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The Beauty of Fatherhood

Motherhood has been a wonderful journey. It is full of joy, laughter, tears, frustration, and exhaustion. But it’s a beautiful thing. There is nothing in my life so far that has been more fulfilling. Everyday, I watch my beautiful son grow, change, and learn new things. Everyday he’s a little bit different.

The best thing about being a mother is having a wonderful husband by my side who is also an amazing father! We talk about motherhood a lot. We blog about it. We have social media groups dedicated to it. I don’t see nearly as much talk about fatherhood. When I do, I often see negative talk about deadbeat dads. But fatherhood is a beautiful thing too. Being a father transforms a man. In my opinion, he becomes an even better person.

Shon has always been an amazing husband. He has been through my side through thick and thin. He has taken care of me in sickness and in health. He has loved me unconditionally even when I’m not being my best self. He encourages me. He and I have weathered every storm holding tightly to each other. He is affectionate. He’s loyal. He’s my very best friend!

During my pregnancy, Shon was so excited about our son. He was over the moon to feel him kick for the first time. He was elated to hear his heartbeat during that first ultrasound. Everything exciting for me was exciting for him. He talked about J all the time. He talked about how excited he was to meet him, his dreams for him, and what he’d look like. We dreamed together for our son.

When J was born, Shon was by my side, my pillar of strength when I felt like mine was failing. I was rushed to the operating room due to complications as soon as J was delivered. J was fortunately very healthy. We were in the hospital for four days, and I wasn’t able to walk until the third day. Watching Shon be a father was such a beautiful thing. He got to bond with J before I did. While we were in the hospital, he changed every diaper. He brought J to me. He cradled him and loved on him. He gushed over this beautiful child we’d brought into the world.

When we got home, every whimper would wake Shon up at night for at least two weeks. He would make sure I didn’t fall asleep feeding him. He was so alert and aware of him.

Now, it’s amazing to see their relationship blossom. J gets so excited to see Shon. Shon comes home from work, and J yells “Dada” and runs to him with arms outstretched. They play together and Shon has J screaming in laughter. They are buddies. I can’t wait to watch their relationship grow even more as J gets older.

I can picture J working on the car with Shon. I can picture them outside throwing a ball together. I know J will want to be just like him, and it’s a wonderful thing.

Motherhood is beautiful and it’s so very important. But Fatherhood is equally as beautiful and important! For the mothers and fathers doing this on your own, you have both roles to fill, and I know that must be tough. But if your child has an amazing father in their life, whether you are together or not, cherish that! Appreciate that! Not everyone is so fortunate to have an amazing father.

To my amazing husband, to my amazing dad, and to all of my friends and family members who are fathers, Happy Father’s Day. We couldn’t do this without you! And I certainly wouldn’t want to! Thank you for all you do as husbands and fathers. And know you are appreciated, needed, and wanted in the lives of your wives and children!

Shon, I love you more everyday! Happy Father’s Day, my love!IMG_1968

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Life Changes

I have had several topics written down to blog about for quite a while now. Unfortunately, life has gotten away from me these last few weeks. For one thing, my almost toddler is into pretty much everything all the time. Keeping up with him has been a full time job lately! He goes back and forth from being a ray of sunshine to getting fussy in .6 seconds too! Regardless, he’s still the light in every single day! He’s a perfect, beautiful, mess. And even on the hard days, I still love every single second of this.

I’ve kept mostly to myself lately. Our family is facing a rather big life change. I knew it was coming. In a way, I predicted it. Although, at the time, I didn’t know just what it would entail. In December, I wrote a post called “Soliloquy.” It was dramatic of me. I knew it was even when I wrote it. But it was somewhat prophetic. January did not bring the change I was expecting, but it turns out April will. January only set things in motion.

On New Year’s Eve, Shon, the baby, the dogs, and I were driving back from Corpus. Shon and I set goals for the new year. Not resolutions. Goals. We had a total of 13 things on our list. So far five have already been accomplished. One is happening in June. Another is in the process. I know things are unfolding the way they should. I know there is good to come of all of this. I already see it. In a way, the goals we set for ourselves are bringing us to this place. Yet, it’s bittersweet. A chapter is closing. One that I wasn’t ready to see finished. A new one is beginning. I feel a mixture of things right now. I feel a little bit excited. This could be our next adventure. And yet, my heart breaks at the same time having to let go of things I wasn’t ready to let go of.

April is bringing change. And I have to be willing to accept it. And most days, I think I am ready. I realize this is vague. But there will be more to come…Promise.

 

Baby Stages

12 Month Update

I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been a bit busy chasing my almost toddler! I’m not going to lie, these last couple of months have presented new challenges. It’s amazing to see my son be so mobile and so curious. And yet, it can also be frustrating as he only wants to play with things that could potentially be harmful instead of playing with his many toys. And for some reason, this crazy boy loves to eat paper. And he finds it everywhere. Sometimes he finds it when I didn’t even know it was there!

But watching my son grow has been amazing! I can’t believe how much he has changed!

Today, my son is one year old. Last year, on this night, I was still pushing. I was in pain. I was exhausted. I felt like labor would never end. I’ve never experienced such terrible pain. And yet, it’s the night my beautiful, perfect baby boy finally entered this world. It was the best day of my life!

So much has changed this last year. When we brought our sweet boy home, he slept in my arms most of everyday. He didn’t want to be put down the first two months. Sometimes, that would frustrate me. I just wanted to get up and move around. I just wanted to make food for myself. I’ve now mastered life one handed. At the time, I was too nervous to drop him to do anything with one hand. Somedays, I long for the days when my son would stay curled up in my arms. He still cuddles sometimes, but he’s so independent. He’s always on the move. He doesn’t have time to cuddle. He is still very sweet though. He loves to give us kisses.

Everyday, baby J looks more like a little boy than a baby. I’m amazed. One day, he just didn’t look like a baby anymore. I don’t even know when it happened.

My world was turned right side up when my sweet boy entered this world. He’s everything I ever could have wanted in this life. He’s so much more than I ever imagined. He’s more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed. He’s taught me to love so deeply and fiercely.

Happy first birthday to my sweet, beautiful baby boy! You are my life! I love you!

 

mom life

Mishaps and Mom Guilt

I’ve been brooding over this post for almost a week now. I know it is an important one to write, but it’s also a difficult one to write. It shows my imperfections. Not that I ever believed myself to be perfect. I’m certainly not, and I don’t have it all together. But I am a perfectionist. I want things to be perfect, and I have a need to strive to be perfect. This shines a light on imperfection. But I did vow honesty with this blog. I vowed honesty because we as mothers need to stop pretending to be perfect, and pretending we have perfect lives, and perfect children who behave perfectly. We don’t. And we need to be honest with each other and with ourselves.

I don’t consider myself a bad mother. I love my son with my whole heart. He is the most precious gift I could have ever asked for. I am excited to see him in the mornings and kiss those soft, chunky baby cheeks. I love nursing him and having him close to me. I love watching him play and playing with him. I love that smile and the sound of his wonderful laugh. I love watching him eat. He loves food. I love that he reaches his arms out for me, and I love how he follows me. He’s my best buddy!

However, most days, I get anxious for nap time. Baby J is at an age where he NEVER stays still. My day is a constant of chasing him around the house. He’s quick. He’s not quite walking yet, but he stands and walks along the side of things. And he can crawl to the other side of the room in a split second, and before you can blink, he’s pulled the cord for a whole power strip out of the wall. Or he’s eating a piece of paper or a leaf that you didn’t even know was on the floor. He’s quick. And sometimes, half way through the day, I’m just exhausted. I need a few minutes to not be so watchful or to not be holding him.

Something I’ve learned though, is mishaps can happen even when I’m right there. And this is where my mom guilt came in a few days ago. In order to clean, or do anything else, I pretty much have to have J right there with me. He is a cat napper, so enough never gets done during nap time. Last Friday, I was cleaning out the bottom drawer of my nightstand. Baby J was sitting next to me. I brought in some of his toys and set them next to me. He happily played with them, and of course eventually, he started playing with anything I pulled out of the drawer and ripping up paper. I was just about done cleaning. I had a separated piles of trash and things that belonged elsewhere. Things that belonged had already been organized back into the drawer.

Then, everything happened in a flash. J stood up, holding onto my nightstand, and simultaneously lost his balance as I was closing the drawer. He came down face first into the drawer. He started crying loudly, but the back of his head was toward me. My first thought was he hit the top of his head on my closed drawer as he fell. I was going to nurse him to calm him down. I turned him toward me. Blood was running down his face. He had hit the outside corner of his eye on the drawer as I was closing it. I picked him up and ran to the living room screaming for Shon (fortunately he was home, but he had headphones on to play Destiny). He knew something was wrong and didn’t hesitate. He said “Gotta go” to his buddies and jumped up to help me before he even saw J.

At first, I thought J might need stitches. The head bleeds a lot. I was panicking. Shon took him from me and assessed him. He said it wasn’t deep enough for stitches, asked me to apply pressure, and left to get butterfly stitches. I started nursing J to calm him down and applied pressure. Within a few minutes, J was back to his happy self, blowing raspberries. He acted like nothing had happened. Shon got back, we cleaned him up and applied the butterfly stitches and a bandage.

My son is a strong little guy. Nothing phases him for longer than a few minutes. I however, did not feel okay. I was crying. I felt sick to my stomach. How could I let this happen? I was right there. He wasn’t even half an arms length from me. How did I not catch him? I could have reached out and grabbed him. J falling was like a blur. It was so quick. My beautiful baby boy got injured on my watch. It was my fault. I must be a bad mom.

Feelings of guilt can drive a mom crazy. I had been frustrated with J that he wouldn’t stop trying to eat paper. I had been tired and frustrated that I never get a break. Then, I felt frustrated with myself for needing a break from him. Maybe him getting hurt was payback to me for being frustrated. I don’t think I’ve ever had quite as deep of feelings of frustration and exhaustion as I have as a mother. And sometimes those feelings are overwhelming. And they make me even more emotional. They make me angry at myself. Angry that I’m not anywhere near perfect.

The words “bad mom” continued to repeat in my head. And suddenly, I had to be anywhere but there. I grabbed a jacket and put on tennis shoes. I asked Shon to watch baby J. And I left. And I ran. I ran for 3 miles. I ran until I felt my head clearing. I ran until my lungs were burning. I just had to keep moving.

When I got back, I felt better. But as soon as Shon asked me how I was doing, I was upset again. A call to my best friend helped to finally make me feel better, and like maybe I wasn’t such a bad mom after all.

In truth, I know I’m not a bad mom. Now that I’m away from the situation, I understand that accidents happen. I also know it won’t be the first. My son is very mobile. He’s learning how to walk. There will be times he may fall, and there may be times where I’m not quick enough to catch him. I also understand that this doesn’t make me a bad mom. I cannot prevent every bad thing from happening to Baby J his whole life as much as I would like to. I have to let him learn and feel things out, and do my best to protect him from serious harm.

I am slowly and reluctantly learning that my frustrations and my exhaustion are normal too. I hate that part of me, but I realize that it’s just something I must learn to deal with and work through instead of being at angry at myself.

I know at some point, there will be more mishaps that will make me feel like a bad mom. And I’m sure every mom out there has dealt with similar feelings. Know that you aren’t alone! Find someone to talk to about it who can reassure you and validate you! We’ve got to stick together, Mommas!

 

Uncategorized

Liebster Award

liebster award

I’m a little late with this post. In December, I was nominated for the Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers by other bloggers. Each blogger continues the award by nominating others who inspire them to keep reading and writing blog posts. I honestly had no idea this award, or any blogging awards, existed until I was nominated. I have intended to write this post and pass along the award for the last couple of weeks. With the holidays and mom life in general, time got away from me.

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Sehrish from The Cherished Life. Sehrish, thank you for reading my blog and passing this award along to me. I feel truly honored.

About the Liebster Award
In a nutshell, the Liebster award is awarded to bloggers by bloggers. A blogger is nominated for the award by another blogger who enjoys reading their blog. That blogger then turns around and nominates other bloggers that inspire them. It is passed on and on unless someone does not “accept” the award by not acknowledging it or not passing it on. This award is to help bloggers, especially new bloggers, gain readership and show recognition for other bloggers.

Rules:

  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award
  • Answer the 11 questions they leave for you
  • Give 11 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 5-11 bloggers for the award and let them know they are nominated
  • Give your nominees 11 questions to answer

Why did you start blogging?

I have always loved writing, but I started blogging because I needed an outlet. Becoming a stay at home mom was a huge change for me. I felt that I no longer had the social interaction I had when I was working full time. Being a mom can sometimes feel isolating. I’m not really sure why. I had heard other mothers talk about this in the past. Now that I am a mom, I completely understand the feeling. I wanted a way to get my thoughts out of my head. I also wanted to connect with other mom bloggers.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I would read for hours!! I used to be an avid reader. I never have time to read anymore. I would get better with my sewing machine. And I would finally learn how to use my Silhouette Cameo!!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Can it be fictional? Because I would live in Rivendell! In all honesty, I love living in Texas. There are so many places in this world I want to visit, maybe even stay for a month or two. But I would’t want to live anywhere else.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Passive aggressive adults bother me, especially on social media. The immaturity is just too much for me.

Are you a clean or messy person?

Before or after becoming a mom? Ha! I have always been a pretty clean person. However, I feel like my house is increasingly hard to keep clean as my son becomes more and more mobile.

Do you speak a language other than English?

Hablo español, pero no lo hablo bien.

If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

French fries. Seriously. French fries are my guilty pleasure. I definitely have a problem with sugar. But I think I’d honestly take French fries over anything sugary any day! I could eat them all day long!

Is there anything that you’re working towards achieving in the New Year?

Me time!! I do take about a half an hour a day for fitness. But there are so many other pieces of myself I feel have almost been left behind since becoming a mom. I have always been an avid reader. I used to sit and read for hours. I certainly don’t expect that to happen again anytime soon. But lately, I don’t even read everyday anymore. And I find myself picking up my book to only read a page or two. I’ve been reading the same book for at least four months. I also used to love to craft! My main goal for 2018 is not only to get back to this, but to make it purposeful! I want to get better with my sewing machine. I also want to finally learn how to use my Silhouette Cameo! I want to make things I can use, give as gifts, or even sell on Etsy! Of course, I will try to documents these adventures right here on my blog. 🙂

If you watch T.V., what is your favorite show?

This Is Us!

What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

I love spending time with my family, especially outdoors!

Do you like to read? What is your favorite book?

I love to read! I have many favorites, but I would have to say the Harry Potter series if I was forced to choose. I don’t know if there will ever be a series I love more!

11 Random Facts:

1. I train my dogs in agility.
2. I love to cross stitch. I learned how to do it when I was in 7th grade. I got made fun of quite a bit for having an “old lady” hobby in middle school and high school.
3. I am obsessed with my Erin Condren planner.
4. I like to-do lists.
5. I LOVE colorful pens, mechanical pencils, and school supplies in general.
6. I have a master’s degree.
7. I was a middle school teacher for 5 years, and Instructional Coach for 2 years, and I have a principal’s certification.
8. I can’t eat breakfast food for any meal other than breakfast. I just can’t.
9. I’m a nerd. My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy. No one ever expects this of me when they meet me.
10. My favorite video game growing up was Spyro the Dragon. I still play it sometimes, and I still enjoy it. But mostly because I suck at any other video game!
11. My favorite job ever was when I used to lifeguard!! Those were some of the best summers of my life!

Nominations:

1. Mom from the Shire – https://doitallmamablog.wordpress.com
2. Chasing Jameson – https://chasingjameson.wordpress.com
3. Lauren – https://lifewithlaurenemma.com/
4. Melissa – https://littlewordstudio.com
5. My Perfect Breakdown – https://myperfectbreakdown.com

11 Questions for My Nominees:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What motivates you?
3. What are your biggest goals for 2018?
4. If you could choose anywhere to live, real or fictional, where would it be?
5. What writer has inspired you the most?
6.  What did you always dream of being when you grew up? What ended up happening?
7. What is your favorite book and why?
8. What do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime?
9. What is your guilty pleasure?
10. If you have children, what has changed most about your life since becoming a parent? (If you don’t have children, what is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?)
11. If you could travel to any one place, where would you go and why?

I am excited to read everyone’s responses! Again, thank you to Sehrish for nominating me for this award. I look forward to continue my blogging journey and to follow each of yours!

Cecily

Baby Stages · mom life

Every Mom is Super Mom

It’s common knowledge that when you have a baby, you can say goodbye to sleeping well. Every new mom expects to be up every couple of hours with a newborn. We wake up to the slightest movement of our baby sleeping a couple of feet away. We are so in tune to their needs. We wake up with them every two hours. We feel like zombies during the day, whether we napped when they napped or not. And somehow, we make it through. Our bodies really are amazing, ladies! We carry a small, growing human that goes from the size of a tadpole to the size of a pumpkin for up to 40 whole weeks! Some of us feed them from our own bodies. Our bodies actually create the life source needed to sustain our babies. We survive off of less sleep than we did in college for nights on end. And somehow, we function. We might not feel exactly like ourselves, but we function, and we love and nurture our babies at the same time.

And you know what? It’s exhausting, and frustrating, and sometimes confusing. And we feel like we don’t have it all together. In fact, sometimes, it honestly just feels like the house is falling apart and everything else is falling apart along with it. And that’s okay! We don’t have to have it all together. We just don’t. We can be frustrated sometimes. That’s human. And that’s okay. We can be confused and wonder if we are doing everything right. And that’s normal.

We live in a world where information can be found with a simple touch of a finger. This is a double edged sword. You can find any piece of information you want at any time. You can find information to back up your own theories or to refute them. You will find more opinions than truth. And don’t get me started on what you’ll find on social media, where millions of people have their own opinions and views on things. And if you’re in a mom group, you very well know that thousands of people will come to your defense, try to sway you, or want to take you to the gallows over any small opinion you have to offer. It can be confusing, and it can be disheartening. Why can’t moms just be nice to each other?!

If you’re like me, you want to research EVERYTHING. Pretty much all of my parenting “tips and tricks” are backed up by research. I make research based decisions on almost everything I do with my son. I don’t know on what to blame this. I’ve always been an overachiever. I’ve always been a reader. And my education has taught me to always have sources to back up a claim. HOWEVER, it doesn’t mean that the way I parent is right or the way someone else parents is wrong. Another mom might be doing just as much research and reading as I am, and she might have come to differing conclusions. THAT’S OKAY! Or maybe, there’s a mom who goes with the flow, doesn’t do a whole lot of research, and just does what she feels is right for her children. THAT’S OKAY TOO! We all have our reasons for parenting the way we do.

Moms, we have to stick together. We have to be okay with being wrong or even just not doing things the same way someone else does. We don’t have to sway everyone’s opinions to match our own, and we don’t have to allow our own opinions to be swayed. We have to praise each other for doing a great job! We can admire the awesome Pinterest mom who loves to “DIY” everything in her life without feeling inadequate. I’m sure she has insecurities of her own. We can encourage the mom who chooses to parent in a way in which we don’t agree without feeling like we have some sort of moral high ground. We all have our reasons. We can recognize another mother who is exhausted and struggling, and instead of ignoring her and walking by, we can tell her she is doing a great job. Because Lord knows we all need to hear that sometimes, even if we don’t believe it in the moment. We can admire another mom’s clean house without feeling jealous of her and thinking about the clutter in our own home. For all you know, she threw everything in the closet the moment before you got there. We can understand the frustration of feeling busy or tired whether we work or stay home without feeling like one of us is busier or more tired than the other. We can understand that someone’s perfect looking life on social media may not depict the tears they’ve cried over feeling like they’re not enough.

It’s okay to be human. And it’s okay for this to look different for every mom out there. And good Lord, it’s okay to ask each other for help! It’s okay to show our weaknesses to one another and be vulnerable. It’s okay to ask another mom how she handles something when we don’t know what to do. Find your mom tribe, and keep them close. These are the woman you can count on not to judge you, but to uplift you, no matter what your house looks like or what sleep training or lack of sleep training method you chose to follow.

Me personally, I love to DIY. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did before motherhood, but I try. All of the rooms in my house are never all clean at the same time. And I swear, I clean the same places over and over again and they don’t look clean to me. I got frustrated last night when my son continued to wake up all night and wouldn’t go back to sleep despite my best efforts, so frustrated that I woke up my husband to help me because I was just so tired. I have been so tired I have broken down into tears without really knowing why I was crying or why everything seemed like such a huge deal! I am a perfectionist, and I’m very hard on myself for being imperfect. But at the same time, I’m working on it, and I’m doing the best I can. And you know what? I love my son more than life itself!

Mommas, you are all Super Mom. Your Super Mom may look different than my Super Mom or another mom’s Super Mom, but we are Super Mom just the same. Our children still love us more than sliced bread (or boobie milk in my son’s case). They won’t remember that the house was a mess. They will remember how much fun we were when we played on the floor with them or let them pull out every toy they owned. They won’t know the difference between a DIY birthday party or store bought decorations. They will just remember what a wonderful day it was, and they’ll talk about it years later. They won’t remember that we cried and got frustrated when we couldn’t figure out why they were crying. They will just know that we are there for them like we always have been. Our children will still grow up knowing we love and adore them, and be well adjusted. They will know they are cherished beyond anything else this world could possibly offer. What more could we want for them?

So today, I raise my second cup of coffee to you, fellow mommas. May you find the sunshine in each day through your beautiful children, may you have grace with yourself when things don’t go the way you planned, and may you find your inner strength in your weakest feeling moment. Because you are enough! And you are an awesome mom!

Here’s to you, Super Moms!

super mom

Baby Stages

9 Months Old

My son turned nine months old a couple of weeks ago. I am still amazed at how quickly he is growing and changing. Each day, I feel he is looking more and more like a little boy, and less and less like a baby. It is bittersweet. I already miss the days of my teeny tiny boy curled up in my arms for most of the day. And yet, each stage has been so rewarding.

At nine months, baby J can pull to a stand, he can walk along the side of whatever he is holding onto, he says “mama” and “dada” very clearly now. He gets into everything, but he also inspects everything closely. He scrutinizes the tiniest speck on the floor, a small mark on my skin. He has become obsessed with touching my eyelashes. He babbles loudly in consonant sounds, grunts, and screeches. He entertains us all day long!

We love each and every moment with our sweet boy. And I know I will look back on these moments, I will miss them, and at the same time, I’ll be grateful for the current stage we’re in.

Baby J is go-with-the-flow. He has no chill. He is rarely still. But he is flexible. If we are out all day and he has to take short naps in the car, he’s okay with that. If his nap times aren’t on schedule or if he goes to bed late one night, he’s okay with that. He adjusts, and it rarely throws him off. He can hang out with unfamiliar people all day and keep them all laughing. He puts a smile on so many faces. And he keeps my heart full.

We have had a fun December together. Shon and I have enjoyed wrapping presents for our sweet boy’s first Christmas. We had snow in south Texas. It actually snowed here! If you’re from Texas, you know it’s nothing short of a miracle. There is also snow in the extended forecast for Saturday. Maybe we’ll see a White Christmas Eve morning. Who knows! Baby J enjoyed the snow, as did my dogs. They turned into puppies out there! We were also temporarily fostering some goats for a week. They were here during the snow. I had to clear my whole pantry for them so they could have shelter from the cold and wet. It was a madhouse, but a fun one to say the least!

I look forward to what the rest of this month will bring!

Uncategorized

Soliloquy

“December, being the last month of the year, cannot help but make us think of what is to come.” – Fennel Hudson

December always comes quickly with her wintry chill. The year seems to move slowly until Thanksgiving. Then suddenly, you wake up, and December is there, with her cold breath on your face, her barren trees, and quiet beauty. And another year comes to an end.

There is warmth and love around Christmastime. But in the days leading to Christmas, December seems to be a mad, hurried rush of shopping, planning, and the stress that goes along with it. There is a whole subplot in the days before Christmas, in the rising action, just waiting to come to a head on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Families sit together and eat foods they only eat during the holidays. Adults worry about their waistlines. Children open presents. And their delight brings smiles to all. Children bring an enchantment to Christmastime.

But Christmas quickly ends, a climax that falls abruptly and leaves a hollowness. Because Christmas also brings an ending. The end of December comes fast behind. We begin to make our resolutions for the new year. We decide what changes we need to make. We ask ourselves how we can be a better version of ourself and what plan we will follow come January to get there. Because January is a new beginning. January brings hope for some. It brings questions for others.

It is December. I find myself at a crossroads, or even an in-between. I was in this place last year. January was uncertain. January brought questions, not hope. Last December, I had no idea what was going to happen come January. There was stress and uncertainty. Fortunately, the tides turned, and January began one of the most beautiful years of my life.

I do not know what is to come, but I know there will be change. And I am not ready for it. I wasn’t ready for it last year, but it happened, and I am glad for it. Here I am again, afraid of change, wondering if January could possibly bring on another wonderful year again. Wondering if I get another happy new beginning. Right now, all I can see is an ending. An ending to something to which I’m not ready to say goodbye. A chapter closing in an unexpected way.

And all I can do is wait and utter my soliloquy.

 

 

Recipes

For the Love of Pumpkins

I’m very odd about seasons and holidays. I am one of those people who cannot put out Christmas decorations until December 1st. It has nothing to do with a dislike for Christmas. I love Christmas! But Autumn is my favorite season! When I see Christmas decorations go up in November (God-forbid October), I feel that the Fall season has been gypped. I decorate for each season, and I like to enjoy my decorations for as long as possible.

That being said, today is November 30th. I started pulling down my Fall stuff today, and tomorrow, Christmas decorations will start to fill the spaces Autumn left behind. I LOVE pumpkins in the Fall. I rarely carve them. To me pumpkins are not just Halloween decorations. They stay out until the end of November. Yesterday, as I was taking the pumpkins off of the porch and walking them over to the area by our trashcans, I felt remorse that these pumpkins would go to waste. Surely millions of pumpkins are grown for this season every year only to be thrown in the garbage. My pumpkins have not gone bad. So today, I did a quick Google search for what I could do with the pumpkins, and I came across this awesome site. It gave ways to use the entire pumpkin right down to the skin so that nothing goes to waste!

pumpkins

It seemed like a fun project, and I decided to give it a try. I was very happy with the results. I will say this was a day long project due to cook times and also taking care of my son throughout the day. It was quite the undertaking! This started as a project that was supposed to be completed during nap times, but it was bigger than that. A lot of it was completed while Baby J played in the kitchen in his walker or while playing with the plastic containers I gave him. He’s very entertained by containers!

 

I started with one pumpkin. With as long as this took, the other two will have to wait for another day. I washed the pumpkin and cleaned it out, separating the seeds and the “guts.”

separated

There were four main things I did to use each part of the pumpkin today (I didn’t use the stem. I’m not really sure what I could have used it for, but ideas are welcome). The “meat” of the pumpkin was used to make pumpkin purée. I actually ended up with eight jars of purée. I kept one in the refrigerator. The rest are in the freezer. So far, I’ve used the purée to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte and as a a supplement with my dogs’ food. Pumpkin is actually really good for dogs, and my dogs love it. I have plans to use it to make a pumpkin pie, a face mask, and pumpkin bread.

I used the “guts” of the pumpkin to make vegetable broth. It made approximately 20 ounces of broth.

I of course roasted the pumpkin seeds. I used garlic salt as the seasoning. Delicious and simple!

pumpkin seeds.jpg

And lastly, I used the pumpkin skin! I peeled the pumpkin skin off before tossing the “meat” into the processor. I seasoned it and baked it. I followed these directions as the directions on the other site called for a dehydrator, and I don’t own one. I will say that the pumpkin skins are different. They were good, don’t get me wrong, but the edges were a little sharp and that made them kind of difficult to eat. The ones that came out the best were the ones that had a little bit of the “meat” still attached. Those were much softer, and I thought they were pretty delicious. The ones that peeled right off were way too rough.

skin

This was a really fun project! For a more detailed list of what you can do with your leftover pumpkins, check out this site by The Penny Hoarder. It was my inspiration for today’s project. It also has additional ideas for what you can do with your pumpkins, and it provides links with instructions for each idea.

Enjoy, my friends! And enjoy this holiday season!

 

Recipes

Crock-Pot Balsamic Pot Roast

I am always on the search for good, clean (or mostly clean) Crock-Pot recipes. Fortunately, with sites like Pinterest, it is much easier to find Crock-Pot recipes that don’t call for cream soups or other things that can be unhealthy. There are so many options out there, it’s unreal.

It’s always nice to throw stuff in the Crock-Pot and go about my day knowing that dinner is already taken care of. Because let’s be honest, if anything is going to get done, it’s going to be earlier in the day rather than later. A lot can happen in a day, especially if you have infant, or kids of any age.

Mondays are my Crock-Pot day. I do agility with my dogs on Monday and Tuesday nights. Because we live so far out of town now, I have to leave the house by 5:30 in the evening to make it on time. It is way too rushed if I try to cook dinner. So on Mondays, I throw something into the Crock-Pot that will feed us for at least two nights or longer.

This Crock-Pot Balsamic Pot Roast is perfect for that! This is a recipe that I found on Pinterest and adapted to fit our needs (link for original recipe below).

crock pot roast
Sadly, this is the only picture I took because I’m new at this. 😉

Crock-Pot Balsamic Roast
Serves: 4 (with a possibility of leftovers)
Cook Time: low – 6-8 hours, high – 4 hours

Ingredients:
2.5-3 pounds Beef Chuck Roast
1 c Beef Broth
1/4 c Light Brown Sugar
1/8 c Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Tbls Coconut Aminos (you can also use Soy Sauce)
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
3 cloves of Garlic, pressed
Red Potatoes (I used about 6)
1 small Yellow Onion
3-4 Carrots chopped, or a handful of Baby Carrots

Place the meat into the Crock-Pot and toss the potatoes, carrots, and onions around and on top of the meat. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour over the meat and veggies and potatoes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Know your Crock-Pot! My roast was 2 and a half pounds, I cooked on high, and it was finished cooking in 4 hours.

If you are Paleo, leave out the potatoes and cook some sweet potatoes in the oven instead. I think sweet potatoes would be delicious with this!!

I am only feeding two (and a quarter) so this turned out to be three nights worth of meals. This was plenty for Shon and I, and the little guy just eats off of our plates. He really enjoyed the carrots.

If you try this out, let me know what you think! 🙂

(This recipe was adapted from The Chic Site by Rachel Hollis. It is in no way a product of my own creation. I simply adapted it to fit the needs of my family. You can find the original recipe here.)