Oh Fudge, Foiled Again

When we were youger, we mainly played educational computer games. I have fond memories of a game called Museum Madness that I don’t think anyone will ever understand but my brother. I actually found a download for it, but that might ruin the memory. One of them that I don’t recall the name of was a spelling game. It involved a castle, and a knight/king/dragon, and when you spelled the word right and got to pass, one of them always said “Oh fudge, foiled again.”

And that phrase has been repeating in my head for the past few days.

The past few weeks have been really busy. We threw ourselves right back into our regular schedule when we got back from our cruise, and I still feel like I am playing catch up. I felt like I needed a day off last week, and decided to swap a Friday rest day for a Thursday rest day. No big deal, right? But then Friday we had a playdate at 10, and Simon didn’t wake up until 9. He never sleeps that late! Okay fine, I can really run two days in a row.

Saturday I was getting a little sick and had probably the worst run of my life. Ever! Like bending over panting because I couldn’t take a full breath. And that was with walking 85% of it. Sunday we had to meet a friend at 10 and not only did we not have enough time, there wasn’t anyone to watch Simon at my parents’ house anyway.

So we got back home on Sunday night. I am doing a good job of not beating myself up about it, and I figured we would just have a do-over this week since I had some extra time on the half-marathon training schedule.

“Oh fudge, foiled again.”

We have pretty much spent the last two days like this:

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Remember the playdate we went to Friday, the one we missed the run for? All the kiddos had fevers over 100 degrees by Monday afternoon.

This is really Simon’s first time having anything more than an annoying cold. But I chose to deal with it as naturally as I try to deal with his colds. And for a fever, that meant I didn’t do anything. I believe that a fever is your body’s natural and most effective way of fighting off whatever bug/infection/virus you are dealing with.

I did a quick search for natural relief from fevers, and found a pretty nice list. In the end, we went the “lukewarm bath” route, with a bath morning and night. We also went for a walk, and it was by far the happiest he was all day, both yesterday and today.

He is pretty much better now, although it has been a rough 48 hours. But considering how contagious this virus seems to be, there is no way I can bring him to the gym tomorrow. Solutions?:

1. We can run outside
Problem: It is supposed to rain

2. We can use the weather shield
Problem: It was lost in the move and I haven’t ordered another one.

3. We can wait until Thursday, run Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.

I think option 3 is the only viable option, so I suppose we are putting it off for another day. If it gets nice out later on we will walk again, but I’m disappointed to be so off schedule already.

Last week was only week 2, and it didn’t get completed. Is it just me, that something always comes up? Something always foils my plans. I’m trying not to get frustrated, trying to tell myself that I still have more than 12 weeks, that I still have time to even start over if I want. I guess I’m just worrying that I’m going to keep doing that until I don’t have 12 weeks left, and then what happens in week 9 when Simon or I gets sick again?

At any rate, right now, I do still have plenty of time to train. Hopefully with the weather getting nicer, any more debilitating sickness is behind us for awhile. At least I can hope. So we will for sure be back to the treadmill/pavement on Thursday, but for now I’m going to spend one more day enjoying the only good thing about having a sick baby:

Baby snuggles.

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Half Marathon Plans

I have good news!  Remember when Simon used to scream when I left him at the Y’s childcare?

Now, he screams when we leave.  He has found a new love, and that love is:  Trucks.

Trucks, trains, cars, anything with wheels, and he is in love.  When we get into the childcare room, he squeals, leans over to be let down, and doesn’t even look at me when I say goodbye.

I could be emotional about it, but I love that I don’t have to worry about him and can stay at the gym a little longer.

This came just in time, because I felt a little bit like I stepped off a clif last week, when I signed up for a local half-marathon.  The longest race I’ve ever done was 8.14 miles, the Great Alhoa Run in Hawaii, but that was 5 years ago, and it didn’t go awesome.

But for the first time, I feel like I have actually set myself up for success with my plan for this half-marathon.  Normally I will sign up for a race as an impetus for starting a workout regimine, and while that is great idea, I never give myself enough time to start up a base as well as train, and I get frustrated or hurt, and don’t do well.

Most standard half marathon training plans are 12 weeks long, and the race isn’t until the 2nd of September, quite a bit longer than 12 weeks from now.  On top of that, I already did the first week of Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan this past week, and it felt good; I don’t have shin splints, my quads aren’t sore, there is no twinge in my knee.  And while I’m not against it, I didn’t have to walk at all.  I feel like all of those 20 minute workouts have put me a step ahead of where I need to be.

I made myself a training spreadsheet to track my workouts over the next few months.  I can’t help but track my progress somewhere.  I will not be following the program exactly because I have extra time, so I will be repeating a few of the weeks, but the basic plan is pretty easy to adapt for extra time.

So hopefully in a few months I will be able to have one of these:

Although something like this is probably more my style:

So this summer will be spent running:  on the treadmill, with the jogging stroller, on the trail with friends, I will be doing whatever I can to be prepared for my first half-marathon!

As an aside, if things on here look weird for a few days and I don’t post as much as usual, it is because the power cord for my computer died this weekend.  So while I wait for my knockoff power cord to arrive, I will be using my husband’s computer, and I’m not used to it.  But hopefully it will get here hastily!  I miss my Mac already.

Strawberry on a Cupcake

I had a great birthday!  Having your birthday (practically) on a weekend is great because it lasts all weekend.  Friday Simon and I went to our friends’ house where we were treated to (delicious) clementine cupcakes, and I got the nicest gift from some of my friends.

I was, and still am, so touched!  Making friends is hard to do, and I’m so glad that I have found a great group at this duty station.

After that, Simon and I came home to an Edible Arrangement from my in-laws, which we shared,

balloon included.

Saturday my family came to visit!  My parents as well as both of my brothers were able to come.  We went out to dinner, played some games, and had more cupcakes.  I made these, I had strawberry frosting on the brain.

This recipe came from Bittersweet, and Hannah always makes amazing stuff.  When my search for vegan strawberry frosting pulled up a post from her site, I knew it was meant to be.

This was simple, but not fast.  The strawberry puree had to be cooked down, then chilled, then cooked with cornstarch, and chilled again.  Then whipped with (vegan) butter, and sugar.  Not powdered sugar, regular granulated sugar.  That was easily the most interesting and appealing part of this recipe.  A tsp of powdered sugar does have fewer calories (~10cal) than a tsp of granulated sugar (~15cal).  But when you consider that most frosting recipes call for around 2 cups of powdered sugar per 1/2 cup of butter, you can see where the mere 1/2 cup of sugar was appealing here.

But that isn’t why I made this frosting, in fact, I had to add a little bit of powdered sugar at the end (just a bit, about 1/4 cup).  It was my birthday, not a time to be cutting calories.  I just made these because they looked plain delicious.

They totally were.  There was so much real strawberry flavor, it was well worth the time invested.  The cupcakes were just a plain vanilla cake, it was really all about the frosting here!  A tiny tip for anyone who might be making this, when you add the puree to the creamed butter and sugar, mine almost looked like it broke.  It looked gloppy and just plain gross.  Just put your mixer up to a really high speed and keep on going, it’ll come together.  Persistence here, pays off big time.

I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend.  For some reason I really feel like I stepped away from reality for a few days, and even though my regular routine wasn’t interrupted, I’m having a hard time getting back into it!  We have a fun and busy week planned though, so I had better snap back to normal soon, or things are going to get crazy around here.

My Birthday Eve

Dinner tonight, was great. I broke out one of my favorite books, Vegan with a Vengeance. Actually it got pulled out last night because I wanted to be able to marinate our Mango Ginger Tofu overnight. It was a much more labor intensive dish than I’ve been making lately, but it was definitely worth it.

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Time intensive because the marinade is cooked beforehand. Super good, but I did use less ginger.

The real excitement of today though, came after dinner. My birthday present came a day early! It was a big one, and I have been stalking the mailman for it all week:

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Oh my goodness I am so very excited. That’s about all I can say for right now because I’m going to go play with my new favorite toy!

Happy Birthday Eve to me!

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Friendly Competition: Update

I realized today that I haven’t talked at all about how our friendly competition is going.  It has been about a month, and it seemed an update was only appropriate.

All in all:  Okay.  It’s been a month and I’ve lost about 3 pounds, which is better than a sharp stick in the eye.  In fact, it’s better than I have done in months, so I dare say I’m fairly pleased.  I noticed yesterday that I was really feeing a lot better too.  Which I followed up with some ice cream.  Moderation, right?

So, this is what I have been doing thus far:

Fitness:  I go to the gym with Simon when I can, which is normally twice a week.  When I’m there I do cardio, normally my 20 minute workout, followed by easy walking on the treadmill.  Simon has gotten much better at the child care, and its nice to have some time to myself.  I really don’t get much out of the additional 20 or 30 minutes.

Two days a week at the gym isn’t going to cut it for weight loss though, I recognize that.  I mentioned in my original post that I was going to start a program at home and…I actually did!  My husband is doing it with me, and we are currently on Week 3 of:  You Are Your Own Gym.

Basically it is bodyweight exercises.  The routine is good, and it changes up enough to make it interesting.  Plus, they also have a really awesome app that somehow makes it more motivating.  When I open it up and see all the little green check marks of workouts I’ve completed I get all proud of myself!  It times everything for you, gives photos and descriptions of the exercises, and lays out the workouts so you don’t have to drag out the book.  Its especially good since we are doing different levels, so different exercises, and we don’t have to share one book.  The app is $1.99; if you somehow ended up here wondering whether or not the app is worth it, it totally is.  In fact, you could probably just get the gist of the program and follow along with just the app.  Just for the record, I have zero affiliation with this book (or app).  I am not getting paid for this (although I’m open to it, if they offer).

Anyway, there are a few things I like about this program.  First, it is bodyweight, so we don’t have to be keeping dumbbells in the house (we have them, but they’re out in the garage).  I get a good workout in under 30 minutes, and while I am often sore the next day, I don’t get all sweaty.  We do this after Simon goes to bed.  I don’t want to shower that late at night, and frankly, I don’t want to change into a sports bra.  Believe me, that’s important.  And even with fitting those requirements, whatever body part is being targeted is wobbly when I’m done.  Today is my arms.  I’m lucky this is even being typed.

Nutrition:  While I can work out all I want, I know that what I eat is the most important.  “They” say that getting in good shape is 80% nutrition.  I might have fessed up to the ice cream, but I really have been trying to eat well.  Not count calories, not follow some kind of diet, just eat the food I know I should be eating.  I have been keeping myself accountable by writing what I do eat in a little notebook.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few entries for M&Ms, Girl Scout Cookies, and of course, the Slutty Brownie Birthday Cake (that may have shown up a few times before it was done), but at least I’m honest.  I’m not entirely proud of everything that goes into it, but its most important function is simple:  to remind me to eat.  If I don’t have something reminding me to eat, I don’t eat nearly enough (I still need to keep up calories while breastfeeding), and then I eat whatever happens to be around when I finally sit down at night.  So I’ve been packing snacks, and trying to eat more during the day.  Just in case, I have an emergency Larabar stash in my car.

Nothing has really changed about what we eat for our regular meals, although I did try a somewhat healthier Mac and Cheese recipe tonight.  It is a Mark Bittman recipe, and it was just okay.  The fact that it used cauliflower instead of milk or cream was a bonus, but it really needed more cheesey flavor to be called Mac and Cheese.

In fact, I think I prefer my favorite vegan version.  It wasn’t bad, we ate it, but I wouldn’t add it to the Mac and Cheese roster.  Does anyone else have a whole slew of Mac and Cheese recipes they make?  This is one thing that I make repeatedly, but I have a few recipes that I like and rotate through.

So that is one month down, two months to go.  If I could lose another 3 pounds both months, that would be awesome, heck, that’d pretty much be my “Last Ten Pounds” I have been hoping for.  No pressure!

State of the Family

While this blog isn’t dedicated to keeping my extended family updated on what we are up to, the fact is, a lot of family and friends read it. And because we aren’t close to them, and don’t see them as often as we might like, I thought it might be nice to do a general update about how things are going with everyone around here lately.

Simon: Yesterday, Simon officially turned 13 months old! We are done with the onesie pictures, and I honestly didn’t realize until the day was almost over. Silly February being such a short month, threw me off.  I still haven’t updated my watch with the correct date.

Some of Simon’s most exciting news is that he had his first swim class this past week! He was so cute in the pool, he loves the water, loves bathtime, so we had a feeling it would be a hit. He was the wettest baby there, he was splashing and playing and having so much fun. Plus we got to see some friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, and meet some new friends.

He has started taking steps here and there. We met someone today at the library who couldn’t believe that he wasn’t walking, because he moves around so fast. But really, he still stands up, crawls over, stands up, cruises, crawls over, stands up, etc. He is a very mobile guy; on the go, all the time. His 12 month Dr appointment was last week, he is still pretty low on the weight percentages, and with how active he is, I don’t expect that to change.

He is still a great eater though! My friends with slightly older kids are always telling me to be ready for that to change, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts. I’m sure he will have a picky phase at some point, but I don’t have to look forward to it! He loved his dinner tonight, which was something that every vegetarian probably tries at least once. Recipes for it pop up in multiple books I own, and it has definitely been featured in many of the magazines I subscribe to. The simple, classic, Red Lentil Pasta Sauce.

We actually have never tried any version of this before. The lentils are meant to be a substitute to chunky meat based sauces, and they do add some nice texture. I thought I would be creative and wing it, and..well I did wing it, but it wasn’t creative. I had a jar of pasta sauce, I had lentils. I cooked a cup of lentils, added the pasta sauce, threw in some extra seasoning, and called it a dinner. Simon loves gnocchi, and these are made with sweet potato and whole wheat flour, so it makes me feel like I’m giving him something healthier than plain dried pasta (not that he doesn’t eat his fair share of that).

We also put his crib in our room shortly after his first birthday (the following day, actually).  It is nestled up against ours, as a sidecar, so he is still close to Mommy and Daddy, but not too close.  He might not be the biggest baby around, but our queen size bed was getting a little snug.  So far he is loving it!  While he does still end up in our bed sometimes, he mostly prefers his own space.  There are plenty of times that he will be in bed with me, and will crawl over into his crib and fall back to sleep.  I’m really hoping that it will better prepare him for being in his own bed, in his own room.  Which we are hoping to accomplish before his second birthday.  I know that will be an adventure though, so when the time comes, I’m hoping to make it as gentle a transition as possible.

Daddy: Speaking of adventures, my husband is gearing up for one as well. Obviously due to the nature of his job I have to be somewhat vague, but we are really excited and proud of him! He has a lot more responsibility, which means longer hours and more stress, but it is a great opportunity for him.

The weather has been nice, so on his days off he has been taking care of some house maintenance.  Of course we were back to 10 degrees and frozen pipes today, but it should warm up again by mid week. Oh, and his birthday is coming up! Next week he will be so old. Unfortunately he is going to be away on his birthday, so we will get to celebrate the weekend before.  I see cookie cake in our future.

Mommy: Not that Daddy’s birthday isn’t important, but my birthday is this month also! It’s really kind of fun having everyone’s birthdays close together.  I’m also really excited for Easter.  I know that isn’t until April, but its always pretty close to my birthday, so I kind of think of them together.

I have been trying really hard to stick with a menu plan, but it isn’t working so well. Does anyone else have this problem? I make a menu, buy the food, and then I don’t want to make what I thought sounded yummy a few days prior.

Our gym visits are still not regular, although we get there at least once a week. That makes me cringe, we used to almost every day! Last time I took him, he screamed as soon as we walked in the door, although he was apparently fine while I was gone. I am still going to keep trying to go with him in the morning to get my short cardio workout in, but I’m also going to start an “at home” program tomorrow. My husband has been trying to get me to start doing something at home for months. Many months. Since Simon was born. I just wasn’t interested in the things he wanted to do. I finally found something I wanted to do though, and I think I can stick with it. I’m going to start it tomorrow, I’ll keep you updated.

Mommy with friends.

Other than that, Simon and I spend a lot of our time with friends, or making new friends. Most weeks, we have something planned every day. Today Simon’s Grammy visited, and we still went to storytime at the library and had playtime. This kid adores the library.

Simon with toys.

I’d like to think that I have a little bookworm on my hands, but as much as he does enjoy being read too….he’s really just there for the toys.

Everyone:  I almost forgot our most exciting news!!  We are going on our first family vacation!  In a few weeks we will be boarding a big old boat and cruising to the Bahamas for a week to relax.  This is Simon’s first ever vacation, and really our first vacation that we’ve gone on by ourselves.  We went on a few little 4 day trips when we lived in Hawaii, and we have been on vacations with both of our families, but never just us.  All the vacations we have taken with our families are wonderful, and I’m sure there will be more in the future, but it is really exciting to be doing something this “big” with just us.

If you are looking to keep up with us on a more regular basis, check out the Facebook page for our blog!  This applies to everyone visiting, as I said, this isn’t meant to be a family blog.  But if you are coming here from my personal Facebook page, you’re only seeing about 10% of our posts!

So that, is pretty much what is going on with us.  Nothing too terribly exciting, but we are having fun!

Popping Corn

I have been really into popcorn lately. I have always had microwave popcorn in my pantry as a go to snack. There is a lot of hubbub running around the Internet about the manufactured bags being bad for you. I’m not convinced that is true, but I figured popcorn without artificial butter or other flavorings is still probably better for you. So I decided I would just buy the kernels plain and pop them in a paper bag in the microwave. People rave about how simple and easy this is but for me it was a fail every single time. In one night I would try three or four times, only to have either half-popped, burnt, or unpopped popcorn left in my bag. That would be followed by eating whatever snack we had lying around, out of frustration.

Then today, something wonderful happened!

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No, I never figured out the microwave trick. But my mom came to visit Simon (let’s face it, she’s not really here to see me), and she brought the popcorn maker my dad got in a Christmas gift exchange a few years ago. It is the Presto Stirring Popper by Orville Redenbacher, and so far it’s working great!

I’m so excited to have healthy popcorn as a nighttime snack option. While I’m not counting calories this time around, I just had to check, and 1oz of popcorn is around 100 calories. The 1/3 cup it recommends is around 2oz, which is great! Perfect for that mindless munching routine I often get sucked into at night.

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In fact that probably leaves room for a glass of wine with my popcorn, right? Just…a small glass?

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Friendly Competition

I’ve been doing a whole lot of talk about losing weight.  To say that it hasn’t happened is really putting it lightly.  While I have recently gotten back to the gym, it still isn’t as regular as I’d like.  Life is busier than it has ever been before, and when faced with the choice of the gym vs friends, friends win.

In Women’s Health last month (another one of my free magazines), there was a little survey about competitiveness, and the majority of women responded that it wasn’t their spouse, or sibling, but their friends that they were the most competitive with.

I love my friends, all of them, but one way or another, this is totally true.  So rather than deny it, I sent my best friend a message suggesting that we put that competitiveness to good use, and have a weight loss competition between ourselves.

 

The competition: Whoever loses the greatest percentage of weight loss wins.

 

 

 

The timeline: 3 months; from February 27th – May 27th

 

 

 

 

 

The stakes: The winner has to visit the loser.

 

 

 

 

 

I have been friends with my best friend since High School. We have been friends through college, were in each others’ weddings, and have celebrated 3 babies being born between us. Until recently, one or both of us has always lived near our parents, so visiting was easier. We are currently 1,000 miles away from each other, and that will very soon change to over 4,000. So even though the loser foots the bill, I’m sure you can see how a visit will be a win for both of us.

Our Babies!

That being said, friend. I am going to kick your butt!

The 20 Minute Workout

In the past 6 years or so, I have dedicated a lot of time to working out. I have spent hours running, lifting weights, practicing yoga. I have done crunches and squats, sprints and distance, backbends and bows. There was a point when I would spend 2 hours a day at the gym sometimes. Other days, I would go twice. I thought nothing of piggybacking a 4 mile run with a power yoga class.

Then this beloved little man happened.

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Of course, when you become a parent, everything changes. You might be thinking I’m just pressed for time in general, but that isn’t necessarily the case. There is child watch in the morning and the afternoon, I could go twice if I wanted to.

No, instead we are going through something that is referred to as separation anxiety. I call it clingy baby syndrome.

My little cling-on is definitely going through that phase, and it really stopped me from going to the gym altogether for awhile. But the Y that we go to has 2 locations, and a friend suggested that maybe Simon would fare better at the other. So the next day we went ahead and tried it.

He did not do better. Both times that I went to get him, he was in tears. They come and get you after 15 minutes of straight crying, but he wasn’t quite that bad. Yet. He saved that for the 3rd day.

However, after a few weeks of neglecting myself, I decided that he was just going to have to be upset for 15 minutes. So the 20 minute workout was born.

It isn’t anything new, but if you’re a mom (or anyone) trying to pack in as much workout as you can in a little bit of time, this is the way to do it: High Intensity Intervals.

You might have heard of them before, you might have done them before. Maybe you haven’t, or maybe you forgot. I forgot. I forgot because they’re hard! But they are perfect for fitting a tougher workout into a short amount of time. By the end of 20 minutes of steady state cardio, just chugging along on the treadmill/elliptical/bike/stairmaster, I’ve just started to work up a sweat. By the end of 20 minutes of intervals, I am TIRED. Seriously tired. Tired and sweaty. There any plenty of ways to quantify a workout: calories burned, heart rate, distance, etc. But I think the best measures are simpler: the talk test and your perceived exertion. I don’t go to the gym with a buddy, so I have no one to talk to without looking crazy, so I prefer the latter.

My perceived exertion when the child watch provider comes to get me after 20 minutes of cardio, is “Oh darn, I was just getting started”. My perceived exertion when they come to get me after 20 minutes of intervals is “Oh thank goodness”. Intense intervals aren’t meant to be done for very long, so I only do 20 minutes whether someone comes to get me or not. At that point, I walk by, listen for Simon’s screams (because every mom can pick out their child’s screams), and if he is okay, I’ll move on to some lighter cardio, or strength training.

This has been working out so perfectly for me. I feel great knowing that I really got a good workout in, while also knowing that I’m not leaving my baby totally miserable for too long.

***I am not a fitness professional. At one time I thought I would enter that field, so I’ve done a lot of research and practice, but in no way am I a professional. If you are looking to start a high intensity interval program, here are some great resources:

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Program Suggestions
How to Create Your Own Interval Workout
Tom Venuto’s Practical Analysis of HIIT (Really good article)
Cardio vs Interval Training
Interval Training and Increased Percentage of Fat Burning
Want to get really intense?: Try Tabata Intervals

I have been trying to really stick with something. Anything, really. Interval training is going to fit the best with my fitness level, the time I want to dedicate, the time Simon’s wants me to dedicate, and the goals I want to achieve.

I’m not much of a motivational poster type person, but this one really resonated with me, and has been living on the wallpaper of my computer. I’ve really been keeping it in mind as a tool to hopefully help me get through this little bit of wall I’ve been feeling up against.

Real Men Wear Necklaces

It happens at least twice a week. Someone tells me how adorable my daughter is. I know I’m not alone here. Plenty of my friends with boys have people call their babies girls, and plenty have their girls called boys. Its fine, really. Babies kind of all look the same.

But after I correct them, I always hear: “Oh, I just assumed…you know…because of the necklace.”


I think most people assume at that point that I am trying to break down gender stereotypes, which is not the case. Simon is wearing a necklace for his teeth.

If you don’t live in Mommy-Land (or perhaps even if you do), you may not have heard of them; Baltic amber teething necklaces. The idea behind them is that the Baltic amber is high in succinic acid, which is an analgesic. When the amber touches the skin and it warmed, the succinic acid is purported to help ease teething pain. For that reason, they are supposed to be worn close to the skin, and as often as possible.

Simon has been wearing his polished lemon colored necklace since he was about 5 months old. So far he has 4 teeth, and they came in fairly uneventfully. I have bought him the next size (in raw cider, what is perhaps a manlier color…thoughts?), but he is still too small for it, because it flops outside of his shirt. Cute, but doesn’t serve its purpose.

Good news too, they aren’t just for babies. The succinic acid is supposed to be good for any kind of pains, and that I can testify to. When I was pregnant with Simon, I had a really sharp pain at the top of my belly. I bought a necklace designed for back pain, and wore it over the pain. If I wore it, it didn’t hurt. If I didn’t wear it, it did. Crazy? Placebo Effect? Maybe. But it still eliminated my pain.

So my logic was something like this. This pain that I had, which was fairly bearable, but uncomfortable, was eased by this necklace. If all I have to do is put a necklace on my son’s neck to avoid the completely foreign feeling of sharp teeth pushing through soft baby gums, why not? Really, just why not?

I know homeopathic treatments aren’t for everyone, but this is a simple enough one for many people.  I’d say about half of Simon’s baby friends wear amber necklaces.

Some other points on Baltic Amber:

Raw vs Polished: Raw is supposed to be better as far as transferring the succinic acid. Makes enough sense to me. This is why Simon’s next necklace is raw.

Light vs Dark: I have read varying opinions on this. Some say that lighter is higher in succinic acid. Some say it doesn’t matter as long as its raw. The choice is yours.

Does He Chew On It?:  No.  No no no no.  If your baby can get it close to his mouth, it is far too big.  They are not meant to be chewed on.  Since it is called a teething necklace, I understandably get this question a lot.

Should my baby wear it to bed?: No company will ever tell you that it is okay to have your baby wear a necklace to bed. If you want to know what we do, send me an email.

Beware of Fakes!: Apparently there is a lot of fake Baltic amber out there. There are a few ways to test your amber, but we always order from a reputable source: Inspired by Finn.

Can I Bathe In It?: Nope! Remove it for bathtime. Soap will clog the amber, making it less effective.  Dad has a hard time remembering this, which is part of the reason I bought Simon a new one!

My Back Hurts, But I Want To Wear The Pretty Necklace: That’s cool, it might still help, but the best thing you can do is wear it as close to the pain as possible. That’s why I wore it right over my belly, and that is why babies wear necklaces, to get it as close to their mouths as possible.

If you’d like to do some other reading about Baltic Amber, here are some resources that I like:
Baltic Amber FAQ
History of Baltic Amber
How To Test For Fakes
Cleaning Baltic Amber
Other Uses for Baltic Amber

I figure, if its working for him or not, at least he looks cute in it.  Really, plenty of men wear necklaces anyway.