Sunday, February 28, 2010

March Menu

Meal planning has never come easy to me. I used to wish I had those Martha Stewart skills and could actually plan out nutritious meals. I became easily discouraged when shopping for all the ingredients the recipes called for. It was upsetting to see all the wasted food at the end of the week because I had bought on impulse and not out of necessity. I needed more self-control and more motivation to actually cook the meals I had planned, but at the same time I needed less complicated recipes with fewer ingredients.

Last month I decided to try something new. I planned seven dinner meals for the whole month. They were fairly easy and the list of ingredients was short. The month of February went pretty well. It was much less stressful at the store because I knew exactly what I wanted so I didn't have to spend much time browsing and walking all over the place. Here is the dinner menu for the month of March.

Sunday: Fish w/ Brown Rice and Steamed Veggies
Monday: Spaghetti w/ Boca Crumbles
Tuesday: Vegetarian Chili
Wednesday: Vegetarian's always better the 2nd day
Thursday: Pizza...Frozen...lazy night :)
Friday: Garlic Ginger Tofu (Repeat from last month...can't get enough)
Saturday: Dinner out...another lazy night :)

Okay, so I probably still need to work on the nutritious part. Hopefully in the next 9 months I can get that part down too. For now I'm just happy that our trips to the grocery store have been cut down to about two a week in comparison to the four or five was that bad.

Friday, February 26, 2010

To be Challenged

"When does this get easier?"

I read that question on a new-baby forum a few weeks after Lily was born. I had the same question in my head, and as I read the answers I wasn't very encouraged. "By five or six months things are better" or "what are you talking about, having a baby is naturally easy..." or "it DOESN'T get better." At the time I longed for a simple answer, a quick fix to the problems I was facing as a new mom. I obviously wasn't ready for the changes that having a baby brings.

I thought about it awhile and decided that maybe things wouldn't necessarily get "better.". As the months passed I could see a little truth to this thought. Lily began to have more control of her body. Holding her head up, grasping onto things, learning how to fall asleep on her own. I can look back now and see that some things have definitely gotten easier little by little. With each new day she gains a little more control over herself, but a little more control over me, consequently.

She is more vocal these days and can show us and tell us (by yelling and throwing a tantrum) when she doesn't like something (mainly pajama time). She is easily distracted by things (mostly Kirby) and refuses to finish eating. I don't really know what I expected from a baby, or if I had even thought that far ahead. I was very naive in those early days.

Her new skill is increased mobility. Not really crawling yet, more like scooching backwards to any destination that I will allow. She will inevitably find the one tiny crumb/lint/string that I missed in my vacuuming of the family room floor. She can get from one side of the room to the other in the few minutes it takes me to run upstairs to grab some laundry. Once again I found myself not ready or prepared for this movement milestone. I knew it was coming but denial had gotten the best of me.

When it comes down to it I guess I wouldn't call having a baby "hard." It is very hard at times, but I think "challenging" is a better word to describe what having a child means (for me at least). It seems that each time Josh and I have figured something out about our daughter, she will change it up and we have to figure her out all over again. So, she challenges us in many ways and it's not always easy, but we're learning a lot. We learn a lot about her and a lot about ourselves, and in the end I guess that's what it means to be a parent.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To be Tofu

About a month ago Josh and I watched a video about the factory farming of animals. I won't post it here. I'll just say it was horrible and we haven't eaten pork, chicken, or beef since that day. We occasionally eat fish, so I guess we'd be considered pescatarians.

I have never been too skilled in meal planning, and I thought that with this new diet it would be even harder. I decided to meal plan by the month, and every week would be the same as the last for that entire month. Sundays and Mondays would be vegetable ravioli soup nights, Tuesdays would be spaghetti...etc. etc. As I was planning I realized how little protein I was incorporating into our diet. The first thought that came to my mind was TOFU. Oh no...not tofu. That stuff is totally disgusting, right? I found a recipe and thought, okay...we'll try it. No promises.

I will admit, I was pretty intimidated when I opened the package and saw the floating white cube blobness. I drained it, cubed it, and threw it in the pan with some olive oil. Hmmm...not too bad. It started to brown and I added some garlic, ginger, and some stir-fry veggies somewhere in there. After about 20 minutes I added some Tamari sauce and let that cook for about five minutes. I steamed some brown rice and put the tofu concoction on top.

Deliciousness. I'm not bragging here. I would definitely not consider myself a good cook by any means, but this meal was pretty tasty. It doesn't add up to all the protein we need in a day, but it's a small step in going meatless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To be at Disney

Lily and I went to our third MOPS (mother's of pre-schoolers) meeting today. I dropped her off in the nursery before grabbing some coffee and breakfast at food bar. I walked around aimlessly looking for my table. Having only been twice before I still don't know too many people, even the ladies that are in my group. We usually chat for a few minutes, have a prayer/devotional, and then an activity or a speaker.

Today we had the opportunity to listen to two brothers speak on their obsession with Disney World. It was quite interesting to hear about how these two men became so enthralled with Disney culture. So obsessed that they made a website and a hobby
out of planning trips and going down to Florida multiple times a year. I have only been to Disney twice when I was younger. It was fun, but nothing too special for me. My parents seemed stressed, it was way hot and humid, and I got sick from
one of the buffets. Listening to the speakers today intrigued me. Could it really be all that fun?!

They talked about the importance of planning the trip. Making reservations at restaurants in advance. Calculating the amount of time you want to spend in each park. Knowing how you want to get from hotel/campground to park and vice versa. It did sound pretty overwhelming, but I could see where they were coming from. I was getting excited thinking about brunch with princesses, watching fireworks, and just generally having a vacation/adventure.

But I realize that Lily is only seven months old and that I shouldn't just wish time away. At first I couldn't wait for her to be able to hold her head up on her own. I tried to convince her for weeks to roll over. I can't wait for her to walk (...note to self--need to baby proof...). Now I can't wait until she is old enough to go to Disney and have an awesome time. For now I'll try to be patient and cherish each day because I know how fast time goes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

To be "Normal"

It has only been recently that Lily and I have trekked out of the house for errands and socialization. There were so many things I didn't know about bringing baby into the outside world. Can I put the car seat in the shopping cart? What do I do if she cries? Where do I change her diaper? What about germs? I had so many questions. I was definitely being the paranoid mom and caring too much about ridiculous things.

The fact is that when Lily made her arrival in July of 2009 my world was turned upside down. Nothing I had ever learned about babies helped me to take care of my own little one. It seemed like she was from a different planet. An alien baby! I was blessed with a colicky alien baby. She cried. I cried. She cried some more. I was too scared to go out into public. What would people think of me and this constantly crying baby?! So, we stayed in. Thinking back on it now that was probably not the best idea. Isolation + new baby = depressed mom!

Finally, around five months the colic started to subside. I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders as the colic days seemed to be disappearing here and there. Lily was finally a happy baby (most of the time). Slowly we started making little appearances in the outside world. I became part of a local online group for moms, got more involved with other moms in our church, and made some time for myself. We've come a long way.

In the thick of those colic days I never imagined that life would be "normal" again. It seemed that holding a crying baby for 18 hours of the day was going to be my "normal" for the rest of my life. If you are ever holding a colicky baby I'm sure that many people have told you that it will get better. I had heard it so many times. It got The last thing you want is advice from people who just haven't been there. It does get better though. It's hard. Definitely the hardest thing I have ever been through. It's all been worth it.

Lily thrives on getting out of the house. I guess most babies do. She loves her hat, her jacket, and even her car seat (for now at least). She loves to watch people, but she is actually quite bashful. Today we went out to lunch with some ladies and their little ones. It was nice to finally feel "normal."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To be Motivated

I have some jeans hanging in the closet. They are a size 10. Unfortunately, I can't fit into a size 10 jeans.

This past week I got dessert from Fresh Market five times! Yesterday I ate way too many pancakes for breakfast, and then proceeded to eat a pastry from Panera after lunch. I could have worked out on any day this past week, but somehow I always came up with something better to do. Mostly surfing the productive. Then I look back on the day and think about all that I could have accomplished. Today I decided to take steps to work on myself.

I got Lily dressed. We headed over to the YMCA and did the whole tour. I was ready to become a member as soon as I saw the childcare room. You mean I can be a mom and still workout?! You're telling me that these nice ladies will watch my baby while I workout and relax with some "me" time in the sauna?! Yes, sign me up! I think Lily agreed.

So maybe those size 10 jeans aren't going to be hanging up in the closet for too much longer. Maybe I'll put them where I can see them everyday. A reminder that the pecan pastries or the tiramisu just might not taste as good as fitting into those jeans feels.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Welcome to my blog! I'm Stephanie. I'm a stay at home mom to a cutie-pie daughter, Lily, and a shaggy-dog, Kirby. My husband, Josh, and I have been married for a little over three years. We are pretty much home-bodies learning how to break out of our shells.

Recently I have taken up journaling my daily thoughts to keep track of important milestones, events, and just random day to day things. It has been a nice release to take some time to myself every day and remember who I am as a person. It has also served as a nice reminder of the things my family and I have been doing these past couple of "crazy" months.

To be honest, most of the time I don't really feel like a mom. Every morning I look in at my daughter sleeping so snug in her crib and I think to myself "you can't be real, you are a real person? you are MY baby? No Way!" I just can't believe that I could be so lucky. Then she awakens...and I realize whoa...I am a mom and it's time to get to work.

People tell you how much work a baby is, but you truly can't believe it deep down (at least I didn't). It's like you know it, but you don't REALLY know the work required to care for a new human being, much less a house, a husband, and a fur-baby. I'm learning though. Learning how to cook, clean, organize and make time for my family and myself. Each day learning the realities of what it means to be a mom and a wife and my own person. It's definitely a work in progress and that's why I thought I would share it with you.