Friday, November 30

Dress Up

For today's daily entertainment we played dress-up. Trust me, I wish I had something more interesting to say. Three cheers for day 30 of NaBloPoMo. Tiptoes was pleased to get a turn in the flashing princess boots. His turn didn't last long though as Matilda quickly decided to trade in the sparkly shoes for some boots.

In unrelated news, Matilda would like to offer you a noodle. Judging by the massive quantity she ate the rather disgusting appearance did not seem to sway her. It was a creamy walnut pesto sauce of pureed spinach, cottage cheese, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic and basil. By the end of the meal she seemed actually disturbed by the mess and kept pointing to her hands saying "green hands."

Thursday, November 29

Building Castles

After my post yesterday about Matilda & I staying entertained by the blocks all afternoon my Mom sent along this picture. It was taken when I was just about Matilda's age & labeled "Mom & Kristen build a castle."

Diagnosis Please

Symptoms noted over past two days:
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sleeping poorly with increased night waking
  • Overall Cranky: possibly related to first two symptoms - hungry and tired?
  • Demanding: terrific meltdowns ensue if instructions aren't followed to the letter.
  • Possible memory loss: says only "mama" incessantly. Has possibly forgotten all other words?
Teething or just being a toddler?

Wednesday, November 28

Playtime Habits

I realized today how much Matilda has changed recently in the way she plays. It used to be if we didn't leave the house daily for some adventure we were both grumpy and stir crazy by the end of the day. Lately, however, she is getting much better at playing at a given task for 20 minutes or so. Not that she doesn't still benefit from a good tiring run around a playground but she can do "quiet play" now too. I think this is probably a natural evolution but it was timed nicely with her getting her room and us being a bit more housebound as a one car family.
One of our many activities today was playing with the blocks my grandpa made for me as a child. We built houses for many different friends and the giraffe was happy with his private quarters. Actually, I did most of the construction while Matilda focused her efforts on testing the structural integrity of my design. She also seemed a bit jealous of the barns we were building for all the animals. Each time she would remove the animal and then back her butt into the structure, sitting down, and saying, "Me!"

Some other activities that M has been really enjoying lately: "mooshing" play dough, coloring with crayons, dancing, assisting in the kitchen, reading books, sidewalk chalk murals, cutting her plastic food, playing guitar. Someday soon I'll get brave enough to bust out the paints Grandma Marge sent us. (Right after we cover the apartment in plastic sheeting. )

Tuesday, November 27

Passing Time

We are having a productive week so far, trying to make up for the fact that only 4 of 17 items on my to do list were crossed off at the end of the long holiday weekend. In between errands yesterday Matilda got in some practice for the upcoming holiday pie season. Today we easily passed an hour at the dealership while getting the car serviced. Turns out I didn't need any of the toys I brought along: a bagel and some flowers did the trick.For this afternoon I am torn between taking advantage of having the car by continuing to whittle away the list or with a trip to the zoo.

Monday, November 26

The Power of Marketing

On occasion (less than once a week) we offer Matilda a "treat" after a meal. Pudding, part of a cookie, gelato, something sweet, whatever we are having. She loves ice cream type stuff and cookies but is not a fan of pie or cake. We let our daughter have sugar sometimes. Don't tell the other dietitians. Tonight as we were wrapping up around the dinner table Matilda was yelling something at us from the highchair. We didn't understand what she was saying, but thought she was gesturing towards the crayons (earlier in the meal she had requested to draw). Then suddenly it dawned on me that she was actually motioning toward the kitchen and yelling, "Treat!" Demanding dessert? (sigh) I wasn't expecting this at a year-and-a-half.

So I did what any good dietitian would do and she had frozen corn for dessert. She loves frozen corn (completely un-thawed) and rarely gets to eat it. I also offered her up a coveted penguin toy to share her treat with. It work out to be quite the win-win situation. She was so pleased to sit at her little craft table and feed kernels to the penguin. I was smug with the fast one I pulled.

Sunday, November 25

Problem Solved

Blah blah car shopping blah blah. Instead of boring you with more tales of torture from dealerships today I thought I would share my new favorite solution to car shopping woes. Straight from Mr. Boston.

Whiskey Rickey

juice of 1/2 Lime
1 1/2 oz Whiskey
Club Soda

Pour lime juice and whiskey into highball glass over ice cubes. Fill with club soda and stir. Add a piece of lime.

Day 25 of NaBloPoMo. I think I can. I think I can.

Saturday, November 24

Car Shopping

No car yet. Where did the four day weekend go? I have rediscovered my dislike for car shopping though. It is almost physically painful. One nice thing about having a toddler car shopping with you: a built in exit strategy. Thanks to Matilda's current "mama phase" she would have an enormous meltdown each time I left to test drive a car, sobbing in Tim's arms and screaming "Mama!" Then when they would bring us into their office for the money talk she would be all antsy to leave and running every which way. Eventually the car salesman would want to be out of the room as much as I would.

Friday, November 23

Matilda's Room

So I think I finally understand the beauty of having your kid sleep in their own room. I honesty mostly enjoyed the co-sleeping for the past 1.5+ years, but reclaiming our bed is amazing! Tim & I can lay around and read or talk without any big heaving sighs from our roommate. We have a little sanctuary in our bedroom free of baby junk. Last night Matilda slept through the entire night from 9:45 until 6:45 - an unheard of feat for her. All so wonderful. Although with the way our neighbors are going tonight I can't see a repeat as it looks to be another karaoke-party-til-3am type night up there.

Almost better than the improved sleeping situation is that Matilda loves her room. This afternoon we all had the best time just hanging out in there playing with the play dough (demonstrating fine knife skills). When we came home from dinner out this evening she ran right into her room. After Tim and I got our shoes and coats off and set down all the grocery bags we found her sitting at her little table in the dark, playing away.

Thursday, November 22

Bring It On

7:17 pm. Turkey is over. We just played our first Christmas carol. The countdown begins.

All Animals Can Bite

Happy Thanksgiving from Tom at Underwood and the RD Mama household. We are off this morning to show Daddy the new gorilla exhibit at the zoo. Later we have plans to go eat too much turkey like all of you. Then we'll browse the car ads in the newspaper to see if there is a line we need to join somewhere for a free car give away tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, November 21

Stinky Goats in the Sky

We tagged along with Tim to work this morning and after dropping him off went to spend the morning at Underwood Farm. Matilda finally got brave enough to feed the animals some of the pellet food. It used to be she would just yell "mama" and insist I do all the feeding, but today about half way through the visit she got the nerve up. The $1 bag of carrots, however, were another story. Not only would she not feed the carrots to anyone, but she wanted to eat them all herself. Each time I would ask if we should offer a carrot to the goat/cow/bunny/horse she would say "me" indicating who should get the carrot. This poor miniature horse was being tormented by Matilda. M really wanted to squat by the pen and watch him, but each time the horse would spot the carrot and come running over for a treat. Which led Matilda to freak out that the horse was chasing her and send her scrambling for me. At the LA Zoo petting area M gets to brush goats, so all morning she was talking about brushing a goat. Normally the goats are enjoying their skywalk and there is no petting area so I was concerned about M's expectations. Luckily we got the chance when one of the staff was taking a goat and her 3 week old kid out for a walk on dog leashes. Matilda was intrigued by the strange sight and gave the baby a nice rub down. It wasn't until we met Tim for lunch later that I realized just how much Matilda's hair smelled of goat after our morning adventure. Lucky for our fellow diners.

Tuesday, November 20

All Settled In

Matilda's room looks as should be expected with toys strewn everywhere. The upside is that now the living room looks less like this! Yes, she is wearing her chicken costume, upon request. Also of note, after only two nights of sleeping in her bed I discovered a slightly shriveled steamed green bean in bed as Matilda got up this morning. Already stashing snacks.

Monday, November 19

I Put Ketchup on my Ketchup

As referenced in my previous post, Matilda has a deep love for condiments. If there is salt, pepper, salad dressing, butter, or any other form of condiment on the table it can bring a meal to a halt. There will be an endless stream of demands for more, regardless of how saturated her food already is.

As we prepare her plate we give her a little pool of dip. (We use "dip" as our catch-all word for sauces and dressings.) Sometimes M will actually dip food and take bites, but usually she just licks her fingers frantically. Once the pool is thinned even slightly the panicked chant of "dip, dip, dip" begins. We have taken to sneaking our plates back into the kitchen for seasonings or dressing to avoid stirring up trouble. Too bad she is already catching onto us. Matilda twisted around and caught Tim red-handed with the salad dressing last night!

M has developed this whole routine of adding seasonings onto herself when we pretend to nibble on her feet or hands. After the initial nibble she'll look up and suggest, "Salt?" We comply: shake shake. "Pepper?" Excellent idea! grind grind. "Cheese?" Of Course! grate grate. "Dip?" Sure! dip dip. It is quite the shtick she has going and entertains us every time. Although we admittedly aren't the most objective judges.

Sunday, November 18

Reporting From OUR Bedroom

So we finally got the computer moved into our bedroom, a sign that we have almost fully converted the former office/guest room into Matilda's room. We just put her to bed for the first time in her own bed. It's possible that cute animal sheets aren't the best idea. In fact, I think a blank white room free of stimuli might be the best bet. She has been sleeping on her own (usually half the night, rarely most of the night) in our bed for a while* now so that wasn't the part I was really concerned about. It was the getting to sleep in a new room, which proved to be quite the task. It took 90 minutes: time filled with stories, drinks of water, songs, nursing, diaper changes, and rinse, repeat. The icing on the cake was a Goodnight Moon nightlight we dug up today to put in there. Matilda was so excited about it, she just stood there saying "More, more!" until we would turn the light off again for maximum nightlight appreciation.

She finally gave in to the exhaustion and we are now lounging in our reclaimed bedroom. The first order of business tomorrow will be turning her bed so it isn't adjactent to the neighbors wall as she was already kicking the wall in her sleep when I snuck out of the room. We were laughing earlier today wondering about whether the poor neighbors on that side were ready for this change.

*Where were we sleeping you might ask? It varied from night to night. You could usually find one of us on the floor and the other on the couch or guest room.

Saturday, November 17

Current Events

A list of current Matilda quirks that I don't want to forget:

- She says "ist" instead of sit, a strange little dyslexic form of the word. She says it every time just before she sits down, and makes a point to comment on anyone else sitting as well.

- She is a toasting fanatic. This has been going on for a few weeks but has really intensified recently. Yesterday at music class M was chasing down another little girl, water bottle held high over her head, yelling "cheers, cheers" before she would take a sip. The other girl seemed mystified by this behavior, although her mother was quite amused upon explanation.

- She talks all day long now. Her daddy got the award for boy with 10,000 questions in 2nd grade. It seems we are headed down that path. I can only understand her maybe 60% of the time but sometimes that seems irrelevant and she just chatters on and on. However, sometimes she will repeat a word over and over with increasing volume until you acknowledge whatever epiphany she has had.

- Her hair is getting really shaggy in front of her eyes but she will wear a barrette only for daddy. The second I am back on the scene it gets ripped out.

- She says "bye bye" to signify when she is finished with something or wants it to go away. Bye bye vacuum. Bye bye unwanted pretzel. Bye bye left boob (hello right boob). Bye bye Kleenex. Yesterday afternoon she declared "bye bye" to her overalls. And here I thought it wouldn't be until the teen years that she spontaneously changed outfits mid-day.

- Airplanes, helicopters, trains and sometimes big trucks are all called "choo-choo." Every airplane we spot in the sky has Grammy on it. Gaurav is riding every train.

- Condiments are a major issue. So big of an issue that they deserve a post all their own.

- Since before Halloween, Little Ghost by the White Stripes has been her favorite song. We have listened to it at least four times daily. Once through is never enough. The record is about 7 times straight. She doesn't like the part towards the end where the song slows down and always pleads with us, "please, please" until it starts rocking again and she can return to her knee slapping jig.

Friday, November 16

Pee Poo

Everyone has somebody on their holiday shopping list that is hard to buy for, right? I just discovered your answer. Plush Pee & Poo dolls, that of course come together as a set. While I think these would be hysterical for Matilda, they would surely complicate the strict house rules about what is allowed in the toilet.

"Pee poo" is a very common phrase around here. Matilda says it in a little sing-songy voice as she goes, when she spots a toilet, the entire time we are in a public restroom stall (to the great amusement of our neighbors usually), as she points to the nether-regions of her toys (herself, her parents, total strangers), and occasionally for no apparent reason at all. Potty training is going along slowly as expected. Some days she'll sit on the toilet, some days not. Maybe the Pee & Poo temporary tattoos are the answer.

Thursday, November 15

Too Late

I keep leaving my posts to do until after M goes to bed and this week with the cold that is really not working out. All day I had ideas of nice, little things to write but now I am too tired to do anything but drink another cup of tea, watch The Office, and turn in. Tomorrow I will try to be more disciplined and write a post during nap time, rather than napping myself. Sorry for the very uninspired edition today.

Wednesday, November 14

Sick Day

We get at least 1 NaBloPoMo sick day this month right? This is how we spent the better part of the morning. The afternoon involved not enough napping and more attempts by me to entertain the child from the prone position.

Tuesday, November 13

One Car Family

We are officially a one car family now. Well, in spirit anyways. Our 20 year old car, Homer, is currently sitting in the garage facing retirement as we decided today not to fix his latest problem. He is still registered, insured and running, albeit very unreliably, but I am done with driving him around and wondering if he'll start to come home. So, we will see him off to his next adventure and start searching for a new car to join the family. What a terrible process. Well, for me anyways. I am sure there are people out there who enjoy car hunting and the prospect of a new car. I just can't imagine that point of view at all. And I didn't figure car into the holiday budget.

Monday, November 12

No Mention of the Sardines?

Any gathering with my mom's family would not be complete without at least some browsing through cookbooks. While my aunt & uncle were in town this weekend we complied by looking through a few old cookbooks in my collection. Cedric Adams Sandwich Book from 1942 provided many gems. Thank goodness my generation didn't have to endure growing up on sandwiches composed of ketchup mixed with ingredients X, Y and Z. In all our browsing we did find one sure fire crowd pleaser: the French Popcorn Sandwich. French? Popcorn? It is all so perplexing.

French Popcorn Sandwich
Pass two cupfuls freshly popped corn through the meat chopper, place this in the chopping bowl, add a dash of salt and cayenne pepper, five boned sardines, a dash of Worcestershire, and enough tomato catsup to form a paste. Spread this on circles of hot buttered toast. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and crisp in hot oven. Serve as soon as made.

Sunday, November 11

Childhood Flashback

So I finally busted out my mom's old play dough recipe this Friday and made a batch for Matilda. As soon as it was finished cooking I was hit with the scent of my childhood. It is so strange to have memories come flying back to you so strongly from just a scent.
The dough is super soft and kept the girl entertained for a good 30 minutes straight. While we are only two days out at this point my mom says it lasts really well.
Homemade play dough
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup water
food coloring
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat. Will form a ball when ready. It cooled really fast and was ready for "mooshing" almost immediately.

Saturday, November 10


We had a busy, fun day with my visiting aunt and uncle, the highlight of which was finally eating at Mozza. I would love to do it justice more descriptions but will have to settle for these pictures and short synopsis, as the bed is calling us all. I am already plotting to go back and try the mushroom pizza and get more butterscotch pudding.

Here are the amazing dishes we shared.


Oven roasted olives and Pane bianco with olio nuovo (not pictured).


Fennel sausage, panna, red onion & scallions. Sweet, sweet fennel. White anchovy, tomato & hot chiles. This one tasted like the sea. A lemony sea.
We also had one with tomato, mozzarella, sausage, salami, bacon & guanciale (not pictured). Salty meat goodness.

As amazing as the pizzas were, the highlight of the meal for me was dessert. And shockingly not the chocolate choice. The butterscotch budino (butterscotch pudding with caramel sauce, creme fraiche and sea salt) was amazing. Salt with sweet always gets me. Matilda seemed to prefer the cioccolata calda with spiced ginger pigs.

Friday, November 9

Soup Season

The weather around here has finally cooled off and it feels like soup season. This week alone we have had made pumpkin soup AND cheesy cauliflower soup. We also still have some leeks waiting to be turned into my favorite: potato leek. Matilda is getting really dexterous with a spoon and so we have been letting her go it alone on the soup, with hilarious, photograph-worthy results. She's seen here enjoying some tomato roasted red pepper soup from Trader Joe's.

The cauliflower soup recipe we made was really easy. It also tasted way richer and creamier than I would have expected. Matilda gave it her seal of approval: a steady hum of yum, yum, yum as she shoveled it in. Try it for yourself.

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Adapted from here.

Saute 1 c chopped onions in a couple glugs of olive oil until soft. Add 3 c chicken broth and bring to boil. Add 16-20 ounces cauliflowerets (I used the bagged ones to make it super fast) and return to boiling. Lower heat and simmer 5 minutes until tender.

Whisk together 1/4 c flour with 1 c chicken broth. Add this into the soup, bring to boiling and cook 2-3 minutes more until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Remove soup from heat and add 1-2c shredded pepper jack cheese, a handful of roasted red peppers. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.

Thursday, November 8

Learning Colors

It is official. She's a genius.

She now can identify blue, pink, green, and purple.

Wednesday, November 7

Buying Organic

Yesterday I had a nice conversation with someone who was interested in buying organic foods. He said that a dietitian once gave him a list of produce that was worth buying organic but he had long since lost it. I rattled off a few things for him that carried higher pesticide residue and would be worth paying a higher price for organic. He wanted me to write them down but of course I never did. So, to relieve my guilty conscience here is the information for you instead.

To maximize your organic food dollar go organic on these types of produce that are most susceptible to pesticide residue:
Sweet bell peppers
Grapes (imported)

Don't waste money on these items with the lowest pesticide residues:
Sweet peas (frozen)
Sweet corn (frozen)

To find a more comprehensive produce list go here.
For a kid centric aisle by aisle run down go here.

Tuesday, November 6


Matilda has really been showing her meat loving ways recently. Yesterday, while driving home from the grocery store she managed to grab a package of turkey sausage that was destined for some lasagna this week. While listening to her chorus of "meat, meat, meat" I could see her in my rear view mirror trying to bite through the package (don't worry, she didn't). Today while we were at the photo shoot Matilda spied someone's breakfast sausage right as we headed in to be filmed. The baby handlers ended up having to take her out and they shot me alone in order to hear me above the "meat chant". Soon her meat needs were met as she ate a ridiculous amount of sausage and bacon while I was in the hair and make-up department getting "beautified."

Monday, November 5

Fabric Disorder

One trait that I can blame directly on my mom's family is an interest in sewing. Specifically fabric. I like to think of it as a fabric disorder. My mom's youngest sister (the only of four to escape this affliction) claims that the others just glaze over in a fabric store. I, too, get into a fabric store and cannot seem to function. My mind races with the possibilities and I become almost paralyzed with indecision. During this whole bedroom re-do for Matilda I have already bought two possible fabrics for the curtains, both of which I now don't feel are quite right. Every morning I think maybe today we should go back to the fabric shop for another try.
Matilda seems to be showing signs of an interest in sewing as well. She is fascinated with the sewing machine and will sit quietly on my lap while I sew, without even reaching her fingers into the danger zone. While making curtains last week she was obsessed with the pins so I finally gave in and let her touch them. Under careful supervision she took all the pins out of both curtains, pushing each one carefully back into the cushion saying "pooosh."

Sunday, November 4

Muddy Buddy

We had a super-fun, muddy morning participating in the Muddy Buddy race. It is a 6 mile "unique trail running and mountain biking adventure race" that ends with a belly crawl through the mud pit. Here you can see me and my muddy buddy, Adam, standing around, getting all nervous, waiting for the race to start. The course was super hilly which is fine for running, but was terrifying for me on the downhills with my rusty biking skills. The third obstacle, a balance beam, was also particularly cruel with jello legs after 4 steep miles. Below you can see me (in the yellow) emerging from the mud pit, triumphant that I managed to finish the race without crashing. At the finish line! Yes, Adam's mouth is FULL OF MUD. He was rather enthusiastic in his approach to the mud pit: belly flopping in and rolling over to do the backstroke.

Saturday, November 3

Say "Cheese" (with Meat)

Out of the Nest

We have been working on getting Matilda's room outfitted for her transition to a big girl bed. We finally got all of the bed portion finished yesterday: mattress delivered, IKEA bed consisting of 2,000 pieces built, headboard and footboard covered, new sheets purchased. She is very excited about the whole process but we have yet to attempt the actual sleeping-in-your-own-room theory. I love the perplexed look on her face here. "You want me to sleep where?"

Friday, November 2

Showbiz, Baby

So we are finally hitting our Hollywood stride here in the RD Mama household. Last weekend a scout approached Matilda and me at our farmers market looking for "talent" to be used in a shampoo campaign. I expected to be sketched out by a talent scout but this all seemed legit. I agreed to let him take a mug shot and be put into the pool of candidates.

The talent guy called back today and asked us to come in next week for a photo shoot. It's specifically for mothers with kids so Matilda will be getting a work permit also. How strange! I think I need to watch out or soon I might spiral into a momager of our little talent.

For the record, this was the fuzzy head of hair they found me with. I think they must want me for some sort of ungroomed before shot.

Thursday, November 1

Halloween Recovery Day

Today we are taking it slow recovering from yesterday when we had a busy day filled with sandy jack o' lanterns, trick or treating (Matilda and Grammy) and too much candy (me).

A Halloween first for all of us: a picnic lunch at the beach. A shot of our uncertain chicken leaving her first trick or treating house, candy-less.
Also, I have officially entered NaBloPoMo and will be posting EVERY day this month. I will try to find something other than driveling on about Matilda. Tim is always encouraging me to actually post nutrition related things, but the dietetic portion of my brain is impaired of late. I am very open to suggestion.