guilt to the 9th power.

Guilt is for the stinkin’ birds.

I love being a mom. I really do. But let me tell you one thing that flat out stinks about being a mom. Guilt. G-U-I-L-T. Big honkin’ GUILT.

It seems the moment I found out I was pregnant with PB, guilt just packed up a U-Haul and decided to move in with me for the rest….of…..my….life.

When I was pregnant, I felt guilty for eating dessert. I was afraid my son would come out looking like a chocolate chip cookie. I should’ve been eating sprouts and seaweed and tofu. Right? Guilt.

When I was pregnant, I felt guilty for buying off-brand diapers and second hand toys and baby accessories. PB was supposed to have the top-of-the-line-best-of-everything. He should be wearing Ralph Lauren diapers, not the Target brand, right? GaaaahhhhILLLLT.

Pregnancy guilt was just the tip of the iceburg.

Once I had PB, I felt guilty all the time. Guilty for complaining when I was tired-that meant I wasn’t supermom. Guilty for taking him to ballgames when he was little-that meant I was exposing him to germs. Guilty for literally everything that I did or didn’t do.

One day, I had a breakdown. I was so wrapped up in feeling inadequate and guilty as a mom that it was consuming me. I think part of my problem was that I looked at other moms and it seemed like they really had it all together. Guilt didn’t live at their house; at least they didn’t act like it did. Their babies probably wore Ralph Lauren diapers (do they even have those!?) and they probably functioned wonderfully on .00075 hours of sleep a night. They were much better moms that I was.

At that moment, I prayed. I cried. And I thought about what I was doing. I was trying so hard to be the ‘perfect’ mom. I was taking good qualities from great moms that I knew, rolling them all together to make a ‘supermom’, and was trying to be that imaginary ‘supermom’. I was measuring my worth as a mom based on an imaginary ‘supermom’ I had made up in my crazy mind. And I was feeling guilty for not living up to these ridiculous standards. What the heck!?

I was frustrated with myself because I felt like I was looking to everyone else for guidance on how to be a parent, when I should have been looking to the Greatest Parent, my Father in Heaven. Now, so far I haven’t found any scripture that says what you should do if you have a teething baby. But, I have found peace in His word. And I’ve found comfort and strength. And faith. Faith that God will lead me in this new life as a mom. Faith that He will lead me in this new life as a wife. Faith that He will give me all that I need to raise my family as He wants.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I still struggle with guilt. I feel guilty taking PB to daycare; I should stay at home with him. I should work, though, because then I can provide PB with a better life. But then I should probably stay home with him because I want to spend that precious time with him. But then I should probably take him to daycare because I want him to learn to socialize and have friends. But then people would know that I don’t use Ralph Lauren diapers. Eeek! But then…..

Seriously, this is a day in the life of my mind.

When I feel that guilt creeping in, I’m trying to get in the habit of just stopping right where I’m at and praying. I know that God will give me all that I need. 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Whoop, whoop. Man, that’s good stuff right there!

Being a mom is totally not for wussies. I’ve said before that parenting isn’t for wussies, but motherhood is soooo not for anyone who even slightly resembles a wuss. Seriously.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who battles guilt, whether in parenting or marriage or just life??!?! And please tell me I’m not the only one who doesn’t use designer diapers?!?!?

P.S. You can eat an obscene amount of chocolate chip cookies during pregnancy and your child will not resemble a chocolate chip cookie at birth. I know this from experience.

See!!?!? No cookie here!
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fall, ya’ll.

I’m so excited for fall I can hardly stand it. It is my most favorite time of year. Football, leaves, pumpkins, soups, apple cakes, fires….it really can’t get much better than that. I love the smell of the air that time of year. After a long, hot summer, I think I’ll drive with my head out my window, and sniff the fall air the whole month of October. Yes, I believe I’ll do that.

Pinterest has kicked up my desire for fall in such a way that words cannot explain. Pictures can only do justice:

Mums in ya pumpkins. Awesome idea! Source here.



Beautiful entry. Source here.



Pumpkin Topiary. How cute is that? Source here.
Chicken Enchilada slow cooker soup. Y-to tha U-M. Source here.

Old fashioned apple slab. I’m going to try this asap. Source here.
Taco chili. Two of my favorite foods, married together at last. Source here.



Crockpot Apples. Since I fell in love with  my cp, this is a must-try! Source here.

This fall means PB’s first Halloween! Oh the pressure of finding his first Halloween costume! Way back when I was a wee little tot, my favorite tv show was the A-Team. I know, I know. I was a weird kid. Anyway, Mr. T. was the M-A-N. So when I came across this

Source here.

my kiddie heart jumped and clapped for joy! A baby Mr. T.! How stinkin’ cute is that!??! Now I know Ben and I could think of a million other things for PB’s costume, but come on, man, look at that beard! I’m afraid, though, that most people wouldn’t have a clue what he was. I’m a nerd, and most people probably haven’t watched, or even heard of the A-Team. Oh well, a girl can dream…….

On a side note, I went Goodwill thrifting this week and picked up couple of goods, one of them being this:

It’s a mirror (that I covered with painter’s tape and newspaper in preparation for its makeover) that will find its new home in PB’s room. I’m super pumped about it, as I’ve been looking for a good (cheap) mirror for his room for about a year now. I got this one for………..$8.00! It’s nice and heavy, and it was in great shape. I’ll post some pictures once its done. What about ya’ll? Have you had any awesome Goodwill/consignment shop finds lately?

quality time.

Ben and I traveled 13 hours in less than 36 hours this weekend. We went to a wedding cookout and spent time with our beloved friends (Hi, Re!). I love old friends. You can spend months or years away from them, and then spend one weekend with them and its like you never missed a beat!

In the whopping 36 hours we were gone this weekend, PB managed to cut one of his top teeth and crawl! Not that ole’ army crawl either. This is the real deal, big boy crawl. Seriously, we were gone for 36 hours, and he cuts a tooth and crawls. Next weekend he’ll be stealing my keys and taking my car out for a spin.

Anyway, we’re pooped. It was only the second little trip without the PB that Ben and I have taken. We stayed up way too late and pretended like we were young, cool, and hip. I always miss PB when I’m away from him, and I’m always itching to get back to him. But I think that a little trip here and there with just my Ben is a nice way to remember us.

One of the unexpected blessings of parenthood was my deepened appreciation for Ben as my husband. We spent the first early months of parenthood trying to pretend we knew what we were doing. It was fun. It was hard. It was tons of responsibility. We were thrown into a new lifestyle where our world revolved around our baby. Most days were a blur of diapers, bottles, and sleep deprivation. By the end of the day, Ben and I would crash.

A couple of weeks after PB was born, my amazing momma kept him while Ben and I went on a date. I think we planned on leaving around 6; I started getting ready around 4. I had a big night planned. A fancy restuarant, perhaps. I dressed up and even put on eyeliner. We ended up going to the mall, eating at a little fast food pizza place, and going to the movies. It was the best date I’ve ever been on. I appreciated that alone time with Ben more than I had ever done before.

So this weekend, we made the most of a long 13 hour car ride. We talked about our hopes and plans for PB. We talked about finances, about jobs, and about bills. And then we sang Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and variations of John Denver and Beyonce until we were laughing so hard we couldn’t see to drive.

In the rush of everyday life and parenthood, it’s so easy to put my relationship with Ben on the backburner. There’s a baby to be fed, laundry to be done, and bills to be paid. I can get so caught up in being a ‘grown up’ that I forget what started this all. Ben. My very best friend. My favorite buddy. The boy I met in college and fell in love with. The boy I routinely beat in games of ‘horse’. The boy that I made another boy with.We made this little family together.

I’m learning that parenthood adds a whole new dynamic to a marriage. It adds a lot more fun, a little more chaos, and a deeper appreciation for the one who helped to start it all. So today I’m thankful for my awesome husband. I’m thankful that God led me to such an incredible man. I’m thankful for the wonderful dad that he is. And I’m thankful for the little times we get to spend together…just the two of us…to remember what this was all about in the first place…..

P.S. He still doesn’t close the drawers. Nobody is perfect.

Keepin’ it real…..

What about you, dear imaginary friends? What do you do, whether you are parents or not, to keep your marriage fresh?

random foto friday.

I was cleaning out some drawers the other day and I found the ornaments I made for PB’s first Christmas. I almost cried. How were his feet ever that tiny?

I bought some small plain wood plaques at Hobby Lobby for like $3, and bought a little pad of blue ink. I painted the plaques, and then I stamped his foot (while he was sleeping!) and pressed it on the plaque. Then I used a Sharpie to write on it. I drilled two small holes in the top and tied a blue string through it. They looked great on the tree, and we made several to give out to family for gifts. 
We’ll enjoy this on our tree every year. It will be a nice little reminder of our first Christmas with PB. I love his little baby feet. I could kiss them and sniff them all day. I’m sure I won’t be saying that in a few years!

PB’s 8 months

Well, actually its like 8 1/2 months, but better late than never, right? How is my little baby 8 months old? Wasn’t I just carrying him around in my tummy, feeling his sweet little kicks? To say they grow up fast is an understatement. But I’m thankful for every day he grows and every day we get to watch him grow. The Lord has surely blessed us.

 Here’s what he’s doing/into at 8 months:

-Saying ‘dada’ alllllll the time. Everyone is dada. It seems to be his first ‘word’. He’s said dada and mama and other things in the past, but this seems to be his first word that he’s trying to use as a way of trying to communicate.When I Ben and I come home from work, he starts. Dadadadadadadada. All evening long. I love it!

-Pulling himself up. He’s been pulling up now for a couple of weeks. He’ll grab on to his crib and pull himself up and then smile all over his self when he’s standing. He loves to stand. He’s always loved to stand but now, its really all he wants to do. If you sit him down, he cries. If you lay him down, he cries. That boy is ready to walk!

-Still army crawling. He’s took a couple of ‘real’ crawls, but always reverts back to the army crawl because he knows that will get him somewhere fast. The crawls never last long because he’s always on a mission to find something to pull up to.

-Drinking water. He’s been drinking water for a couple of months now, but this kid seriously loves water. It’s so funny. He would rather have water over just about anything. He hates juice. He wants ice-cold water. Last night, he drank half of Ben’s cup of water at dinner. He’s a little hog!

-Sleeping like a good boy. I can’t complain. PB sleeps good. He’s usually down by 9ish, and he’ll wake up around 6ish every day. 9 hours straight isn’t bad. He’s been doing this, more or less, for about 3 or 4 months now. Occasionally he’ll have a bad night, but other than that, we’re pleased. Now if we couldn’t explain to him what a weekend was…

-Dropping things. He’s discovered that he can drop things now. So that’s what he does. Everything you put in his hands, he drops so he can pick it up. He’s discovered cause and effect and loves it.

-Loves his dogs. He’s always smiled at his dogs, but now he’s squealing and grabbing at them when he sees them. We’re trying to show him the concept of ‘petting’ as opposed to yanking wads of dog hair. No progress yet!
-Doesn’t like babies. He’s always seemed to love older kids (about 2 and up) but he just doesn’t seem to like babies his age. If he gets too close to a baby, he cries or reaches for me. This bothers me a little. I hope its just a stage. He’s back in daycare and he’ll be soon getting to the age of playing with other kids. I want him to be able to make friends and have fun with kids his own age.

-Exploring. He’s at the age now where he’s into everything that he can get his little fingers on. Seriously, he doesn’t hold still. He’s always on the lookout for something to grab. The only time he ever sits still is when he’s eating. And half of that time is spent trying to wiggle out of his chair.

-Playing. He’s just getting to the age where he’s playing with Ben and I. Last night, when he was gulping Ben’s water at dinner, he’d look over at Ben, take a drink, push the cup away, wait for Ben to laugh, and then he’d laugh and do it again.

Sometimes I still feel like I’m babysitting someone else’s baby. How in the world do we have a baby? How in the world is he already 8 months old? How in the world did we make it through those first couple of weeks? How in the world do I still look 4 months pregnant after I eat dinner?

Some of life’s greatest mysteries.

time-savers.

I’m alllllll about saving some time. All about it.
When PB came into my picture, my time became so much more valuable to me. I wanted to spend as much  time with him as I could. My priorities did a major re-alignment.
When I went back to work after my maternity leave (another day, another story), I came home the first day completely pooped. I wanted to do nothing but play with my boys. That was cool for about 2 hours until Ben and I got hungry. I suddenly realized it was getting close to PB’s bedtime and Ben and I hadn’t thought about supper until now.
Let me explain a few things first. We live in the country, and have very few restuarants nearby. Though we love our little town’s restuarants dearly, there’s only so many times a week you can eat them, ya know? Secondly, we don’t like to eat out much. Really, we don’t like to eat out at all unless its for a ‘date’. Quite frankly, we just live too far away, and eating out can get pretty expensive. So I cook most weeknights.
Before I had a baby, that was still pretty hectic. Coming home after work, cooking, cleaning up the mess, and getting ourselves ready for bed was about all we had time for. Now, add in a baby?
Yep, zero time, sir.
So I’m learning to adjust. I’ve been exploring new ways to save time, effort, and money on the cooking front. So far, I’ve been pretty pleased. I’m actually spending less time in the kitchen now than ever before (which means more time with my PB) and we are still eating most of our meals at home.
Here’s some of what I’m doing:
1. We cook alot with ground meat. Anytime I am going to cook it, I always try to make more than we need, and just freeze the rest. That works great if we want to make some quick tacos or chili one night. I just defrost the frozen (cooked) meat, and we’re cooking! Southern Plate has some great resources on this. Though I don’t cook my meat like she does, I still try to do the large quantities and the servings in individual freezer bags. (A note on freezer cooking: skip the cheap freezer bags. I’ve learned the hard way: cheap freezer bags=freezer burn). 
2. I often add green pepper and onion to my meat when I’m cooking for things like spaghetti, lasagna, meatloaf, etc., so I’ve started packaging and freezing my green peppers and onions in individual bags as well. This helps reduce cutting time. I love having handy bags of green peppers and onions ready to throw in my skillet.
Ready to be washed, diced, and frozen!
The final product. Easy to use baggies. Side note: do let the peppers and onions dry on a paper towel before storing in bags so there’s not ice on your veggies.

3. I’m learning to llllloooovvveee my crockpot! When I first got married, I had to clue how to use it. I burned nearly everything I tried to cook in that cursed black pot. I was terrified of using it.Though I’m nowhere near a crockpot goddess now, I’ve come along way, and am learning something new about it all the time. One of my bff.ff.fffs (Hi W!) gave me a crockpot cookbook when I had PB and it really gave me a boost of confidence to try to mend my relationship with my cp. I can happily report that we are friends now. Crockpot365 has some great cp recipes, too!

I recently put a couple of pounds of boneless chicken in the cp while I was at work. It works while I work. Awww, see? We are friends at heart! Anyway, I cooled it and shredded it, and it served us well. I used it for quesadillas, jerk chicken sandwiches, and a chicken casserole. All three dinners were minimal work, thanks to the cooked chicken from my dear, sweet crockpot.

4. Freezer meals. This one is still pretty new to me, and I’m just testing the waters a little, but I tried it a little this weekend. PB was napping, it was raining, and the house was clean (Oh my gosh, did that seriously happen?) so I took advantage of it and cooked a little to freeze for us (though I should have probably used that time to pluck my eyebrows, yikes! Side note, does anyone else always forget to pluck their eyebrows? By the time I get to them, they’re almost too far gone. I sneeze and cry and swear am never doing it again. Maybe I should try waxing?!?) Anyway, it worked well. I made a lasagna. I’ll be happy to have lasagna soon without coming home and cooking it! A Turtle’s Life For Me has a great reference to freezer cooking.

5. I’m making meals that go further. Ben loves him some leftovers. I’m always a little more skeptical when it comes to leftovers (remember me? the picky eater), so I’m trying to find things that taste equally good on the second day (and make a large quantity). One of my new and favorite recipes that fits this criteria is Triple Layer Enchilada Casserole. It’s versatile, feeds a crew, and tastes great on the second day. I omit the olives because they scare me.

Do ya’ll have any time/money saving recipes/tricks? Let a girl know!

man things.

Ben.
I love him. He’s vaaanderful. He’s my best friend, the father of my bebe, the fixer of broken things, the wiper of poopy baby butts. He’s quite the catch!
But..he’s still a man. A man who does ‘man’ things. Like pretending he’s listening to me when I am committing one of the greatest unwritten biblical sins: talking during a college football game on tv. Involving a SEC team. Gasp. I know, I should be stoned to death as I am typing this.
Or leaving his clothes on the floor instead of in the laundry basket, because, you know, that might require him to take 2 more steps, and walking isn’t to be wasted.
Or leaving his socks everywhere. Everywhere. I swear, they multiply. The man has more socks than Imelda Marcos had shoes.  Little black socks. He takes them off and wads them into little black socks balls, and I find them everywhere. I have dreams about them. They haunt me.
Or leaving dishes scattered around the house. Or leaving the toilet seat up so I that I fall in during my midnight visit………
You get the point.
But this:
This is new.

I like to call this one the “I’m-looking-for-one-of-my-(cursed)-black-socks-and-instead-of-closing-each- drawer-after-I’m-finished-searching-it-I-will-pull-out-the-proceeding-drawer-even-further-because-I-can’t- be-bothered-with-such-trivial-matters-as-drawer-closing” man thing.

Looks kinda like artwork, doesn’t it?

I learn something new every day.