Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hot Almond

Since temps are hovering around the single digits and the wind chill can freeze your eyeballs in their sockets, I find that I'm looking for a little warmth to balance things out.  While I love hot chocolate, I was looking for something with a little more ooomph.

Enter the Hot Almond.  It's warm and fragrant and it has a sweet, delicious taste.  Plus it's super easy to make.

Hot Almond

Ingredients

1 cup of milk (any percent will work)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp almond extract
whipped cream (optional)
cinnamon (optional)

1.  Stir sugar and milk together in a microwave safe cup

2.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes

3.  Stir in almond extract

4.  Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon

It's that easy and that delicious.  If you use skim milk it's only 3 weight watchers points plus.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter in Pictures

When faced with writer's block, fall back on pictures of adorably cute children.







Seriously though, I hate the winter, I hate the snow, I hate the gray-ness and I hate having to wear a hat, but it's like 3 degrees here.  Brrrrrrrrr!!!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Revitalize

I realize I'm a day late and a dollar short on the whole "word of the year" bit, but it's still January so it's technically still the start of the new year.  So the word for this year is REVITALIZE.

Last year was a year of rebuilding.  We rebuilt our family as a family of four.  We rebuilt our schedules around the needs of a new baby.  We moved into a new home and we might as well have rebuilt it since it's such a pain in the ass.

But this year, we're coasting.  We have no major life changes coming up, we're fairly settled into our routine, so now it's time to breath new life into our day to day life.

I want to get back into doing crafty things with Isabella and I even started to dabble myself.  I want to get back into play dates and day trips now that Arya's schedule is a wee bit more flexible.  I want to start spending some time and energy on myself.  I've been using the fact that I'm still nursing as a crutch to hide my fears behind.  I can't do this because I'm still nursing.  I can't do that because I'm still nursing.  I need to give it a rest.

I want to also push some limits.  I want to take more risks and try new things and not be so afraid of everything.  I want to really really write, I have so many stories in my head and even if no one ever reads them but me, what an accomplishment to write them down.  I know that seems silly to be afraid to write down a story you never want to show anyone anyway, but that's what a scaredy cat I am.

I'm like Charlie Brown in that Christmas show who is afraid of everything!

But this year I want to revitalize, make the life I already have and love that much better.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Allegiant

******This post will contain plot SPOILERS for Veronica Roth's book Allegiant*****************

************** S     P    O    I    L    E     R    S ******************************************

Allegiant is the third, and final, installment of Veronica Roth's Divergent series.  Divergent kicked off as a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel starring Tris and the dreamy Four.  It was awesome and I loved it.  I loved the second book, Insurgent, a little bit less.  I was still riveted by the story, but there were some plot holes.  For example, "we had to turn in all the guns" and then in the next paragraph, "I pulled a gun on him."  Annoying, but I was able to forgive Roth because the story was amazing and I was ready to panty drop for my main man Four.

Then Allegiant came out.  The main departure was that this book was told in the point of view of Tris and Four instead of just Tris, which I would have been fine with if either of them had a distinctive voice.  They didn't.  They were both equally whiny and annoying.  They talk about people the same way and they think the same way.  I had to keep scrolling back to the beginning of the chapter to see who was talking.  When J.R.R Martin does this in A Song of Ice and Fire, I know who's talking without even having to look.  I can hear Arya Stark's voice or Cersai's.  That doesn't translate in Roth's writing.

Then there's the completely and needless death of the protagonist, Tris.  I kept waiting for some serum to bring her back (there are lots of serums in Allegiant...lots).  But nope.  She sacrificed herself for her douche bag brother Caleb who everybody hated.  This was Caleb's one shot at redemption, one shot for us to forget that he tried to execute his own sister.  Her death was needless, pointless and lacked any sort of meaning.

I don't know if Roth had this death planned out from the start or if she just kind of lost her way and needed to find a way to end the novel, but it was just stupid.  Really, really stupid.

Then there's the convoluted plot with rebellion after rebellion and serum after serum and I couldn't even keep track of who was fighting who or who I wanted to win.  I was rooting for no one and the book left me cold.

I don't know what's next for Roth, but it's safe to say she just killed her cash cow.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

When She's Still

Arya's at an age where she's all go-go-go. Everything is interesting and everything warrants a thorough investigation.  She's scooting, army crawling, and reaching for everything in sight.  It's so fun to watch, but so exhausting.  She's never really content to just sit, she's more into checking everything out.  Even her nursing has gotten out of hand, she'll hear a deer fart in the forest and will pop off to investigate.  It takes forever to nurse her because she's so distractable.  Never thought I'd be longing for those long newborn nursing sessions!

I love the fire and the fun and the curiosity, but there's something now that I savor even more.

When she's still.

Every night when I nurse her to sleep and she snuggles deep into me and her eyelids, heavy with sleep, close and her sucking becomes light and feathery and her chubby little fingers, finally lie still.  There's something so peaceful about it, so sweet.  When I pick her up and her sleepy body, lies cradled in my arms and I place her in her crib and she stretches out like a cat, opens her eyes one last time and then drifts off to sleep.

Those moments are few and far between when she's awake because there's a big world out there that she needs to experience, but I really do love our nightly routine when she finally lies still and I can smell her sweet baby smell and feel the smoothness of her cheeks while they are enshrouded in sleepiness.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

8 Months

Weight: unknown


Height: unknown (Her next appointment isn't until next month)

Sleeping Habits: Yawn!  I keep waiting for a miracle and so far I'm out of luck.  She goes to sleep at 7:30 and is up for the day at around 6, sometimes earlier.  Sometimes she's up only once, sometimes twice.  She takes 3 naps a day 45 min-2 hours.  ::yawn again::

Eating Habits: We still EBF and she takes bottles of pumped milk when I'm at work.  She eats every 3-4 hours.  She'll take 4-5 ounces in a bottle. She's not a fan of baby food, so we're doing baby led weaning and this child absolutely loves table food:  chicken, peas, pancakes, fruit, waffles, eggs, everything she can get her grubby little hands on.

Milestones: Pulling up to a stand, waving bye-bye, saying "dada"

Best Thing This Month: Arya's first Christmas.  Andy had the flu, but it's so nice to have a wee baby around.

Challenges This Month: Pumping.  I'm so over it I swear to God.  4 more months and then I'm setting my breast pump on fire and putting the flames out with an ice pic.  

Looking Forward To: Nothing.  There is nothing going on this whole month that I know about. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Falling Out of Love with Blogging

I've been having a hard time writing lately.  It's not that I don't have ideas, I do, I just feel like I don't want to.  I'm not generating the traffic or the comments that I used to and I know why, it's because I'm not out there commenting and reading like I should.  But I'm sick of something that once brought me such release and such joy feeling like such a chore.

It shouldn't feel like a chore.  I've kind of been forcing myself to write and the content feels ingenuous and forced.  No one is ever really going to make it "big" blogging save for The Pioneer Woman and Deuce.

I'm not planning on calling in the troops, I have too much invested and the thought of letting it fade into the Further just scares the bejeezus out of me.  But I'm not going to force myself to write when there are no words or desire.

Maybe I'm just in a writing rut?  Maybe it's because my real life is fairly awesome right now?  Maybe it's because I'm so busy and so tired that there's not a lot of left over energy?

I don't know what it is, so I'm just rolling with it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I'm Still Tired

Back in September I wrote THIS POST about being tired and now it's January and I'm still really fucking tired.  Why won't this baby sleep?  It's probably all my fault. I nurse her to sleep, I don't let her cry, I rock her, wah, wah, wah.

But my eyes hurt and I just want to crawl into the bags under them and take a snooze.

This is because I was bitchy to my mom when I was in high school right?

She needs to be nap trained.  She needs to be sleep trained, but goddamn it, as tired as I am I am just completely apathetic about it.

I'll probably just wind up nursing her until she's like 9 because I'm just that lazy.  That was a joke, because gross.

So here I am, almost 8 months in and I'm still really tired.  Where are all my sleepy mamas at?

Don't let that cute face fool you...she's fresh!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Recently on Parent Society

Here are some of the posts I wrote for Parent Society in the month of December.  Don't mind the shameless self-promotion!

4 Nursing Tips for the Expectant Mom- here are a few tips to help get you started

Coping With Pregnancy After a Miscarriage - the pregnancy following a miscarriage can be riddled with anxiety and doubt, here are some ways to cope.

25 Signs You're Turning Into Your Mother - ever open your mouth and your mother's voice comes out?  Yeah me too.

What NOT to Say to a Working Mom - sometimes people just need to shut their pie holes

4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack - be kind to yourself mama.

Now go and share all the posts!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby Steps

So I'm starting off this year on a good foot, but resolutions are hard to stick with, so I'm breaking it down into weekly goals to help keep myself not only skinny, but healthy...although skinny is also a big part of it.  I want this to be a big rebuilding year for me.  I want to get my body in order, my spirit in order, my house in order, and my finances in order.

Those are some tall orders, so I'm taking baby steps.

For example, my only goals this past week were to track my eating.  Not make any changes.  Not try to be a health nut from the get go...just to faithfully write down what I ate.  I use the weight watchers app, but pen and paper is also good and so is My Fitness Pal.  Just to write it down and own it.  If you nibble it...scribble it.  If you bite it...write it.  Catchy no?

After reflecting on my food journal, I've noticed that I'm most susceptible to bad decision making in regards to food right when I get out of work at around 3:30.  I just hit a wall and crave something sweet, which is usually the good chocolate that I keep stashed in my desk drawer.  No bueno.  So I'm thinking of maybe stashing some pre-portioned raisins or keeping just one piece of dark chocolate in my car for the ride home.  If there's more than one I'll eat it.  Any other sweet suggestions that won't blow my points?

I've really cut back on the alcohol consumption as well, not only because it's high in calories, but because it gives me the munchies.  Here's my issue, when the hubs and I are sharing a bottle of wine or having a few beers he'll be like "Let's have some cheese and crackers with this wine" or "Hey, wouldn't some buffalo wings be awesome with this beer."  And there he is sitting and eating them and even if I'm really not in the mood for it, I'll pick at it.  Not sure what to do with that.  Somehow eating carrot sticks while he eats chicken wings, doesn't seem that appealing.

I just feel that this is going to be a big year.  One step at a time.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Top Ten

Here are the Top Ten posts of 2013 (not stats wise, but just some of my faves.

1.  I See You

2.  The Mother of All Meltdowns

3.  The Reason I'm Fat

4.  Nursing In Public

5.  Ways to Know You're In Your 30's

6.  Why Sex and The City Ruined Your Life

7.  Something's Missing

8.  The Mother Post

9.  Arya Hope's Birth Story

10.  Ten Worst Things About Being Pregnant

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year

2013 was equal parts amazing and extremely difficult.  It brought us our sweet little girl who has brought us such joy and happiness.  It's been a completely different experience parenting Arya than it has Isabella not only because they are such different babies, but because I'm a different person.

Isabella has started full time pre-school and she loves it.  She loves her teachers and her friends and she's really opening up and overcoming the shyness we saw a lot of at the start of the school year.  She loves to write and is even starting to read some simple sentences on her own.  She's so fun and vibrant and smart and I've watched her grow in leaps and bounds this year.

We've been in our forever house for a full year at this point and while it is still, affectionately but accurately, dubbed the Money Pit, it's nice to live in this neighborhood and have a place to put all of the junk we accumulate over the years.

I started working as a contributor for Parent Society and I co-authored an amazing book with 29 other wonderful bloggers called The Mother of All Meltdowns.

But it's also been tough at times.  The transition to having a second child wasn't always easy, or graceful for me.  I'm not what you would call a "natural" mother and it's been tough trying to balance a full time career with two kids plus stay on top of all the other things that  come up in life.  Sometimes I've rocked it, sometimes I've blown it, and sometimes I've cried for help.

I'm not impressed with the state of my body this year that's for sure.  I have periods where I do my Weight Watchers and squeeze in exercise and then I have periods where I eat like it's my job.  This year I want to really focus on health and not just fitness.  Treat myself as a whole person and not just as a number on a scale.

I hope you all had an amazing New Year's Day and are gearing up for a wonderful 2014.