The smoothie. A mama's best friend.

As I stated in my earlier post, I have a culinarily challenged eater. I try to avoid saying picky, as it sounds so negative, and also gives a clever preschooler a title to use for himself whenever he doesn’t want to try a new food. That being said, we could have it worse. His go to dinner is tofu and brown rice with artichokes. He eats raw carrots, occasionally beets with goat cheese, and now kale pesto!  But he would also gladly consume pizza everyday of his little life, and I worry sometimes, that he’ll wake up one morning as a quesadilla. On these days, to accompany the raw honey slathered, frozen Trader Joes waffle that has become a breakfast staple, I’ll whiz him up a smoothie, and feel sooo much better about his diet, as well as myself as a mother. 
(I’m not kidding about that last part, it really does make me feel like I’ve scored a few points)
The beautiful thing about smoothies (considering your child likes liquid) is that there is no wrong way to do it! Sure, you can go by a recipe, and there are a billion out there, but you can also just go by your FRIDGE, and use what you already have! (Personally, my favorite kind of recipe) So I’ll tell you what I’ve been making lately.

*1 frozen banana (No more banana graveyard on my counter, yay! When they get too ripe, I peel them and throw them in the freezer)
*Hand full of frozen strawberries
*Any fresh fruit available (blueberries, peach, pear, apple)
*Vanilla yogurt
*Apple Juice
*Chocolate Protein Powder
*Green powder
*Flax oil or ground flax seed
*Sunflower seed butter or any nut butter of choice
*Rice milk (Our milk fave, use whatever’s yours)
*Huge hand full of fresh spinach (literally the only time, currently, boy is 
ingesting spinach willingly)
*You can even throw some liquid egg whites in for extra extra protein!

And that’s it mamas! I don't measure really, just add by taste. Measuring anything before the sun is up? oh please! Puree and serve! There are so many options, it’s crazy! I know one mama who does kale and blueberries, and one that does an ALL green beauty! 
What works for your brood?? 
Share your favorite recipe, and let's get whizzing! (I like that word...)
xo Melanie

our little glow worm

Quick babylove note...glow in the dark paci's are the BEST!!!! You can find them in the middle of the night without waking everyone by turning on the light. The baby can find them himself without a meltdown. But lets be honest the most important thing is we can see the boy because his face is shining like a little glowworm. For this crazy-pants momma bear this is brilliant!

Now back to unpacking. Fingers crossed we get this knocked out tomorrow.
More later...D

Kids eat Kale! Say What??

Kale Love

I have a serious love affair with Kale. I could eat it every day, any way you give it to me. So when I found a kale pesto recipe, I literally couldn't make it fast enough. 

But my boy? Ha! The only green I get into him is spinach, in a smoothie (post on that soon!).
In the past he's eaten regular pesto, so I gave it a shot, and served this super yummy, kale goodness to my very culinarily challenged eater, to be rewarded with "I love it!" 
That being said, I decided to take it to the masses (preschool, eek!).
In a nutshell, the majority of them woofed it, and considering it was a group of loud, mouthy, and opinionated 3-5 year olds, I considered it a smashing success. 
This is my version.  

2 cups kale leaves (no stems)
2/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1/4 cup peas (cuts the bitterness of the kale a bit)
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (I used a fine sea salt)
1/4 cup olive oil

Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor, and whiz it up!
I initially put it on rice pasta, but it was great spread on toast (me alone in the kitchen, standing over the sink, what?), and would be awesome on a pizza! If you have a picky eater, this may be the way to go, as the cheese covers the greeeeeen...
Try it, and let me know how YOUR kids like it!!
Adapted from the always ridiculously brilliant Weelicious.

xo Melanie

Night Night only baby sleeps tight…

During my morning Starbucks stop  I heard a guy say “thanks boss”.  "ooooohhhh a NYer" I thought fondly. This made me really want a toasted bagel with low fat cream cheese. Then I thought of the day our baby was born and how lovely the entire experience was for our family.  I am not sure how my mind jumped from bagels to giving birth maybe the delicious bagel place across the street from our hospital.  We had our baby in New York City at Lenox Hill hospital. The most extraordinary hospital on earth in my opinion.   I had a really rough pregnancy and  I was terrified of birth and complications.  We were in a position where cesarean was our only option or as Melly says “air-lifted”.  The boy was transverse and we are pretty sure he was NEVER coming out unless we went and got him. Turns out we were right.  I never had a real contraction—according to my doctors. This was perfectly fine with me.  My philosophy on the matter was life is hard enough why should our little pumpkin have to struggle to be born (not to mention I do not enjoy pain).  It is funny to me the conversations people have with you while you are pregnant and the opinions they aggressively express while trying to tell you what your birth plan should be.  Whether it is natural or in a hospital—everyone is very strong in their stance.  Yet, my experience was amazing.  To my delight my intestines and all my abdominal organs were not splayed across the table, I was not bedridden for weeks, and none of the horror stories I was pelted with during my pregnancy came near to occurring.  Our doctor did not agree with our entire birth plan but he followed it in an exemplary fashion much to our delight otherwise he would have a lot of explaining to do to our wife (what my husband jokingly calls Melly). Anyway, we were really worried about the hospital not allowing us to have what we wanted but they were so incredible from baby and Papa (aka Daddy) skin-to-skin the moment he was born to breastfeeding immediately.  We were so blessed to have had such an extraordinary experience.   

For us we did a lot of research and talked to people we trusted implicitly about their experience. Life experience is better than any book you can read.  Talking to friends and family was the best prep.   Clearly, my best friend is the polar opposite when it comes to creating and implementing a birth plan.  I used this to my advantage and I had the benefit of Melly’s home birth to compare complete opposite environments.  We made some important additions to our plan based on her home birth which made us so happy! While others blew our minds and were a pleasure to walk into our Park Ave OBGYN office with questions she MADE (yes I was strong-armed) me ask him.  Even though I knew there was absolutely noway I would ever do most.  It became a fun game to shock my doctor with the questions because he wasn’t sure if we were going to fight him into using them.  Further confusing the situation for him I say “dude”a lot.  A lot a lot.  Pregnancy made me lose all formalities with most of the medical field thus leading me to call my doctor “dude”.  He wasn’t sure where I stood on a lot of the inquiries had.  I loved going into his office with my little spreadsheet (yep I am a spreadsheet whore) of questions.  The conversations would go something like “dudeyou are NEVER going to believe what my hippie friend wants me to ask you today.Is XYZ possible?”  We would chat and he would sway from laughter, infuriation to one question leading him down a very serious medical procedure discussion about organs.  I found such pleasure in these moments and would typically smile and laugh out loud during my walk home.  People would look at me like I was one of the Central Park drunk-crazies with real problems because I was pregnant.  It was FANTASTIC!
The day the boy was born there was an earthquake in the city (for real I am not exaggerating), one day or so later the Yankees pounced the OaklandA’s 22-9 with record breaking three grand slams in one game and the day we brought him home from the hospital there was a hurricane in the city.  We knew God via Mother Nature was letting us know the roar of the earth, crack of the baseball bat and whip of the wind would be the pace to which our life would be set.  We were ready for the ride.  Then we arrived home.  We said over and over…can you believe they just let us take him home?  And we would both stare at the little pretty person and melt.  It was surreal.   Life had begun and we needed to be prepared…
We began chit-chatting with my girlfriends and other mothers.  It is invaluable for us and a part of parenting we still practice.  Bouncing what works and what hasn’t for our near-and-dears is a great way for us to try things we may not have thought of.  When all else fails, we consult our favorite most extraordinary pediatrician Dr.Similon at Park Avenue Pediatrics.  If you live in the city you must use him.  He isa listener.  I need to speak my crazy-first-time parent nonsense and have someone listen.  He listens. He is also wonderful with babies, does not throw medication at you, and speaks French and several other languages. This was perfect for our family because when the crazy-train was roaring down the tracks because the baby had a hangnail.  My husband could tell him something in quickly French so I couldn’t understand to ease the situation. We love Dr. Similon.  And don’t kid yourself he was on speed dial and consulted FREQUENTLY from across the pond.

More than a year and a half later the events of the week monpetit lapin entered this world seem like amateur hour compared to the chaos our life has been.  We travel ALL the time.  By all the time I mean ALL THE TIME.  With this we are running schedule free zone free for all.  Our one area we shine is food, dining, and outdoor play.  Sleep is our Achilles heel.  My husband should have been in charge of sleep in our house but we (and by we…I mean me) breastfed so he was typically entering REM for the night while the momma and me freak show was getting underway.  When I chat with my friends I am in awe of their baby’s ability to sleep.  We are caught in the trifecta of confusion regarding sleep. First, I was terrified ofSIDs when he was born.  He slept in  a bassinet and mini-crib in our bedroom until he was almost a year old.  (Yeah roll your eyes.  Don’t care.)  If I was not watching him sleeping the video monitor by hovering over him.  I was freaking out he was not breathing and had to put my finger under his nose or place my hand on his chest to make sure he was.  (Again, don’t care) We had a video monitor—which we clearly did not need—I used it while he was sleeping across the room from us.  I drove my husband insane! Every move or noise the baby made I grabbed him and took him to his room to rock him back to sleep.  This all meant I never slept. I need sleep.  The kraken is childs play compared to me functioning without sleep.  It was a vicious cycle of hovering and sleep deprivation—all while being in a small bedroom and a half New York City apartment.  Second, we really love the idea of co-sleeping and the benefits of it long term; yet conflicted by the actual sleeping arrangements which include being bullied out of our bed by a sideways-sleeping-head-butting infant.   Cry it out wants me want to vomit.  After a few months of the tilt-awhirl to crazyland I consulted my other favorite pediatrician, Dr. Sears.  He gets me. It is like God made Dr. Sears for me, crazy pants.  He makes me feel like I am not screwing up my child irrevocably.  My favorite piece I have ever read of his pinpoints our situation. He said (and I am paraphrasing) if you have a “high expectation persistent personality” (actual term he used) child…cry it out will notwork.  In fact, it will teach your child he cannot rely on you or maybe it’s how I interrupted it but it was very close.  High Expectations.  Check. Persistent personality. Check. Insane momma. Check.    At this moment the heavens opened, angels sang and S began sleeping with us without the guilt. We chat with so many people to get their opinions on sleep we are desperate for knowledge and sneaky tactics on how to get more than two or three hours of consecutive sleep a night.  We hear everything from “youare going to have to do cry it out at some point” to “oh it’s barbaric.  We never did the cry it out method.”
Lastly, with our move to London we entered a whole new world of parenting.  Europe is fantastic for raising children which I will get to another day.  New country means new culture means new parenting philosophies.  Being married to a Frenchmen we began spending much more time in France with his family.  During our trips I was introduced to “the pause” and the concept of teaching your baby to “do his nights”.  Now, I am from Columbus, Ohio.  My family is as American as the flag which we pledge allegiance to and fly with pride. European parenting was a completely new world, literally, for me.  I LOVE most of it but “the pause” is the most genius parenting tactic I had ever heard of (in moderation of course).  Sadly for mon ange the ship had sailed on implementing "the pause".  We were seven to eight months into our psycho-momma sleep program and the boy took his firm high expectation persistence personality to threat level red. Thus it was decided. Our world is officially ruled by a tiny little gorgeously delicious dictator.   This little genius has thought us how to parent him.  We are not perfect but he is happy—like ear to ear happy with the most incredible smile.  I love talking to other parents and hearing the same stories and finding peace in figuring out that we all are different and what works for one family doesn’t work for another.  Happy babylove is a tireless struggle but well worth the effort from Lenox Hill to today. My world is extraordinary because the little earth-shatterer is in it. 

Off to another day of life lessons.  More later…D

Welcome to Crazy Town

Most of my friends here in LA have one child. Because of this, they all want to know what it’s like with two. I always answer the same: Crazy Town. It’s overwhelming and awesome at the same time, pretty much like the rest of parenthood. Since Bird is almost 5, I had a long time with just he and I. I was really sad actually, as my pregnancy came to an end, that our time together alone, our status a trio was going to be over. I had no idea how I would feel bringing a new person into the mix.  I was excited and nervous about it. When baby came, it was whirlwind, and I put my head down and just went with it. With the second, you don’t really get to “nap when the baby naps”, unless you have a staff of course, as you have the older one who still needs to be entertained, fed, dressed and bathed (we often skip the last two. don’t judge me) not to mention carting said older sibling around. I was at the YMCA 12 days after babe was born watching swim class. I would’ve thought that was insane the first time around, but really, you just do it. You know, you just do what needs to be done and deal with the fallout later. That fallout comes for me still, 8 months later. Randomly when I least expect it, and sometimes right on schedule when I do expect it. There is a laundry list that I lament; Baby A had one million pictures taken of him before he was three months old, Baby B does not get the yummy, regular nap schedule, as he’s constantly being schlepped around on errands, and to get brother to and fro, Big Brother now has to be quiet (ha), try to rein in his incredible energy (haha), and share his mama. But on the flipside, I am always trying to see the beauty and joy of two; yes, B doesn’t have 30 shots of himself in that little bird onesie, but I now have Instagram, and my phone is never far from my side (I said don’t judge me) so the shots I do get of him are awesome, and I am printing them! The nap issue; ok, let’s just skip that one, and even though A has to share me, he now has someone who would laugh with delight if he simply read the phone book!
 There are days I feel like a total failure. My lack of patience is my biggest nemesis, but there are also days when I feel like it’s gone OK, with minimal amounts of tears and tantrums (mine), and that maybe we CAN actually do this. I crawl into bed with two little bodies and just listen to them breathe and feel so grateful that it makes me cry. Then I pass out from sheer exhaustion.
Xo Melanie
*Feel free to follow our madness on Instagram @mellymonroe 

New York - London - Nashville - A - Go - Go

Our little family is on our third move in the last 18 months.  We have gone from New York to London to Nashville.  Our furniture has been lost.  Our car was recently run over by a person we are pretty sure was texting while driving.  Basically, everything is completely out of control. For a planner and control freak it has been a rough go.  One thing which has been a constant is my focus on creating time with other momma's and getting our babe's together for some fun time.  As an amateur parent I love being with my girlfriends and chatting about how we have no idea what to do at a play-date, where to hang out with our kids and basically all the things we see other parents pulling off flawlessly.  It has been very comforting to know I am not alone.  Moving from place to place is really stressful and overwhelming especially internationally with a baby. Meeting people I really connect with has been a huge challenge in all of this gypsy living.  This move I have decided I am going to force myself to get organized and find the fun for our family.  My goal for the near future is balance in creating an environment for the boy which allows him to be super happy and experience as much as possible.  I had a very difficult time with this in London.  Our crazy lives make connecting to other people tough.  If you indulge us and read our crazy little blog we would love to figure this out together.  There is so much every town has to offer and we want to make sure we do not miss out!  Very excited to make your acquaintance! 

More later, 

Melanie's Inaugural post!

At a dinner party last night, I was speaking to 2 other mamas about what else? our children... One of them lamented, "What have I done wrong?" at one point the other said" You too? I thought it was just me!" I am constantly surprised to hear similar worries, concerns, and complaints come from other mothers (sometimes word for word!) as we compare notes, confess, and just unload stories of our families to each other. My point of this inaugural post here on Gypsy+Hippie, is that we are all going through the same things! Yes, every story is a bit different. We are all wearing different shoes (new, old, tight, comfy, fancy, worn in, smelly (mine...)), but we are all walking the same road; Motherhood. So let's talk to each other more! It's so easy to get caught up in your own space, just trying to get through the day with babies/kids, that we forget how important simple, adult conversation can be. Seek it out! Call another mom, join the Y, take a class, go to the Library, speak to the lady next in line at the grocery store. TALK! I learn something new everyday from another mother. So let's be kind to each other, be good listeners, support one another, try new ideas, and LAUGH. Because dude, this ride is hilarious. If we don't laugh, we're crying and rocking in a corner, and no one wants to see that.
xo Melanie