Jan 31, 2012


I have a hard time staying positive. I think I was born a pessimist. In fact, even in middle school, I recognized this quality of mine. My friend and I had an ongoing joke that I was the pessimist and she was the optimist in our friendship.

I get way too stressed out with the daily to-dos. I often put spending time with Adelaide on hold so that I can get my chores done (you know... I-have-to-get-this-done-or-my-brain-will-explode-and-then-we-can-hang out). I mean, I sit her on the counter while I prep her milk and food for the next day so yes, we're together, but I'm focused on something else. (Speaking of, this awesome hang out on the counter while mommy preps your stuff is coming to an end. She's a little too mobile and exploratory now... getting unsafe.) Diapers, laundry, tidying up, dusting, vacuuming, dishes (oh, the never-ending dishes). I just have this list that I need to tick off before I can breathe a sigh of relief. But I don't really feel the relief, because there's always SO MUCH TO DO and I can never get it all done.

And I always feel really bummed on Sunday nights, usually having a big cry about the injustice of my having to work and not being able to stay home with Adelaide. It's depressing. Sundays suck.

But yesterday, Monday, I decided that there's nothing I can do about it. This is my life, at least for now. I have no real choice in the matter. Bills need to be paid, food needs to be bought, debt needs to be slowly chipped at. So I work. And I spend my nights prepping for the next day of work and missing Adelaide.

I decided to be Supermom yesterday. I decided that I would get everything done and still (still!) have a lot of time to focus on Adelaide instead of thinking about that next thing that was on my to-do list. I decided to use my minutes wisely. I put my phone away. I kept the TV off. I turned on music, plopped Adelaide on the counter and very busily fixed her stuff for tomorrow. I started the diapers in the wash.


And then we went on a walk. Where we weren't "getting anything done" but spending time together. Giggling in the breeze, pointing to mailboxes, starely oh-so-intently as we passed the barking dogs, babbling and hair whipping around. It was nice. And we played. We read so many books, laughed and tickled, chased each other, tried to pull the cat's tail off (that was Adelaide, not me).

And then I did a little bit of diaper washing and laundry tending, and then we played some more.


And then we did dinner and she ate like a champ and we played some more.


And then we took a bath and read a book and ate half a banana and screamed through teeth-brushing and then I got to lay down and nurse her to sleep.

When she was down, I folded laundry while eating a quickly made egg and avocado sandwich while watching The Bachelor (guilty pleasure) while spending time with my husband (yep, he watches too!).

I was Supermom. I didn't get everything done on my list, but I changed my attitude about my life. At least for yesterday, I didn't feel bogged down. My moments with Adelaide were clear and pure. I enjoyed her, and I didn't mind my chores. I got everything done that needed to be, but I showed Adelaide that she was important (honestly, I don't feel like I neglect her, but I always have a nagging list in the back of my mind that keeps me from being 100% there). And we had a great night. Pretty much fuss-free, which is rare these days, what with the independence growing and all.

So today? I'm Supermom again. I can't control my circumstances exactly, but I can control my attitude about them. I'm glad I recognized what made yesterday better, because now I can try to make that choice everyday. I know I won't always feel like Supermom, able to squeeze in most of the housework and focus on Adelaide and do it all with a smile.

But today... today I will try.

Jan 25, 2012

Last week/weekend.

We should really spend more time outside!

Boy, last week was tough. I touched on it when I posted Tuesday about how I was having a hard time and feeling guilty and sad to be working instead of spending my days with Adelaide. As if I have a choice, you know? But I don't, and I have to work to make enough money for us to pay the bills. With just a smidge left over. Hardly.

Well, all last week I felt that way. Each day I dragged myself to work and hated being there, and then I'd rush home and get a couple hours with Adelaide. Who, by the way, has been really exerting her independence/frustrations/etc lately, so it's been a test of patience and consistency for me.

Wednesday, Kevin's Jeep broke down on his way home from work, so after my fullest day of the week, picking up Adelaide, getting home to check my phone (which I'd left at home) and seeing many missed calls and messages from Kevin, got to load the little one back into the car to drive up into Charlotte to pick him up. $350 and 2 days later, his Jeep is halfway fixed, though it's still driving funny. It's 16-year-old car that's gone through a LOT, and it's on it's way out. And we don't have the extra cash for a new car, so we're crossing our fingers that it doesn't break anytime soon.

AND, as if my week weren't bad and depressing enough on it's own, Friday I came down with something. I had to leave work early to pick up Adelaide in the first place, because I'd gotten a call that she was having a terrible day and wasn't herself. Not running a fever, but something was wrong, so I took a half-day, and went to pick her up. Of course she seemed fine once I was there, but turned out that I caught some weird 12-hour bug and couldn't keep anything down all night. I was dehydrated, emptied, and weak weak weak. Poor Adelaide was in fits because she didn't understand why I kept running from her to the bathroom, and why I was spending my night in bed not holding her. Kevin did great taking care of her, but it sucked nonetheless. Thankfully it was a quick bug, and I just spend Saturday uninspired to eat or do anything, still recovering from being so weak. Sunday I woke up and felt like a million bucks and packed a whole weekend into one day!

So there. Last week/weekend, you will not be missed. You sucked. Big time. This week is already better. Nothing special, just better. Hopefully I'll figure this working mom thing out someday. Come to terms with it and figure out how to enjoy every role I'm in. For now I feel like I'm just taking one day at a time.

Jan 19, 2012

Chair Refashion and Vegan Cake Recipe

First off, here's the recipe that a couple of you were interested in. These vegan chocolate cupcakes/cake were soooo yummy, moist, and delicious. They don't last long, if you know what I mean. :)

And the frosting: I pretty much looked a recipe, took out a bunch of ingredients and came up with something super simple and basic, but delicious. I added 3.5 cups of powdered sugar (basically a whole box) to 1 cup of softend Earth Balance margarine (vegan). I used my hand mixer, because I don't have a stand mixer (boo!) to slowly mix for 3 minutes. Then I added 1.5 tablespoons vanilla extract and kept mixing it for another 7. Well, I mixed for another minute, and then hubby took over for the last 6! It started off weird and stiff but then as the minutes went on it softened up and tasted great! I used a spatula and put some of the frosting into a ziploc baggie, snipped the corner, and used that to pipe on the frosting! So easy and tasty!


Now, having all kinds of people over for our party, I started looking at my house like, what looks bad? What could they notice? What could I fix? You know the drill.

And my kitchen chairs looked BAD. I mean, they are these cheap-o chairs from Walmart from years ago to begin with, covered in this beige microfiber and STAINED like crazy from years of eating and having cats.

This is the good chair.

So I used some fun fabric I had and did a quick, not-professional-but-definitely-good-enough job of reupholstering my chairs. Kevin was iffy about my choice of print, but I loved it from the beginning (the art teacher in me loved all the different lines!) and now Kevin has fallen in love with the look as well. So fun and will match any future kitchen paint colors!


What do you think? Took me maybe 2 hours, but only because I had to keep giving my hand a break from that dang staple-gun. Oh, and a very curious toddler. TODDLER!

P.S. And thank you to my kind commenters for making me feel not so bad about Tuesday. Wednesday sucked equally, but hopefully things are on the up-and-up.

Jan 18, 2012

Park and Poptarts

Yesterday I had a really bad day. The night before I was feeling excited, for maybe the first time since starting back, to go to work. I had planned some really fun lessons that I was looking forward to starting with all my classes. It was nice! I had had a great day with Adelaide on my Monday off, and I was actually looking foward to work the next day.

But then work sucked. Nothing went just right. The lessons weren't as out-of-the-park as I thought they were. The kids were just... bratty, if I can say that. Then I started thinking about my little one, and by the time I got in my car to go pick her up I was crying. And had a pretty hard cry on the way to her daycare. I just worry that I'm going to regret everything and feel that I'm going to miss so much with Adelaide over these first few years as I work and she goes to her little school. I know she is having fun at daycare, but I'm not having as much fun at school as I think I should be. *sigh*

So, after picking her up, I decided that we were going to go to the park. I just wanted to do something. So I grabbed a poptart (organic toaster pastry, actually, we don't eat "poptarts"), my water, my camera, and we headed out. It's a 7-minute drive, and we spend almost half-an-hour eating our snack, watching the other kids play, and checking out the slides (which she loved). We would have stayed longer, but the wind kicked up and it got cold.

The rest of the night was tough, but Kevin took her outside and they collected "Feel Good" rocks in a bucket for me and we spent some fun time splashing in the tub. We started a new bedtime routine tonight that worked like a charm and I'm hoping will have her sleeping a little longer, at least initially. (I know that'd be a miracle. But I know that better sleep will probably help me feel better, too.)

Here's hoping your Tuesday was better than mine.






Jan 17, 2012

Teeny Tiny Cake Smashing!

Read about the theme and decorations for Adelaide's Teeny Tiny 1st birthday party here.

So, again, here's Adelaide's cake that I made:


It was a delicious vegan chocolate cake with a vegan buttercream frosting. It was a total hit and looked awesome too. I actually left the recipe at a friend's house (I had to go over there Friday after school because my oven is broken. BROKEN!) so I will try to get that and post it soon for those that are interested.


I made a regular circle cake and then used a circle cookie cutter as a guide to cut three small circles (though bigger than the cookie cutter) out of the cake. Those were the three layers of Adelaide's cake. And to stack them together, I just put the icing in a ziploc baggie, snipped the corner, and squeezed just a bit of icing around the edge to make the appearance that there was a ton of icing in between each layer without actually filling it all in. Does that make sense? And then I did completely frost the outside of the cake.



I used a small heart cookie cutter, placed it on top of the cake, and filled it in with green sprinkles. Lifted the cookie cutter, and voila! A perfect green heart. I used a small star cookie cutter to make the kiwi stars.

When everyone started singing Happy Birthday, Adelaide just leaned back in her seat, chilled out, and stared around at everyone. Then we all waited and watched as she dipped finger after finger into the icing and ate so petitely. She kept teasing us and making us think she was going to smash into it and/or pick it up, but she didn't. She did love it, however, and that's what mattered!




Jan 16, 2012

A Teeny Tiny Party! A post about the Decorations...

Adelaide had her very 1st birthday party Saturday afternoon. Her birthday was nearly a month ago (December 22nd), but that seemed too close to Christmas to throw a party. Plus, all the weekends leading up to Christmas were full of other babies' birthday parties (babies that attended her's, too!). From our birthing class to families I've met at a local babywearing group, it seems that we know A LOT of babies with mid-December birthdays. So we waited until the middle of January, when the holiday festivities have died down and people were available. And it worked out well, so we'll probably keep this tradition of celebrating with just us on her actual birthday and then throwing a party a month later.

Her theme: A Teeny Tiny Party!

I'd seen this idea around the web and I thought, what better birthday than the 1st to throw a Teeny Tiny Party? I mean, this is the teeniest tiniest she's ever going to be on her birthday (besides her actual birth day, of course)!

So, I made teeny tiny cupcakes, and a teeny tiny cake for her. All vegan, of course, since we're still iffy on dairy and haven't done eggs yet. They were a hit! Even my brother, who can live off of hot dogs and pepperoni pizza loved these dairy, egg, and butter-free goodies. Her cake is 3 tiny layers, chocolate, covered in icing, with a green star and little kiwi stars around it! I was very proud of that cake!


I also made a teeny tiny bunting that said happy birthday that I taped to the mirror in the living room... no picture but on the cake plate then night before.


I made some great green paper mobiles, that were just strips of paper sewn together with a running stitch through the machine. When hung, the separate strips kind of swirl around and it looks so great! It was cheap and easy, and honestly... they look so neat that they'll probably stay hanging up for a while!


I also made a circle bunting from paper to hang on the back of our white kitchen cabinets. It still looked a little plain, so I put three pictures that Adelaide had painted (at 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months) on the cabinets, too.

The table looked so nice! All the cupcakes with their teeny tiny toothpick flags, and all the teeny tiny foods! Mini graham crackers, mini triscuits, baby carrots, tiny tomatoes, baby pickles, mini nutter-butters, small bananas, mini pretzels, etc. Lots of finger foods for the babies, and plenty for the grown-ups!



I got teeny tiny bottles of Sprite and waters, and teeny tiny juice boxes for the kids. The Sharpie marker was for everyone to write their names on the lids, so we wouldn't mix up the bottles and there'd be less waste.


I was a bit nervous about it being crowded... we have a teeny tiny house (less than 1100 sq.ft), and we had 15 adults and 8 kids/babies... but it was great! People spread out in the living room, dining room, and nursery. The big kids (ages 7, 4, and 4) went outside to run around in the front yard some. It didn't feel stuffy at all and everyone seemed to have so much fun! We did clear the rooms as much as we could. Like, we took our big ole t.v. and moved it into our bedroom closet, and moved the coffee table to the side of the room, etc.

Up next post: the guests and the cake smashing!

Jan 7, 2012

Growing up, cutie pie.

Today was a beautiful day. It almost reached 70 degrees here in mid-North Carolina. In January. I love, love, love this weather, but it feels almost wrong to be loving it in January. It should be cold and freezing and cuddle-drink-hot-chocolate weather. And believe me, we had some chilly mornings this week (18 degrees one morning!), but the weekend has been wonderful.

Today felt so GOOD. We spent lots of time outside, walking in the leaves, hanging out on the porch. We got lots of chores done around the house (though by looking, you wouldn't know it). Tomorrow should be just as nice, but a little cooler. I plan on taking Adelaide to the park. I think she'll enjoy it a lot more now that she's really walking, crawling, and climbing. She's a little daredevil!

Today we went grocery shopping, and sitting in the cart isn't fun anymore for Adelaide. She wants to keep standing up and that makes mama nervous. Usually, I'll put her in the big part of the cart and let her stand, play around, whatever. But today was Super Doubles at Harris Teeter, and I needed to have my nice stack of coupons not get mangled.

So I opted to let her walk around the store with me. Grocery shopping has never been more tiring. She did really good though! Most of the time she stayed near me, didn't pull too many things off the shelves, and came when I asked her to. But sometimes she would give me a mischievous look and take off. And only towards the end of the shopping trip did she really start get defiant and forcing me to hold her even though she didn't want to be held. Next time, I'll bring my carrier in and plop her in it once she hits that point.


Getting ready to go out, I attempted to put a headband on her. This is usually a game of take it off, mama puts it back on, take it off, mama puts it back on... until mama gives up. This happened today, but she also decided to put it back on herself at one point. She seemed pretty proud to have done so and I snapped a picture just in the nick of time.

My big girl is growing up, and soon she'll be going to the grocery store in an outfit she chose all herself. And I'll let her go out with a backwards, crooked headband, mismatched clothes, and shoes on the wrong feet as long as she's happy with it herself. :)

Jan 5, 2012

2012 Goals

I like to set goals. I never really stick to them, but I like the feeling I get when I determine that I'm going to DO something. I feel like, yeah! This is going to happen this time! And if only for a little while, I have something to work towards. So New Year's is a fun time for me. A fresh start, a new year, a new day.

This year I think will be a little different. Of course I have those goals I will work towards, but I'm a lot more realistic about how much I'll actually accomplish. In years past, I always feel like I'll have time and energy and motivation to meet my goals, although it rarely ever happens.

This year, I know I'll be busy. I've got a... uh... spirited child who demands my attention 95% of the time while she's awake. That doesn't leave much time for anything else. Usually I can occupy her with treats or by letting her demolish my piles of papers so that I can cook some sort of dinner or do the dishes. But much else has to wait until after bedtime, and by them I'm just so exhausted that I don't really do much but sit around.

So, with that in mind, here are my goals:

Pay off my two credit cards: During my extended maternity leave (9 months), we plowed through our savings and I ended up using two of my credit cards. To me, it was worth it to acquire some debt so that I could stay home for a couple more months with my daughter. The total owed is not really that much, and if I put all my extra cash towards them, I should have them paid off by March. The only catch is, if I do that, I'm not saving up for my summer off of work (yay for teacher summers!) and I might have to go back to the credit cards and have to repay them off.

Work out twice a week. For me, this used to mean having to go to the gym to count as a workout. Now, the mommy-me will allow family walks, rough-housing with Adelaide, dancing in the living room, hiking in the park, etc. Of course, we still have a gym membership, and I'm going to try to get in there every once in a while, but it's not the end-all, be-all for working out. Already this week, we've gone on a family walk after dinner, so I just have one more "workout session" to get in.

DECLUTTER. Remember my post a few days ago about my word, cleanse? I mean it. Declutter my house of JUNK. Declutter my pantry of junk food. Declutter my mind of things to do. Declutter my life. I always feel bogged down. Stressed. So getting rid of the physical stuff in my house that we don't use and don't need will begin to calm down my surroundings, and therefore give me a simple space to begin decluttering my mind, making me a happier mama.

Kick the junk food habit. Oh boy. Kevin and I are major junk food addicts. For real. Just this week we've spent an embarrassing amount of money on convenience store junk food (even though we set the goal, um, Sunday). I think this is because we're tired and chips and soda are quick pick-me-ups, but it doesn't help us in the end. It's going to be a tough thing to really achieve for us, but replacing processed junk food with healthier alternatives will be SO good for us.

That's it. These goals WILL take time, committment, energy, motivation. But they are goals I can work towards and don't have to be done right now. So what if I don't work out twice a week? As long as I at least make an effort to meet that goal, then I'm doing alright. It's a process. I think too many people get so worried that they're going to fail their New Year's goals that they give up before they really get started. By setting goals, you're giving yourself something to work towards. I really believe it's all in the way you think about it. Give yourself some wiggle room!

Do you have some New Year's goals? Please share!
Oh, and check out my reflections that I wrote last year, right after having Adelaide! My, seems so long ago!

Jan 1, 2012

Happy New Year!


Hello 2012! This year promises to be a good one! This year, we will have a toddler that will talk, run, jump, and turn TWO by the end! We will go on lots of adventures, explore new places, take family vacations. We will surely visit the mountains and the beach, but view them with new eyes as our littlest family member will point out all the things we pass over. She'll point her chubby little finger and we will rediscover life's little pieces. We plan to keep working on the house, paying off debt, building up the business (Kevin's), working out (hah!), eating better, cooking more, cleaning less (double-hah!). Life is good, and will be so good in 2012!

Goodbye 2011! You were so wonderful to us, but we're ready for more!