Evening Walk

This post was supposed to be a wordless Wednesday but apparently it did not go across as planned so I’ll elaborate a bit.
Moose, Lil Bit, Scarlett (puppy) and I have been taking afternoon walks (late afternoon because it’s so very hot) following dinner each evening. I keep feeling down and restless lately and this has helped. I miss my grandmother a lot lately. I get busy and then think about calling her and realize I can’t. We’ve always done some “back to school” type shopping together this time of year even when I wasn’t in school, even if we didn’t buy anything and just walked, talked and had lunch. This particular evening (2 nights ago) I was particularly down while we were walking and the storm clouds looming in the distance reflected my mood. We decided to turn back and head towards the house. As we did I noticed a rainbow and shared it with my family. My Nana loved Hawaii where she and my Papa had gone a few times and the culture. She had told me about (how she was told) that the rainbow was a pathway to heaven. Now I don’t know how true this is but When I saw it a few days ago it brought me comfort of a kind memory maybe even as a sign from the heavens, however you may take it. Either way it brought me a little peace as we walked home together.

Advertisements

Good for the Soul Kinda Weekend

Friday ended up being a surprise date-night for hubby and I when I called to invite a friend and her daughter to dinner with us and she said yes but then called back and said that her hubby was getting off of work early and didn’t really want to go out so why didn’t she keep Lil Bit and let her play while we went out. This is probably something normal for most folks but we don’t go out much without Lil Bit despite the fact that we know we should. I think we have that duel-working-parents guilt so time not at work should be spent with our child.

Anyways, the stars continued to align and we made excellent timing to a restaurant that my husband had made a reservation which apparently ended up being pointless as we walked right on in, something usually unheard of on a Friday night. I guess the ran or threat of had held everyone off….

Then Saturday baby girl and I made excellent time to go to the local Farmer’s Market, got everything we came for, grass-fed, free-range milk, fresh goat cheese, handmade pastas, and Merlot salt. The weather, normally hot at the time of day we attended the market, was gorgeous. When we came home the rain came down, we spent a lovely evening with my husband, curled on the sofa watching old Disney movies and eating popcorn.

My good fortune continued when the rain had stopped the next day, the three of us headed to do some volunteer work for our local state park. Afterwards we headed to the beach where we thoroughly enjoyed all the beauty and relaxation that pre-tourist season and cloudy weather offer.

IMG_1570

When we’d all had just a little too much sun and not enough food in our bellies, we drove back to civilization and enjoyed another quicker-than-normal meal, it started raining on the way back home but the rough weather held out until we were home and bathed. That night after hubby and I put Lil Bit to bed we heard the whippoorwill crank up outside and opened the backdoor to our own little serenade….I think we just all have to be grateful for small blessings like these. Those moments we hold onto in the weariness of days coming when it’s all we can do to make it through the work day, kick off our shoes and start cooking dinner, caring for kids and albeit crawling into bed. I hope it gets me through this work week before our family mini-vacay. Anyways, here’s hoping your weekend was a good.

New Macbook, new post

So just thought I’d drop a new post, with my new (to me) Macbook. Woot!

See, my laptop broke awhile back and the desktop, well it’s just not friendly to writing a blog–or comfortable.

I am very excited if you can’t tell and now no longer have an excuse to avoid the blog. So hopefully I can deliver more than one post per month…lol.

So what have I been doing while I’m not on a cool laptop like this one? I’m enjoying mommyhood, working my behind off at work (it’s sick season) and celebrating my 7th wedding anniversary with the Moose. The month of February holds the duel challenge of Valentine’s Day in addition to our anniversary. So I decided to redo and clean our office, a.k.a. the 2nd circle of hell as I’ve referred to it since our “clutter” room became Lil Bit’s room and the office assumed some of said clutter. It now boasts new decor, a home for everything and everything in it’s place and a happy husband I believe. I think he was more surprised at some of the handman-type things I accomplished rather than the tidyness.

My Lil Bit’s ever expanding vocabulary also continues to amaze me. Sitting at the dentist office with me a few weeks ago she became very quite then looks at me with big eyes and says, “I am nervous, I am a little nervous mommy.” The hygienist and this empress stifled laughs as we said, “Why are you nervous baby girl? There’s no need to be nervous.” She looks up and shrugs her shoulders, “I dunno, I am just nervous.” My now 3 year old with her perfect annunciated of multi-syllable words….Good grief the time has flown.

Unfortunately this brief post has also flown and I now have to skitter off to bed as I have a very early morning tomorrow and I think some of the bugs I’ve been exposed to at work are trying to catch me. Have a good night y’all!

=S

A New Year of New Mondays

Today was our first “Mommy and Lil Bit day” of the new year.

You know how on very rare days you manage to stretch out the minutes and fit everything in that you intended to accomplish into those precious hours? Somehow I managed to do that today and if this is any indication of how the new year will go I am looking forward to living it up. I have about 12 hours or so one day a week to try to pack in as much mommy time as possible and it is a lot of pressure especially if Lil Bit is having a bad day.

I have found in this brief but enlightening journey as a mom of a now 3 year old, that I have set up my idea of being a good mom in such a way that I will never know a guilt-free moment. Now this guilty train of thought is not necessarily in a mindful way, but almost completely subconscious, likely based on my nursing/medical background, pinterest, mothering books and my OWN mother–all of these things adding pressure and driving my already overachieving brain to be the best sort of mom. So much so that I sometimes catch myself being a crappy mom in the process….

Not going to lie, I totally googled “working mom guilt” and after flipping through a few articles I found this. The article is from a few years ago but it feels all to fitting, however she herself seems unable to offer a solution to the problem.

Looking back at my beginnings as a mother, I set my alarm when my infant slept through the night so that I could make sure there was (barely) enough pumped breastmilk to get her through the next night I worked (12 hr night-shifts wreak havoc on your prolactin levels) and cried when I spilled a 2oz bottle the first week I went back to work after pumping–in the breakroom because we did not have a lactation room. I probably would have made more milk and been a better, kinder full-time working, graduate-school-attending mom if I had gotten a good night’s rest instead. I get so preoccupied with how things are supposed to be, trying to find decent prices/coupons on organic food or meal-prepping for the week so that we can eat “cleaner” that I miss an opportunity to play with my child or teach her something new. I KNOW in my heart that it is better to be one-on-one with her and to give her a kind, caring, mother rather than a completely organic and balanced diet and every Barbie for her bless-ed dream house but my head tells me these are things that matter.

After today, where I actually spent the majority of the day WITH my daughter and not just in the same household as her, I remember why I went down to a 4 day work week and I think that this may be why the whole household has been more balanced today. Today also gives me pause and makes me consider an underlying, additional New Years Resolution…to be a mom to the best of my REALISTIC abilities rather than those that I have superimposed on myself. Wish me luck!

Our first M ‘n’ M day

No not the candies….although that does sound pretty good at the moment…

Today was our first of what I hope to be many Mommy and “Lil Bit” days. The Empress here finally got the grande ok from all persons (including herself) to go from full-time “40 hours” (truly closer to 60 most weeks) down to “32 hours” (probably actual 40 hrs a week) thus allowing more time for things like the Lil Bit, grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, sanity……

My main issue when deciding to do this was really the perception of how things were supposed to be in my head versus what they really could and probably should be. I’m not loosing (that) much monetary or otherwise by dropping down to 4 days/week, but as today already has shown me, I’m gaining so much more.

My Lil Bit and I had planned since last Thursday to go to the Toddler Time gymnastics at our gym early this morning. She’s under-the-weather with the tail end of a cold but depending on how she was doing afterwards I’d take her to the Tot Drop (that she views as a treat) and go workout a bit myself. Well those plans came to a halt when the wicked witch lady at the front desk informed us, somewhat callously, that Toddler Time had been changed to Tuesdays and Thursdays….great, now I’ve built my darling up all weekend long and am now going to deal with her crushed hopes and dreams hurt feelings. To my surprise she was upset for all of two seconds and then excited to go play with the swarm of other children who just happened to be there when I needed them today.

The rest of the day was grocery shopping, cooking dinner and hanging with daddy….at a much less rushed pace. It’s hard to describe this almost “weight-lifted-off shoulders” sort of elation I’m enjoying at the moment (although some of that may be do to my full belly and half-a-beer warmness I’m enjoying post-consumption this evening.)

So tonight I cooked my famous (at our house anyway) version of Ina Garten’s engagement chicken, I always do variations of it but it’s a quick easy dinner with lots of leftovers that I use the pulled chicken from the bone for other recipes.

The Everyday Empress’ Roasted Chicken

1 whole roaster chicken (I prefer Springer Mountain brand) 4-5lbs

2 lemons

2 heads of garlic

kosher salt or coarse sea salt (approx 2 tsp)

1/2 to 1 cup low-no sodium chicken broth (White Wine and Herb this time)

1/2 cup white wine (if not using above White Wine and Herb)

2 tbs butter, melted and set aside to cool slightly

(optional small roaster potatoes, onion in chunks or carrots, we used rainbow carrots and sweet onion tonight from our local organic co-op)

  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Remove giblets if present from chicken, rinse chicken off and dry with paper towels, salt liberally inside and out
  • cut 1 lemons into 8ths and 1 head of garlic across the top leaving the cloves exposed, removing most of the husk either cut in half or place with 8ths of lemons into cavity until full. (You can tie the legs together but I don’t find the need)
  • Cut remaining lemon into quarters and peel remainder of garlic throw into large basting pan with chicken and veggies
  • place about half of chicken broth/white wine in the pan and if desired the veggies mentioned above
  • Coat chicken with butter using basting brush
  • Cook for about 1 hr then check internal temp with meat thermometer (if you don’t have one, get oneseriously!!! cooking meat to temperature leaves you with juicy, safe-to-eat meat)
  • If top of chicken browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil over it loosely to reflect heat
  • Once chicken to temperature pull it out to serving place to rest and cover with aluminum foil loosely
  • If remaining veggies not quite done, lower temp to 350’F and cook for a few more mins (5-10 usually does the trick)
  • Use drippings and veggies to pour on top of carved chicken and serve immediately
  • Remaining chicken is great to use in chicken salad, chicken tetrazzini or even to toss on top of a salad

Colds, finals, and everyday angels

Not that research hadn’t already shown that high levels of stress weakens your immune system but at the moment I’m living proof.

The day before finals the cold bug bit me. So glad to have this term over, good grades in both courses, family happy and for the most part healthy. I’m giving myself the next 5 days off before I start working on everything for my trip. The Moose and I wrapped all of our gifts last night and I’m going to enjoy this holiday break after I work the next two days by cooking and hanging out with our families.

I must share the strange but comforting experience I had in the library studying the other day. Now keep in mind I’m not particularly into organized religion but I am spiritual and I do have a personal relationship with God. I was sitting in the library studying for several hours and at some point this older gentleman with a kind face sat down at the table next to mine and started reading his bible with a stack of papers in a manila envelope. We both continued to read for quite a long time not paying each other much attention.

As it drew closer to closing time the gentleman looked up and said, “Ma’am I am not sure what you are studying for but I hope you do well. If you don’t mind, before you leave today I’d like to say a prayer with you.” I thanked him and gave my assent. He began preparing his things to leave before I had finished with what I was reading. He looked up again and said, “If you don’t mind I have to go but I’d really like to pray with you…I wasn’t sure why I came to the library tonight, I usually go to IHOP and read with coffee on this weeknight but for some reason I stopped here. I feel like the Lord wants you to know that everything you’re working so hard for is for a good reason and you’re doing the right thing.  Also whatever you’ve been praying about for the last 7-8 weeks is going to work out and you and your family will have a great holiday season.”

I gave him a smile and thanked him. We said a short prayer together and he left. It was strangely comforting to me considering all the emotional turmoil I have felt with school and, well, everything else that has been happening. As I was packing up my things shortly after he had left, I pulled up the calendar and counted back. Seven weeks ago to that day I had started to worry about a couple of things and I had been praying. I must say I’m still a little weirded out but feel a little relieved despite my initial reaction of being skeptical. It was a strange experience and I didn’t realize how much it had affected me until I was trying to tell my parents when I went to pick up Lil Bit. I started crying and I’m still not sure if it’s because of relief from what he said or because exams were over…or both.

I hope that you and your families have a wonderful holiday season and–regardless of being politically correct or not– Merry Christmas!

P.S. Not saying that I won’t blog between now and then but it’s not as likely due to our busy schedule.