lack of nutrition, she gets toddler formula when she wakes up and again before bed.  I try to mixed canned chicken into a few of her foods and I have been meaning to try tofu. Peanut butter has not gone over well.
Are there any mothers out there who have had picky eaters and can give me some advice? (Mom - I know Meagan wasn't always a good eater.) I'm looking for advice on how to disguise foods or hide nutritious things in other foods. Please help me feed this baby and regain my sanity!

Mar 21, 2010

Food, Inc.

We rented Food, Inc. last night. This is a very thoughtful documentary that reminded Brian and I why free range poultry and grass fed beef are really worth their extra expense. A mother spoke of losing her 2 year old son to e.coli from hamburger. The recall on the hamburger wasn't announced until two weeks after her son died. Of course, Charlotte doesn't eat much more than mac n' cheese and cereal these days, but someday she'll love being an omnivore just as much as her parents.
Portions of the documentary picture how the cattle and chickens are contained in tight and dirty living quarters. I really didn't feel so bad for the chickens. I guess I feel their brains are so small and they are only alive for about 30 days. Is that bad? I felt worse for the chicken farmers who take on about $500,000 in debt to own these large chicken houses and follow the standards of companies like Tyson and Purdue...but they only make $18,000 on average/year. The farmers have so many health hazards from being around these antibiotic fed chickens that they tend to become allergic to most antibiotics themselves. They also spoke about how the meat packing companies ship in immigrant farmers, mistreat them, and then allow them to get arrested with no defense.
Brian and I have already looked into the pricing for organic and high quality beef, chicken and pork. In a quick internet search, we found several local farms Liberty Family Farm, Pelican Ranch and Crestwood Farms. They have beef for as little as $3/pound. I'm going to make some freezer space and make a trip out as soon as we can. I'm ready to speak out as a consumer by putting my money into something I can support.

Mar 9, 2010

I am now initiated into Holland

Today was the annual sale of Dutch costumes put on by the Holland Newcomer's Association.  There are a variety of new and used costumes to pick from.  I arrived at 5 pm on the dot, but was shocked to see a line around the building!  It was like a true initiation ceremony to have to wait in that line for an hour and then rush in and clamor for the last costume in your size.  Fortunately, I've done enough Black Friday shopping to know my way around a sale crowd.

I chose the Volendam style because this is what Charlotte has.  Charlotte was laughing hysterically when I put it on and tried to steal my hat.  Brian has one too...not a dress.  Now who doesn't want to move to Holland when you see this cuteness?

And when Charlotte outgrows her current costume, I would love to see her in the adorable Isle of Marken costume seen here.

Mar 7, 2010

Yesterday we took advantage of the sun and went to visit the butterflies at Frederik Meijer Gardens. We met up with Carl, Jessie and their adorable son, Aaron. He is so great with babies and spent a lot of time chasing Charlotte around for me.

We couldn't help but dress Charlotte up in this butterfly costume in the children's garden. I think she was a butterfly in a prior life.

Here is Aaron spotting a few butterflies drinking their nectar. We were excited to find a lot of blue morphos. Usually they are few and far between, but they really steal the show.

For being so young, I really think Charlotte understood what was going on. She watched the butterflies fly around and reached towards them on the flowers.

I highly recommend anyone with kids make it to FMG for the butterflies this spring.

Mar 6, 2010


Our Hawaii trip was quite the whirlwind tour. We left by 6 am on Thursday morning and arrived to our hotel around 7:30 pm. We spent all 5 nights on the big island in Kona. Despite my knitting projects, books and movies on my iTouch, the long flight was very trying. The hillbilly family eating beef jerky in the next row didn't help matters much. BUT, I did get to fly on a jet with two aisles, that was a first for me.
We stayed in a private bungalow at our B&B, Honu Kai. The entire place was beautiful. We got to eat a delicious breakfast on the lanai each morning and learn from the other travelers. Geckos feasted on jam along the porch rail and birds flocked for seed on the feeder. The owners, Wendi and Dave, went out of their way to make us comfortable and provide us with supplies each day. She even loaned me her socks and tennis shoes for hiking and horsebacking riding. I couldn't believe my big ole' feet fit in the tennis shoes of a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. The B&B was the best part of our trip.
We joined up with Dave and Julie the next day for horseback riding in Waipio Valley. The drive down into the valley was almost life threatening, but the views from the bottom were some of the prettiest I have ever seen. Our horses all treated us well. It was Julie's first time on a horse. I think she was pleasantly surprised.
The next day was "Tsunami Saturday." David and Julie were evacuated from their beach front hotel, so we decided to stay on high ground for the day and explore the National Park at the volcano. We found some great hikes along the steam vents with beautiful views of the caldera. There was even a winery at the top of the volcano. We stayed until night to see the lava glow from a far. I've seen tour books where they could walk right up to the lava. Unfortunately, we're at the mercy of nature. We were lucky to see the lava at all.
I haven't said much about the tsunami because there isn't much to say. As you know, it failed to happen, which was a blessing for the Hawaiians. We watched it from a hilltop and basically noticed the bay grow more shallow and then fill back up again. Brian did take advantage of the media blitz, though, and managed to score a live interview on Fox News.
The rest of the trip was spent snorkeling, exploring beaches, and eating lots of fantastic food (Oh, and drinking great Kona coffee).
Although we had a relaxing and memorable trip, I couldn't wait to get home and have Charlotte back in my arms. It really puts meaning into the phrase "Home Sweet Home" when you have someone to come home for. Big thanks to her grandparents for taking such great care of her.
You can find my favorite pictures on this Flickr Slideshow.