Obligatory Update

Well, it’s been a few weeks since the last post so you know what that means: some sort of vague update is in store!  This time it’s a daybook of sorts.

Reading: Too many things, I’m a little over my head in the book department to be honest!  I’m working on The Importance of Being Little which I am enjoying, but it’s also rather damning in regards to some of my beloved preschool routines and activities.  I’m attempting to keep an open mind.  I also have Acedia and Me, which I am a little scared of starting because I know that acedia is my number one vice.  Hence, why I ordered the book!  I also have The Nesting Place waiting for me at the library, so yeah, lots of things to read!  I’m also dying to reread an old favorite, Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher. Does anyone else experience this, like a craving for a favorite food, but it’s a book?

Watching:  Downton.  Duh!  (Spoilers ahead) So, I’ve been very “meh” about Downton for the past few years because it was just getting so ridiculous, but this last season has been ah-maz-ing!  But!  Why oh why did Lady Mary get her happy ending before Edith?  I mean, Edith called it like it is.  Mary is a B.

Thinking: Stewing is more like it.  Has anyone else read this article?  I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to nurse my two, but I also know so many women who greatly struggle for various reasons and eventually need to switch to formula.  I hate these types of articles that impose moral guilt on mothers! [Update: Simcha Fisher responds! Thank goodness!  “Women are more than the milk they can make.” Love her.]

Praying:  For sick relatives, for one pregnant sister and her upcoming move and the other formerly pregnant sister and her new baby girl!  Maura Rose was born on February 8th! I can’t wait to hold her little self!

Eating:  (I feel like the following is a bit misleading because I’m not really a crunchy health nut, but it is Lent and I’m trying to stay away from sweets, so I’ve been focusing more on eating healthfully… believe me, I’d rather be baking chocolate chip cookies…and eating the dough…)  I made these homemade apple pie lara bars to snack on and today I made a big batch of quinoa and roasted veggies so I could have veggie bowls for lunch this week.  Oh!  And I made this spinach bacon chicken risotto for dinner last week like a boss! It was so good and so easy, you have to try it!

Playing: Outside!  This weekend was very mild, which was nuts because last weekend it was in the subzero temps!  It’s such a blessing to have these mild days in the middle of winter.  We also went to the indoor trampoline park this morning.  The kids didn’t like it at all.  😉IMG_5534IMG_5541

Wearing:  Too many stripes, probably.  I’m afraid we’re all going to look back on ourselves 10 years from now and shake our heads at all the horizontal stripes.  But I can’t help myself!  And I feel like it must be classy, right?

I mean.      Image

Thankful: As always, for my Dave.  I was able to get away for most of the day Saturday to view several of the Catholic Conference 4 Moms videos with some fellow Catholic moms at a nearby parish.  I came back so refreshed with my extrovert cup filled, and the kids had a great time with Dad of course.  Whenever Gus has too much alone time with Dave, he starts calling me Daddy.  Funny, he doesn’t call Dave Mommy despite me being home with him all the time.  Dad’s just a special guy. 🙂

Looking Forward:  Spring!  I can’t wait to see if the bulbs come up that I frantically planted in November. We also have a lot of house projects on the horizon.  A new roof, new paint job, maybe new paving, and hopefully a nice facelift to our living room too.  We bit the bullet and ordered a new slip cover for our couch because it’s really been looking shabby lately.  We ordered it in a dusky shade of blue instead of the parchment shade of off-white we have already and I’m so excited!  With a new couch (color) and fresh paint on the walls, it will be like a whole new room!

Fighting off Advent Apprehension

Can I tell you something? This used to be my favorite time of year. Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, I looked forward to this time of year all year long. But now I kind of dread it.  And not because I’m a mom and I have more to do this time of year.  It’s because there seems to be so much pressure these days, especially on Catholic moms, to “get it right.”  To do Advent right and Christmas right.  The questions and blog posts have already started.

Do you do Santa?

When do you set up the tree?

Are you successful at keeping Advent sacred and unsullied by Christmas revelry until midnight of Christmas Eve?

Maybe it’s just my easy-going personality, but I think my McFamily did things pretty well.  We were always very aware of and into the Advent season. We had our Advent wreath and usually a paper Advent calendar and we could take turns opening the door for the day. Later in my childhood my mom found this Advent read-aloud called Jotham’s Journey that we all really enjoyed.  But, we also got our Christmas tree usually half way through the month and we decorated it right away, while listening to Christmas music. We believed in Santa Clause, but we would also get a present from Baby Jesus on Christmas morning. Some years we went to the Christmas Eve Mass and but later on we mostly went to Mass on Christmas morning, some years before opening presents if I remember correctly! My point is, I think my parents did a good job of teaching us about the true meaning of Christmas.  We knew Advent was a season of preparation, but we also were excited about Christmas coming and enjoyed the magic of the decorations, the music, the special movies and treats.

I understand the intent behind this “keep Advent sacred” movement.  We live in a world where the Halloween candy appears at stores in July and Santa shows up in September.  I get it, we all need to reel it in and recognize that Christmas is on December 25th and the season of Advent comes before so that we can prayerfully prepare our hearts and our homes.  But, maybe it’s because I’m not much a disciplined, austere person myself that I don’t see the harm in a decorated tree on December 12th and Christmas songs playing while making dinner in December.  As an adult, and especially since becoming a Mom, the darkness descending outside at 4:30pm makes the rest of life feel dark, but that month-6 weeks that we have the tree up and the other seasonal comforts really helps everyone’s moods.  Furthermore, it helps me keep my focus on Christ and embrace and share the joy of the season.

I’m not trying to poo-poo anyone who works really hard at not mixing Advent and Christmas, I’m just saying I don’t think it ruins Advent when we slowly add in merriment as we build towards the Christmas feast.

We’re all journeying to the same place, but we all have different paths.  I might change my mind, or gradually become more strict about Advent and Christmas.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit will move my husband and me to try new things as we build our family traditions and strive to grow in holiness.  It’s happened before! I just don’t like this idea that if you do certain things at Christmastime, participate in certain more secular activities and traditions, that you are doing it wrong, and you’re damaging your kids.  There’s so much real darkness and evil in the world, why are we giving our neighbors a hard time about how they celebrate Christmas and the holidays?  We are each responsible for our own families, for our children and their moral growth, and nobody else’s and we should have faith that the Lord is working in other people’s hearts and families, just like ours.

Anyway, I’m going to try not to let this apprehension about Advent take me over.  Sometime in the next few days, I need to make sure I pick up new Advent candles.  I’m going to try to finish up Christmas shopping so I have time to do Christmas cards and Gus’ stocking in December. I’m going to pull out our Christmas books and make sure we start reading about the Nativity so it’s all fresh in Sara’s mind.  I have it on good authority that St. Nicholas is bringing Sara and Gus their own Nativity scene on December 6th.  [Although, as an aside, I’m getting the feeling that some people think that the Fisher Price Little-People Nativity is not authentic or beautiful enough? No, it’s not Fontanini, but it is toddler proof. I love Melissa and Doug and all things classy and wood like any other middle class American mom, but I do get so weary of the war against plastic toys.]

I think our world is desperate for the peace and joy of Christ, don’t you? That’s what I’m going to try to focus on this Advent and Christmas.

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7QT: Frivolous Minutiae

  1. Christy pulled on my heartstrings yesterday with her “I miss blogs” post.  I really miss them too. Needless to say, our little sisters blog here has never and will never be big.  My older sisters have always struggled to find time to blog with their growing families and I’ve been struggling with that too.  More than that, though, I’ve been struggling with what the point is.  I’m not click-baity, I don’t have a major theme or area of expertise, and  I’m also not terribly deep or inspirational. Honestly, I try to keep it light and even frivolous.  But is that okay? Is that allowed? It’s strange how the internet and blogs started out as this place where there were no rules and you could just do your thing, but now it seems like there are rules and you have to play the game right.  I’m not on board with that at all.  Anyway, I’m going to still plug away when I can with my bits and pieces of frivolity. And I hope, if you have a little corner of the internet, that you will keep at it too. 🙂
  2.  I shared on Instagram a while back that I’ve been making this certain dish for lunch for myself.
    Brussles sprouts and onions sauteed in butter with soft boiled eggs on top. Salt 'n peppa!

    Brussles sprouts and onions sauteed in butter with soft boiled eggs on top. Salt ‘n peppa

    I usually aim to eat my lunch after the kiddos are down for a nap (for obvious reasons) but today I made lunch while they were eating and sat down to eat when they were done and supposed to be playing.

  3. Gus is an Oliver type of kid, minus the starving orphan part.  Just the “Please sir, I want some more”, minus the please part.  He most certainly won’t eat my brussles sprouts and eggs, though.  I give him a bite to show him.  But he still won’t stop bothering me and climbing all over the table.

    Gus

    I don’t know that that is, but I want it, Mommy.

  4. Then Sara walks by and says “I fink Gussie has a poopy.” Sure enough, it was a 6 alarm situation in his diaper.  And meanwhile, my beautiful, delicious lunch grew cold on the table.  Lesson learned: no deviating from naptime lunches!
  5. Childbearing ladies of the interwebs, I had to share this recent purchase of mine with you: 

Loft Mosaic Pintucked Shirtdress

I’m super stoked about this dress because not only is it flattering on me now (not pregnant), but it also has room for a first-second trimester bump and it buttons in the front so it’s perfect for nursing.  I consider that a sound investment! Loft is having a 40% sale right now (like always), but maybe if you hold off they’ll have one of their flash sales and it’ll be even cheaper.

6.  I’ve been planning on trying out Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue because it’s name alone sounds like it would help my adolescent skin issues, and also Fran recommends it and she is my fashion and beauty guru.  However, after doing a little research (*cough* googling good BB cream for oily skin *cough*) I stumbled upon Dr. Jart Dis-A-Pore beauty balm and this stuff sounds like magic! Plus it has Dr. in the name, so it will cure my acne, right? Right? Anybody else tried it/heard about it?  I’m waiting to get some Amazon points before I pull the trigger.

7. And, just to make sure this a completely random post, you all really need to make this crockpot soup ASAP.  It’s been a favorite of ours all this fall.

Alrighty, that’s quite enough of my random ramblings.  Check out the other quick takes at This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Almost to the Finish Line

I’ve run across several good blog posts lately about nursing (this one from Like Mother Like Daughter and this one from Call Her Happy are at the top of my head right now) that have helped me reflect now that I’m nearing the finish line with Gus.  He’s 11 months old today, and things seem to be winding down a bit in the nursing department.  I’m sure we have a few more months to go, but we’re close enough to the end that I think I can finally see the forest for the trees. 

IMG_4269_2

No breastmilk for you, baby birds.

I am so grateful to my mom and my older sisters for being my “collective memory” as Auntie Leila puts it, and for making nursing normal to me.  I think that, more than anything else, was the driving force behind my sticking it out with SK.  I struggled so much with nursing her.  After experiencing a long, painful labor ending in a c-section (and then some other very trying times right after she was born) I ended up being totally dependent on a nipple shield that a helpful nurse at the hospital provided us with.  And I was so humiliated! I already felt like such a failure after having that first c-section, and then to be dependent on the shield was such a blow.  I tried to get her off of it but eventually I just let go and accepted the fact everything was working fine with the darn thing.  Now looking back, I can see that the shield really wasn’t a big deal.

The bigger deal for me with nursing was being blindsided by the all-consuming nature of it. I had just finished 9 plus months of being pregnant and then a traumatic birth, and now I was supposed to somehow recover mentally and physically whilst still being attached to this needy little baby 24-7?  I was not prepared for that.  I was not prepared for the fact that you are on call all the time, there are no subs, baby wants and needs you! And then to add insult to injury, you lose half your hair! That motherhood 101 course… it’s a doozy.

So, this time around with Gus, I was more prepared in some ways.  I was determined to do things without a shield this time, and I succeeded! … after 2 and a half painful months.  Gus has a bit of a tongue tie, which we had checked out by the pediatrician and a specialist who both told us that it was minor enough that he would grow out of it.  And they were right, he has, but those first couple of months were incredibly painful.  Between that and the fact that he would nurse every 2 hours on the nose, all through the night for the first couple of months, Dave was ready to hop in the car and buy some formula.  I was a mess.

Nursing can be so tough! I have friends who don’t struggle much with it at all, and I have friends who struggle greatly and are not able to nurse for long, if at all.  I try to be encouraging to women who are nursing because it’s so worth it, it’s worth a try, it’s worth the pain and the sleepless nights.  Like Rosie said in her post this morning, just wait a few weeks and things will be better.  But also, it’s okay to get help.  It’s okay to use a nipple shield, or a pacifier, or to pump or to supplement.  These aren’t moral issues; you have to figure out how to make it work for you.

Now here I am almost to the finish line of my second nursing marathon.  This is my sweet spot emotionally and physically with nursing.  He’s not nursing a ton anymore, so I can get out for hours at a time without him, but we still have our sweet moments together after naps and at night.  I don’t take for granted the fact that Dave and I will have more kids; Gus might be my last baby, so I’m soaking up his babyhood.  But at the same time, I’m ready and I’m grateful for the break coming soon.  And he’s getting ready to take off on those chubby legs of his!

I wish I could tell myself back in those stressful early nursing days with Sara, “Nursing is hard but you’ll come to like it one day. And the best part is, it doesn’t last forever!”
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[A certain fluffy towhead interrupted the writing of this post to, you guessed it, nurse.]

Winter Momdrobe

Just as sure as the seasons change (at least technically according to the calendar, not according to real life in Boston), Ellen is sure to pen a post or two about fashion.  Not because I’m some sort of expert.  HA! No, because I truly enjoy it, and in some ways I think I have finally figured out what works for me, at least what works for me right now. Right now = the season I’m in in my life & the weather season = in-between pregnancies/at my normal weight & winter.

The key for me has been acceptance.  Try and wish as I might, I have never and will never have long slim legs, a trim waist, a defined jawline and slim arms.  It’s no biggie! So why do I beat myself up for my perceived shortcomings? Dave has always loved how I look, and I take care of my body through exercise and a good diet, so why should I always be down on myself? So lately my goal with my momdrobe has been to accentuate me, not the imaginary, slim, fashionable me I wish to be.  I’ve sought out colors and cuts and styles that I think work for me and that make me feel confident and pulled together. Here’s what’s working for me right now:

Everyday

Looky who figured out how to make collages! I went a little crazy. So, here’s an example of a typical everyday outfit for me. Some of these items I specifically own (the bag and boots were my birthday and Christmas presents) and the other items are similar to what I own. I’ve found that dark skinnys are my jam, especially paired with tall boots of some sort. Together they kind of slim out my bottom half. Looser sweaters (but not too loose!) de-emphasize my midsection which has always been my trouble area, now even more so after the kiddos. And most days you’ll find me wearing my ancient Target pearl studs. They’re simple, they go with everything, and they don’t clash with my glasses.

Everyday Winter

Here’s another everyday example. Same skinnys because they go with everything! I only have 2 pairs of skinnys and a backup pair of bootcuts and that seems to work out. I have knock-off Sorel boots from Old Navy that are several years old; they look the part but they’re only slightly waterproof. I own the tan striped layering shirt from Loft and I wear it under a cream colored sweater and it’s cute and cozy! Don’t own the earrings, but I wish I did. 🙂

Church

 

Here’s an example of a church outfit, a What I Wore Sunday of sorts. 😉 I have very similar items in my closet, down to the bee earrings. I love a subtle jolt of whimsy! Pencil skirts seem to accomplish the same thing as my skinny jeans + boot combo. You’ll notice that all three of these collages involve boots. Folks. I haven’t worn SHOES since the beginning of December! It’s just been too messy, snowy and cold to wear shoes. Oh, and I’ve tried booties, they do nothing for me, or maybe I haven’t found the right pair. Anyway, I don’t need booties when I have nice tall boots. I’m not complaining, it’s been freeing to wear boots every day and not think about it. But I’m ready to get back to my flats and sandals!

And sandals brings us to to where I leave you off till next time. I’m dreading summer because of the clothes. See, I know what works for me in winter wear. I’m all about the boots and the layers. Nobody has to see my arms! Summer dressing is a challenge for me. It takes a lot of creativity, trial and error, and even more acceptance. But, I’ll save that for the next momdrobe post!

7 Quick Take-Aways from No Sugar January

Well, I did it.  I can hardly believe it, but I did it! I went mostly sugar free for most of January! Of all the diets and health crazes I’ve tried, this has been the biggest success for me.  Maybe because it’s not a diet or health craze; it’s just common sense!  Here are my take-aways from my not-so-sweet experience.

1.  It wasn’t too difficult.  This was the most surprising take-away for me.  The first week I felt hungry most of the time, but I made sure I ate a lot to maintain my milk supply. I just didn’t eat sugary things.  Then suddenly, the hunger pangs went away, which just goes to show, I wasn’t hungry to begin with! My body told me I was hungry when it really just wanted sugar.  Sugar really messes with you!

2. Good begets good.  That one little effort of not eating sugar led to me changing my eating habits.  I ate more good fats to keep me full: avocados, full fat greek yogurt and eggs by the boatload.

I think I have a future in food photography, don't you agree? I mean, I make that paper plate and laminate countertop look good.

I think I have a future in food photography, don’t you agree? I mean, I make that paper plate and laminate countertop look good.

I also upped my vegetable intake, and (don’t tell them) the veggie intake of the whole family. Being mindful about what I wasn’t putting into my body and why made me more mindful about what I should be putting into my body and why.  Its not rocket science, I know, but it was a welcome development for me.  See, before I would attempt to make these changes but then I would feel defeated by my daily sugar cravings.  Without the sugar cravings distracting me, I could focus properly on eating healthfully.

3. I’m the boss of my diet.  When I first was researching sugar detoxes, I found all sorts of gimmicky programs.  It was really overwhelming and frustrating.  Wasn’t the idea to simply not eat sugar?  But sugar is technically in everything!  Some programs called for eliminating fruit, honey, maple sugar and carbs and anything with even trace amounts of sugar in them.  I’m such a goody-goody; I worried that if I didn’t do these programs to a T that it would all be a waste and my sugar cravings wouldn’t budge and inch.  I worried that if I had a little honey in my tea the heavens would open up and God would bellow “Fail!!”

Eventually I resolved to give it a shot anyway, but to do things my way.  And my way was to allow natural forms of sugar like fruit, honey and maple syrup.  I also would eat things that contained sugar, as long as it wasn’t a predominantly sugary food. I did get into reading labels more (which is so obnoxious, I know) but now I have better knowledge of what contains sugar.  Newsflash: a lot of things contain sugar!

Oh, and I drank wine and occasionally beer.  I ain’t crazy! Real sacrifice is for Lent!

4.  There was an end in sight.  The whole month I had the mouthwatering goal of my birthday cake to work towards. Not only was it the dangling carrot that I needed to keep me motivated, but just the thought of turning 30 and entering that new chapter of adulthood was enough to keep me focused on improving my health and striving for an adult relationship with food. It’s still a work in progress, but I feel like I made great strides this month.

Furthermore, it was good to take this break from sugar, knowing that it wasn’t for forever.  That’s always been my biggest hangup with diets.  You starve yourself to be skinny and then… you eat again and the dreaded cycle continues?  It’s so discouraging!  Like I said in my initial post, I love food.  I love sugar. I love to bake.  I’m not going to throw that away, it’s not a bad thing!  The bad thing was I was addicted to the sugar.  It’s a powerful, addicting substance and it’s not good for you in big daily quantities!  My goal was to kick my cravings and dependency so that I can enjoy the occasional treat without guilt.

5. I lost 5 pounds!  It doesn’t sound like much, but keeping in mind a. I did not cut down on my food intake at all and was constantly eating to make sure I had enough milk for Gus and b. I was already below my pre-pregnancy weight, I’m pretty stoked that I lost weight at all!

It would be a bald-faced lie to say I wasn’t trying to lose weight.  I’m your typical vain woman; I’m always looking for a way to lose a little weight and feel better about myself.  But I can honestly say that I’ve slowly let go of my obsession with those pesky numbers on the scale and on the tags of my clothes.  I’ve put too much stock in those numbers in the past.  I’ve let those numbers ruin my mood and shatter my resolve to be healthy.  It’s so discouraging to work hard and feel better physically but those numbers taunt you and tell you that you’re still a “fatty”.   It’s so unhealthy!  My worth is not in my pants size.  As much as it breaks my heart, I know my daughter will probably have these same struggles in her adolescence and young adulthood but that’s why it’s so important to me that I work to conquer these struggles in myself.

6.  My work is not done.  Going forward, I hope to mostly keep to my no sugar resolve.  I’m aiming for 70-80% no sugar as my norm. I think a key to staying on track is not making sugar a daily thing again.  I don’t know about you, but I used to be one of those people who needed a “little treat” pretty much daily and I didn’t see anything wrong with that.  I’m pretty sure that was my downfall.  I mean, I don’t even let my toddler have sugar every day.  She gets a “special donut treat” after Mass on Sunday and that’s her big sugar bomb of the week.  I need to hold myself to the same standards.

I know there are going to be seasons when I fall off the bandwagon completely.  Valentine’s Day…

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

Easter, Halloween, Christmas, parties, rough times… it’s just life!  But experiencing this success will help me in the future in getting back on track.  That’s just how I am.  I resist trying new and scary things.  I tried getting into running for years before I actually succeeded.  It was hard and I always gave up, but when I finally stuck with it after Sara was born, it was a huge boost to my self-esteem.  Getting back on that bandwagon after Gus was born was tough, but I had the memory of success in the past to motivate me.  And I finally got back into shape and ran a 5K this past December.

7. If I can do it, so can you?  Well, I honestly don’t know. But if I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that it’s worth a shot.  Maybe you don’t have a problem with sugar.  Maybe you already eat healthfully and exercise daily.  But maybe there’s another area of your life that you need to work on.  Maybe you’re scared to start because you’re afraid to fail.  Or you’re lazy.  I am both!  I’m just saying, it’s worth a shot.  Face your demons, take that first step, don’t get discouraged and try try again.

Well, that’s 7 things, so I’m going to call it a “Quick Takes” (SNORT!) and link up with Kelly and the other quicker takers at This Ain’t the Lyceum.  Happy Friday!

Goals, Resolutions, Promises You Don’t Intend to Keep.

I’m pretty sure that exactly a year ago when everyone was writing New Year resolution posts, I did my best Liz Lemon eye roll and clicked far away from them all.  I was just leaving my first trimester and my only goal in life was to survive the winter and have my baby.  And I accomplished both!  2014 was a success!

I did have one goal last year that I tried and failed at, though.  I have this same goal every year and I’ve yet to fully succeed at it.  I’ve never shared it with anyone because I’m superstitious and think that telling anyone will doom me.  I’m also a little ashamed that this is something I need to work on. ALSO, I feel a little silly and perhaps prideful about sharing it.  Recently it’s occurred to me that perhaps I should share it in case anyone else has this same goal every year and “fails.” Perhaps it’s not pride as in not-being-humble that keeps me from sharing.  It’s the type of pride the keeps you from telling your spouse that you’re starting that diet on Monday.  If you don’t tell him, he won’t know that you weren’t supposed to have that cookie!  Ok, where am I going with this?

I try every year to go to confession once a month.  Some years I come closer to succeeding than others, but every year I fail.  It’s really easy to conclude that maybe I stink at this.  It’s really easy to despair.  But no, I know that’s the devil.  I know it’s the devil whispering in my ear every Saturday in January “But you just went in December for Advent… Just go next weekend.”

I’m not going to give up and I’m not going to feel defeated.  Usually, New Year Resolutions frustrate me because I tend to feel overwhelmed by them.  Who knows what’s going to happen in a year?  So much changes so fast, especially with little kids. Why make promises you can’t keep?  But this resolution I make every year is on a month to month basis. [A related aside: this is why I love Ashley’s blog.  She’s always making reasonable but inspiring monthly goals!] Right now, all I’m worried about is January.  I don’t know if I’ll make it to confession every month in 2015, but golly I’m really determined to get there this January!

Since I’m already on the topic and blabbing on, I’ll share a little bit about my other January goal: going (mostly) sugar free for (most of) January.  I know, I’m so inspiring, huh?  This one has been on my mind for a while. I kicked my almost decade-long addiction to CoffeeMate in October.  It was hard at first but eventually I liked half and half and a bit of sugar.  But then Halloween happened and that was a new low. Dave and I ate so much candy on the weekend following Halloween (which was on a Friday) and I felt like utter garbage by Monday.  But I couldn’t stop! I would have a healthful lunch and then boom! Sugar cravings would hit all afternoon and I had no self-control.  I clearly needed to work on this.

I did a little research during December (in between baking and eating Christmas sweets of course!) to see what kinds of programs were out there for sugar addicts like me. Most of them involved cutting out fruit and carbs too, and I just can’t do that.  This nursing mom can only deal with so much! Plus, I’ve done lots of diets in my day, and it’s never been good for me to eliminate food groups. I love food and I love cooking and baking and I’m tired of feeling ashamed of that.  What I really want is to be able to enjoy food, even sweets, healthfully and have the self control to stop myself when I’m done.  Laura shared this video with me and it was mind-blowing and very inspiring to me to get my sugar addiction under control.  Haley’s posts Why I Don’t Want to Be Healthy and Confessions of a Sugarholic were also very timely for me and made me fist pump a little a lot.  I  was ready!

So! I’m on day two and it’s not too bad!  No sugar in my coffee, and no added sweets. I’m not too worried about sugar in things as long as it’s not a predominantly sugar-y food.  So, I’m not going to have jam on my toast, but I won’t worry about a little mayo in my tuna. But I did switch from bottled salad dressings to oil and vinegar. One of the main ingredients on my favorite (lite!) poppy seed dressing is high fructose corn syrup! [Gah! Listen to me, I already sound obnoxious!]  I did have a glass of red wine with dinner but only after Dave looked it up and explained that dry red wine is really the least sugary wine of all.  Moderation, folks.  Thus, it’s mostly sugar free, but not totally sugar free.  And it’ll be most of the month, but not all of the month because my birthday is on January 28th and I must eat cake. I’m not that crazy!

Whew.  This is a wordy post.

What do you think of resolutions? Are you for? Against? Indifferent? Do you just want to get on with the New Year already? Me too!

 

Today

1. Today we’re having a lazy, at-home day after a couple days of crazy.

2. Today Gus is back to his old self after a scary high fever on Wednesday that sent us to the doctor.  We went to the doctor again yesterday because it was his 4 month check-up anyway.  Gus is off the charts for height, having grown 4 inches since September.  And he weighs a whopping 17 pounds 9 ounces!IMG_3400

3. Today SK and I tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe.  So far so great!IMG_3393

4. Today SK has been in and out, helping me with the cookies and going out to enjoy the fall snow.IMG_3394

5. Today I’m still in my workout clothes and unshowered.  I foresee a naptime shower and maybe(!) a very much needed pedicure afterwards. Fingers crossed!

6. Today I’m angsting as I tend to do, this time about the future.  I love these at-home days.  I love that Sara can play outside or inside independently, just being creative and no one rushing her.  I’m worried that when school starts in a few years, life is going to be crazy and these peaceful days will be no more.  I wonder whether I should homeschool, but then I worry that my tendency to be laid back would get the better of me.  Either option requires a lot of growth and discipline from me, and honestly, that’s probably where most of this anxiety is coming from. I fear that I don’t have it in me to have school-aged children.

There’s no right answer, I just have to keep praying about it and be open to all the options.  Good thing I have a few years!

7. Today, obviously, I’m blogging!  This is sounds so smugly cliche (much like the whole”today”theme of this post), but life is just really full lately.  I’m not over-committed, but I just feel like I have my hands full with the house and our activities and these two.  I don’t want to give up on the blog all together, but I clearly can’t keep up. I guess I’ll just pop in from time to time when I have some time and some working brain cells.

And look! Seven things!  Linking up with Jen  Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7 quick takes today. 🙂

7QT: Mostly Clothes, a little Montessori

Linking up with Jen Fulwiler again for 7 quick takes Friday on Saturday!

1. It’s the weekend again, I can’t believe it!  That old cliche about the days being long is so so true, but the weeks, not even years are flying by for me right now!  Gus turned 2 months old on Wednesday and last night he only woke up twice to eat.  Granted he woke up an hour after his last feeding because he was very anxiously working on a poo and needed some comfort. This guy gets so bent out of shape when he’s got a poo coming!

TMI Mom.

TMI Mom.

2.  Thanks to all you ladies who helped me with my mom jean dilemma! After much deliberation and a solo return trip to le Gap to try on the online pair and other pairs back to back, I decided to keep the online pair! I’m still a little weirded out by how high they come up, but holy comfortable!

3. Along with the new jeans, I’ve added a few more items to my momdrobe recently to help usher in the fall.  I got this pair of crops from Old Navy and I’m very pleased with how they fit and look.  I really really really wanted them in the Go Pinot Go color (a burgundy color) but they sold out like hotcakes.  The navy ones I got are really cute though and go with a lot of my neutral wardrobe.

4. Also,

awkward head tilt

awkward head tilt

this tee shirt was $8 at Old Navy. For some reason I’m JUST catching on to the fact that cranberry (especially heathered cranberry like this tee) works really well with my complexion.  And, it goes with pretty much all of the main colors in my wardrobe: navy, white, gray, khaki/beige.  You know, neutrals.  Woot!

5. I also picked up that sweater I tried on with the jeans at Gap.  I ended up getting it in gray because, NEUTRALS. I ordered it online because they had a 45% off online sale this past week, but also because I can get talls online.  This has been a new, awesome discovery of mine: ordering talls.  I’m not technically a tall person, and tall pants would look ridonkulous on me, but tall tops usually look pretty good on me because they hit my hips at that flattering spot.  And, if they shrink a bit in the wash, it doesn’t ruin the fit as drastically.  I also reordered a pair of shorts in tall this summer because the regulars were just too short.  Talls were an inch longer and it made a big difference!

6.  Now, I need your help again friends.  I’m looking for a good pair of cognac leather flats. Have you seen that blog Franish?  I love love love her style and it helps that I’m basically her SAHM doppelganger. Anyway, she’s turned me on to cognac accessories and I’m on the hunt for a pair of flats like her Banana Republic pair, but cheaper.  It seems as though I should be in luck though because cognac flats are everywhere this fall.  But!  I have this little problem of my feet being newly stretched from this past pregnancy.  I already had big size 10 feet.  Now they’re size 10 wide (a difficult size to find!) or just huge old size 11. [ I should take up swimming again.  With these new and improved flippers, I could totally take on Michael Phelps.]

I already tried these:

Via DSW

So cute! So tight!

Then I tried these on in the store and they’re just not comfortable for big wide feet.  Gap sells these but they show a lot of toe cleavage and I’m not a fan.   So, does anyone have any suggestion for wide footed gals?  I really want a pair of simple flats, preferably with a classic little bow like Fran’s.

7.  Confession: I’ve been a bit of a Montessori hater for a few years now.  I learned about Montessori a little in college while working on my Early Childhood Education degree.  All it was presented as was a teaching style.  I didn’t have an issue with any of the methodology I learned then, but since becoming a mom, I’ve realized how much of a thing it is.  I hate things.  I really hate trendy parenting and education practices because people get so bent out of shape when things aren’t perfectly “Montessori!” or “Attachment parenting!” The thing is, I know there is good in these camps, you just have to pick out what works for you and not be bullied into doing things all the way if you don’t agree with everything.  Case in point: apparently something that is considered to be a Montessori practice is giving your 9 month old a glass tumbler for drinking water.  That strikes me as crazy cakes.  But I shouldn’t write off everything Montessori because some things aren’t my cup of tea.  Or glass tumbler of water. 😉

Anyway, where am I going with this?  Now that I’m embarking on this preschool co-op with friends, I’ve wanted to research Montessori more.  I’m still skeptical, but I’m trying to be pragmatic here and do my research.  I know there’s a lot of good in the Montessori method, especially when it comes to implementing things in a home setting.  Whether we decided to homeschool our kids or send them to school, I’ll always be an educator at heart along with being the first and most important teacher to my kids.  That said, I have a desire to continue to learn and develop my personal education philosophy.  Researching and being open to different methods is part of this process.  I’m reading this book now as part of my research. Do any of you have other book recommendations?

Have a great holiday weekend, friends! 🙂

Siblings

A friend of mine who is due with her second around the same time as I am asked me the other day if I was anxious about SK not being my baby anymore.  I had to really stop and think about it.  I am anxious about a whole-lotta stuff lately; hardly a day goes by now without me melting down into a big ugly wet mess of tears and hormones about something.  But anxious about Sara becoming a big sister?  About her not being my baby any more?

Photo on 2013-09-15 at 12.00Honestly? No.  I’m sentimental about it, of course.  I’m trying to soak in these last few weeks, knowing that once the baby comes she’s going to seem HUGE. But mostly I’m so excited for her to be a big sister and to introduce her to this nebulous presence in her life: baby brother.  She seems more accepting of the fact that he really is in my belly, I guess because the belly is getting out of control lately.  But really, she has no idea.  And I can’t wait!

Part of the reason why I’m not worried I think has to do with her personality.  Sara has an independent streak a mile wide and she gets more and more bossy every day.  SK’s got this big sister thing in the bag!  I suppose another reason why I’m not worried is because she is already two, so we’ve had a nice stretch together and she really isn’t a baby anymore.  But you know what?  I don’t think there’s some magic-perfect space between kids and frankly, I think we Catholic moms are too hard on ourselves about spaces between children.  My first 3 sisters are really close together in age and then I’m 3 1/2 years younger than Claire and 5 years older than Mary.  Jim is 4 years younger than Mary and Joanie is 4 1/2 years younger than Jim.  But we’re all really close (and have been/will be) in different ways and at different times.  The important thing is not how close or far apart we are in age, it’s that we have each other.

A little while back when I was visiting my family, I had a talk with my Grandma about her relationship with her brother.  She said that they had really grown closer in recent years since she had lost Grandpa in 2009. Now Uncle Bill is the one who has really known Grandma for most of her life. I had never thought of siblings that way before.  I had always viewed Dave as my life-partner, and he is, primarily.  But my siblings, too, are my companions on this journey.  Mary and I will always be able to joke about the PBS shows we watched as kids. Rose and Jane will always hearken back to their ridiculous fights as teenagers. Jim and Mary will be able to reminisce about the lego and playmobile creations they made. While we are all very different people, we’re all cut from the same cloth, raised by the same parents, and experienced much of the same things growing up. What an incredible gift God and our parents gave us in our siblings!

Photo 97

I hope and pray that Sara Kate and her little brother are joined by more little siblings as time goes by.  But that’s all in the future and way out of my hands.  Right now, I’m anxiously (yes, anxiously!) awaiting this little boy’s delivery and praying for his health and safety.  But I’m also joyful and excited for Sara to meet her brother and for them to have each other.  VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100