Viewing posts from April, 2015

Toddler struggles: How to get your toddler to drink more liquids

My little Valentino has been giving me a hard time lately when it comes to drinking liquids. He is now 16 months. He eats just fine, but for the life of me I cannot get him to drink nearly enough as he should. This issue started when he was teething. For a while I had him used to drinking out of a sippy cup that he had to bite down on it to get the liquids out. There was no sucking involved, and it was a great transition cup to regular cups.

This is the cup:

Then he began teething really bad. His molars were coming out, and he would scream and cry and just hold me tight. His crib sheet would be filled with blood stains from his mouth as his teeth were breaking through the gums. He has never in the past been so dramatic when it comes to teething, but I guess when teething with molars the pain is more unbearable. 

He would reject his sippy cup over and over. He would howl with pain in my arms. He was getting dehydrated. So I decided to try giving him popsicles, as that would soothe his teeth and hopefully it would make him feel better.



On some days, he would eat the popsicle, but other days he would refuse it. Then I just felt defeated. I gave in, and gave him the bottle. He drank every last drop of it, and would chew on the nipple. I guess it soothed his teeth. 

We had worked so hard to take him off the bottle, and he was doing SO well with his sippy cups. However, I just could not sit back and watch him dehydrate himself any longer. I thought, maybe I'll give him the bottle for a while and then when he's not teething anymore we will go back to sippy cup.

Big mistake....

Since that time, he absolutely refuses to drink from his old sippy cups. So then one day I decided to ban the bottle, and just continue using sippy cups no matter how much he refuses them. Eventually he has to drink! 

Most days turned into a constant battle. I was determined to win. Whenever he took sips from his cup I would dance with joy and give him high fives. Then he would push the cup away and I would sulk.

Then one day he woke up with a fever of 105. We gave him some children's Tylenol, but even after his nap he still had a fever! He would absolutely refuse to drink anything.  

I could tell he wasn't feeling well at all. Usually he will be running around his room playing, but instead this was him:

Once his temperature didn't seem to get better, we gave him more Tylenol and called his doctor. His Pediatrician then told us to go to the hospital just to be safe. So we called my mom to come over and babysit Caspian while we take Valentino to the hospital. 

They checked him out and told us he has some viral infection and to just continue giving him children's Tylenol and Motrin, and lots of liquids. 

So we went to the grocery store on the way home and bought Pedialyte, Pediasure, and a variety of juice. I was grasping at straws. I needed him to drink something, anything! I never give him juice but this time I broke my own rule and begged and pleaded with him to take a sip of the Pedialyte. 

But as soon as the sippy cup would come his way, he would turn his head, and push the cup away. Then I thought, ok we need to get creative. So I started giving him Pedialyte from a syringe that we use to give him medicine in. I thought this was a good idea as he always drinks his medicine through the syringe and never pushes it away. I guess to him it's new and exciting. 

The next day he continued to refuse to drink from his sippy cups. I was afraid he was going to get dehydrated, and he can only drink so much out of a syringe. So then I tried giving him liquids with a shot glass.....and......he LOVED it!!!! 

(He is definitely my child....) 

I now give him shots of juice and Pedialyte if he ever goes a long time without drinking, and it always works. I may occasionally use the syringe if the shot glass doesn't work. He also likes drinking water out of a San Pellegrino glass bottle. 

But he still absolutely hates his sippy cups. Every day me and the sippy cup chase him around the house so that he may bless us with a sip, however tiny. 

So if your toddler is stubborn like mine and refuses to drink anything, get creative! 

Go out and buy a bunch of different kinds of sippy cups. One's with soft spout, hard spout, one's with straws....etc

Use reverse psychology. Pretend that it's YOUR sippy cup, and not his. Pretend to drink from it. If he comes and shows interest, still don't give it to him. Then when he starts trying to grab it from you, STILL DON'T GIVE IT! Then when he is down on his knees begging for it, then go ahead and give him some. 

Try diluting juice with water... (I only do this in emergency situations as I don't want Valentino to get used to drinking juice) 

If that still doesn't work, try popsicles. 

If that doesn't work try using a syringe....

And if that doesn't work either then try a shot glass! Or a bottle of some kind....

Give your child soup, or that baby oatmeal or rice cereal that requires you to mix it with liquids. Try giving fruit.  

And if none of the above work, then your child is either really just not thirsty, sick, or more stubborn than mine! 

First Month of Ketogenic Diet

I lost 15 pounds during my first month of this keto diet. I still can't fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but 15 pounds is not bad. Before I started, I thought at most I would lose maybe 8 pounds the first month. I lost 15 pounds with NO exercise (does running after two kids count?) 

Here's how I did it:

I would eat only keto friendly foods. See the link below. 

I would add coconut oil or butter to everything. 

I would drink 100 oz of water a day. 

Here's what a typical day of food looked like:

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with bacon fried in coconut oil OR two hard boiled deviled eggs, with a stick of cheese and 2 slices of turkey deli meat. 

Snack: Sugar free Jello with truvia sweetend heavy whipped cream. 

Lunch: I would usually skip lunch. I may have a snack of nuts instead. I also may have a cup of tea with sugar free Starbucks syrup (the Cinnamon Dolce one) and a table spoon of coconut oil in it along with a table spoon of heavy whipped cream. That keeps me full until dinner time. 

Snack: Only if I'm hungry, which is rare...but at the begining of the diet I would have to snack more throughout the day as I slowly transitioned into Ketosis. I would snack on broccoli and full fat Ranch dressing. 

Dinner: Some kind of meat with vegetables on the side or salad. We will either have chicken, beef, fish, or shrimp. The salad I make has lettuce, broccoli, hearts of palm or artichokes, cauliflower, cucumber, feta cheese, and either full fat ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, or Italian dressing. We never eat anything low-fat.

Snack: Sugar free popsicles, leftover salad, cheese sticks, whipped cream 

One good thing about this diet is that it's okay to eat out. Surprisingly, Cheesecake Factory has some options that are good for our diet. I always have their Factory burger with no bread, and a side salad with no croutons instead of the fries. Other restaurants, like PF Changs, are REALLY bad for this diet. Pretty much all their dishes have sugar added in the sauce. Everything seems to be sweet and sour or sweet and somthing or another. And most any fine dining establishments have so many choices that are keto friendly. Especially Cafe Renaissance, as they literally make whatever you want, however you want it. OH- and you can drink alcohol!!! Alcohol doesn't take you out of ketosis, it just slows down the fat burning process. Beware of sugary cocktails and fruity alcohol. Dry wines, and liquors such as vodka, rum, whiskey, gin, tequila, scotch and brandy are all ok. You have to be careful with beers. The darker in color the beer is the more carbs it has. Avoid any beers with a red or even slightly dark color. 

Here are some foods I ate this month:

keto tea keto coffee 

My Keto-tea or coffee. I add one tbsp of coconut oil, one tbsp of heavy whipped cream, and one pump of Starbucks sugar free syrup (either vanilla or cinnamon dolce). It's SO good and keeps me full. 

ketogenic breakfast keto meal

Typical breakfast: Bacon and two eggs. 

ketogenic food keto friendly breakfast

Or deviled eggs, cheese, deli meat and Jello

ketogenic food keto breakfast

My plate at silver diner.

ketogenic food jello ketosis

Sugar free Jello with some whipped cream. 

ketogenic food ketosis keto breakfast

More breakfast foods: scrambled eggs and sausage.

Here are some Cheesecake Factory eats:

cheesecake factory ketogenic food eating out ketosis

keto food ketosis ketogenic

Food at Cafe Renaissance:

cafe renaissance vienna va food

cafe renaissance vienna va


Mortons Reston VA

Mortons Reston VA

Other random keto friendly eats:

So I will probably not lose as much weight and plateau during the coming months, but it's like that as well with any other diet. It's still way better than how I used to diet a few years ago, eating carbs and working out 2 hours a day- only to lose around 1-2 pounds per month. I'm keen to see what changes my body will bring next month. 

For a list of keto-friendly food visit:



Another anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep. 

I am a thousand winds that blow. 

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain. 

When you awaken in the morning's hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there. I did not die. 

I remember reading this poem in the funeral program for Maxine Turner, one of the students at Virginia Tech who was a victim of the shootings. I can't believe it's been nearly ten years. And every year, on this date, I get chills when I think back to that day.

I heard the news while I was at work, working in the mall at the Estee Lauder counter. I thought, wow how horrible. Only a few of my friends went to Virginia Tech, so I didn't think much that any of the few would actually be harmed. I reached out to some friends and they all told me they were ok. 

That night I slaved away on my senior portfolio project, when around midnight one of my high school friends who also went to Tech comes online and tells me that Maxine didn't make it. What do you mean? I thought. Then she told me Maxine had been one of the ones who died in the shooting. 

I felt like throwing up. 

I remember seeing Maxine three months before the incident. I went to a James Madison High School Orchestra concert with my sister when we bumped into her after the concert. "Oh it's so good to see you, this is my sister Sara" I said to her. I feel sad thinking back, that that would be the last time I'd ever see her again. 

I knew Maxine from orchestra. She played the violin also. We were in the same orchestra classes since middle school. 

Every year after that happened, I would attend the middle school and high school orchestra concerts to watch my sister play her violin. And each year I would see my sister and Maxine's little brother (who also played the violin) in these concerts. I would see Maxine's mom video recording the concerts in their middle school. During each one of those concerts I had to run out midway trying to hold back tears, go to the bathroom, and cry in a stall. It didn't help that pretty much all the songs they were playing in the concerts were songs that we had played in orchestra at that age....and it all just took me back and the memories would pour in. I would get myself together, put on some foundation, and go back and sit in the audience trying to remain calm and collected, whilst distracting myself with my phone. 

At her memorial service, I bumped into our orchestra teacher from that era along with a bunch of other people from our orchestra. It was a good funeral. I couldn't believe how strong and put together her family was. I honestly cannot even imagine what they must have been going through inside. I admire their strength.

Whenever I hear about school shootings, I freak out and have serious thoughts about homeschooling my kids. Especially after Sandy Hook. I can't even discuss Sandy Hook or I'll start having panic attacks.

I feel like my kids will have to live in a much more dangerous world than I grew up in. When I was little, there were no school shootings. Kids played outside without supervision. Nowadays, I would never let my kids be outside unsupervised. Maybe having a social work background has made me a bit paranoid....but seriously, there are A LOT of crazy people in this world. 

If this social work thing has taught me anything useful, it is- TRUST NO ONE!!! But at the same empathetic toward EVERYONE! Be nice to people even if you don't like them. Stick up for people who are being bullied. Befriend that quiet odd kid in class who everyone else ignores. Invite them to your birthday party or something. You never know, maybe you will unknowingly help prevent the next Columbine. 

Anyway, my heart breaks for all victims of any and every school shooting. Especially for the families. 

May all the victims rest in peace. 

What is this Keto diet?

Two months ago I was doing some serious searching on diets and how to lose weight fast, and I came across this diet I've never heard of before, called the Ketogenic diet. I researched it and it's similar to Atkins with a few tweaks. It seemed a bit difficult but I had to try it, as so many people were claiming pounds would melt right off, effortlessly, with no excerise and with no hunger pangs. After gaining nearly a hundred pounds after 2 pregnancies in a row, I needed something that worked, and for my mental health, I needed something that worked FAST. 

At first I only wanted to try it for ten days to see if it was feasible for me, but I was so happy with the results that I just kept going. My husband agreed to do it with me for support. 

A bit about this diet:

Being on a Ketogenic diet means your body is in a state of ketosis. What that means, is your body is burning ketones instead of glucose. Ketones = Fat. Glucose = Sugar. 

The normal human body burns glucose - as it's easier to burn than ketones. But once you deprive your body of glucose, then it switches to burning an alternative fuel source (Ketones, or fat). To make this switch, you must stop eating carbs. You must think of carbs as the devil. Carbs are evil. Carbs make you fat. 

The basic principles of this diet: Eat A LOT of fat, moderate protein, very little carbs. Once you're body has transitioned to burning ketones as a fuel source, the more fat you eat, the more fat you burn.  

That is so different from how I used to think about how to diet. It's like complete opposite of your standard american diet, which is pretty much low fat and high carb. 

On this diet, you must strive to eat less than 20g of carbs a day. To put that in perspective- one apple has 20g of carbs. Instead of having one apple for your daily carb allotment, it's best to have more green vegetables, as they have carbs also, but not as much. You want to completely cut out all fruits (except lemon and lime), bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, honey, sugar, etc. You also want to cut out beans, grains, legumes, carrots, red bell pepper and tomatoes, or anything tomato based. Cut out anything and everything that tastes sweet. 

Because I'm addicted to sugar (Btw- did you know sugar is 8 TIMES more addictive than cocaine?) I knew I was going to have a hard time cutting it out. So I turned to artificail sweetners. Yes I know, they are bad for you. Whatever. I need my fix. I figure a little bit of fake sugar is better than a lot of real sugar.

These are some foods I turn to for my sweet fix:

Sugar free Jello, heavy whipping cream sweetened with Truvia, Starbucks skinny syrups (they sell these)- and are perfect for tea or coffee, and sugar free popsicles. Sometimes I may even sprinkle Truvia in my scrambled eggs (weird, I know). 

So the thing about this diet is, that you CANNOT have a cheat day. You cannot cheat, EVER. If you do cheat, your body will go back into burning-glucose-mode, and then it'll take up to a week or two to get back into Ketosis. 

Once I started this diet, I felt ok for the first few days. But towards the end of the week and through the second week, I felt like death. Apparently you are supposed to feel like that, that means you are doing it right. When you feel like death, it means your body is transitioning from burning glucose to burning ketones. It's supposed to make you feel horrible. If it doesn't make you feel strange, then you are either really lucky or you are not doing it right. Towards the end of my first week, I felt a lot of heart palpatations. I would get dizzy all the time. I would forget EVERYTHING. They say to help with these side effects, drink LOTS and LOTS of water, and have LOTS of salt. Apparently drinking chicken broth helps with the symptoms of this "Keto flu" so I tried that, and GROSS! Who drinks chicken broth on it's own? Ew.

Whilst transitioning to Ketosis, what helped me the most was drinking (at least 100 oz a day) and eating soup. A keto-friendly soup of course. Mines was made of cabbage, scallions, mushrooms, spinach, celery, all kinds of spices and chicken broth. It was SO good. Thanks mom. Oh, and mom, if you're reading this, can you make me more please? :)

keto soup ketogenic diet soup

So during the first two weeks of this diet, you will lose A LOT of weight. But do not be fooled, the majority of the weight you lose is water weight. You will lose a lot of water and electrolytes, so you need to replenish with water and salt. The reason you will lose so much water is because carbs encourage your body to absorb water. So when you cut carbs, you will start losing all that water. 

They say that after a few weeks of being in ketosis, your carb cravings will start to diminish. I call bull$h!t on that one. 

This is me:

The best thing about this diet? Besides losing weight, I don't get hungry as often. I don't get sugar highs and lows either. I don't need to eat every few hours. But I still hate it. It is, afterall a diet. And who likes to diet?? 

I'd have to say though, this diet is probably not ideal long term. Maybe I'll stop once I reach my pre-pregnancy weight, but maybe I won't. I'll have to see how it goes. I do miss eating fruit though. So maybe once I stop the diet I will just re introduce fruit. I have no idea.

I'll post another blog entry detailing how much weight I lost in the first month and what I ate. 


20 Things I wish I could tell my 20-something self

Two days ago I turned 30. EEEeeeeekk!!!! I often think back to my 20's, and although I'm pretty content with how I lived life, there are a few things (or 20) that I would tell myself if I could go back in time. 

  1. You have to be a SHARK in this world or else you will get eaten alive. Especially at work. It's all about CYA           (cover your ass)
  2. Never be shy. 
  3. Go after what you want. And GET IT.
  4. Be assertive. Stand up for yourself. Don't take crap from anyone. 
  5. Think outside the box. There's always a better way.
  6. Be friendly to everyone but if someone continues to disappoint you, cut the cord. 
  7. Don't settle for anything less than the perfect man. They do exist, but DON'T look for him or try too hard. He will present himself. 
  8. Hold yourself to high standards. 
  9. Continue being classy and fabulous, and surround yourself with similar people. 
  10. Money will come and go, learn not to depend on it for happiness. But don't underestimate the importance of making it. 
  11. DON'T accumulate debt. Shred those credit cards. Buy something when you HAVE the money to buy it. 
  12. Spend as much time as you can with your family. Friedns come and go, but family is your constant. 
  13. Advocate MORE for underprivileged children. Work harder for THEM, not your boss. 
  14. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Stop sleeping through all your classes! 
  15. Stop obsessing over your weight. You are HOT! In the future, after having kids, you will then realize what being FAT looks like. 
  16. STOP eating so much damn junk food! If you're not careful, you will become diabetic. Strive to be healthier.
  17. Play your violin more. DON'T GIVE IT UP! You may have to teach your own children one day and you don't want to look like a dumb@$$.
  18. Don't depend on mommy and daddy for financial support, you are an adult. Get out there and hustle. Start your own business. 
  19. Travel, travel, travel. Explore more countires. Explore different cultures. Visit the third world. Expand your horizons. Sleep on the floor if you have to. Go by yourself if you have to. After having kids your jet-setting days will abruptly halt so make use of your freedom! 
  20. Don't ever be afraid of anything. If you are afraid of something, then DIVE into it headfirst. Desensitize yourself. Take risks.

So that's that. The thirties shall bring about new challenges. There's a saying that goes "Your 20's are for defining and your 30's are for refining." I'm looking forward to all that the future decade will bring my way.