Experiments in baking

I've been having the Captain save the carrot pulp from his morning juicing. Now, what to do with it? I made carrot muffins on Easter--it was pretty straightforward. But today I added it to the cake recipe I made for Izzy's first birthday, along with quite a bit of other additions. The base recipe I found here, and here are my modifications:

Puree 3 ripe bananas
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon (and a dash each of nutmeg, all spice and ground cloves)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cup fava bean/garbonzo bean flour (Bob's Red Mill; for some added protein)
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup Good Life semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Blend the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and then fold together. Scoop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 12 minutes. 

I think they turned out really good! Which is kind of amazing because I just kind of made it up as I went along. 

Dear Izzy...

Five more months have flown by and now you are ONE!! Can you even believe it? I sure can't. I think your daddy will agree with me when I say this has been the best year of our lives so far. You have brought so much love and joy with your infectious laughter and friendly personality. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father that He is letting me be your mama!

In these last few months you have grown up so much! You prefer to walk as much as possible and though you have taken a few steps on your own, you will cruise around any room holding onto whatever you can: walls, furniture, toys, laundry baskets, my legs. You started crawling full force at 8 months. That same week, you started to pull yourself up on everything and climb on anything you could pull your little legs onto. This last month you have started stacking and nesting and "putting things away." You're getting close to being able to do puzzles. You can put rings on sticks and you even placed the cap back on one of your squeazy baby food pouches. You looked at me and said, "all done" just so pleased with your accomplishment.

Yes, you've added so many words and phrases to your vocabulary. Now you say, "nigh nigh" (good night), "ay yone" (all done), "dun non" (turn on), "tan too" (thank you), "ditta ditta ditta" or "gitta gitta" (for tickle or I'm gonna get you) and you try to mimic just about everything else we say. When you aren't saying words I recognize you are jabbering in your own tongue. all. the. time. I bet you're telling some pretty great
jokes and stories!

You are obsessed with lighting fixtures and ceilings fans (hence the "turn on" phrase). You're constantly asking us to turn on the fans either verbally or by turning your little hands in circles. It's the cutest! For awhile you were whistling at the birdies any time we entered a room with an open curtain.

You have six teeth: four on top and two on the bottom. I think you're working on one more on the bottom right now too. You're starting to really like food. Avocados, chicken, eggs, french toast (dipped in "sauce" aka: pureed baby food) and carrots are some of your favorites. You also like bananas, but they don't like your tummy very much. You seem to have a dairy sensitivity so we don't give you anything from a cow, but you still love your "nuh nuhs"!

You still love to be tickled and love to laugh. In fact, tickling you has become part of your bedtime routine. It seems you don't want to settle down until you've had a good laugh! And, oh, your is laugh a good one! You also have a hard time going to bed if you haven't gotten to say nigh nigh to Daddy. When I wear my hair in a bun on top of my head, you think it is the funniest thing in the world. You also think my hair is yours to pull and play with whenever you want (ouch!).

Outside is your favorite place to be. You could roam around chewing on grass and leaves all day if I let you. You also love looking at books and reading them with me or your daddy. Your favorite for a long time was The Eye Book by Dr. Suess but it seems to have been replaced by one called Good Night Tennessee that Grandpa and Grandma Adams gave you. You also love Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, Ten Apples up on Top, and one I found on Amazon called If Kisses Were Colors. You love anything with faces, especially baby faces, even if they are rough illustrations.

You already are such an amazing little person. I am thrilled to watch and help you grow! You have changed my whole world. Israel, you are loved beyond measure!

xoxo forever,

Dear Izzy...

After you were born, I had fully intended to write you every month and here you are, seven months old! I can hardly believe it. You have grown so much and we are having so much fun being your parents. I love you so so so much!

When you were four months old, we moved away from Brooklyn and spent about five weeks visiting your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in California and Utah before coming to Tennessee. Now we've been in our new house for almost two months! We still don't have very much furniture, but you love rolling around on the new carpet. In the last week or so you have started to get frustrated that you can't crawl, but you have started to rock back and forth on your hands and knees and will launch yourself forward onto your tummy. You're so close! You are sitting up so well and hardly ever fall over after we sit you up now. You've also gotten really close to pushing yourself up to sit on your own a couple times. You crawl all over me and your dad; we're your personal jungle gyms! Instead of a chair we have a blow-up mattress in your room and when you and I are sitting on it you'll pull yourself over to the edge and (on a couple occasions) off the bed if I let you. You are very curious.

At your six month check up, you were in the 95 percentile for your weight (20 lbs), were off the charts for your height (29 inches) and you continue to have an average size head :). You are wearing 12-18 month size clothes and wear a size 4.5-5 shoe! You are a big boy and look and act several months older than you are. But, even with your size you have lost some of your baby chub (oh, you were a yummy, chubby 3-5 month old!). You also got a couple shots and I braced myself for a melt down (for both of us) but you didn't even flinch! I am so amazed at how brave you already are. You still haven't really cried after you bonked your head or done something that I expect to hurt and bring out the tears, you will just look startled and frown a little. You are still very easy to soothe. People comment everywhere we go on what a "good baby" you are, so calm and content to just hang out with mom.

You love water! Both to bathe in and to drink. Bath time is one of your and our favorite times of the day. I take a bath with you usually, in our big tub. It's like your own little swimming pool. You love to splash and swim around (with my help, of course). You started reaching for my water bottle a couple months ago and I would let you chew on the hard, square plastic spigot. One day, several weeks ago to both of our surprise, you got it to work and started slurping up the water! It was game over after that and you've wanted a sip every time you see water in a bottle or glass and you especially love drinking out of a straw (it keeps you entertained when we go out to eat). I finally bought you your own sippy cup with a straw. I'm not sure how much water actually ends up in your stomach, but you sure love to practice!

We have started giving you some solid foods. You've loved everything we've given you: avocado, cucumber, squash, apples, applesauce, sweet potato (and little bits of bread when we're out and you're desperate for entertainment). You are emotionally and dexterously ready, but we wonder if your little gut is prepared to handle it yet. The day after you eat solids it will take you hours and hours to push it back out, making it hard for you to nap at all and a little grumpy. Still, you hardly every cry (only if you are exhausted and hungry at the same time).

You have always been a very vocal baby and would have "conversations" with us as early as seven weeks. A couple weeks ago your repertoire of sounds started to take off. You started saying "Hi" at five months and since then you've added (in order of appearance) "Up", "Poop," "Mama," "Dada," "Buh" (when you hear a bird), and "Isth" (which I think is you trying to say your name). Last night we were at your cousins' house and I swear you were trying to say Adam (Ahum) and Max (Muh, Muh)! One thing I don't love is that you've started yelling at the top of your lungs. Sometimes when you want something, sometimes it seems you do it just to test out your vocal capacity. And it's always, "MA MA MAH MAHHHEEEE!!!" with a screech at the end. Wow! Kid's got pipes!

You have always been interested in interacting with your world, especially the people around you. You make friends where ever we go. Partly because you're such a looker! And partly because once you've gotten someone's attention you'll stare them down and smile at them until they are entranced by your charm. You love to FaceTime and video chat with family far away. And you've just started to become really interested in people your own size (other babies) and will try to talk to them in stores and at church.

It is very easy to get you to smile. When you are playing and you realized we are watching you, you burst into a big grin. You are very ticklish everywhere and love to be tickled. The other day you put my hands on your feet and started to giggle, inviting me to continue to tickle your toes while you laughed and laughed! You already have a sense of potty humor, crack up when we smell for a poopy diaper, with laugh when we even say the word "poop," and have laughed after you burp.

You still love music and have widened your appreciation to artists other than your mama. When you were younger you would cry if I turned on any pop music unless I was singing along. We can still calm you down just by singing primary songs. Your favorite song is "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" and you love songs with hand actions. Speaking of hand actions, you will give us a "high five." I've been teaching you that one since you were a little babe and started to put your hands up to grab at my face and arms when I feed you, which you still do all the time. We both love your meal times.

You are just the sweetest baby and love to snuggle and nuzzle and be kissed and to give monstrous, wet kisses in return. Oh how I love you! Sometimes I think I don't ever want you to grow up! I want you to stay my squishy baby forever! But then I think about all the amazing things you will do when you get older and how many people you will love and help with your sweet, fun personality and I think that I cannot be that selfish to want to keep you all to myself. I LOVE being your mama. Israel, you are loved beyond measure!

xoxo forever,

Dear Izzy...

You are one month old and I cannot believe how fast time is going already and how fast you are growing. Almost 11 pounds!! Good job son! Both your dad and I have waited a long time for you. As early as age three I've wanted to be a mommy and I never imagined I would have to wait until now. Every minute I've had the privilege of being your mom has been so worth the wait! You are so precious. I didn't know I could love as much as I love you. 

I wanted to give you the very best start to life possible. I tried to prepare my body to be a place where you could be conceived and grow unencumbered.  I even stopped highlighting my hair and switched to natural deodorant and hair products (though once we were well into your pregnancy, I couldn't stand certain smells, so I relapsed back to deodorant that worked. Sorry!). When it took longer to get pregnant than we expected, I started to really long for you. The month I stopped charting was the month that it happened. I waited several days before taking a pregnancy test and when I did and it showed a blue plus sign I wasn't sure if I could trust it. In my heart I already knew that it was true. Your dad didn't want us to get too excited just in case it didn't last but we were in our way to visit family and once one person found out (your aunt Bethany guessed) it was too fun to tell people in person to leave it a secret. 

When I first laid my eyes on you it was as if you've always been mine. Of course you look like  you because this is how you've always looked. And of course you look familiar because you are made from me and your daddy. Sometimes you look exactly like him and I see you making the same faces. Other times I think you look just like all the other babies on my side of the family, especially as you get chubbier. Speaking of, you are so lucky to have three cousins born within a couple months of you and two of them are boys like you! I can only imagine the fun you three are going to have as you grow up.  
You are very strong and have been able to hold up your own head since we were in the hospital. When we put you on your tummy, you already try to do little push ups and you push your little feet off of everything they touch, launching yourself forward. You are a really cute baby! When you show us your sleepy smiles, you have a dimple in the middle of each cheek and a couple smaller ones around your mouth. We are surprised that your eyes have stayed blue so far and your hair is growing in blonde! You're little personality has started to show through the newborn sleepiness. You are very vocal! You grunt in protest when we move you and you don't really want to be disturbed. You make a lot of noise when you sleep! Oh my goodness, your dad has to sleep in the other room, otherwise we would BOTH be sleep deprived and you don't need two grumpy parents.  You've already earned yourself a few nicknames in addition to the one we intended when we named you Israel. "Grunty McGrunterson" and "Toots Magoots", to name a few. 

You have been a very good baby with a mild temperament and have only just started to get a little fussy in the evenings or when your tummy hurts. We found out pretty quickly that you don't like it when I eat dairy (or broccoli!). So, I've cut out a few different foods and it seems to be making a difference for you. Being a new mommy has not been as easy and natural as I imagined and I'm sure being a new baby isn't easy either, but we're figuring it out together. Your dad has been so helpful and loves taking care of you in the ways that he can. When your tummy hurts he helps you "march it out" to the cadences he learned in the Army and you calm right down. 

You love to snuggle and will bury your head wherever you can, in the crook of my arm or my neck or under a pillow (we have to be careful with that one!). You also love to eat and are pretty insatiable. You really enjoy your meals and let us know with your "nom-nomming" and head bobbing (I'm already suffering from a bad case of, what the lactation consultant called, "nip lash"). 

You love music, especially when we sing to you. We sing lots of primary songs and church hymns--they are your favorite.
You did not like your first bath. Gigi was here staying with us while daddy went to a work conference in Hawaii (I know, rough huh?) and we gave you a short sponge bath but you got too cold. You love to be warm and you love light! You love the time you get to spend nakey in the sunlight! You love to stare at any light area of any room you may be in and spend a lot of your wakeful times looking at the windows. 

In your first month you were visited by your Aunt Emily who got to come to New York for work and your Gigi and Papa Scott. You've already been to the Hamptons and have already made one trip on the subway for a quick shopping trip in the big city. You are an urban baby and can sleep through almost anything. We hope that continues!

Izzy, words truly cannot express how humbled and grateful I am to have somehow been found worth of being your mama in this life. You were born to do great things and Heavenly Father will use your strength for great good! I could not be more excited to watch your life unfold. You are loved beyond measure!

xoxo forever,

Izzy's First Days

I think we are quite possibly two of the happiest new parents in the world! Oh how we love this little boy. 

 Our hospital stay was punctuated by a couple of events. One planned and the other a bit unexpected. Since Israel was born at nearly 11pm, we didn't get to our room on the Mother-Baby floor until almost 2:00am. Needless to say, we were all exhausted. The Captain tried to figure out the chair-bed (turns out that it was not put back together properly from it's last guest, poor guy had to sleep on a broken non-bed!) and we settled in for another attempt at feeding...though, lets be honest--this little guy was sleeping through everything. Thursday was pretty uneventful, though we had scheduled a procedure--step one in fixing my kidney issue--for Friday so we had a lot of interruptions. Interns and residents coming to ask the same questions that had already been asked so many times (I wonder why they don't just look at my chart?), signing release forms for surgery and not-signing for anesthesia (I had questions when I read that my only options were for a spinal or general anesth. that the resident couldn't answer so we waited to sign that one), pediatrician check ups and lactation consultations (both of which were welcome), meals (very, very welcome). But, it was all a little much when all we really wanted to do was hold our little boy and sleep.

In the wee morning hours the next day, I was awakened by a pediatric resident who tried to explain that Izzy's bilirubin count was elevated and they wanted to start phototherapy immediately. All of which to my exhausted brain was muddled and confusing.  The Captain was sound asleep on the cot which he had thankfully fixed, and didn't rouse until the end of our visit. I said I would need to discuss with my husband and asked if he could come back after I had fed the baby. It broke my heart to think of him taken away from me and put in a plastic crib all by himself, but there really wasn't any other option and frankly we were too tired to research it. We were told that Izzy needed more food to push the bilirubin through his system and that the lights would help break it down. I let them wheel my baby away and reluctantly fell asleep. I woke up with my mommy radar on high alert! I heard my baby crying--which was impossible since we were separated by many doors and walls--but I know I heard it. One of the nurses came in our room, looking a little confused, and said that my baby was screaming. "Bring him to me and I'll feed him, please!!" I said, a little shocked by her method of communicating the problem. If there is anything more heartbreaking that your newborn child's frantic cries, I do not know what it is. I gladly fed him and I could feel his relief even though we were definitely still figuring the whole breastfeeding thing out.

It wasn't long after the nurse returned Izzy to the nursery that we were told that they were ready for me in the O.R. I don't know why I wasn't given the option to pump breast milk (our nurse, who was wonderful, was on break while all of this was happening), and my lack of experience unfortunately didn't prompt me to ask, so we made the decision to let the nurses feed Izzy formula while he was under the lights until I came back from recovery later that morning. I did make sure they used a dropper instead of a bottle (too many fears of nipple confusion--which I have since learned is a real thing). Having Izzy under the lights and care of the nurses proved to be a blessing. As the Captain followed me down to the O.R. I couldn't help but get emotional. Being raised by a physician father, I am very comfortable in hospitals. Operating rooms and their surroundings are almost a second home to me. But travelling through that hospital on a gurney that morning, I couldn't help but think worst-case-scenario. Surgery is still surgery and general anesthesia -even in it's lowest doses--is still general anesthesia! There are always risks and, like it or not, there was a small chance I wouldn't wake up....
It took all of about five minutes and I was waking up, sleepily telling whoever was left in the OR that they did a really great job and that I was feeling great and was I intubated? because my lip felt like it had a laceration in it (they told me it was just an indentation). Coming out of anesthesia has to be one of the funniest feelings ever. So loopy!

 The Captain met me in the recovery room to check in for a few minutes and then went back to the Mother-Baby unit to be with Izzy. Once I was cleared to leave it took forever for someone to come and transport me back upstairs. I hated being away from my new baby. I finally got back upstairs and the Captain asked if I wanted to go visit Izzy. We walked around to the other side of the floor and there he was laying in a little bassinet under the lights with just a little diaper on and gauze wrapped around his little eyes. Even though he was very calm, it makes me emotional just thinking about it. All in all, he was only under phototherapy for about four hours. They continued to monitor his levels, which came back down to a safer number and we were both discharged Friday evening. (I'd love for the Captain to tell his version of what happened while I was away. Maybe I can convince him to include it here.)

Of course we had the same feelings as most, "Is this really our son? Our baby? And we get to take him home just like that? Yes, yes and yes. Now our home has been flipped upside down. Baby things have taken over our small apartment and it's never looked better to me! 
As we figure all of this new parent stuff out I am grateful for my life experiences that have prepared me for motherhood. Being the second oldest of six kids (I was 13 when my youngest brother was born), having 10 nieces and nephews on the Kartchner side (we have three nephews and a new niece on the Captain's side),  for being a member of a Church that teaches the importance of families and specifically of Mothers. As much as I never wanted to be an "old mom", I am glad for the time I've had to wait and want, to travel and study and grow. God is Good and His timing is perfect. 
Here's to the many sleepless nights and joyful days ahead!