Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mommy Guilt - FB Style

Every day on Facebook I am witness to tons of moms who display their child's milestones and activates through status updates. I, too, am one of those people. However, I have given myself rules:

1) No posts about potty-training, diapers, vomit or any other bodily fluids (exception: when it is something hilarious to even those readers WITHOUT children) 2) No posts about daily errand-running and food preparation 3) Do post about funny things the kids say - but they actually have to BE funny, not just cute or silly 4) Do post photos of kids doing any and everything that will make someone else smile

These rules obviously come from my own annoyances towards other FB moms. Of course, I want to exclaim from the rooftops when my child slept through the night without peeing the bed - and by rooftops, I mean my computer screen. Alas, I refrain because frankly, no one really cares except my mother, and I can just text her that information.

I also noticed another theme among mothers on FB - the "Photo-Op" obsessed. The mom who photographs her children doing anything that is photo-worthy - picking pumpkins, going to a Christmas tree lighting, going to a petting zoo, hunting for Easter eggs, going to the aquarium, sitting on Santa's lap. (I digress, but can we just talk about this Santa thing? Why do we feel the need to terrify babies and then take a photo and then laugh about it? It really is asinine. Funny, but uncalled for.) Yes, part of me is jealous of the parents who manage to organize and execute these elaborate day trips with toddlers and infants and then glorify their success on FB. At Halloween this year, I found myself wanting the photo more than the experience. I was falling victim to having that 'captured in time' moment with the kids wandering through a pumpkin patch, sipping cider and enjoying fall. What I got were crabby kids, fighting over how many pumpkins we could have and just trying to get out of there before a nuclear meltdown. I couldn't even fake the photo - the REAL experience was captured on film. Why was I disappointed? Was it the feeling that I'd failed to make this a memorable experience for my kids? Or that I couldn't display a photo on FB to show, "Hey, look at my beautiful family and well behaved boys who are enjoying the fall like I always dreamed we would!" Have I become that middle-class, white, suburban mom, who is trying to look the part?

I have an infant and a toddler who won't remember 90% of the places I take them or the things they see right now. So what is my real motivation? To look like a "good mom". WTF have I become?

On the weekends when we don't have "plans" and are merely running a few errands, cleaning house and lounging around, I have a tendency to think, "Maybe we should have planned something - a trip to the arboretum? A bike ride through the forest preserve? A play date with friends? Feeling guilty that I'm not nourishing my children through planned extracurricular activities.

Then it hit me. On Saturday morning, I woke up early with the kids and before I had to take Jonah to gymnastics we had about 2 hours of pajama time - just hanging around the house in our jammies, eating breakfast and playing. I sat on the floor with my boys in the living room and we played ninjas, raced matchbox cars, tickled Elijah til he nearly puked, talked about silly stuff (leprechauns, kitties and Santa) and I realized that THESE are the moments that make up my memories as a child. These are the moments when you know how deeply your parents care for you, love you and want you to be happy. These are the moments where we connect, share, and learn about each other's sense of humor, creativity, and imagination. There was no photo-op.

For the first time, maybe since becoming a mom, I felt at ease. I will make time for field trips and holiday happenings when it enriches my children and when we all can enjoy it, and not because I need to display it on FB to prove my momminess.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

wow - 2 months since I last blogged? yikes. no excuses. here goes. Updates on the kids will come soon, but I have something on my mind and I need to get it out. I have recently seen two movies that really make you think about the course your life has taken and where you would be if you'd made different decisions. The first is The Adjustment Bureau and the second is The Family Man. If you haven't seen them, you need to. Fate, free-will, the two intersecting.... you get the idea. I often look around the family room in the evening before bed and see Jason on the couch, watch Elijah on the monitor, and see Jonah's toys strewn around the floor only to wonder... how did I get here? When did I get off of the feminist-activist-taking-the-world-by-storm wagon and onto the mommy-track? I never had a specific plan for what my life would look like, but it roughly involved independence, an apartment, an Executive Director position at some non-profit, maybe in D.C. I repeat the story (probably too often) about how I didn't want to get married or have children. Which is true, BUT falling in love changes everything.... and I fell hard. I got here because on August 23, 2003 I chose to go to a party where I met Jason Meslin. From that moment on, I realized that I wasn't in control - this was a difficult concept for me to grasp. I learned that a higher power, a greater being was putting things in my path and allowing me to make the ultimate decisions. I distinctly remember the day I met Jason, the day fell in love with him, the day I knew I wanted to marry him, the day we decided to move to New Jersey, the day we decided to have a baby, the day we decided to have another baby, and the day we decided to move to Naperville. I don't regret a single decision, in fact I cherish each one. The "how did I get here" question isn't about regrets or wondering "what if" but rather, it is about being awestruck by the course my life has taken and how happy I am, right where I am. I get to wake up next to the man I love, in a beautiful home, with two healthy, happy, handsome sons.

5 months & almost 3!

Elijah turned 5 months on March 13th! He is such a happy little man in spite of his current condition - We have been struggling for about 2 months with his horrible eczema. His little elbow, the crooks of his legs, his face, scaplp - pretty much everything but his torso and cute little butt was affected. Worst of all, he wakes up every hour or so during the night due to the itchiness, then he scratches until his skin was raw. It seemed like there was no relief. After trying every over-the-counter remedy (Aquaphor worked the best - but we needed to apply it nearly 5 times a day just to keep it under control), reading every mommy-blog/website I could find, we resorted to calling the dermatologist and getting a perscription for heavy-duty hydrocortizone cream. Within one application he starting looking better. After 4 days, it is almost all gone. He is waking less at night and not scratching nearly as much. He is even HAPPIER now - barely fussing and napping better too.

He plays a game with me nearly every night at dinner. We eat at the table while he bounces away in his bouncer on the floor next to me. He pretends to get fussy then I look over at him and make a silly face and he giggles hysterically. Then I go back to eating and he pretends to fuss again and we repeat this routine throughout dinner. He just loves his mama!!

Jonah-mo is quickly approaching his 3rd birthday (May 13th) and has become such a little boy. I don't see him as a toddler anymore, which makes me more proud than sad. He has his own ideas and thoughts, he can dress himself, he is doing great with his potty-training (thanks to Nana), and is now registered for pre-school this fall and 2 summer camps - soccer & golf.

I look at him sometimes and can't believe he is my child. When I look in the mirror, I still don't see a mom and a child. I see myself, with a child. Weird, I know. I'm not sure when, or if, that will ever change.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7/28/11

Today Jonah saw a big tomato and said, "Just like Jackies!"

He is recalling the two years he spent on the Hendrickson's farm 50 hours a week (and then some) while Jason and I worked. Every time he mentions Jackie, I cry. I cry because I miss her and her family, but mostly I cry because they were the best thing (next to his little bro being born) that ever happened to Jonah in his short life. I wrote this post before we left, but forgot to post it in the flurry of moving. So here it is:

I supposed every move is fraught with emotions. This one seems so much different than the last. Leaving my friends and family behind in Michigan was very difficult, yet I knew that it was my time to move on and start a new chapter in our lives. Now, I’m making this decision not only for myself, but also for Jonah. He is leaving behind the only world he’s ever known, which makes me terribly sad. I realize that he may never remember the first two years of his life here, but does that make it easier or harder? Easier for him. Harder for me. I have shed so many tears thinking of how I am ripping him from his surrogate extended family, the Hendricksons, with the intention of bringing him closer to his biological extended families the Meslins and the Malotkes. I am not questioning the decision, but I just can’t quite come to grips with it. I never imagined that we could be so blessed as to find a family to watch over Jonah while Jason and I worked. Not just one person, but a group of the kindest, most loving and affectionate people that I could ever want my child to encounter. Jackie, Wade, Brooke, Leigh, Colby, Blair and Teo have raised my son for the past two years – spending 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week nurturing him and helping mold him into the amazing little man that he is. How do you repay someone for that? And how do you say good bye?

Saying good-bye to them was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I cried so hard when we drove down that long gravel driveway for the very last time. I get to see them on facebook all the time and hopefully we'll skype soon. We miss you all!

Chloe, Blair, Jonah & Cody (taken on 7/29/11)

Friday, March 2, 2012

4 weeks down, 11 more to go!


I can't believe it has already been 1 month since I began my personal crusade to eliminate the fat in my body!

To re-cap: my ultimate goal is to lose 25 lbs by Cathy's wedding (May 12th). I was originally hoping for April 1st (2 months), which I realize now, was a teensy-weensy bit ridiculous. So, I am re-assessing my goal and I think it is manageable, IF I stay on the track that I am on now!

I have lost a total of 7.5 lbs - give or take 1 lb because I don't have a digital scale and I'm realizing how hard it is to read those little marks for 5' 9" away.

If I pick up the pace, the next 17.5 lbs should just melt away. I need to average 1.5 lbs per week, so here is my plan: Instead of 20 minutes of Jillian everyday, I am going to try for 40-60 minutes 4x per week (I have a couple more work-out DVDs to change things up a bit). I typically do work-out during the kids' nap time - they both take one nap that coincides and provide me with AT LEAST 1 hour of 'free time' (to get approximately 5,000,000 things done). The opposing days I'll be working on my thesis (which is an entirely different blog post, upcoming).

I've also gotten even more serious about my eating - new favorite snacks: 1/4 cup of pineapple tidbits with 1/2 cup cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs (whites only) and I'm still digging my carrots and hummus, and just made a new batch of low-fat homemade granola to put on my Greek yogurt in the morning, or just nibble on. I am trying to kick the coffee-creamer habit (70+ calories for 2 Tbsp in 1 cup of coffee, is just ludicrous.)

Oh, I almost forgot! For all you milk drinkers out there, which I am, skim milk has 90 calories in 1 cup. That means that if you pour a full-size glass at dinner, that can be upwards of 150-200 calories, and if you refill (which I've been known to do) you are talk about 1/2 of your caloric intake for dinner!!! I know I need my calcium - but I can't afford calories like that! So, I've been using a juice glass and filling that up (about 1 cup) and NO REFILLS at dinner. I'll just take a supplement, if need be.

My other new trick is eating a peppermint candy after dinner. It is a sweet little treat, and it freshens breath, but it also has the same effect as brushing you teeth: everything tastes funny after you eat it. When that doesn't work, I just eat a hand full of m&ms....

Last, but not least, I noticed the advertisements for Silk Almond milk and they keep comparing how much calcium it has compared to cow's milk. Depending on which version you buy it also has only 1 gram of protein, whereas skim milk has 8 grams!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Time Machine

I was running an errand by myself the other day (rarity) and on my way home, I heard a song on the radio, a hip-hop song that probably would have played in a club in my pre-husband, pre-children days of going-out. I was suddenly transported back to my younger, thinner, more beautiful self of, oh.... about 21 years old. I was at a club with a bunch of girlfriends, drinking Captain & Diet, doing shots of cherry vodka and dancing my ass off. No doubt, I was hot - I never dressed slutty though, it was more about confidence than looks.

It took me a long time to feel good in my skin; to not compare myself to those perfectly skinny, big-boobed, girls with fake tans getting ALL the attention. I was finally in a place where a man's affection and attention were icing on the cake, not my reason for living. Secretly, I was hoping that I wouldn't have to get married and, instead, I could go on living this life.

So, there I am, getting hit on, laughing and carrying-on over drinks with friends, oblivious to the fact that in 10 short years I will be happily married with two kids.

I am sure lots of mothers have these moments. The times when we remember fondly the single life.... to the point where we wish we could go back in time, maybe just for a day or two, to party without worrying about waking up the next morning with the kids; or being the object of affection to a handsome stranger; or spending your paycheck on an amazing pair of high heels just to wear out to the bar.

I think some moms are scared to admit this - they don't want anyone to think they don't love their children. OF COURSE I love my children and I am so blessed to have two beautiful boys. But I spent 29 years WITHOUT them and only 3 WITH them, so I am still adjusting!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Elijah - 4 months!


My 'little' Elijah is now 4 months old, which requires a 4-month well-baby visit to our pediatrician. While I was excited to see how BIG he is, I was also excited to discuss his eczema and poor sleeping habits with her to gain some insight and advice.

The good news:

He is 18 lbs (exactly) and 26" long! Both the 90th percentile for his age group! VERY similar to his big brother. I know that just cause a baby is big, doesn't mean that he is healthy - we look to the milestones for that, and he is doing great in both departments, so we are pleased!

The bad news:

Elijah's sleeping is miserable and so is his eczema - which, apparently, are connected in many ways. The itchiness is what can disrupt his sleep and causes his to rub his face, and scratch his head raw (poor baby). We have gotten it under control, but not cleared up, so he is on a regime of multiple slathering of Aquaphor per day and hydrocortizone on his face and neck twice a day.

This should help with the disrupted sleep, however, his inability to self-soothe is just as big of a problem. He wakes up and has no idea how to fall back asleep. YES, this is my fault for rocking and feeding my baby to sleep (sue me) and letting his sleep in his swing - had it not been for the eczema, he wouldn't be waking up so much and therefore wouldn't need super-duper soothing skills. So, we are now on night 3 of 'crying it out', and man, is this child stubborn! I can handle the crying, I just know how tired he is and desperately want him to sleep for his own sake, let alone mine. I feel like I'm breaking his will, not just bad sleep habits!

I have read multiple books and considered lots of theories, and this is what makes the most sense. If it doesn't work, we'll attempt some alternative way of getting us all some more sleep!

Day 20 of the "get rid of the baby weight" challenge


Wow - 20 days went by fast! I wish I had more results, but I am pleased with what I have - A total loss of about 5 lbs! I wish I had measured myself, but I didn't. So I will measure myself today and work from here. 5 lbs doesn't seem like much when you have 25 to lose, BUT when I look at the bag of potatoes above, it seems like A LOT! (I would have put up one of those photos of body fat, but that is just gross!)

I slacked for a total of 3 days. Two due to illness and 1 due to complete and utter lack of motivation! I didn't 'shred' for about 4 days, and instead walked, did a yoga video or went to pilates class.

I have continued to eat well with only a few slip-ups on sweets or those yummy corn bread blasters at Heaven on Seven. I crammed my butt into a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans, although they cause severe muffin-top, I was able to zip them up and wear them without pain - not the end result I'm looking for, but a step in the right direction!

I am actually contemplating signing up for a 5K walk/run/race on St. Patrick's Day. I don't plan to run, but perhaps a slow jog. I don't run. I hate running, but perhaps that is why I should do it. A goal to work towards. If I could actually run 3+ miles without stopping or dying, that would be one of my biggest accomplishments - physically. (yes, even bigger than pushing a 9 lb, 11 oz baby out of me!) I know that probably sounds stupid to all my 1/2 marathon or tri-athlete friends/family members, but a fat girl has got to start somewhere! A realistic goal will set me up for success, NOT failure. So, as I type this, I am thinking of actually doing it. Maybe one of my neighbors will want to join with me, expect they are all in better shape....ugh.

Current weight: 180
Current attitude: Pleased, but not resting on my laurels
Days to go until personal deadline: about 40 days (1/3 of the way there)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 7 - plus some help with food choices!


I have officially completed 1 week of kicking my own butt into shape! WOO HOO!

MY PLAN:

1) Workout EVERYDAY! If I have pilates, or don't have time for the "30-day Shred", then a walk with the kiddies will do.

2) Food Diary - counting calories, specifically. I am writing down everything I eat, using my handy-dandy scale to weigh portions, etc. I've cut my caloric intake significantly without feeling hungry.

3) Drinking LOTS of water - at least 40 ounces per day!

4) Only one 'sweet' per day. One cookie, one Rice Krispies Treats, etc. If you know me, you know how HARD this is!!!

5) No eating after dinner (7:00 p.m.) I crave sweets at night, so I try to eat a sweet after lunch, then I know that I can't have any before bed.

I started out at 185 lbs (+- 1 lb. depending on time of day of weigh-in)
I am now at 182 (+- 1 lb.)

3 lbs of loss in 1 week is HUGE!!!

Jason asked me last night if I feel as though I have more energy now that I've been working out everyday. It's hard to tell with the sleep deprivation I have going on these days (Thank you, Elijah). I think I feel stronger - my abdominal muscles feel as though they are regaining their shape from their jell-o like state.

On the eating front, I am making much better choices about food. Truthfully, I lost about 7 lbs in November and December just by watching what I ate, but fell off the wagon around Christmas, and it took me this long to get back on!

Healthy snacks:

A baggie of carrots and 2 tablespoons of hummus is only about 100 calories - much more filling than a teensy-weensy 100 calorie bag of crackers or cookies.

Breakstone's 100 Calorie Cottage Doubles - cottage cheese & fruit - also have 8 grams of protein.

Okios Superfruits Greek Yogurt (4 oz)- is only 90 calories and has 10 grams of protein.

Hard boiled egg whites are only about 20 calories and 4 grams of protein (or the whole hard-boiled egg is about 80 calories with 6 grams of protein)

For Breakfast:

1/2 cup of un-cooked old-fashioned rolled oats, mix with 3/4 cup water, microwave for 2 minutes, add 1 splenda packet, 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix well. Slice a banana on top and the whole thing is only about 275 calories and so filling!

One whole egg & one egg white scrambled together & cooked in a pan with a little cooking spray, sprinkled with 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, 2 slices of lean bacon on two pieces of toasted light whole wheat bread = about 300 calories! YUMMY!

For Lunch:

Usually leftovers, but I also like to make Mac & Cheese for Jonah then I take 1 cup and mix with a 2.6 oz package of Albacore Tuna = 360 Calories

Or, mix with a sliced Applegate Farms Organic all beef hot dog = 380 calories

Or a veggie burger (no bun) with some ketchup (1 tbsp.) and a side of fruit (1/2 an apple), cottage cheese (4 oz. cup) & chips (7 chips) = 330 calories

Dinner:

Slice a pita in 1/2 (so you have two full circles, not two 1/2 moons), spread 1 tablespoon basil pesto, lay 4 ounces of grilled, sliced chicken breasts, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve with a salad of Romaine lettuce, cheery tomatoes and a light balsamic dressing (1 tbsp) = 400 calories

In general I make a normal dinner recipe and just REALLY watch my portion size. If it's going to be really high in calories, I just have a small portion and add on a salad or lots of veggies to fill me up. I splurge on the weekends - most notably, Friday night Pizza at Little Italian.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 3


My last post detailed my embarrassing status as a fatty and this post will detail my progress towards being skinny.... um, I mean healthy!

I started the Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred workout regime. I am using Level 1 right now, hoping to transition to Level 2 by the 5th or 6th day. Thursday was "Day 1". Frankly, I had trouble walking up and down the stairs after Thursday, but I persevered, stretched, and took some Motrin so that I could complete "Day 2" on Friday.

Today is Saturday and I have a Post-Natal Pilates class for 1 hour in the morning, which will replace my the DVD, but its back to the DVD tomorrow before Super Bowl. Typically the hardest part of this type of commitment is the first few days. If you can make it through that, and ESPECIALLY when you start seeing results, you can pick up momentum and it becomes a habit, and therefore, easier.

I am proud of myself, thus far, and hope to start seeing some results in my body soon. For now, I'll just have to settle for the aches in my shoulders and thighs which remind me that I'm doing a good thing for my health and my fat belly!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baby-Weight

I refuse to be "this woman":

WOMAN: "I am on a diet to lose my baby weight!"
FRIEND: "How old is your baby?"
WOMAN: "5"
FRIEND: "5 months?"
WOMAN: "No. 5 years old."

I remember a day when I was thin, fondly. It was long before I had kids, or was married. I was young and thin. Now, I am old(er) and fat. Yes, I just had a baby, but I was fat before I had the baby. I don't say this so that others will say to me "you're not fat!". I say it because it's true and I am hoping that if I say it out loud MORE, it will shame me into doing something about it. I recently saw an piece on the news about the program tweet what they eat - that way everyone can see how good (or more likely, how bad) a person is eating and it will motivate him/her to eat better. I can see how this could work..... but since I don't tweet, this blog will have continual updates of my progress, good and bad!

If I could be happy in my own skin (and weight), I wouldn't mind, but I am not happy. I want to look the way I used to - as much as is possible given the structural changes to my body caused by pregnancy. I let myself gain entirely too much weight with both pregnancies and now I am paying the price.

Here is a timeline of my decline!

2003 (the year I met Jason) weight: 145 (size 8)
2005 (the year I got married) weight: 155 (+10) (size 10)
2008 (pre-pregnancy with Jonah) weight: 160 (+5) (size 12)
2009 (at delivery of Jonah) weight: 225 (+65) (maternity)
2010 (1 year post-partum) weight: 170 (-55) (size 14)
2011 (at delivery of Elijah) weight: 215 (+45) (maternity)
2012 (3 months post-partum) weight: 185 (-30) (size 16)

WOW- that was both embarrassing and eye-opening at the same time!

Depending upon how you look at it, I have between 25 and 40 pounds to lose. So I don't disappoint myself, I am starting out with a goal of 25 lbs to bring be back to pre-pregnancy with Jonah. Ideally, I would like to be back to around 150 (35 pounds). If you believe in the BMI, I am technically over-weight right now. I hold my weight in my mid-section - the most dangerous place, putting me at risk for other health-related issues including diabetes and heart disease (the #1 killer of women).

I have begun reducing my caloric intake, cutting back on sweets (my weakness) and portion sizes, drinking more water, and not eating after dinner - this has helped me drop several post-partum pounds. However, I know that the only way to get rid of this huge sagging belly is through exercise. If you know me, you know that I HATE working out. I have an aversion to any and all forms of exercise. So, what's a fat girl to do????

Fortunately, I have met several friends that are going to motivate me. They introduced me to Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred! It promises a 20 lbs weight loss in 30 days (given you do the workout every day for 30 days and I think you're also supposed to follow her meal-planning guide. I downloaded it from Amazon directly to my laptop - level 1 was only $2.00 and I could immediately do the 20 minute work-out.... and I am proud to say that I did it!! I feel like Jell-O, but I did it!!! I am also on the hunt for a double stroller so that the three of us can get out and walk as much as the weather will permit.

Goals? Well, as I said, my first goal is to lose 25 lbs. Through diet alone, you can expect to lose 1-2 lbs per week. Adding in exercise, I think I could up that to 3-4 lbs per week - approximately 2 months - April 1st? I am a bridesmaid in my dear friend Cathy's wedding on May 12th....I would love to be back to my 'old' self by then and I think I can do it!!

So hopefully, you'll be seeing a Becca that resembles this: (Maui Honeymoon 2005)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why does everything smell like pooh?

I leave the house once in a blue moon without at least 1 child in tow and all I smell is pooh. Not my own clean hair, not my perfume, not even formula, but pooh! Wiping other people's butts all day, everyday has caused this foul odor to be burned into my nose, prohibiting all other 'nice smells' to enter.

Ironically, the child whose butt I reluctantly wipe after 2 1/2 years told ME that my hair smelled bad when I was putting him down for a nap.... Funny, YOU are the reason why I get to shower once every 2 days and maybe wash my hair once a week!!! Not to mention, that 'smell' is probably bacon grease from the delicious dinner I made you last night. Alas, he could care less about any of these details.

There are so many seasoned moms out there who say "Cherish these moments! They are only little for such a short time! It goes by so fast!" I plan to cherish the sweet moments, BUT there are moments that I WON'T miss about toddlers/infants.... wiping butts is one of them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I suck at parenting

I've never been fired from a job, but I'm pretty sure that if my kids could fire me, they would.

On more than a few occasions I have stated that I "suck" at this stay-at-home-mom-thing, or even just the mom-thing. I don't say it so that other people will say "No! You're a great mom!", I really believe that I am sucking at this gig! I lose my temper way too often, my kids watch too much T.V., I resent them when I don't have time for myself, I even curse them when I have to live on only a few hours of sleep. I suppose that most moms feel this way at some point in their parenting lives or their entire parenting lives. Which begs the question: What makes a successful mom?

If I looked at this gig as a regular job, how would you measure success? Well, it seems that most often times we measure ourselves by how our children act or how they turn-out. For instance, I will be seen as a good mom for having a well-behaved child at play group, despite the fact that I fed him McDonalds for lunch? Will I be seen as a crappy mom if my child throws a tantrum at playgroup but I fed him a homemade healthy meal for lunch?

Unfortnately moms end up using other people's judgement as their guidelines for success. In motherhood, unlike regular jobs, there are no raises, no clients singing your praises, no bosses patting you on the back. Instead we need to be able to either look into our child's eyes and see your hard work reflected back OR you use the verbal feedback you hear from friends and family. Obviously, the former is much harder to do than the later. So, what do I judge myself based upon? Some weird combination of both.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My boys

Many of you are on facebook and so you see the daily mobile uploads of my kids in all their splendor. However, some of you are not and I don't want you to miss out on all the super-cuteness! Also, the pictures are merely a window into their personalities, so I like to use the blog to really showcase what they're up to!

Elijah - on Friday, will be 13 weeks old (but having his 3-month birthday). He loves having his diaper changed, loves bath-time, loves his daddy's voice and loves his big brother. He is the smiley-est baby since Jonah-mo and coos, sings, and nearly giggles. His hair has yet to fall-out, which means it might not! He has blue eyes, like his daddy but (in my opinion) looks like his Uncle Jacob. He is a big boy, filling out 3-6 month clothes, and will soon be transitioning to 6-9 months! I smother him in kisses everyday, and even when he had stinky-neck, he is super-sweet.

Jonah - 2 years, 8 months old on Friday. He is starting to adopt all my quips and phrases - "Need a little help here?", "My hands are full!", "Maybe later", and various other phrases you don't expect him to say. He also cracks himself up, like his father. He awoke from his nap the other day and called for daddy. When I arrived at his bedroom door, he was sitting up in bed, all rosy-cheeked with messy hair and laughed out loud saying "I almost thought you were daddy!" Every night Jason gives him his bath and before he gets in bed, he comes downstairs (sometimes naked!) and climbs onto my lap (where Elijah is trying to fall asleep) and gives me a big hug and drooly kiss. It's the best part of my day, hands-down.

Jason - I won't get all mushy for public consumption.....I will say this: marriage is hard work, no doubt, but it is worth every minute. I love him more everyday, especially seeing him with our boys and being an amazing father, or seeing Jonah mimic him when he puts his eggs on his toast or puts his little pea coat on just like daddy. We are a great team.

I don't know how I got to this place in my life. 7 years ago I could not have pictured this husband, this home, these boys. I look back over the decisions I've made that brought us here, and it just seems surreal. I feel so blessed, so fortunate. I know I deserve it, but I am nonetheless grateful.

Happy Elijah during tonight's bath time
Jonah after licking the batter off of the spatula while making homemade brownies with mama on Monday morning
Big brother covering up little brother on the couch
My three handsome boys!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back to SAHM mode


Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a "planner". In other words, I am organized with my life, or try to be. Now that I have children, this is exponentially more necessary and less necessary at the same time. Let me explain:

Children = chaos. You never know how and when things are going to roll - when they will sleep, when they'll get sick, when they'll pee, poop or puke, when they'll have a really good day or a really bad day. The more you try to control this, the more the situation will control you. Therefore, I try my best to control most other things in my life and PLAN for the chaos. Making a menu for weekly meals, with some flexibility built-in, having groceries delivered (thank you Peapod), prepping food when you have the time, even days in advance rather than waiting until the day of..... come to think of it, food/cooking is the one thing I don't procrastinate about. Hmmmm, I think I've stumbled onto something....

I digress. I have shared my meal-planning ideas with many people, mostly because it reduces the amount of stress I feel about feeding my family and I think most women could benefit from ti. Occasionally I think I'll share my weekly menu with links, where applicable, to recipes for others to try.

I plan from Tuesday to Monday - don't ask me why, I just do.

Tuesday: Chicken Cesar Pitas, Butternut Squash Soup, Roasted Potatoes & Onions
Wednesday: Fish Tacos, Brown Rice, Roasted Corn & Red Pepper Salad
Thursday: Fake Fried Chicken, Seasoned Fries, Baked Beans
Friday: Sweet Pork Loin, Mashed Potatoes
Saturday:Date Night!
Sunday: Chicken & Dumplings
Monday: Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

(if there is a recipe that sounds good, but doesn't have a link, let me know and I will type it up and post it for you!)

Here I go, getting all political on ya...

Yes, I am going to blog about Jonah's potty training and my weekly meal planning, but that doesn't mean I don't want to blog about some serious issues too.

White women often don't know what it means to be racist. They assume because they don't HATE blacks or other people of color, they aren't racist, but it is so much more than that. If you've never been exposed to or studied black culture, been friends with black women or been called out for your racist comments, you may not realize just how racist you are. This video (a spoof of another video called "Shit Black Girls Say) is hilarious but has a serious undercurrent.

You may ask why I care to post this video - the truth is that feminism and civil rights are closely tied and as a feminist I also spent a lot of time learning about women of color and how their oppression differed from mine and how privileged I really was as a white woman.

Watch this and then take a minute to think about what side of this conversation you are on, and if you've been the one to say this sh--. I'm guilty of saying things are "ghetto" (namely, my phone), but I'll think twice before saying it again...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Unbeatable



People often ask me how I find time to cook and bake. I think the same thing about people who read, work-out, and go back to school. Each one of us finds the time we need, when we need it by prioritizing. We decide what is most important to us and we carve out that time. I am well-known as a procrastinator. Some procrastinators just sit on their butts, avoiding tasks. I, on the other hand, am productive in OTHER ways to avoid a certain task. I cook and bake because my family needs to eat, because I enjoy it, because I can usually do it while simultaneously watching my kids, and because the end result can be shared, joyfully, with friends and family. I find time to cook because it is downright fun for me, not a chore like it is for some people.

However, I can't cook my way out of doing other things. I can't use it as an excuse to not accomplish other tasks. For instance, writing my thesis. I have been avoiding this task for a few years!! I have decided to complete my thesis this year. No more excuses. No more procrastinating.

Each year Jason and I set forth goals - NOT resolutions - for the upcoming year. My thesis is #1 on my list. Somewhere, further down on my list, is creating my own cookbook. I want to compile all the recipes that Jason and I love - that we eat all the time. I also want to discover "unbeatable" recipes. The perfect pasta sauce, the perfect chocolate cake, the perfect wheat bread. I am well on my way, especially with the help of my new friends/neighbors, the Taylors as guinea pigs.

Here is the 1st of many unbeatable recipes.

Rebecca's Unbeatable Italian Meatballs

1# ground sirloin (not too lean, 90/10 is good)
1/4 cup dried unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup rolled oats - finely ground
1 egg
1/4 cup onion - shredded with cheese shredder, excessive juices drained out
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Shape into 1 1/2" balls, makes about 24. Place on broiler pan (for easy clean-up, line inside of broiler pan with aluminum foil). Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until no longer pink and juices run clear.

To pair with spaghetti: Put water on to boil when meatballs go in the oven. When water boils, season heavily (I mean like a Tbsp. of salt) and cook pasta according to directions. Warm your favorite jar pasta sauce - preferably a traditional marinara or tomato/cheese sauce. Serve with Caesar salad.

To make meatballs subs: Remove meatballs from oven and kick temperature up to 450. Place hoagie rolls open-face on a parchment lined baking sheet. Butter one side of roll, place 4-5 meatballs on other side, spoon 1/4 cup warm sauce over meatballs, then top with 2 slices of provolone. Bake for 4-6 minutes, or until cheese melts and buttered side gets golden brown. Serve with roasted potatoes and onions.

To make BOTH meals: If cooking for two people, there is enough two dinners. If you are cooking for 4 - just double recipe for meatballs. If you serve sauce sparingly with spaghetti, one 28 oz. jar will suffice for both meals. You'll have two nights of dinners knocked out!

next time I'll take photos!!