Saturday, December 24, 2011

i know it's been a while

I know it's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd explain what's going on here since some dear friends are asking about my absence: I'm super pregnant. And that's pretty much the topic of my thoughts. I don't want every post to talk about the latest thing we did to get one step closer to being ready for Liam's arrival, how my clothes don't fit right any more, or how uncomfortable life is these days because...well...those things are really only interesting to me. And I know this! Ha. :) So I'm keeping facebook statuses and blog posts to a minimum.

We're all doing well here! And don't worry, you're still caught up- you've seen our house decorated for Christmas, you got our cards with Roman's awesome mug on the front, and you've seen a fairly up-to-date picture of the belly and I. There isn't much more to say!

So Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good night. :)

...I'll be around, just bouncing on my exercise ball and trying to get a baby out of this ol' belly.

xoxo

Thursday, December 15, 2011

it's not my fault


...that I have eaten two doughnuts in the past 12 hours. (It's time for a little "girl talk," is it not?)


I know, there are worse things I could do. But this is just a glimpse of the overall picture right now which is finding me inhaling foods that are a far cry from my norm. It doesn't include the stuffed shells I had for dinner the other night- with garlic bread. Or the 3/4 of a sour cherry pie I made and ate.

By myself.

In 3 days.

A quarter of which I ate in one sitting one night right before bed.

And then there was the night I came home from choir practice and ate an Oreo McFlurry followed by half a can of sour cream and onion Pringles. That was a dark moment in my life.

Oh, Liam, what are you doing to me?

I think he's making up for the fact that I have had zero cravings with this pregnancy. But this isn't who I am!

I am the girl who would honestly rather eat an orange for dessert than some kind of cake. Ice cream doesn't appeal to me, and salad was my favorite food even as a 4-year old girl. I just naturally LOVE fruits and vegetables.

But now- a doughnut?? Well, two.

Do not feel guilty, Lauren, do not feel guilty....

Now, before you get the wrong opinion of me, let me say this: I am not a psycho about food, nor do I have an unhealthy obsession with food/weight. I am simply aware of what goes into my body. And I find it to be hugely important to take care of our bodies and be healthy. That means staying in shape and eating well so that it functions the way it was designedto work. We only get one body in life. I have no qualms about eating any food because I believe everything in moderation is the way we were designed to live. But after getting to a point in college where I was much bigger than I'd like to be and working to lose it, going from size 10 to 2, I am still aware (meaning not fixated) of my daily exercise-to-caloric-intake balance.

But....1)I'm still under the 25 pounds that "I'm supposed to gain" during pregnancy and have only 4 weeks left so I think it's just my body packing on that durn-blasted fat to burn during labor. 2)And it's also time to be plumping Liam up so that he's ready for the world and cuddly to snuggle with.

Because of those reasons I'm allowing these foods to be consumed. And I know when girls are pregnant the phrase "eating for two" gets thrown around, but the truth is that during the first two trimesters you only need an extra 300 calories. That means eat one extra healthy snack in the afternoon and you're good. The last trimester needs more- about 500 more- but none of those mean we're supposed to eat like crazy people. Fat is fat and labor only burns so much. All the extra fat that's left still needs to be worked off slowly and purposefully afterward.

All of that being said, you should know something: THOSE DOUGHNUTS WERE AMAZING. ;)




Is it bad that my Christmas Cookie "to make" list grows daily?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

healthy doesn't have to mean bland

For dinner tonight we had grilled tilapia seasoned with olive oil, black pepper, and salt served with a potato, orange, and arugula salad. Holy moley. We'll be eating it again. So, while those of you in the middle of the cold winter weather may not feel the urge to grill, those of us in tropical climates cook on! And this was incredible. The salad was so light with the orange slices and simple dressing and it complimented the fish, but the potatoes added some weight to the meal while the Gorgonzola and walnuts added creamy crunchiness that made us smile. I forgot, of course, to take a picture- I get so excited when it's time to try something new! But I can pass along the recipe anyway!


Potato, Orange and Arugula Salad

Ingredients

Potatoes:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 2 medium oranges
  • 2 packed cups (2 ounces) arugula
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts, see Cook's Note

Dressing:

Directions

Potatoes: Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Put the potatoes and the olive oil in a medium bowl and toss until coated. Arrange the potatoes, cut side down, in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast until golden, about 35 to 40 minutes Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Salad: Peel and trim the ends from each orange. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a salad bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into a small bowl and reserve 1 tablespoon of juice for the dressing. Add the arugula, Gorgonzola, walnuts and the cooled potatoes to the salad bowl.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, reserved orange juice, vinegar, and orange zest until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the dressing to the potato mixture and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

36 weeks



Four more weeks of baking to go and we're complete! Roman came 3 days after his due date, so here's hoping Liam comes a few days early or only a few days late. I know there is no way to know when he's coming but he's welcome whenever he arrives.
xoxo

i'm baaaack

So last week Jerr was gone to the East Coast to take a class for work, which means he took the computer with him- college classes continue even when traveling is required! And that explains my silence. Sure it was possible to write blogs via amazing iphone but I was not willing to chicken-peck my way to blog entries.

So to get caught up....

We had lots of cuddle time.



I got together with a girlfriend and we painted some orange on those plain white walls in Roman's room, plus I added a rug to his floor to add more color. It was a MAJOR score at Ross- I bought my 6x9' rug for $40. Yes, please! Finally, Roman has moved in.


I wrapped Christmas gifts- they are all ready and waiting for Christmas. I told you I was going to work on my wrapping and I don't feel like most of them are anything spectacular in spite of the time I spent. I don't know if you knew, but making pretty gifts takes a lot of time. It used most of my "alone time" during Roman's naps, but at least they're done and I tried and they are better than usual! Here is an example.

And Jerr came home Saturday night, which means Sunday and Monday (he took off to spend some make-up "family time" with us) were filled with lots of boy bonding. They missed each other.

It's funny how things feel unfinished when the husband is missing from the equation. I had a great week and the days passed quickly, but I felt like my goal was to make the days pass quickly instead of enjoying the days the way I do when he's home. Just another thing that made us say "THIS is why we're getting out." We're done with time apart. Goodness knows we've put in our time.

And now we're back to the regularly scheduled programming :) It's nice to enjoy the days once again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

things are not always as they seem

Side note: this picture is saved to my desktop to motivate me to wrap beautiful gifts this Christmas instead of just the normal quick tape-bow-and-done jobby. I want to make them look as special as hopefully the contents end up being!

Anyway, on to the real blog topic: the kind of parent I want to be. There isn't a reason for this post, it's just been on my mind lately and I find myself having to purposely make decisions to parent one way or another...and these are some of the things I've been basing my decisions on.


I want to parent in a way that first gives my children the opportunity to obey before I jump in and correct them. Disclaimer: this, of course, does not apply in a situation that could put them in danger. ie: They ran into the street. But sometimes I feel as though my desire to give my child[ren] space to make decisions and learn to obey can make it seem like I'm being a lazy mother.

Example of what I am talking about: I remember a moment during our visit to Cali where I was having dinner with several girlfriends of mine and Roman was walking over to a piece of siding that was laying by the side of the house. I stood there watching Roman, knowing I was not going to allow him to touch it because it was sharp and could hurt him, waiting to see what he'd do with it. I don't want to rush in to scold him before he's done something wrong, nor do I want to remove him from the situation- I want him to be obedient when I tell him "no." And so I watched. But my girlfriends, with their big hearts and a desire to protect my son because they loved him (which is awesome, in my book!) swooped in and one moved the siding while another picked Roman up and took him to another section of the yard. And I chuckled and of course thanked them for being concerned for his safety because they acted with good intentions. But I silently wondered if they were thinking, "Good grief! His own mother is standing right there doing nothing and I had to go move her kid. Come on, lady- how about be a parent!" I have decided they weren't thinking that because they are my friends and I like to think they know my heart. But how easy would that be to think of someone?

It's moments like this that teach me that it's important to trust someone's heart, especially a mother's heart for her child[ren], and consider that there might be a pretty good reason for an action that doesn't make sense or seems wrong to you based on the limited information you have.

I also want to be a parent who teaches her children to live appropriately in the world around them instead of changing the world to make it easier and avoid lessons. It would be easier to put Sophie's bowl somewhere Roman couldn't reach, or to only put water in it during Sophie's meal times, but then he wouldn't learn the lesson: dog water bowls are not to be played in.

And there are certain times that allow for lessons to be learned the hard way. Don't judge me for this- I promise I'm not a horrible mother! But for a while Roman kept trying to reach my hot coffee cup in the morning and I would move it quickly and say, "No, Roman, it's hot! Ouch!" but it wasn't doing much to keep him from trying and we were doing this little dance every morning. So one day I didn't move it. When he reached toward it I said, "Roman, no touch. It's hot. Ouch." but he touched it anyway. He quickly pulled his hand away and rubbed his hands together. I said, "Yeah, ouch. Hot." And the struggle was over. It also turned out to be a really great way to teach him what "hot" is (and in a world with ovens, stove tops, and fire it's a good lesson to know!) and now if he is reaching toward something he shouldn't, like a Scentsy burner, I just say "Roman, be careful- it's hot." and he will rub his hands together like he did when he touched my coffee cup and walk away. Sometimes teaching an effective lesson isn't completely pain free. But that was a safe way to show him that "hot" means "don't touch" for a reason.

I'm not saying all of this because I have it figured out and want to teach anyone anything! I write it because it's on my mind and I love hearing other mom's write me back with advice or "I'm there too!" comments. And because it's easiest to write about what life is right now- and this is my life right now! :)

I'm just really enjoying being a mama. It's fun to do something that requires so much thought.

And the hugs and kisses aren't so bad, either. ;)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jerry wrote a post!

I married an amazing man who is both an incredible father AND husband. The proof of this is in the fresh flowers that are sitting on my counter that he brought home for me when he came for lunch yesterday "just because." The proof that he is an incredible father is something you can see when you read his post as a guest blogger today here at Common Sense Mama and he did a great job!

What a guy... <3

it's getting to be that time

Yep, that's Liam in there!

Today I am 6 weeks away from my due date and for the first time, I feel ready. Until now it has been a pretty even combination of "I don't think I can do this!!!" and "I am so excited to expand our family!" But finally the fear and worry is subsiding and I find myself just being ready.

I looked at Roman's newborn pictures a few nights ago and realized that a NEW BABY was a scary concept, but Liam was my son and would be no more intimidating than his brother. For some awesome reason, when they hand you your own baby, that you grew and carried for 40 weeks, they aren't even a tiny bit scary! And the love you have for them is the emotion that outweighs everything.

Then on Tuesday I met with the group of mommas, who I've been doing a book study with, and was comforted to hear that all of them experienced these same questions and concerns I've had lately when they were having their second child. With Roman, the worries I had were things like "How will I know what he needs? What if I don't know how to _____? How do I nurse? What the heck am I doing!?" and with Liam it's been questions like "How will adding this person change our family dynamic? How will I let go of the guilt that is sure to come as I watch Roman getting less attention than he used to? How will I juggle the needs of two young boys who both need me a pretty large amount?" And it was nice to hear that those questions are normal. It was nice to be told that Liam is sure to be different than Roman, because God just doesn't make two people exactly alike- good thing!- but different doesn't mean opposite.

I have had so many people say things like, "Well you know Roman is too easy- you're going to have a horrible second child to make up for it." and I think that's a really, really mean thing to say to someone. And I get protective inside because Liam isn't even born yet and already these horrible things are being spoken over his life that don't have to be true. So it was nice to hear that just because my first baby was a good sleeper doesn't mean my second one won't be, etc. Yes, I recognize that he MAY not be a good sleeper, because he is his own person, but there is nothing that guarantees I will be tortured with a dificult second child BECAUSE my first child is so "easy." I am finally able to rest in the knowledge that God is giving us the most perfect person to add to our family, he is free to be whatever he was created to be with whatever personality he was created to have, and we will love him just as much.

I have also started to feel like I've finally got the hang of this season I'm in with Roman- which surely means it's time to go back the other way! It's just a cycle that is continuous. And the more I think about it, I realize a lot of things in life are that way for me. I feel that way in marriage and I also felt that way in my teaching career. I have moments of feeling like I'm failing miserably and have no idea what I'm doing, then I move on to a point where I feel like you're I'm not amazing but I'm not the horrible wife/teacher/mom that I recently was convinced I was, then I feel like I actually rock at what I'm doing... and then there is a reality check and I head back to where I feel like a failure. And on the cycle goes. I totally had my hard moments about a month ago, then between now and then I've been figuring it out, and now I feel like I'm actually doing a good job. So it makes sense that it's time for Liam to be here and send me back to the "I have no idea what I'm doing" part of the ride. It's a nice mix of humility and comfort, all in all, right? LOL

Maybe I'm the only one who rides this cycle.

But that's where I am, sitting here at 34 weeks, and knowing time is coming to a close. Liam's arrival still doesn't feel CLOSE but it's coming into view. And sometimes I still can't believe I'm going to have a baby. I'm pretty sure my belly is just the result of holiday over-eating.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

i don't want to be the reason

...that Roman doesn't accomplish all of which he's capable.

Two posts ago, when I wrote about decorating for Christmas with a toddler in the house, I mentioned another topic that has been popping up in life often lately- that we, as parents, often hold our children back.

The first time that concept appeared was about 2 months ago when Roman was 14 months and was still enjoying one bottle of milk after waking up. I know at a year babies can/should be weaned from the bottle, and he was only having this one, but I was dreading the tears and complaints that would come when I took it away. It's not nice to subject Mommy to that kind of tantrum before the coffee has had a chance to kick in. But I needed to stop procrastinating and do it.

So I called my girlfriend and asked her to check in with me in about 4 days and kick me in the pants if I hadn't done it yet. There's nothing like some friendly abuse accountability to help motivate you!

I decided to start the process on a Thursday, figuring it would take about 3-4 days, since that's how long it takes for babies/toddlers to establish a new habit. On morning #1 I woke up, prepared to withstand crying, tears, pleas, etc....and got nothing. He asked once, I said "No bottle, all done." and handed him a cup of milk with a straw and he was over it.

The second morning I just handed him his milk and he happily went on with his morning. Are you kidding me!??! I'd start a war if someone tried to take my coffee from me in the morning!!!!! In disbelief I called my girlfriend, the one I had called to mentally prepare me the day before, and told her that I had put off doing something for 2 months that took NONE of the effort I was expecting. To which she said, "Lauren, you have just learned one of the biggest lessons of motherhood: WE are often the ones who keep our children from doing things, or who create so much drama around an event. Learn from this. You're going to see people doing it over and over." And I have thought about that many times since our conversation that day. Roman didn't care at all that his morning treat was exchanged for another form of the same. It was me. I had kept both of us from the change, subjecting myself to more bottle washing!

This concept of parents being the ones to hold our children back from change/growth/lessons has been creeping up everywhere from the decision Jerry and I made to decorate our house for Christmas the way we wanted, to my Mom's Book Club yesterday that found several mothers sharing experiences of the same kind. It's easy to do! You just get going down the path you're on and suddenly you find yourself still cutting pizza for your 6-year old to eat because you never considered the fact that they were able to pick it up and eat it about 2 years ago!

I want to be the mom that pushes my kids. That encourages them to eat their cereal without my help, even though it's going to be messy for a while, because they can totally handle that task on their own. I want to let my children help with chores even though it makes them take longer because I understand that the lesson is more important than the completion of the task at hand. I want to have patience and understand that teaching as we live life side-by-side is the most effective way of instruction. And I don't want to put all the glass ornaments high on the tree so they don't get broken before I've given Roman a chance to see what he's capable of handling.

xoxo