Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I was

feeling a bit like a failure last night. As a mother.

D and I decided that in order to save my sanity, we are sending J to preschool in July rather than September as originally intended. This was not an easy decision. I had envisioned one last summer before J starts his years of schooling. Mother and son bonding time, adventures, play dates, just some serious fun. Instead it has been extremely challenging. For all that the 'terrible twos' weren't so terrible, three has been awful. It feels like we are constantly butting heads as he explores his independence. And I am wiped out and emotionally exhausted by the end of the day. Something had to give and in the end it was my idealized version of how our summer would be.

I feel like I'm admitting to a pretty big 'fail' and I really, *really* don't like to fail. But I know this is the very best choice for him. By giving up my 'idea' of how things should be, I am able to make a rational decision about what's best for J and myself.

Damn this being grown up sucks sometimes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Today I am - parenting version

"Going to say "yes" even if its through gritted teeth

Not going to yell, raise my voice or speak in a sarcastic tone

I am going to see how J reacts/behaves with a day full of permission to do rather than a ton of dont's

I'm going to be outside while he plays"

I wrote this this morning before the day really started. It lasted up until he started throwing gravel at the windows. Now I didn't yell but I may have spoken very strongly. Also when he grabbed the gift card I had on the desk and threw it. Exhausted. I'm exhausted. And I'm seriously considering starting him in preschool this summer rather than this Fall.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Asparagus risotto

Made this last night on a whim because I had beef broth and asparagus that needed to be used and quickly. Boy do I love risotto and I always forget how easy it is to make.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (though I used rose because that's what I had)
  • About 4 cups beef stock (or chicken or veg)
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, tips cut off, tough skins of the spears peeled (if working with thick spears), and the spears cut into thin disks
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T butter
  • Salt and pepper

    • In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and starting to turn golden. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.
    • While the onions are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add asparagus, cook for a couple of minutes then drain.
    • Add the wine to the rice/onion mixture. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes.**
    • Gently stir in the asparagus and Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

    ** Note the stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water.


    My lovely neighbor and I were yesterday discussing the idea of freedom. Not freedom from tyranny but freedom in our every day lives. Breathing room. The ability to do things, create things, buy things. Wiggle room, space, flexibility.

    I think it's underrated. Sometimes we hold onto ideals or beliefs so tightly that we don't give ourselves the freedom to breathe or to change.

    Look at me at the beginning of the year. I was so determined to spend this entire year not buying any new clothes for myself or toys for J. Ignoring the fact that I love clothes shopping AND buying toys for J. It gives me a lot of pleasure. And we can afford for me to do these things (within reason of course, I'm not buying Balenciaga gowns and Hermes bags). I was so determined and held onto that belief that I needed to stop shopping so strongly that I self inflicted some pretty serious guilt wound every time I strayed and bought myself or J something. And of course I strayed, because it was a stranglehold, not an embrace.

    This past month, after the horrible pictures of myself at J's birthday party, I gave myself the freedom to buy a new Spring/Summer wardrobe. It was so needed. I'm still learning what looks best on my 40+ year old body but it definitely wasn't much of what I had in my closet!

    I have chosen to give myself the freedom to purchase quality items that make me feel pretty when I wear them, to buy new toys for J when I want and to do so without guilt. That's pretty freeing.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    I'm starting a new blog and more!

    Seriously. Because it's not like I have anything better to do. It just came to me in a flash 'What Mom Wears'. It's going to be silly and fun and fashiony. At least I think it will be. I may have to learn how to be more photogenic. I know I'm going to have to learn to use WordPress. Thank goodness for this post!!

    I haven't been drinking enough water (have you? Go get yourself a glass right now, I'll wait). I can always tell because the *ahem* smile lines around my mouth get deeper when I'm dehydrated. How nice to have my own litmus test.

    I hate when I order something from Amazon and because I was in a hurry and not paying attention, it's the wrong type of thing. But not worth shipping back and so now I have to live with the wrong thing. Argh.

    I joined twitter. Related to the new blog but also because I really like talking. Or typing. And after being home this week due to a peanut with a cold, I'm desperate for ANY kind of communication. Even if it involves hashtags. Still trying to understand the whole thing. I need a kid to show me how to use it - maybe I should hand J my phone. He's pretty good at figuring things out.

    Speaking of J. His ability to correlate and put things together astounds me. We saw a church with a small tower out front when we ran to Trader Joes today and he asked me what it was. I said "a tower for the church" which evolved into "what's a church" and then "like in the book with the birds". "Hmm", I'm thinking "what book?". Then I got it 'This Nest Is Best'. He totally made that jump. So cool!! So of course we had to read that book for nap time :)

    Off to set up www.whatmomwears.com - why not?

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Random things on my mind

    1. Apparently the only way to buy jeans these days is to buy the tightest pair you can put on and still zip up and then let them streeeeeeetch out till they're a perfect fit. Which will take about 10 minutes. Seriously what is up with jeans these days? Are companies trying to flatter me by making me buy a size or two smaller than my normal size? I buy my normal size and by the end of the day I look like one of those kids with their pants around their butt. Thank goodness for Nordstroms 'we take any and all returns' policy.

    2. Speaking of jeans, I got to go jeans shopping this weekend. All by myself. Have you ever tried clothes shopping with a three year old? No wonder I do all my ordering online. The UPS man can find my house blindfolded. Shopping in a store and at leisure felt like a luxury! I even tried on shoes! Amazing.

    3. Neon is apparently very 'in' this summer. All I can picture is my head to toe neon outfit my grandmother bought me when I was in high school. I even had a big neon green lace bow for my hair. I'm a redhead. Yeah, it looked good. (hah!). These shoes are a better idea...

    4. I have zero energy in the afternoons after I fall asleep putting J down for nap. It's an effort to do any of the things I need to do - so I'm going to fight off those naps if possible. But it's so warm and snuggly lying down with him....

    5. I'm spending this morning catching up on a ton of kitchen and home to dos. Things I have been neglecting or have just not had the energy/incentive to get moving on. Cleaning out the chicken run of random stuff, cleaning out the chick brooder (now that they're in their new digs), bread baking, granola and sauerkraut making, cheese and seed cracker baking. A very long list has been written down this morning and I'm hoping to get them all crossed off today.

    6. I refuse to feel any guilt for turning on cartoons this morning. Mama needs to get stuff done and it's just quicker and easier when I don't have my shadow.

    7. Speaking of shadows, we dropped off J's school paperwork yesterday and all he wanted to do was stay and play with the kids. The kiddo is more ready than I am.

    8. I have sold off our old outdoor furniture and ordered replacements. Very excited to have really comfortable and attractive seating!

    9. The coop is almost done - it looks so amazing. I'm SUPER proud of D for making such an awesome home for the ladies. It's attractive too - which is good since we see it out of the breakfast room window!

    10.  I'm thoroughly enjoying feeling stylish. I'm making the effort and I definitely feel good. Revelling in it actually.

    11. Loving the new Kusmi BB Detox tea. I have no idea if it's actually as beneficial as they say but it tasted delicious and vibrant.

    12. Loving also the new shoes I got from REI. They're totally cute and really comfortable. Hoorah for comfortable cute shoes!

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    I'm done with yelling

    I am so very, very tired of yelling. Yelling out of frustration, anger, exhaustion, and literally being at the end of my rope.

    Tonight I just almost collapsed from the frustration of having to say, yet again, "don't splash the water out of the tub". Again. And again. I'm just done. I'm so tired of how the anger makes me feel, of the person the frustration turn me into. I'm just done. I'm leaving that person behind and becoming...I don't know what. Not a permissive mom because permissive 'let the kid do what it wants' parenting doesn't work with me. Enforced rules work with me. Not having to yell about rules works with me. I'm going to have to figure this out but I know I can't spend the next however many years of Js life yelling at him or I will become old and bitter before my time and he will end up in therapy talking about his mother the witch. I will lose sight of the pleasure and joy in being a mom. So I'm done. I will bite my tongue when it wants to yell. I will discover another voice. What that voice may be I have no idea. I will also need to learn to keep the anger and frustration out of my voice. I need to remember that he is learning about himself through me and my actions. No pressure at all. Sigh.

    Addendum - tonight putting J to bed, I found myself saying "your behavior is making me irritated and frustrated if I get irritated enough, I will leave". Maybe this is my new voice? It certainly got a better/quicker reaction and didn't involve yelling!

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Bad habits

    Once again I ate breakfast in front of the computer this morning and J had his on the coffee table in front of cartoons.

    This is something I have been trying to change for quite a while. If J is ever going to learn patience with eating at the table, or how to hold a conversation, or table manners, we need to eat the majority of our meals at the table.

    I did ok there for quite a while. Breakfast and lunch at the table together, dinner all together in the formal (yes we have a formal dining room, complete with chandelier) dining room. And then we went on vacation, and got sick and baseball season started (Go Giants!) and I lost the good habits that I had formed and fell back into the bad ones that were so easy and comfortable. Eating a bowl of soup while sitting on the couch watching a sporting event and flipping to an old movie is a lot of fun. But it doesn't promote conversation or teach J good habits.

    So I need to find that balance again. I don't want to restrict us to only eating at the table because sometimes Mama needs that time in the morning and we all love watching the Giants or Monday Night Football but we should be eating at the table(s) more than the couch. So as I'm feeling better and as I feel more like cooking and not so much like only heating soup from the freezer, I will work us back to eating at the tables too. Not striving for every day but searching for the balance of most of the time.

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    Living in the greys

    I have this tendency to live in extremes. I'm either all or nothing. Black or white.

    I swore at the beginning of the year to do the compact and not purchase any new clothes for myself or toys for J. Well that lasted till March when I snapped after seeing a picture of myself at J's birthday party and, of course, I've been buying things for J all along. I can't resist. I love giving him things. I also love new clothes. So by attempting to do the compact, I was denying myself two things that I truly enjoy. And it backfired (as it usually does). I ended up buying myself a lot of new (better looking) clothes and, as I've said, I've been buying toys and books for J all along. I need to find the balance. The grey area. It's not all or nothing.

    Healthy eating falls into that too. Yes, we are still eating organic, pastured and grassfed, I'm still making and baking, we are 'no processed foods' and I still try and restrict our sugar intake. Mostly because I think this is the very best for us and man I sure do feel better eating this way. But you can go too far. I still want J to enjoy treats and I want to enjoy them myself without guilt of any kind. When we go out to eat or to a friend's home, I'm just going to enjoy the experience. I'm not going to worry about where the meat is from and if the salad is organic. I'm just going to enjoy the meal. If J has the occasional piece of candy, it's not the end of the world. (Occasional, definitely not every day). Food is about pleasure not guilt. I find that the stronger I restrict something, the more I rubber band the opposite direction. The grey area feels right here too.

    The grey area, a good balance, equilibrium, fair. This is what I want to achieve in my life. So instead of restricting things, instead of saying "no, don't, can't have", I'm going to say "yes, in moderation, balanced, fair". It feels right. I know it will take work. After so many years of being an extremist, I'm having to retrain myself. Also having to learn to let go of the guilt that walks hand in hand with denial.

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Because we are all sick...please enjoy some gratuitous chick pictures

    Logan the Sweetheart - Golden Wynadotte - 6 weeks

    John Deere - Rhode Island Red - 7 weeks

    Chocolate - Welsummer - 5 weeks

    Chicky Chicky Chook Chook - Dark Brahma - 7 weeks

    Peanut Butter - Welsummer - 5 weeks

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    I mean just.....SPRING!!

    I feel like Spring sprung upon me this year, I went away for a weekend and I came back to all this beauty!