Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mommy Needs a Drink

Children are a gift.  I will not dispute that.  We had to work very hard to conceive our son and I would not trade him for anything.  He was a priceless gift from God.  That being said -- there are some days when I understand why some wild animals eat their young.

There are days when I am ready for his afternoon nap as soon as he has finished breakfast, and I am ready for bedtime when he wakes up from nap.  I think it's the age -- at least that's what they tell me.  But that's what they say at every age I think.  I didn't really buy into the whole "terrible twos" thing.  I honestly thought that if I was a good enough mom, we would be immune to it.  And, to be quite honest, two was a breeze.

Then he turned three.  The thundering threes, as I have recently heard them called, are just that -- thundering.  As soon as his birthday came two months ago, he morphed into something other than my sweet little munchkin.  There are many days when I am ready for a glass of wine at noon.

Today is one of those days.  Tonight, bedtime was directly followed by the pouring of some delicious Moscato.




Like I said, I love my son.  My heart is so full of love for him, that sometimes it feels like it might burst.  But there are other times that I think I might scream.  Motherhood really does give us a nice long ride on the bipolar-coaster, doesn't it?

Some days -- like today -- for instance, I would put money on the chances that I gave birth to the whiniest kid ever born in the history of time.  I don't think there is a betting pool for that sort of thing in Vegas though.  He wants to go to sleep when he's awake, wants to read when there are no books around, wants a snack when he's just eaten, wants anything to eat besides what is on his plate, he wants to play outside when it's negative 12, wants to play inside when it's a a gorgeous 72, he wants to go home when we're gone, and wants to go somewhere when we're home.

He can throw a nasty fit.  If there was ever a competition for the best Wild-Ass-Fit-Thrower.  We would win.  Hands down.

He might also be the loudest kid on earth.  My husband and I are both quite chatty.  So it's no surprise that our munchkin inherited the jabber-gene, but, for the love of all things Holy, he never stops talking.  Ever.  He has two settings: talking and sleeping.  There is no in-between.

I cannot go pee by myself anymore.  Privacy is a luxury of the past.  If I close the door, I see fingers poking underneath the door and hear a little voice telling me, "I'm hungry!  I need a snack!  I just pooped!  I shared my raisins with Daisy and she threw up!"  If I leave the door open, I have a toddler staring at me shouting, "Are you pooping, Mommy?  Can you read me a book?  Did you poop?  Are you pottying?  I'm hungry!  YAAAAY, MOMMY!  You did it!  I'm so proud of you for pooping!"

I guess I should be excited, because it's been a good 27 years since anyone has been proud of me for pooping.

I also cannot shower by myself.  Even in the evenings when my husband is home.  Even if he is perfectly content doing something without my attention.  If I get in the shower and expect to relax to the sound of not-a-toddler, I hear, "Mommy what are you doing?  Can I come in there with you?  I'm going to sit here and watch you.  Mommy are you done yet?  I'm hungry.  I need a snack.  Can you play cars with me?"

Three-year-olds can be manipulative.  They can look you straight in the eye and say "I don't love you"and then, in the very next moment, snuggle in nice and close and say, "you are so beautiful, Mommy, I love you.  You're sweet."  This, in a few instances has been followed directly by him looking intently into my eyes, and then in one insanely fast motion, he licks my glasses while they are on my face.  Who does that?!

He is also very conflicted on clean vs. dirty.  From me, he inherited a generous dose of OCD tendencies.  His race cars have to be lined up exactly right (and freaks out if you turn one the wrong way), his Pull-Ups must be stacked just so, his toys need to go in their proper containers, he cannot have books (except his Bible) left in his room at night, his blankets have to be stacked in proper order on his bed, his duck has to sleep on his right side (McQueen sleeps on the left), he hates having his hands dirty.


On the other hand, he does not give a rat's behind about being potty trained.  He doesn't care if has has crap in his pants.  We've read all the articles, we've tried big boy underwear.  He thinks he deserves the same applause for peeing in the hallway that he does for peeing on the toilet.  I will not applaud him for peeing on the carpet.  I will not.  It makes me want to cry to clean piss off of the carpet.  I mean, this is why we don't have a puppy!

Today, he pooped during nap time, didn't care and went to sleep.  I was not aware of this until I walked into his room to wake him up and the smell of poop punched me in the nose.  What was even more awesome about it was that it was such a gigantic dump that it exploded out of the back of his Pull-Up and was all over his back.  Not only that, it had dried into crust form on his back and flaked off as he slept -- leaving little flakes and balls of dried shit all over his sheets, which then cascaded beautifully onto the floor.

I have sort of kept the idea that diapers are a convenience that will be hard to leave behind (especially while traveling), but I do not want to clean up the remnants of explosive shit.  No I do not.

I love him.  I really do.  But on days like today, when he is begging to watch his favorite movie for the bagillionth time, and he has to read "Jesus Walks on Water" for the 90th day in a row (I mean, there are 99 other stories in that adorable toddler Bible), when he cries because his Buzz Lightyear sunglasses won't light up, and then cries because his Buzz Lightyear sunglasses are lighting up, and then throws a sobbing fit because Mommy just cannot handle this shit and threw the Buzz Lightyear sunglasses in the trash can -- days like these, Mommy needs a drink.


Cheers, my friend.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Santa Fe Stuffed Peppers

I found a recipe for Santa Fe Stuffed Peppers by Shugary Sweets on Pinterest and had to try it.  Please click on the prior link to see the original recipe, what I am going to share with you is my modified version.  I was in Santa Fe-induced heaven while eating this delicious dish.


Begin by heating your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash three sweet red bell peppers and slice the tops off of each.  Remove the seeds.  Stand each pepper up next to each other in a small baking dish (8x8).  Chop the "lids" of the peppers into small pieces and set aside for future use.


In a large skillet, brown one pound of lean ground turkey breast (I prefer, at maximum, 7% fat).  Drain the fat from the browned meat and return to skillet.  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cumin, a teaspoon of sea salt, and a 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes.

 
 
 

Allow mixture to simmer ten minutes.
Meanwhile, create 1 cup of riced cauliflower out of fresh cauliflower florets.  I do not have a ricer, so I use my hand chopper to create finely chopped pieces.

 

Add cauliflower and 1/4 cup of natural medium-heat chunky salsa to skillet.  Allow to simmer 5 minutes more.
 
 
Remove from heat and spoon mixture carefully in to each of the three peppers.  Press the mixture down into the pepper to create room for more deliciousness.  I prefer to fill my peppers quite full.

 

 
I had enough leftover filling to make another one or two peppers, but decided to store it for use as a delicious taco filling.
 
 
Cover filled peppers with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
 

Meanwhile, chop two green onions and measure 1/2 cup of fine-cut shredded cheese (I prefer Sargento off the block: 4 cheese Mexican).


Remove baked peppers from the oven, and sprinkle cheese evenly over the tops.  Then place the pan back into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 5 additional minutes.


Remove from oven and sprinkle with green onion pieces.  Serve and devour!


I served these with steamed asparagus, multi-grain tortilla chips, and natural medium-heat chunky salsa.




I was tempted to eat the last pepper, but decided to leave it for my husband to have for lunch tomorrow (he rated this meal an 8.5 out of ten).  My toddler negated to eat this meal and had this instead:
Blueberries, nitrate-free all beef hot dog, mozzarella cheese,
raw natural almonds, pretzels, and "octagon crackers" (multi-grain Wheat Thins)
For your preparation ease, I have provided the recipe in true recipe form (again, you can find the original recipe here).


Santa Fe Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients:
1 pound lean ground turkey breast
1 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 cup riced cauliflower
1/4 cup medium-heat chunky salsa
3 red bell peppers
1/2 cup fine cut shredded cheese
2 green onions, sliced

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash red peppers and slice the tops off each pepper.  Remove seeds.  Stand each pepper up next to each other in a small baking dish (8x8).  Chop red portions of pepper "lids" and set aside.
2.  In a large skillet, brown ground turkey until fully cooked.  Drain.  Return to skillet.  Add cumin, salt, pepper pieces, and crushed tomatoes.  Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
3. Add riced cauliflower and salsa to skillet, combining completely.  Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
4.  Fill each red pepper with turkey mixture.  Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle each pepper evenly with cheese.  Bake, uncovered, an additional 5 minutes - or until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with green onion pieces.
5.  Serve and enjoy In Good Company.

Happy Valentine's Day

Last Thursday we celebrated St. Valentine's Day -- or as married women around the country refer to it: "Shit, I have to shave above the knee" day.
The chalkboard that hangs in my dining room.

Honestly, since becoming the mother of a toddler, all of those gushy Valentine's Day commercials on TV make me roll my eyes a bit.  Maybe I need to search out my inner-romantic that is probably hiding somewhere.

This was what our celebration of love looked like:
I baked Valentine's Themed
Brown Sugar Blondies (modified slightly with twice the M&Ms)
for my little guy's party at the gym's daycare...


...prepared Cars 2 Valentines (complete with a themed pencil and M&Ms)
for him to take to his little friends...

...dressed him in festive colors
(you can see that he snagged a pencil and wouldn't put it down)...

...he wouldn't say his usual "cheese-burgers", he had to scream:
"CARS PENCIL!"
 
After teaching Yoga, working on some lifts, and completing a quick CrossFit WOD.  I picked up my munchkin (who was then high-on-sugar from the party) and headed home -- only slightly angry that I was toting a bag full of candy (given to him from his friends) that I couldn't so much as taste because of my sacrifice of sweets for Lent.

I made him a special Valentine's lunch.

But his 30 year old girlfriend, Jen, brought him an
awesome new toy and candy so he was way too busy to eat.

She also brought me a gift of Red Velvet flavored coffee.
D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S
The rest of the afternoon included a toddler play date, and some mommy-talk time (coffee included) with a dear friend who I don't get to see nearly enough.  While the play date resulted in my living room looking like it had been hit by, well, two toddlers, it also resulted in a nice long nap (for him, not me).

That evening my husband and I exchanged cards and I made a whole grain chicken and broccoli Stromboli for dinner.  Which means we spent our "romantic" dinner trying to bribe our toddler in order to get him to eat the food on his plate.  After we wrestled him down to sleep, my husband fell asleep on the couch next to me as I watched a transgender woman receive a makeover on TLC's What Not to Wear.  See what I mean?  Pure romance.

Saturday evening, my husband and I were able to go on a kid-free Valentine's date, thanks to my visiting in-laws.
My funny Valentine (who is thrilled to have his picture taken).

We drove to a nearby town and started our evening with a little shopping and some strong coffee.

I just love a good double-caffeine sugar-free iced vanilla espresso from Starbucks.
We took our liquid energy into what is probably our favorite store (Dick's Sporting Goods) to try on shoes.  My husband bought me a pair of Brooks PureConnect 2, which I am super excited about.  Happy Valentine's Day to me!
Hooray for new CrossFitting shoes!

Our evening ended with dinner at the bar of PF Changs (we couldn't miss the KU basketball game), where I thoroughly enjoyed three Coconut Lemon Sours, 2 Spring Rolls, and Honey Mango Chicken with Lo Mien -- what?!  Calories don't count on date night!


Yum.
Because we were exhausted, we forewent our original plans of ice-skating, bowling, or a movie, and drove the hour back home to change in to our jammies and catch the end of the KU game.  We are so exciting, and not getting old at all.
We were greeted by our very-hyper munchkin who had been
on quite the date with Grandma & Grandpa.

After our date.  Again, my husband is super thrilled
to be having his picture taken.

I hope that you and your families enjoyed the celebration of St. Valentine, and that you are surrounded by, receiving, and giving love daily.  Thank you for reading, and, as always, thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Parenting: You're Doing It Wrong

On a daily basis, I feel like I fail at parenting.  Some days are big-time fails, some days sporadic little WTF moments occur.  But every day, without fail, I fail.  I always tell myself that the fact that I worry so much about royally screwing up my kid means that I'm probably doing an okay job.

I keep him from danger, I make sure he's fed and properly clothed.  I make sure he gets daily exercise, daily naps, and is in bed at a decent time.  Maybe I allow him to watch a little too much TV, but most of the time it is just background noise as he plays.



My job is to be a stay-at-home-mom.  My number one priority should be playing with monster trucks and Play-Doh, learning numbers and letters, painting doodles and drawing his favorite Disney character-of-the-moment.

But, all too often, I hold up one finger and tell him, "just a moment", or "Mommy's busy right now."  I suppose I didn't realize how often he was hearing these sentences from me until he began saying them back to me.  But it never really sank in.

Then, a few days ago I read a blog post entitled, Dear Mom On The iPhone by 4 Little Fergusons.  Nearly every word of the essay stabbed at my heart.  Here are a few parts that I found particularly poignant (I encourage you to read the entire post).


-------
Dear Mom On the iPhone,
I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.
But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..
...Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.
He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do. ...
...Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.
Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!
Play time at the park will be over before you know it.
The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.
They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always... call out, “WATCH ME!”
There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.
Because they know…
You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..
I know that’s not true, Mommy.
I know your heart says differently.
...But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.
-------
 
 
Does this woman know me?  Does she see me checking Facebook every few moments?  Does she know that before I rise out of bed in the morning -- even before going to the bathroom -- I have made sure to update myself on all of the idle gossip happening in cyber space?  Does she know that I rarely go to the loo without simultaneously using my tablet?  Does she know that I brush conversation with my husband aside so that I can try to beat my last highest score in some stupid game?  Has she seen me tell my son I'm busy so that I can track my calories or post my WOD results?  She must have seen me at the park reading a politically charged email from my dad.  Maybe she noticed me ignoring him at our lunch outing last Saturday and how important it seemed for me to make sure that my husband and I were "checked in" on Facebook.

I. am. disgusted. with. myself.
 
In a few years, what am I going to think of when I look back on these years?  Am I going to think fondly of all of the awesome ideas I found on Pinterest (ideas I know I will never get around to trying), of all of the funny conversation threads with my CrossFit friends, of all of the rounds of Words with Friends played?
 
Or will I look back and wonder where they time went, wonder how he could have possibly grown up so fast and grown so tall?  Maybe I will wonder why he would rather play video games than talk to his parents.  And then I will have to say to myself, "I taught him that."

This was my son when he was just 18 months old.
At the time I thought it was hilarious that he wanted to always
carry this phone with him.
 

Today begins the Lenten season.  A season of sacrifice.  This year (in addition to my usual surrendering of processed sugar), I am giving up Facebook and all electronic games.  I have deleted most of the temptation from my iPhone, Kindle Fire, and computer.
 
To be honest, I was increasingly nervous as today approached.  I have been trying to find any reason why I should at least keep just Facebook -- after all, I would hate to miss some one's birthday!  I even tried promising myself that I would only use these time-suckers during nap or after bed time.  That wasn't the answer.  The nervousness surrounding the sacrifice proved that it was necessary.  40 days -- cold turkey.
 
I don't know what will happen when Easter comes -- my hope is that I will have learned to cherish the moments I have with my son (and husband) and that I lose the need to be constantly linked in -- but I do know, in the meantime, that I don't want to miss any of the moments that pass all too quickly.  Because it's not for very long that you get to spend every day with a real-life super hero.
 
 
Be present.  Put your phone down.  Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.
 
 
{Obviously, I am continuing to write blogs, but I can only accomplish that while he is sleeping.
I've also decided that it isn't cheating to hit the "share" button from my blog since I am not getting on Facebook to do it.}