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.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Differences

I have two kids, I have done this before. This whole baby thing should be a piece of cake, right?

WRONG.

The difference between children is astounding. Truly they are their own little person right from the start. Both of my children have been fairly easy babies. Don't get me wrong they do all the crazy baby things but I seem to handle it better than most so my assumption is that they are bit easier than others. Or I just handle sleep depravation better, I have no idea. Regardless, neither child has made me question as to why I signed up for parenthood in the baby stage. Now as a toddler EJ has daily left me wondering why I did this and am I qualified to raise this heathen, excuse me child.

But, seriously from day one I have been treating Jack like EJ and well its been humorous to see the difference. The biggest one is food. EJ started solids right at 4 months. The skinny child that he was made every doctor nervous and they demanded we get on the food and fast. He took to it just fine and there we plugged away eating all.the.time.

At around 4.5 months I decided to see if Jack was interested and he flat wasn't. Refused the food all together. I took it as sign to wait and tried again ever few weeks. Fast forward to his 6 month appointment and the Dr informs me that it is time to get him eating and wants me to work up to 2 meals a day by 9 months. I nod my head and wonder if he will ever give up his bottle and realize this may be more work than EJ. I  try and try and guess who still will not let me fed them purees but has gone after all of big bro's meals? None other than little bro Jack. So I ask the twitter and was promptly turned onto baby led weening and oh lord the heavens parted that day.

Jack eats what we eat. Well within reason as in I make sure its very soft and cut into small pieces and then toss it on his tray. At just shy of 7 months this child of mine feds himself. Its not clean and he requires a good wiping down after every meal and a bedtime bath is now a requirement but boy does he love it. This kid is eating so much that I have to fed him a bottle first or there is no room left for it. He sleeps even better than he did before and is in the best mood all the time. For the first time in months I would guess he is satisfied. And quite frankly it is easy.

Psst. baby #3 take notes from your brother this is the way to go. Baby food is so old school. 

DISCLAIMER
Before any rumors get started no we are not pregnant nor plan to be anytime soon. But, yes there will be a baby 3 one day and maybe a 4th only time will tell.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wanted

Remember how I said I misplaced my camera a few weeks ago? I was so annoyed because I rarely loose things and certainly not as important as my camera. I had this nagging feeling that it may have grown legs and walked away during the renovations but for the most part the workers here had been in and out of our house for the better part of the last 4 months. However, after spending a week going through ever closest, garage, under all beds etc. I realized that the nagging feeling was for real. I know it was sitting out on the day that house was beyond chaotic and we were all in and out. Many workers were there for just the day and it has become clear that someone decided that they deserved my camera.
Pissed does not even explain my feelings. I am mad at myself for not being more aware and for not stopping and putting it away. It is just plain sad that you just can't be too trusting these days.
Instead I am focusing on the positive that it actually had the standard lens on it. Something that happens very rarely in this house and that I had just dumped most of the photos. So I am back to using the Nikon that at this point is getting old and hoping that maybe we will get a decent tax return and buy a new camera. All my lens are for a Canon so I am stuck with basic photos until then. So I am putting my energy into learning, for real, photoshop. We will see how far I get since I have oh so much spare time.

Here are some of my playing arounds.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baby Mine

Drifting off to sleep I heard the first rustle and whimper escape from the nursery. Sleepily I stumbled to his side to find a pitiful sight. A wet diaper, excessive amount of spit up and a very snotty face met my eyes as my youngest cried out for me. I scooped him up and tried to comfort him as best I could while cleaning him  up. Once he was dry and changed with a recently cleaned out nose, I tried to get him back to sleep.  Finally he calms enough for me to lay him back into his bed and no sooner than I tipped toed out of the room did he rustle and cry out for me again. As I reached back down to pat his back, he grabbed my finger and held on tight. His fever filled cheeks glistened back at me and I knew that it was about to be a long night.

All night I paced the living room as he drifted in out of a restless sleep. Every so often I curled up on the couch and dosed off for a few minutes here and there. But I would be awakened by pained cries and we would start walking again.

Pat, pat, hum, hum, pace, pace.

With only the glow of a night light and the faint shadow of the moon through the sky light we walked through the night. Motherhood brings out the very best in you. With nothing but compassion and love,  I walked and prayed that he would get some relief. I watched him drift to sleep and startle awake in pain. No amount of exhaustion would stop me from walking. Around 5am we both passed out on the couch only to be awakened by slightly larger feet an hour later asking for milk and Mikey.

It is crazy how things have changed through the years. I live a simple life now yet I see immense beauty in it. Today I am seeing just how much sleep depravation I can stand and yet I wouldn't trade it for the world. My child needed me. But the reality is I needed him just as much.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The before and afters

The Kitchen Before and After. 
We are still on the hunt for the perfect bar stools and decorating but here is the final product so far. 




Please excuse the camera phone pics but while the house was in disarray I misplaced our camera. 
I know how could I do that, I am so upset. I can't wait to find it. 




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Transitions

At this point I have transitioned from new mom to just mom to mom of two. And with this latest transition I have realized something...I am a much better mother to two kids than I ever was to one. Now let me say nothing pissed me off more than being told that you weren't really a parent until you had more than one kid. That thought process is rude and categorically untrue. But, for me and my journey through motherhood, I have discovered that Jack is getting a way better parent. And by default so is EJ.
I was fairly relaxed mom with EJ. I was not one of those hyperactive new moms that fretted over every little thing but I was lacking in confidence. I was wading through unfamiliar waters and with everyone's willingness to share their opinions with me all the time I was left totality insecure about my decisions. I wondered way more than I ever should and poor EJ got a momma who was a tid bit stressed out.
I took a hard look at myself the other day and I realized that I am so much more relaxed and gosh darn it I am confident. These boys are mine and I know what is best for them. I know that Jack may be just shy of six months but this little guy needs lots of sleep and that means to bed he heads at 6:30pm. Yes, that is early and all the books say another feeding should happen but for him I know its what is best. He, also, has the driest skin in the world so bath time is limited to twice a week. I know that EJ has to have structure or he goes insane and days that aren't structured well tend to end in screaming from everyone. Its just little things that I know about my kids that no one, not even dad at times, know.
I can trust my instincts and let life happen. We have a schedule and most days its the way life goes but I also let things interrupt it because that is life and my kids need to learn to be flexible. I know that EJ throws huge temper tantrums and the best way to handle it to send him to his room immediately. Time outs and redirecting may be the thing to do now but for us does not work. I am ok with telling others that. I don't kept my difference in parenting styles to myself. I just do what works for us. And sometimes that all you can  do is just listen to gut and say a prayer it works.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Phase 2

Apparently I lost my mind. Two small kids and agreeing to do a Kitchen renovation is a not something a sane person agrees to, right? I'm not totally crazy its just a few quick fixes and the contractor promised a week. Which we all know in that really means two but I thought we could handle it. I might have been wrong. Good thing it looks AMAZING so I just focus on that. Because in reality we have stuff everywhere and the odor of paint even with windows open and fans going is a headache waiting to happen. But if you want a good laugh check out the state of my house at the moment.

Hopefully in a few days I can share the finished product! We did have pretty good timing because this weekend is Scotts Antique market. I fully intend on spending my entire Mothers Morning Out free time on Friday there looking for stuff to finish off the space!!!

Day one: half the granite comes off to build a proper breakfast bar and add beadboard. 

Meanwhile the rest of the house looks like this...

Yes, that is a coffee station set. We must start the day with coffee. I really am not even human until coffee happens. 
It also didn't occur to me that this also means no place to sit and eat. I thought I was so clever planing us a week of Crockpot meals. But I didn't really think ahead to where the meal would happen and lets just say a 2 year old and food at the coffee table is one  BIG MESS! 
What you don't line your floor with spices and cooking oils?
Yet another purpose for the bassinet house china. 

Day 2 & 3: Bring on the paint and headache.

It is already SO much brighter. 
I can not even explain to you how excited I am to have a legit eat in bar.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A new year

Another year has arrived, its almost like someone is hitting the fast forward button these days.
It feels like only yesterday I walked into a party blissfully unaware that my future husband was just steps away from me. In a matter of seconds the amateur night known as New Years Eve would morph into the  most pivotal day of my life. That first kiss was my last first kiss and thus begun our story.

It has been five years and we sure do have a lot to show for it. Numerous trips, concerts, hysterical moments, lots of good times and a few bad times but most importantly we have two beautiful boys. When I think towards the dreams I have for the new year I remind myself of the wise quote suggesting that we trip ourselves up with letting our dreams get in the way of loving our reality.

So for this new year I vow to learn to love each day. This life is the one I choose and it's my happily ever after. No specific goals in mind just continue to work on the daily job of strengthening our family. For Craig and I to continue to grow in love so that our foundation is firm. For patience as I learn every day how to better mother my boys and teach them to be good people. And for the ability to be able to see that I am at the end of my rope. I will not mommy martyr myself into an ugly place. I will let the house go some days, I will guiltlessly drop the boys off at school and I will teach myself that its ok to be someone other than a mother. I will never be the best mother and wife if I feel as though I am looking through a foggy window at a shadow of myself. And hopefully in 12 short months we will still see the same picture of a family just a little older with a bit more strength and a whole year full of happiness.