Outfit of the Day

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Cupcake is so sick. My heart is breaking for her. She has refused all naps, unless I hold her. Her minor fever from teething is growing. She has barely slept the last few nights. To top it off, when daylight broke I noticed she was covered in a terrible rash. I wouldn’t be too concerned usually, but my happy little baby is a wreck. She isn’t playing, laughing or smiling. My heart is so sad because I can’t even help her understand what’s happening.

We have a doctors appointment in a few hours, so I’m praying it’s nothing serious!

My OOTD features my momming essential Moby wrap! Literally wouldn’t have been able to eat or drink these past few days since all that soothes Cupcake is mommy cuddles.

(Side note: the magical ability of my cuddles making Cupcake feel better makes me really feel like I can’t be totally screwing up this mom business, right?)

Fingers crossed it’s just a virus and I’ll get my bouncy baby back soon!

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that these products exist…

This has been a long week my friends. At first I thought Cupcake was just cutting her second tooth. I didn’t even think much of the fever she was developing. Teething is a pita, right?

Then yesterday hit. Well, actually, it started on Tuesday night. She just would not settle to sleep. Cupcake is in a pretty decent routine, so when we were still awake hours after bedtime… I was none too pleased. She fussed when I tried to nurse her and wouldn’t lay in her crib. It was awful. She finally fell asleep just before 1am.

When she woke up yesterday, she was even worse. She had her new fever and was so unhappy. She cried and fussed for three hours straight until I was in tears. I really prefer to minimize the pain meds she receives, but it was time. I skipped the Tylenol, which hadn’t been working, and went straight for the Ibuprofen.

Voila! Three hour nap.

But then she woke up, and was a mess all over again. Her fever kept climbing all day and through last night. It was one of the more difficult days we’ve had.

Here is a picture I snapped of our day. Poor kid, but that zippy sweater totally makes it cuter when she’s screaming.

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And yet, how could I be anything but thankful for her? (And these products. I didn’t even like coffee before Cupcake arrived!)

Any delicious things you like to add to your coffee?

Top Migraine Triggers

I was diagnosed with migraines in high school. For those that do not have them, it’s more than just a bad headache. It’s a whole body headache.

My dear friend is also a migraine sufferer, and posted a link to this article .

Over the years, I certainly have found lots of things that trigger me. If I eat more than 2 hot dogs in a few day period… Instant migraine. I’m assuming it’s the nitrates.

Weirdly enough, if I run for 5+ miles one day, I get a migraine the next. I assume it throws my electrolytes out of balance, but even with proper hydration and even replacement drinks- it still happens. (Anyone with ideas, help!)

After Cupcake herself, the best part of being pregnant was that my migraines totally disappeared for all nine months. That’s enough to almost make me consider having 19 kids.

Weather is also a wicked trigger for me. You know how right before a big storm there is sort of an ominous feeling? And all of the animals know something is up? I’m like one of those animals- instant migraine! Thankfully, as soon as the precipitation starts falling, it gets better.

It’s so funny how migraines and the triggers are so unique to each person. A woman I used to work with seemed to have almost the exact opposite reactions that I did. If I was feeling a migraine coming on, she seemed fine. On her bad days, I felt great! That’s probably what makes them so hard to treat.

I’ve been lucky to only have one migraine as a mom. I know more lurk ahead and am dreading trying to care for Cupcake while I’m suffering. One thing that always helps my migraines is massive carb-loading. It’s all I want during my migraine and if I don’t fulfill the need, they are much worse.

So, fellow migraine sufferers, what helps you? Do the triggers in the article match your triggers? I’d love to hear from you!

Image from : FrameAngel on freedigitalphotos.net

What’s on My Playlist

I have quite the random mix of songs on my playlist. I love to dance around the house and sing with Cupcake. There is always music on in our home.

Here are some of my recent loves:

You+Me- You and Me (Pink’s new venture… Listen to it!)

MercyMe-Greater

Nicki Minaj-Anaconda

Kristian Stanfill- My Heart is Yours

Meghan Trainor- All About that Bass

Enrique Iglesias-Bailando

OneRepublic-I Lived

Jeremiah/YG- Don’t Tell ‘Em

Katy Perry- This is How We Do

Coldplay- A Sky Full of Stars

What are some of your favorites it right now? I’m always up for new suggestions!

A Favorite Childhood Memory- Breaking the Rules

I am really quite blessed because I had a wonderful childhood. There were certainly lessons that God had to show me through some rough moments, but overall it was very happy and filled with love. Picking just one of my favorite childhood moments is difficult! Let me reiterate how spoiled I feel for that. I only pray that Cupcake feels the same way when she’s my age.

Since I just got off the phone with my dad, I will pick one of my favorites with him.

I am a notoriously poor sleeper. I received this trait from my darling father. We just don’t fall asleep easily. As a kid, it was not unusual for him to be up till 2 am, wake up for breakfast with the family, and then head back to sleep for an hour or two.

I hated bedtime at a child. My mom enforced bedtime pretty strictly, but I just resisted it. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to sleep, I genuinely couldn’t fall asleep. I’d lay there for hours tossing and turning. Since I shared a room with my little sister, I couldn’t even turn on the light to play quietly. I hated it. She was an amazing sleeper and I was forced to essentially just watch her sleep.

Thankfully, my mom was also a great sleeper and went to bed relatively early. On the nights where sleep was particularly elusive, I’d sneak downstairs to hang out with my dad.

On one such night, he picked me up and plopped me on the counter. We ate a cup of pudding and had conversation eye-to-eye. It felt so special and so daring to be breaking the bedtime rules. Then, we went to the TV Room and he turned on Nick at Night.

Back in the day, Nick at Night played old black and white shows from my dad’s childhood. We watched Zorro and the original Mickey Mouse Club. He fell asleep on the couch. I knew my mom probably wouldn’t be too happy if she found out about our late night daddy-daughter date. But, even in that moment, I knew it was a special night I’d treasure for a long time. So, I grabbed a blanket and fell asleep with him. I was always a fearful child and constantly worried someone might break in. But, that night I slept wonderfully because I felt so safe!

Watching my dad interact with Cupcake, I am so appreciative of the relationship they have. He babysits her more than any other person and she adores him. It’s clear she also feels safe when she’s with him.

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Now that I’m a parent, I realize that my dad was breaking the rules of bedtime in this memory and my mom probably wouldn’t have loved it. It makes me realize that the relationship Chris has with Cupcake will be unique and special and it might be okay if he breaks the rules every now and then 🙂

Do you have a special memory of when a parent broke a rule? Please share below!

My First Ever Pot Roast!

I usually am not a huge red meat fan, but lately I have been craving it! I have never even really been a huge fan of pot roast, but I came across this recipe on Pinterest and thought I’d try it out!

Ingredients:
Beef Roast ( I used a 3 lb one )
2/3 c applesauce
1 c water
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Paprika

Directions:
1. Place roast in crockpot upside down. Season liberally. Flip right-side up and repeat.
2. Top roast with applesauce
3. Pour 1 c water around roast (not on top)
4. Set crockpot on low 6-8 hours

Optional:
Add 2 cups baby carrots and 1 chopped medium onion in crockpot around roast

When I started this recipe, I did not have applesauce in the house. Then it hit me that I make applesauce for Cupcake all the time! So, I whipped out my BabyBullet and poof- homemade applesauce!

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Mmm. It sure smells heavenly! Check back later to see how this baby turns out. Needless to say… I can’t wait to try it!

Edit: So here are the results!

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My husband hates pot roast and he even went back for seconds! The only thing I’d do differently is add a full cup of applesauce. You really cannot taste the apples at all (which I personally think was okay for beef), but it kept it moist! Two-thirds cup was fine, but it didn’t completely cover the whole roast.

We topped ours with some cooked onions and it was divine!

If you try this recipe, let me know how yours turns out!

Weekend Highlights

This was a wonderful weekend!

Friday Cupcake was just a peach. She was so happy all day long. We went to our local baby play group at the library where I was able to hang out with some awesome mommies (and a few daddies). It is such a blessing to have these people to meet with each week as it provides such a sense of solidarity and warmth knowing they get it. For the most part, we only see each other just as this play group, and it doesn’t even matter. Our worlds collide on Friday mornings and it’s wonderful.

Cupcake also had an AMAZING nap, so I could start my homemade tomato sauce (see previous post for recipe!) and clean before my sweetie came home.

On Saturday, we awoke to a drizzling and cool autumn day. Chris was running a half marathon and we weren’t sure if I’d be able to bring Cupcake to cheer on her daddy.

Needless to say, we bundled up and found the half way mark! Daddy was very happy to see us.

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Don’t let my smile fool you- it was gross out! After a quick kiss, Chris ran his the rest of the half while I ran home to put lunch in the crockpot (see post for Easy Chicken Fajitas recipe). It was the perfect thing to warm him up when he arrived home!

That afternoon we went to a local vineyard to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday. Chris and I ended the night with a Chinese food takeout picnic on our living room floor once Cupcake fell asleep.

Today will be super busy! After a dreadful night’s sleep, Cupcake woke for the day at 5:15. We took a family trip to the grocery store at 7am. I’ve been couponing a lot recently. I am still very much a beginner, but I did manage to score $240 worth of food for $130 and received a coupon for $7 off my next purchase! I was pretty pleased.

Cupcake is napping in my arms as we speak. I’ll put her down soon so I can get ready for a wedding shower we are attending this afternoon.

What was the best part of your weekend? Hope it was great!

Seven Lessons I Learned this Year

As part of the October Blogging Challenge by Girl Meets Life , the 7th was all about seven lessons I’ve learned this year. It took me several days to finish this, because it required a lot of thought!

This is an amazing year to talk about lessons as there has been so much change in my world this year! I gave birth to my darling Cupcake in March and started my year-long maternity leave from teaching. This has been a major shift in our household as I go from full-time working lady, so narrowing it down to just seven lessons may be difficult, but here we go:

1. Just because you change your mind, it does not mean you were wrong the first time.

I never knew whether I would want to become a stay at home mom or not. I worked extremely hard to become a teacher. Since essentially kindergarten, I knew I was destined to become a teacher. Most of my school choices were centered on this goal. I started assisting at a home daycare center in sixth grade. I petitioned for an independent study in high school to create a class that did not exist, so that I could further my understanding of child development and relevant theories. In college, I volunteered in the elementary school that I knew I wanted to start my career in. Every moment has been centered around this goal.

When I found out I was pregnant and due in March, I knew that I would be all set! My maternity leave would take me until the end of the year and then I would have the whole summer with my new bundle of joy. But, the thought of leaving my future 5 month old made my heart break. After a lot of discussion and prayer, my hubby and I decided it was important for me to take the next year for child leave to be with Cupcake. I would be stepping out of the classroom I had worked so hard to get into. And I couldn’t have been happier. I wasn’t wrong to imagine my life as a working mom, but I had changed my mind, and that was just fine.

2. Your child is the true love of your life. 

My mom always tried to explain to me the deep love you have for your child. I understood on the surface level, but experiencing it was much different. I did not have that moment the second she was born. I loved her like crazy, but the overwhelming, I love you so much I could break, love did not happen until we had been home a few days. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was looking at her and just realized what it would really mean being her mom. There would be not a single second of hesitation that for the rest of forever I would do whatever I could to protect her, teach her, and love her. It was the most beautiful feeling and it continues to grow each and every day. She is my perfection.

3. I could totally have a flat stomach and toned arms if I wanted to. I just don’t want it that badly.

I have always had trouble with my stomach and my arms. I realized that if I wanted to have a flat stomach and toned arms, I could! I just would have to give up almost all of my favorite foods and work out a ton. I could make all sorts of excuses about not having enough time with a new baby, or that I am nursing so I cannot limit myself too much, but the honest truth is, it’s just not worth that much to me.

I want to look good; who doesn’t? I work out, and eat right most of the time, but the amount of effort I would need to put into getting my ideal body shape is not something I am willing to put in right now. It doesn’t mean I am a failure. It doesn’t mean I am giving up. It just made me realize that those things do not mean as much to me anymore. If those goals become more important, than I can achieve them. They just aren’t right now

4. Being a mom is tough, whether you work outside or inside the home, or whether you are a stay at home mom.

I guess I always knew this fact, but it’s different now that I am living it. There are times as a SAHM that I think that I would love to be at work. I would love to get dressed in “real” clothes and not have to worry about the getting covered in spit up. As a teacher, it’s not like I would have the freedom to go to the bathroom when I wanted, and I would still have a ton of kids around me. The break outside of the home and the adult conversation during my lunch break would be awesome!

But, then I think of weeks like last week, when Cupcake came down with a fever and a rash around 8am. If I were a teacher, I’d have to find a sub, while trying to throw together a lesson plan outline, while still trying to control my class. That would be terrible! I might miss out on the tons of diapers during the day, but all of the chores I do during the day now, would have to happen at night or on the weekend.

So then I think about being a work at home mom. The best of both worlds! This may be true, but it could also be conceived of as the worst of both worlds.

On any day, any constellation of “momming” could be amazing. They all have their downfalls and difficulties. There is no one right or best option. Each family and mom is different. Some moms do not have a choice of which category they fall into. For some moms, being a SAHM would be a horrible fit. They would not be as complete of a mother without that working side of themselves. For this year, being a working mom would not fit me. During this first year of momming, I would not have been able to give my class everything that I would want to, which is why I made my decision. It was right for me, and for Cupcake, and for my family. That’s all that matters.

I wish we all could just support each other.

5. Organic foods taste different (in a really good way)

This is probably shameful to some of you out there, but I haven’t fully bought into the whole organic thing yet. I didn’t always have the money to purchase the more expensive food items and I just put the thoughts of pesticides out of my mind. I don’t want to get into an argument here on the benefits of organic foods, because nothing sold me like the time I accidentally purchased a can of organic diced tomatoes instead of my regular to make my homemade sauce (see, I really am becoming more of a chef these days!).

I saw the can and just thought, “Crap. What a waste of money.” Then, I opened it. The smell of the tomatoes was so, tomato-y. It was a beautiful smell. It smelled like the first bite into a ripe tomato on a summer day. It was utterly amazing and the smell nearly sold me itself. But, the sauce I made was perhaps the most delicious I’ve ever tasted at any restaurant, and certainly from any jar. It was glorious. My husband raved about it.

So I was born into the world of eating organic foods as often as I can. Screw health (no, not really)-but the taste is everything!

6. Real friends can handle when you change and will change with you.

Having a baby changes everything, including your friendships. Some friends welcomed Cupcake with open arms. They graciously understood when we were unavailable due to new parenthood. We missed out on the wedding of Cupcake’s godfather and other friends due to the craziness of a newborn. We did not make it to social events. We were absent for a little while. When we reemerged, we were available at different times. Gone were the days of Friday night dinners out. Started were the days of Saturday morning family fun activities. I did not return calls or texts as quickly. My real friends got it. When it was hard to adapt to the change (which is totally normal), we talked about it and moved on to a better understanding and a better friendship.

Some friends, however, have mostly disappeared. They still care, as we do, but our lives are in very different places now so it is harder to connect. Still, my true friends have been there no matter how different our lives may seem on the surface. It makes me appreciate those good friends all that much more!

7. Sometimes the things you think you are bad at, you have not given enough of a chance.

If you had asked me last year, I would have said I was an alright cook. I could make meals that were satisfactory and relatively healthy and tasted good enough. I just did not enjoy it. (Baking on the other hand, was always a favorite!)

When I decided to become a SAHM, I realized I would be taking on the lion’s share of the cooking. This scared me as I have a relatively limited repertoire of recipes. I wanted to make healthy food that tasted good. I also needed things that were quick and easy due to Cupcake. Furthermore, on a limited income, I needed recipes that would not be too expensive! I was terrified.

And then, I gave myself some time. And I found out I am a pretty good little cook! With the help of the internet, I have found a multitude of recipes that fit the bill. I have taken chances and most of the time the recipes come out quite good! I have been surprised because I literally never thought of myself as a good cook. I now feel confident that I am!

So is there something that you think you’re bad at that you’d be willing to improve?

Easy Crockpot Chicken Fajitas!

As part of my October goals, I wanted to try new recipes and this one was a hit! My husband and I LOVE Mexican-inspired dishes and this one fit the bill.

What I love about this meal is it fits any diet! The crockpot recipe is Paleo, Clean and 21-day fix approved! Or, you can splurge and add in all sorts of sides if you prefer to eat differently. I love to make this when we have company coming over because it is oh so simple and I can secretly tell those on diets how it fits in. Can you tell I’m in love? I also REALLY love the fact that I’ve made this with any amount of chicken breast from 1-2.5 lbs and it all tastes divine. Seriously- fool proof!

Ingredients:
4 cups chopped onions and peppers (roughly 2 bell peppers and 1 medium onion)
1 c salsa (spiciness up to you!)
Chicken breast (1lb to 2.5 lb package)
3T lime juice
Seasonings
-we use a scoop of our favorite JD’s Salsa Mix (available at JDsalsa.com)
-alternatively you can use 1t of garlic powder, cumin and crushed red pepper, .5 t cayenne and .25 t salt

Directions:
1. Pour salsa into bottom of crockpot
2. Layer chicken breasts on bottom of crockpot
3. Pour lime juice over chicken
4. Sprinkle seasonings on top
5. Cover with chopped veggies
6. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 7-8
7. When finished, chicken should easily shred using two forks!

When we make 1 lb of chicken, my hubby and I have plenty leftover for lunches the next day. I like to make more chicken so I can use it later in the week in enchiladas, or even chicken noodle soup!

We love our spicy foods, so if those don’t agree with you, alter the seasonings to fit your desires!

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Just as an FYI, JD’s Salsa Mix comes in mild or hot. We use it on EVERYTHING! We mix it into scrambled eggs and use this instead of heavily processed taco seasonings. It’s a perfect blend!

As a note: JD’s Salsa has no clue who I am and I get no kick-back for recommending them. (But hey, JD’s, if you want to send us stuff for free- we’d love you forever!). For real, it’s yummy.

I started this recipe this AM since my husband is running a half marathon in the rain today! Yuck! It sure will be nice to have a yummy lunch to come home to after we all get soaked.

Can I have your prayers that Cupcake doesn’t totally fall apart in this yucky weather?

Who Inspires Me Most

When I saw this listed on the blogging challenge, I had no idea who to write about.

There are so many people who inspire me. I’ve had a million great teachers over the years. I have three amazing sisters who have done wonderful things. My parents have been such great teachers and role models for me. I have the most wonderful husband with the best work ethic.

The person who inspires me most, though, is my daughter. It’s crazy because she’s only six months old, so she’s not the typical choice. Since finding out I was pregnant, I have become such a better friend, wife, and sister. My daughter inspires me to be better each and every day.

It probably sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Here’s to you Cupcake!

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