Real Life

10 Years

It’s been ten years since I was 25.

In that time I got married, moved from DC, to Boston, back to DC, then to New Jersey. I popped out two baby boys, started and quit my own photography business, bought a house, bought a dog, got Lasik, got rid of cancerous cells on my cervix, lost all four of my grandparents, gained 20 pounds, coxswained for a team of Marine Corps rowers, met Al Gore, watched every episode of Grey’s Anatomy multiple times, voted for Obama, visited Paris and Punta Cana, and wrote a novel. Not in that order.

All in all it’s been eventful and fun.

But now I’m restless.

Restlessness is dangerous if isn’t channeled correctly.

I think I’ll go paint the basement.

via Daily Prompt: Ten

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A Note To Myself

My dear girl, how many things can you juggle at once? And by that, I mean, how many things can you throw up in the air, and how many of them will come crashing down and whop you in the head?

Because I have the memory of an infant, I’m going to list everything I’m trying to accomplish simultaneously this month. Thirty days from now I will revisit this list and cross off the things I didn’t finish. Maybe I’ll forget them forever. Maybe I’ll rekindle the flame. It’s January’s frenetic frenzy, I tell you. It’s a disease.

  1. Paint the basement. (A.K.A. Get rid of ugly. Peach and blue, ugh. It’s travesty.)
  2. Learn to hand letter. Calligraphy with brush pens. Fun and totally relaxing.
  3. Revise my novel.
  4. Complete four articles to submit to magazines or blogs.
  5. Get my son admitted to a special ed preschool.
  6. Retile the kitchen backsplash.
  7. Read everyday.
  8. Purge the no-longer-used baby toys.
  9. Declutter and purge the rest of the house. (One box at a time).
  10. Sew curtains for the bedroom.
  11. Host an event with a few friends at a place where you make your own chocolate. (I feel like this should be priority numero uno.)
  12. Convert two overhead recessed lights to pendants.
  13. Meet with a fellow writer IRL.
  14. Send a postcard to my senator.
  15. Cook the kids new foods. (Doctor said to lay off the nuggets and expand their horizons.)
  16. Try not to buy anything that isn’t associated with the projects on this list!

Bye Bye Bubble

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Sigh. It’s time to admit the bubble has burst. That flimsy, albeit protective, transparent bubble keeping me content.

I’m a white, middle-class woman with a loving husband, two healthy boys, a big pretty puppy, and two very hungry cats. We have a house, two cars, and enough money in the bank to feel comfortable.

Until last November very little bothered me other than not getting my way or being in control. Petty personal problems.

Until Trump.

Bye bye bubble.

The blinders are off. There is a world beyond my sweet, simple life. There are people in the United States of America who do not think that basic human decency is an essential trait for our Commander in Chief.

At first I was depressed. Flabbergasted. Angry. But now, above all else, I am thankful. Thankful for the motivation to get my ass off the couch and take some action.

The thing is, all these folks that voted for Trump existed before he was elected. The climate change naysayers, the elected officials who think it is okay to govern women’s bodies, the people who spew hate at anyone who doesn’t look, act, or think like them. I know they’ve always existed and I never paid much attention because I was comfortable, nestled in my bubble.

Now I’m uncomfortable. I suppose I have Trump to thank for that.

First things first: to apologize. For not doing enough for my community. For being selfish. I’m done ignoring injustice.Because we all should be able to live cozy, comfy lives, not just me.

I Need to Remember this Moment

It’s 10:41 PM and the baby is asleep… for now.

Evan is just over 5 months old and he is a wretched sleeper. Tonight, after I nursed him to bed in his sleep suit, he woke up and hour later screaming. Per usual.

Dad went in to soothe him, and even though he managed to get Evan to fall asleep again more than once, he woke up yelling a few seconds later. After 30 minutes of listening to the wails from downstairs, my momma-instinct kicked in and I took over. Back on the boob Evan went, and I somehow managed to sneak out of the room to write this post. Who knows how long I have before another wake-up. If it follows the previous nights’ pattern, I’ll be back in his room at least once for another wake-up and then for the rest of the night, nursing him on both breasts all night to keep him quiet.

I never expected this from our second son. Dean, #1, seemed hard, but by this age he slept soundly in his swing, waking once or twice a night, then would fall back asleep fairly quickly. Not Evan. A lot of times when I try to sneak away he reaches and grabs for me, holding me close, searching for my breast-pacifier. And if he doesn’t get his way, watch out! MadRageScreaming! Stuff nightmares are made of. Only pure exhaustion will stop him – momentarily – and then he’ll start up again.

I need to remember this moment when my kids are older and I want two more, like I’ve always wanted. I need to remember these sleepless nights, when I’m three rooms away from my husband, yearning for more than 1 or 2 consecutive hours of sleep.

I need to remember how I cut out dairy, soy, nuts, wheat, legumes, etc. to help fix his tummy… to no avail. (We thought it would fix his sleep issues).

I need to remember how I had to leave my older son alone in his playroom in the morning, praying he didn’t get into trouble, while I nursed Evan to sleep for his first nap.

I need to remember how at 5 pm every night, in the middle of making dinner, Evan would need to be attached to me in some way, so that I couldn’t feed myself or the rest of my family or enjoy the food I worked hard to prepare.

The thing is, this kid is so darn cute. He’s adorably fun, squeaky, cuddly. As long as sleep isn’t involved, he’s the best little thing on the planet.

But SLEEP. It is my most favorite thing in the world, other than my family. And he’s robbing it from me, and himself. Someone please wave a magic wand and fix this!

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Whole 30 Week 2

This diet really isn’t so bad. I don’t go to bed hungry and I feel better every day. My husband is officially on the bandwagon too, but he’s more resistant to getting rid of his habitual food items like yogurt, beer, and pasta.

I want to get the tot a little more accustomed to healthy food choices too. I’m trying to figure out how to get zucchini into tasty muffins without using flour, for instance. No luck yet on finding anything online.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 3.59.35 PMOver the weekend I found myself fitting into jeans I haven’t been able to squeeze into since before my first baby was conceived. And I tried on the shorts I wore two summers ago, post baby #1. They fell to my hips.

The only crappy part of this is social situations. Smelling delicious treats and watching others eat them without partaking is challenging. But I have two small children, so my social interaction is fairly minimal right now.

I managed to make it through a weekend of going to restaurants by bringing my own food or escaping to nurse the baby while others were eating. It was weird, but it worked.

Whole 30 Week 2
Pros:
– Losing weight
– More energy
– New recipes to try
– Feeling accomplished

Cons:
– Challenging in social situations
– Expensive
– Time consuming in the kitchen

I assume once this is over I’ll be able to blog more, which is great, because I have all these healthy new recipes I want to iron out and record. I’m tempted to keep a modified Whole30 diet going for a few more months. With a cheat cupcake day, of course.

Whole30 Days 1-5

chxsaladIf you’re following my Instagram feed, you’ll see an awful lot of photos of food. I decided to challenge myself to the Whole30, a fairly “radical” way of eating for 30 days. Honestly, “radical” isn’t really the correct term, if you think about it from a different perspective.

Whole30 challenges you to strip your diet of unhealthy, possibly gut-damaging foods for 30 days. It’s only radical because we’ve trained ourselves to eat pretty crappy. Which takes a toll on our health and perpetuates cravings. Chocolate for me, obviously.

I decided to give my body and metabolism a reset. I’m on Day 6. It’s Saturday and weekends have always been my “raid the pantry” days. I’m nervous but hopeful.

The side-effects thus far haven’t been horrible. My hair is super greasy, possibly due to night sweats (that’s a postpartum issue too – weird, right?), I also think AF came back for a short, light stint on Tuesday. Which pissed me off. If you aren’t a woman and don’t know what AF is, just move on.

NNtwIvOxI’m finding that I’m definitely a stress eater. Not that I didn’t know that already. If the baby screams for over 20 minutes, I hit the almond butter, my chocolate replacement. I went through an entire jar in five days. FIVE DAYS. I’m not going to buy it this week if I can stay strong. If I don’t lose any weight during this challenge, it’s because of the damn almond butter.

I’m not just changing the way I eat for me, it’s for my breastfed son. TMI here, but his poop has been icky and green and I suspect a dairy intolerance. My other son had the same issue. So far his mood has vastly improved (a.k.a. he’s not acting like Charles Manson anymore) but he’s still having icky poo. Waiting another week on that front.

Back to me – the worst day thus far was Day 4. I had the shakes in the morning. So I hit up Mr. Almond Butter ASAP.

But overall, I’ve been feeling good. Going to the grocery store sucks. Especially when your husband makes a beeline for the beer tasting area. Jerk. But eating at home isn’t too hard when all the goodies are hit from eyesight.

Now I think my experience might be an exception to the requisite “hangover” you’re warned about. I don’t drink soda, I typically don’t eat cupcakes everyday, and I keep most sugar out of my main meals. But I was spiraling toward those habits. This is a nice break point.

We’ll see how the next week goes. Yes, I’m craving a chocolate cupcake, but I think I can wait 25 days to indulge.

For the Love of Chocolate

Excuse me while I ponder my love for chocolate. I can’t help myself. This is baking in the oven and cocoa smell is taking over the entire house.

It’s genetic, my love for chocolate. My grandmother used to cook my father chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. With chocolate sauce. And then she’d whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. So really, it’s not my fault. Cocoa-love runs through my blood.

I’m breastfeeding now, so I’m typically ravenous, and my go-to snack on the go is a piece of dark chocolate. Actually, that’s my, “I’m trying to cut back” snack, because it’s only one piece (well, by the end of the day, about four). Yeah, the desperation is real.

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I’m trying to become a better baker. Not just a recipe pro, someone who reads between the lines, gets inventive, creates something delectable through pure skill. The long term goal is to go to culinary school, but that’s a topic for another day. This month I’ve been focusing on cupcakes, because my little man turned 2 years old, and I’m going to shower him with sugar this year. Last year he got a vegan banana cake with yogurt frosting. He didn’t get it. Sorry buddy.

This year he’s going to get a full-sugar banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting. Two of his favorite things. And because dad requested it (and because I have an addiction), chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Cause the adults need to party too.

I was smart and tested the recipes first and oh-my-lord, WINNERS. I was never a cupcake fan. Even when the craze hit DC. I would partake, but they never made me do a happy dance. Let me tell you, though, homemade cupcakes and frosting, if you can follow a recipe, are ridiculous. I always hated store-bought butter cream. Homemade buttercream? LIFE-CHANGING.

You have to try this recipe if you don’t believe me. I even skimped on the chocolate a little and they still blew my mind. My husband’s too.

I’m going to start a running tab of amazing chocolate recipes here that I’ve tested and approved. Hopefully I’ll add some of my own one day! If you know of any you can recommend, please do! Yum, yum, yumyumyum.

Amazing Chocolate Cupcakes

 

When Someone Else Thinks You’re a Lousy Mom

“It’s their shit, not yours.”

Kinder words have never been written.

This weekend I was treated unfairly by a loved one. They were mean. At first I didn’t understand why. I was in a great mood, and they proceeded to crap all over it. I got flustered, then pissed, then weepy. Yeah, I’m sensitive and emotional; can’t deny my mama hormones or my tender personality.

The meanness got me down all day. I worked through it, but it ate at me. What did I do to deserve it? That night I cried into my husband’s shirt. That felt good.

The thing that hurt the most was it came from a person I care about, trust, and rely on for support. It was a rude awakening, being treated badly by this person. I would’ve thought they would talk to me about any issues they have with my parenting choices.

But I’m not dwelling on it anymore, and I don’t feel like crap anymore. Because I have a great group of online ladies who let me vent and lifted me up. They don’t know me in real life, but they told me I’m a great mom. I choose to believe them.

Some of the best words written were, “It’s their shit, not yours. Release that yuckiness into the universe mama, nobody needs to carry around somebody else’s shit.”

Nope. Not gonna do it. Gonna keep on being me, cause that’s all I know. And it’s got me two healthy, happy boys, so I must be doing something right.

Am I the Only Germaphobe Mom?

Answer: Probably not. But I won’t get to know any of you other mommas because we’re all hiding from the flu, RSV, cancer, etc. in our Cold War fallout shelters in the basement.

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I’m riding the antibiotic train right now. Not because I voluntarily want to leach it out into my son’s delicious breastmilk; because I’m sick and tired of being sick.

Oddly, I’m the only one in the house feeling like crap. Usually the toddler brings something home, and then my husband gets it and proceeds to die a slow death over and over and over. This time it’s just me. Or it’s the lingering after effects of a sick husband from a few weeks ago. I think it’s ok to blame him. I do that a lot.

I finally sought out an IRL doctor’s advice as opposed to only consulting Dr. Google. He told me I could wait out the sore throat and hacking cough and if I was lucky it might not turn into bronchitis. But because I’m not getting much sleep (thanks 2-month old!) and I’m wrangling two kids during the day, he said he’d prescribe me some medication if I desired.

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Rather than stick to my granola-inspired, med-free nursing mantra, I caved. After a week of feeling like total crap, and the week prior feeling like kind-of crap, I knew I needed to med up before I broke down completely.

Not 24 hours after scarfing down a pink horse pill, I felt a million time better. Now my healing body is trying to convince me to lug my children to playdates and story times and the gym in the middle of flu season. “Get out of the house! You feel amazing! Do it or your brain is going to turn to mush, you shut-in!”

Must. Resist. The little will be 3 months old in just a couple of weeks. After that we can all dance the germ tango. Not quite yet; we’ve got to play the germaphobe card a bit longer. I just wish it’d snow. Then people would stop making fun of me for locking the family away.

The Weekend Before Christmas

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Dun dun duuuuun! I should’ve titled this, “What the “F” it’s Almost Christmas Already?

My newborn momma brain is on full breakdown mode right now. I know there’s a better term for that, but I’m drawing a blank, which has been pretty much the motto of my life as of late.

I left carrots boiling on the stove for 4 hours last night. Yeah. Imagine my face as I realize what I had done as we were driving home from the craft store last night. I was sure the house had gone up in flames and the cats were burned into sad little balls of ash.

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And then I walk into my son’s doctor’s office a half an hour late this morning, causing me to have to wait another hour to get his vaccines administered. I basically screwed my husband out of a morning of work since he had to watch our other son.

My niece’s birthday gift should have been on its way to Tennessee by now, but it isn’t even in a proper shipping container yet, so I screwed that up too. Crap, half of my husband’s and son’s gifts haven’t even arrived here yet, so you know, things are about to get REAL.

This post isn’t supposed to be a diatribe as to why I’m failing at life right now (even though it’s turning out that way). It’s to serve as a reminder to get some particular sh*t done:

  1. Make cookies & truffles. Truffles with failed, but crispy and delicious snickerdoodle pieces inside.
  2. Wrap and send cookies and birthday presents. Pray they arrive before they go stale.
  3. Try and cook a perfect fluffy omelet via America’s Test Kitchen. Because why not make my life more complicated?
  4. Put up the rest of the Christmas lights. They won’t be coming down till March, so why not arrive to the party a little late?
  5. There’s another one, but I can’t remember.

Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t be blogging. There’s way to much to do.

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