Happy 4th Birthday Orion

Dear Orion,

If I could tell you anything important today it’s that my life was forever changed the second you entered this world! While your father completes me, ️you completed our life.

Every piece of our lives came full circle the day I gave birth to you at 11:02am 2/22/11. The amazing unexplainable love that my heart burst open with I will never forget, and each year as you grow older and i think about that day my heart still bursts with amazing joy.

This year is your last real toddler year and for that I am excited and sad. You show me every day how smart you are becoming but that also means you are growing and soon it with school buses and sports practices.

When I had you 4 years ago I couldn’t imagine what you’d look like as a little boy or how loving you would be or how amazing it would be to hear you say “I love you Mommy!” You are truly becoming a little person and I hope you know each and every year that I only love you more and more every day.

I love you Buddy. Happy 4th Birthday!


The Road To Home: Wide Open Spaces


I begin this series with mixed emotions. See 15 years ago, I left home at the age of 18 to follow my dreams. Fifteen years later I find myself and my family making our way back to the roots that made me who I am. So here I start with the beginning…my need for wide open spaces. Wide Open Spaces-The Dixie Chicks

At the age of 18, I wanted anything but ordinary, and definitely something bigger than my hometown Oregon, OH. Oregon is a small town on the bay of Lake Erie, and while a nice, wholesome town which boasted a fantastic public education while I was a child, it certainly was far from big city adventurous. Toledo, the city to which Oregon is a suburb, didn’t offer much more and at the time had is own economic struggles, desperately trying to keep the Jeep plant and its jobs locally.

So I looked at my options and following my heart and my favorite Dixie Chicks song, “Wide Open Spaces” and I boarded a plane and moved into a dorm room at Arizona State University. Why Arizona? It was sunny, big, warm year round, close to EVERYTHING, affordable with some student loans even out of state, and 3000 miles away from everything I had ever known. Picture this, blue skies that never end, mountain-scapes in every direction, and mexican food like you’ve never tasted. It was the West, my new home, and it felt good.

Talk about growing up. I knew I’d have to work through school, but I did everything on my own, and I got to do it my way. Sure my parents were super supportive but certainty they couldn’t foot the bill for my education, but they taught me how to do it in my own! For that I’m forever grateful. I watch kids graduating even today without the support of their parents teaching them how to get aid to go to college and it saddens me. I wasn’t a scholarship baby and my parents weren’t made of money but I put a little nose to ground and made it happen.

I loved my life at ASU, sure there were ups and downs but it all builds character and lends way to independence. I wanted anonymity, to be myself with no preconceived notions if I was “cool” or not, if I had a ton of friends or not etc. See college is like starting from scratch, you get to create your adult self there and figure out who you are before you choose who you’ll be for the rest of your life…

In 2003, I proudly graduated with not just one bachelor’s degree, but two, and in 4 years that was quite a feat!

So 4 years down…in the land of sun, stay or go?

Stay tuned for excerpt two.

The 90 Day-care Bootcamp

There are many rites of passage in parenthood and most are not things that people can really explain to you. Why? Because every kid is different and every parent is different. BUT there is one thing we all have in common; the entry to daycare/preschool/kindergarten. Which ever level you are entering this rite of passage one thing is for sure:

They needed to give you the 90 Day-Care Bootcamp

Not to mention an encyclopedia on viral illnesses as well as a set of immunizations that rival that of what our armed forces receives.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the first 90 days of hazing you go through the second you decide for whatever your reason might be that your child is going to daycare.

I know some parents that use to brush it off when I was on the nanny side of the fence and say “oh yeah mine are sick like all the time, no biggie.” Then you join that side of the mommy club and you discover it was all a front.

I have never seen so much snot, vomit, diarrhea, green boogers, rashes and ear drainage crap EVER. Daycare should have to show prospective parents a video of a child through the first 90 days. But of course they won’t because who is going to show you a video of kids wiping snot on each other, coughing on each other’s food, picking their ears and flinging it somewhere else.

They certainly are not going to show the aftermath when you take them home and infect your entire family and your house looks more like WW III just happened and you’re hugging the porcelain god just begging for mercy because your husband works in the morning (except mine had to call in because I literally could not move).

Nevermind ear tubes, emergency room visits and febrile seizures. Yup all in less than 90 days.

I’m sure there are those fortunate souls that escape such heinous acts against humanity, but if you are one keep it to yourself. Do not test the viral gods, they’ll catch up to you.

I have other parents that try to reassure me that the penance is good now and will benefit all of us later when they enter real school. For now though I’m going to try not to give them the stink eye as I chug my 4th cup of coffee and hope that I don’t fall asleep at my desk or better yet start heaving in the nearest trash can.

I remember wearing sunglasses in college meant you had one hell of a night, and if you remembered it, it was probably rockstar style. Wearing sunglasses in Mommyhood just means no amount of make-up was going to make the look of death on your face look any better that morning. For you Dads out there, I’m sorry you don’t wear make-up it does wonders!!!

So as we near the end of our 90 day Bootcamp I hope, no I vehemently pray, we are entering the neutral zone soon. A break in the viral espionage hiding in my child’s classroom.

And for you parents considering daycare, buy stock in Motrin, Tylenol, Kleenex and see if your pediatrician is going to have their own IPO soon (invest immediately if so but I haven’t found one yet). However, if I do I’m sure to make a killing off next cold and flu season. I mean when I mentioned I need the last 12 months of co-pays for my taxes they were so quick to print it, clearly I was not the first to ask…

So if you are joining the trenches try to go in armed but don’t be surprised if they manage a very well designed sneak attack. And most if all don’t feel bad, we have ALL been there.


Breastfeeding -The 9 Month Mark- 3/4 to the finish line

For Many Moms the magic number is 12…the number of months until they can turn their infant over to the world of regular milk without worry of needing to pump for feedings or supplement formula.

So at the magic 9 month mark for a breastfeeding Mommy, many times it is the finish line in sight. There are plenty of Mommies that will go beyond 12 months, but most in the United States do not even go past 6 months.

So congratulations Mommy of 9 months, you have made it past the majority and you will make it to 12 months, I know it!!!

But where do we set our sights at 12 months? Always talk to your pediatrician about your child’s unique needs but for many the weening will begin. And begin to discuss it with them now at the 9 month mark to make sure that with solids and regular milk your child’s needs will be met.

For those of you nursing beyond 12 months? Well, I’ll post at 12 months as to how we are doing. There is nothing quite as awesome as a cuddly baby on your bosom, I know, but beyond 12 months, where does it fit? We’ll discuss full time nursing, weaning and finding a fit in between!

So Mommies celebrate, you’re almost to the promised land, a year of nursing, hooray!

Mommy Mayhem


I write this as a brief Mommy post after a whirlwind 3 months of Mommy hood. After a house of sick kids, bronchitis myself, umpteen trips to doctors and then a tonsillectomy and 3 Nannies later I finally know Parenthood.

Call it my Murphy’s Law maybe or my failure to knock on wood enough but I’ve had friends complaining over the years of sick kids, being sick themselves, too much to do ALL the time and trials and tribulations with child care and I thought I had dodged a bullet or maybe three.

And then came the storm. 3 Nannies in 4 Months is more than anyone should even try to deal with if they are working at home, but given the fact that we were so blessed with amazing Nannies until Orion was 2.5 yrs old we tried to keep the faith so that we could keep baby Olivia home.

Then came the sickies. Sick kids I thought was tough, but being sick with your kids, 100% sooo much worse. Again for 3 years I’d been blessed to not know this parental misfortune. I think my poor husband (who NEVER gets sick) saw me morph into a helpless being overnight who looked more like a zombie than perky ambitious wife he married.

Then, the tonsillectomy…well we had braced for that fall out and it was better in some ways and so much worse in others.

BUT it all led to: Sleep Deprivation + Tonsillectomy + Nanny not Working out + Working from Home = Big Fat Mommy Overload. Never did I want to aimlessly wander a grocery store more than those three weeks.

Then it hit me. I’ve been silently envious of these friends of mine who appear relaxed even while telling me the horrific stories if vomiting children, daycare nightmares, & colicky children. And I was envious because had I been through the ringer like that I’d have given up I’d thought.

But then I REALIZED yesterday with my hair tied above my head in some fashion, baby food on my shirt, baby screaming because she has an ear infection, toddler crying because he’s overtired and my body aching for a bed that that relaxed look is not relaxation.

It’s parenthood EXHAUSTION to the point that if your house was burning down you could give two flying monkeys as long as your kids were by your side, breathing and had ten fingers and ten toes still.

I’m happy to say that my house did not burn down (but there’s still time for that I suppose) and I’m starting to get sleep but never did I imagine all of it. Now the kids are in daycare (a topic on my shortcomings as a mother for another day) but we are gaining some peace in the house for now.

Thank you to all my friends out there that I’ve said, “Man you seem to just have it all together,” for not telling me that you were just “holding it all together.” I’ll try to let that wave of exhaustion come over me as relaxation too…then again maybe I’ll just go take that nap first.


Broccoli & Bok Choy Sauté

Welcome winter harvest when hardyIMG_1182.jpg plants come to fruition. A favorite of mine is bok choy. I always hesitate cooking it (as I’ve only worked with it a few times) but everytime I hire into this wonderous vegetable I’m truly satisfied.

Tonight was no different. Afraid of overwhelming my dinner with this vegetable alone i chopped half the bok choy and one small crown of broccoli for an amazing sauté of veggies.

1/2 large bok choy chopped to desire bite size
One small broccoli crown
1-2 T. Butter
Garlic salt to taste
Wild Tree Garlic Seasoning

In a non-stick skillet melt butter over med heat. Toss broccoli first in pan with a little garlic salt and sauté fir two minutes until bright green. Then add bok choy and wild tree garlic seasoning. Continue cooking to desired tenderness for broccoli and bok choy. I personally like a crisp broccoli but a sift bok choy.

Serve hot, and enjoy!!!!

Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions


As we all write what we are Thankful for all over our Facebook pages and Twitter, and while I’m thankful for a lot of things, I very thankful for tradition. It’s funny I’ll read all of my cooking magazines to have some great new idea and then I think…”well what would I replace at my table???” And I come up void because my husband would be sooo disappointed if his favorites weren’t on the spread.

So what is on our table each year?
1.) Turkey- anyone that doesn’t have a turkey, no offense this is not normal. No amount of tofu substitutes for a fine bird in the oven. And while all these fancy chefs do injections and brines I stick to the basics and let me stuffing do it’s job inside the bird!

2.) Stuffing! -And it does just that, stuffs you. All that bread-y goodness. I can’t imagine a table not set with this. And find a recipe that you can switch up and truly make your own! I use everything from celery and onion to walnut and dried cranberries in mine :)

3.) Green bean casserole- the old standby veggie! I had a nanny once who said she’d never had it before…what?!?! Ok so maybe this is where people begin to differ. I grew up in the Midwest and green bean casserole was like a staple in holiday dinners and potlucks and so I continue the tradition.

4.) mashed potatoes & gravy- there are several reasons to vary or change up potatoes etc, but nothing goes better with turkey than some great mashers with gravy!

5.) candied yams? -if I’m having enough people over I make these fine Jems of sweetness. It’s like dessert before the pie!

6,) cranberries- this I do not do as we do not like them so my lovely mother in law brings each year for herself and my cousin…so they’re on the table but not because I make them. If I’m feeling adventurous this year….maybe I’ll attempt them.

7.) salad- I do change this one up from time to time with its contents but my husband would be gravely disappointed if I skipped his greens altogether.

8.) homemade bread or biscuits-nothing brings a plate full of tryptophan and carb laden food full circle like a nice slice of bread with butter.

9.) Pumpkin pie- I’m not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie (though I love a lot if other pumpkin things) I have my slice each year. When my cousins visit they are in charge of the pies. If we are alone I make a pumpkin cheesecake!

Well that brings my table full circle! I’ll post my recipes soon so y’all can enjoy them too!

Tell me what’s on your table?!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Smart Snacking?!


I open this week with topic that we are all guilty of: snacking. And even if you’re not a daily snacker the holidays and holiday parties pose an interesting challenge to most of us.

Some people diet before so they can gorge during while others gorge and try to shed after…only sometimes the shedding doesn’t work.

But why “gorge” in the first place? The holidays come every year boys and girls, it’s going to come every year so enjoy but moderate.

How does the gorging begin? I blame Halloween truthfully…start of everything “pumpkin” healthy or not followed by a mantage of a candy brigade being brought in your home by trick or treaters etc. So now sits two giant bowls of candy to which I truthfully rather throw in a garbage bag and forget about but my husband loves his candy and so I let it be.

Chris is one of those fortunate souls who can eat the entire bowl and his body doesn’t even think about gaining a pound…uh huh, I married THAT guy. Lucky for me I’ve never been much of a candy gal myself.

But what do we do with the kiddos? Orion is allowed 1 piece per day. And he must snack on something healthier first like strawberries or bananas to get that munchy-ness out of his system. I do not give either kid juice so if I want to make exceptions and treat more frequently I occasionally do because I don’t have to worry about overdoing the sugar.

So that’s Halloween.

But how about the big holidays? Thanksgiving and Christmas? How do you enjoy and not gorge? Well on the holidays themselves I say awe hell throw it out the window and enjoy guilt free. Suffering during a holiday only makes you want to crave it more. And here are my thoughts on the events leading up to the day :)

1.) Parties where you know your guilty pleasures are hidden or very rich foods will be served: If you really want to enjoy, watch your intake during the week leading up to the event. And then ENJOY the event. If you leave feeling deprived it will probably derail better choices between events.

2.) Is your calendar so jam packed that you’re worried about ENJOYING every day? Bone up on raw veggies and/or nuts before the event to curb cravings and to help you feel full before you begin your rounds at that dinner then dessert table. (Careful when eating a ton of nuts. They still have more fat and calories than veggies, but can help curb your appetite)

3.) Try to avoid feeling like you have to finish everything on your plate. If you’re at a restaurant and can take a doggie bag, do! Enjoy your dinner, but if dessert is your thing too, take the rest home and have that slice of pie.

4.) If you’re at an hors d’oeuvre type party then balance your plate out and be sure to hydrate plenty between those glasses of eggnog! Alcohol can cause you to crave more snacks and by hydrating you’ll feel more full and avoid that nasty hangover! A win-win for for your head and your waistline.

5.) Watch your holiday drinks! Drinks can lead to empty calories and a less than empty waistline. Sure toast with that flute of champagne or glass of egg nog and enjoy a glass, even maybe two, but let’s not go for the whole bottle!!!

So next time you start stressing about your holiday gatherings, remember to enjoy in moderation and with balance!

Happy Holidays!

Back to Basics

Well Happy Wednesday Everyone…the week is almost over!

ONaturalMom.com is going to get back to the basics. I had tried to be a bit trendy with topical discussions, rebuttals to the Mommy wars etc etc etc.

But the true vision of this page is to help and empower Mommies to breastfeed, to make their own baby food and to cook healthy homemade food for their families. I think of it as my life pyramid that always comes full circle when we pass down healthy living to our kids.

I’m not the Mom that says no to TV or to sweets but I set limits and boundaries when doing so. I hope through my writing by experience many if you can find a valuable balance in life with your family.

From time to time I hope to have a friend if mine (an actual dietician) offer advice on diets and specific foods.

Happy Fall and happy reading!

Without further ado I start with my first blog post- Smart snacking!

Great Expectations

I start this blog sitting on my couch next to my adorable 2.5 yr old this morning (amazing how sleep works because last night at 8pm screaming for “Mommy” was NOT cute) while he eats Trader Joe’s organic high fiber O’s and drinking milk.

Healthy, yes, great breakfast habit, probably not but then again I fail on the whole “breakfast time” myself, living on coffee on a regular basis.

I am a Mom of a 2.5 yr old, let me reiterate this as I enter into my “Great Expectations” piece. I expect my child apparently to not be a toddler. He has an extensive vocabulary with excellent sentence structure, and imagination that could be rivaled by the creator of Apple and a heart of gold.

So why won’t he just eat what I put in front of him????

Oh right, he’s two and a half.

I use to scoff (privately) when one if my friends who’s son is a year older was being picky. At the time Orion was one, and food was his world! He wanted to try EVERYTHING! He didn’t eat everything but he would always TRY it!

Now I watch the same friend in envy, a year and a half later have many fewer struggles than me. The tables have turned. Yup, the crazy toddler that won’t eat anything has reared its head despite my valiant efforts to hide vegetables in the most inconspicuous places.

I never believed the whole “if it’s green…” thing but it appears we have that syndrome. I almost fell off my chair last night when he picked up a piece of asparagus and tried it. Of course he didn’t like it but he TRIED…I’ll take it as a victory, small but none the less a victory in its own right.

So what to do?

1) Don’t fret: “if you don’t succeed, try try again.” I remember the pediatrician words often these days: “it takes a child trying something 15-20 times to know if they do or do not like it.” Mentally I try to tally the number we are on!

2) Relish in the small successes! Today at lunch I got him to eat a whole bowl of beef vegetable soup because I made it exciting to eat on a cracker. (Two nights ago he wouldn’t touch it and it’s like his “favorite soup” )

3) Look at their eating habits over the course of a week- this is by far the best advice I’ve gotten from his pediatrician. If they are substantially missing things that’s one thing but if say it’s two days you can’t get a vegetable in them don’t beat yourself up.

4) Keep perspective: just like seafood doesn’t “sound good” to you today, equally, pork chops might not be happening in the world of your toddler.

5) Remember: like all childhood phases, “this too shall pass.” And often too soon…or maybe not.

Ps…as I write this I he is actually eating pumpkin soup with andouille sausage…someone pinch me, am I dreaming or is he actually eating something new?!?! Maybe it was my enthusiasm about it being “pumpkin” that got him interested…then again tomorrow he won’t touch it…