Saturday, December 28, 2013

I always feel like somebody's watching me!

Namely a super adorable almost two year old.

It boggles my mind that a year ago we were constantly fearful she would break her face while she was learning to walk. 

She's now a real life little person. She dances like a boss.  Loves to sing and harmonize.  Rocks at using apple products and tablets.  Has actual conversations using real words in place of grunts.  Is an awesome little helper who loves to "clean clean!"

And she's a kick arse big sister!

It's pretty incredible to watch her with the little guy.  She is so gentle and loving.  She adores him, and him her.  We're seeing this bond form before our eyes. 

Yesterday, she blew me away and also gave a reminder that I need as a parent.  

While cuddling in our bed, Bree was rubbing his belly and holding his hand. I said, "Wow! Nathan's hands are cold!"

She brought his hand to her mouth and blew on it to warm it up. 

Just like her daddy does to her.

And with that one simple, sweet and thoughtful act, I realized someone really is always watching. 

It's not just about modeling "gentle touches" when cuddling brother or petting kitty.  It's not just about saying please or thank you so she learns.  It's not just speaking kindly of others or toning down my choice of words so she won't repeat what was said.

We have this amazing, sweet, thoughtful almost two year old who is always watching.  

She can watch me lose my temper when I don't get my way, or she can see what patience looks like.  She can watch me 
stew over perceived slights or she can learn how to forgive. She can watch me 
lie because it's easier or learn to be honest. 

She can learn to be kind to others.  To do good deeds. To be friendly and thoughtful and empathetic.  To help and serve others. 

It's up to me to be a better person so she can be a better person than me. 

She is always watching.  



Thursday, December 12, 2013

I swear it's a real thing!

Pareidolia.


Seriously, it's real.  It's both an awesome name and an annoying ability to see "faces" in random objects and places where no such face actually exists. 

I can recall sitting on the toilet in elementary school and staring at the dots on drop ceiling tiles and seeing faces.  Happy, sad, scary, strange.  Clowns and dogs and normal people.  

I see the patterns on tile and in gum on the street. Splotches of paint, in drops of rain.  Anywhere and everywhere I go I see these things. 

According to google I might be nuts.  Me?! Imagine that. I'm a weirdo, we know this.  I don't try to hide it. 

Isn't this a common phenomenon though? Does anyone else do this all the time?  

I mean, it's hard NOT to see them. Right?




And if you haven't done it before, I bet you will now!  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Whoa. WHOA!

video


                                         Bree does her best Joey Lawrence "WHOA" impression.


                                                      Or sees the ocean for the first time.

Guess which one of the above statements is true and which is a load of carp fish.  Betcha ya can't!


Her reaction was totally priceless!  I grew up in Ocean County, and I often took the ocean for granted. It was just always there, the beach and boardwalk in Sea Side and Pt. Pleasant were fixtures of our childhood.

Its easy to forget just how awesome and powerful and large the ocean really is!





Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cozywoggle Car Seat Jacket (Giveaway starts 12/13!)








Bloggers Wanted!! 



What is Cozywoggle? I know you probably want to know what a product is before you opt in to help promote it, so here is a little enplination of the Cozywoggle.

 Cozywoggle is the new safe, warm and convenient car seat jacket! Jackets are not to be worn in 5 pt harness car seats as they are compressed when in an accident making the car seat straps too loose and potentially ejecting the baby, toddler or child from the seat. Cozywoggle has zippers along the sides of the jacket as well as along the sleeves, allowing you to unzip them, buckle the straps against your child w/o having to loosen straps for bulky coats (there should only be up to 1" or 1 fingers width between straps and your child's shoulder) and then you "drape" the jacket over your child and the straps and you can rezip the sleeves to keep their arms warm. Leaving them safe as well as warm!

Okay, onto the giveaway information!

Prize: Cozywoggle in winner's choice of color (4 to choose from) and size (12m through size 6y)
Value: $74.99
Open to US only
Giveaway will run December 13th - December 27th

Sign-ups close December 10th!



Bloggers click here for more information and to SIGN-UP!




Disclosure: This is a blogger opp post, please do not "enter the giveaway" through the sign-up form. Only bloggers should be using this form, check back to the blog you are seeing this on December 13th and then you can enter through the giveaway post.

Pirates and Princesses Adventure - Disney Junior Live: Review!

What did the pirate on Wheel of Fortune say?

"I'd like to buy an AYE!  Then an Arrrrrrgh!"

Not kidding, that's one of my favorite jokes.  It cracks me up every time.  I'm like a five year old when it comes to jokes.  If it could potentially be found on a popsicle stick or in the back of Highlights Magazine, I probably adore it.  I'm pretty much just a giant kid in an adult sized body pretending that I'm an adult doing adult things. somehow tricking everyone that I'm a real adult.

That's one of the best things about having kids, I can totally rock out to Disney Radio and watch "Jesse" and "Good Luck Charlie" and pretend that I'm just a super awesome mom who gets into the things her kids love.  Except, you know, my kids are both under two years old, so I'm not really tricking anyone, am I?

I mean, Bree is all about Disney Junior and the princesses.  Sophia the First is like her favorite thing ever.  EVER.  EVER!  (Except Doc McStuffins, but really, no one can compete with Doc, amirite?!)

So when we saw Disney Junior Live: Pirates and Princess Adventure was coming to a town near us, we happily snagged three tickets.  I, opps, I mean She was super excited!  We watched Sophia The First then  Jake and the Neverland Pirates like it was our job!

After what felt like 647,102 days, it was finally Pirates and Princesses day!  I, opps, I mean She was super excited!

We took a princess bath, complete with bubbles and pink water!



And then we had a nap, and a Disney princess lunch:



We donned our princess and pirate gear and dropped little brother off at Grandma and Grandpa's, stopped for dinner and headed to the Sun National Bank Arena.



We bought our cotton candy ($12! Ouch!) and foam Sophia The First Princess Crown, and took our seats in section 108, row G.

And ten minutes before show time, we heard a familiar voice!  Was it? Could it be?  Is that?  It is!

Doc McStuffins!  An adorable pre-show that certainly got us excited and interested in what was yet to come!  We got to sing a song with Doc, and she diagnosed a toy car with "Too-excited-itis" and wrote it in her big book of boo-boos!  So cool.

Mickey and Minnie hosted the show, appearing before each act and at the end.

Next up, Sophia the First!  I loved that the show used the actual voices of the characters, so it was recognizable for the kids.  From the moment the show started, and the theme song was sung, it was lots of action and tons of fun!



 The storyline was cute, and the costumes were fun.  Some familiar songs were song, like "You Can Always Count on Baileywick" and the fairy godmothers Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are featured.  Cinderella even made an appearance when Sophia's amulet started flashing!





A short intermission and it was time for Jake and the Neverland Pirates! It was late (the show started at 7pm!) and I wasn't sure she'd make it through the whole thing, but she was super into it!

And so were we!  Captain Hook had the coolest outfit of the night, there was swashbuckling and swords, and FLYING.  Like for real (harness) flying, y'all!  Peter Pan flew and danced, and even Jake and Izzy got to use the pixiedust and fly!  Say wha?!



It was amazing, seriously.  Smee was just as loveable.  Scully was there!  It was overall just an awesome show and we all loved it.

When Feld Entertainment does Disney, they do it big and they do it right.

I may have (totally did) cried more than once from happy tears!  It was such a fun night and I, opps I mean she had the best time ever!  EVER!

                                                         Leaving was kinda sad, actually.




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

<Insert Baking Pun Title Here>


I'm a decent cook.

 I can follow a recipe like no one's business, and I can usually make substitutions and whip up something good with whatever I have on hand.  I'm not like "Master Chef" material, but I could have people over for dinner and not need to order pizza. 

I'm a terrible baker though. 

I don't know how or why, though I'm secretly sure it's a gift from the universe so that I don't weigh 946 pounds.

I heard a recipe while listening to The Mom Podcast that really intrigued me. 

Perfect Protein Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

Made with white (or great northern) beans in place of butter. 

Say what now?  Beans? In a cookie?

I had all the ingredients on hand so I made them. And they were delish. 

I've made them like four times in four weeks. They are so good!  You can't taste the beans at all.  

 It's not a super sweet cookie, but it's amazing.  I've given the recipe to a few others and they all love them as well.

I'd love to know what you think if you try them. 

     The wet ingredients:  beans with can
      juice, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla 
      extract. 
 Recipe courtesy of The Mom Podcast


1 15 oz can white beans, with can juice
1 1/2 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1 T cinnamon
3 c whole wheat flour
3c oatmeal
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350
Add beans (with can juice, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract, blend. 

Mix all dry ingredients except chocolate chips.  Pour wet into dry and mix well. 
Add chocolate chips and bake. 



Simple, right?  I love these cookies so much I just want to share them with everyone!  So if you see some weird lady accosting random strangers and force feeding them cookies, come say what up. I'd love to talk to you. The Mom Podcast

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The New Man in My Life

You read that right!  There's a new man in my life and I am in LOVE!  He's good looking and a total beast.

Luckily my husband is totally cool with him, too.  Is that weird?

I'm talking about my amazeballs double stroller, the Bob Revolution SE Duallie.  Weighing in at just 34 pounds, it's everything I wanted in a stroller and then some.  

        Choose orange, navy or black

The front swivel wheel locks into place for safety when running, and it pushes like a dream whether it's locked or unlocked.  It feels super light, and it's easily controlled with one hand when running (and walking, obviously!)

The shocks are super awesome, and something I didn't even know I wanted in a stroller.  Both kids are super comfy and barely even move on bumpy roads or off-roading.  We pretty much ruled the pumpkin farm this year!

With an additional adapter I'm able to use it with Nathan's Britax B-Safe car seat.  The Britax specific adapter utilizes Britax's Click and Go system, so it literally clicks and snaps onto the adapter.  There's an additional safety strap that buckles across the child for added security , but it's still really stable and secure without it. (By all means, use it though!)

          Yes, he is in 'jams. Shhhh.

The adapter (sold separately) has a tray on Aubrey's side that has a really deep cup holder. It's seriously deep, the cup won't fall out unless it's thrown by a toddler whose favorite game is "Make Mama Fetch," in which case, buy a sippy leash. Trust me, it'll improve your quality of life, quickly and a lot. 

          Cup retrivial not included

So let's get into the meat and potatoes. The "Is This The Right Stroller For Me?" questions that I had before making the final decision.  (Picking a stroller is hard y'all!) 

Is the stroller big?

It's a double stroller, it's big. BOB, literally Beast of Burden, doesn't try to hide it.  

Ok, but is it too big?

Nope.  I had a near panic attack when we first put it together (super easily btw) when I saw how wide it was.  We lived in a little apartment at the time, and I was certain it wouldn't fit through the doors. It didn't look like it would, but it did.

And it's fit through every door everywhere else too. Stores are no problem!  

    Huge canopies with large window

Is it heavy?

It's not light, but it's not super super heavy.  I mean, again, it's a double stroller.  We can't expect it to be light, can we?  I can pick it up and throw it in the back of our car with no problem!

Will it fit in my trunk?

I drive a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0, and honestly, the trunk space isn't much more than it was in our old Sonata.  It's an SUV, yes, but it's not a ton of room.

     Remove wheels for more space

We were able to pack two suit cases, a pack and play, a rock and play and a bag of toys along with the stroller for a recent trip.

Is it easy to fold?

Yes!  Remove the red safety strap from along the lower bar, pull the red rip cord and it folds down.  Pull back and the whole stroller will tip back to you.  Attach the buckle located on the wrist strap to the bottom buckle and it's secure and ready to be carried or stored. 

Pro tip:  Flip the stroller when putting it in your trunk so the wheels are up and avoid unnecessary clean ups!


Is it worth the money though?

Yes!  Yes! Yes!  Let me say it again, yes!  Yes!

It's not cheap, but it's also not cheaply made. The canvas fabric is thick. The shocks are awesome. The wheels are large. The foot brake is easy to operate and metal.  The seats are padded, have pockets, include lumbar support and even have padding on the sides where kids rest their heads when sleeping. 

     Padded sides = comfy toddler

For us, it has replaced three singles.  It's our every day use stroller, our jogger and our "good" stroller for longer outings.

And most people I know have multiple strollers, so it's not that expensive when you start adding them all up!

We all seriously love our BOB! I was thinking of calling TLC to let them know about our love affair and My Strange Addiction, but then I realized it's not strange at all. There are a ton of rabid BOB fans all over the globe!

Word of caution though, you will be stopped and asked about the stroller all the time.  It's a good looking stroller and people want to know all about it.  I'm not kidding. 




Monday, November 11, 2013

Home.

It's official that we are now NJ residents again!  It's a bit surreal after being away for over ten years, so much has changed that it's almost like learning a new place all over again. 

We both grew up in Jersey, just a town over from one another.  We're living in an amazing house that is essentially our dream home.

Fenced rear yard. Nice kitchen with an island. U-shaped driveway. Playroom that can be seen from the kitchen.  Bedrooms  close enough so we can see kids. Huge dining room with built-ins. A living room with vaulted ceilings.  It's amazing. 

The only thing better than the house is that our kids will get to grow up with their families nearby. They will know their cousins, aunts and uncles.  Their memories will include the people and places that were special to us as children.  That's pretty incredible. 

I'm feeling truly blessed.  After six plus moves, I didn't think I'd ever be able to feel at home again, that as an adult maybe it's just not possible, but it is. I have found it.  

We're home. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hint: The Answer is No...

Is there anything sweeter than an infant laughing in their sleep?

Nope. 




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is this real life?


Y'all!  Gather 'round while I tell you a story.  It's a story so great it's almost unbelievable.  I wouldn't believe it if I didn't experience it personally. 

My newborn just slept for 5 hours straight.

Five hours and 11 minutes to be exact. 

That's like 1/4 of the lifespan of a mayfly. A non-stop flight to LAX.  A marathon finish with time for water and bananas and bathroom breaks**.  Enough time to consume, then crash, after an energy drink. 

Five entire hours. 

I'm like a new person here!  

It's like he thought, "Three weeks ago, this mom lady got poked in her spine 15 times and sliced and diced for me, so I'll let her get a few hours of sleep tonight."

Sweet, baby boy. Sweet.  You are worth every second of sleep deprivation and then some.  Seriously!




** (I'm not down with peeing my self on purpose!)


Monday, September 23, 2013

Lather, rinse, repeat.

That's my day. 

Days, rather. 

I'm not really complaining, because I know these days are fleeting and one day I will pine for the days of cereal and milk covered hair, strewn goldfish and constant mimicking. 

I know I am blessed beyond belief, I promise!  

But it is a lot of the same, day in, day out. More of the same, and then some more. 

So you think I'd be prepared to watch the same video 679 times in a row. Especially when it's cute, and Bree loves it. 




Friday, September 20, 2013

And this is crazy...



Holy carp.  I survived my first week alone as a SAHM to two. 

It was both easier and harder than I ever thought it could or would be. 

Bree is a big helper. Cleaning, vacuuming, changing brother.  She also lets me know if I'm spending too much time with him.  Rather, she'll let him know with an attempted smack. 

Oy. 

It's a balancing act for sure.  I've made sure to spend lots of special cuddle time with her, but it's so hard. 

She's been throwing more tantrums than usual. She's also almost two, so it makes sense developmentally. 

Tandem nursing is weird. I think it's been our biggest source of jealousy thus far.  I know it's best for her, but honestly I'm not sure if I would do it again. Yet. That may change.  I hope it will. 

Little Man is awesome. Good sleeper, got eater. Maker of the best grumpy old man faces ever.  He loves being worn.  He's just an all around cool dude. 

I feel badly he's not getting all the snuggles and attention she did as a baby, but I guess most seconds don't. 

I'm just excited for Pete to be home this weekend. I'm tired.  

Happy, too. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy birthday baby!

Nathan was born today!  10:11 am, 21 inches and 9 lbs 13 oz of pure cuteness!
He looks so much like big sis did as a baby, too!



Monday, September 2, 2013

D-Day...I mean B-Day!




Looks like my comfy little boy isn't going to allow me to attempt my VBAC or even a TOLAC after all. 

We're scheduled for a repeat c-section tomorrow morning. I've made peace with  it, and at this point I'm just ready to meet this little man who will complete our family!

I'm excited to see Bree become a big sister.  She is the center of my whole world, and I can't imagine how our dynamic will change. I just know she is such a silly and loving girl, and she will make an awesome big sister!

I'm excited to watch my husband fall in love with his son.  I'm excited to fall in love with my husband all over again watching him parent our children. 

I'm excited to smell the new baby smell and hear the newborn cry.  To snuggle with my big girl and new little man.  To learn all about him and his likes and dislikes. To become an even better mama to a little creature who depends on me. 

Life is good. 




Friday, August 30, 2013

Sleep Regression Suckage

Ahhh, the dreaded 18 month old sleep regression. 

It's been hitting us hard here for the past two weeks.  Part of me is happy that it's happening now before baby brother arrives, so I am not wrongly attributing it to jealousy. Knowing it's related to a normal developmental leap makes the total lack of sleep a bit easier to deal with, most nights at least!

It's really the most serious regression we've had to deal with yet, or at least it feels that way.   Bree and I bed shared until about 15 months, and between night nursing and sharing the same space, the others were barely noticeable.

At 15 months she decided she wanted her own space, and easily transitioned into her crib.  She goes to bed at 7:30 or 8:00, and she's to sleep until 7am or so.

Normally.

Now we're up every hour, screaming our heads off.  I learned recently that this regression TYPICALLY lasts 2-6 weeks. 
Just in time to have a brand new, crying baby. 

Pretty sure I may just never sleep again.  I'm planning on picking up some
coral lipgloss and sweet shades so no one notices how tired I really am. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's possible I'm part elephant

It's really the only way to explain the fact that I've been pregnant forever and will continue to be for the rest of my life. 

Our son is stubborn, and I'm fairly certain that he's inside arms and legs sprawled out, clawing into my uterus for dear life. 

We are signing the c-section paperwork tomorrow, but still hopeful that I'll go into labor beforehand and that I will be able to have the VBAC I've dreamed of all pregnancy. 

Either way, in less than a week our son will be here!  Bree's gonna be a big sister!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh baby...it's been a while!

For obvious reasons (like having an active toddler, being 654 weeks pregnant and totally exhausted) I've been a total slacker for months.

<i>I'd like to nominate myself for the worst blogger ever award. 

If one doesn't exist, I'd like to request that someone create such an award and then award me with said award.

Because obviously I am far too lazy to create an award, and even if I did I'd forget to award myself with the award. I'd wake up one day and think "Wow, I suck at updating my blog. I should win the worst blogger ever award. Oh, yeah! I created that award! Wow, I suck at awarding fake awards to myself." </i>

Oh.  I already <a href="http://ellejs.blogspot.com/2011/10/i-have-blog-oh-yeahi-have-blog.html?m=0
"> previously wrote that exact same thing?</a> Opps.  

Why am I back now?

Self-preservation.  I am about to lose my mind. 

I've been experiencing this <strike>totally awesome</strike> thing known as prodromal labor.  I also hadn't heard of it, and I was pretty sure I knew most everything since I've been pregnant and/or nursing for like 60 years.  

Apparently I am one of the lucky women who gets to experience constant contractions, hard and close, that do nothing to move forward dilation (ok, just a few centimeters) and can stop at any time.  Different than both Braxton Hicks and false labor, they are a special beast all their own. 

<a href="
http://ashley.pieceoftheinter.net/2010/10/red-light-green-light-a-tale-of-prodromal-labor.html">
This blog </a> explains it way better than I can right now.  I'm in a fog. 

Tonight is a full moon, so maybe baby boy is going to come out and play. 

But most likely not.  I'm pretty sure he's going to chill, and I'll still be pregnant for 60 more years!

  



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 7 of The Vegan Experiment

Holla! We made it through our first week.

Yup, I said first week! Not the week, but the first week.

We're gonna keep on keeping on with this whole thing and see where it takes us. (To a healthier body and planet you say? That's right!)

Tonight we had Spicy Creamy Kale Pasta.

It was a little bland for some reason. Since the rest of her recipes were amazing, I'm going to guess this was either a mistake on my part, or my taste buds are just used to pasta being doused in a ton of tomato sauce. Most likely a combination of both!

Pete liked it. Or, at least he liked that it was super super cheap to make!





Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 6 The Vegan Experiment

I can't believe this week is almost up already! How is this already day 6?!

Pete works at his office on Mondays, so I got to make him lunch today. I made him Thai Lettuce Wraps with Cashew Peanut Sauce.
He said it was really good, but was more of a salad than a wrap. I'm not sure if it was because it had to survive a commute plus a few hours in the fridge before lunch, or if it would always better suited as a salad. We'll have to try it on a weekend when he can eat it immediately to see. Either way, he said he would like it again!

Bree and I had lunch too. Obvs. We had cantaloupe, red grapes, cherry tomatoes and a tofurky sandwich on rudis bakery bread. She loved the bread and even asked for more, which never happens!

Dinner was Crusted tofu with couscous, kale and red pepper hummus sauce. I tasted the tofu, which was crusted with ground flax meal and chili powder, and it was good,
but I opted out of eating more for dinner. It was still awesome, a little tangy, a little sweet.

We all liked it! I've been pretty surprised at how good all our meals have been. There hasn't been anything we haven't liked.






Day 5 The Vegan Experiment

I'm a cheater.

My sweet husband said "Let's order in so you can hang out with us tonight."

Cool with me!

We decided on Thai, and I thought I'd get vegetarian pad Thai, minus the eggs. Vegan, right? (Of course I had to look it up, I'm not an expert!)

Except they don't have any vegetarian options, let alone vegan options, available. I ended up getting the pad Thai, but picking out all the chicken. Pete happily ate it!

So, I cheated. Again, full disclosure!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 4 The Vegan Experiment

Awesome day overall. Bree and I went to do the laundry while Pete went to see Jurassic Park 3D in IMAX. Then I dragged Pete to a holistic health fest ran by our new town. It's not his scene at all, but he was nice enough to not make fun of things until we were in the parking lot on the way home.

I'm excited that we met a nice chiropractor! I asked if they did work on pregnant women, and it turns out that's his wife's speciality. Even cooler, she works with my new midwives office!
I'm super excited, we made appointments for Pete and me, too!
We may even sneak Bree in for an adjustment when needed.

I also see my midwife next Friday for our full anatomy scan. We had an early one with our Manhattan midwifery group, and all looked good, so we're hoping for more great news! And hopefully Baby will cooperate and open his/her legs this time!

But enough about the boring details of my life!

-----------------------------------

Tonight's dinner was Vegan Burritos. It was pretty time consuming, I was in the kitchen for about an hour during prep and cooking. Not hard, but just took forever!

It was also delish! The avocado on top totally made them in my opinion!

Pete and I enjoyed them, and I gave Bree some broken up. We also had salsa and red grapes. Another recipe that gets the family thumbs up!



Day 4 The Vegan Experiment (part 1)

Full Disclosure: We went to our new town's holistic health fair, after a long morning of shopping and laundry.

There weren't any vegan options for lunch, so I had a tuna wrap with carrots and butter lettuce.

I was starving!

Not that I need to explain myself to anyone, but I want this to be an honest look at what our journey looks like. I'm not going to pretend to be perfect. I'll make mistakes along the way, and I'm ok with that.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 3 of The Vegan Experiment (kinda)

Man, that enchilada casserole recipe made so much! We had dinner last night, lunch today and plenty left for dinner tonight!

So while it's technically day three, I don't have a new recipe to try or share!

In an effort to be a good wife and SAHM I did use my time wisely for the betterment of our little family. I found and printed some vegan friendly coupons. I made a weekly household cleaning schedule.

One thing about not living in the city any more: seems like I have more time now. No idea how or why. Maybe because I don't have moms groups and classes and an entire city to explore.

Or maybe it's me maturing and becoming a better mom and wife.

Or not.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 2: The Vegan Experiment

OMG.

OMG.

OMG.

I have to say it one more time it was that freaking good.

OMFG!

Tonight we had Vegan Enchilada Casserole and it was terrible. Worst meal ever.

Kidding! It was amazing! So, so tasty. A little spicy but not overwhelmingly. Just a ton of perfectly melding flavors. It was also really filling, we ate less than half. And it looked really pretty, too!

I'll absolutely be making this again!

The Vegan Experiment

Remember when I said I could never give up dairy or cheese? I lied.

This pregnancy has me going insane with the things that I just can't stomach. Chicken? Heck no! Milk? I'm sick within minutes. Cheese? Only cheese sticks. Fish? No way, man.

It's like my body is rejecting animal foods for the most part. I chalked it up to morning sickness, but I'm into the second trimester, the sickness is gone, but the aversion remains.

So I started doing research. I found I had some pretty harsh misconceptions about veganism, especially during pregnancy and toddlerhood.

I found a lot of delicious sounding recipes. Things we already love.

It didn't seem like it would be a stretch to try it out. So we are conducting a one week vegan experiment.

7 days. 21 vegan meals. 7 new dinners. 3 family members who need to approve.

Last night was night one. I made these super easy and yummy Black Bean Burger Tacos.

Pete approved. Bree approved. I approved. Night one was a success.

We'll see how this goes. Maybe we'll love it. Maybe we'll hate it.

At the very least we'll be helping out Mother Nature, our bodies, and some farm animals.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Peace out, NYC!

We're moving this weekend and I couldn't possibly be more excited! I've loved living here in NYC, I've met amazing people, done a ton of cool things, and had so much fun.

But I'm ready for a change. We love moving! Exploring the new town, finding favorite grocery stores, learning the local customs. It's so fun.

Pete explains it like an extended vacation, and it totally is! I can't imagine being stuck in one place my whole life. It just seems crazy to me when there's a whole world to explore.

As of this weekend we'll officially be residents of CT. I'm 90% packed, the movers are booked and the lease is signed. We're ready to rock.

So excited!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Are you a mommy?"

That's what a little girl stopped me and asked. When I said, "Yes" she got teary eyed and said, "I can't find my mommy and I think I'm lost."

My immediate reaction was "Oh crap!" She didn't know it, because I look like an adult to a super cute 5 year old, but I'm not really an adult adult. Like, I get by in life, I fool people into thinking I'm an adult and doing adult things but I'm just faking it. Fake it til you make it is my life motto.

I've found lost kids before in department stores, but that's easy. Walk said child to the courtesy desk and they'll page the child's mom - if she's not already up there herself freaking out looking for her kid.

But this is the middle of NYC, Astoria. In a shopping district on a busy street, it's cold and rainy. What the heck do I do?!

.....

"Hi, I'm Michelle and this is my baby Aubrey. I'm going to help you find your mommy! Do you know where you saw her last?"

Nope.

"That's ok. Did your mommy ever tell you a phone number or what you should do if you get separated?"

That's right folks, I asked the five year old what we should do. Smooooooth.

"She told me I should find a mommy with a baby smaller than me and tell her I'm lost. She said stay right where I am and she will come find me. She will come find me, right?"

I hope so, kid. Should I call the local precinct?

"Yes!"

Uhhh. Maybe 911? The local precinct never answers.

"Lets step to the side so we can stay dry."

311? 311 is magic. They can find lost cars! Is there a lost kid divisi.....

"Mommmmmmmmy!"

Yay, kiddos mommy! Thank you! I thought you were never coming! I thought you left forever!

....

I am pregnant. I am hormonal. But I'm pretty sure I would have cried any way. Partly because I was so relieved for this little girl, but also because I can only imagine how that mom felt.

I can see myself running down the street, looking at every passerby and vehicle with suspicion. Wondering if my little girl had been taken by one of them. If she was safe, or hurt, or scared. Beating myself up for losing the most precious thing in the world to me. Trying to figure out what to do, because I'm a mommy and I look like an adult, but what the fuck do I do?

"Thank Jesus! Baby, I'm so happy you're ok. You're ok, right? Of course you're ok. Mommy's got ya, you're ok, I love you no love you so much."

It was easy to hear her words in my voice. That could be me.

"You did so good baby. So good! You did exactly what mommy told you to do! I'm so proud of you."

She realizes I'm still standing there and thanks me. My little friend thanks me, too. On her own no less, no prompting from her mom.

We talk for a few seconds, tells me she'll always remember me and what we did for her daughter, as if I had donated a kidney to save her life.

I told her I didn't do anything special, it was her daughter who knew exactly what to do. And that's the truth.





Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ohhh! You got served!

Today was my worst day yet as a parent.

I failed. Hard.

This morning I put Bree in the stroller to go run errands. It was close to nap time, but I figured she could just sleep in the stroller while we were out.

We got a block before I experienced my first ever full blown temper tantrum. Kicking. Screaming. Hysterical tears. Shaking of the head. Holding of the breath.

I pulled out every thing I had in my admittedly small bag of tricks. I got down to her level. Made her look me in the eye. I verbalized her emotions.

"You're feeling upset. You want to get out of the stroller, but you can't so you're mad. Right?"

I accepted I was defeated, and we went home for nap time. It was my own fault, I know she sleeps at the same time and on the couch. With Mama.

So we did.

Then we ate lunch. Played. Read some books. I even got kisses! (Mama gets hugs, and Dada gets all her kisses.) We're all smiles. Happy. And ready to go run those errands!

I strap her in and the tears start. I figure I'll give her a minute. She'll calm down as soon as we're out of the door.

She always does.

Except she didn't.

The tears fell faster. The kicks started. The screaming intensified. So did my emotions.

And then I said it.

"Uggggh! You're so bad!"

My anger disappeared, and was immediately replaced by shame.

I just called my one year old daughter bad. I didn't even say, "You're BEING bad," which is only just slightly better.

Hell, I'd argue that she can't even "be" bad because she has no concept of acting up yet.

She had a need that I wasn't fulfilling, and my response was to tell her she's something that she clearly is not. I responded with anger. I made her out to be in charge of how I was feeling, and my response.

She wasn't doing anything to annoy me, or hurt me. It wasn't about me, but I responded as if it were.

It's embarrassing. It's wrong. And I felt awful.

I never want her to feel responsible for my emotions. I never want her to think I think she's bad. She's not.

She's curious, happy, silly, funny, smart. She's the brightest light I know. She's a lot of things, but bad isn't one of them.

So I apologized. I pulled out that admittedly small bag of tricks again. I squatted down to her level, I smiled. Made her look at me.

And just then a lady approached.

"Great," I thought, along with an eye roll. "This busybody's just coming to rub my face in it. Everybody has an opinion."

Remember when I said it was my worst day yet as a parent?

Was.


"Rough day, huh? Is it the stroller? My son always hated his, too."

"Yup. Normally I'd wear her."


Why am I defending my use of a stroller? To a Mom I don't even know? Yes, I'm an advocate of baby wearing. It's something I love. Some times the stroller is just easier! I'm pregnant and my back hurts, I'm walking four miles today. But this random lady doesn't need to know. She doesn't care, but I'm about to spill every detail just because I'm oh so sure she's about to judge me as a Mother.

And then she doesn't. She smiles at me, knowingly.

"My son hated it too, until I figured out a trick. Do you think she just wants to sit more upright? That was his problem."

"I think so, too."
I sounded so relaxed, so calm, I surprised myself.

And then she showed me the most amazing trick ever to turn the 5 point harness into a 3 point harness.

Aubrey looked around. She did not cry. She did not kick. She did not scream.

She smiled. A big toothy smile. The smile that warms my heart.

I thank the nice stranger Mom and we're off. We finish our errands, and I decide to take my good girl to the park to play.

And then it hits me. Square in the face. Like a big fat pie.

I'm not a perfect mom. I never will be. I will lose my temper. I will mess up.

But I'll always apologize if I'm wrong. I'll always let Bree know I love her and respect her for all that she is. I'll always try my best to be the Mom she deserves.

And that's all any Mom wants.

I could have given that nice lady an attitude and scared her off. I could have been so defensive I attacked her before what I perceived would be an attack on my parenting.

And I would have missed out on a great piece of advice that helped me tremendously.

For what? Am I so arrogant that I think only I know what's best? Are we as moms so arrogant that we are sure our way is the only right way?

Really?

I for one will work on that. I'll swallow my pride and smile at the mom with the wailing child. The one that loses her cool for a split second. The one who says something unkind to her child. Even the one who looks at other moms with judgement written all over her face.

Especially her. She's the one who needs the kindness the most.

I know this because until today I was her.

Right until the Universe smacked me square in the face with that humble pie.

Twice.






Sunday, March 3, 2013

What sheds more at a baby's first haircut...

Baby's hair or Mama's tears?

In our case, it was just a little of both!

I recorded the whole first snip, such a cute little video! I should really figure out how to post videos from my iphone right to blogger, it's gotta be pretty easy!

We found this cute place that does kids cuts. Little trucks and cars for seats, a play area and a super adorable boutique! They even give a diploma and a goodie bag when the cut is all done.

I thought for sure she'd cry, but Aubrey was so good! No tears, no fussing, just adorable through the whole 98 second process.

Seriously, I don't think I could have spent $25 faster in a casino. It was that so fast. I can't imagine going back again when I could have the same thing done for $7 anywhere else, but it was a nice first experience.