Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Goodbye 2016 (with warm Almond Kheer Oatmeal)

Lila and her friends made this gingerbread
house- from a kit, easy peasy. Why the poor
dog is stuck on the roof, I can't say
After weeks of being in a blogging funk, I'm pulling myself up to share a warm breakfast recipe. Ah, breakfast- my favorite meal of the day.

All my life, I have been a morning person and I enjoy waking up early and tucking into breakfast.

These days, however, our baby boy is challenging my notions of how early is too early and does waking up at 3 AM constitute a really really early morning or a really really late night? Who has time to blog anyway when you have to read all 16 million baby sleep websites that Google throws up when you search for "baby wakes every two hours"?

Here's a recipe for bleary mornings: a warm and hearty breakfast. I'm not one for sweet breakfasts but I have been happily tucking into this barely-sweet almond kheer oatmeal.

Almond Kheer Oatmeal (makes 3 servings)

In a pot, combine 1 cup old fashioned oats, 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of dairy or non-dairy milk) and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Stir in the following:
2-3 tbsp. almond butter
Large pinch of salt
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cardamom
Splash of cream

Scoop into bowls, scatter a few dried cranberries and enjoy.

* * *

2016 was a crazy year. Admittedly, the politics and world news of 2016 left me with a deep heartache and anxiety about our collective future. But on a personal level, 2016 was completely amazing as we welcomed our sweet new baby half-way into the year.

And we have so many kind people to thank for helping us during this joyful and exhausting time, starting with the friend who opened her home to Lila at 3 AM when we rushed to the hospital to have the baby. (The baby's coming NOW? said Lila in disbelief. I need my sleep!) This is the same 5 year old who gave an impromptu pep talk the night before our tiny 8 week baby started daycare: "Now baby brother, I know you're starting school tomorrow. You might wonder, will anyone be nice to me? But don't worry, your teacher will like you and you'll make friends".

Neighbors and friends stopped by, armed with food and onesies. Homemade quiches, cookies for the big sister, cheesy pastas for daddy, spicy guacamole for me. One neighbor brought us a lasagna that I swear weighed about 10 pounds and fed us for days, plus a pint of gelato. All this when she has a baby of her own to care for. Other neighbors dropped off a bottle of celebratory champagne and a note of congratulations at our back door.

We have been at the receiving end of so much generosity of every kind. A friend whisked Lila away to a movie so we could have a weekend afternoon to snuggle in with the week-old baby. One morning, I was in the supermarket in a hassled state in my yoga pants and a stained tee, and a stranger stopped me in the canned vegetables aisle to say "You and your baby make a beautiful picture". Friends all over the country took the time to send boxes of gifts and notes of congratulations.

To all these big-hearted people who make my world a better place- thank you thank you.

What were your highlights of 2016? See you in the new year! 

31 comments:

  1. Hi Onehotstove,

    I know you used to knit pre half-year-old-baby-who-wakes-up-every-2-hours! (Congratulations btw!!!) I want to start. Can you direct me to a useful website or two? And give me some beginner's tips?

    I know this will take up some of your free time which is at a premium with a newborn to care for. Please, no pressure!

    Thanks a lot and much love and good wishes for a great new year to you and all your family!

    If this is ok, drop in a comment in reply and I will mail you my email id.

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    1. Ooh Ooh Ooh a wannabe knitter! I will be more than happy to help you join the cult, I mean, club.

      First step: Join the amazing knitting website ravelry.com. You'll find scads of groups of beginner knitters, free patterns and pretty much everything- it is the worldwide knitting central.

      Knitting is the best. I have made excellent friends through knitting. And you know what they say, knitting is cheaper than therapy.

      E-mail me anytime: onehotstove AT gmail DOT com and I will give you tons of beginner tips. And thanks so much for your sweet wishes!

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  2. The waking-up-every-two-hours phase is terrible. Is he getting overtired? My son started sleeping longer stretches at 4 months age after I realised his awake time between naps was almost double of what it should have been.

    He is 10 months old now and a much better sleeper/napper. He isn't meeting all his milestones though. So the worries never really end!!

    The gingerbread house is so cute! The dog is enjoying an aerial view of the neighborhood, in case you didn't realise ;)

    Wish all of you a merry Christmas and a very very happy and prosperous new year. Keep eating, keep posting cuz I enjoy and look forward to hearing from you.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks for your comment! Baby's a terrible napper and that's half the problem- even when we are vigilant about soothing him down for naps within 1.5 hours of being awake, he takes catnaps and never gets refreshing naps- so you are very right about ending up overtired. We're trying to do the "right things"- early bedtime with a routine, try to let him self-soothe a bit, just one feeding during the night (not snacking all night), offer naps at regular intervals- let's see what happens...

      Glad to know your little guy is a better sleeper at 10 months. There is hope :) Thanks for all the sweet wishes and I wish you the very same!

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    2. Haha that sounds a lot like my son. Does Niam wake up right about the 35-40 minute mark into his naps? My son did that for the longest time ever and then I found a solution. Half an hour into the nap, I would enter his room, lie next to him and gently pat him. He would wake up, sure, but with a little help go right back to sleep for another 40 minutes. It's annoying to have to do this all the time but it's the only thing that worked for us. It does get better though, I promise!

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    3. YES! He wakes up exactly 32 minutes into the nap. BUT that's if he naps on his own at all; usually he naps while one of us holds him on our chest.

      You know, I read a similar trick (of waking slightly to help them transition into the next sleep cycle) here:
      https://www.preciouslittlesleep.com/monumental-guide-to-short-naps/

      Now that you mention that it works for you, I will try it for sure. My 5 year old started off as the world's worst sleeper and is a decent sleeper now so I guess I does get better even if it takes years LOL

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    4. Jupiter, Congratulations on the new addition. My older one used to be like that: wouldn't nap for more than half an hour and would wake up every 2 hours at night. I wish I could tell you there was some magic that worked, but I basically sleepwalked through the first 9 months and he started sleeping better when he started eating 'real' food..like mushy Khichdi. Now that he is 16, it's sometimes impossible to wake him up. Enjoy your little one and Lila all you can. On a separate note, your roasted veggie biriyani is a big hit at our house. Happy new year and thanks for the blog

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  3. So good to read your post, Nupur. I was actually thinking of writing to you earlier this week.

    2016 has been a revelation in so many ways. Hopefully, the year ahead will be less disruptive, more pleasant and peaceful.

    Stay warm and cozy! Lots of love to all of you,

    Lakshmi

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    1. Lakshmi- Hello! Hope you are enjoying winter break. I too desperately hope that 2016 will be more peaceful and less toxic. A hopeless hope, I feel, but still. Love from us all!!

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  4. The sleep gets better, or so they say. Frankly when our guy was little I never even bothered to read about sleep patterns because I used to get too overwhelmed by the things we were "supposed" to do. Add to the fact that we were insanely tired and sleep deprived and had this huge inertia because of that to rectify the 'situation'. Our little guy started sleeping through the night only at 2 years when he was completely weaned off BF-ing. Hope things get easier for you sleep-wise :)
    This year's highlight has unfortunately been my mom's health taking a nose dive. As much as I try to look at positive side of things, this worry always remains in the background. Hopefully she will have a better 2017.
    A very happy new year to you and your sweet little family :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Neha- I am sorry about your mom's health worries and hope her health is on the up and up in 2017.

      We also let the sleep situation slide with Lila so I completely understand! We did survive it, and she is a decent sleeper now and goes to bed happily, so all is well BUT now that we have a second chance with Niam, I am more vigilant about correcting problems earlier rather than later.

      Happy New Year to you all!

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  5. Happy Holidays and wonderful new year, was just looking up your fruit cake post yesterday. We are in the same boat as you...5 month terrible sleeper. We had to hold him upright through his severe acid reflux phase for the first 3 months,and he is a preemie ...so now he associates being held for sleeping ... once his older sibling goes bk to school in the new year , going to start encouraging sleeping on his own. please share any "magic formula" if you discover, until then hang in there ...:))

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    1. Hi Trupti- I did not make the fruit cake this year- a friend gifted me a small loaf of her homemade fruit cake and we're happy with that :)

      You have been through a challenging time with a preemie and acid reflux! My love and best wishes to you and your little one. I will definitely share any magic formula I find but don't hold your breath ;) I suck at getting my kids to sleep!!

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  6. daycare at 8 weeks you are a courageous mom, excellent care is taken at daycares but it must have been very hard ...

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    1. Well, it is more like I arranged to go back to work early (8 weeks) but work shorter hours for a couple of months...so in the end I was very happy with the situation: baby was at daycare only a few hours every day and I was able to ease back into work. But yes, juggling everything is always hard :)

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  7. Hey the sleep thing will get better as you already know with the 5yo. Hang in there - this is the hardest time when you are back at work and desperately want the baby to "get it" ;-).

    2016 for me was a year of letting go - most visibly and obviously of our first born to his new life adventure - college in the mid-west. On many other levels, I learnt to let go and am still learning to take responsibility for my own happiness.

    Thanks for taking the time (whatever little you have) to share with us.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Vishakha- Having a birdie leave the nest is definitely a huge milestone! Hope your son has a good first semester. Letting go is a biggie- and the one thing I learnt from Elsa of Frozen ;) Wishing you the very best in 2017!

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  8. Happy holidays and a very happy new year to you and your family, Nupur.

    It must be hard with a 5yo and an infant - but hang in there and things will get better soon. Besides the baby phase is soo precious! I feel like the years zipped by and now she is in transitional K already!!

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    1. Thank you, dear Prajakta, and wishing you and your family a wonderful year ahead! It is really hard AND really fun with a 5yo and infant. They are so precious together and of course there is nothing in the whole world quite like snuggling with a sweet baby.

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  9. Such a warm and feel-good post from you as always, Nupur! What a special year it has been for you and your family. Wishing you much happiness, laughter, good health and many more special family memories in the coming years, Kamini.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet wishes, dear Kamini! I hope you are doing well, and I look forward to reading more of your amazing posts in 2017.

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  10. My highlight this year - my husband and I trekked in Glacier National Park with our 3 year old. We did several 6 mile hikes with ease. With the current political condition the future of National Parks is uncertain. Other than that I have been making a deliberate attempt to leave work tensions at work and this has helped my health tremendously.

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    1. WOW! Hiking in a national park with a 3 year old must have been an incredible experience- you are an inspiration. We are huge fans of local parks and frequent visitors to state parks and hope to visit national parks in the near future. Here's hoping that these national treasures will be cherished and not sold to the highest bidders. Best wishes to you!!

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  11. Nupur,
    So nice to see your post. What I remember from those early sleepless nights is that the more anxious we are about getting them to sleep, more frequently they seem to wake up. Assume he is going to wake up as soon as you put him down and something about being ready makes them sleep a lot longer. I am not sure it makes sense but that is the way it worked with ours.

    Mine are older now and I have to scratch my brain to remember what those early months were like and now it is almost impossible to wake them up.

    Take it easy and Wishing you a Very Happy (and lots more sleep) 2017.

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    1. Hi Indo!! You are so right about the anxiety- I am trying to be zen about the whole thing but can't seem to decide if I should go with the flow and see how the sleep thing turns out, or take matters into my own hands and be pro-active, or what :D

      I shall try to take your advice and remind myself that they will grow up all too soon! Here's wishing you and your family a most wonderful year ahead!!

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  12. It just plain sucks when babies don't sleep doesn't it! Mine are 4 and 6 yrs old now and were just plain lovely babies in every way except they hated sleeping. They still do but now they just can't help themselves LOL! My jaw would always drop when a friend would tell me her toddler slept 12 hours straight starting at 7 months. What! I tried every "method" but it just took my kids a REALLY long time to figure out the sleep thing. I hope your little man figures it out sooner rather than later. In the meantime I am sending you a big cyberhug and am so glad u have such wonderful friends looking out for you. Happy New Year 2017!! And I am so trying your oatmeal - I am a breakfast/morning person too and warm oatmeal with almond milk and almond butter sounds just awesome right now.

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    1. Pia- Thanks for this warm and wise note!! It is good to know that some of us are in the same boat with sweet and happy babies that simply don't like to sleep. Half my parent-friends say their babies slept all night without any special efforts and so they have no advice for me. The other half say their babies were awful sleepers despite all efforts and so they have no advice for me LOL.

      I wish you and yours a most wonderful year ahead!!

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  13. Hi Nupur, Wishing you and your sweet family a very happy new year, in advance.
    I was very lucky with S, h slept well. In fact as an infant, he woke just once during the night!
    Hope things smooth over for you and Niam sleeps warm and snug, all night, soon!

    This year was a roller coaster., I was lucky to visit India in summer.
    Lost an uncle and aunt (atya), within a week. :(

    Last but not the least, we have moved again. Packing, finishing up in FL really took it out of me. I just want to relax and do nothing. Nothing much.

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Manasi! How wonderful that S was a good sleeper- when kids are well rested it is easier on everyone and wonderful for them.

      I'm sorry about the loss of your relatives this year. Hope 2017 brings you wonderful things in your beautiful new home!

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  14. Nupur, for providing such a thoughtful blog filled with ideas, recipes and more, thank you so much. Hope you and your family enjoy a blissful healthy year ahead.
    Wishing you all the very best.

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    1. Thank you so much for this very kind note! I wish you a wonderful year ahead too.

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