Starting Again

Today I did something that I have not done in nearly a year…I went to the gym. The whirring of the treadmills, the smell of the chlorine from the pool, it all pulled me in and made me afraid.

When we found out we would be moving last year, we cancelled our gym membership. Although I tried to keep up with exercising as much as possible, I was not doing as well as I could have. I used our jogging stroller to go on runs around the neighborhood (until Cupcake got too heavy and it hurt my back). I tried to do workout videos here and there. I found it hard to stay consistent without the gym. It was too easy to look around my house and see the chore list staring back at me. There was always something that needed tending to. So, my workouts suffered.

And being a work-at-home-mom, working out became less enjoyable for me. Home was where my family was, but it was also my workplace. And now it was supposed to be my gym. I made a million excuses but the honest truth was I just hated working out at home. I was really unsure about whether we wanted to shell out the money for a gym membership, so I tried to make it work. My fitness suffered. I was cranky. I was getting out of shape. It was not good. Added to that was any decent gym around us was nearly double what we were paying before.

It took some convincing, but I told my sweetie that all I wanted for Valentine’s Day was a gym membership. I wanted a place to go to work out. For this mama, it also had the benefit of childcare! This meant that not only could I get my workout in, I could also shower and get ready after sans Cupcake. I was so excited when he agreed.

But this morning, I was terrified. I did not want to go. I was going to be so out of shape compared to where I was. It was a new place so I had no idea where anything was located. It was also snowing when we woke up and we live in a place not accustomed to much snow. I teach my students online, but the physical campus (located just 10 minutes away) was cancelled for the whole day due to the weather! We only have a car seat in one car, which is the better car for the snow, so my husband would have to take it to work. YAY! I would be able to excuse myself from attending the gym.

Thankfully, my husband gently reminded me how much I wanted this. So at an ungodly hour, the three of us packed into the car so I could bring him to work in the “good” car, then I drove through rush hour traffic (why do they call it that? It should be slow hour traffic). We arrived at the gym just in time for the childcare to be opening. I slowly got changed into my workout clothes, dropped Cupcake off with the providers, and was faced with actually having to workout.

The stats of the workout were not impressive, but they were better than anything I would have gotten sitting back on my couch. I pressed start and that seems like a huge accomplishment in itself. And while I had to work far harder than I used to in the past, I did it.

Have you ever been scared to start something up again that you haven’t done in awhile? Tell me about your “press start” moment in the comments below!

Love,

Lindsay

The Magic of a Blink

It’s amazing how quickly time passes once you become a parent. You find out you are pregnant, blink, and then there is that little miracle looking back at you.

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Before you know it, you foolishly decide to blink again and your newborn is becoming an interactive little one. Our Cupcake was so fascinated in the world around her and loved exploring. Every day was an adventure. You are happily going along when the urge to blink hits once more. Suddenly your infant has transformed once again.

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Now you have a baby. She can play. She can coo. She certainly can tell you in her own little way what she likes and doesn’t like. A personality emerges. Time passes as it always does and you let those eyelids touch for but a moment and instantly a toddler is born.

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These days are punctuated by a flurry of energy. Movement is the name of the game. What is this and how does it work motivates their world. Life is so fun as you crawl, walk, climb. But just as you settle into your new life of action, that blink is waiting.

IMG_7008Now you have a kid. Not a big kid, in global terms, but a bigger kid than you’ve ever known. She not only walks and talks, but she has opinions. Strong ones. And she knows how to express them! Not every adventure is a new one, but it is always an adventure. Don’t blink just yet, mama.

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On Our First Birthday 

Sweet daughter, 

Today something truly momentous happened. You turned one. So did I, I suppose. One year of being your mommy has been my greatest adventure. Over the last year we’ve shared 365 days of sunrises and sunsets. We’ve shared laughter and cries. We’ve grown together and learned a lot. 

On the day you were born, nothing else mattered in the whole world except for you. For perhaps only a fraction of a second, you held the distinction of being the youngest person on Earth. And while a new miracle quickly took over that title, I was mesmerized. 

Some women have really hard pregnancies and some just don’t like being pregnant. While it certainly wasn’t the most relaxing nine months of my life, they were the most magical I had ever experienced. You were my little buddy, with me wherever I went. When the cold winter months hit, I’d wrap us up under a warm blanket and rub my belly, hoping against hope that you felt my love. I would talk to you constantly about everything I was seeing, hearing, and doing. You were my everything. But, then you were born. And I had to share you. 



Now, don’t get me wrong, I was so excited to share you with the world. I couldn’t wait for you to meet your amazing Daddy. I knew Grandma and Grandpa would be bursting at the seems to become grandparents. I couldn’t wait to lay you in your nursery, the same one that your great-grandmother raised your Poppy in. I wanted to be the best mommy, just like your Jammie was for me. Plus, I kinda sorta made you- and you were perfect- so I wanted to show you off. 

But, nonetheless, I was a bit sad at the loss of our secret little bond we had. So as they laid you in my arms, all I could think to say was, “Hi baby.” The time at the hospital passed in a blur and we were home before we knew it. 



Over the past year, I’ve come to realize that the secret little bond we had was nothing. When you call out for me in the night to come feed you, although I am tired and sleepy, I smile. You call for me. What magic. When you take a tumble, you reach out for me. When you decide you don’t want your diaper changed, or to be in your car seat, or to do whatever it is that we’re doing- you are soothed by my singing, my hugs, my love. 



You can be busily playing and smiling and the whole world thinks you’re happy, but I can tell that you’re secretly tired, or upset, or mad. As soon as I bring you to a quiet place, you dissolve into tears because you know you’re in a safe enough place to do so. You know Daddy and I will take care of you. 



You have learned such amazing things over the last year! You can walk, talk, and dance. You laugh and play peekaboo. You can roll a ball. You have a knack for taking off any shoe or sock we put on you. 



But, as much as you’ve learned, I’ve learned more. I’ve learned that sometimes the most wonderful moments occur at a 3am nursing session when I’m so tired I can barely function. You reach up, touch my cheek, and I’m cured. I’ve learned to slow down and to truly smell the roses, crunch the leaves and watch a bird sit in a tree, because nature is stunning, even in it’s simplest form. I’ve learned that our secret little bond of pregnancy is gone, and has been replaced by a much larger, much better one. I’ve learned that literally nothing matters unless I know you’re safe, cared for, and healthy. 



So while today we will place a candle on the top of your cake, Mommy will be there to help you, because it’s my birth-day and I couldn’t be more excited. 



Love always (and in all ways),

Mommy 

Momming at Home

Technically, I guess one would say that I am a stay at home mom. This term is usually given to a mom whose career revolves around the raising of her children and caring for her home. I do all of these things, but I always had a problem with the “stay at home” part of it. I feel like Cupcake and I were always out and about from the day we came home from the hospital.

And then winter hit. And I have become a stay at home mom. All of my momming is seeming to occur in the walls of my home. I have to admit that this part of the year always makes me stir-crazy. I actually do not mind winter, per-say. I just dislike being stuck in. And days like today definitely require a lot of in.

Cupcake took an awesome nap this morning, and so I started the shoveling.

IMG_3705 Glamorous, huh?

By the time she was awake, the driveway was completely covered again. It looked like I hadn’t been out there for the last 45 minutes clearing all that snow away. Sheesh.

Cupcake can’t really play in the snow for real, so I gave up any hope of a clean driveway and resigned myself to another at home day.

We played with her favorite toys and she even sat still long enough to let me put her hair in pigtails!

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But then I looked at the clock and it was only noon! Hours and hours until Daddy came home. I made myself a second cup of coffee and rearranged the kitchen table to another wall. Then I swept the floor. I tell ya, I sweep at least once a day, but now that Cupcake is learning to feed herself real food… Once a day is not enough! I realized the floor could really use a washing, but had no good ideas of how to do that without Cupcake being around.

So I decided if she was going to be with me, then she was going to help me! I pulled out her tub and attached the booster to make a water table on the kitchen floor.

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(Note, I surrounded the tub with towels and took off her pjs to make the floor not slippery- but I took these blog-appropriate photos first! Please put safety first if you ever try this!!)

Although I went through about 10 towels that I kept changing so she could play safely and we were both soaked to the bone after, it was a blast!

What do you do to keep your little ones busy when you’re stuck inside for what seems like days and days? I need more suggestions!

Cookies for Cupcake!

Now that Cupcake is 10 months old, it is just oh-so-offensive to her if we give her “baby food”. If what she’s eating on her tray doesn’t look like what Mama and Dada have, baby girl definitely expresses her displeasure.

“Mamamamamama,” she says most urgently, as if I had committed the gravest of crimes. She gives me that look that says I’m a big girl. Share with me! And I melt because I was the pickiest eater in the world and I’ve managed to overcome that and help teach my daughter to be brave with her food.

I ate my first kale chip just a few months ago. I was scared. It was green. I had no idea how yummy they could be! But, “Mamamama,” echoed in my kitchen yesterday and Cupcake happily munched away on my homemade kale chips.

But, this isn’t a post about kale chips. It’s about cookies. I really love to bake eat cookies. And so when I heard the familiar “Mamamama”, I realized that Cupcake deserved a cookie, too.

I set off to create a baby-friendly cookie that was 1. Dairy-free (Cupcake has a sensitivity I’m hoping she outgrows soon!) 2. Yummy and 3. Healthy

I searched a few websites and couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Cupcake can’t have bananas, so a ton of recipes were knocked out. I had a few leftover egg-yolks from my Mexican Meatloaf I made, so I decided to start with that as my base since most babies can have egg yolk. Cupcake also adores oatmeal and applesauce, so I played with that idea and started experimenting. The result?

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Happy baby! I started with small cookies, thinking they’d be more friendly. I quickly realized that this did not pass her “I’m a big girl” test, so I made the next batch normal size. She loved them!

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So, with Cupcake’s permission…

Applesauce-Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 c quick-cooking oats
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 t baking powder
Pinch salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix all ingredients in food processor
3. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet approx. 8 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown

I thought these were kinda yummy, but you could definitely use naturally sweetened applesauce (or a bit of sugar) if you feel it’s necessary. Since making these the first time, I’ve replaced the applesauce with other fruit and veggie purées, and they’ve always turned out great!

As a side note, Cupcake hates the sound of the food processor. Look at these faces! Poor girl!

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Anyone else’s kids have cute things they are scared of? Share!