Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Swing Set Update

Well it is pouring rain today and poor Z has to look at his half built swing set from the slider. He keeps saying "ousiii....ousiiii". He then signs "rain" and walks away to find something else to do.

Well the weekend was very busy for us! Between my best friend getting married, a surprise birthday party, a BBQ and the swing set raising party....we were beat come Sunday night. It was a fun weekend (especially the wedding) and pretty productive as well. No, the swing set is not done (we ran into some set backs on Sunday) but S and I were out there working until almost 10:30 Sunday night to make sure that Z could at least swing :) He did get a few moments of swing time on Monday morning before the rain. He giggled and cried out "weeeee". He was so excited. Tonight we hope that the rain will stop long enough for us to install the railings and slide. He will freak out when he sees the slide....I can't wait :)

Thanks to everyone who helped us with the swing set. Congrats to L, J, N and C.....the wedding was perfect and L you were gorgeous :) Thanks for allowing me to be a part of it!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Forever House

Do you currently live in your forever house??? This is such a funny question but in our society it is one that is asked all the time. If you asked me that question, I would have to say "no". It doesn't mean that this couldn't become our forever house but we feel that in 5 years time we will out grow it and need something with another bedroom. We would also like to be in a neighborhood so that Z can ride his bike (and we wouldn't mind having a larger kitchen too :)).

Our friends D and S just moved into their "Forever House". We were there over the weekend and it is beautiful. They were glowing as they showed us around and shared with us their plans to improve the house and yard. It is already a very nice house and when they make the changes they have in mind, it will be fabulous. Their two girls seem very happy there and they have a a lot of place to play:) It is the perfect for their family to grow up in.

S and I spent the drive home talking about the changes we would like to make in our house. We have a laundry list (as I am sure most people do) and we have put them in order of importance and cost. We love our house (despite its many faults) but don't have a lot of money to update it at the moment. It was our first home purchase and although we were young, pregnant and naive when we bought it...it is the perfect home for us. There are many things we would do differently looking back on our purchase and we have learned many lessons about the home buying process through owning this home.

I have attached some pictures of some of the fun stuff we found in our walls (that our building inspector failed to find) that the previous owners had covered up with hot glue and duct tape. In the spring after we moved in, our master bedroom started to smell like a fish market whenever it rained. After some investigation S found that the deck off of our master bedroom was rotting away as well as the part of the house it was attached to. We found millions of carpenter ants that had been feasting on this rot for years. We sprayed them and when they took off the back of the house, millions fell to the ground like a black rain! YUCK!!!! Long story short, we had to redo the entire back of our home (windows, insulation, siding etc.) and take off the deck that was attached to the master bedroom. It was a bit of a job (especially with me 9 months pregnant) but we were able to get it all done and fixed before the baby came.

So what is your forever house like? If you are living in it right now, enjoy. If you are dreaming about it, the sky is the limit. After all money might be tight these days but our imaginations have no price limits ;) Happy daydreaming!!!!

the floor of our master and the ants handy work

where the deck used to be and the inside of our home

the rot up close

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Last 10 Pounds

If you are like me, you have been battling the last 10 pounds for a long time :) At this moment in time I am at my pre-baby weight, which is great but I am trying to get back to my pre-wedding weight. My sister says that this will be more difficult now after having Z but I don't care. I want to see that magic number again and I have been struggling for the past year to get there. I work out 5-6 days a week but I am stuck in this cycle....I will be 5 lbs away from my goal, then 10, then 12, then 8 then 11 lbs and it goes on and on. So I decided it was time for help, I rejoined Weight Watchers.

This is my third time on the WW bandwagon :) My first time was right before my wedding and I dropped all my beer drinking college weight. After about 6 months I made life-time status and then was able to go for free (as long as I stayed within 2 lbs of my goal). I was thinner and more fit then I had ever been and I felt wonderful :) The second go around was after the wedding. I had put on a few "newlywed pounds" and wanted them to come off. This stay didn't last long (maybe a month) and I gave up.

Weight Watchers is a great program for me if I am consistent and go to the meetings. I need to hear the leaders talk about ways to be successful. Listening to the suggestions for summer BBQ's, holiday recipes etc. is so good for me. I also need to face that dreaded scale each week in order for me to think about what I eat.

In general I am not a bad eater. I usually make healthy choices, my issues are with portion control, eating when I am stressed and worst of all eating when I am bored! My latest issue, as I have said before, is cleaning Z's plate or snacking along with him....so bad. I love the WW program because it is not a diet but a change in your lifestyle. You can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within your daily points allowance. They then have a bank of 35 extra points to use if you have a party or a special event to go to and I use my activity points for my alcohol :)

The first time I was on the WW program, I became a bit of a basket case. I was obsessed with points and would call S in tears if I had gained weight (even 1/2 a pound). He began to resent the program and demanded that I stop. Well I think I have grown up a lot since then and I assured him that I would not become so obsessed with my weight this time. He has given me 3 strikes :) If I call him 3 times in tears, or I do 3 crazy things related to this program....I am out.

So here I go on this journey to battle the last 10 pounds. The AM workouts have been going well and I really enjoy having Z's nap time to get things done. Everything takes time and hardwork but I know that if I stick with the WW program I can find my magic number once again. We shall see ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!!

Well it is Earth Day today and my schedule is so jam packed there is really no time to go out and do anything special for it. So that is why I liked this graphic so much....I truly have been focusing on this all month and it really is important to think about it each and every day :)
We are planning on getting some little seedlings later this week to plant in our yard (sometimes you can get them for free), have been working on switching over to all recycled paper products (toilet paper is our last to go), have been trying to get Z to use the potty (not going so well) and have been researching starting a compost pile. Those our our contributions for Earth Month this year :)
So for today, I think I will TRY to read Z my favorite book of all time, the Lorax and another cute book I picked up just for him this Earth Day. There are so many good books out there to help children of all ages understand why it is important to pitch in and help our planet. I had many in my classroom and even started an Earth Kids Club in my school. It was amazing how passionate kindergartners could be about saving trees, endangered species and recycling. I have compiled a list in here of some great reads (sorry it is the teacher in me). Feel free to check them out :)

Happy Earth Day!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My child is a Goat....

A few months back, I was over at my friend K's house looking at a basket of children's books that she keeps in their kitchen. Most of them had large chunks taken out of them. When I asked her about them, she explained that her daughter (who was 16 months at the time) ate them. I began to laugh and nicknamed her "Goat Girl". K explained that she eats everything paper! Boxes, books, tissue paper....everything. It was very frustrating for K.

Well I guess I shouldn't of laughed because it looks like I have "Goat Boy" living with me. I just came from Z's room where I found lots of chunks taken out of his books. When he came running in, I handed him one of the books and he opened it up and rather than reading it, started to chomp away!!!!

This makes me wonder, how many goat children are out there? How many children love to eat books and or paper??? I think I might have to do some research on this one....in the meantime I am locking up all of our valuable paper products and books ;)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ten Easy Things Moms Can Do To Save the Planet

Earth Day is coming (April 22nd) and when spring officially arrives, I always start to think about my own personal footprint on this planet. It is the perfect time to look at what I do to help reduce waste and energy and think about what else I can do to make more of a difference.

I just got this great book, Living Like Ed by Ed Begley Jr (of television fame). I am in love with Ed :) He has such great suggestions to help make your home/life more environmentally friendly. Each suggestion is rated as to whether it is easy to do, moderate or difficult. His ratings also include an estimate of what it would cost to implement each suggestion.

Below I have created a list of 10 easy things moms can do to help our planet. This list is based on suggestions I found in the book Living Like Ed and also the things I try to do each and every day to help our planet. Enjoy the list and please try to do something this Earth Day to help the environment.

10 Easy Things Moms Can Do To Help Our Planet

1. Change your Light Bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
CFL bulbs use 2/3 less energy than traditional bulbs but provide the same light. They also last up to 9 times longer!!! Each bulb will save you $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. They also produce 70% less heat so they keep your home cooler in the summer months.

2. Turn off the Water While You and Your Family Brush Teeth
You will save a tremendous amount of water if you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth (and while your husbands shave). By letting the water run you are wasting up to 5 gallons of water per day for a family of 4 (depending on your water pressure and how many times a day you brush your teeth).

3. Recycle!!!
Most towns have great recycling programs! You can usually recycle cardboard, paper, aluminum and tin cans, glass and most plastics. Please clean out your recyclables well and break down all cardboard. Materials that are not cleaned are treated as hazardous waste and usually end up in a landfill anyway!

4. Reuse Things for Kids Craft ProjectsThere are lots of cool craft projects that you can make out of your recyclables. Paper towel rolls or water bottles can turn into shakers, milk cartons can turn into bird feeders and even dryer lint can turn into bunnies ☺ Check out this website for more cool ideas.

5. Give Old Clothes, Toys and Books to Family, Friends or Charity Instead of Throwing Them Away
Instead of throwing away all of those good clothes, toys and books…pass them on or donate them to people who could really use them. New mothers, Church Thrift shops, The Salvation Army and Mother’s Shelters are always looking for gently used clothing and toys.

6. Use Cold Water to Wash your FULL Loads of Clothes
This uses much less energy and will save you money! There are lots of detergents out there that work very well in cold water. Make sure the load is full before you wash it, this too saves energy and money.

7. Use Earth Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Most cleaning supplies are toxic to our children and thus our planet. There are many good brands out there that clean just as well as the toxic kinds. You can also make your own cleaning solutions (there are lots of recipes online).

8. Use Napkins made from Recycled Materials
If every household in the United States replaced just one package of regular napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees. This is a very easy switch to make. They are fairly comparable in price and work just as well as the non-recycled kind.

9. Bring Canvas or Reusable Bags with you to the Grocery Store
This is a very inexpensive way to reduce waste. All of the grocery stores sell reusable bags for $1.50-3.00 a piece. These bags hold a lot and the stores will take 5 cents off of your groceries for every bag you use. Keep them in the car so that when you go shopping they are always close at hand.

10. Don’t Fill the Bathtub to the Top/Take Shorter Showers
When bathing your kids, do not fill the tub all the way. Just make sure there is enough water to clean them well and allow them to splash and play. By not filling the tub all the way, there will be a lot less water out of the tub for you to clean up at the end of bath time. As for yourself, try to limit your showers to 5-10 minutes (I know most moms are lucky if they get 5 minutes). This will conserve a lot of water.

Thanks for Reading!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Change of Pace

Well after being so overwhelmed last week, I had a moment of clarity over the weekend. A light bulb came on and I realized that if I woke up every morning at 5:45 am....not only could I start my running again (without Z in tow), I would have my workout done before he gets up! This would then free up about 2 hours in the afternoon (nap time) to blog, do housework, work on my projects or just rest! I was so excited to realize all this (I guess the sun being up earlier and the weather warming helps the brain) that I started today. I would have started Monday but I was so tired from all the yard work over the weekend (wimp).

So far this is working out great, granted it is only 7:10am....but I have done my workout, started breakfast and Z is just starting to stir :) I think this will be really good for me. My plan is to run my first 1/2 marathon in September. I had tried to train for one before but I got pregnant and had to put it aside. Before we start to think about baby number 2, I want to have my 1/2 marathon accomplished.

I haven't taken Z in the jogging stroller this year (tires are flat) but I have to admit I am dreading it. I envision us getting a mile and a half out and then pure chaos. I know he will want to get out at that point and walk and it will be a long time getting home. S is going to blow up my tires, so I will give it a go this week and let you know how it goes. For now, I love this early morning time to workout and run....so nice (we'll see how nice it is on day 3).

Happy Tax Day!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Lovely Sunday

Well Grandma M and Grandpa J came for a visit and to help with some yard work today. We had a few trees that needed to be taken down as phase one of Operation Swing Set. They live about 2 hours away so it was very nice of them to come up with their chainsaw and help us out. Z was very excited to see them and I bought him this so that he would be out of the way of the "tree cutters".

I have to admit that I had my doubts about S and his dad taking down this mighty tree. His mom and I had suggested professional tree cutters but they insisted that they could accomplish the task for free. The tree was leaning towards our back deck and would have to be taken down very carefully so that it would not take anything valuable out on its way down. It was too tall to climb with the ladder they had, so they climbed a tree right next to it and tied a rope to that tree. They then took one of Z's footballs and tied the rope to it. They threw it so that it went around the branches of the big tree (I know this sounds confusing). Long story short, they tied the big tree to the smaller tree and then tied the long rope to the back of their Honda Element. S's mom then drove the car away from the house and the plan was that it would pull the tree away from the house and away from the deck. Hmmmmmmmm.....

They decided to move Z's sandbox away from the line of fire and put it in the middle of our back hill. Once they told me that they were ready, Z and I ran upstairs to our room to watch the show from a safe distance. We sat and watched as S's dad cut the tree with the chainsaw and then his mom drove the tree away from the house......and then, "UH OH". That is what Z said when he saw this very large tree come down and crush his sandbox!!!! Yup, his little Step 2 sandbox from his Grandma N and Chi Chi was lying underneath the giant tree. I was not very happy.

We came downstairs to inspect the damage and the three of them were in fits of laughter. I, not finding too much funny at the moment, asked them what they were laughing at. They pointed to the spot where Z's sandbox had been....the tree had completely cleared it! If they had left it alone, it would all be in one piece. Well after careful inspection, I realized that it looked a lot worse then it was. The box has four "stones" to sit on and one is now cracked, the rest of the box is just fine. We lost a few toys but other than that all is well and our yard is now safer to play in.

So this weekend the lumber comes and then it will be another week before our swing set party :) I'll continue to keep you posted. Thanks Grandma M and Grandpa J for coming to visit!!! It was so nice to spend time with you and you were so very helpful :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Swing or Not to Swing.....

That is the question around here lately...do we get the swing set this year or wait until next??? Well after playing over at a friends house the other day (who has a swing set) I came home with my answer :) I thought he would be too little but Z loved this swing set. I knew he loved slides but this was ridiculous....he was shaking with delight, giggling every time he went down the gigantic slide. Then there were the swings to which he would say "weeeeeee".

My two friends K and J are in the market for new swing sets as well. K wants an outdoor playland so that her daughter does not have to be trampled at the local park :) She already has a play cottage, see-saw, sandbox and water table (hand-me downs from a generous neighbor). Her husband is now trying to find the perfect swing set. J had to beg her man to get a swing set but with twins.....she needs one most of all! Her daughter O is obsessed with swinging and J swears that her kids will not cry anymore if they are able to swing everyday. I think it will be J who will not have to cry anymore when her twins run off in two different directions at the park!

So I came home and asked S if we could get a swing set. I explained my reasoning and waited for an answer. He asked why not just get Z a Little Tikes Slide or a climbing structure? I explained that for only a few hundred more dollars we could have a swing set that he could use for his entire childhood and one that would be durable and last. I asked on the right night because without too much debate he said "yes!!!". Yippeeee!!!!

So we will be joining our friends in playgroup and getting a swing set. This now means we need to have a swing set raising party! I love parties and I think this one will be fun. We will have the grill out, beers in the cooler and hopefully the sun will be shining! We plan on inviting my sisters and their husbands, my mom and dad and maybe a few manly guy friends over (hey A what are you doing on the 26th??? :)).

I will keep you posted on the progress of our swing set and post pictures of our party! Hopefully Z will only have to wait a few more weeks before he can say "weeee" in his own backyard!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stranger Danger

Where did that phrase come from? Was it McGruff the crime dog? Do you remember him? Anyway this entry was not meant to be light.....sorry!

A member of my mothers group sent out a post the other night about two strangers in the park. Our town has a very large community park. It has tennis courts, basketball courts, a baseball field, a skateboard park, a walking/running track and then an enclosed playground for kids. It is the place to be on a nice day (which we have been blessed with many this week) and many moms take their kids there to play.

This mom was there alone and had her two children with her. One is three and the other is 10 months old. The three year old was busy playing and the 10 month old was in the stroller. When she would go to help her three year old on the playground equipment, she noticed these two people sitting on a park bench (inside the playground area) staring at her. She would look over and they would quickly look away. She didn't think too much of it, just kept her two kids close by.

She then moved on to the skateboard park so her oldest could watch the skateboarders. The two strangers had followed her and were a little distance away but staring at her again. She would look over and they would look away. At this point, she realized that they did not have any children with them. She then wondered, why would a woman in her mid 30's and a 40 year old man be hanging out inside the enclosed playground area, without any kids???? She had an awful feeling (mothers instinct) and decided to get her kids out of there. She packed them in the car and watched these strangers for awhile as they stared at the park sign and would then look around suspiciously.

Now who knows? This might have been two people waiting for someone.......but it does seem really weird! This story was a great reminder for me to never let Z out of my sight. He is now pretty quick and very INDEPENDENT. He loves to do things himself and can take off in a second. I am lucky in that I still have only one to look after, those of you with more than one......you need to be even more careful. It is important for us to keep a close eye on our children because we live in a very scary world!!!! I think it is equally important to look out for strange things like this and let the local authorities know. You can never be too safe when it comes to our kids!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Taking a Toddler on a Cruise....

Our cruise vacation was so wonderful! I loved every minute and will treasure our memories for the rest of my life. So would I do it again next year? I don't think so. Next year the plan is to go to one hotel and stay put. We loved our cruise but we think that we will give the one hotel a whirl and see if it is a bit more relaxing.

So are you are thinking of taking your toddler on a cruise? If so I want to highlight a few things that will help you be prepared for your vacation with your kiddo :)

Tips for cruising with toddler:

1. Toddlers pay full fare on most cruise ships--This is ridiculous but true! They don't go to the shows, don't eat the volume of food that the adults do but still pay the same rate. Many passengers do not know this and will give you dirty looks if you bring your child to a show or into a lounge. If your child is not acting out in these public places, kindly let them know that they paid the same rate and deserve to be there ;)

2. Most rooms do not have bathtubs--Rooms on ships are very small and so are the bathrooms. If your child is not accustomed to showering, make sure you bring an inflatable bathtub to bathe them in.

3. The staff love kids!!!--Many of the staff members have families at home and they are away from them for up to 6 months at a time. These staff are usually drawn towards the little guys and want to talk with them, slap them five etc. Make sure you ask them to tell you all about their families.

4. Toddlers who are not toilet trained can not use the swimming pools--There is a rule that children who are not toilet trained are not allowed in the swimming pools. There are also rumors that the pools are so heavily chlorinated (due to all the illnesses on cruises) that they are not safe for children under 4. This rule can be very hard on a toddler who loves to swim! Imagine yourself in that situation.....it is a hot day and there is a nice, refreshing pool right in front of you that you are not allowed to use. We tried to avoid the pool area with Z but this is very challenging. We compromised by placing his inflatable tub on the deck and he "swam" out on the balcony of our room :)

5. Kids clubs usually start at age 3 and are only for toilet trained kids--Many ships have toddler rooms but you are required to be with your child at all times. If you are wanting a vacation where you drop off your child for the day and go and relax by the pool....a cruise might not be a good choice.

6. Most cruise lines are very accommodating for your child's limited palate--Cruise ships are very good at providing foods that kids love. Z had his chicken fingers on a silver platter every night at 6pm ;) They also provided rice milk for him in the room! Some cruise lines make their own baby food (you need to request it ahead of time).

7. Inflatable toys are perfect for travel--We brought a few inflatable beach balls and other toys.  Z enjoyed playing with them in the room. We also brought two small trucks, lots of books and some other smaller toys. He had a toy bag in the room so he knew where to go to find his toys.

8. Bring a power strip to give you extra plugs--This is great to plug in your portable DVD player, cell phone charger, walkie talkies etc. There are not many plugs in the rooms so this is essential.

9. Adjoining rooms are wonderful--If you are traveling with other people try to get rooms that adjoin. This makes nap time and bedtime much more manageable, the child can go to sleep while you are in the other room reading or watching TV.

10. Room service is your best friend!--And it is FREE!!!! We got tired of dining out with Z. He was so distracted and did not want to sit in the highchair. We finally got smart and started ordering breakfast in. Every morning at 7:30 our breakfast would arrive and when Z was done, he would go and play. We could then enjoy our food, sip our coffee and take in the sights from our balcony! So much more relaxing. We also got his chicken fingers from the dining room and he ate in the room every night. We had late seating so the nights when we didn't have a babysitter, one of us would stay with Z and order room service in my dad's room. It worked great!!!

11. Babysitting on the ship is great--This allows you to get some needed adult time. The babysitters are staff members (cleaning crew, receptionists etc.) who want to make some extra money. They charge between $8-10 an hour and usually won't take your child if they are under 12 months old. Our babysitter never met Z because we always put him down to sleep before she got there but many sitters deal with awake children :)

12. Leashes are not a bad thing--We got a leash with an animal back pack for Z and it worked out great. We used it in the airport, as we checked in to get on the ship and many times when we would explore the ship. Z is quick and there are lots of stairs on ships!!! The leash allowed us to keep him close (especially in big crowds) and he loved the monkey.

13. Don't forget dish soap for your sippy cups--Enough said ;)

14. Bring lots of snacks and foods your child loves--They might not like the food, it is good to have snacks for them to munch on and foods that you know they will eat.

15. Bubbles are fun to pack--Bubbles don't take up much space, they are cheap, can be left behind and they are so much fun!!!!

I hope that was helpful :) Happy Cruising!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Happy Opening Day!!!!

Well the Sox were swept over the weekend in Toronto but hopefully they will come out strong against the Tigers today :) This SAHM gave up cable awhile ago to be home with her baby and it is killing me that I am not going to be able to watch the game today and see them get their rings (I will be listening though :)). I thought I would share a few photos with you in honor of this special occasion (one is from a year ago on Opening Day) :)

Play Ball!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Just Say NO

Nancy Reagan would be so disappointed in me because this word is almost impossible for me to say. In fact I find myself going out of my way to say yes! People often seek me out to ask favors because they know I will say yes. It is really one of my biggest flaws and I find it doesn't only affect me now, it affects Z too. Here is an example of what I am talking about....this week our playgroup will most likely have to be canceled for the second or third week in a row. So me being me blurted out, "I can have it at my house!" Now mind you under normal circumstances I would love to host playgroup (it is one of my favorite things to do, especially when I serve mimosas) but this week is no ordinary week and I am already so overwhelmed!

This morning I had a big cry because of all the tasks that I have to face this week. Being sick last week really put me behind schedule and I need to do some serious catch up. I still have 50 more recipes to type for my church cookbook (I know that sounds easy but it isn't trust me!), 200 CD covers to make for my dad's conference coming up, the laundry that I never caught up on a month ago to finish (I do see a light at the end of that tunnel), a house to clean, Z's classes to attend, MOMs club business to finish, a wedding toast to write (looking forward to this, just need to find time to do it), workouts to do and oh yeah...a child to care for. So after I heard the words coming out of my mouth that I would host playgroup....I thought of the mounds of clean laundry that needed to be folded, my bills that needed to be paid and all that other stuff and just thought "I can't do all that and clean my house by 10am tomorrow without really ignoring my son". So I called S, he agreed and I told the two girls that I was sorry but I just couldn't pull it off this week.

Lately I have been wondering what my life would be like if I had gone back to work and I really want to salute all of the working moms. I don't know how they balance their jobs, the children and the house! I am so glad that I don't have a job on top of all this because I think I would be insane. So to all of you who work, run the home and care for the kids.....congratulations! I really admire you and don't know how you find enough hours in the day to do it all. I am so thankful that S and I have found a way to allow me to be home with Z. As crazy as the day gets, I still know I am one of the luckiest people in the world!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Buckwheat Pancakes, Egg Salad and Processed Chicken Nuggets

This is Z's daily diet....isn't it great??? We went for his 18 month check up the other day and I was surprised to see that he jumped from the 30th percentile to the 60th :) The doctor said he must be eating really well and I just laughed and sighed.

As it turns out we have been giving Z way too much rice milk. He does drink water but usually he asks for milk and we give it to him. We hadn't really been paying attention to how much he had been drinking. We realize now that he was drinking about 48 oz. a day (our doctor wants him drinking only 24 oz)! Oops :) No wonder he wasn't eating...all his calories were coming from his liquid diet!

Well we have been working over the last few days to cut down his rice milk consumption and guess what...he now has more of an appetite! Oh well...I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I really do believe that each child needs their own manual or user guide. So now Z is eating more but we are still very limited in what he will eat. He just does not like food!

Z is just like me, a grazer. Rather then sitting down to eat three square meals he prefers to eat little bites all day long. For breakfast Z will either eat buckwheat pancakes (no syrup) or monkey toast (cinnamon toast). The pancakes must be buckwheat or Z will not eat them. He likes his pancakes to be brown and earthy (I often mix in squash, sweet potato or pumpkin to give him some extra nutrients). This makes it very difficult when we are out to eat because the pancakes there are usually made with white flour. He paws at them and looks at you with this face of disgust.

Z is very slow to eat his breakfast. It takes him about an hour and a half from start to finish. This meal is eaten while playing or sitting on the couch with me. It is the one meal he is free to roam with and thus it is the happiest meal of our day.

For lunch Z eats disgusting, processed chicken fingers. This was a mistake I made early on when trying to get him to eat solid foods. I gave him a chicken finger while we were out to eat and was very surprised when he actually ate it. Now he will only eat chicken nuggets if they look processed. I often buy the $6.00 boxes of all natural chicken nuggets and try to mix them in with his other nuggets. He pushes them away because they are not orange like his favorite nuggets. Even if I take the coating off...he can still tell the difference between all natural chicken and his horrible processed nuggets. I have even made my own nuggets...these were just tossed onto the floor......what to do???

At dinner Z eats a lactose free cheese stick, a container of vegetables (still baby food) and either egg salad or applesauce. Yes you read it right, the child loves egg salad. He doesn't really like scrambled eggs anymore but lives for egg salad! He won't eat it on bread but eats it right out of his bowl. So strange but it is delicious.

Snack time is fine in our house. Z loves to nibble on bananas, grapes, strawberries, oranges, Newman's Own Organic Cereal (the green box) and crackers. We have no problems with his snack choices and he seems to like a wide variety of healthy things. Thank goodness!

So that is my picky toddler and his limited menu. It is so funny to talk to my friends and hear about the different foods that their children love. One little girl only eats scrambled eggs and pasta, one will only eat yogurt, French toast and plain bagels and another little boy eats lemons! And then there are the kids that will eat everything you put on their plate! This is such a funny age and I just hope Z is getting the nutrition that he needs (at least he is getting a vitamin).