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On Missing Pregnancy

January 31, 2016

There are some women who openly hate being pregnant.

You know who you are.

Some women, on the other hand, love being pregnant.  I’ve always counted myself firmly in that camp.  I mean, other than not being able to drink a half a bottle of wine every evening after a long day of Lila’s 3 year-old shenanigans.  That kind of sucked.  And yeah, your back hurts and you aren’t sleeping well and your feet are swollen.

But.

You get to wear super cute maternity clothes—and who cares how big you look in them?!  When I’m not pregnant, there would never be a day when I would wake up and think, “I’m going to try to emphasize my stomach in my outfit choice today.”  But when I’m pregnant?  Bring on the horizontal stripes, y’all.  ‘Cause that bump is effing cute.  And people love it—people are so nice to you when you’re pregnant!  Strangers on the street give you big smiles (and occasional high fives—true story).  People want to help you ALL THE TIME—you don’t have to move anything, lift anything—you really don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.  You get treated like a fucking queen.   All people want you to do is eat and take naps.  And you know what?  You’re maintaining the existence of the human race.  So you kind of feel like they’re right to treat you that way.

And then you have the baby.  And all that comes to a crumbling, horrifying halt.

You know what’s super cute?  A pregnant lady who’s all glowy and happy and excited about life.

You know what isn’t cute?  A new mom who hasn’t slept in weeks and reeks of spit up and has consumed so much coffee that her hair is shaking.  If you make eye contact with her, she’s equally likely to slap you, start weeping, or give you a hug and talk about how miraculous life is.  And then she’ll kind of fall asleep in the middle of the conversation, because she’s mastered the art of sleeping anytime a spare minute presents itself:

 

And your post-partum body?  Listen, I loved my big pregnant belly—yes, you grow and grow and grow, and by the end you’re huge, but that belly?  It’s taut.

After you give birth, you go from this:

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to this:

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Your stomach looks like Benjamin Button’s face, okay?

So to get rid of that Benjamin Button stomach, you gotta go to the gym.  When you’re pregnant, literally just getting to the gym feels like an accomplishment—even if you just do some light stretching, people give you encouragement.  If you walk on the treadmill for twenty minutes, people act like you just ran the fucking Boston Marathon.  But walking for twenty minutes…that’s not going to get rid of Benjamin Button Belly.  But doing what it takes to get rid of it?

After giving birth and waiting six weeks (okay, eight…okay, twelve) to get back in the gym, you’re like:

Because you don’t have any cardio stamina:

and you definitely don’t have any muscle strength:

…and frankly, you’d just rather be sleeping. 

But you’re so sick of only being able to wear clothing that doesn’t involve buttons or zippers.  You want to lose the baby weight.  So maybe diet is the way to go?  Except that during pregnancy, your metabolism is on fire—remember that whole “growing a human” thing you got going on?

Afterwards, especially if you’re not breastfeeding, it’s like all you have to do is look at a cookie and you gain a pound. All that food you indulged in during pregnancy?

Kiss it goodbye.

Seriously, having to eat like a regular human being again is one of the worst parts about not being pregnant anymore.

The truth is, of course, that not being pregnant is also wonderful.  Because you finally have your little human in your arms:

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And one day you’ll sleep again. And your clothes will fit.  And you’ll be able to exercise without feeling like you’re two seconds away from keeling over and dying.

One day, that will happen.  But today is not that day.

So until then, you just have to fake it…

which is the ultimate skill of motherhood.  Winking smile

A Few Good Meals

January 24, 2016

Wow—Sunday already?!

This week has passed quickly.  Wednesday was actually my birthday, though it was a very low-key one.  I attended a parent’s picnic day at Lila’s school, and Charlie had his two month check-up—poor guy got some shots and was definitely feeling them that night. Sad smile  But, he’s doing great—almost 12 pounds!  Big guy!

We’ve been doing pretty good on the meal planning front, getting a few new dishes in every week.  Last week I made a Spinach and Artichoke Dip Chicken Casserole, based on this recipe (I changed a few things).  It was good—I think Ryan liked it more than I did.

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Later that week, I made a turkey taco soup with onions, peppers, ground turkey, diced tomatoes, and chicken stock (plus lots of spices).  It was super easy and really tasty.

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Lila has been super into the camera lately.  So we played with that while the soup cooked.  Winking smile 

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She snapped some good pictures of Charlie!

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He was a good model.  And the soup was finally ready:

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This weekend has been all about…snow!  We got about an inch on Friday…and in the South, that means we shut down for a few days. Winking smile 

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Stay warm!

Thoughts on Two

January 15, 2016

In two days, Charlie will be two months old:

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…which just kind of blows my mind.  With Lila, people always said that time would fly by—and it definitely did in the later months.  But those first few months were *painfully* slow.  This time around, I see what people are talking about.  It’s like I blinked and he’s about to be two months old.

So there’s one “two.”  The other “two” I’ve been meaning to write about is two kids—how has the adjustment been? 

I’ve always heard that the adjustment is either easier from none to one, or one to two.  (I guess by the time you get to more than two, you’re just screwed and it doesn’t matter what you do, haha Winking smile ) Um, count us *firmly* in the latter group.  I literally cannot imagine a more difficult transition than the one we had when we brought Lila home.  Those first few months were rough.  Going from one to two kids has been so much easier.

This has helped me to realize my number one tip for adjusting to life with a new baby.  Are you ready? 

Have an easy baby.

It’s as simple as that, right?  The bottom line is, Charlie is super laid-back and easy.  Lila was…uh, not.  And I always felt like we were doing something wrong—that it was our fault she was so unhappy for those first months.  And I’m sure we were anxious as new parents, and now we feel a bit more comfortable, etc., etc.  But seriously—she was just a *hard* baby.  And Charlie is an easy one.  And there’s nothing you can do about that, you know?  It’s just kind of luck of the draw.  Having an easier baby this time around has made me feel like I was too hard on myself last time—I just kept thinking that I was a horrible person for not enjoying spending hour after hour with a screeching, red-faced newborn who could only be soothed by rapid, rhythmic bouncing on the giant blue exercise ball (rest in hell, you bastard). 

Now that I have Charlie, I feel like some veil has been lifted on what the newborn experience *can* be like.  Ohhhhhh, I think.  No wonder people like babies.  I used to just assume people were lying when they said they love the newborn phase.  But now…I kind of love it.  He sleeps all the time.  He wakes up to eat.  He gives out smiles and coos and silly faces.  And then he goes back to sleep again.

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He is an easy baby. 

This is all to say that one thing I’m learning about two already is…wait for it…they’re different people.  With very different personalities. 

A woman we work with told me when I was pregnant that the people who think they know the most about raising kids are the ones who have none, and the ones who have one.  Because when you only have one, I think there’s a tendency to think, “This is how my kid is.  I guess this is how all kids are.”  I know I kind of felt that way with Lila.  And now that we have Charlie, I can already see that we’re just starting over from scratch, basically.  The things that soothed Lila don’t typically soothe him. She loved (and still loves) her pacifiers, whereas Charlie can kind of take them or leave them.  I found that I was sort of forcing them on him—just take the damn paci!  It will make you feel better!  Then I realized—no, pacifiers made Lila feel better.  Charlie might not want the paci at all—and that’s okay. 

It will sometimes be a challenge, I think, to respect the fact that they’re two different people.  I have to remember that Charlie will hit his milestones at his own pace, instead of constantly comparing him to Lila. 

The funny thing is, it doesn’t translate to more or less love.  Thinking back on those trying infant days with Lila, I don’t feel like we loved her any less, at all.  I just think, Yep—she was a tough one!  You know, she was a hard-headed, intense baby, and she is a sassy, intense kiddo—and I think that’s just who she is.  And I freaking love her—even at her sassiest. 

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(This is her impression of Olivia from the Bachelor.  #oliviasmouth)

Well, maybe not always at her sassiest.  Winking smile  

If I had to guess, I’d wager that Charlie will be significantly more laidback and easygoing—as second children often are.  We’re known for being the lazy ones, right? 

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This post doesn’t really offer “practical” tips on life with two…but that’s okay.  I guess my number one tip is just to understand, going into it, that you will have two children.  Two different children, who think and feel and act as individuals.  Even as babies.  That makes it hard, but it also makes it kind of wonderful, you know?  I really feel like we’re experiencing everything about having a baby with Charlie in a brand new way.  It makes me remember why we wanted a second kid so much in the first place.

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Two is harder, but two is great. 

xx

Meal Planning Update

January 14, 2016

Hi friends!  Glad it’s Thursday over here—almost the weekend! Smile 

Our (my) meal planning efforts were a bit derailed when I fell sick last week.  I’m still not 100% better (ugh, congestion), but I’m definitely on the mend and our meals have been better this week because of it.  On Sunday night, I made a big pot of turkey, kale, and sweet potato soup:

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…which we had again on Monday night for leftovers.

On Tuesday night, I made this veggie-packed spaghetti sauce.  I’ve mentioned it before, but Lila has gotten pickier and pickier over the past year.  We’re at the stage of trying to “sneak in” things she wouldn’t normally eat—ie, vegetables.  When we usually have spaghetti, I’ll just make a sauce with onion and beef (or turkey), but for this one, I added finely diced carrots, celery, and mushrooms to give it a boost.  After the veggies and beef cooked, I added some tomato paste, red wine, and beef broth and then cooked it all down to give it a deeper flavor before adding the pasta sauce:

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I dare say Lila didn’t even notice the extra veggies. Winking smile 

Our babysitter is coming this morning, so I’m off to the gym.  Have a great one!

xx

Ricotta Dumplings

January 10, 2016

As part of our “meal planning” week, I picked out this ricotta dumplings recipe– it was in my Cooking Light issue, but is also here on MyRecipes.

This recipe was touted in Cooking Light as being “great for kids,” but you can tell by the photos that Lila was a little underwhelmed by the whole thing.  ;-)  She actually did help me for a while, but she was not super into getting her hands messy to actually form the dumplings.  Oh well.

It made a lot– we ate half and froze half.

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They were actually really tasty!  I was a little worried that they wouldn’t hold together or that they’d taste too “raw,” but they definitely cooked up nice and firm, and the cheese on the inside was melty and delicious.  It was kind of like the inside of lasagna, in dumpling form…if that makes sense.  We’ve kind of gotten away from having a lot of meatless meals, but I liked this as a vegetarian dinner option.  Adding in a few vegetarian dinners per week is something I’d like to work on.  And although she didn’t help very much with the cooking, Lila actually really liked eating these.

Our meal planning got a little messed up this week because I’ve been sick with fever and a sore throat since Wednesday– ugh.  I’m ready to get a fresh start next week!

xx

 

Sunday Supper

January 4, 2016

Am I the only one who is *really* having trouble remembering what day it is?  You could tell me that today is January 15th and I’d be like, “Yeah, that sounds right.” 

Today kind of marks the “return to reality” for us—although I won’t start teaching until next Monday, Lila will go back to school and activities this week—thank the good lord.  This break has been fun but she is officially in need of some structure. 

Last night, I cooked dinner again according to our weekly meal plan—roasted veggies, couscous,  and Applegate sausage.

I actually roasted up a huge amount of vegetables—carrots, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, eggplant, butternut squash, and onion—so that they’d be available for use all week.  I tossed them in a mix of olive oil, Braggs aminos, garlic powder, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar, and then roasted for about 45 minutes at 350.

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Other scenes from the weekend…

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Ah, Pie Face. 

Hope you had a great weekend and are ready to face the week!

xx

Resolutions

January 3, 2016

Do you make resolutions?  I sort of go back and forth.  Some years I have a whole list written out; other years…meh, not so much.

This year, I’m kind of in between.  I definitely have some changes that I want to implement, and some of them are specific…but I also just have a general feeling of wanting to “get back into the swing of things”—they always say that the key to succeeding at resolutions is to make them specific, and you can’t get much more vague than that. Winking smile 

But, like I said, some of them are more specific—one is to do a better job of planning our meals for the week.  Do you meal plan?  I have specific memories of my mom sitting down every Sunday afternoon to write out our meals for the week before heading to the store to get all of the ingredients.

Yeah, I don’t do that.

But I’d like to!  Because what inevitably ends up happening is that we eat the same meals over and over, and we definitely eat out and resort to frozen dinners more than I’d like. 

So, I got a little meal-planning notepad.  That will solve this issue, right?  Yesterday, I sat down with a few cookbooks and issues of Cooking Light, and wrote out all of our dinners for the week.  I felt very much like my mother.

I tried to pick at least a few recipes that were different or a bit unusual.

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Then I sent Ryan to the store to get all of the ingredients. Winking smile 

Last night, we made sirloin burgers with sauteed mushrooms and a potato/cauliflower mash.  It wasn’t super-unique or difficult at all, but it was really nice to eat something other than our usual rotation of pastas and stir fries.

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Even Lila approved…which is very rare these days.

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My blogging has already fallen by the wayside enough that I’m not going to fool myself into thinking that I’ll post recipes for all our meals.  But, I do think that at least posting pictures and posts for the blog will keep me a little more accountable for this resolution.

What are your resolutions?  I also resolved to try to read 50 books this year.  I’m one down with 49 to go—I started and finished In a Dark, Dark Wood over the course of a day.  VERY quick read, and super-suspenseful, in a Gone Girl kind of way. 

Happy Sunday!

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