Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mia Grooves

Pause audio player on the right before watching Mia boogie on down.

Mia Dances from Megan Ciampa on Vimeo.
Mia makes her own moves

All moves & grooves by Mia were self-inspired, self-taught, & self-actualized.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thank you, Julie & Julia

Well let me get to the bad news first so I can move on.  In the early waking hours of Friday morning, Mia woke up sounding like a barking seal.  If you've ever experienced this firsthand or had a family member who has, you know that's the calling card of croup.  Other symptoms include fever & cold.  Based on the internet's advice, I decided to take Mia for a "sick visit" to her pediatrician's office where he basically confirmed what I thought.  She has gained 5 ounces though.  Anyway, the regimen for croup is basically humidified air, a good face plant in the freezer, or a walk in the cool night air.  Since it's pretty hot here, a walk in the cool night air is basically impossible, but we do have a humidifier & a freezer, and we've been utilizing the former.

She didn't do super well the rest of Friday: restless and tired--very difficult to put to sleep.  But once she finally was out last night, she slept all night like she normally does.  Thank goodness!  She's doing better today and hopefully will get another full night's sleep tonight.  We aren't giving her much aside from plenty of liquids (and whatever remaining bmilk we have around here!), whatever solids she might tolerate, some hepar sulph (a homeopathic remedy for croup), and some Motrin here & there for the fever/pain relief.  

While Mia was abating her condition and actually sleeping last night, Greg & I watched Julie & Julia on Netflix on the Wii (kinda cool!)  While Greg fell asleep too, I rekindled my interest in things kitchen-related (family members across the United States are breathing a big sigh of relief) and am making a cake tonight.  Not the Julia Child kind (don't think I've ever actually attempted to master the art of French Cooking), but the modified recipe kind.  It's actually a modification of a Betty Crocker recipe as modified by her and the recipe I used to make Mia's birthday cupcakes!

Check it out, it's really simple (and yummy!):  My comments are italicized.

  • 2 cups flour (fresh ground organic soft white wheat)
  • 2 cups sugar (I use only 1 1 /2 cups organic evaporated cane juice like Rapadura or Sucanat and then add 4 drops stevia) -- I used raw sugar, aka demerera--less processed & I like the taste)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use organic Rapunzel brand cocoa powder - very dark and full of antioxidants) -- I skipped this, I prefer it without the chocolate
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use fresh from the cow whole milk from a local farmer) OR for Mia I made it with rice milk as I was unsure of how she'd react to cow's milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening (expeller pressed coconut oil works fabulous here)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs (I use free range eggs) or organic eggs
Bake in whatever size cake pans you want for 30 mins at 350°F.  Or 20 mins if you're making cupcakes.


  • 1/2 cup deep yellow, grassfed butter, softened - I just used plain store butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa or carob powder (or 1/4 cup of each) - again, skipped the chocolate
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups sifted, organic powdered sugar - cheaped out and used regular powdered sugar! :P
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix powdered sugar and cocoa/carob.   Add butter, boiling water, and vanilla.   Beat with an electric mixer on low till combined.   Cool for a few minutes and then frost your cake.     Recipe will frost tops and sides of a double layer cake (9x13 pan).

I adapted the frosting by using a Food Network recipe courtesy of LPK, and made yellow frosting with lemon extract, red frosting with almond extract, and green frosting with mint.  The white frosting just had vanilla.  It was super good!  

In my opinion, the cupcakes were superior to what I might've been able to get from a store.  They were a bit more dense & heavy, but they had a really good taste & stayed moist for several days.  I chose to make Mia's cupcakes myself as I wanted to avoid several artificial ingredients (although the frosting may have backfired that desire!) and I wanted less dairy where possible.  A big shout-out to Mommo for helping with the last minute cupcake preparations.

Tonight, I am remaking this recipe, but with real cow's milk instead of the rice milk, and I'm not yet sure which direction I'll go with the frosting.  But I can say regardless, I'm really looking forward to chowing down on this cake!  And so is Greg.

And with that, it's Mia's bedtime.  Until next time...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

happily "slow" around here

It's hard to believe the month of May is already winding down.  The weather is heating up in FL and with it come the summer rains.  Everybody's trying to enjoy the outdoors before it becomes unbearably hot!

As an answer to the last post, Mia is taking the coconut milk tonic well.  She tried a bit of the kefir and didn't care for it too much; perhaps it's not sweet enough.  The coconut milk tonic is a mixture of pure coconut milk, filtered water, and a bit of flavoring provided by some Grade B Maple Syrup and a little Vanilla.  It tastes pretty good but must be mixed really well.  We are trying the coconut milk because it's high in healthy fats and even has some antiviral & antifungal qualities.  Pretty amazing stuff you can get from nature.  I feel like I'm trying out for a Kashi commercial but I can assure you I am not recompensed for any such advertisements on my blog!  We may try whole milk or kefir with Mia eventually in the future, but as (NOT) fun as it is to watch your child throw up, I'm okay with holding off for a while again.

Mia had a little visitor the other day; our friends Amanda & Caitlyn (heretofore referred to in this post) called upon us for a little playdate & some lunchin'.  Always a good time.

Mia's had several teeth bust through lately.  It seems like just the other day she had 4, but now she has 6 that can be clearly seen.  Perhaps this explains some of her restless nights of late, otherwise, we're all having a blast. :-P

And for those still reading--if anyone is interested in splitting a 24pak of 3.0 one size bumGenius diapers with me (at about $15.25/diaper this is a really good deal!), please let me know.  The promo ends May 31. I already have a few takers who will split the pack, but I need just a few more commitments to make it happen--even if you just want to buy 1 or 2!  Otherwise, I will try selling the rest over the summer or at the next Jumping Jeans Consignment Sale!  E-mail me or leave a comment below if you are interested!

Friday, May 21, 2010 the meantime...

While Mia's participating in a milk-tasting contest (what will win out? almond milk, coconut milk tonic, or kefir??) ... why don't you check out some mobile uploads of this spunky little one:

watching daddy work on the patio

"hi dada!" proof she is a little daddy's girl

jetsetting down the hall walking her own bebe

Hopefully by the middle of next week we'll know what milk she prefers & what she can handle and we'll be able to move forward from there. So many changes in such a short period of time!  

Is she really almost 13 months??

Monday, May 17, 2010

amazing cloth diaper deals!

If you haven't checked it out, Kelly's Closet & BumGenius are doing some amazing promotions on BumGenius All-in-One (AIO) diapers. If you order $10 of products in Flip, Econobum, or BumGenius, you get a free BG AIO!  You have to enter the code BGMAGAIO at checkout after adding your $10 worth of those products to your cart. This offer is good until May 31.

AND, I just found out that you can take advantage of this promotion twice!  You can place a 2nd order with the same guidelines ($10 worth of said products) using the code BGMAG2. This coupon can expire at anytime.

I'd been holding off on my orders until I had a few more dolla bills in my pocket, but I just took advantage of the deals tonight!  I'll be receiving the BumGenius odor remover, an extra traveling wet bag for dirty cloth diapers, 1 Flip diaper & insert, plus 2 new BG AIOs, courtesy of these coupons!  I've never tried the Flip system or an all-in-one diaper but I've loved BumGenius one-sized diapers so I'm sure I'll love these too (as they are the same company)!

I just had to share! (Plus post one more picture for whom all these diaper products are for - Lil' Mia!) 

PS: Don't forget to scroll down to check out my previous post on living it easy with our pool/beachy weekend!

where the living is easy

Another fab Florida weekend. Friday night we lowered it down a notch and ordered pizza & watched Up which was better than I had naively anticipated.

Saturday was a full-blast day. Mia & I hung out with her buddy Knox in the morning while his parents were to & fro, and then we all hit up lil' El's 1st birthday (pool) party, which was just fine with me!  It has been getting H-O-T here lately so a jump in the pool was just what the doctor ordered.
And speaking of doctors, who knew that my friend Sarah was also friends with the nurse practitioner who diagnosed my DVT last year?  Imagine my shock when I walk in to the party and recognize the guy who called me on the phone last year while I was at the ultrasound imaging center, awaiting my results, to say, "Hi Megan, you have a deep vein thrombosis in your leg. You'll be on anticoagulants for at least 6 months, bla bla bla..."  Turns out he & Sarah (Eleanor's mom) went to nursing school together!  'Tis indeed a small world.

Mia loved the pool!--much more than her first swim.  Too bad she doesn't know how to really swim yet, otherwise I'm sure she'd be doing flips & handstands if I'd let her.  Thankfully some other folks had brought their own baby swimgear and were generous in sharing to let Mia lounge around and give my arms a break.

donning the scrunchy face

peekaboo with our photographer?

Sunday morning, we left church right away to head down to Anna Maria Island for my friend Amanda's little girl Caitlyn's 1st birthday!  They currently live in a beach house just within walking distance of the beach.  It's not often that we literally are right at the Gulf, so after the festivities winded down we walked to the beach only to find that Mia loved that as well.  She was a wet and sandy baby, but we were able to "hose" (shower) her down really quickly before we left for the day.

happy birthday, cait!

me & amanda: grad school buddies

livin' the high life on anna maria island

the elusive family picture of 3 thanks to a passerby

analyzing the water in the safety of daddy's shadow

charging into the waves!

up-close & sandy

It was a weekend truly lived, which I believe you need every now and then. We can't be on the go all the time, but when we are, it allows me to appreciate the still moments when they happen.  Like right now, where I can hear an exhausted baby snore in her mid-morning nap slumber.  Perhaps I'll venture there too...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some *helpful* lactation tips

Running into friends is great because it gives you a chance to catch up, if even on the "weirdest" of things. Since having posted about exclusive pumping, it's really opened up some of the conversations I have with people, which I admittedly enjoy.  I realized that there are some things I didn't have the space to post on my EP blog as it was already so long, so I will add them here.

Random, but hopefully helpful, lactation tips for the breastfeeding or pumping mom:

To increase milk supply:
Aside from the obvious wellness practices we're always told (drink water, get lots of rest), which will generally ameliorate any condition, there are a few things you can imbibe or ingest which are said to increase the amount of milk your body can produce. The most common are:

  • Fenugreek capsules or tablets
  • Brewer's Yeast
  • Oatmeal (the real kind)

See for more information on "galactagogues".  Then try to pronounce that word.

A yummy recipe that was shared with me for increasing your milk supply follows:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

1 cup *butter*
1 cup *sugar*
1 cup firmly packed *brown sugar*
4 tablespoons *water*
2 tablespoons *flax seed meal*
2 *eggs*
1 teaspoon *vanilla*
2 cups *flour*
1 teaspoon *baking soda*
1 teaspoon *salt*
3 cups *oats*
1 cup *
chocolate chips*
2-4 tablespoons *brewer's yeast*

Preheat oven to 350°.

1. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
2. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
3. Add eggs and mix well.
4. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla; beat well.
5. Sift together flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda, and salt.
6. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
7. Stir in oats and chips.
8. Scoop onto baking sheet.
9. Bake for 12 minutes.
10. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Indubitably, your spouse and other family members may eat these too because they're so tasty. I can assure you that they won't immediately start lactating, but there are other health benefits from the flaxseed, oatmeal, and brewer's yeast for them too! 

[I have found brewer's yeast and fenugreek at a local health food store (Nutrition S'mart for Tampa peeps). I actually inadvertently found flaxseed mill at Super Target (one of my favorite places), but you can probably find it more easily at most grocery stores.]
If you freeze your pumped milk in special breastmilk storage bags (which I would recommend as they do not leak or latch on any weird chemicals into your precious pumped liquid gold), it is good in a regular freezer for 3-4 months. You should rotate your frozen milk so that the oldest in the stash is used first, so that you never have to dump expired milk. In a deep freeze, the milk is good for up to 6 months.  It is a good idea to constantly rotate it, because one of the amazing things about breastmilk is that the antibodies in the milk change every month as your baby grows, so is is helpful if they receive what they need, when they need it. 

Also, thaw the milk in the fridge or under running water. Never heat up milk in the microwave. It could develop hotspots and burn your baby's tongue/mouth, not to mention, it changes the structure and nutrition of the milk -- not a good thing!  To warm it up after thawing, we always just heated up a glass of water and soaked the bottle or bag of milk in the water until it was the appropriate temperature.  Mia's such an old bebe now, she takes it straight outta the fridge. Babes sure grow fast.

If your frozen milk is not all used up at the same feeding, it may be refrigerated and offered one more time again before discarding.  Frozen milk should be used within 24 hours of thawing.

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot them my way. Or check out; they have so many great tips there. The Birth Center was always recommending that website to me, and I thought it was some random girl's blog whose named happened to be Kelly & was a mom (I should've been a detective). In reality, I guess that's just who she is, but nonetheless, her website is full of spectacular resources!  And now kudos to me for finding a way to use the word "spectacular" for the first time since elementary school!

Monday, May 10, 2010

"No Explanation Necessary"

If there's one thing I love it's hanging out with old friends with whom there's no explanation necessary.  There's something comforting about hanging out with people who have known longer than a year or two, who know where you've been, what you're like, and where you plan on going.  It's also so nice to hang out with these people after you all experienced the addition of a child!  Tonight we did something we never do for a Monday night...grab a yummy dinner with friends and our young ones and enjoy a sunny, peaceful twilight walking around.

Here's the proof.  No explanation necessary.

Mia relaxing in the limelight

Juggling between the two boys (Left: Cash, Right: Dylan)

The babies & their dads -- all the while singing "Friends, I will remember you...think of you...and pray for you..." [the Friends* finale song -- Colt, Greg & Trey (left to right) were all in a performers band in college and this was the last song they sang at each performance!]

Baby daddy switch!

 Baby mamas!

It was sooo good to hang out with these people tonight. Why don't we do it more often??

* The Friends also performed tons more songs by artists you've probably actually heard of. Lots of rock classics, oldies, and contemporary music too (sheryl crow, sara evans, michelle branch...why can I only remember the girl artists?)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Change Gonna Come

Alright. It's been a journey of late. The excitement leading up to the big 1 has died down and life is "back to 'normal'" for now, which I've found is a bit less interesting than it was before.  It seems a lot of things have changed all at once again and as I sit here pondering what all is going on, I dug up a few quotes:

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly. - Henri Bergson

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. -Nathaniel Branden

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. -Karen Kaiser Clark

Now before I go on depressing you, let me assure you that this change isn't bad. It's just different and sometimes takes a while before getting used to. You may wonder what on earth am I talking about? What are these big changes? Well in reality, they're nothing huge. Just a few things that change my week-by-week and thus I find myself searching for a new normal, knowing that probably in a matter of weeks or months, it will all change again.  I think this is the way it is for new parents.  People say, and I've now repeated it in my lofty 12 months of experience, "Just when you think you got it figured out, [they] go and change on ya!" So true.

And speaking of change, Greg & I have done a lot of reflecting on this past year and the weeks as they were at this time last year (the birth, the hospital, being at home with a newborn, etc.), and allow me to share a big change from last year to now:

Last year at this time we were finally home from the hospital with Mia as of this past Sunday.  My mom & Jackson were still in town, and we were receiving lots of help and meals from friends & family.  I believe it was this Thursday night that many people came over to our house to help us eat the abundant amounts of food we had from people dropping off meals.  I remember saying hi and trying to be grateful & cheery, which is how I honestly wanted to feel, but I was reeling in those postpartum hormones, uncertain of the hours and days to come, and still feeling a bit lousy from the bouts of flu-like symptoms I was experiencing from the mastitis.  I sometimes wish I could go back in time and turn those feelings off.  It would have been great to have actually enjoyed the company of so many people around me whom I loved, who had traveled a great distance to see Mia and our new family, but it was difficult to put on a happy face.  I remember wondering, "Am I going to feel like this forever?  Will it get better?"  I'm so thankful to report now that things did change and they did get better and now I know for anyone's future reference, it does get better!! 

In the wise words of Gavin DeGraw, covering Sam Cooke, "Change is gonna come."

And while it is oddly comforting, I oft remember the proverb, "There is nothing new under the sun."  So, when I'm feeling whatever which way, I am reassured: God has dealt with this one before and He can deal with it now. Let it go, sista!

One of Mia's favorite visitors: Big Uncle Nate! 
(About 2 weeks old in this picture)