Happy Baby



So MONTHS ago Shanna, a fellow Army wife, asked me if I’d like to review some Happy Baby products on my blog. Now, I don’t normally do reviews but I do have a baby, and I do have a blog, and Shanna is a sister wife in a Big Green Machine sense of the term and (most importantly) “review” means “free stuff”. So I said yes. She dropped off a box full of Happy Family stuff — rice cereal, oatmeal, applesauce and baby-style finger foods.

And then life happened. I didn’t think much about the review because, when Shanna gave me the stuff, little Lucy had only just started on rice cereal, her first solid food (if by “solid” we mean gruel so weak it could be sucked through a straw). I took the box and set it aside. Lucy wasn’t ready for most of it anyway. At the time I was staying in a condo my mother owns in Florida because we were mid-PCS. We were being sent to Florida from North Carolina and had a house to sell. Since it was summer and I have three kids and a dog, we decided to get out of that house so that it would stay clean enough for someone to actually want to buy it. Well, lo and behold, our house sold and I had to go back to it to pack up. We also found a new house in Florida and so I toggled between the two, lugging the box of Happy Baby foods with me because I wasn’t sure when we’d be settled somewhere or when little Lucy would be ready to eat them.

Well, we’ve been in our new house for several weeks now and Lucy has polished off most of the food Shanna gave me, so (drumroll) here’s my Happy Baby review:



I love it.




No, seriously, that’s all I want to write.


I mean, what can I write about free, organic, baby food? There’s just no downside. Lucy loves it. I love it, and I really love the pouches. When Rudy, my now 4-year-old, was on baby food they didn’t have these pouches. I had to sit there and spoon mashed mystery purees into her mouth and it took forever and was very messy. Now, with these pouches I can just kind of hold and squirt the food into Lucy’s mouth — which is much quicker and cleaner. With three kids and a husband who isn’t home much to help, I need every extra minute and extra convenience I can find.

(I did find one way to really make feeding Lucy even quicker and easier for me — we’ll just call this “outsourcing”)










I’d already started Lucy on regular rice cereal (Gerber brand, I think) and so she didn’t really care for the Happy Baby rice cereal, which is made from brown rice, when I first fed it to her. And, really, who can blame her? White rice is sweeter. Brown rice has that faintly cardboard taste. I got around this by mixing the white rice cereal and brown rice cereal together and Lucy was totally cool with that and ate it … happily.

We moved on to the fruit purees with great success. Lucy is a big fan of food and, while bananas seems to be her favorite, she’s pretty happy with anything I squirt into her mouth. I’ve just started trying the Happy Baby Sweet Potato Puffs, which are like Cheerios but they dissolve in her mouth and taste like sweet potatoes. Her coordination isn’t quite up to the finger food challenge, so right now Hank, our dog, is a big fan of the puffs. His new favorite hangout is under the high chair. Lucy likes them, too, when she manages to get one into her mouth.

We’re out of the free food now, so the one downside I can find is that Happy Baby is pretty expensive, about $1.25 — $1.60 a pouch, depending on where I buy it.  (Shanna tells me that they’re cheaper at the Commissary, but I haven’t bought them there yet.) But it’s no more expensive than the other organic baby foods in squeeze pouches. I steam and puree most of Lucy’s food for her myself, but I buy the Happy Baby pouches to take with me when we’re going to be away from the house for awhile.

So there you have it — my review and my very happy baby.




The Babymooners

I was flipping through the new issue of Parents magazine last night and this question from a reader caught my eye:

“My husband wants to take me to a spa for our babymoon. What treatments are safe for me to have during pregnancy?”

(I’m going to ask that all the military moms reading this pause for about 10 seconds to stop laughing.)

Ok. Did you catch your breath?

A babymoon, for all of you who haven’t given birth or paid attention to those living the luxe life for the last few years, is one of the latest ways for people to pamper themselves. It’s right up there with “push presents” on my list of trends I hear about but don’t believe anyone is actually doing. (That list, FYI, also includes things like wigs for dogs, spray tans for toddlers, expensive-cakes-that-don’t-look-like-cakes, vaginoplasty and anal bleaching.)  A babymoon is a trip that an expecting couple takes just before the baby is born to relax and enjoy the last full nights of sleep that they’re likely to get for the next 20 years or so. It is, for the record, a fantastic idea and I am 100 percent pro-babymoon. I just don’t know anyone who has ever had one. Or, at least, I don’t think I know anyone. If you’ve taken a babymoon, please feel free to tell us all about it.

(By the way, a push present is a gift that a new father gives to the new mother to thank her for the pregnancy and the childbirth. I am also 100 percent pro-push present.)

What took me most by surprise in the Parents magazine question was the phrasing. The question reads like a babymoon is the most common thing in the world. While I have no idea how common babymoons are in the non-military community, I feel certain they are all but non-existent for those of us who shop in commissaries. At my OB appointment the other day (I’m about 6 months pregnant with my third child, btw.) a sign at the check in desk asked soon-to-be moms to tell their providers if their husbands would be deployed on their due date, deploying soon after or just returned from a deployment.

Our world really is very different, isn’t it? Instead of planning a babymoon to Sedona together, many of us are planning for half of the new parent couple to be on a trip to that other, not-so-pleasant, desert. Choosing between the mud wrap and the seaweed facial isn’t exactly on our agendas.

My husband and I never even had a honeymoon because he deployed two weeks after our wedding. We were okay with that, though, because up until a few days before the wedding we weren’t even sure he’d still be in the country long enough to get married. The fact that he made it to the wedding seemed like a blessing. Many of my military friends have two anniversaries for exactly this reason: They celebrate the day they were legally married at the courthouse and the day they had the actual wedding. If they got in a trip to Hawaii after the big day, it was probably because they were on PCS orders to Schofield Barracks.

The weeks before our first child was born were also a flurry of pre-deployment activity. Though we were very lucky that my husband was able to be present at our son’s birth, he left for Afghanistan about two weeks later. I can’t imagine trying to squeeze in a spa visit (even if we’d had the money for it) during all that chaos. He missed our daughter’s birth entirely, so a babymoon wasn’t an option that time, either. And now, with a third baby on the way I’m just excited that he’ll finally get to experience the “joys” of a having a newborn with me.

So I suppose our “babymoon” will come after the baby is born, just like how the honeymoon comes after the wedding. Our babymoon this time will include spending long nights together not sleeping (because of night feedings and changings) and going on meandering, scenic drives around town (to try and get the baby to fall asleep). But someday in the not-so-distant-future (cue soaring instrumental) we’ll have an Army retirementmoon and — provided we can find someone to keep the kids and the dogs — then we’ll go to Hawaii, or Sedona or maybe just to the Motel 6, so that we can take long, uninterrupted, naps.