Monday, December 16, 2013

My very first Christmas tree farm experience

The years we had a real tree growing up, we bought it from Lowe's or the grocery store or something a little less romantic than a tree farm. Phil, on the other hand, grew up chopping down his own tree at the tree farm and decorating it with twinkling white lights like they do in movies.

For the past seven years, we've had a fake tree that's a step up from the Charlie Brown tree but leaves something to be desired, as I tried my best to sprawl out the branches enough to cover up the center pole. We were both working and didn't have time to keep a real tree alive, but this year Phil decided it was time to go the tree farm route. I didn't put up a fight.

So, off we went to a little tree farm not far from us. Here's an overview:

Even though it was an overcast day, I'd say everyone had a good time. Phil got his manhood on by chopping down a tree, Moo got to see a real reindeer, I got to experience a tree farm for the first time, and our little Noodle thought being outside was just about the greatest place she could imagine. Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Three Things Thursday

So yeah. I'm writing this at 4:25 a.m. because BOTH my children have been awake for the past hour and a half--happy but awake. I *think* they're both asleep now, but my brain's up so this is about as good (and uninterrupted) a time as any to write.

Thing one: flash sale
I'm not into Black Friday. At all. But I've been researching sit and stand strollers for a few weeks now and finally decided on one that would work best for our family. I got on Amazon on Black Friday to look at something on my dad's wish list and decided to check out the stroller situation while I was there. Lo and behold it was on a flash sale for 40% off. They were technically all claimed, but I got on a waiting list and within minutes was "up" for purchase. Thankfully I was still at my computer and had done my homework because I had exactly three minutes to buy before I lost my claim on it. SCORE! Here's the stroller, and if you want to know all the pros and cons, let me know because I'm pretty much in love with it.

Thing two: Iron Bowl
I'm a half-hearted Georgia fan. The Iron Bowl simply means I can go grocery shopping without any lines or traffic, so I kind of can't believe I'm even writing about it right now, but when in Rome…

Moo and I heard a strange sound a few minutes before his bedtime. It was coming from outside and sounded like a bobcat wrestling a house cat. Animalistic. High-pitched. Loud. Siren-like at times. I couldn't place it. For the first time in his life, Moo was legitimately scared of a sound. "What that sound be, Mommy?" he asked over and over. It concerned him that I didn't know and he wrapped his body around mine for a good twenty minutes until I figured it out. A few minutes later, I realized that our house was eerily quiet. Phil had been home most of the day and had had football on in the background, but he'd gone back to work, and at some point I'd turned off the TV and now the silence was deafening. Curious about the outcome of  the game and knowing I'd need to know it in order to have a conversation with anyone in public the following week, I turned on the TV again, only to see post-game coverage of what must have been an incredible victory by somebody--I assumed Auburn since the field had turned into an orange and blue mass of fans. Then it hit me: the animalistic sounds I'd heard minutes before must have been neighborhood fans (or foes) reacting to the end of the game. In the streets. Because that's how we roll here in Alabama. Try explaining that one to your two year old. After that, I had to pull up Google images of fireworks so he would know what the popping sound was because that was happening in my neighborhood too. Keepin' in classy here in Alabama.

Thing three: easy winter soup recipe
Even though it's t-shirt weather over here this week, this easy slow-cooker recipe is one to tuck away for those cold nights or rainy days. Easy and delicious. What I would change:

  • Use onion instead of fennel
  • Use half the chicken called for and add more veggies and beans
  • Use half water and half chicken stock to save on cost if you want

Monday, November 18, 2013

Moo is TWO!

So this guy turned TWO on Saturday. A week before, he and I went on a special mommy-Micah date to Party City and I let him pick out whatever themed decorations he wanted. We came home with all things Thomas, since he's recently added trains to his list of vehicle love. Thanks to a miscommunication complete non-communication between Phil and me about who was in charge of taking pictures, the day went fairly undocumented, but I'm pretty sure the little guy didn't care.

We started the day with his favorite breakfast in the whole world: donuts! Let's do the math:
2 donut holes + 2 candles = 1 happy 2-year-old.
We let him open one present from us before the party, and he carried that little golf caddy around all morning with such pride. Precious. My mom stayed with us the night before to help with the party, so he got to open his very special present from her that morning as well: VTech tracks and cars! Win.

Sixteen family members arrived at noon, so we conveniently fed and put Moo down for a nap just  before they arrived so he'd make it through the afternoon. We all ate and caught up and by the time Moo woke up, everyone was ready for cupcakes and presents. The best present of all: Moo's favorite cousin and best friend, Zeke, made the trip from Chattanooga to be there!

Here are a few things this guy is into:
  • Loves his baby sister. I mean, really loves her. Of course, he really, really hates her too when I'm feeding or changing her, but other than that, he's about the most tender big brother I can imagine. He loves for me to put her in his crib with him when I get him up from his nap, and he just lies there next to her on his tummy talking to her and kissing her. He loves to tell her about what he's doing and what she should be excited about and it will be a miracle if she ever talks because he's taking care of all the talking for her.
  • Still into all things with wheels. All things. We recently tried to whittle down our car collection since it's grown exponentially since he was born and we could only find two cars that he genuinely doesn't play with. 
  • Sings all day long. Sings lots of songs I recognize and also makes up his own.
  • Loves power tools. Got a pretend drill for his birthday and is convinced he can fix anything. If only that were true...
  • Loves to pretend. His cars talk to each other. He says good night to inanimate objects. His stuffed animals might as well be real. Nuff said.
  • Is extroverted and friendly. Says hello to just about anyone and anything. The other day I heard him say, "Hi, red motorcycle. Nice to meet ya, red motorcycle." Love it.
  • Has a great sense of humor. He laughs easily and loves to make others laugh, often accompanied by mischievous but adorable behavior. :)
  • Speaking of mischievous behavior, this guy can throw a tantrum with the best of toddlers. Thankfully, time out is pretty effective for now. 
  • Has gotten into reading more and likes to read "by myself," quoting or making up parts of books and concluding with "the end."
  • Loves to cook with me. I admit that sometimes I suggest making banana bread or pancakes just to stave off a tantrum. And it works. Boy can crack eegs (sort of), stir dry ingredients, and knows what the word sauté means. :)
  • Is obsessed with his backpack. Noodle "gave" it to him when she was born and he wears it the entire time he's in Sunday school, except when they have to change his diaper. Pretty sure he's convinced that he's the coolest kid in the class when he wears it. Love that burgeoning independence!
  • Is a little encourager. Exhibit A: my parents live on a mountain and when we drove to the top of it recently, he put his little fists up in the air and yelled, "Hurray, Mommy! You made it up the mountain!" Thanks, Moo.
  • Skills: can count to 10, sing the ABCs, identify several letters, knows what letter his name starts with, can (kind of) jump, and talks and talks and talks. Oh, and he's really good at pushing mommy's buttons too. 
  • Loves water...sometimes a little too much. Would play in the hose in 55 degree weather if we let him, loves to play in the rain, has no fear of pools, and would splash all the water out of the bath and onto the bathroom floor if it weren't a no-no. 
  • Foods he loves: Will eat almost anything, but LOVES M&Ms, sunflower seeds, black olives, fruit leather, macaroni and cheese, banana bread, and cereal. 
  • Loves to be outside and get dirty. Give him some open space, a stick, some spider webs, and some acorns and this kid could entertain himself for a while. 
We are so grateful to know and love this boy, and I'm grateful to get to spend my days with him in sweet (sometimes trying) simplicity. As he says, "Daddy work at hospital. Mommy stay home play cars with Moo." Yep, that's pretty much my job. And it's awesome.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WOAH my goodness.

It's like I've been running a 10-minute mile for the past two years, on fairly flat terrain. And now. Y'all, I'm out of shape. Now it's the same race, but someone just told me that I need to run it faster and do all kinds of crazy hills and I. Feel. Winded.

BUT. It's a good kind of winded. The pushing-yourself-beyond-what-you-think-you-can-do kind of good. The I'm-stronger-than-I-think kind of good. The this-is-so-very-worth-it kind of good.

That's what having two kids under two has been like for me. I've decided a few things in the last couple of weeks, the first being that I will probably write only in bullet points from here on out since that's about all I have time for, so here are a few thoughts from the first three weeks with two under two:

  • Someone will need me 99% of the day. Someone will be crying 50% of the day. I will change an average of 15 diapers a day. I will average 5 hours of sleep a day...interrupted. It will all be fine. Really. God gives what we need for each moment, and it's enough.
  • I either going to gain a bunch of weight from eating convenience food on the go all day, or lose a lot of weight because after feeding all the chicks, this mama bird might not have time to feed herself. Hopefully, it's neither of those scenarios, but you get the idea: time to eat is limited, distracted, and almost always coupled with at least one other task.
  • Speaking of multi-tasking, it IS possible to nurse, feed a toddler, and feed yourself at the same time. Booyah.
  • I've stopped washing my hair every day. Do the math: faster shower = more time to sleep. No-brainer. The old me would say that was gross, even though I know all the salon people out there say it's actually better for your hair to wash it less often. I liked the smell and feel of clean hair every day. But dry shampoo is awesome. And fast.
  • Speaking of sleep, Noodle is actually a great sleeper, but she's still a newborn, so my sleep is clearly interrupted and brief. But I've started seeing all 24 hours of the day as viable time to sleep, which has made being up at weird times more bearable. Up from 1-2 a.m.? No problem. I can go to bed at 7:30 p.m. if I want to. My goal is to get at least 5 hours of sleep cumulatively in a 24-hour period. While it's not optimal sleep, it's what I've determined is functional for me. So far, I'm meeting my goal every day, and usually exceeding it a little.
On to the good stuff that doesn't need a bullet point: I LOVE MY KIDS. I love the plural of that word "kids." I love watching them together. I love that God has entrusted them to me and that we will know the goodbadugly about each other because we are family and that we'll still love each other anyway. 

A friend recently described her life with her three boys as "full," not busy, and I love that. My life is full. Full of life and challenges and joys and laughter and problem-solving and wiping tears and butts and planning and exhaustion and sheer over-the-moon amazement that this full, full life has been given to me. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm grateful. I can make all the funny/whiny comments I want about life with littles, but really I'm just thankful, and those other things are just the stuff of a full life.  

Moo brought Noodle a stick of her very own. :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Little Miss Arrives!

He is fist pumping at 2:30 a.m. when he realizes the heavy breathing and muttered curse words next to him means I'm going into spontaneous labor the very day my doctor had said to me, "I don't think she's coming on her own after all. I'll see you for an induction on Friday." I'm glad one of us is joyful.

I want to be excited. I really do. But I am utterly exhausted. That I'm-so-tired-I-want-to-cry kind of exhausted. I've been in labor since late afternoon, have spent from midnight to 1:15 trying to comfort our toddler who inexplicably woke up crying, and have gotten a grand total of two and a half hours of sleep, knowing that I am about to enter a 24-hour period of sleeping about as little. It's like preparing to run a marathon and then the morning of the race being told you have to run a 10K first. Exhausted before I've even begun. On top of that, my mind lists the things undone: going to the grocery store, running laundry, and cleaning my bathrooms, and Tuesdays are my tough-to-find-babysitters day on my spreadsheet. After weeks of being prepared, I'd finally let myself relax since I had a few more days until my induction. Ah, God's humor for those of us who are control freaks. Not very hard to rattle us.

So, after making Phil start a load of laundry and calling a few of my angel friends to set up childcare for Moo until my mom could get there that afternoon, we head to the hospital. I (finally) get an epidural around 5:30 a.m. and thank the good Lord above for modern medicine. I do love me an epidural, y'all. I love feeling present and calm during delivery, and mostly, I love not feeling that kind of please-let-me-punch-something-now pain.

Within 30 minutes, my water breaks spontaneously and not long after that it's time to push. To say this baby girl was ready to come out is an understatement. Two pushes in and the nurse says to the other nurse, "Um, go ahead and call the doctor to come back. We're ready to deliver." I call Phil, who had gone to grab breakfast, and he hurries back minutes before the delivery. Not to be too graphic, but the nurses literally had me close my legs so baby girl wouldn't fall out while we waited for the doctor. "I've delivered babies before. Don't worry," one of the nurses told me. Nice. So, the doctor comes in and half a push later, baby girl is in the world. Just like that. I have a daughter. 

She is perfect and alert and loved loved loved, and I can't take my eyes off of her or get enough of her newborn smell. Her daddy is smitten--teary even--and we're in that sacred place of looking at a miracle, witnessing life in all its fullness and emotion. And it's beautiful.

We name her after two very special women in our lives, although on the blog we'll call her Noodle--for privacy. :) And she looks an awful lot like Moo did when he was born!

I was worried that it'd be like last time: that I'd have a baby who didn't latch well, that I wouldn't make enough milk, that she'd have reflux, that I'd physically feel like I'd been run over, that I wouldn't be myself mentally or emotionally, that I'd be depressed. BUT. None of that has happened--praise God. Really, it's nothing short of His grace. I've had a quick physical recovery and have felt like myself the whole time, and Noodle is a good eater and sleeper--as a good as a newborn can be. So, besides some serious sleep deprivation, which I can handle, it's been lightyears better than last time.

Moo has been at his grandparents' house for most of this week, so it's been nice to transition without simultaneously running after a toddler, but he has been so sweet to his sister. He gets all protective of her and wants to know where she is and wants to help her with the buttons on her swing. Of course, he has his moments of wanting us to put her down and play cars with him too, but on the whole, he has loved being a big brother and is so gentle with her. Again, praise God.

And as frustrated as I was about the timing of her birth, it turned out to be perfect in ways I couldn't foresee. But that's a story for another post. Until then, here are few more pictures to hold you over:

Friday, October 11, 2013

False alarm

Bad things happen to other people, right? That's what I like to tell myself. It keeps me sane. Keeps me from freaking out and being that mom who wraps her kids in bubble wrap and a helmet and keeps them inside all the time.

Bad things in utero definitely happen to other people. I can't even let myself think they could happen to me or I'd just lose it. But yesterday, I thought that maybe the Very Bad Thing was destined for me. And I was undone.

For so many weeks, all I've wanted is for Baby Girl to quit her several-hour-long acrobatics every night, so when I woke up after a night of uninterrupted sleep yesterday morning, I was grateful. And then these words kept nagging: "If you experience any decrease in fetal movement, please notify your doctor immediately." I kept swatting the thought away, convincing myself it was nothing. But I still wasn't really feeling her move.

Years of medical school have exposed Phil to just enough nightmarish baby stories that when I mentioned the lack of movement to him offhand, he insisted that I hang up the phone with him and call the doctor immediately. That's when I started to wonder if the Very Bad Thing was coming my way. That's when I started the slippery spiral of what-ifs and fought back tears over even the idea of losing the Baby Girl I love so fiercely.

So, after three hours at the hospital of testing and monitoring, I'm grateful to report that all is perfectly fine with sweet Baby Girl. Praise Jesus, who would be good even if I didn't have such good news to report.

I was at the library with Moo when the doctor's office returned my call and asked me to come in right away. My angel friend who was there with me took Moo for the afternoon (and by angel I mean she has a 3 and 4 year-old of her own and had to get them all fed and down for naps by herself), and God orchestrated all the details down to how many diapers I had in the diaper bag.

But for three hours I had a tiny, tiny glimpse of what it might be like to lose a child before he or she really has a chance to live. And it was about the most heart-breaking thing I've ever felt. So while I'm unspeakably grateful to have a healthy baby (never again will I wish away her kicks), my heart is humbled and heavy for those who have lost theirs, whether through miscarriage, infertility, still-birth, medical complications, accidents, or acts of violence. Thank God that he is close to the broken-hearted.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Quick update: No baby yet and nothing new to report on that front since last week, so still a waiting game over here.

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Thing one: shows I'm watching (impressions in 3ish words)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (hilarious, Andy Samberg, cop show)
The Mindy Project (funnyfunnyfunny)
Parenthood (heart-warming, drama, interesting story lines)
Modern Family (Phil and Claire = Phil and Cara)
New Girl (unique characters, quirky, Zoe)
The Biggest Loser (life change, inspiring)

Thing two: new recipe of the week
These applesauce cinnamon pancakes. Yum. (And still yum after freezing!)

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Note: I didn't make the cinnamon syrup that goes with it, but I'm sure it's delicious. The pancakes themselves were fluffy and had just the right blend of ingredients. Will probably be my new go-to pancake recipe.

Thing three: speaking in sentences
Moo has started saying 5-6 word sentences, and it should come as no surprise that his first sentence was about trucks: "Excavator scoops dirt in dump truck." Yes, yes it does. Smarty pants.

Also, he refers to himself as "Mike-me," which I just love, don't you?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Nesting. It's happening.

Let's be clear: I hate the term "nesting." It's like using the term "boyfriend" when you're dating in your late 30s. It's just weird. Nevertheless, it's happening over here.

I went to the doctor today and had progressed from 1cm and 50% effaced last week to 2cm and almost 90% effaced this week. And she's low. Waaaay low. Translation: that sweet baby girl of mine could come any day now. So, at 37 weeks, I came home a little freaked out. Naturally, I started dusting and cleaning the bathrooms and making a list of things I need to make lists about. I contemplated a grocery run, finishing packing my bag, researching "labor signs," vacuuming out my car, and making sure the car seat was actually clean. I've actually been "nesting" for weeks now, having been to the grocery store no fewer than two times a week, running crazy amounts of laundry, and even thinking about tackling that grimy, hard-to-reach place in my kitchen sink.

But in the midst of my nesting frenzy tonight (and to be clear, I did clean some things and make some lists), I also had an intense desire to be really present, so I held Moo close and long, and I edited some documents for a friend, and I ate dinner with my family, and it was good. Very, very good. And blissfully normal.

Nesting seems a lot like keeping your house clean when it's on the market. Try as you may to maintain that readiness to have visitors, it's likely that your realtor will call you when it's nap time and there's crushed cereal on the ground from breakfast and you're not sure if your toddler actually flushed his poop down the toilet this time. You just can't ever be totally prepared for these things.

But it sure would be nice if Baby Girl came on a day when my fridge was stocked, my house was clean, my toddler was happy and healthy, and my husband was off. Just sayin'.

Home Makeover: My Edition

For the first time in nearly two years, Phil and I spent several days away from Moo. Phil had a week of vacation back in August, so we took the opportunity to have a staycation, spending the first half of the week as a family doing fun things like going to the zoo and visiting cousins and the second half of the week as a couple making our house a more functional and organized space to live while Moo lived his dream at his grandparents' house. Before I get to the home makeover part, a few observations from our time without a child:
  • Try as I may, sleeping past 7:00 a.m. is no longer possible.
  • Eating out was actually enjoyable again--especially since I had time to taste my food and didn't once have to put my fingers in someone else's mouth to help them eat.
  • With a toddler, I'm lucky if I can vacuum my house in a day; without a toddler, I can conquer the world (or at least my closets)!
  • I still woke up with the theme song to Curious George in my head every morning. Could be worse, I guess.
Okay, onto the makeover! If I'd been really forward thinking, I would have had before and after pics to share, but you'll have to make do with the after and trust that it's an upgrade from the before. 

We definitely made the most of our three childless days. Phil and I are wired the same: once we start a project, we work, work, work until it's done. And we had about 20 projects on our list. (Don't worry--we played too. Out to eat a couple of times, lunch and dinner with friends, book store wandering, morning walks, etc.) 

First, the nursery. As you might recall, I'm no decorator. In fact, the idea of decorating a room makes me sweat a little. But I really like how this room is turning out--very feminine and calm without being too frilly. Prior to this week, all we had was freshly painted walls and a rug. Wish I had more pictures, a fisheye lens, and better photography skills/lighting, but you get the idea:

In a house with limited space, redoing one room means redoing parts of others too in order to make space for everything. So next we found ourselves rearranging the living room, adding a chair and this staple from IKEA to tame the toys and books:

Finally, we switched a few things around in Moo's room, which has a definite little boy look now:

Many thanks to IKEA, Craigslist, and friends/neighbors who just outright gave us things (and to my parents for keeping Moo for a few days). It's a much cheaper alternative to moving! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Keepin' it real

If you need to feel a little better about yourself today, you've come to the right place. Every now and then (or more), I think it's good for all of us that I give you a good dose of reality around here (humility for me, humor for you).

So I'm going to show you my legs in all their roadmap glory.

But first I'm going to remind you of what my legs looked like last pregnancy. Remember these lovelies?

 I gained 9 pounds in one week toward the end of my pregnancy and my doctor was like, "Girl, that just doesn't happen unless you're retaining some crazy amounts of water." And I was like, "Yeah. Tell me about it."

So that was fun.

This time--gratefully--I've had no swelling. Can I get an hallelujah? I'm gaining weight like a regular pregnant person, am able to squat down, wear normal maternity pants, see my ankles and knees, and sit Indian style (excuse me: "criss-cross apple sauce"--whatever). It's divine.


This time (bless the precious baby girl inside me) my veins have decided they're tired and have had enough and are going to explode everywhere. I've spent the summer in maxi dresses and workout pants so that the general public doesn't think I've been abused. Don't believe me? Here ya go:
Told you you'd feel better about yourself. (I'm having one of those "Am I actually going to hit 'publish' when I'm done writing this?" moments. Sheesh, those pictures are awful.)

ANYway, I know you have questions so let me address them:

  • No, my legs will not always look that way; lot of those spider veins will go away after I have the baby. At least that's what I've been told.
  • No, my legs will never look normal again without some serious vein specialist help. 
  • Yes, they are painful. But not nearly as uncomfortable as being swollen. Seriously, I'd take this anytime over that again.
  • Yes, those really are my legs. Ask Phil. I made him do the photo shoot so I could share my lovely lady legs with all of you. 
So, there you have it. The self-sacrifice starts long before the babe ever enters the world, but it's worth it. And lest you think I'm posting this to gripe and get sympathy, please know that I'm not. I just think it's real and ugly and beautiful and oh-so-much-better than last time and I wanted you to know just how human I am--right down to my insecurities about turning into a Smurf one vein at a time.

And for those who are wanting an updated preggy pic, this one's for you (35 weeks):

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moo Update: 22 months

Is a little music man! Sings all day long and in tune. Among the jibberish and songs like "You Are My Sunshine," he often sings songs about Jesus and loves the "Hallelujah...Praise Ye the Lord" song. There's nothing quite as wonderful as hearing your child talk/sing about Jesus, even if he doesn't completely understand what he's saying yet. 

Has quite a sense of humor. Has started telling little jokes over and over again and cracking himself (and us) up.
Thinks he's so funny.
Still obsessed with all things wheels, water, and outside, as well as stuffed animals. 97% of our indoor activities involve cars and 90% of our outdoor activities involve water. Anytime you have water, outdoors, and wheels simultaneously, you get extra points.

Has a great imagination (that or he really needs a sibling). He makes his cars talk to each other and he talks to his stuffed animals as if they're real and even changes their diapers when they "make poo-poo."

Is extraverted and loves spending time with his "sins" (friends). 

Might be a runner one day. Wants to run all day long--especially when we're outside--which is partly why his legs are covered in a variety of bruises, scars, scabs, and open wounds on a regular basis. "Run, Mama!" he says. So we run. Or he does. I pretty much just waddle these days.
Loves sports and talks mostly about baseball and the Braves.

Totally into bugs. Wants to hold them, dig for them, catch them, touch them, talk about them.

The other night he said "Night night, Sissy" to my belly as I was putting him down. Melt. My. Heart. Already praying that those two will love and protect each other all their lives.

Really into art--especially drawing "happy saces" (crude circles) with crayons or chalk.
Artist at work
Loves to fix (or "six") things--especially if it means he gets to use Daddy's tools.

Still wants to help in the kitchen any chance he gets, so I just let him go to town learning to crack eggs, measure flour, rinse beans, etc. It's messy, but that's what brooms and vacuums are for.
Notice the flour on his mouth. Gotta taste test, people.
Is highly verbal. He recently spent a few days with my parents and when I asked my mom how the car ride went, she said he talked and talked the whole time! Right now, I love this. I'm sure I'll have a day soon when some quiet would be nice.

Knows most colors and some letters. Can count to three, but usually just says, "Two, three, six, ten!" At least it's in ascending order.

Still loves animals. As in he wants to lick the dogs back when they lick him. That kind of love.

Is starting to memorize his favorite books and "read" them on his own. 

Like his mama, he gets ornery when he's hungry. For someone so verbal, he doesn't ever tell me when he's hungry until he has an all-out temper tantrum. Sheesh!

Is happy 95% of the time. Grace. Of. God.

LOVES his daddy. If Phil is home, Moo wants to be where he is, doing what he's doing. I can't think of a better man for Moo to model his life after!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Thing One: Unbroken
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Y'all, this book is fabulous. I know I'm a nonfiction junkie and that you might not be drawn to a true story about a WWII POW survivor, but I'm telling you: you want to read this book. Some friends have criticized it for being overdone or falsified, but even if 20% of it is made up (and I don't think it is), the 80% that's true is one of the most moving stories of humanity's darkness and resilience that I've ever read.

Thing Two: Recipe win
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Looking for a simple (we're talking FIVE ingredients) end-of-summer dish? Try Cooking Light's Halibut with Bacony Corn Saute. Does the word "Halibut" scare you? It's okay. Do like I do and substitute tilapia, which is really mild and less expensive. Don't have green onions on hand? Do like I do and substitute whatever onion you have in your pantry. And trust me: this meal tastes like a lot more than five ingredients. I'll definitely be making it again.  
Thing Three: my latest favorite app
Y'all probably know all about this app because you joined the Smartphone world when normal people did instead of waiting until a few months ago like me. But. A friend recently recommended Aviary. It's a photo editing app that makes your pretty good pictures look pretty dang amazing. I'll prove it to you on some upcoming posts!

Speaking of upcoming posts, I realize I've been a little absent lately, but I DO have some posts in the works, so stay tuned! Topics include the home makeover we did the other week (nursery pics included), pictures of my legs this pregnancy (I think it'll be a theme for all my pregnancies. You won't want to miss it!), and an update on all the hilarious and irresistible things Moo is doing these days. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A letter to my life-with-an-infant self

Dear October 2013 Cara,

I'm writing to you now on a full night of uninterrupted sleep, so you can trust what I'm about to say. It's real.

  • The infant stage is only a season; there will be an end and it is not forever away like you think it is. You will sleep through the night again. You will get your body back. You will stop hurting. You will be able to drink coffee again. You won't have to nurse every 2-3 hours forever. You won't be intimately familiar with your kitchen at 4 a.m. as you pace with a crying baby. You won't always change 12 diapers a day. These things are not forever. Six weeks, eight weeks, four months--whatever. It's not forever, girl, so hang in there.
  • You might feel crazy. That's okay. You aren't sleeping much, and I'm pretty sure soldiers use that as a torture method for POWs, so it's okay to feel crazy. Just let that one go.
  • Just because you had post-partum depression, mastitis, bronchitis, pink eye, laryngitis, and trouble nursing last pregnancy doesn't mean it'll happen again this time. Chill out a little. Take each moment as it comes. If you're supposed to have all the "itis-es" again, you will and you'll make it. Not much you can do about it.
  • Giving Moo less attention than you used to doesn't mean you're a bad mom or that he'll need therapy one day. In fact, giving him a sibling and teaching him how to share you are some of the greatest gifts you can offer him. Kids are resilient, and while you want to be all things to all people (especially the little people under your roof), you can't. And that's a good thing because I'm pretty sure God is the only one who can meet all of our (and our children's) needs anyway.
  • You're going to have those days when the crap hits the fan, when both kids are crying and hungry and ornery and you just want five minutes alone to take a shower so you can not smell like spit up and it's not going to happen. You're going to wonder how you'll make it through the next 60 seconds, how women throughout history have made it through moments like this without distractions like PBS Kids and iPad games. I want you to know that God is there and near. In those moments. In the dark places. In the overwhelming, I-want-out times. He's there. And He knows you and what you need. 
  • Lean into motherhood. Instead of figuring out how you can craft the kids' day around your agenda, be okay with letting some of your list go if it means spending more time with your babes. They're only in your sole care for a few years. Be all there. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Three Things Thursday

*Apology for all the parentheses in this post. I couldn't stop myself.

Thing One: his first potty joke
Y'all. Boys start early with the potty talk and thinking it's funny. Yesterday, after changing a poopy diaper, Moo said, "Raffe make poo-poo" and then started hysterically laughing. (Raffe is his best friend/stuffed animal, seen in the picture below.) The joke went on pretty much exactly like that for a good 20 minutes. To his credit, it was kind of funny. And it gave me a chance to document his incredible smile that's hard to capture when he's on the move so much:

Thing Two: two new books on my bedside table
I haven't cracked open either one, so I can't recommend them personally, but they've both been recommended to me:

  1. Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  2. Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein
I'll let you know how they go!

Thing Three: three new recipes
With some inspiration from one of my best friends, Sarah, I've been trying to home-make more food around here. I already like to cook and make a lot of our food, but one things like breakfast food and rolls, I often take a shortcut. I'm okay with shortcuts, but am branching out a bit, so here's what this week's new recipes were:

  1. Blueberry scones (They freeze well too!)
  2. Banana Bread (Better than my Mom's, and that's saying something. We make this on a weekly basis over here.)
  3. Southern Tomato Pie (sounds weird, but you could eat it for dessert it's so good. Even Moo likes it! No online recipe for this one; my mom gave it to me, cut out from an old newspaper.) Here ya go:
  • 4 tomatoes, thickly sliced (you can use any size tomatoes, really, as long as you use enough to fill the pie crust)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves (Go ahead and steal some from your neighbor's garden. Or mine.)
  • 1 sweet onion sliced and sauteed until transparent
  • 1 pre-baked pie shell (Here's where I use the shortcut. Feel free to make your own pie crust.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese (shortcut: buy already shredded/grated)
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar (shortcut: buy already shredded/grated)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (or half cup mayo combined with half cup sour cream to cut calories)
Place sliced tomatoes, basil and onion in pie shell (I like to mix them together first). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Combine cheeses and mayo and spread on top of tomatoes and onions. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm.

For those who have smaller families, the first two recipes freeze well (banana bread could be made as muffins and frozen), so go ahead and make the full recipe and then enjoy weeks of homemade breakfast food!