Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November recipe challenge: Thanksgiving dinner

Okay, so the food wasn't challenging; I've made it all before, and I had help this year. But, I prepared the turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce all on my own.

I even had a nicely set table (with china!) and fresh-cut flowers. This counts as a challenge, right? Especially considering my own little turkey kept interrupting my (minimal) preparations!

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 28, 2011

mama bear crazy

My emotions will be the end of me. First, it was the weepies. Now, I've turned into a full-fledged mama bear: protective and possessive.

 In some cases, this isn't such a bad thing. I feel an animal instinct to protect my young, including everything from where and how Mason sleeps to who he spends his time with. But I wonder when, if ever, this extreme protective nature will subside. For example, right now I can't imagine allowing Mason to ride in a car alone with someone other than Brad or me driving. I know it's only been two months, but it's still hard for me to leave Mason for any amount of time. (But, don't worry. I have and I do and I will continue to do so. It's important for both of us. I know.)

And on the possessive side of this complex, my heart tightens like an iron fist when anyone (except Brad) tries to snatch Mason from my arms (unsolicited) or hovers over him and tries to mother him to the extent of undermining me and my parenting practices. Those people--I call them baby hogs--make me crazy!

Yes, I am hormonal. But I can't be the only one, right? Does anyone else have any mama bear moments or pet peeves? Please share!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Some years are chock full of blessings, others are characterized by heartaches, and most are a combination of both. No matter your perspective, time passes, too quickly in most cases, and each day provides a reason to give thanks to God for his faithfulness and providence.

Happy Thanksgiving, Gentle Readers!

Monday, November 21, 2011

romantic dinners

Mason's birth has brought many changes to my life, but the most unexpected is the number of romantic dinners Brad and I have eaten in the past two months.

Because Mason's downstairs station is in our dining room, if he is napping there during dinner, we keep the lights up just high enough to see our plates. Thank goodness for dimmer switches! I can't imagine that any restaurant I choose for my birthday dinner in the future will be able to match the lovely, low-light atmosphere at home these days.

Low light and a soft serenade of lullabies and baby coos coming from the pack 'n play--a dinner at home doesn't get much better than that, especially on the rare nights that we can finish a meal uninterrupted.

Friday, November 18, 2011

breaking dawn

Who says my life has to completely change by having a child?

It's 2:30 AM and I just got home from seeing this.

It was phenomenal, and that's all I'll say right now, as I know other Twihards have yet to see the movie and I don't want to ruin anything. Now, I'm off to catch a couple hours sleep before my new alarm clock awakes me. Recovering from attending a midnight premiere will certainly be different with an infant in the house.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

babies don't keep

My friend Allison sent me this fun and true poem about motherhood. I feel better about my dirty house now!

Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

new Christmas traditions

Gentle Readers, I would love to hear about Christmas traditions you began with your children. I have a few ideas, but would love to hear more.

Also, does anyone have a favorite line of Christmas tree ornaments, preferably something that would be appropriate for children? Maybe something on Etsy? I'd love to give Mason an ornament of his own each Christmas and build his collection over the years.

Monday, November 14, 2011

what my to-do list should look like

Before becoming a parent, I remember friends talking about how one of their most difficult adjustments was feeling like they could never get anything done. Even my most organized friends bemoaned only being able to mark one or two items--instead of 20--from their to-do lists on a good day.

Oh, how I can now relate to this!

However, I think I need to change my perspective. It's not like I'm sitting around doing nothing all day. Ha! If anything, I'm more productive than I've ever been. I've never unloaded a dishwasher or showered so quickly in my life!

My to-do lists should reflect my day's activities. Then, I could mark every item off the list and fall into bed at night feeling productive and accomplished. This standard list pretty much sums up my daily life right now:
  • Feed Mason (x6 or 7)
  • Burp Mason (x6 or 7)
  • Change Mason (x7+)
  • Clean up at least one pee or poop accident
  • Dress Mason (possibly x2+ depending on above bullet)
  • Conduct Mason's exercises for left sternocleidomastoid (x5)
  • Apply Mason's cream for seborrhea (x2)
  • Give Mason a probiotic for gas
  • Make sure Mason gets 25-30 minutes of tummy time
  • Put Mason down for a nap (x4+)
  • Soothe Mason back to sleep ifwhen he wakes up early from nap (x4+)
  • Read/cuddle/snuggle/play in the few free "awake" minutes
  • Deal with evening fussiness
  • Bedtime routine
And these are just the Mason-related tasks that must be done each day. On days when I add on his baths, walks, pediatrician appointments, and the like, it's no wonder why my house is dirty and I can barely get dinner on the table!

Friday, November 11, 2011

my new car

BOB Revolution SE

On September 9th, my last day of work, I filled my car's tank with gas. That tank of gas lasted exactly two months; I filled up again on Wednesday, November 9th.

It's not that I haven't been going anywhere, especially the last month. I just have a new type of car now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

on having a boy

For years, I assumed I would have a daughter one day. Girlie girls had only daughters, correct? What would I do with a boy? I'm not into sports. I avoid getting dirty or sweaty. I could care less about cars or trucks or other large pieces of machinery that I can't name. I held this assumption back when I foolishly believed I could get pregnant whenever I chose to, and that I would have a May baby one day (always my preferred month to give birth, not sure why). I didn't understand the Lord's sovereignty then. I also had no appreciation for the miracle of or fragile nature of life.

Even with my first pregnancy, had it lasted longer, I probably would have secretly yearned for a daughter. But then my life and perspective changed with that loss, and our second loss reminded me that God creates life, and any life is a miracle.

When I became pregnant a third time, it never crossed my mind to hope for a daughter--it just didn't matter anymore. Hair bows and cute outfits and girlie chats suddenly became much less important when praying for a baby to be born alive and healthy. I knew better than to take the latter for granted.

That moment in the labor and delivery room when my eyes first landed on my baby and Brad exclaimed, "It's a boy!" was one of the best surprises of my life. We had a healthy son! He was alive and screaming and suddenly flailing about on my chest. He was the baby made for us. The Lord had prepared and intended for me to mother a son. I had never known such gratitude and joy. And the surprise of his sex made meeting him for the first time even sweeter. I loved him instantly and unconditionally.

And now, nearly eight weeks later, I can't imagine having a daughter. Pee on the wall keeps my days at home with him anything but mundane. Another sports fan under my roof? Go Vols! Cars and trucks and dirt and roughhousing . . .  those days, Lord willing, will come, and I can't wait.

I can't imagine any other face but this sweet boy's.

I have a son--hooray! And may he always know and love his mama.

Monday, November 7, 2011

to run again

I did it! Six weeks and six days after giving birth, I got back on the horse--I went for a run.

I ran two miles without walking, and I even ran up the hill at the start of my route. (After the first heat wave of late spring, I excused myself from running up hills while pregnant.) My legs wobbled a little. My time was slow, but not nearly as slow as when I ran at 40 weeks pregnant in the heat. What a difference it makes to run without a big belly!

Although I enjoyed the few minutes of alone time, the crisp November air in my lungs, and the feeling of accomplishment, I still missed my little running partner, the one who's accompanied me on every run of 2011. Suddenly, I was alone again, just how it used to be . . .  and at the same time, nothing like it used to be.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

jalapeno poppers

Thanks for all of your suggestions regarding what I should do with my plethora of jalapeno peppers. I made a huge batch of Pioneer Woman's restaurant style salsa, as well as her jalapeno poppers. I ate plenty fresh out of the oven, but one of the best aspects of the poppers is that once cooked, they can be frozen and then quickly defrosted: perfect for unexpected company or a party.

Five Guys makes a phenomenal grilled cheese sandwich with fresh jalapeno peppers. Recreating that masterpiece at home will use approximately one pepper, which leaves me with about 15 to go.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

professional photographs: how often?

Before Mason was born, I researched photographers to take pictures of all three of us soon after we arrived home from the hospital. Amanda Gilley came to our home when Mason was six days old for his newborn shoot, and I absolutely love how the photos turned out. (More on this later.) Expecting moms, if you want professional photographs of your newborn, do the groundwork now to set this up. You won't have time or energy to do it once the baby is born.

My baby's looks are changing rapidly, and I want to preserve his various stages with professional photographs, but I'm torn about how often to have them taken. If "monthly" is the answer, I've already missed Mason's first month! Professional newborn photos were worth the splurge. What other ages are worth the splurge of hiring a professional?

Current mamas, please chime in. Should I call Amanda for Mason's six-month and/or one-year photos, and possibly go to a less expensive place for the three-month and nine-month marks? Or should I aim for photographing him more often using a cheaper venue, or less often with a more experienced photographer? What months during the first year are key to capture? If you've had your children's pictures taken at Target, Babies R Us, Picture People, or any of those types of operations, please let me know your thoughts on them. Thanks for your advice!