A new face and a new direction. (Also: where have I been the last 2 years?)

Seeing the date of my last post–2 years and 6 days ago–reminds me just how much has gone on to keep me from blogging.

I ran a half marathon.

I learned how to eat clean, and how great it made me feel.

I got pregnant, and the resulting months of debilitating morningsickness and exhaustion kind of put preparing unprocessed foods on the backburner.

This cutie was born in October last year.0b

3 weeks later, we learned she had MSPI: milk/soy-protein intolerance. Literally overnight, I had to cut all dairy and soy out of my diet in order to keep her from writhing and crying in pain after every feeding.

Adjusting to life with a newborn, a kindergartener, and a 2-year-old, combined with having to completely turn all of my meal planning and shopping on its head, reading labels on everything, and not being able to eat at most restaurants, brought on postpartum depression and anxiety. I had panic attacks ordering in restaurants and just driving down the road. I felt very fortunate to have a good friend whose baby, 9 months older, was also MSPI, so she was able to get me started in what to buy and how to order food, so it could have been a lot worse. But I still had a hard time functioning.

In January, when she was 3 months old, we found out we would have to move to Switzerland for 6 months for my husband’s job–with 4 weeks’ notice.

IMG_3518

Our time there was both awesome and at times quite difficult. I homeschooled our kindergartener, planned our family trips, and figured out where to buy the things we needed in another language. I learned what breads, chocolates, and pasta dishes were dairy-free, and thankfully soybeans are not nearly as widespread in Europe as in the U.S., so I was able to find plentiful eating options. We had the opportunity to travel all over Europe as a family, and thankfully when my baby turned 6 months her stomach became strong enough that I could enjoy dairy again. Hooray for croissants, gelato, and Swiss milk chocolate!IMG_4799

In July we returned to Florida, and after a rocky repatriation period, I’m back to spinning plates: PTA, extracurriculars, church and community responsibilities, nap time, race training, and the list goes on. I’ve recommitted to eating clean because it’s the only way I can have the energy I need to keep all those plates spinning.

And just a couple of weeks ago, this little one turned one!
year

Because she spent almost as much time outside the U.S. as in it, I chose a world traveler theme for her party.party1

I cut up a map to make the pennant banner and the mini banner on the cake, as well as the tiny toothpick flag on her dairy-free cupcake. On another map I connected photos of each month of her life with where in the world she was. We ate foods from the countries she visited or lived in, and enjoyed our friends’ company.party2

So now that you know where I’ve been these last two years, here’s the aforementioned “new direction.” Since my little one’s diagnosis, I feel like friends and acquaintances with MSPI babies keep coming out of the woodwork. Since committing to eating clean, friends have asked “isn’t it hard?” So my plan going forward is to continue (resume?) posting great family-tested recipes, just now with an emphasis on whole foods and possible dairy-free substitutions. Even if (when?) my cutie outgrows her MSPI, I’ll continue posting with dairy-free options.

If you’re a new mom desperate for MSPI-friendly meal and snack options, start at my “eat while nursing” Pinterest board here, and I’ll try to start getting new recipes and shopping lists into your hand(held device) in the coming weeks!

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