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Monday, August 31, 2009

That Ring-Stacker on her Head isn't a Halo, Dear..

My friends, contrary to popular belief...this picture does not represent my daughter as an angel. She is not modeling her halo for everyone to see her for what she truly is. In fact, my dears, it's just a piece of a ring-stacker that I placed on her head to elicit some laughs a few weeks ago.

No, my daughter does not have a halo. Why? Because she is no angel. Some might argue with me about this. "She's such a calm, happy baby," they might say. That is true, I will admit. She is a calm, happy baby, but, she is no angel. We will deal with temper tantrums, and the so-called "terrible two's", and the "I don't want to eat my veggies" phase. We will one day deal with notes from the principal, we will have to ground her eventually, and I'm sure, at some point, we will hate her choice of music. Why? Because, my friends, that's just how it works.

I fully believe that it does not always matter how you raise your children. They will not be perfect. Sure, they will be better behaved than some kids if they receive some form of discipline, but no child (or adult for that matter) can be perfect. There will still be rocky terrain from time to time.

I think of this every time I hear a toddler screaming in the grocery store. My husband, bless his heart, always says "Our kids won't do that. We will raise them better than that." Apparently, he seems to thing that she really does have a halo. Of course, we will raise her the best we can, and we will teach her not to throw a fit in a store. Does that mean that she won't do it? Not necessarily! Toddlers are emotional creatures, and they do not quite know how to control those emotions, or express them in a pleasing way to adults. So, they throw a tantrum. I think the key is knowing how to handle these situations as they come up. Knowing that you need to remain calm and not give in when your child screams for the cereal with the cartoon on the front can help prevent this in the future. You just have to know your options. You have to know what will work for you.

I cannot write a blog post about discipline that will really help anyone. Why? Because my daughter isn't even 10 months old yet. We are just getting to the very beginning stages of discipline-teaching her "No," and working on obeying small commands, like "Give the cat food to Mommy, please." Some might say that she is really too young for discipline. I do not think that is the case. I think she is too young for punishment, but not all discipline is punishment, and not all punishment is discipline.

The root of the word "discipline" is Latin. It means "to teach". It is never too early to begin teaching your children how to act. On the same hand, is it really right to judge others based on a 5 minute preview you see in the supermarket? We have no idea what form of discipline they use on a day to day basis. We have no idea if this tantrum was a one-time thing or something their child does on a daily basis. Until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you should not judge them when their seemingly angelic child throws their halo in the dust occasionally. Just like Addie...all babies and toddlers have mood swings, tantrums, and their own little personalities we must learn to work with.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mommy Confessions (one of many I'm sure!)

I decided I will randomly post little confessions that make me look like a less-than-perfect mommy, in order to get them off my chest. This blog is anonymous enough, right?? Here goes, watch out, it's a doozy!

About a month ago, I was headed to a play date downtown. In order to avoid a parking fiasco, I agreed to ride with my friend and her two boys to the play date. I pull out Addie's infant carrier and "dust it off" (don't worry, she still meets the requirements) and put it in my friends car. We get there, have a great play date, and start heading home. All three kids are having a melt down, I've got a pregnant friend that's dehydrated and having contractions and just plain not feeling well, it's the hottest day of the year, and I want to rush home and see my hunny. Everyone is in the car, we're headed home in 5 p.m. rush hour traffic, so it takes about 45 minutes to get back to my friends house. I go to get Addie out of the car and...

She wasn't buckled in. I mean, the car seat straps were buckled, but the car seat itself was no longer strapped to the seat!

Thank goodness our guardian angel was with us that day because my friend didn't even have to slam on the breaks once!

Whew. That feels good to get off my chest. Just like I've said before, I'm not perfect!


The girl who cried wolf teeth..

My daughter has been teething ever since she was 2 1/2 months old. No kidding, we saw two little bumps emerge from her gums on Valentine's day, 2009. We thought, surely this is a sign that she will get her teeth early. The doctor must be crazy thinking she could still not get her teeth until 6 or 7 months old. Every morning I woke up checking her gums. Every morning I was disappointed to find that the bumps hadn't changed.

I can't tell you how many times she threw a tantrum due to being overtired (or worse-underfed which was hidden under our delusion that she was a bad teether) and we just said "oh, these teeth will be here any day now..."

One month passed. Then two...then 5 more...yes, five more months had passed since we first spotted teething symptoms. Seven months total have passed since we first said "Any day now..." I can't count how many times I told my family and friends "This is definitely her teeth. I think she will be done with this finally in a few days," just to be disappointed once again when nothing happened a week later.

For the past couple of weeks now, we have been seeing an alarming number of teething symptoms from this little girl, but I have been reluctant to expect any pearly whites come morning. We are on our second diaper rash, unbelievable drooling, a runny nose, and so many dirty diapers I am going broke on disposables! Any normal child, and I would say "Oh yes, we should see teeth soon," but with Addison, I am finding myself reluctant to believe this. After all, she is the girl that cried wolfteeth. Even now, when it seems like pearly whites are right around the corner, she is still drawing this out as long as possible!

For the record, she has four swollen spots on her gums now! All four front teeth may just come in back to back! Then again, maybe they won't. Like the story goes, in the end, no one believes the little boy that cried wolf!


In other news: Sorry for not creating a What's Cookin'? Wednesdays! thread yesterday. Time gets away from me with this new work schedule of Willies, and before you know it, it's 10 pm on Wednesday night and you realize "Hey! It's Wednesday! I didn't write my post!" well...you know how it goes...I'll resume next week! I'm thinking a fun spin on a recipe given to me by a friend! Any vegetarians eating with us next week?? ;)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quarter Life Crisis..

In the grand scheme of things, 25 is not a very large number, I know. However, when you think of the number 25 out of one hundred, it seems like a much larger amount. It's a quarter of a century, which is a huge chunk of time. I will be 25 years old in a couple of weeks. I've never considered myself old and still don't. There is just something about that number, and what it represents.

I am a quarter of a century old. No wonder I have been down in the dumps lately. It's not that I think that 25 is old or anything. I know it's not. It just signifies a completely different place in my life. It signifies adulthood. Getting married, apparently, did not make me an adult. Moving across the country did not make me an adult either. Nor did having a child. But, turning 25...now, that makes me an adult!

With my [new] adulthood quickly approaching, I have found myself going through what I like to call, my Quarter-Life Crisis, which is basically a Mid-life Crisis cut in half. What exactly does a Quarter-Life Crisis entail, you ask? Well, let me tell you!

These past few weeks have been very rough emotionally. This, I must add, started before I even realized my 25th birthday was approaching, so please don't make fun of me for worrying about being 25. My logical brain knows that I am still young.

I have been attempting to make drastic changes to my "look" (which right now consists of jeans, t-shirts, and a ponytail. Makeup only when going on a date). I have an appointment next week to get my hair chopped off into a new funky style, I'm making an appointment to get contacts instead of eye glasses which I'm sick of, and, for my birthday, I am giving myself a wardrobe overhaul, complete with accessories and shoes. On top of all of this, I have been putting on makeup just to spend time around the house. I invested in a few "age-defying" face products (because we all know how well those work at making you look 25...oh wait...) and extra moisturizers for the rest of my skin, which is turning into a desert

What's more...is that I'm actually using these products. I'm actually following through with all of these "rules" I'm setting for myself. Rules like "always make the bed in the morning" and "don't forget to put makeup on and brush your hair, you never know who will see you" are actually ingrained into my morning routine, now! This is a first! Maybe you really don't grow up until you are a quarter of a century young. Who knows. All I know, is this is not the me I know!

I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the 25 years young me is really like! Because whoever she is, it is not me!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's Cookin'? Wednesdays!

It's that time of week again! Time for What's Cookin'? Wednesdays! Wanting some new ideas? Look no further (well maybe, some of my recipes are pretty basic). Want to share something awesome? Feel free to participate! Post your own What's Cookin'? Wednesday post on your blog, with a link to my blog somewhere in your post, then come back here and add a link to your post (not your blog, specifically your WCW post) to my MckLinky, and everyone can head to your blog and check out your fabulous recipes.

This week, I am going to share an amazing crock pot meal with you. My husband loves this and is always asking when I will make it again. It is called Pizza Rigatoni-a recipe I picked up from Quick Cooking some time back.

What you need:
1 1/2 lbs bulk Italian sausage
3 cups uncooked rigatoni or large tube pasta
4 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 small onion, chopped
2 cans (1 15 oz 1 8 oz) pizza sauce
1 package sliced pepperoni
1 can pitted ripe olives, drained & halved

What to do:
In a skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink, drain. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
In a 5qt. slow cooker, layer half of the sausage, pasta, cheese, soup, onion, pizza sauce, pepperoni, and olives. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

9 Month Milestone..

Today, we celebrate Addie's 9th month of life. This is a big milestone for the both of us. 9 months ago today, I was ending my journey as a pregnant woman, and getting ready to embark on an entirely new road. This new road has not been smooth, sometimes I think they need to get the construction workers out to fix some rougher spots, but I realize that avoiding the pot holes has helped me to become a better driver. I have learned how to keep the car on the road while navigating the rough terrain.

My pregnancy went so much slower* than the past 9 months. Every day, for 9 months, I counted down how many days I had left until I experienced this miracle of life that I would call my daughter (or so I hoped-I was not fully trusting of the ultrasound tech). I still can't believe that now I have to count past 9. I look forward to it, really. I can't wait to see where this journey takes us.


*edited for the wrong choice of words.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's Cookin'? Wednesdays!

Are you looking for some fresh, new ideas for dinner tonight? Is your family whining "Meatloaf?! Again?!" when you set the table, but you're too busy to make anything elaborate? Well, then I have a blog carnival for you! Welcome to What's Cookin'? Wednesdays! A place you can come share new dinner ideas. Feel free to join in on your own blog. All you need to do is write a brief introduction of this blog carnival, and link back to my blog somewhere in your post. Then you come back here and post your blog on the MckLinky form so everyone can check it out! So, let's get started.

This week, I am going to share a recipe for spaghetti bake, a new favorite in our house, and another simple recipe for busy nights (they won't always be so simple, that's just what I've chosen to share so far).

Spaghetti bake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brown 1 lb of Mild Italian sausage and sautee or steam your favorite veggies (I use green beans, carrots, grated zuchinni, corn, & peas, but there is a lot of room for changes based on preference) and add it to the pan. Use 1 can of Hunt's traditional spaghetti sauce (or your home made sauce) and poor over the veggies and meat and let it simmer.

Boil your spaghetti to Al Dente and add to the sauce and mix well. Poor pasta into a 9x13 baking dish and cover with Parmesan cheese (also good with a Parmesan-Romano blend) . Bake on 350 until cheese is lightly brown, usually 15-20 minutes.

Serve with Garlic bread and a side salad.

Hope you enjoy the first edition of What's Cookin'? Wednesdays! I look forward to seeing everyone else's dinner ideas as well!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Safer Kids Products

Like any mom, I have always been especially careful (and I'll admit sometimes a bit paranoid) about what I feed my daughter, or what toys she gets to play with. I breastfed, made home made purees, kept harsh chemicals to a minimum, and put all my plants outside. I read reviews for 3 months before picking out the baby gear I finally settled on. I checked all the safety standards of everything that has ever affected her existence in any way (including reading up on keeping my cats). The only thing I didn't do, was think twice about what I put on her.

Before I had Addie, I went out and bought a huge bottle of Johnson's & Johnson's Night Time bath soap and lotion, just because I have always loved the smell of it. Despite blowing off everyone's advice (do you notice a pattern here??) about not using too many products on baby's skin and slathering her with lotion after a "smell-good" bath every night, she had amazingly clear, smooth skin for the first two months. I thought I was in the clear, and basically told everyone I knew that they were full of it. Boy was I wrong.

Addie soon came down with a pretty bad case of infant eczema (also called atopic dermatitis), which causes a dry, itchy, red rash, usually on the face, arms, and legs, but can appear anywhere on the body. It can be the result of an allergic reaction (even though it is not a direct symptom of an allergy), or it can be aggravated by the heat or irritants that come in contact with the skin, such as itchy fabrics, or chemicals in lotions, soaps, and detergents *.

When I learned this, I started looking into every product I used, trying to find out what we could do better. Let me tell you, most of you would probably be surprised at what is in our baby products.

More than half of the soaps and lotions on the market for babies today have been found to contain traces of two chemicals. 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde, or both have been found in some of the biggest names out there, claiming to be "gentle" and "pure". These chemicals, according to the EPA, are characterized as carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) **. Now, I know what some of you are going to do, you're going to go pick up that bottle of baby shampoo and start reading the label, right? Don't bother. These chemicals aren't intentionally put into the products, and aren't listed as ingredients. They are apparently by-products of the manufacturing process, created when the chemicals break down over time, or when two chemicals combine.

To make matters worse, the laws governing chemicals in products (The Toxic Substances Control Act) only helps to keep tabs on new chemicals. There are thousands of chemicals already in products that do not need to be tested. This just doesn't cut it, if you ask me, and since you're reading my blog, let's assume you did ask me.

I must say that the idea of bathing my daughter every night in a bath full of toxic chemicals, no matter if it's a safe amount or not, has lead me to pay a bit more attention to what products I buy to put on my daughter, as well as in her. I have just become so passionate about this, and I feel that, while maybe every parent won't feel as strongly about this issue as I do, we all at least deserve to know. For those of you that now want to do something, you can visit the Parent's Magazine website and fill out a form letter to send to your senators and congressmen to let them know that the Kid Safe Chemical Act (being reintroduced this summer) is important to you, too.




Saturday, August 8, 2009

Date Night Bliss

Last night, Willie and I went out on our first ever date as parents. We went and saw the new Potter flick (finally) and went to an amazing pizzeria in town. Real brick oven pizza. That doesn't seem to be too common these days.

I must admit, when Addie was first born, I blew off the well-meaning advice of everyone telling us that in order to be better parents, we had to be happy parents. All I could think at the time is, "What do they know?? They don't know us, we are an amazing couple, we'll have no problems." Turns out, maybe they did know something.

I just suddenly realized how important it is to catch up with my husband, as my husband instead of as a dad. You need a reminder every now and then of how to be a couple instead of just parents. You know what? It does make you better parents. All I wanted to do at the end of our date was run into the sitters house and scoop Addie up in my arms and hug her all night.

We are now making a goal of having a night for just the two of us at least once a month. It has to be a real date, too. No picking up fast food and running errands. We are talking dinner, movies, bars, plays, the works. Bonus points if we dress up for each other and put on make up (well...if I put on makeup . I don't think I could keep a straight face if Willie gave himself a makeover).

Looking forward to next month...


**In other news, I would like to wish my younger sister a happy 21st birthday! Who knows if she even reads my blog, but maybe she will get a nice surprise if she hops on here and sees this :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What's Cookin'? Wednesdays!

Well, ladies (and perhaps gentlemen?), I decided today that since I am trying to spruce up this ol' blog of mine and make it bigger and better, maybe I should do my own weekly post. I love cooking, so I decided to create "What's Cookin'? Wednesdays", and share with you all my favorite dishes of the week! So, let's get started, shall we?

My absolute favorite (adult) dish from this week is so unbelievably simple. Anyone can make it. Seriously! Anyone. It is Pesto-Turkey burgers on whole grain buns with sweet potato fries. Yum! It's gotta be one of the easiest things I've ever made, and my friends raved over them!

All I did was take some ground turkey meat and mix it with just a little pesto (Maybe 2-3 tbs per pound) and grill it up until they are fully cooked. I used the George Foreman grill and they turned out fabulous!

To make the sweet potato fries, I peeled and cut one sweet potato (or 2, however many, but 1 large potato was enough for 4 of us) into large sized fries and steamed them on the stove for about 5 minutes. Then I sprinkled some Italian seasoning on them and put them in the oven on 400 for 30 minutes, turning once.

I also wanted to share a great "baby" recipe, for my other readers with very young children. These are a different take on a typical breakfast pancake. I feel that they are a bit healthier than just whipping up some Bisquick pancakes (or even home made regular pancakes) since they contain fruit and oats. I just tried the first one myself, and I must say, I may be making the switch to these myself! To make them, you mix 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup flour*, 4 tbs applesauce, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 banana mashed, 1 egg, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup milk, 1/8 cup oil, and vanilla. If you choose, you could also add some yummy fresh blueberries to this mix. You cook these up like regular pancakes, but take note. These are very thick, and take awhile to cook. This makes a rather large batch for one baby, but so convenient when you freeze them and take out 1 or 2 at a time and put them in the toaster for breakfast??

So, there it is. I hope you enjoyed my very first edition of What's Cookin'? Wednesdays.


* Can use whole wheat flour or all purpose.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turn My Blue Eyes Green

Looks like Addie's eyes might just be turning colors!

Yes, this late in the game. The funny part about this is....

...it's only one eye that's changing.

Yep. My daughter has one green eye, and one blue eye.

And here I was, thinking I was getting my red haired, blue eyed little girl.

She will be beautiful either way, but I've always loved that combo!

Wonder which color will win?


Monday, August 3, 2009

Nap time=Peace & Quiet!

Ahhh....what a nice day. The birds are chirping. There is a slight breeze rustling through the leaves. I hear a faint, faint sound of cars zipping past on the highway, and trains leaving the station. I love this time of day. It's my time of peace and quiet. It's nap time. Are there any sweeter words in the English language? I don't think so.

My days have been pretty full of hustle and bustle lately. Between an 8 1/2 (yes I went there w/ the 1/2) month old finally crawling everywhere-and taking an extreme interest in my laptop and it's cords- and a husband starting out in a new career field and working shifts, I rarely get time to just sit! I don't want to think about where your scrubs are, or if they are clean. I don't want to help you compute how much your pay check will be with 60 hours working nights, with a shift differential, or with weekend pay. I don't want to discuss anything, I just want to sit here. As my friend once told me, "Sometimes I just want to sit here and drool, but no one will let me!" Don't you ever have those days? I just don't want to think. Or change diapers. Today, I have wondered how many more times I can play peek-a-boo before I realize my brain is absolutely useless. You know, that's what happens when you don't get down time!

Anyway, back to the fact that I am blogging. I'm sure you don't want to hear me talk about drool. Or do you? I will admit...I don't have much else to talk about. I just felt this urge to get on here and write. To reach out to all of you-my readers-and say "Hello!" I wanted to let you know I didn't forget about you! There has just been so much on myour plates this week that I haven't had much time to get on here and tell anyone about it!

Here are the current "headlines" for my family (in bullet format):

*Willie has started his new job. Truly! It all worked out! He's in his last week of training and everything! He starts night shift tonight, going in at 10 pm and coming home around 6:30 am. This should be interesting!

*As mentioned before, Addie is crawling everywhere. The poor cats. They will never get a moments peace again!

*Willie and I are in the beginning stages (meaning brainstorming and daydreaming) of planning our own business to conduct on the side. No, he wouldn't quite the hospital. More about this little teaser later! Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise now, would I?!

*I have made more and more hair bows and clips. Surprisingly, I got "hit up" to sell some of them last night. I wasn't even advertising! Talk about luck. Of course, while I wasn't planning on selling my bows, I will give it a shot! I just got my first order, and will start making bows tonight! If this goes well, you may see my "shop" up on etsy.com someday soon! That will make two businesses!

*I finished my book! Yes, I know you probably didn't even realize I knew how to read was working on a book, but I was. It has taken me over a year (on and off) to finish, and I consider it one of my greatest literary accomplishments so far! Anyone with dedication and the ability to think and read at the same time should check out Atlas Shrugged. I'm warning you, it's a doozy. But when you get to the end, I hope you'll agree that it's totally worth it.

*If anyone is keeping up, this means that yes, I have started a new book. A bit lighter in tone, if I do say so myself. I am reading Perfect Match by Jodi Piccult. Want to read it with me? Maybe I should start my own reading list? Who knows. Maybe one day I'll be like Oprah, and you'll read books just because I said so!!

*I'm feeling spunky today. Can you tell? Wondering why? Well, I'm not going to tell you! Yet. I know, I know. I was just informed recently that secrets don't make friends. If the opposite is true, I hope I don't make loads of enemies off this post!