Friday, July 3, 2015

Gluten Free Korean Food

Mason slept for 11 hours straight last night, which means that I slept for 8 hours straight, which means that I actually feel like a sane person this morning and have the bandwidth for blogging!

Yippee!

I have been dying to tell you guys about our meal this past weekend at one of my favorite local spots – luckily pictures don’t expire!

Sometimes I feel so lucky with the amount of restaurants I’m able to safely eat at, that I have to pinch myself. The “Triangle” of NC (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) is seriously a safe haven for gluten free folks, and this past weekend the Ravelli clan hit up one of our absolute faves in Raleigh: Kimbap.

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That’s right, baby’s first bibimbap!

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Well, he didn’t get to actually taste anything, but he loved the environment and he behaved so well while Mommy and Daddy indulged. Kimbap has an open kitchen concept, so you can watch the chefs prepare the food. Mason of course loved this – and he loved the chopsticks! Parrish and I LOVED the food!

We started with the Gluten Free Veggie Dumplings:

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So freakin’ good. I could seriously eat 20 of these and be perfectly happy. 

Next, I enjoyed a seasonal special:

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Spring Soup Cup – it was a super delicious aromatic broth filled with their house made tofu, tons of mushrooms, carrots, and fresh spring onions. So good!

For Parrish’s meal, he ordered the Make Your Own Wraps with Pork Belly….Mason Month 5 097

Because PORK BELLY you guys – needs no explanation. Duh. It was delicious.

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I of course ordered the bibimbap with beef bulgogi because it is the tastiest dish in the world. Crispy rice topped with seasonal veggies, beef, and a sunny side up egg -

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it is the definition of Umami. I wish I had put my hand in the photo above so you could see how GIANT that bowl is. It’s a huge serving and I ATE IT ALL.

I wish I could say #breastfeeding and that’s why I pigged out at Kimbap, but I’ve actually always eaten like a champ there – it’s just so good!

Most of their ingredients are purchased from local farms, including the meat and the eggs. If you’ve ever eaten a fresh, local egg then you already know – yes, you can taste a difference, fresh are so much better!

Thank you Kimbap for another amazing meal. My only complaint is that you don’t have a location within walking distance of my house in Durham.

So plan your trip friends! A long weekend would be a good amount of time for a gluten free foodie feast – book your tickets and let me know, I’ll meet you at Kimbap!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dear Mason, A Reflection on 5 Months

Dear Mason,

Once again, I’m posting my letter to you a few days late and really, that will most likely become a trend because life with you is busy, busy, BUSY. This past month you have continued to grow and develop and it has been such a joy to see your personality start to shine through – you are a sweet, snuggly, funny baby who is pretty  much constantly smiling!

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And if you’re not smiling, it’s because you have something in your mouth – whether it be your hand, a toy, a friend, or Mommy and Daddy!

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But your fingers are the best!

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Your hands are pretty much always covered in a coating of drool because you can’t keep your hands out of your mouth! Some days we think you might be teething….other days we think you might just really like the taste of your own finger. But whatever it is, you love it!

Towards the middle of the month, you also discovered a new love: your toes!

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In fact, you’re just becoming more aware of your little roll-y body in general. You’re now rolling over from your back to your belly. Just a few days before your 5 month birthday, you started rolling over a lot! Diaper changes are going to be interesting.

You’ve also become more aware of your fur brother and sister. While Hazel doesn’t actually get close enough for you to touch, Max loves to take risks and is constantly coming over to give you kisses.

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And you have started to reach out for him. He is super soft and fluffy, but we’ve already had to have discussions about the proper way to play with our pets. ‘Gentle’ is a pretty popular word right now. Gentle with Max and gentle with Mommy!

You have started attacking my face with kisses, and sometimes those kisses are a bit rough. You just get so excited! Even your toys have gotten hit by the kiss attacks, Raggedy Ann especially.

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But that’s just a part of your happy personality. You are a tiny ham, and love being the center of attention.

You have also discovered a love for the exersaucer this month. You have always loved to stand – new friends always comment on how strong your legs are and you love having help to use them. So the exersaucer is the best.

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However, nothing is more fun to you than being naked. You LOVE being naked.

You really come alive when we change your diaper, babbling away and giggling. And if your clothes come over during that diaper change, you would much rather us just leave them off. Which is fine with us because you are so soft and roll-y – it’s hard not to snuggle you up when you don’t have clothes on.

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Your trifecta of happiness: Naked + Outside + Being with Mom & Dad. That is your absolute fave. You just love being outside!

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Even with the summer heat, you would always rather be outside. So Mommy and Daddy bought you a little battery operated fan – that way you can stay outside for as long as you want!

We celebrated your first Father’s Day outside the womb, and we had a fun day showing Dad how special he is. Aunt Joan and Cousin Ella helped us make him a sweet gift:

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and we treated him to a Food Truck Rodeo that afternoon.

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Daddy loves Food Trucks, but even more, Daddy loves you!

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Another big event this past month was introducing you to solid foods!

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We had a feeling that you were ready to start trying new foods when we realized you were watching us eat! We started with oat cereal and you loved it! I ground up gluten free rolled oats and mixed it with a bit of breastmilk once it was cooked. You were skeptical at first:

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but you warmed up quickly. You even started whining in between bites and opening your mouth really wide when you saw the spoon. We hope to try some baby led weaning with you, but for now you seem pretty happy with the spoon. You didn’t even thrust any of the cereal out of your mouth with your tongue – you gobbled it up!

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Oh Mason, the past 5 months have seriously been the funnest ever! They definitely fly by a little too quickly, but we are so happy for every moment we get to spend with you.

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You are our best buddy and we can’t wait to see what the next month brings.

Happy 5 Month Birthday Mason!

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16 weeks, 20 weeks

Past Letters to Mason:

One Month

Two Months

Three Months

Four Months

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Feeling Loved

The most amazing thing happened today.

I was sitting in a chair with Mason plopped on my lap. His fat little legs were solidly placed and I had my hands on his waist, helping him stay steady. He loves to practice sitting up, but this afternoon he was particularly pleased with himself.

He looked up at me from his perch and his little blue eyes sparkled. His chubby little cheeks lifted, and his lips curled in to his crooked smile. I smiled right back, caught up in his happiness. He was just so proud. He looked down for a moment and then looked back up again, still grinning from ear to ear. I smiled again, cooing at him and told him how much I loved him. And in that moment, as the words left my lips, he placed his little hands on either side of my face and looked right in to my eyes.

And I knew. I knew – in that moment and forever – that he loved me too.

Sure, a few seconds later he pinched the crap out of my cheeks, squishing my skin between his fingers. But I didn’t care. Heck, pinching is nothing new; my entire body is his everything. I am his food, his shelter, and his comfort. I am his ladder and his rock. I am a pillow, a chair, and yes – sometimes – the perfect toy for grasping.

By the end of the day, I feel all used up. My body is bone tired and my eyes burn and the thought of another sleepless night makes me a little bit weepy. But I’m never empty. I may be well worn, but I’m incredibly full. In fact, I have never felt so full in my entire life.

I am filled to the brim with love. For Mason. For Parrish. For the entire village that it takes to raise a baby. I am overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving, and constantly counting my blessings out loud.

And yes, it’s hard. It’s so very hard. It’s take-a-deep-breath and choke back the tears hard.

But mostly it’s amazing.

I don’t dwell on the fussy mornings or my foggy brain. I don’t count how many times I’ve been spit up on, partly because I’d lose count but mostly because it doesn’t matter.

Although, can we just pause for a moment and talk about how babies have a real knack for spitting up right down your shirt and in to your nursing bra? And it’s always your last clean nursing bra – well, as clean as it can be seeing as how the baby did the exact same thing a couple of hours ago and you can’t remember if this is the same bra or a different one….

But seriously, it doesn’t matter. Not to me.

Because today I gave him all of my love for the millionth time over since his conception, and he gave it right back to me.

Two little hands holding my face, and I felt it. This tiny baby loves me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dear Mason, A Reflection on 4 Months

Dear Mason,

The fact that I’m posting this 3 days after your 4 Month Birthday is definitely a reflection on what this past month has been like: busy busy BUSY!

You have changed so much! Your Dad and I feel like this is the month that you really came to life. Your personality is starting to shine through the newborn sleepiness phase and every moment we get to spend with you is an absolute blessing.

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You make new friends where ever we go because baby, you are always smiling! You are the definition of a happy baby, and I have to admit – you might turn out to be just a little bit rascally!

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If you’re not smiling, then you are most likely talking. You love to babble away and use your eyebrows to help you express yourself.

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We still aren’t sure about what you’re trying to tell us, but we continue to mimic the sounds you make and that gets you super excited. You’ve also started to mimic some of the sounds we make, like when we blow our lips at you, and I can see your brain working and working to try to get it right.

Your absolute favorite place to be is outside, which is lucky because me and your Dad love to be outside too!

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We take a big blanket and lay it in the front yard and let you play and stretch and kick your legs.

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On particularly warm days – which are quite often here in NC – we even take you outside for some naked play time.

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That is absolute HEAVEN for you! You love to be naked.

We’ve also started taking you on more walks, sometimes in the stroller and sometimes in our arms.

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You like to be in a position where you can see everything, and you particularly enjoy watching the wind play with the sunshine on the leaves.

Just like past months, you still LOVE to drink milk! And luckily (well at least for Mommy) this month you learned how to drink more efficiently!

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Your nursing sessions went from lasting for close to an hour to maxing out at 12 minutes. You literally took a nap one day and then woke up and decided you didn’t have time to camp out on the couch anymore.

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There are WAY more fun things to do! Like watch your fur brother and sister or play with that cute baby in the mirror!

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Since you became a more efficient eater, we’ve been able to leave the house a lot more and take you on adventures! We’ve dined out a few times, hung out at a cider bar, and even just played outside with friends.

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You even came to work with Mommy one day!

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You did such a good job playing while Mommy worked, and you loved having more people around to smile at and babble with.

We also took you on your first trip to the pool!

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No surprises – you loved it!

In the past month, you’ve also started drooling. We can’t believe you’re already teething, but sure enough when you actually let us take a peek at your gums, we can see the white of a tooth starting to break through. This also means that in addition to drooling, you can’t stop putting anything and everything in to your mouth!

Fingers, Yukon Cornelius, Toys – everything is fair game!

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But teething also means that your sleep has been interrupted a bit. You also rolled over for the first time last week, and all this development means that it’s harder and harder to get your brain to relax and take a rest!

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So we’re all a bit more tired these days, but it’s totally worth it to watch you enjoy all the new tricks that you’ve learned. In fact, just in the past week it’s hard to get you to play flat on your back anymore. You are always trying to roll and play on your side or your tummy.

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You also like for us to hold you up so that you can stand. Your little legs are getting so strong – we definitely think you will be an early crawler.

Besides rolling, your other new skill is grasping. You have gotten so good at grabbing objects within your eye line.

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You’ve even started bringing in your toes to help out!

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I bet by Month 5 you’ll be grabbing those helpful toes with your hands. That will be so much fun! And you LOVE fun!

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Oh yes little Mason, you love fun. And while it is so hard to believe that 4 months have passed by already, I have to say that they have been the most fun 4 months of my entire life.

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And I know your Dad agrees.

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You are our most favorite person in the whole wide world little Mason, and we love you so much!

Happy 4 Month Birthday!

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8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks

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1 month old – 4 months old

Past Letters to Mason:

One Month

Two Months

Three Months