Thursday, July 10, 2014

18 Months: A Baby Donut Update

People always warned me how time would go faster with my second child. Boy were they right! It is insane to me that this is Baby D-Nut's 18 month update. Last night I peeked into her crib before heading to bed and I couldn't believe how big she is!

"Baby Donut" is not an appropriate nickname anymore because our sweet girl is hardly a baby. This girl is full-on toddler! Plus, her brother has stopped calling her Baby Donut, as if it really was her name, and has now started calling her Little Bagel. I have no idea where he gets this stuff!

We lovingly refer to her as "Lil Miss Mayhem" because she is constantly up to something. She is always on the move and will NOT sit still to save her life. Half of the time she's simply playing and having fun but the other half... she's usually causing trouble! Whether its climbing on something she's not supposed to, touching or eating something she's not supposed to, knocking over her brother's towers, taking toys from him, running behind the cats while pulling on their tails, etc. You seriously cannot take your eyes off of her for a second.

Having said that, she is also the sweetest little love bug ever! She loves to snuggle and she will give you a random giant hug around your neck which pulls at the heart strings like crazy. I love this about her because even though she's all toddler, her cuddling keeps just the right amount of baby for us to enjoy.

She loves: stuffed animals, blankies, park slides, dancing, singing, "helping" mom and dad cook, dogs (aka - pup pups), juice, all carbs, all fruit, making her big brother laugh, and playing "this little piggy goes to market..."  

She dislikes: vegetables, most meat, when the dog eats her snacks, and mornings. Lil Miss is NOT a morning person. 

She is starting to talk more each day, although a translator is usually needed if you aren't used to how she says things. Her hair is growing and it appears to have curly ends. It will be interesting to see if they stick around as her blonde locks continue to get longer.

Where her older brother is a calculated risk taker, our little girl is fearless! She also has tremendous tenacity which I sincerely admire. For example, I've been close behind her as she attempted to climb onto a bench (or something similar) and she wouldn't make it on the first attempt... or the second.... or even the third. But she was insistent upon getting where she wanted to be. Instead of helping her up I could see the determination in her eyes so I usually let her work it out. It finally clicks with her on what needs to be done to get her up and before you know it, she's perched on top of that bench with a look of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Her facial expressions have us in stitches and I'm just going on record to say Miss Mayhem is the cutest 18 month old on the planet!! But I'm not biased or anything. ;)


Happy 18 months, sweet girl! Keep right on being fierce, funny, and lovable. And please, keep right on melting our hearts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mental Digest: Our Impending Move

By this time next week we will have vacated our current house and will begin the settling process into our new domain. We will be living among boxes as we slowly, but surely, unpack our entire domestic lives. We will join the ranks of many homeowners before us and begin turning the new house into our home sweet home.

The excitement surrounding this change is palpable yet surreal. Hubs and I have rented together for years carving out cozy abodes that we loved but this time it’s truly ours. The weight of this responsibility does have me nervous only because it’s unknown territory, but overall I am welcoming this change and ready to take it head-on.

Then there’s the location. As we drove to dinner on Saturday night after an exhausting day of packing, we took in the surroundings of our familiar neighborhood and we couldn't help but feel sad to be leaving. The physical neighborhood our current house is in isn't so much what we’ll miss. You see, we've actually had no business living in such a wonderful place as it is the type of neighborhood we will aspire to settle in one of these days, many years down the road. What we will miss is the surrounding area that we've grown to love.


We've lived in our current house for 5 years and we lived in a house close to this area for 4 years before that! Now we are moving to what feels like the boonies and neither of us are too familiar with the new area. It’s in… 

The suburbs! 

(credit)
We know it will be great for the kids but it will be a major culture shock for us at first. There are pros and cons, as it is with any place, and exploring the area while soon finding our bearings will be part of the fun! We are on the end of a cul-de-sac which I’m really happy about for the kids and we even spotted some indicators of similar aged children in surrounding houses.

“It is going to be great!”

That is what I keep telling myself through the anxiousness and nerves that surround our “relocation.” I honestly know that it will be great but all this build up for the move, the logistics and then the literal closing of one door and opening of another, just needs to get over and done with so I can start coming to terms with everything.

And speaking of coming to terms with everything… the kids! Baby D-Nut (who is hardly a baby any longer which is an entirely new post on its own) is going to be just fine. As long as she has us by her side and her favorite/familiar things, I think being in a new home will not faze her at all.

But Little C? Whole different ball game. Our poor, sensitive, change adverse, Little C. He is already showing signs of distress over the move and we are making every effort to ease his trouble-filled little mind.

Side note: I don’t know where he could possibly get this from??? Ha! Read: Every post I’ve ever written about any life change big or small. Poor kid. ::shakes fist in the face of genetics::

Anyway, we are fielding questions like, “is my bed going to be at the new house?” “Will Baby Sis be moving with us?” “Mom, will you still rub my back before bed at the new house?” “You won’t leave me behind, right guys?”

My heart breaks for him because I think he is worried instead of excited. It is understandable considering his age and I’ve looked up numerous tips and tricks for easing a toddler/preschooler into a move so I hope some of it is working. He is having a very hard time going to sleep lately and he’s started having numerous potty accidents which is very unlike him.

Keeping our boy at ease has been our biggest worry so far. All of the other stuff we will work out and is minuscule compared to making sure C transitions smoothly. I think back to when he had so switch daycares or even had to switch rooms in the daycare he was already familiar with! Those were both rough patches and I just wish we had a secret weapon to unleash that could help him instantly.

I know we’ll all get through this big life change and I can’t wait for the dust to settle. It really is a beautiful home and I can’t believe it will be ours by the end of this week!!! 

Have you ever moved from a place you loved to uncharted territory? Do you have any tips for easing your kids into a move?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the amazing men out there!

As for the men in my life... I've had the privilege of knowing one of my great-grandfathers, I have amazing grandfathers, uncles before they became fathers themselves, and a father-in-law that has welcomed me and been so kind to me from day one.

But the two that bring the most gravity for me on this great day for all things dad, are my father and my husband. My dad, the first man I ever loved. And my husband, the love of my life and my favorite person in the whole world.

 
To my Dad, for loving me unconditionally, for welcoming the man I fell in love with into our family, and for being the best Grandpa my kids could ask for.

To my husband who I love so much and who I thank my lucky stars that I get to share this journey of parenthood with you.

Happy Father's Day!

...and to anyone this day may be painful for, my thoughts are with you.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Currently...



Hi! Remember me?

::crickets::

Well for those of you still there (Hi Mom and Dad!), I wanted to stop in to say things at the new job are going great! Life is pretty crazy right now with said new job and being on the brink of first-time home ownership, but overall we are doing really good.

The kids are great, growing like weeds and I have so much to catch you all up on once I am able to resume a regular blogging routine again. Things like the joys of having two toddlers in the middle of two simultaneous tantrums chalk full of unbridled screaming and dramatics fit for a Telemundo soap opera!

I kid, I kid.

(not really)

But seriously, all is well in our world and although things are stressful and chaotic right now it is all thanks to really positive things.

As I mentioned before, I hope to resume a regular routine here very soon. You can't get rid of me that easy!

(credit)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Change

Last week was one for the record books! It was chalk full of first-time events, celebrations, etc. To sum it up for you it went a little something like this:


  • Little C stuck a rock in his nose and shoved that stony pebble to the point of being legitimately stuck. It happened at daycare and the director and teachers were able to use the methods they had on hand to get it out. We just shook our heads and were thankful it wasn't a more serious issue.
  • It was my birthday last Thursday so I am now 33. It is an obscure age to be but I suppose once you hit your thirties every age is obscure with the exception of milestones. I had a great day and I'm looking forward to an exciting year!
  • We put an offer on a house!!!!! With our current living situation we have to be out of our rental by the end of June. We had started looking at houses with a Realtor back in Feb. But then I lost my job in March and we thought our days of buying a home were done (at least for the foreseeable future). We were wrong! It took some getting creative but once our ducks were in a row we set out to look for a house last week knowing we had to find "the one" in order to close by our end of June deadline. We were skeptical and as we were driving to our last house of the day we were feeling discouraged until... We walked in the front door of the place we hope to make our own! It felt right and we could picture ourselves living there. It was too much to be true! We placed our offer later that night.
  • Our offer was accepted and we are officially under contract!!
  • I got a "new to me" car because the cherry on top of my pitiful unemployment cake was my car breaking down to the point of no return. Since I have a new job we can no longer function as a one car family which we had been doing for about a month. 
So did you catch all of that?!?! A parenthood right of passage with a nose/object incident, a birthday, a new house (assuming nothing goes wrong from here on out), a new car, and if that wasn't enough, I start my new job tomorrow. It's all so incredibly exciting and as you can imagine intensely overwhelming.

On paper it appears like things are finally going our way and looking up. But the live and in-color truth is that it has been a lot of hard work to get us to this point. We have saved and planned for being home owners for so long and to have it finally coming to fruition is really wonderful. I had my last job for seven years and worked hard to find myself now embarking on a new job focusing 100% on something I'm passionate about and I'm so eager to learn and soak it all up.

Currently I'm overwhelmed and anxious to the hilt and I want to hyperventilate or vomit at any given moment but I am also so incredibly thrilled for these major life changes. The next month is going to be crazy, no doubt. I need to take plenty of deep breaths and stay positive because seriously...


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Next Chapter Begins Here

It's been a really hard two months. Like, can't sleep, knots in my stomach, stress eating, crying, fuming, worrying, and digging so very deep to try and find something to smile or laugh about. It has been two months of putting on a tough front when I'm asked all the questions about my situation and straight up acting like I'm fine when, honestly? I'm so very not.

Or at least I wasn't. Things have changed and I have been offered a position at the company I was pursuing even before I lost my job. I am beyond excited and optimistic for the future. But before I jump up in the air and click my heels I wanted to finish this post that I started writing last week.

I've been coming to this space pretty consistently for the past two months and not able to write. I wanted to share all the details of my son's "How to Train Your Dragon" themed birthday party, I wanted to post a 15 month update for Baby Donut, I wanted to share pictures and thoughts of all the fun we've been having. But the truth is, it didn't feel fun. I have been very depressed and struggling with the day to day.

Being unemployed truly shook my ego and made me feel incredibly fragile. On top of that there was the way life as we knew it was altered by this new status. So many days and nights struggling to make difficult life decisions, balancing every penny, and asking the question "what are we going to do," and not having an answer to support it.

Every single thing was dependent upon when I got a job and not having any control over when it would happen was less than desirable. I would suit up and march out to every interview confident that I was the right candidate and desperate not to come off as, well... desperate.

Then there is the waiting. Oh, the waiting is brutal! If you've been in these shoes then you know. Each day that passes is torture as all your thoughts travel through the entire spectrum of emotion. First there's the "I got this" phase where you come out of the interview confident and patting yourself on the back. Then a couple days pass with no word on next steps and you enter the "oh, man... maybe I shouldn't have said that" phase. You start replaying every detail of the interview and wondering if you answered a question wrong or made a misstep at any point. Finally a full week since you met with anyone passes and now you are in the "well, I'll just kiss this opportunity goodbye" phase and you're sure you didn't get the job. And sometimes you don't, and that's that. But sometimes you get that lovely little email or phone call with your next steps which usually involves another interview with another extended period of time after which you don't hear from anyone and the cycle repeats.

And can we talk about the online application process?!?! It's a joke as you find a job description you know was created just for you, you apply, and within 24 hours you are told you are not a prime candidate and it is so clear you have just been lost in the abyss of other resumes not taken seriously. I'm telling you people... It's not what you know, it's who you know. Network, network, network.

Anyways, overall in the grand scheme of life everything that has transpired in the last two months isn't too catastrophic or tragic in the least bit. I know I need to keep everything in perspective and I even know I need to "suck it up" and deal better when life throws me a curve ball. 

Slowly but surely things are starting to look up. There is very much still in flux and still a great deal of stress swirling around us but the pieces to our chaotic puzzle are taking form and poised to come together. That is all I could ask for at this point. 

And just so you know... When asked the question "aren't you enjoying your time off?" I am done with the facades. No. I am not enjoying my time off. This "time off" couldn't have happened at a worse time. I have been a wreck and even though I've had some wonderful time with my children and my husband since being out of work it has been hard to be in the moment and truly appreciate it when every part of our future was in limbo and me getting a job was the number one solution to "fixing" it.

Now that the job piece has fallen into place I can finally use my remaining "time off" to enjoy the day to day more. We still have a lot to get figured out and I know we can do it. If these past two months have affirmed anything it is how strong my partnership with my husband is. We have really weathered this storm very well... together. We will weather many more I am sure of it, but let's hope not too soon.

Then there's our family, without them we could also not have made it through this time. Their support has been overwhelming and saying "thank you" will never be enough. My friends have reached out and been there for me and even the friends that live in my phone and computer whom I've never met were a huge support. I can't tell you how much everything has meant to me and to us.

Last, but never, ever, least... my therapist. There came a moment when I was so low and felt like every effort I was making to deal with all of this gracefully and not fall apart was in earnest, and I wasn't going to hold up well any longer. So I waved my white flag and I dialed up my life jacket. I was drowning no more and purged some much needed emotional baggage.

I'm so ready to be done with the lows and I'm eager and willing to live the highs! People kept telling me I was holding up well and doing a great job at getting through all of this. I'm not sure if that's true but I did get through it and I know that only being unemployed for two months is pretty good considering. I know there may be some of you out there who have gone longer or are dealing with more. But this has been my experience, my reality. I can only say "hang in there, it will get better" because I've been through it. But trust me, when you're in the middle of shit storm it is hard to feel optimistic.

Nevertheless, I made it. We made it. I'm starting a new job at a company I am super excited to be a part of and I'm progressing my career which I have worked very hard at.

The next chapter begins here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Whoa, Blackberry! (bam-ba-lam)

Okay, okay. I know those aren't the correct lyrics but it's just fun to sing regardless and it makes me smile. These days I'm trying to focus on anything and everything that makes me smile and keeps me feeling positive and upbeat. This recipe for Blackberry Pie Bars do just that!

They are the right balance of sweetness, tartness, and crunch from the crust. They are really easy to make, which they'd have to be for me to be able to successfully make them as we all know I'm not the best at baking. But I have to say the more I keep trying, the better my results have been! I actually made these for the first time last spring and summer and knew they would be a perfect addition to this year's Easter feast. Seriously, you will not be disappointed! 


Blackberry Pie Bars
Makes about 16-20 bars

Ingredients
For the crust and topping:
½ cups all-purpose flour¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of half a lemon
¾ cup (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold
For the filling: 
2 large eggs
1 cups sugar
½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt
6 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
15-16 oz. blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained of excess juices)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with foil and grease lightly.  In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Cut the butter into small cubes, then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Process in short pulses to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until only small pieces of butter remain and the mixture is crumbly.



Reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture for topping of the bars. Add the rest of the mixture to the prepared pan and press to form an even layer of crust on the bottom of the pan. Bake 12-15 minutes, until  light and press to form an even layer of crust on the bottom of the pan. Bake 12-15 minutes, until light golden. Let cool 10-15 minutes before proceeding.

In a medium bowl, make the filling mixture. Combine the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Gently stir in the blackberries with a spatula. Spread the filling mixture over the pre-baked crust in the baking pan. Crumble the reserved topping mixture, over the filling evenly.



Bake until the top is beginning to brown and the bars are just set, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Chill to firm up before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!