Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Exciting News!!!

(photo credit)
I am super excited to announce I am a guest blogger on Mile High Mamas today!  In fact, I'm told I will have a guest spot once a month.  Woot, woot!  Mile High Mamas is a community resource for Colorado moms and I couldn't be prouder to have a guest spot on their site.  If you want to check out my post, click here

Additionally, being that I was having a bad day when I wrote my original post on this topic, I just wanted to say I am in no way implying that I think all stay-at-home-mom's are better than me.  I was directing all of my frustration toward a stupid comment my co-worker made.  Conversely, I do not believe that I am better than stay-at-home-mom's because I work full-time.  No "mommy wars" here! 

Lastly, If you do venture over to Mile High Mamas, you will see in my bio section that the cat is officially out of the bag!!  I'm pregnant!  I've been wanting to shout it from the rooftops for some time now but I have wanted to wait for my 8 week check-up.  Yes, it is still very early so I would appreciate all of the positive thoughts and energy you have to offer.  I'm at 7 1/2 weeks and this little P-Nut is kicking my butt!  I have so much to share with you over the coming weeks.  To say this has been an emotional 7 1/2 weeks is quite an understatement.  Bottom line, Hubby and I are thrilled to death and I can't wait for Baby Boy to be a big brother!

I told you turning 31 was bringing with it some big changes!  So far those changes consist of morning sickness, feeling so tired it hurts, and pure excitement.  The journey continues my friends... 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back to the grind (whah, whah, WHAH)

How many days until the 4th of July???  I think that's our next day off.  It can't come soon enough!  I loooove long weekends.  Don't you?  It's a chance to do fun activities, catch up with family and friends, or to do absolutely nothing and get some much needed "R&R."  My weekend run-down was as follows:
  1. Chores (can't be avoided)
  2. Baby Boy's first swimming pool experience (priceless)
  3. BBQ with family after pool
  4. 6th Wedding Anniversary on Sunday (baby at the grandparents all night + romantic sushi dinner = perfection)
  5. Breakfast out at one of our fav restaurants
  6. Walk to the Town Center by our house to try the new frozen yogurt place
  7. Baby Boy played in the water fountain thingy at the Town Center (Hubby and I argued discussed how long to let him play once he began shivering.  I won the "big mean mommy" award on that one!)
  8. Put Baby Boy to bed super early because he had about had it for the weekend and we ordered in Italian (yes, we ate out for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!  And yes, I AM considering frozen yogurt my lunch.  It was an exceptionally lazy day.  Don't judge)
And now it's back to the grind.  Time to put the pedal to the metal.  The 'ole nose to the grind stone.  Back in the saddle again.  (sigh)  My motivation meter is at about zero.  I've decided to ease into my day and I am positive I will be firing on all cylinders soon enough.  I'll be in it to win it.  Going for the gold.  Shooting for the stars.  Kicking butt and taking names.  You get the idea!

At least it's a short week.  Hallelujah!  I hope it's a good one for you!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's the only thing worse than a poke in the eye?

Bathing suit shopping!!!  Who's with me on this one?  We are taking Baby Boy to the pool for the first time this weekend.  Last summer he was still an infant and the summer heat was sweltering (too hot for an infant to be out for long) and I was paranoid that he would get sick from the bacteria-laden-pool.  But this summer we are over it and we are ready to get our baby in the water!  Besides, he's already been sick from everything else around him so why not introduce the pool too!

Back to suit shopping.  I hate it with a passion.  I hate it because it forces you to squeeze your body into various styles of suits until you find just the right one that gives the "girls" the lift they need, doesn't give you back-fat rolls, doesn't cut too deep into your hip or that doesn't leave your ass hanging out like a video vixen from the 90's.  Then you have to decide if you are going to bare the belly or cover it up.  You don't want to go straight for the one-piece because you think to yourself, "I'm still young, I might be able to swing it."  Then you look at the array of ity bity, teeny tiny bikinis and wonder if it is tacky to wear spanx under a swim suit!

(photo credit)
After perusing the selection, I took with me into the dressing room a one-piece and two tankinis.  This mama is NOT baring her belly and if she had a choice, she would also not bare her hail damaged derriere either.  But no one wants to be the crazy girl in the pool wearing pants!  So I tried on the tankinis first.  I constantly have to assume that the people who design swimsuits are completely blind and don't really have a concrete example of what a woman's body is really like.  They must have walked up to a mannequin at a store, felt it up and declared that to be the body type to make swimsuits for!  They MUST have been blind, after all do they really think that tiny little triangle of fabric is going to support my D sized bust?!?!?  I've got big ta-ta's people AND I've had a baby...  they need all the material and support they can get!!!

Don't even get me started on the bottoms!  I am half Mexican and I have the Latina curves to show for it.  Jennifer Lopez and I are booty soul sisters and since it's not the 90's and I won't be appearing in any rap videos any time soon, I typically like to keep the booty on lock down.  Again, the mannequin-esque bottoms leave little to the imagination and I've got booty spilling out everywhere!   This is the point that I start to get stressed out and think to myself, "Baby Boy doesn't really need to go swimming does he???"

But then I find it.  The suit that doesn't make me feel like a beached whale but more like a confident woman ready to go swimming with her family.  It's a beautiful color, the "girls" are well supported and I look pretty good if I do say so myself!  My butt is covered just enough and exposed just enough.  It is a one piece but it has a fun decorative "thingy" on the part that goes around your head so it looks pretty hip.  And as you can probably tell by now, being hip is what I'm all about! 

:: crickets ::

So, I survived.  It may not be the sexiest suit on the market but it is really pretty, it fits and I feel good wearing it.  I will be able to have fun at the pool and not self-loath the entire time.  Plus, I have been working out and eating better and today looking in the stupid mirrors with the stupid dressing room lighting I have to admit, I wasn't too disappointed by what I saw in the mirror.  That is a huge victory for me!  At least it isn't this bad yet...

(photo credit)

Are you beach/pool ready?  Do you enjoy suit shopping as much as I do?   

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Enjoy the age you're at...

Because you'll never get it back!"  Those were the wise words from my dear great-grandmother, Pearl.  She shared that with me when I was in highschool and it has stuck ever since.  Today is my birthday!  I am now officially in my "early thirties."  I'm 31.  Which is weird, because I swear I don't feel 31 nor do I have any point of reference of how a 31 year old is supposed to feel.  But none-the-less, I am 31.

I'm a big fan of birthdays because it is a day reserved just for you and even if you don't like a big fuss made it is still fun to have a special day.  People are extra nice to you, you might get some funny or thoughtful cards, a gift or two might head your way, and you get to pick the restaurant and no can say anything about it!!  Plus the Hubby is super sweet and tells you how beautiful you are even in the morning when your hair is all whack-a-doo and your breath wreaks.  Then he gives you the proverbial double eyebrow raise suggesting that we start the day off with a little "somthin', somthin'" and I have to remind him who's birthday it really is!  HA!  Just kidding!  (I'll see YOU tonight, Hubbalicious)

Yup, I love birthday's.  I don't care that I'm one year older and my youth has whizzed by me faster than a speeding bullet.  I don't care that I have one unruly grey hair atop my increasingly tired looking head.  I don't care that getting up off the floor from playing with my son is an epic battle and requires stable structures around me at all times.  I don't even mind that as I walk around my neighborhood and I see a car speeding down the street I give them the stink eye, shake my head and say out loud, "slow down!"  Yes, I'm sure my age is only 31 and not 71.

I'm super excited for the year ahead of me.  31 is going to bring with it exciting new changes that I am greeting with open arms and a happy heart.  I'm feeling very lucky today to have the love of a wonderful man and one truly amazing baby boy, my parents whom I adore as well as my bratty little snot-nosed brother.  Those five people make me the happiest person in the world and make feel blessed to be 31 years old today!  So be sure to always remember great-grandma Pearl's words of wisdom and...

"Enjoy the age you're at because you'll never get it back!"

Are you a birthday lover?  Do you embrace each new year or hide from it?  What's your favorite way to celebrate your special day?    

(photo credit)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Some days... I just don't wanna!

Some days, I don't want to be a key employee.  I don't want to be the glue that holds EVERYTHING together.  Some days I just want to do mindless tasks for eight hours such as make the coffee, bake the cookies, greet our clients, etc.  Some days, I don't want to hold everyone's hand as they get through the day and I want to tell them to put their big boys and girls pants on and deal with it themselves!

I don't want to be the person that my boss calls twice on Saturday and once on Sunday for stupid things that could have all waited until this morning.  I don't want to be the person that arranges for hubby to drop of Baby Boy to daycare instead of me, which is a morning routine I have grown to love, so I can get into work super early before anyone else to fix a so-called "major problem" with our server by simply unplugging a cord and re-plugging it back in!  Some days I don't want to be the ONLY PERSON capable of unplugging a cord and re-plugging it back in!  ARGH!!!

It's days like today that I have to remind myself how hard I've worked to get off of the front desk doing mindless tasks for eight hours.  How I've practically "built" the company I work for.  How every. single. thing. in this office is a product of my hard work and long hours.  How it is a testament to my character that I am my boss' right-hand, go-to person that keeps him on track and that helps this company be successful.  I have to remember that I am fortunate to have a solid job working for a neurotic nice guy.  I get to work with the most amazing clients whom I've grown to love and who consider me their go-to person as well because I can always help them out.

Being a key employee is something to be proud of and I don't want my venting session to seem as though I am ungrateful for any of it.  It's just that some days...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grandparent Parade

This weekend I am going to visit my grandparents with my folks and my son.  That means Baby Boy will be surrounded by not only his maternal grandparents, but also his great-grandparents.  It will be a "Grandparent Parade" as we trek to breakfast with my mother's parents then head over to my father's parents in the afternoon.  Are you keeping up with that???

I started to think about how important it is to me that my son spends time with all of his grandparents.  I have such fond memories of spending time with mine and I look forward to memories being made for him.  Like my son, I was lucky enough to know my great-grandparents... 

I spent the most time getting to know my great-grandfather, Loye (my paternal grandma's dad) and my great-grandmother, Pearl (my paternal grandpa's mom).  You still with me?!?  Loye was a great big man with a great big heart.  He had a flat-top haircut, wore red suspenders and had tattoos on his arms.  He told the best stories but no one ever knew how true they really were.  He ate bacon and eggs every day for breakfast and he looooved his Jack Daniels!  My dad and grandpa Loye had a very special relationship and I even think they look a lot alike.  He passed away when I was in college but I always remember the sound of his grizzly voice, the tree he named after my brother and his beloved beagles buried in his back yard.

My great-grandma, Pearl, is probably one of my favorite people.  She was a no nonsense kind of lady that had no time for frivolous girlish behavior.  In fact, when I was going through one of my "down times" in college I found myself in a low spot and in need of some coddling from my dear grandmother, Pearl.  Instead I was told to, "STOP CRYING THIS INSTANT!!"  She instructed me to go grab a pen and paper and to write down the following things:
  1. You are a woman.
  2. You are pragmatic.  (through my tears I bravely asked "w-w-what does pragmatic mean?"  She sharply said, "LOOK IT UP!")
  3. Going to college is a privilege and it enriches your life.
  4. You need to exercise.
  5. Don't eat sandwiches.  Bread is bad for you and makes you fat.
Grandma Pearl also paid for my college.  She once told me that my cousin, "got the looks and you got the brains."  Did I mention she was completely blind or that she really was a charming lady???  Anyway, I loved spending time with her when I would visit Illinois and chatting with her on the phone when we were apart.  She would tell the most interesting stories about life "back in the day" and what it was like going through the depression.  She passed away last year at the age of 96.

There isn't enough time for me to share with you all of the memories I hold of my other grandparents because there are so many.  They are all characters that mean the world to me!  They were there for every dance recital, choir concert, graduation, birthday, etc.  They would come to Grandparents Day at my school and they were always my favorite babysitters.  Now it is my son's turn.  He gets to know my parents and my in-laws in a very special way.  Tomorrow he even gets to spend extra time with his "great's."
(photo credit)
Grandparents are playmates, heroes, and role models.  They are the direct connection to the past.  To the families before us and to the time before us.  They've suffered and they've thrived and their wisdom and love is one of life's most precious gifts.

What are your favorite memories of your grandparents?  Have you enjoyed watching your parents become grandparents?  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Pinkeye, Oh My!

We took Baby Boy to the Denver Zoo for the first time over the weekend.  It was so much fun!  I think we enjoyed it so much because the weather was a bit chilly and overcast so there weren't tons of people there.  We took Baby Boy to the Aquarium for his 1st birthday and we now know that his birthday falls right around spring break time.  D'oh!  At the Aquarium we were in the midst of numerous snot-nosed little buggers with bad manners!  That's right, apparently my child is the only perfect, precious little toddler out there.  All the rest are super annoying, pushy little brats with parents that just stand in the background ALLOWING this repulsive behavior to occur!  The nerve!  But, I digress...

Back to the Zoo!  It was not only fun to watch Baby Boy get excited about seeing the animals, it was also exciting for the Hubby and I to see that some parts of the Zoo were exactly the same as we remembered when we were little.  I also love how they let the peacocks run wild all over the grounds and this was the first time I have ever witnessed one preening for all to see!

The bears seemed to be his favorite animal on this trip.  I think because they were actually moving around and seemed so huge.  He even started to whimper when we moved away from the bears to take in more animals.  Don't worry little fella, we'll go back again soon! 

In addition to viewing the animals, the Zoo also offers up a variety of (gasp) germs.  Yeah, that's right.  It's a smorgasbord of lovely bacteria just waiting to cling to anything that it touches.  Case in point...

Germs on the statue!
Germs on the sign!

Germs on the glass!
Needless to say, there's really no getting around the germs.  So we were fully prepared with hand sanitizing wipes thinking that we were in the clear. HA!  FOOLS!  You can't escape the super bacteria which causes conjunctivitis or pinkeye, as the common folks call it.  So Sunday morning Baby Boy woke up with pus crusted in his beautiful brown eyes.  Thank goodness our on-call Pediatrician was willing to call in a prescription for him and he was administered drops by late morning.  The pus cleared up instantly and neither Hubby or I had to miss any work because he was able to go to daycare the next day!  Score!!!  Now that's efficiency!

You know you are a parent when you are getting ready for bed and you have the following conversation with your spouse:

Me: "Isn't it great how quickly we were able to clear up that pinkeye?!?

Hubby: "Yeah! It's as if it never happened!"

Me: "I know!!  I mean, of all the illnesses that Baby Boy has had or could have... I'd say pinkeye is best so far!"

Hubby: "I couldn't agree more.  We kicked conjuctivitis' ass!!" 

:: High-five, lamps off, a restful night sleep ahead ::

So all-in-all it was a successful weekend.  Our first trip to the Zoo with our son was a hit, Mother's Day was wonderful, and pinkeye had nothin' on us! 

I will leave you with this shot.  It just makes me smile!  Chubby little toddler hands, and no, that is not an eclipse... it's Baby Boy's cheek!

Have a great week!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Are You Mom Enough?

Seriously?!?!?  You know what I am talking about.  That cover, with that title.  I am all for opening the dialogue and teaching people about different parenting styles, and the underlying message of the article itself is just fine.   But that cover, with that title!!!  It is just so. very. wrong.  In my humble opinion.

Women and mothers do not need one more reason to feel bad about themselves for not being "good enough" just they way they are or the way they choose to parent.  And who did they pick for the cover shot?  So NOT the image of an average breastfeeding mother.  A blonde bombshell in an un-nurturing pose.  When talking about a natural, bonding experience between a mother and a child they chose to depict a SEX SYMBOL.  Why, America????  Why????? 

I'm even mad at myself for venting about it right now because I know full well that I am feeding into exactly what they want.  But I just couldn't resist!  I support the article and the fact that it is attempting to inform people about attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding, but the title of the article is extremely offensive and the photo does nothing but put money into the pockets of TIME execs.  Shame on them!

The cover model has a very interesting blog, to say the least, and I have enjoyed following it from time to time.  She definitely has a unique parenting style and is a self-proclaimed narcissist, which she doesn't hide.  I personally don't connect with her methods and I can't say that I even connect with her too much, but I can't stop looking.  She is stunning and her blog depicts a life of fun and adventure.  I saw her interview on the Today show and I do have to give her credit for stating that this method of parenting isn't best for everyone. 

I certainly don't have anything against her or her parenting styles.  My problem is with that cover, and that title. Shame, shame!

I'm a mom.

Some days it still doesn't seem real because some days, it seems too good to be true.  Me.  A mom.

My husband and I always knew we wanted to have kids.  Even before we were married we would talk about our imaginary family and we even had names picked out for our imaginary kids.  Staying up late at night, heads on our pillows, staring at one another just dreaming, laughing, hoping.

We were married for 4 years before we felt ready to turn those dreams into a reality.  It took us a little over a year before becoming pregnant.  That was a very long year.  That "time of the month" became a horrible reminder we weren't having a baby and every month it was harder and harder.  Until one day...

July 27th, 2010.  It was a beautiful day and I never thought the simple act of peeing on a stick would bring us so much joy!  Well, I actually peed on 5 sticks because I just couldn't believe it! The Hubby and I spent the following 9 months staying up late at night, heads on our pillows, staring at one another just dreaming, laughing, hoping.  Doing what expectant parents do.

March 31st, 2011 my son was born and a mom was born at the same time.  There is no greater joy than holding your baby in your arms for the first time.  It can be described with elaborate adjectives and metaphors but nothing can truly do it justice.  It is perfection.

My new parent "glow" rapidly turned into crusty, nappy haired, sleep deprived, not knowing what day it is or remembering when I showered last, kind of glow.  It was puuuuurdy!  I would agonize over the simplest of decisions because I wanted to make sure I did right by my perfect little baby.   All the while doubting that I was doing any of it right but just kept taking things one day at a time.  My heart still skips a beat if I hear a noise Baby Boy hasn't made yet and I wonder, "is he ok?" "Maybe I should go check on him..."  I cried myself to sleep when I moved him from the bed-side bassinet to his crib.  (You did cry then too, didn't you?  No?  Just me?  Sweet.)

Every. Single. Day. My heart breaks when I leave him at daycare.  I keep waiting for it to get easier.  I keep praying for the working-mom-life-balance to feel effortless and not like a battle.  My desk is complete with just enough pictures to not seem too weird and every once in a while I'll glance at one and remember a funny look he gave me that morning or the silly faces he makes and will literally have water fill my eyes. 

I'm a mom.  I have a son that I would give my life for.  I thank God and my husband everyday for blessing me with the gift of all gifts.  How did I get so lucky to be this boy's mother?

Being a mama is demanding, challenging, and exhausting.  But, you know what?  It is worth it.  Man, is it worth it!  Those little hands squeezing tightly around your finger.  Those eyes looking at you with complete and total trust.  That smile reserved just for you.  When you pick them up and they wrap their arms around your neck or lay their head on your chest.  Watching them develop and grow with each new milestone as equally exciting as the last.  Watching your husband become a dad...  that right there is a whole post for another time.  Watching your parents become grandparents is also a gift.  My son falling asleep in my Dad's arms with a look of peace and contentment on my Father's face.  My mother singing all the same songs to my baby as she once sang to me.

All of it is too much.  It doesn't seem real.  I'm a mom.  And still today, my husband and I stay up late at night, heads on our pillows, staring at one another just dreaming, laughing, hoping about the future.  Because, I've got a secret!  ;)  I'll tell you later.  Until then...

Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful mothers out there.  You are beautiful, strong, amazing women and I feel honored and blessed to be in your company.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Cheerleader and a Waitress

When you were little and asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, what was your answer?  When I was 4 or 5 my answer was, without question, "a cheerleader and a waitress!"  I have no recollection of how those two very prestigious career choices became my go-to response to that timeless childhood question.  All I know is, I was dead serious.

By the age of 14 my first mission in life was accomplished.  A cheerleader at my highschool.  Now, say what you want about cheerleaders.  I know there are many people out there that despise them to the core, feeling they are nothing but ditsy bimbos in short skirts with loud voices and nauseating "cheery" dispositions.  Did I nail it on the head?  Those stereotypes certainly didn't just get made out of thin air and there are certainly some girls out there that make the rest of us look bad.  But I can tell you the group of girls that I had the honor of being on the same team with were all stand-up girls and we even had a team average GPA of 3.5 for four years straight!

Cheerleading is no longer about routing for your school's sports teams, it is a full-on competitive sport! (stop laughing!  I mean it!)  My team won numerous Regional competitions and we even took 1st place at STATE!  That's right, I'm a State Champion!  We went to Nationals four years straight but a 1st place team in good 'ole Colorado doesn't really stack up to a 1st place team in any one of the southern states. 

I later became a coach for a competitive All-Star Cheerleading team.  All-Star Cheerleading is nothing like highschool cheerleading and I promise to not bore you with the details.  I coached a level 2 Senior team with girls ranging in age from 11-16.  We took 1st in state and...  drum roll please... 1st at NATIONALS!!!  One of the proudest moments of my life!

Cheerleading was, and is, a huge part of who I am.  But lets not forget about my second goal in life... being a waitress.  That life goal was attained at the age of 18.  I worked at a pizza place called Beau Jo's which is famous for its Mountain Pies.  That is also where I met and fell in love with my husband.  The waitressing continued throughout college as one of my two jobs.  I worked at the Bennigans in Ft. Collins, Colorado for many years.  Good times were had by all!

Turns out being a cheerleader and a waitress weren't that silly of life goals.  I met some of the most amazing people that became good friends of mine.  I learned how to be a good coach which I am very proud of.  I learned valuable life lessons... some of which were poignant and meaningful like the value of hard work.  Others were a bit more frivolous but still important like making sure you never, ever forget the briefs that are worn over your underwear with your uniform or how to negotiate tying a shoelace in your cheer skirt with pervy highschool boys around.  It's a skill people!

Plus, having achieved my life goals by the age of 18 made my beloved parents super proud! :: dusting off my shoulders ::  They were so proud of their daughter who declared at the young age of 4 or 5 that she was setting off to become a cheerleader and a waitress.  Not only were they proud they were also happy because they could use the college fund they had been saving to buy a boat!  HA!!  Just kidding....

It was an RV.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy Monday! (sarcasm implied)

Is your Monday off to a good start?  Mine is for the most part.  The weather is cool, cloudy and a bit rainy.  Doesn't bother me one bit!  I kind of like rainy days.  I got a good night sleep, the kind where you hit the pillow and don't budge until the alarm goes off (thank you for your assistance with this Baby Boy).  I got ready in record time this morning so Baby Boy and I were out the door and on our way to daycare nice and early.  I beat most of the crazy traffic and managed to hit all the green lights on the way, which NEVER happens.

Upon arriving at daycare there was a mom dropping off her tiny baby for the first time.  She had a tissue in one hand and you could tell this was going to be very hard for her.  As I escorted my son into the toddler room I thought back to when he was just 3 months old and I was dropping him off for the first time.  I can't believe how fast time flies!  That mom will be in my thoughts all day...

I pulled into work earlier than usual hoping to impress the boss but he wasn't in yet. Bummer!  I ate a cinnamon roll that we had left over from our client event on Saturday.  Delicious indeed, but the guilt set in as I stared at my banana that was intended to be my breakfast. D'oh!!

Basically, I've had a pretty decent start to my day.  I have a ton of items to tackle here at work but the problem is I don't have the proper motivation to allow the tackling of said "items" to commence.  I need to kick my butt into gear! 

How's your motivation this morning?  Do you have a "case of the Mondays"?  Name that movie.  Anyway, here we are, Monday came too soon and now it's time to make it happen yet again.  Coffee mugs up... Cheers!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Perspective and Prayer

Yesterday I droned on about how I feel bad about myself and that I want to change myself so that I can feel better.  That's a whole lot of "me, me, me."  Although I know taking care of myself and sharing with you my personal struggles is of some significance, I can't help but feel embarrassed and selfish when I know people out there are dealing with bigger struggles than self-worth. 

One of the very first blogs I started following is called Hormonal Imbalances.  Diana is a wonderful writer and she has shared the struggles with her husband's alcoholism, life as an army wife and mother, etc.  Recently Diana was sharing the excitement of being pregnant with identical twin boys.  She was 18 1/2 weeks along and she started having complications.  Yesterday, her boys, Julian and Preston were born and are now walking with God.

Diana's post is beautiful and painful to read.  My heart hurts for her.  Today I will not be consumed with me, I will not care about my insecurities.  Life is too short and too precious to waste feeling sorry for myself. 

Today I will be thankful for my life...  I will hold my husband and Baby Boy tight... I will pray for all those that have suffered a loss and I will especially pray for Diana and her family.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Creature of Habit

My "Self-Loathing No More!" project is still in full swing.  I'm not gonna lie... it hasn't been easy.  I feel like my intentions are in the right place but I know full well that intentions alone won't make any impactful changes that I am seeking.  Do you remember my plan?
  1. Start a food journal - Big fat, FAIL.  I don't know why I thought this would work for me.  I've never been good with this and I have tried before. 
  2. Move my body - I have been walking my little heart out when I can.  I average 40 minutes or more around the neighborhood but I can only get in 20-30 minutes on lunch breaks at work.  I'm probably only walking about 3-4 days a week and I'm sure I'm not burning enough calories to start losing weight.
  3. I will not depend on my husband to hold my hand - I'm doing good on this one.  I really want to have the power to make changes on my own and not rely on someone to carry me through.  This is very important to me for some reason...
  4. Learn how to handle my stress better - I saw a quote somewhere that "stress is a choice."  That really resonated with me and I am trying to break some of my cycles in this regard.
  5. Be kind to myself - Easier said than done.  Like stress, my self-talk is very conditioned within my psyche.  I need to break that habit as well.
I came to the realization that everything I want to change in my plan above are all habits that I am trying to break (with the exception of the whole food journal thing).  I have pin-pointed 4 major things that I want to change about myself and I am attempting to change them all at the same time!  Am I setting myself up for success or am I going to find myself in my usual rut because it is familiar and safe?  Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

I'm not just on a mission to get healthy and lose weight, although that is the ultimate goal, I am truly attempting to change my behavior in order to break some "bad" habits.

noun - an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

I am attempting to change some big things about myself that have become second nature to me.  They have become involuntary.  I had a wonderful session with my therapist this week.  She really helped me to define what it is I am trying to accomplish here.  Just so you know a little bit more about me, I am the type of person that will give and bend and comply with everyone around without ever considering how it is effecting me.  I put others first and often times at a detriment to my well being.  I live my life constantly tense, stressed, on edge and always trying to control situations so that I can cater to the people around me.  I don't say what's on my mind, I say what I think you want to be on my mind.  I'm not always my authentic self, I am a tailored version of myself. 

It is time to break my habits.  So, how will I do this???  My therapist explained that there are three parts to a habit: 1) the cue 2) the behavior 3) the reward.  My goal is to recognize the cues so that I can alter my behavior.  For example: I've had a busy and challenging day at work and I can feel the stress setting in - that is my cue. The old behavior would be to eat something because I was stressed out.  Because I was reacting emotionally to my stress the things I would eat were most likely NOT a healthy snack.  I'd swipe a cookie that we leave out for our clients, for example. 

What I hope to do is recognize that the components of my day have left me feeling stressed so maybe I should step outside for a few minutes to clear my head while at the office or exercise after work to sweat out the stress.  The reward will be that I am no longer feeling tense and that I just did something positive for myself.  The rewards don't have to be something tangible they can simply be a feeling of contentment, pride and accomplishment.  That sounds like a good reward to me! 

By breaking my habits and being in tune with my cues and my behaviors I will be one step closer to being the best me that I can be!

Do you have any behavioral habits that you would like to break?  Have you had success overcoming a habit that was negative for you? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pork Chops with a White Wine, Mushroom and Tomato Sauce

My motto for weeknight cooking is as follows: "if it's delicious and easy, I'm making it!"  This recipe is just that.  I used thin cut pork loin chops because they cook very quickly and they leave us with left-overs.  I paired our main dish with roasted broccoli and couscous.  Enjoy!

Here's what you need:

Thin-cut pork chops, 2-3 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbl minced parsley, 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms, pint of grape tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, Pinot Grigio.  The items you will need that I completely forgot to add to the picture but are extremely crucial: Montreal Seasoning, dried thyme and chicken broth.  


Rub steak seasoning and thyme over pork.

Heat 2 tbls of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the chops until there is a nice crust on each side and they are cooked through.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Add a touch more oil if necessary and throw in the garlic.  Saute until just fragrant.
Add in the mushrooms and a tbl of butter.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute the mushrooms until all of the moisture is reduced.

Add in the tomatoes and 3/4 cup of wine.  Turn the heat up to high and let the sauce reduce by half then add in 1/2 cup of chicken stock.

Continue to let the sauce reduce and thicken up a bit.

Add the parsley.  BTW - How pretty is that green color against the reds and golden browns?!?  It makes me smile. :)  Stir the sauce then add salt and pepper to taste.  I also added a few squirts of lemon juice since I was using a lemon for the roasted broccoli.  It was a nice bright ending to the sauce. 
If you want more of a "brothy" sauce then you are done, my friends.  Plate up and dig in!  If you want the sauce to be thick and more "gravy-esque," you can create a slurry with some corn starch and water.  Whisk it in stirring constantly for about 1 minute or so.  

And there you have it!  An easy weeknight meal that won't disappoint.  If you have any of that Pinot Grigio left over, because you weren't drinking some while you were cooking like I was, it goes very nicely with this recipe.  

I'm hungry...