Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I turned 30 last month. It was quiet family only birthday. I read all day, spent some time on the beach with my kids and spent time with those that matter the most to me. For me those are the happiest of birthdays.
I started my 20's in Knoxville, watch my first close friend walk down the aisle and devoted myself to a major that made sense. I spent a stint in DC working my tail off, married off a few more friends. Watched a president get inaugurated in person on the actual stage.  Moved to Georgia continue to work my tail off made some great friends forever and some just for a time. Met my husband... fell in love... got pregnant... got married... bought our first house and had another baby. Needless to say those are just the highlights but they were busy. A lot of growing up and learning about myself occurred. With each decade brings a touch more wisdom and lots more security in who you are.
I did a lot in my 20's and I will say I am ok if there is less major changes in my 30's. I just want to grow in who I am and who I strive to be. Raise our wonderful boys and hopefully add a few more children to the family. I pray each day that Craig and I can continue to grow in our love for each other and work each day to make sure our happily ever after is just that. Happily ever after.
This birthday brought a peace that I never expected but I sure am ok with it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Easy Mac and Cheese

I have become a food nut over the last few years. Let's be honest, my grandfather is a cardiologist which means I spent my entire childhood being told that salt was the devil's sauce not liquor. We never ate anything that was full of salt and my mom made our meals fresh. Even in the age of the microwave meal it was never something I was used to. My mom did make only a few things and we ate it all.the.time. But, I grew up with an appreciation for being healthy and fresh.
Fast forward to now and I have my own kids to fed and I suddenly understand why the fuss. The more I learn about food, the more I want to make every last thing we eat from scratch. The garbage in the food today makes me gag. But, if we are being honest so does things like Whole Foods. Why yes we will sell you the same healthy yogurt that you can buy at Super Target for $3 for $5. It angers me that they take the movement to be healthy and make a small fortune off it. So I go out of my way to not shop there either. Me and trader joes and a lot of food made straight for scratch is the way we eat these days.
I have a toddler and all toddlers love mac and cheese especially the blue box form. I make killer homemade mac and cheese but it ends taking a few hours and dirtying up the kitchen. Good? yes. But practical for day to day life, not at all. So I bought the Annie's box mac and cheese and just made it even though the taste wasn't great. That was until I discovered the one pot Mac and Cheese.

It take 15 - 20 minutes and from scratch. I use GF rice noodles and it makes me feel so much better about serving it many times a week. Not to mention I could eat the whole pot. It is that good. I make a double batch and put it in individual servings. This makes me a great quick meal for the kiddos when I need something fast.


Easy Peasy Mac and Cheese

4 c of milk (I use skim)
2 c of noodles
2 tbsp of butter ( Most likely could be omitted but my kids need the fat)
1.5 tbsp of flour
2 cups of shredded cheese

In a pot combine the milk, noodles and butter over med-high heat. Keep on eye on it stirring regularly. Just before milk reaches a boil lower the heat to low and stir a few times. Once the noodles are cooked around 8 -10 mins depending on the type you use stir in flour. The milk should not be completely soaked up (see 2nd picture). Once flour is completely stirred in add cheese until melted. I, also add ground mustard, cayenne pepper and dash of sea salt.

And that my friends is it. So easy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Its been awhile

Posting here seems to fall lower and lower on the priority list these days. Trying to find the time to sit and write and then edit it so it makes sense never gets done. I have wrestled with the idea of just shutting it down and thus removing it from the back of mind that I need to do it. Life is busy per usual. I honestly do not expect it to slow down until we have an empty nest. Today its baby/toddler days and as those wind down school days begin. Sports and other extra curricular will gear up and I fully expect to wake up one day and be watching one of these boys walk across the stage at graduation. If the last 3 years have taught me anything its that it flies by. All struggles will pass. As soon as you think you have it figured out, things change. It is life. But it is my life and I love each and every day I am given in it.

I am not into parenting books. I did not read pregnancy books and did not read baby books. I have a strong gut reaction to child rearing that I trust and I choose doctors that I have total faith in. If I am worried I ask them. Thus reading books seemed to cloud my personal judgement so I have historically chosen not too. But, EJ has entered into a phase the last six months that left me at a total loss. We have always been aware that EJ was at a high risk for ADHD. Craig has it and it seems to travel through families through the male to male kids. Many of the early signs did not show up in EJ so we wondered for awhile if we were in the clear. We still do not know for sure. Its hard to tell prior to the age of five but my gut says yes this is something we will be dealing with. Regardless he has a "difficult" temperament and every day was battle for awhile. I was at a total loss so I called the doctor and asked for some guidance. He pointed in the direction of a book called "The Difficult Child" and it truly revolutionized our daily lives. It helped me see the best way to handle him. All I can say if your kid makes you want to pull your hair out strand by strand or makes you feel like failure its worth looking at. Warning it written by a doctor and at times feels slightly clinical. But power through it is good.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

RAWR

What? It means "I love you" in dinosaur. And this is something EJ has taking a liken to. All day, everyday.
At a play date earlier this week, EJ bogarted the playhouse and held the door closed. 2 little girls really wanted in and politely knocked repeatedly. EJ responded with opening the door slightly and "RAWR" over and over again.
He also loves to wait until Jack falls asleep in the car and then scream "JACKSON" at the top of his lungs followed by a RAWR. Seriously its ridiculous. This is a result of the RAWR.


Instead of playing dolls. I play trucks and repeat "please don't rawr at mommy" and "please don't tackle mommy". Ahh the life of a boy mom and its only just begun. I have two of them and judging from Jack making every other baby at the play date cry by just talking to them my kids are going to have similar personalities. Its a good thing they are adorable because I am going to have a head full of greys by the time we get to high school graduation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The days

I am a structure person with mild obsessions about cleanliness and order. The chaotic life that evolves with a toddler underfoot has at times left me a bit frazzled and even unhinged. It truly has taken years for me to see the beauty in the disarray. The toys scattered about are signs of imaginations at work. Those stacks of books were time machines to a far away place or vessels of knowledge added to their brain. Sticky floors point to a full belly and most likely some laughs.
I have to stop at times and remember one day my house will sparkle again but with that sparkle will also come the silence of empty rooms as their inhabitants are busy living their lives. Learning new things while the world is shaping them into their people they are to be.
So today I am learning to plan a little less and play a little more. To hold my babies close and pretend about desert islands and buried treasure. To walk over the toys scattered about and cherish each and every moment we have together. Because in a blink of an eye these days will be over and new days will be beginning. I will cherish each stage even through the strife because these really are the days.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Learning to BE the example.

This family knows how to have a good time. It's no secret that we are bit of party animals here. We met at a New Years Eve party, enough said. And while I love a large glass of pinot noir or dirty martini as I have gotten older I have become increasingly aware of the realities of life. Age doesn't make you immune to poor decision making.

As a parent, I do not believe in hiding things from your children. I was raised in family that regularly enjoyed happy hour at gatherings. My granddad always made me a Shirley Temple and I have many fond memories in my grandparents living room with everyone sharing a drink. I was exposed to responsible drinking at an early age and truly feel it molded me in a responsible social drinker as an adult.

We have no plans to hide our love for wine from our boys. I assume they feel that social responsible drinking as an adult is the norm. But, as we have grown in the responsibility of parenthood we have also had to take a hard look at how we handle certain situations and the example we are setting for our kids. That can be hard.  No one wants to admit that even as parent they may make a choice or two that we would rather our kids not do.

One of those choices is drinking and driving. I am not talking about the obvious belligerent drunk you need not drive. I am talking about what many of us are guilty of,  pushing the line. Driving when you are probably fine but if involved in an accident it could be bad. My hope is my children refrain from drinking at an early age but I am not naive to the realities of growing up. And the one thing I absolutely do not ever want my kids to do is drink and drive. It can kill you. It can kill someone else. In a moment it can ruin your life forever. That reality scares me a lot.

After a lot of thought and realizing that children are way more likely to do what you do, not what you say Craig and I made a family decision. No more than two drinks or no driving. No matter how long in between consumption. No splitting hairs. No, I weigh 80 more pounds than you. You want to let lose and drink feel free but call a cab. Our children will grow up seeing mom and dad utilize cabs. Yes, it may cost us a bit more on a date night but its cheaper than a DUI and better than death or going to jail.

It is our hope that our kids see Mom and Dad have a good time but be smart. Just maybe our actions can impress on them a reality that I am confident would probably be ignored if it was just words.

And in all honesty, it has been nice. Since making this life change we have had a few date nights and it was so lovely to savor each sip of wine and bite of food. To talk and enjoy each other and never think about how much we were drinking. We just had fun. Called a cab and came home. It's the responsible adult decision and its one we are consciously making.