Best Invention Ever: Baby Food Pouches

Sunday, February 27, 2011

If you have a young child, do yourself a favor and try these baby food pouches. Several companies offer different varieties, but they're all basically fruit and vegetable combinations. They're all organic and super healthy. Broccoli, Peas & Pear doesn't sound too appetizing, but Hannah gobbles it right up. Plus, she can feed herself these things, saving me a great deal of time and energy. She likes it and I like that it's healthy and that she's eating her greens. Win-win.

7 Quick Takes

Friday, February 25, 2011

I thought it would be fun to continue with a theme for each week's Quick Takes. So for this week's, I'm writing about seven things I'm looking forward to in the upcoming week.

1.)Number one on my looking-forward-to list: seeing Kerry and Isabel! Next week Hannah and I are heading down to DC to visit my good friend Kerry (number one commenter on my blog) and her daughter and I cannot wait! I’m so looking forward to seeing them both and getting in some quality girl time. Today’s Mass reading was on the blessing of friendship and I could not agree more. Girl talks and birthing videos, here we come!

2.)Basketball season is almost over. Next week we just have our party (ice cream sundaes- I’m definitely looking forward to that) and then the awards ceremony and that’s it. As much fun as I had coaching, I’m really looking forward to the season being over. But with that said, I plan to coach again next year!

3.)Tonight’s dinner. I always try to make non-meat meals on Friday nights, so for the last couple of Fridays we’ve been having cheese raviolis, peas and French bread and man oh man has it been good.

4.)My next MOPS meeting. We had a meeting this past week which involved speed friendship dating. It was fun because we were able to spend a lot of time socializing. For our next meeting, I’m supposed to bring some sort of savory breakfast treat. Not sure exactly what that means, but I think I’m going to bring in some chocolate croissants. Yum. Plus, our next meeting is on homeschooling and I’m really curious to hear if any other moms in the group are considering homeschooling as an option. We certainly are. But I suppose that’s a whole other post.

5.) My next midwife appointment because that means I’m 30 weeks, which means only 7 more weeks after that, the baby will be full term. Dos really will be here before we know it. I can’t wait to meet him or her!

6.) The brownies baking in the oven. Anyone notice a theme here? Most of the things I’m looking forward to are food related.

7.) Lent. I know I’ve said it before, but I just love Lent. My personality thrives with concrete parameters for sacrifice. I truly enjoy the high expectations of Lent. I’ve been trying to decide what I will do for Lent this year. I’m thinking of giving up sweets, clearly that would be a real challenge for me and attending one additional daily Mass per week. Hannah and I go every Friday, so I’m thinking of tacking on Wednesdays too. Again, this will probably be a post unto itself.

Have a fabulous weekend!

For more Quick Takes check out Conversion Diary.

Unplanned

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
“Unplanned.
Everything about my journey since running out of the Planned Parenthood clinic into the waiting arms of the Coalition for Life house was unplanned-by me, I mean. I look back on the journey and see God’s fingerprints all over it, of course. If there is one seed I hope to plant in the heart of everyone who hears my story, it is this: God is worthy of our obedience and trust. When we step out in obedience, God rolls out the red carpet! That doesn’t mean the path will be easy, but it does mean that He has prepared it for us.”

~Unplanned, by Abby Johnson

I've been thinking a lot lately about Abby Johnson's book Unplanned and how much I love the title. It's just so fitting.

Looking back on my own life, I see the best outcomes were always those planned less by me and more by God. Take this pregnancy for instance, not necessarily in my plans (at least, right away), but certainly foreseen by God. It may go entirely against conventional thinking, but in my opinion an “unplanned” pregnancy is such a blessing. When God supersedes our plans He is reminding us that He is in control. And who wouldn’t want the Creator of the Universe directing our lives?

Americans, on the whole, are good planners. We like to map out our lives and follow the yellow brick road to our perfectly designed futures. In fact, even the word “unplanned” carries with it a negative connotation. (As my husband pointed out when I told him about this post. He argued our child wasn’t unplanned because the child was certainly wanted. I said the child was unplanned in the true sense of the word- unexpected, not planned.) Being a Type A personality, I am an OCD type of planner. I plan and plan until there’s nothing to left to plan. I like to attempt to control the uncontrollable. And over time I’ve learned that life is just that, uncontrollable. At first, this discovery left me frustrated and flustered. I believed if I perfectly planned out every last possible detail of living, then by default, my life would be perfect. Unfortunately, or fortunately rather, life does not work that way. If parenthood has taught me anything it is that oftentimes life cannot be scripted.

While unexpected, this unplanned surprise second pregnancy has left me feeling completely overjoyed. It has reinforced the notion that a child is each and every time a gift, no matter what. And it has forced me to relinquish control of my little life. Slowly, I am learning to throw myself with wild abandon into whatever future God may have in mind for me. I have learned that when I let go just a little, God is able to overwhelm me with the joy of something (or someone) unexpected.

This is yet another reason why I fully detest abortion. Apart from all its obvious evils, abortion robs women of the beauty of something unplanned. Through an unexpected pregnancy, God is attempting to give a woman the immeasurable gift of a child. Abortion steals that gift from a woman. Abortion providers (I’m looking at you Planned Parenthood) tell women that nothing good can come from an unplanned life. That is a boldfaced lie.

Life is meant to be a little bit unpredictable, that’s the beauty of it.

Made My Day

There are some elderly women in our building who just love Hannah. Today one lady told me that if our children are all like Hannah then we "should have a dozen."

Made my day.

The Name Game

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yesterday, Matthew and I were able to enjoy a nice afternoon date, just the two of us! We went to see the movie, The King's Speech. I definitely recommend it. Then we walked to get an ice cream. We haven't been to the movies since before Hannah was born, so it was pretty exciting for us. We were joking that the film was a good pick for our 2011 movie and we wonder what we'll see in 2012. We're averaging about one trip to the movies per year.

Anyways, we were talking a bit and realized that we were NOT on the same page for this baby's name if it is a boy. I thought we had settled on a name, but Matthew thought we had settled on another name. At least we have the middle name all set and we LOVE the middle name. I really like both names we are/were considering for a boy, it's just that I had it in my head that if a boy, the baby's name would be x and now I have to get used to the idea of y. I'm a bit panicked. At least, I have a couple of months to get used to the idea.

Speaking of sibling names, this website is fun for helping select a name that goes well with the other names you've chosen for your children. Usually it's pretty accurate and recommends names that I really like. For example, right now I'm really liking the girl names Adelaide and Amelia, (Matthew has nixed them both). Although, sometimes the website can be way off base. Yesterday, it suggested the name Rudy. Now, never in my life would I name my child Rudy. No offense to any Rudys out there.

I know I've asked this before, but what are some of your favorite baby names right now?

Washington Post Letter to the Editor

Sunday, February 20, 2011
My brilliant and clever friend, Kerry, just had her letter to the editor published in the Washington Post. She wrote in response to a man who was upset about the term "baby" being used instead of "fetus" in an article about prenatal surgery patients. Sigh. His letter is here, if you care to read it.

Here is Kerry's response. Don't you love it?

Letter writer Tony Gorman [Free for All, Feb. 12] chastised The Post for characterizing prenatal surgery patients as "babies" instead of "fetuses."

I understand his indignation. While I was pregnant, I searched desperately at the store for the section of clothes for women accommodating a parasitic womb inhabitant. Oddly, I found only the "maternity" section.

Other events during my pregnancy were puzzling as well - when the doctor found the heartbeat, I convinced myself that it was simply a mass of tissue beating in a rhythmic fashion.

One night, while I was resting on the couch, a little foot-like impression appeared on my belly, from the inside out. I dismissed that; it simply had to be intestinal.

My friends and I enjoyed cupcakes and tea for my "fetus shower"; what a joyous occasion.

Goodness, all during the pregnancy, I just loved my little ba-, I mean, fetus.

Kerry H., Alexandria


Well done, Kerry, well done.

Glorious

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's 51 degrees today! The sun is shining, the ice is melting and I'm beginning to see the grass poking through all those layers of snow. God is good and life is glorious (it's amazing what a little sunshine can do for your soul)!

Maybe Puxatony Phil was right after all. Here's hoping for an early Spring.

I Think We Need to Move to the Midwest

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Yesterday, Yahoo news had an article about home prices around the country. Read it here. Many of these homes are going for the equivalent price of a car. For example, this 4 bedroom house in South Bend is up for sale for $49,000. Yes, you read that right, $49,000. Look at this house, it's beautiful! And apparently, these prices for homes in the Midwest aren't that uncommon. I think we need to move there.


Being from California, where real estate is ridiculously overpriced, you couldn't find a condo for that cheap. In all the places I've lived, I've never heard of home prices like these. If that home were in California, New York or Massachusetts it would most certainly have an extra zero or two in the price.

Indiana here we come!

Wordless Wednesdays


(Watching Barney. She's enchanted by that big purple dinosaur.)

The Kindness of Strangers

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Sometimes I'm just so thankful for other women. Women understand each other, they know what's it's like to be a wife or to have young children.

Case in point. A couple of days ago, Matthew offered to take Hannah to the grocery store to pick up a couple of items I needed for dinner. As always, I made him a short (and very detailed) list (He needs to know exactly how many bananas I need, not just "bananas.") About 20 minutes after they left, I got a phone call, which went something like this:

Him: You want green onions?
Me: Yes.
Him: I can't find them.
Me: Well, it's tricky because they're not usually with the other onions, they might be by the lettuce.
Silence while he looks around.
Him: Are you sure green onions exist?
Me: Haha, yes, I'm sure
Him: (distracted) oh, those are green onions? Thank you.
Some nice lady had overheard our conversation and brought him a bunch of green onions.

Like I said, thank goodness for other women.

Valentine Traditions

Matthew has started a little tradition where he gets Hannah flowers for Valentine's Day. Last year, she looked like such a little bird next to her flowers. This year, it's hard to get her to sit still for a picture, but here she is with her roses.

I asked him what he would do if this next baby is a girl, that maybe he should just get a bouquet for "the girls." He said no, each girl would get her own bouquet. How cute is that?

Then he added that maybe he would have his own little rose ceremony like on The Bachelor. Hannah will you accept this rose...




Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 14, 2011


(BTW, I'm loving this post on commitment. She puts it so well, doesn't she?)

A Favorite Game

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Hannah and Matthew have been playing this little hide and seek game since she was really little. It's probably her favorite game. He hides behind the couch and she looks over to find him. Simple game. Loads of laughter.

Less Than 100 Days...

Friday, February 11, 2011
I just noticed that the ticker for Dos reads 98 days until the baby's due date. I can't believe it! For some reason 98 days sounds like a lot less than 100. This pregnancy really is flying by, (but I suppose that's to be expected when you don't actually find out you're pregnant until you're already 2 months along).

Here I am at 26 weeks. Pow.

(Please excuse the dirty mirror and weird lighting.)

Sidenote

Thursday, February 10, 2011

While I was doing my "window shopping" yesterday, I stumbled upon this lovely lady modeling some maternity clothes. Umm, does she look pregnant to you? Please, she must be what, two days pregnant?

Somebody Stop Me...


I cannot stop eating this stuff! It's so delicious, and it also has caffeine in it, so Dos is kicking like a madman (not really), haha.

Small Successes


This past week has been especially busy for us, so my small successes for this week are surviving enjoying our activities.

1.Hannah and I went to our first ever MOPS meeting(mothers of preschoolers- but the group is actually for all mothers with young children). Oh my goodness, I’m so excited about finding this group! All the women seem really normal and “cool”, if you know what I mean, and it was nice to have some time to chat with other moms. I feel like I can foresee some potential friendships forming with some of these women and I’m excited. Plus, they mentioned how they have a meals program for new moms, so when Dos is born they’ll bring some meals over to our place. I just met these ladies and already they’re volunteering to bring food when our baby is born. Umm, yes please. Love it.

2.I had a midwife appointment yesterday and all looks well. As my midwife said, “you’re cruising right along in this pregnancy.” I still feel like actually having this baby is a long way off. But in reality, I suppose it’s not. Cute little tidbit: I was lying on the couch (the midwife comes to our place for checkups) while the midwife felt for the baby and Hannah came over and kept throwing off the midwife's hand. My little protector did not like the midwife touching her mama. It was funny.

3.Another basketball game yesterday and another one on Friday. We won yesterday, so we’re still undefeated. The girls are now really serious about keeping their undefeated status, it’s really cute. Who am I kidding; I’m really serious about remaining undefeated too. Love my little team, but also kinda looking forward to basketball season being over, just so I can have a little down time and try to finish my dang thesis.

4.Storytime this morning. Have I ever written on here how awesome our library storytime is? Well, it’s pretty amazing. I had to register online to even get Hannah into the class because the spots fill up fast. I felt like I was back in college. Storytime=serious business in our town.

5.I managed to make homemade valentines and get them all mailed. Hannah and I worked diligently to make cards for all her grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, so I hope you all enjoy them!

6.Mass on Friday morning. I’ve tried to keep up going to Mass on Fridays. While I definitely bring down the average age of the Mass goers by a good 30 years, I really enjoy going for all the obvious reasons, but also because all the elderly people really dote on Hannah. They just love her, despite the fact that she can be a little noisy (in my opinion).

7.Hannah’s birthday party is on Sunday. It will be a small party with just her cousins and a few of her aunts and uncles (on Matthew’s side). I’m going to attempt a bubble theme, but we’ll see if anyone notices.

That’s our week in a nutshell. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Identity & Motherhood

Monday, February 7, 2011
Identity and motherhood. Can you tell this topic has been on my mind a lot the last week? I suppose as the reality sets in that I will soon have two children (TWO!), I have become a tad more reflective on the purpose of my life.

I just discovered this post by a blogger I really admire (Sarah at Clover Lane) and it really hit home. She puts it so well, the notion of "losing yourself" to motherhood. What do we really lose when we become mothers?

Read it here.

Go Packers!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Aaron Rodgers is a Cal alum, so naturally I'm rooting for my fellow Golden Bear and his team. Go Packers!
(Plus, I'd love to see the Packers win after what Brett Favre did to them this past year.)

On Money & Motherhood


It’s that time of year again- tax time. My W-2s for 2010 were pretty pathetic. Compared to just two years ago, I’m making pennies. Of course I love my two part time jobs and feel completely blessed by having a little money of my own, but my income is a far cry from what it was when I was working full time (naturally). While I wouldn’t trade anything for being able to stay home with Hannah, it can be kind of a blow to the ego to see how little money I’m making these days.

Just this past summer, I was really struggling with the working vs. staying home dilemma. It seemed everyone expected that I would go back to work after having Hannah and the pressure was beginning to get to me. (Now that Dos is on his/her way people have stopped asking when I’m going back to work, which has been really nice.) The idea that going back to work was a given somewhat irked me. I felt compelled to defend myself and my decision to stay at home with my itty bitty daughter. Since then I’ve come to a few conclusions about working outside the home and my subsequent financial situation because of it.

For the next few years, I will simply not have the discretionary income I once did. I've come to accept that. I won’t buy new clothes whenever I feel like it, and I will think twice about pretty much every purchase I make. And coupons, oh coupons, I will probably never buy anything without them. I will scrimp and save. But perhaps more than the money, I won’t have the professional prestige I once did (or deluded myself into thinking I had). It’s as simple as that. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.

The bottom line, for me, is that my babies will only be babies for a little while. Soon enough and probably long before I’m ready, they’ll be grown. And when that time comes, I can go back to work. The lucrative jobs, the prestige of a career will all still be there. When the time comes, I can go back to getting a Starbucks every morning and wearing my fancy work clothes and relish in the worldly esteem of being a professional woman.

But better yet, I’ll be content knowing that I didn’t miss anything while my babies were growing. I was there for the first steps, the first words, the cuddles and the kisses. I was there to teach and to guide and to help grow my children into healthy, happy adults. And that is something W-2 forms will never be able to put a dollar value on.

The Domestic Monastery

An excellent and thought provoking article on the similarities between monastic life and motherhood.

"For example, the mother who stays home with small children experiences a very real withdrawal from the world. Her existence is definitely monastic. Her tasks and preoccupations remove her from the centres of power and social importance. And she feels it. Moreover her sustained contact with young children (the mildest of the mild) gives her a privileged opportunity to be in harmony with the mild, that is, to attune herself to the powerlessness rather than to the powerful.

Moreover, the demands of young children also provide her with what St. Bernard, one of the great architects of monasticism, called the "monastic bell". All monasteries have a bell. Bernard, in writing his rules for monasticism, told his monks that whenever the monastic bell rang, they were to drop whatever they were doing and go immediately to the particular activity (prayer, meals, work, study, sleep) to which the bell was summoning them. He was adamant that they respond immediately, stating that if they were writing a letter they were to stop in mid-sentence when the bell rang. The idea in his mind was that when the bell called, it called you to the next task and you were to respond immediately, not because you want to, but because it's time for that task and time isn't your time, it's God's time. For him, the monastic bell was intended as a discipline to stretch the heart by always taking you beyond your own agenda to God's agenda.

Hence, a mother raising children, perhaps in a more privileged way even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her will, to constantly stretch her heart. For years, while raising children, her time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out and demanding something. She hears the monastic bell many times during the day and she has to drop things in mid-sentence and respond, not because she wants to, but because it's time for that activity and time isn't her time, but God's time."


(I love the line: Her tasks and preoccupations remove her from the centers of power and social importance. And she feels it.)

Read the entire article here.

Monday's Meal: Fish Tacos

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Never having made or even tried fish tacos before, I wasn't sure quite how to approach them, but they turned out really tasty.

Ingredients:
*Mahi Mahi seasoned with pepper cooked in olive oil and lime juice
*Avocados, tomatoes and red onions salad
*Greek yogurt (substitute for sour cream)
*Chopped lettuce
*Warmed small whole wheat tortillas
*Diced Mangoes (optional)
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