Thursday, January 30, 2014

Truthful Thursday - A working (out of the home) mom

When I got pregnant with Lars, I always knew I'd be going back to work.  At the time Bob had only had his practice for a little over a year and his income was too unpredictable for us not to have one steady and sure income (mine).  Some months we would think, oh yeah I could stay home and then another month would sneak up and we would be like, oh man...good thing I'm working.

the other morning Lars asked to 'hide' in my hoodie.  so i zipped him up in it and he stayed there all morning. it was heaven. my lovely little lars.

Bob's had his practice for about 4 years now and I'm so proud of him.  Starting a law firm from the ground up in a city you just moved to and know no one has defiantly had it's downfalls, but he's rocked it.  Every year his practice is a little more successful.  He also just got his real estate licence.  He works really really hard and we are super lucky to have him around.  Although, I know he would rather brew beer or be a farmer, he keeps on trucking.

The plan was for us to get to a point where I could stay home and now that we're almost there, I'm not sure that's the right move for me.  At least not now.   We have such a great thing going with my aunt who keeps Lars at home, I enjoy working, contributing and having my own money and Lars is really happy.  Of course there are times I feel guilty but truthfully, I don't know how good I would be at being a full time stay at home mom. If we didn't have my wonderful aunt keeping Lars, things would be different and I would consider the possibility of staying home.   Maybe down the road after another bebe is here, I would consider a part time job but for me personally, I feel I need that sense of independence and contribution.

I think moms who work outside the home tend to feel like we're denying our children something important and I'm 100% guilty of feeling that way.  But I can take one look at Lars and see that he's not missing a single a thing except..... a reason for his temper tantrums :)  Lars is so happy and thriving and is so very very loved by everyone around him.  He's social and smart and funny.  Who knows what will happen down the road but for now things are going well and I'm not going to mess with it.

oh about melt my heart. this was taken on one of our 2 ice days!  :) we were struggling to stay entertain inside. 

playing farm is very serious work in our home. 

Lars helping me clean.  His animals were helping also. 

a little naked painting is good for the soul

ice day photo shoot. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A routine saved my sanity

If you don't already know, Lars was a pretty terrible sleeper and is still not the greatest.  But the first 9 months of his life were probably the hardest 9 months we've been through.  That's not to say that we didn't enjoy this precious new little bundle of joy or cherish every little giggle, coo or expression but I'll be the first to admit that I was completely drowning and it was solely due to lake of sleep.  For 10 months Lars was waking up every 1.5-2 hours and would be up for a while.  Getting 3-4 hours of broken sleep for 10 months will really take a toll on your mind, body and personality.  It even got to a point where I wouldn't drive to work.  I would either catch a ride with a co-worker or go in late and have Bob drop me off.  I was in a complete fog and my memory was fuzzy, my decision making was non-existent and my temper was short. At times I felt like I was missing out on this new journey because I was so exhausted.  I felt like I had no energy. Bob was also exhausted because he helped a lot in the middle of the night but he just functions better on little sleep and I was the one up nursing (and pumping at the same time) 4-5 times a night. I had hit a wall and then some.  I felt so sorry for Lars because I knew he was struggling.  It wasn't just night time, he was a terrible napper also.  Maybe 1 or 2 30-45 mins each day.  Lars was over tired, Mama was over tired and Dad was too.

At around 8 months after reading every book, trying every technique and at a point where my daily tasks were getting harder and harder I sought the help of a 'baby sleep expert'.  I was that desperate.  We shelled out $300 bucks and in the end felt like we had gotten completely ripped off.  I won't go into details but it was basically a huge load of shit.  I finally talked to a friend that had some advice (after she laughed at me for hiring a 'baby sleep expert') she said but him on a routine...a very very strict routine of wake, eat, play, sleep, wake, eat, play, sleep....The next day we started the routine. I created a schedule and put it on the fridge and was determined to follow it.

 It was sort of my last strand of hope. If this didn't work I was going to succumb to never ever sleeping again. Lars was to eat at the same times every single day, sleep at the times every day (this started out as just laying in his crib awake and fussing because he wouldn't sleep), wake at the same time every single day and play at the same time every single day. Talk about a lot of work on everyone's part involved.  This was hard for me because I wanted so badly to not be tied down to a rigid schedule. I wanted to be able to leave when we wanted, do whatever we wanted but it wasn't working.  Lars needed a routine!  After a couple of weeks, things slowly improved.  He was a fan.  I could tell he was starting to expect what was coming next in the routine. The crying fits he would have while in his crib diminished and if he wasn't sleeping he would just lay and play until he was picked up.  We all got into a rigid routine that looked something like this:

7:30 Am -wake, no matter what happened the night before

7:45 Am - nurse/bottle


9:30 AM - nap

11:30 Am - bottle/solids

1:30 pm - nap
3:30 bottle/snack

5:30 -nap if necessary (this 5:30 nap ended around 8 months. He was still wanting to nap 

then for 30 minutes because he was sleeping so poorly.)

6:30 - solids

7:30 - nurse/bottle/bed
11:30 -wake to feed

 Whatever time Lars woke up in the middle of the night the first night was the time he had to wait to eat the next night and so fourth.  I think at first I woke him for a  feeding at 11:30 PM and then he made it 1:30 AM the first night so he was never fed before 1:30 AM after that.  If he woke up crying before 1:30 AM we held off and used other techniques to soothe him (which didn't always work.)  It was a process. A very long and exhausting process but after about a month, Lars was sleeping much better, not fighting his sleep so much and seemed happier with the routine.

Flash forward to today and Lars is still very much a creature of his routine. We obviously don't follow the same routine as above but we do have a schedule that we adhere to for the most part. We definitely have loosened up and Lars has figured things out along the way on how to adapt to changes in his in routine but I've just accepted the fact that for right now he likes routine and I'm ok with that. Lars is so sensitive to his surroundings and so aware, so curious, so hyper that I feel a routine helps him relax and unwind.  For the most part he knows how the day is going to go and he likes that.

We tried and tried to fight against this idea of a rigid schedule but in the end it is literally the only thing that helped us all get some sleep and be a little happier.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Home Furnishings...Can't a girl dream?

There are so many lovely home items that I come across all the time that make me a little giddy.  Most of the time I can't afford them or can't convince myself to spend the money on them while we're in the middle of a complete home renovation but I still like to 'window shop' know for the future :)

Here are a few things I've been drooling over lately

Oh this beautiful mid century modern night stand. please find your way to my house.

This lovely Ikea chair that may actually get purchased.  It's a little more affordable and I've been looking for 2 new dining chairs.

This mirror! I keep my eye out for a knock off version at Marshalls, Homegoods and Target. No success yet. 

This duvet cover is wonderful and if I knew my cats wouldn't destroy it I may splurge...but I know they would destroy it, so I'm not.

I've been eyeing up this bad boy for some time now.  I think 2 of them in our living room would be perfect and save space. I'm not sure about dropping $800 bucks though.  I'll keeping looking for a knock off. 

i have a small obsession with baskets. I love them and these are no exception. they are so fun!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Things that make me Happy

When Lars makes silly faces

Stumbling across this lovely site for recipes

The Gospel of Parenthood according to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

This dress that I can't afford

These cool spinning gears that Lars loves to play with at toddler time.  I finally took the time to find them. 

Weekly Menu

Last weeks menu was totally vegan and surprisingly we didn't miss the dairy all that much.  Most of the dishes were scrumptious...MOST of them. The lentil apple walnut loaf was a total flop. Read about it here if you'd like.

I've decided to keep a few items on the weekly menu vegan.  We'll see how it goes.  It was nice not to drop 30 bucks on cheese.

Weekly Menu
I've been waiting over a week to eat these sweet potato tacos again. Here are my tweaks to it.
Roasted Vegetable Panini with Pesto
Green Chili Enchiladas 
Vegetable Lo Mein
Bob's Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Truthful Thursday - They can't all be winners

Truthfully, I completely forgot about Truthful Thursday last week.  Just plum forgot. Didn't even think about it until Saturday.  Last week had a little bit of crazy in it.  This week, I'm back, still a little crazy but back.

 Last night I made the Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf that I was so excited about.  I grated apples, grated carrots, cooked lentils, sauteed onions, garlic and celery, chopped and toasted walnuts, made the glaze.  Basically I went a little crazy trying to do something this involved, while doing some laundry, getting Lars' dinner ready, and finding ways Lars could 'help' with dinner.  This recipe was way more time consuming than I would ever normally spend on a dinner.  The kitchen was a complete disaster and I didn't even think about trying to take pictures of the process because I couldn't find my damn phone that was under the mound of kitchen towels I went through.  I finally got the damn thing all ready to go in the oven, set the timer for 45 mins and went to give Lars is bath. After I put Lars down I couldn't wait to get the loaf out of the oven and taste it.  I cut a slice for Bob and I, put the glaze on it and sat down to eat it.

Big Flop! I wasn't impressed at all.  I was irritated that I had just spent 1.5 crazy hours running around grating everything, I was tired from grating everything, and let down a little bit. For the 1 million ingredients in this recipe there's really not much flavor.  I'm a huge fan of every single ingredient in this loaf especially lentils. I could eat lentils and rice everyday and be a happy girl and that's exactly what I would have preferred over this loaf.

The lentil loaf wasn't bad, there was nothing terrible about it but it wasn't what I was hoping for at all.  It needed something but I have yet to figure out what that something is.  It was just lacking all around.  Just goes to show that bigger isn't always better because those sweet potato tacos I made the other night that took 20 mins from start to finish were the best tacos I've had in a long time.

sorry little lentil loaf, you will not be a meal at our house again. good luck in your future endeavors. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Letter to Lars

To my sweet Lars,
I hope you grow up to 
be strong
but not too strong.
but not too sensitive.
I hope you always remember
just how much you loved
the moon
and if you forget 
I will remind you.
be kind.
be patient.
be empathetic.
Remember to take time to
lay in the grass and 
look up at the sky.
Keep your sense
of humor and 
for they are proof that 
you are the miracle
of me and your dad.
be cautious
but never too cautious.
be helpful.
take road trips 
but please be careful
on them.
meet new people.
eat good
don't be afraid
to fail, you will
it's inevitable.
love hard.
learn to play an
instrument, it's always
a good ice breaker.
dance even when
it's not cool to. 
I hope I'm always
your hero
even though you're mine.
take pictures
you can never have
please don't ever
get too old for 
a hug.
trust yourself.
always be
you are a lovely
human being.
keep your family
be rebellious
but considerate.
if you choose
to pee
outside, pick
a different spot
each time so
you don't kill the grass.
seek joy in
whatever you do.
Never forget
that no matter what
happens in this
world, you
will always be
you will always
be special.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You NEED these in your life....pronto!

Ok, guys these sweet potato tacos I made last night are de.lish.ous! You have to try them...even if you eat meat everyday, at every meal and dream about meat in your sleep. You still need to try these! You will like them, I promise.  Not only are they scrumptious they were super easy to make.

I do have a few suggestion on making them even tastier
1) Make sure you season the sweet potatoes really well before cooking them.  Probably more than you would think.  Also, I know coriander isn't a spice that everyone has on hand but I think it really added to the flavor.
2) In addition to using coconut oil to saute them, I suggest having coconut water on hand also as I had to add quite a bit of it because the potatoes would stick to the pan.
3) On yesterday's menu list I mentioned that I was going to make a vegan chipotle cream sauce.  Without this I think the taco's would have been a little dry.
4) The recipe calls for chopped spinach as a topping but I also added some chopped cabbage to for a nice extra crunch.

The chipotle cream sauce - Funny story about this.  My intention was for this sauce to have a base of vegan sour cream but because I'm awesome, I grabbed vegan cream cheese instead of sour cream at the grocery store and didn't notice until I pulled it out of the fridge to make the sauce.  So, I had no other choice but to go with it and make it work and shockingly it was a very very happy surprise. The sauce was yummy.

Here are the ingredients
3/4 cup vegan cream cheese (approximately...i don't ever measure anything)
Enough coconut water to thin it out to a sauce consistency
juice of half a lemon
chipotle seasoning
smoked paprika
dash of cayenne for extra spice

Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekly Menu - Keeping it Vegan & My Grocery List

So I've decided to keep our dinners all vegan this week.  Why? Just to do it. I was vegan for a long time but I missed cheese way too much. We have several vegan recipes that we are big fans of so I've picked from them to make this weeks menu.  In addition to sharing the menu and recipes I thought I'd share my grocery list with you too.  I'm doing the shopping this week so I expect to have dark chocolate as a nightly snack this week. The grocery list has everything for our dinners, Lars' food (which isn't vegan, bc I think he would go nuts without cheese), lunches, snacks and extras for juicing.

Sweet Potato Spinach Tacos (I'm adding salsa and chipolte vegan sour cream to this one)
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Vegetables and Peanut Sauce
BBQ Tempeh Sandwhiches (I'm adding black eyed peas and cooked greens to this one)
Lentil Apple Walnut Loaf
Vegan Fajitas 
the start of my grocery shopping

The lentil apple walnut loaf is a little more involved and time consuming than I would normally want to spend on dinner but it sounds delicious and I really want to try it.I try to find recipes that take 20-30 mins from start to finish.  I usually start them and Bob finishes while I bathe Lars.   Also, it calls for Maple Syrup which I'm not rich enough to afford because organic pure maple syrup is like a gazillion dollars so I'm using agave.

Here's my grocery list.  The question marks are a reminder for me to call Bob and ask if he knows how much we have or if we have it all.  I also try and make my list in order of where everything is at the store. Makes it a lot easier! *Oppss..I just thought of something else I need. Cucumbers. Gotta add it now or I will forget!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Life in the Country

We've been in our new place for almost 8 months now and the move to the country, I feel was the right move.  Signing up to completely renovate a home with a toddler running around.....I'm still questioning myself on that one.  At this point in our lives I don't think we'd want to live anywhere other than in the spaces, trees, dirt, privacy, bob would say freedom to pee outside wherever you want, fresh air...those are the things that make the 50 min commute to work or the 25 min drive to get to a grocery store or Walgreens, Target, etc...worth it.  Lars loves where we live so much that I couldn't imagine taking that away from him.  Being outside for Lars is very therapeutic.  He's a super hyper, doesn't stop moving, very curious, sensory overload kinda guy and because he has the benefit of having lots and lots of space to explore and tackle, makes things a little easier and a lot more fun. There's always some part of our property that he hasn't explored even though he has his favorite spots like sitting on the the big rock by the tree swing or 'hiding' under the trampoline making animals in the sand, or strolling down the gravel road trying to reach the birds in the sky. Even if I didn't like living way out, I would be in love with how much he loves it.

Bob and I talked for years about moving out to hill country and getting some that was a little bit secluded and had lots of trees and perhaps a house on a hill.  When the time came to make the decision to do it, I was a tad  very overwhelmed but I knew it's what we had always wanted and while it wasn't happening exactly as we had wanted, our first priority was getting there and we did. We moved to hill country, got a beautiful piece of land with lots of trees and a house on a hill.  The house just happened to need a complete overhaul.

There are defiantly days that I miss the conveniences of living smack dab in the middle of everything.  I missed the pave roads that led to our home (I have yet to fall in love with the damn gravel, pot hole filled road that leads to our current house), I miss the 5 min run to Walgreens or Target especially when there's a sick baby or no diapers,  I miss not having to worry about how much propane is in the tank (epic fail TWICE on that one), I miss being a super short trip from friends.  All of these things were nice to have when he had them but we've happily sacrificed a lot of those to give Lars and any other bebes and ourselves the life we always dreamed of and always wanted.

Lars and Margo playing

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Placenta Encapsulation

It wasn't until about mid way through my pregnancy that I was asked at one of my appointments at the birthing center what I would like to do with the placenta.  I had NEVER thought about what to do with my placenta.  What should I do with my placenta?  What do people normally do with a placenta?  What are my options? Little did I know that there were a variety of answers to all these questions.  While talking with my midwife she discussed the many options I had.  Bob and I sat there a little confused and with a piece of paper where we needed to check an option:

Throw out as medical waste
Take it home

Here are my thoughts on those.  Throwing it out as medical waste immediately made me sad.  I had never really had an emotional attachment to my placenta until I saw it described as waste. Without sounding completely crazy and crunchy, it wasn't waste.  It was the source of life for the little baby growing inside me.  It kept him nurtured and alive.  It kept him warm and probably provided a nice comfy place to cuddle up to.  I knew I didn't want to throw it out as waste.  On that same note there's something else I knew.....there wasn't a chance in hell that I was going to eat it. Nope. Never. Not gonna happen. Not for me. I've been a vegetarian practically my whole life and aside from loving animals and not liking to eat them, it's really the texture that makes me squirmy, so I didn't see myself being able to munch on my placenta without completely losing my shit.  Take it home? I thought about it.  Plant it under a tree or someone even mentioned people make art out of it (not gonna lie, that seemed a little strange to me, but no judgement here).  We knew we were planning on selling our home shortly after Lars was born so it didn't seem right to plant it under a tree and then leave it. Encapsulate? Whats that all about I asked the midwife.  Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. They dehydrate your placenta, grind it up with some herbs and encapsulate it and then you take it like a vitamin.  This seemed like the most logical option but I wanted to know more.  Why were people doing this? What was the benefit? If we were going to shell out an extra $300 on top of the mountain of money already spent I wanted to know.  Sam, my midwife went over all the benefits and I got more and more excited!  I wrote a check for $300, checked encapsulate and that was that.

Right after Lars was born, Sam was quick to force out my placenta.  There was a little more blood than normal and I think for cautionary reasons she rushed the removal of it.  Everything turned out perfectly fine.  I was holding Lars on my chest and the assistant was handling the placenta.  I put my glasses on and asked to see it.  She laid it out on a sheet on the bed and showed me how it all worked.  It. was. Amazing! She showed me the little sac he was in, she showed me the patterns on it where his head and feet were.  I thought it was the coolest. His little home was laid out before me and there was proof all over it that he was cozy and well taken care of.

these are not mine but this is exactly what they look like and how they come packaged except mine had orders to take with wine :) 

A few days after Lars was born, Bob went to pick up the placenta pills.  When he got home I opened them, smelled them.  They smelled like herbal multi-vitamins. The directions said the take 3-6/day the first 3 weeks and then taper off until gone.  It also said to take them with a small glass of white wine or juice. SCORE! I made Bob go out and buy some white wine. Doctor's Orders, Babe.

any excuse i have to use this picture, i do.  it brings back the most wonderful feeling in the world.  
I have nothing to compare my placental encapsulation experience to, but I will absolutely do it again.  I struggled with a mild case of baby blues off and on for a few weeks following the birth and when I felt it creeping up I would take a few more capsules.  I felt great recovering and during my second day home visit for a check up, the nurse said I was healing wonderfully and everything was perfect.  Even though I struggled later with milk supply, I actually produced a really good amount of colostrum and Lars never lost any weight. The nurse was happily surprised by his weight on that second day.  Maybe it was the placental vitamins, maybe it was just how things worked out but for me it was the best decision and I was more than happy with the results!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Linguine with Spinach-Herb Pesto

We made the Linguine with Spinach-Herb Pesto last night.  It was sort of a late night and this seemed quick and easy.  I started it and and Bob finished it up while I gave Lars a bath and got him ready for bed.  If you haven't already picked up on the face that I love pesto then know it now....I LOVE PESTO.  I love all kinds of pesto and I love using it in different recipes. So, ready or not, there's probably going to be an excessive amount of recipes with pesto.

The pasta last night was really good.  We tweaked it a little.  We added some sun dried tomatoes and used dried herbs.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekly Menu

I'm bummed the holidays are over but I'm excited to be back to our menu routine.  I was on a serious sugar high for like 2 amazing as it was...I'm ready to be back to our regular meals.  Bob's hitting up this grocery store this evening so I'm sure there won't be any yummy dark chocolate covered goji berries added to the list (insert sad sad sad sad sad face)

Linguine with Spinach-Herb Pesto

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata - I'm not big on eggs but this sounds yummy...thought I'd try it. 

Baked Veggie Ziti (an ashley special. seemed like an easy end of the week meal with all the leftovers) 

*Note* For the Chipotle Bean Burritos, I make a few adjustments.  I use olive oil, I don't ever buy reduced fat anything especially cheese and certainly not tortillas and I replace the kidney beans with pinto beans.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy 21 months to this guy!

in lake charles for the holidays

The most cliche thing for me to say right now would be, 'Where has the time gone?' so go ahead and call me cliche because seriously Where has the time gone? Lars has gotten so big and has grown up so much in the past few months. He talks like no body's business, he's super sarcastic and he's all boy!  

While I don't like to use the term terrible twos, Lars has defiantly been expressing his independence, frustrations and discontentment in a rather dramatic fashion.  I'm hoping these temper tantrums will be a rare occasion but I won't hold my breath. They don't happen often and are almost always a product of not a long enough nap or a rough night. I try to be patient with him when he's having a moment and just let him work through it.  

We have been talking about the potty but haven't really had much interest in it yet.  I bought him one and we keep it out just in case but as of now he prefers to wear the potty on his head. Wrong end dude. 

Lars is just pure joy.  He makes everyone laugh and doesn't mind being the center of attention.  He's the center of our world and when he reaches up from his crib in the morning and says 'mama, kiss' all is right with world.  

my 2 favorites looking for ducks

mama was jealous and wanted a picture too :) 

what goes on when mom and dad are working on the house

his favorite thing to do

giving bob ross a run for his money.  

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