Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Confessions of a New Mama

Hi there!

I thought I'd share some moments from my life recently.  I'm sure other mamas can relate, but even if you aren't a parent, you may just find them interesting (or comical).  I chalk a bunch of it up to fatigue.  Sage is 5 1/2 months old and I'm not sure when I'll stop considering myself a new mom.  Maybe when he says, "hi mom!".  In some ways I feel like a seasoned veteran at this point, but in other aspects I'm learning everyday.  I suppose that's what parenthood will continually feel like.  Anyways, here are a few of my confessions as a mama...

Confession #1 - I was pumping the other night before bed and I forgot to attach a bottle.  As in I was pumping and milk was dropping on the floor.  I'm not even exaggerating when I say it took me close to a minute to realize what the dripping sound was.  Yeah, I blame fatigue on that one for sure.

Confession #2 - On that sleep deprived note, I forgot to bring bottle tops to work the other day so that I could store the milk after I pumped it.  I had the bottles, but no tops.  Thank you zip-lock bags and rubber bands. 

Confession #3 - Often I look at the monitor sporadically in the night.  Baby boy has me scheduled to wake up when he does.  I will look at the monitor and literally Sage will start stirring.  Our internal clock is the same.

Confession #4 - On that note of middle of the night feedings, I have no idea what sleeping for longer than 5 hours at a time feels like anymore.  Honestly if I get a 4 hour stretch of sleep I feel "well rested".  It's funny because I complained during pregnancy when I only got 5 or 6 hours (and not 8 or 9 hours), but now 5 hours is AMAZING and I feel like Super Woman.  Sage was doing much better with just one feeding and then he got a cold and the number of nighttime feedings went up.  I think I need to cut them out, or at least only feed him once in the night.  He has his 6 month appointment in another few weeks and I plan on chatting with his doctor about this.

Confession #5 - Dinners are super simple/whatever we can find in the fridge recently.  I've been trying to cook meals with lots of leftovers on Sunday, but we can only eat the soup, chili, pasta bake...a few nights in a row until we are sick of it.  As a full-time working mama, getting dinner on the table is tough.  I love to cook, and my husband is a great cook as well, but there just isn't enough time in the day.  Chipotle and Chinese takeout are making a weekly appearance.

Confession #6 - I consider just making it out the door in the morning and to work on time a major success.  I'm sure my hubby agrees.  I feel like I have a million balls in the air each morning and I have to catch them all before I actually get on the road, so I count this as a small victory.  Sage's diaper bag packed, enough bottles for the day packed for him, pumping supplies packed for work, lunch packed, purse packed, dogs fed, laundry started...

Confession #7 - I absolutely LOVE being a mom.  Even with the craziness of it all, it's the best thing ever.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  Even when Sage wakes up at 5AM (after going back down at 3AM), it's worth it all (and more!).  Sage is such a happy baby and he makes us laugh constantly.  My house may always need a vacuuming, there is always laundry, and the dogs are begging for attention, and...you catch my point, but being a mama is the best.  

Can you relate to any of my confessions?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My (New) Favorite Pancakes: Simple Banana Flax Pancakes

Hey hey hey!

Recipe sharing time and it is a really good one.  I'm a pancake enthusiast.  I had ripe bananas that needed be used over the weekend and boy did I put them to good use.  Twice!  I've posted a bunch of pancakes over the last few years and these are truly my new favorite.  They are husband-approved as well.  

They taste like dessert, but full of healthy goodness.  My pictures don't do them justice.  It was the wee early hours of the morning.  Sage does not believe in sleeping in on the weekends and therefore neither do I, but I do believe in lots of pancakes!

Aren't they pretty?  Yes, pancakes can be pretty.

I knew they were going to taste great just by the look of the batter.

The recipe makes four medium pancakes which fed both my hubby and I as they are pretty filling.  They were my early breakfast.  I had a shake a few hours later.


1 ripe banana
1 cup vanilla soy milk (or whatever kind you fancy)
2 tbsp. ground flax
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/4 cup chocolate chips (if using)

1. In a bowl mash the banana with the milk and ground flax.  Then add the rest of the ingredient to the bowl and stir until mixed.

2.  Heat pan over medium heat and grease (I used a tsp. of coconut oil).

3. Once the pan is heated, pour the batter (I make two pancakes at a time on my pan).  Let batter sit for three minutes or until bubbling and flip.  Cook for another three minutes or until golden.

4.  Enjoy!  

They tasted like banana bread, and with melted earth balance and maple syrup on top, oh delish!

Other recent pancake recipes:

What's your favorite kind of pancake? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sick Day + Birthday Weekend

Hi there!

Baby Sage has an ear infection.  Poor guy!  I really wasn't feeling well last Friday and I almost took a sick day, but I'm glad I didn't because I needed (and wanted!) to take one today to be with my boy.  He fell asleep as I was picking up his prescription, so I wrote this post while sitting in the coffee shop of the grocery store letting him sleep in his carseat.

On a happier note, I had a wonderful 28th birthday over the weekend. Because I was under the weather, we canceled the festivities and had a low-key day, just the three of us, and that was just what I needed.  And of course there was lots of delicious vegan eats.

On my birthday I got a roasted veggie melt with the best marinated tofu I've ever had. And that cupcake...heaven.  All from my favorite vegan cafe.  I also cooked and baked up a storm over the long weekend: banana flax pancakes (recipe coming soon!), jerk sloppy joe (made with seitan), cheddary broccoli soup (used white miso for the first time), PB cupcakes, and a penne bake (with a macadamia nut ricotta and a cashew cream).  Yeah, my refrigerator is full of vegan yums.  Also, there was a few trips to Starbucks.  Sage takes beautifully long naps in the car so my husband and I took the opportunity (or two) to go to the Starbucks drive-thru and then take the scenic route home so Sage could sleep.

Praying for a quick recovery for Sage.  I have to say though, he is so happy for not feeling well.  Totally impressive.

Parents:  Did your little one ever get an ear infection?

Try any new recipes lately?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sage: Month Five Baby Update

Hi there!

Happy five months old to baby Sage!

So much development took place this month.  The most yet.  I know I'll continue to say that, but he really is so different from the baby I spent my maternity leave with.  He's on the go, so alert, and double his size.  He's in six month and nine month clothes.  I keep cleaning out the drawers of what no longer fits.  Growing boy.  Sage has a happy disposition and he's a blast to be around.  Such a little dude!

Likes:  Sage has put everything in his mouth this month.  His hands, toys, blankets...all straight to the mouth.  We think it's definitely the beginning of teething.  He loves his new dog toy he got for Christmas and still spends lots of time on his activity mat.  Having his parents attention makes him the happiest and he laughs and talks with us lots. 

Dislikes:  Being overtired and/or hungry.  These are pretty much his two big dislikes.  He also does not like when we try to dress him in a onesie after bath time because he is overtired and ready for bed.

Playing:  All.the.time!  Sage loves to play.  He likes to keep busy.  He goes from his activity mat where he reaches for toys, to his green recliner chair where he swats at toys, to his sitting rolling chair where he chews on toys, to his mobile where he looks at his toys... We try to switch it up for him.  Sage also adores just playing with mommy and daddy.  He likes when we help him stand so he can look around at everything.  He laughs and smiles when we act goofy and give him lots of kisses.

Sleeping:  Sleeping started out quite rough at the beginning of the month.  There were nights when Sage was up every 1-3 hours.  Mama was a zombie.  He just didn't know how to put himself back to sleep when he woke up.  He wasn't hungry or needing a diaper change, so we knew he needed help self soothing, and we've been working on that since mid December.  And there's been great improvement! 

Sage generally goes to bed around 7:30PM and wakes up between 6:30AM and 7:30AM.  Several times he woke up within an hour or two of going to bed, I'd nurse him, and then he would sleep and get up again between 2 and 4AM, eat, and go back to sleep until morning.  Sage does still wake up in the night to eat, but I try not to go in each time because very often within five minutes he puts himself back to sleep.  I am working on just giving him one feeding a night and hoping to eliminate that within the next month or so.  We'll see! 

Most recently Sage has been waking up around midnight and 4AM for a feeding.  

Eating:  While I was home on maternity leave Sage was nursing about every two hours.  At the end of December, I went back to work.  Daddy practiced giving Sage a bottle for the few days before I went back (because he was still on vacation for an extra week as a teacher) and thankfully Sage took the bottle.  He was taking a bottle of 5 oz. every 2-3 hours.  Sage refused a bottle until this month, so it is such a happy thing that he started taking it.  During the workweek Sage takes 3 to 4 bottles from the sitter.

Also, Sage tried rice cereal a few days ago.  I mixed a tablespoon of rice cereal with 4 tablespoons of breast milk and Sage liked it!

New this month:  Starting pulling mama's hair and boy does he have a strong grip!

Fascinated by patterns on fabric and different textures.

Talking lots more!  We can't wait until we understand what he has to say because he's a chatterbox.  His little voice is the best sound.

Starting playing more in the bathtub with toys, but especially loves chewing on the wet washcloth.

Met lots of family at the holidays and did a great job getting passed around.  He showed of his happy smile.

Playing in his rolling chair because he can support his head so much better.  He looks around and if he catches the TV on, he'll do a 180 to see it, so we turn it off.

Holds things by himself like bottle and toys.

Moves around on the changing table so much.  He uses his feet to propel himself backwards.  

Key Dates:

12/17/14 & 12/19/14 - Drank whole bottle at babysitters for the first time (this is when I was dropping him off at the sitter's for a few hours to start getting him acclimated).

12/26/14 - Rolled front to back for the first time.

12/26/14 - Took bottle from daddy at home...big deal!

1/1/15 - Took a bottle from ME!  We were running errands on New Year's Day and I was sitting in the back with Sage.  I offered him the bottle while his daddy took us through the Starbucks drive-thru and Sage took it!  He took another later that day from me as well in the car.

1/8/15 and 1/11/15 - Tried rice cereal.

1/11/15 - Full roll, back to front!

This month has been a transition with going back to work. I look forward to every moment home with baby Sage and I feel blessed to be his mama.

See you next month!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Life as a Full-time Working New Mama

Hi there!

 So how has life been since returning to work after my maternity leave?  To sum it up in a few words:  busy, challenging, rewarding, and tiring.  I've been back to work a week and a half.  That's not really a substantial amount of time, but it's a big transition for not only myself, but for Sage, and my hubby as well (as he is back to work after a two week Christmas break).

It's nice to be back working at the law firm.  I work with really good people so I'm lucky.  I miss Sage like crazy each day, but I take comfort in the fact that he has a wonderful sitter.  I know he is having a blast watching the other children and playing.  I'm still on the brink of tears as I drive into work each morning, but I get to work and it's busy, busy, and the day does pass...and then it's time for me to come home.  Yay!  

My husband gets out a little earlier than I do so he picks Sage up.  As soon as I walk in the door at night I scoop up my sweet baby boy (after kissing hubby, baby, and pups) and feed him.  He then generally plays for a bit or naps and then it's time for bath and bed for Sage.  I soak up the time before he goes to bed.  He has still been waking 1-2 times at night to feed.  And even though I'm exhausted, I cherish those late night moments with him.  I know they won't happen forever and someday I'll look back with nostalgia.

My other favorite time of day is when Sage wakes up.  Most days he does me the favor of sleeping a bit past when I wake up so I can shower and get ready for the day.  I watch him on the monitor and I give him a few minutes to slowly wake up on his own and then I go in.  He looks at me and smiles so big and my heart is so happy that I know it's all worth it.  Our hard work each day is to give him the best life we can. Sage wakes up with a smile on his face and for that I am so grateful.

I'm yet to run since getting back to work.  I'm not willing to get up an hour earlier to get in a run just yet.  Sleep is still too precious and functioning during the workday takes precedence.    I eat lots of healthy clean foods and rely on that to keep me energized.

Just for fun (and because I like seeing other mamas schedules), here's what a workday has looked like lately:

6AM - Up and into the shower I go!  Then it's time for makeup and hair (and by that I mean brushing my hair and a little blow drying...).

6:45AM - Pump and get a bottle ready for Sage.

Between 6:30 & 7AM - Sage gets up.  Love love love!

7AM - Feed Sage and get him dressed.  I do myself the favor of getting the diaper bag ready the night before.  My husband puts the cloth diapers in the wash each night when he gets home from work.

7:15AM - Eat breakfast - cereal or shake or toast.

7:25AM - Get dressed for work.  I don't dare put on my work clothes any earlier because either (1) I'll get spit up on my outfit or (2) I'll get covered in dog fur.

7:30AM - Start the car so it's warm when Sage and I get on the road.

7:40AM - Head to the sitter and drop Sage off and within 20 minutes I'm then on the road to work.

8:30-5PM - Work, work, work...I also pump twice during the workday.  Mid morning and mid afternoon.  My office has a wellness room which makes it easy for me.

5:30PM - Home!  Feed Sage and play with him.  Chat with my hubby about our days and eat leftovers or something simple for dinner.

6:30PM - Bath time, feed Sage, and he's usually sleeping by 7:30PM.

7:30PM - Wash bottles, pick out work outfit for the next day, chat with hubby, and we generally attempt to watch a TV show, but I can barely keep my eyes open past 9PM.

8:30-9PMish - Crash into my pillow.  Sleep...

In the night...generally around 12AM and 4AM - feed Sage and then stumble back to bed.  Sometimes I have trouble falling back asleep though which frustrates me!

And that is life right now.  I am so thankful for it. 

How does your schedule compare to mine?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Documenting 2015 with a Picture a Day (Follow Along!)

Hey hey hey!

The snow has returned to Central New York.  We had a rainy Christmas and now the chill and snow are back.  Mother Nature plays games with us around here.  

I wanted to fill you in on my plan for 2015!  I love pictures as I'm sure you can tell from my space here at Love A Latte.  I plan to take a picture a day for all of 2015.  Of course I'll probably take more than a picture a day (let's be real, I love photographing my baby boy), but I'll be sharing a picture a day via Instagram.  It's my way of holding onto a moment from each day to have to look back on and for others (like you!) to follow.  

If you're interested in following my journey as a new mom, wife, plant-based eater, latte & coffee enthusiast, dog lover, runner...then please follow me on Instagram (click here!).  This is going to be really fun!  I plan to keep it real and document my life day-to-day.  I got the idea from others on Instagram and I think it's a great one.    

I'm going to use the hashtags #lovalatte and #pictureaday among others.  Like I mentioned previously, I'm not sure what blogging will look like this year as I'm back to work now and life is busy, busy, but I'm still here.  I'll probably post more frequently at times and less at others.

Day 1. Started out the New Year with a BIG soy latte and errands with the family #lovalatte #pictureaday
 Let the journey of 2015 begin...

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year + Going Back to Work as a New Mom

Happy New Year!

There is something so refreshing about a new year.  So much happens over the course of a year and January is always kind by giving us a fresh start, and also being that it is my birthday month.  This month also marks my two year blogging anniversary.  That's pretty cool.

We kept it low key last night.  I got out of work early.  My husband, Sage and I went to Chipotle for dinner thanks to Christmas giftcards.  I made dark chocolate cupcakes with a buttercream frosting, but I was out of earth balance shortening so the frosting was not nearly as tasty as it usually is.  Oh well!  The cake still rocked.  Sage went to bed early, but then rung in the New Year with us by waking up at 11:40pm.  I swear he just wanted to celebrate because soon after he was back to sleep.

2014 went by so fast when I replay it in my mind.  I know it seems that way each year, but 2014 was all about pregnancy and then Sage was here and time flew even faster, and before I knew it, it was December 29th.  Time to return to work after my 20 weeks off.  I went back to work on Monday!  Yup, I popped out of bed at 6:15AM and put on my big girl work outfit, did my makeup and hair, gave my baby boy lots of kisses, packed up food for my empty desk I was returning to, and headed out the door.  

Glimpse of my desk at work

 It was strange getting on the road to work after being home on maternity leave for 20 weeks.  I let myself cry on Sunday and I basically felt like a mess, but come Monday morning, I felt much more put together.  And it wasn't so bad.  Yes, I missed by sweet boy like crazy, but it also felt rather amazing to put myself together and go out into the world.  And it was really nice to see my coworkers and friends at the firm.  This week is a bit easier because my husband is still home on vacation, so he is watching Sage.  Daddy and son bonding time.  However, next week Sage starts at the sitter's and that's tougher.  I feel really good about our sitter and I'm excited for Sage to spend time with her kids, but it's still hard.  I miss seeing all he does each day and watching him learn and grow.

I can't wait to give him hugs as soon as I walk in the door after work.  He's such a happy boy that I know he's having a wonderful time home with daddy.  He looks at me like, "Oh hey, mom.  There you are.  How was your day?".  We only get to spend a little bit of time together at night because basically within an hour of my getting home it's time for bath and then bed for baby boy.  I know eventually he'll stay up a little later though and we'll get more time together.  I also get a little time with Sage in the morning before I rush out the door.  Next week I'll drive him to the sitter before work.

This is only my first week back so of course it's still hard and probably always will be.  It brings priorities into focus though.  My house is not perfectly clean and I expect that it never will be.  There will always be laundry and dishes, and that's just the way it goes.  I will prepare meals with leftovers on the weekend making dinners simple during the weeknights and Chipotle will be a weekly occurrence (not complaining about that!) because when I walk in the door after work, all I want to do is spend time with my family.

I don't really have a New Year's resolution.  I eat plant-based, whole foods all year long and I run when I get the chance.  I don't have any set in stone goals for races this year, but want to ease back into running naturally.  For 2015, family is the focus.  2014 gave me the gift of my sweet boy.  The greatest gift I could have ever asked for.      

I'm a full-time working mom.  Life is crazy busy and I know it's not always going to be easy keeping everything in order, but we'll do our best.  And in doing so, we will give our sweet boy all the love in the world.   

What is something you're looking forward to in 2015?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays from Me to You!

Hey hey hey!

What a year it's been.  I can't believe 2015 is right around the corner.  I'm stopping in to wish you a wonderful holiday and a happy happy happy New Year!  I'm a little early, but I plan on taking a blogging break until the New Year.  I've got 10 days left of my maternity leave.  Crazy, I know...

I plan to spend the next 10 days soaking up as much family time as possible.  It's been an incredible four and a half months.  I can't even put into words what these 20 weeks have meant to me.  To say I'm grateful for this time with Sage is an understatement.  Going back to work is a tough transition.  I am experiencing an assortment of emotions across the spectrum of happy to sad.  It's just going to be an adjustment is all.  And all in good time, we will get into a rhythm and I know it won't be so hard.

It's been a blast sharing this time on maternity leave with you.  I'm not sure what the return to blogging will look like in 2015, but I'll still be here...eating lots of plant-based yums, running, drinking lattes, and most importantly spending time with my family.  If I'm not around as much through regular posts at first then I'll definitely be on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  I'd love to connect with you there. 

And again, I truly hope 2014 finishes fantastically for you.  See you in 2015! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Sweaty Run + Thoughts on Food Delivery Service

Hi there!

Well, I won't say Monday night was restful; however, baby boy did let me sleep in until 7:30AM on Tuesday morning, which is by far the latest I have slept in since before he was around.  I woke up feeling slightly energized and decided to run!  But first, I made a shake to start the day right - 1/3 cup leftover Starbucks Americano + oats + PlantFusion protein powder + vanilla almond milk + ice.  YUM!  Thirty minutes later it was time to run.  

Sage played on his activity mat and I ran two sweaty miles.  It rocked.  Have I mentioned how awesome it is having a treadmill in my basement?  Thank you, Santa Claus. 

Post run!

Since I was already disgusting, while Sage took his nap, I did some house cleaning and before I knew it, it was lunch time.  A wrap was calling my name because those Gardein crispy tenders are just so tasty.

 I receive a subscription to Parents magazine, although, I'm not really sure how because I never signed up, but regardless, I was pleasantly surprised because there was a coupon for $40 off a food box from Hello Fresh inside.  I ordered the veggie box which is supposed to contain three meals worth of ingredients that feed two people and recipes included.  I only paid $19 which I think is a really good deal if it really does turn out to be six solid meals, but I don't like the idea of paying the full price of $59/week.  That seems a bit pricey.  My box is supposed to arrive in another week and I will definitely report back on my thoughts.

I do love the convenience factor here.  Especially since I go back to work in less than two weeks (OMG!).  Being home on maternity leave the last four months has given me the beautiful opportunity to cook lots of meals and try out many new recipes, but it's going to be a different story once I'm back at work.  Healthy and convenient meals are where it's at.  I did a Google search on "organic food delivery service" and turns out there is a lot out there!  For example, this site.  I'm going to want to come home from work and spend as much time with baby Sage as possible before his bedtime, so I'm certainly not going to want to be spending hours in the kitchen.  Maybe there is something to this food delivery?  We shall see...

What are your thoughts on a food delivery service?  

Have you heard of Hello Fresh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cashew-Peanut Butter Cups (vegan & gluten-free)

Hey hey hey!

I am not typically a recipe creator.  I so admire all of you that do create your own wonderful recipes though because I certainly love making them!  It's a hobby of mine to skim through recipes and try them out.  Desserts are some of my favorites.  

I decided to be a little adventurous the other day.  I had a jar of cashew butter sitting in the refrigerator that I wanted to do something with.  I was finishing up my salad at lunch and thinking about dessert (as I often do) and peanut butter cups came to mind.

The Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders are AMAZING!  I had a side of Vegenaise/BBQ sauce mixture for this salad.

I've made them with just peanut butter and I've made them with peanut butter and almond butter, but never with cashew butter.  Time to give it a try!  Turns out, it's a splendid combination.

The cashew butter just scrumptiously compliments the peanut butter.  I had to share the recipe for you to enjoy and because I don't want to forget what I did.  Great healthy fats and protein packed into this dessert, or mid morning snack, or late night snack, whenever the craving hits you.  They are also 100% vegan and gluten-free.  Another super cool thing is they take no more than 15 minutes to make.  That's my kind of treat.  

Makes six large servings:

1st layer: 

1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup cashew butter
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup brown rice krispies

2nd layer:

1/4 cup cacao powder
1/8 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

1. Line muffin tin with six liners.

2. Melt all the ingredients in first layer over medium-low heat and divide among the six cups.

3. Melt all the ingredients in second layer over medium-low heat and pour on top of peanut butter/cashew portion in each cup.  Spread with spatula if needed.  I don't go crazy trying to make them look perfect.

4. Place tray in freezer for an hour.  Note:  I keep mine in the freezer and then let thaw for 10 minutes before eating each time.

5. Indulge!

Tell me if you try these! I so hope you do because they are worth it.  

Do you like to create new recipes?