Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to know you picked the right man...

Tonight I was giving Collin a bath. From downstairs, the sound of the vacuum started. Collin immediately jumped up and yelled "Da Da!!!!"

So glad my little boy has an example like his Daddy.

A goal I have been working on is not only telling Shane I love him, but why. I love easy goals.


The longer I'm married, the more I realize, choosing the right spouse is the most important decision you can ever make. Next week will be 10 years since Shane proposed. I was 23. It kind of terrifies me when I think what a baby I was!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Family Photos

You know this is going to be framed in their apartment when they are roommates at... BYU?

Cutest cousins ever.

Sweetest baby ever.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Taking control of Motherhood....HA!

A couple years ago I had a discussion with a good friend. Lydia was 2 and I was just getting the hang of motherhood. Remember, Lydia was a very difficult baby. My friend was wondering if she was cut out to be a mother. When I asked what her fears were, she was very specific.  She said that she recently was at the park with a group of friends who all had children. She said the conversations completely surrounded their kids. Discussions on potty training and preschools, nursing and tummy time. She was dismayed that this group of highly educated, well traveled, formerly career minded women were so...boring.

"Natalie, when I am pushing my baby on the swing, will anyone ask me about the career I had before I was a mother? Will my masters degree be trumped by conversations of poop? I'm terrified that I will be living in this shell of a life, where all I am is a mother and nothing I accomplished before that will matter."

My friend now has a child and one on the way. I've often thought of asking her about this conversation and her thoughts on this subject now that she is a mother. I just don't want to embarrass her. The last time we chatted, she was peppering me with questions about when I started potty training and telling me about the funny things her toddler is now saying.

Motherhood is an interesting change. Maybe more so for those of us who are very independent. I worried how it would change my style and body. I worried about not being able to spend my time studying and traveling. I worried mostly about the way it would change my marriage.

Before I got pregnant I started writing a book. I had all of these ideas of how things would be after I became a mother. I had plans of how I would maintain the woman I had become, even with a baby in tow. I decided to write this book in three parts. The first section written before I had children, about how things would be. The next section addressing the same issues, from a new mom perspective. The third section written after my kids were grown and I could look back on these issues with more experience and wisdom.  I really never planned on having it published, but I thought it would be a way for me to see my own progression and address my fears of becoming a (gasp!) stay-at-home mommy.

I wrote the first section in a whirlwind of ignorance. I'm almost embarrassed to read it now. A few tidbits....

"I will not subscribe to the mommy "wardrobe" of a ratty t-shirt and yoga pants with my hair in a bun. I will get ready everyday. How hard can that really be? It's just 20 minutes out of your day to get ready!"

HA! How could I have known no matter how hard I tried, my clothes would literally become snot rags and napkins to my children. How could I have known that a shower that included washing my hair would be so rare it would feel like a blissful spa treatment. Now I have my clothes divided into kid friendly clothes and going out clothes. Even my going out clothes have been thrown up on a few times. My "dry clean only" clothes from when I worked......they look at me with accusing eyes. They know I've abandoned them along with my size 8 jeans.

"We will not be one of those couples who have to be home every night by 7 just because we have a baby. We will just bring our baby to events and let her fall asleep in the stroller." 

HA! We became one of those couple who never left the house ever as our baby would scream bloody murder if she was not in her crib at bedtime and naptime. Dinner out? HA! We couldn't go out with Lydia until she was 2 and a half. Before that, we never made it past the appetizers.

"I will keep my house organized and clean by always picking up messes right away. I don't understand how young moms let their houses become so chaotic." 

HA! While I made the bed this morning, Collin dumped out the entire contents of our bulk Q-tips. While I cleaned that up, he unraveled the toilet paper roll. Lydia meanwhile, was turning her bedroom into a "train" by piling up every book in the house and "seating" dozens of dolls and animals on these book chairs. And don't even get me started about cleaning up after three meals everyday of my existence, several spills and a baby who loves to throw bananas at me - please refer back to mommy wardrobe.

"I will not allow my child to throw a temper tantrum in public."

HA! How could I have known what little control I would have when I had a two year old in my arms waiting in line at the grocery store. I have to finish checking out, but how do I get her to stop screaming!?! I waited until after she napped. I had snacks. I have to buy milk! I want to scream at the people who are glaring at me "What the hell do you want me to do!?!?!?".  (I admit. I do use the work hell. It's one of my favorite words.) My mom actually told me that before she became a grandmother, she thought that children who threw tempter tantrums in grocery stores were abused at home! This is such a cruel injustice. I finally arranged to swap babysitting on grocery day so I could go alone and save face. Though to be honest, Lydia and Collin are wonderful when we go out now and I feel myself slightly judging others. Oh how quickly we forget. Don't worry. Collin will be two soon enough and I will feel that shame again.

"I will not feed my children fast food and will make a healthy dinner every night. Since I love cooking, this should be easy."

HA! Sometimes we go to Wendy's just because I cannot even think of doing one more dish. While I do try to cook, the idea of doing it EVERYDAY kind of takes away the fun of it. We have Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup with crackers often.

"I will not let having a baby change my sex life."



If I could go back to that conversation with my friend I think I would tell her this. Being a young mom hijacks your life. It really does take over everything. You will feel like you are going crazy when you can't remember words like "fridge" and "map". Mommy brain is a real thing. You have to be completely focused on these little children and the hundreds of things you have to do each day just to maintain existence. You think now that a minivan is the worst thing imaginable, but you change your mind when you attempt to load a baby, a toddler and 17 sacks of groceries into your sleek sedan. You think that having sex less than 4 times a week would be the end of your marriage, but you can't imagine how blissful sleep will become.

After I have totally freaked her out and she stares at me with disbelieving eyes (because she knows deep down she will not let motherhood change her like that), I would reassure her. All the things we are as women are still a part of us. We may be exhausted and dressed in a teal top and olive sweatpants (literally what I am wearing as I type), but we are still the stylish, educated women we have always been. The reason we moms talk about our children all the time is because we are fascinated by them. Because you cannot understand how you will feel about them. Even though we complain about them ruining our new clothes and freshly painted walls, watching them grow from a tiny baby to a child and beyond is the most incredible adventure.

Maybe I do talk about my kids a lot. Maybe my nights have switched from attending rock concerts and art walks to being thrilled with a good book and popcorn. So maybe I know that those without kids are judging me at the grocery store and church (and on this blog).

That's okay. I would have judged me too.

Monday, August 16, 2010

To brighten

Don't they just liven up my little breakfast nook?

Don't throw those flowers away!

Freshly delivered. 

It is always so sad when people throw out their flowers when some of them start wilting. Invest in several small vases and you can usually extend your flowers for a week or so. Pull your arrangement apart and throw away anything that is obviously dead. Separate the different types of flowers so that they die around the same time. Roses that are droopy still have a while left before they start to brown. Cut them with only a 3 or 4 inch stem and arrange them in a small vase. The nature of the small cluster will support the heads and you will get to enjoy the pretty "blown" phase of the rose. Now you can enjoy your flowers all throughout your house. 

10 days later.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I'm dreaming of tonight - posted at 12:05 am when I should be sleeping but I drank too much diet coke while watching Harold and Maude

I know. I know that my complaining of the heat is annoying. But really and truly it is SO HOT! I mean so hot a walk to the mailbox is like taking a steam. Poor Shane had to mow the lawn yesterday. It's too hot to do anything but complain. So what am I dreaming of tonight? May. In Washington. When this shot was taken (by my sister Abby) I remember thinking, it doesn't get much better than this. Comfortable in jeans and a hoodie with all my family around.

Of course - I have May 2011 to look forward to. In Hawaii!

Carrie and Xander, are you still game? 


The Winners of the EA SPORTS Giveaway are:

Chelseyelisabeth for Madden 11


FDP 4 Life for NCAA® Football 11.

Email me within 48 hours and I will get you your prizes!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Scrumptious Weekend

Shane was in Philadelphia for a week on business and decided to extend his trip to include a three day vacation in NYC. He got back last Tuesday. This is why I went to my friend Jenn's for a week. I didn't really want to be alone with the kids that long. I tend to go a little nutty. I support his occasional romps to the big apple because:

A. If I was the one doing business in the area, I would hope Shane would be cool if I took a private vacation.

B. He really does work hard and needs to decompress.

C. I am planning my own NYC trip later this fall and I want to do it guilt free. I've never seen the leaves change in New York and that's sad.

While Shane was was dining out, I was dining in. Jenn made the most scrumptious lamb burgers. I know, sounds weird, but they were wonderful. Served with soft pita, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. Make them! You won't be sorry.

Also, I finally got around to reading Garlic and Sapphires - Ruth Reichl's account of her 6 years as the New York Times food critic. LOVED IT!!! If you are looking for a good summer read, go pick this up. Funny and surprisingly thoughtful, it will make you want to buy your ticket to NYC just to taste the fois gras. And ban restaurants like Golden Corral forever.

Hi to all you lucky ladies at BlogHer. Wishing I was there too....

Maybe next year? No, next year for sure. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

I cannot be trusted.

A little recap. I bought some new pants to wear on my birthday. One size too small (all the store had). Plan...lose 15 pounds in 7 weeks so I can wear them on my birthday date. I've lost 10 pounds in the last month. I have less than a month to lose the next five.

I was doing so well, but then I went to stay at my friend Jenn's house for a week and she is (unfortunately) the most amazing cook. And she keeps the yummiest "healthy" snacks. Hello chocolate covered pomegranates! I didn't gain any weight there, but I definitely fell off the wagon. I need to get back on and fast. Why did I get a falafel and fries at the mall today? WHY did I buy Lydia those chocolate cherrios???  I'm putting the box down now.

I just need to realize that I have absolutely NO willpower when there are sweets around. I did great with my sugar detox, but I had nothing in the house to tempt me. Jenn made s'more bars. I didn't have a chance. 

I also have discovered that I distain working-out in humidity. Even inside the house, it's so humid I'm miserable after my warm up. And running outside? Yea, I don't think so. I have never (never) been in heat like this and I've lived in the South for 6 years. My next home will be in a community that has a pool. 

I can lose 5 pounds in 3 weeks right? Easy peasey. 

(Jenn. I can't come over for a while.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Handmade Birthday Gift

While visiting home last month, Lydia was invited to a birthday party for my friend's four year old. I wanted to get her something unique and when I found these darling vintage pillowcases I had a brilliant idea. Pillowcase dresses! I could make one for my friend's daughter and one for Lydia. The one problem is, of course, I don't sew. At least I haven't since I was 15 and I made a scrunchy. My sister Emily agreed to help me out since she is a fantastic seamstress. 

What I thought that meant was that she would show me step by step what to do and handle any of the hard stuff. Instead she found me a tutorial and showed me how to turn on the machine. It took me most of a day, but somehow they came together. I even made my own bias tape! (I didn't even know what bias tape was before this.) I only broke the machine twice.

I kind of get why so many are into this. It's really relaxing. Time went by so quickly. And that is exactly why I can't start this as a new hobby. At least not for a few years. Maybe when the kids are in school.

I think they turned out pretty dang cute for my first attempt. The hair clips were a little more my style. Glue gun.

Ready to go to the party! I thought it would be kind of cute for Lydia to wear the matching dress. Too bad it was an outside party and it ended up being 42 degrees in June. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

When to spend $6 on a tomato...

I really didn't plan on spending $5.97 on one heirloom tomato. I just grabbed one and tried to hide my shock at the checkout counter.

However. at least once a year, everyone should indulge in a ciabatta, tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella sandwich. At least that is my persuasion. It was so good I think my eyes rolled back into my head.

Want to make one too?

Brush ciabatta bread with olive oil, fresh garlic and salt. Broil until toasted. Really needs to be a dense tough bread. A baguette would work well too.
Add thick slice of heirloom tomato. Salt it lightly. Add fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. Salt and pepper. (Salt is really important since the cheese has very little salt. If you are not using fresh mozzarella, taste before salting.)

Broil until cheese is melted.  Leave it open faced so as to not squish the tomato. Bask in the bliss of every bite.

Next week I'll make something with peaches...LOVE this time of year :)


Congrats to my baby sister Molly who just announced she is pregnant with a little boy!!!!
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