Easter Bunny Craft

Bunny Jars

Bunny Jars

Mom’s are so funny. We spend our days trying to do housework and cook meals and not scream and pull our hair out when our kids are always underfoot. We know that our normal, daily tasks are difficult to complete, so what do we do? We plan to make crafts! Smart moms. My mom’s group has planned a craft day several times and it has never panned out–and now I am kind of thankful for that.  Making crafts can be a huge pain in the rear…add to that 8 or more babies and toddlers…yeah…no thanks. I applaud all of you elementary school teachers out there…you are so patient and brave. I made this craft with one baby pulling on my pant legs and stuffing pom poms in his mouth and I almost lost it.

I am making a big Easter dinner on Sunday and we are having friends over for dessert. I wanted to give each baby a little Easter gift so I did a spin off of our mom’s group craft that never happened. I have been hoarding baby food jars for months…I keep thinking to myself that they are just so handy! Other than using them for salad dressing in Trav’s lunch I have not touched them…until now!

I totally thought I invented this craft…because obviously I am that creative. But I thought I should probably search Pinterest before making such a claim. I swear to you all had never seen this done before…and I also think mine are much cuter. So just look at mine and pin mine and call it a day ok? No need to search Pinterest…

SUPPLIES

supplies

supplies

White paint

Pink paint

Black Paint

Baby food Jar with lid (preferably organic…because obviously I wouldn’t feed my baby anything else…would you?) ((just kidding, my kid literally eats every.single.thing.)) (((but you do need a baby food jar)))

Ribbon

Pom Pom

Hot glue gun

These funky pipe cleaners (or felt, or craft paper)

Paint Pouncer (yeah…that name is stupid…but that is what Martha Stewart named them and you don’t question the Craft Queen)

Scissors

Bobby Pin  (just get one ok?)

Now, before we begin, let’s take a moment and be honest. I tried really hard to block the mess out of my photos. But, don’t be fooled. This is what my work space really looked like:

yep...I know...shit show

yep…I know…shit show

I could not find the rubbing alcohol, even though I know we have 2 bottles, so I tried to rub off the sticky part from the label with Hydrogen Peroxide…nope…doesn’t work. Plus it burns your bitten off cuticles. I also had to keep distracting Edmund…with food…so please note that you do not need a steak knife, block of cheddar, strawberries, or baby cheese poofs…unless you also have a baby, in which case get all of those things. You will not need to iron anything, or use your vacuum hose…unless your baby likes to play with the vacuum hose…int hat case keep it handy and use it to distract him! I also had a Vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic and chicken tacos for dinner…i would recommend not eating in your craft space…

STEPS

1. Remove the label from the jar. You don’t have to worry about the sticky part, the paint will cover it.

in case you need a visual

in case you need a visual

2. Paint your baby food jar and the lid white.***

This was the best way to hold it and get minimal paint on your hands

This was the best way to hold it and get minimal paint on your hands

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I used 2 layers of paint on the lid.

I used 2 layers of paint on the lid.

3. Allow the paint to dry. Use this time to play with your baby so he doesn’t feel abandoned.

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4. Add a face to your jar. I kept mine simple because I have limited artsy skills.

Pink Cheeks

Pink Cheeks

I used an extra pom pom for the cheeks, but you can also use one of your Pouncers

I used an extra pom pom for the cheeks, but you can also use one of your Pouncers

heart shaped nose...so sweet

heart shaped nose…so sweet

 

Baby Pin #ftw

Baby Pin #ftw

whiskers

whiskers

***SIDEBAR***

I read an article on HelloGiggles the other day about all the great ways to use a bobby pin. This girl always has a bobby pin handy. I have millions of them and I feel like I can never find one when I need it! I dug around in my makeup bag for this one and when I couldn’t find an extra one there I just pulled it out my hair. But, the article is good…everyone loves a bobby pin…except my husband.

5. Glue on the tail. I used a hot glue gun, but I am sure other types of glue would work. The perk of using a hot glue gun is that it dries so quickly, the down side is that you are often reminded why they call it a hot glue gun.

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I can't stand the cuteness!

I can’t stand the cuteness!

6. Glue ears to the cap. I used these funky pipe cleaners…but I have never seen them in a craft store… so you could use a regular pipe cleaner bent into an oval, or craft paper cut into the shape of ears, or even felt. Secure the ears to the cap with your glue. Allow to dry.

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7. Accessorize. I made some tiny bows out of ribbon.

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8. Fill with a treat. Mine will probably be filled with poofy baby snacks, but you could fill them with jelly beans, m&ms, gumballs, etc.

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So cute right? And pretty simple, perfect if you have to multi-task and don’t have a ton of time. I used things already in my craft bin slash glass jar collection. So you can improvise.

***I painted the top rim of my jar, the part that the lid screws on to. DO NOT PAINT THIS! Or else your lid will get stuck and you will try to take it off and take the ears off your bunny and then say a bad word in front of your baby.

Before I leave you I want to give a shout out to my girl Katie Meckley and thank her again for the AMAZING Easter pictures she took of our family! Edmund only gave her 2 smiles and she captured them and the the photos are just beautiful! Seriously, if you are in the DFW area and you need photos you should call her! GonzalesEaster-0520

GonzalesEaster-0664

 

I hope that all of you have a wonderful Easter! I will be posting all about our dinner and amazing desserts…but probably not until Monday or Tuesday.

 

Throwback Thursday

Let’s throw it back to our engagement photo shoot…I love these pictures!

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Such a great day!  A huge thanks to the lovely Katie Westbrook! She always does such a beautiful job!

I recently read an article written by another lady doing a little reminiscing of her own. Mrs. Lisa Heffernan wrote an article published by the Huffington Post: Why I regret Being a Stay-At-Home Mom. This article made me really sad. Throughout the whole thing she tries to keep reassuring us that she understands the importance of her role as a mother, but I don’t think she really did. I don’t think she places great value on her role as a SAHM.

I am still a young mother, I have many years ahead of me before I am in Mrs. Heffernan’s position. I was also never a successful business woman working in a fast paced, cutting edge field. But I pray that I never look back on my decision to be a SAHM with such sadness and regret.

I have been attending seminars on the Art of Living, covering topics such as Culinary Arts and Streamlining Laundry. The message conveyed throughout these talks was very different from the one presented by Mrs. H. She saw her role as a mother in a very trivial light, one that took a lot of energy but left her feeling as though she had missed out on a more fulfilling and meaningful use of her time and skills. She thinks the role of a SAHM is antiquated and short lived, going from a calendar packed with mundane tasks that consumed every waking hour to an empty calendar, an out dated skill set, and a brood of children who see you as an out of touch June Cleaver.

I think the role of a SAHM is so much more meaningful. I think the work done, day in and day out running a household, raising children, and supporting your spouse is the most important and fulfilling work there is. You are not shunning the work of those who went before you, paving the way for equality, you are given the opportunity to instill those beliefs into another generation.

I believe a SAHM sets the tone. If she is cheerful and content, her family and her home will be bright and peaceful. If she is confident in herself and her role, if she has respect for herself and the work she does, her children will respect her and value her.

I found a quote from Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty:

“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. . . What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this; to be a mother?”

How beautiful is that? Obviously this quote, pulled from “The Mother”, is referring to all mothers, but how could you ever regret your role as a SAHM when you see motherhood this way?

I love St Josemaria Escriva. He said,

“Let me stress this point: it is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love.”
Furrow, 489

“How many mothers have you known who have been the heroines of some epic or extraordinary event? Few, very few. Yet you and I know many mothers who are indeed heroic, truly heroic, who have never figured in anything spectacular, who will never hit the headlines, as they say. They lead lives of constant self-denial, happy to curtail their own likes and preferences, their time, their opportunities for self-expression or success, so that they can carpet their children’s lives with happiness.”
Friends of God, 134

As a SAHM it can be very easy to reflect on your days with a heavy heart, I often see more failings than triumphs. I see the dishes dirty in the sink, the laundry overflowing from the hamper, the toys scattered across the living room, the food smeared all over the high chair. I see my task list with maybe one task I am able to cross off–a task which will need to be added back to the list next week.

But I also see a happy, healthy baby sleeping peacefully in his crib. I see a hard-working, handsome husband relaxing after a long day at work…he is able to have this quiet time because of all the work I do throughout the day. I see the small house I have made a home filled with love and laughter. I am grateful for the ability to stay home and play with my baby instead of giving the best of myself to a career and coming home to stare at my child through the haze of exhaustion.

And besides…who would want to go to work when you could spend all day, every day with this kid:

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Lent with St Francis de Sales

I would like to preface this article by reminding you all that I am not a scholar…With that being said:

I attended Ave Maria University, a school that is known for many things, but primarily for it’s strong Catholic identity. I owe Tom Monaghan quite a bit of gratitude for building the place where I spent some of the best times of my life; where I met my best friends; where I grew from a selfish teenager into a smart and caring young woman. I even met my husband there! I took quite a bit with me when I left Ave…lots of material things I had collected over the years, but also a million memories…the good, the bad, and the ugly.  As I drove off campus for the last time, heading west to Texas, I really felt as if I had made the most of my time there…I had no regrets.

But looking back now, I have two regrets:
1. Not spending every single free moment on the beach
2. Not making the most of the 5 Lents I spent there.

I always thought, “This year I am going to have an awesome Lent! I am going to sacrifice like it’s my job! I will fast and pray and go to daily mass!”

But I didn’t.  I gave up candy for 40 days and meat on Fridays.  In my 25 years I have never spent a Lenten season the way I wanted to, the way I should have, not even while I was at Ave. So this year I was determined!

If you have not read St. Francis de Sales sermons for Lent, I highly recommend it! I have been reading these sermons and I wish I had read them years ago when the book was first given to me. When Kelai joined the convent she left me with a bunch of things. This book was one of them…and I never even cracked the cover until Travis suggested we read it together for Lent.

Do you ever hear a homily or read a scripture passage and feel like God is speaking directly to you? You just kind of look around because you are convinced everyone else knows it is about you too. You feel kind of special, but also very uneasy…That is how I feel when I read these sermons.  St Francis is practically calling me out by name.

I ask Travis all the time, “Why is it so easy for everyone else? Why did they not have such a rough time in the first couple months as a new mom? How do they seem so patient? How are they so thin already? What am I doing wrong?” I don’t understand. Being a mom is what I have wanted for as long as I can remember. This is my vocation. Why do I struggle with it like this? Why do I constantly lose my temper? Why don’t I have more patience? Why did I spend the first month of Edmund’s life sitting on the couch crying? If this is what God wants for me, why is it so hard?

“Begin to live well, according to your vocation: sweetly, simply, humbly. Then trust in God, who will make you holy when it pleases Him.” -St. Francis de Sales

Trust in God. Oh…ok…got it. Done, and done! Yeah right!

Our priest gave an awesome homily right before Lent started. He talked about practical ways to grow in virtue. He used the example of patience…because he saw me standing in the back of the church holding Edmund and he wanted to call me out…He said that you need to practice all day in the little things, that way when your patience is truly tested you are prepared. For example: Get in the longest line at the grocery store, park far away from the building, take the stairs, drive in the slow lane without tailgating, carry in the groceries a few bags at a time (don’t over load yourself), etc…Each time you do one of these things remind yourself “this is so I will grow in patience.”  This way, when your son is climbing on everything, licking light sockets, clinging to your legs while you try to eat lunch standing over the stove, whining because he is tired but refuses to nap, nursing on and off every 5 minutes because he won’t sit still long enough to nurse properly…you will have practiced and you can breath deeply, say a quick prayer, and remind yourself to be patient.

I think St. Francis is saying something similar. While being a mother is my vocation, that doesn’t mean that everything will come easily. Everyday you have to practice living sweetly, humbly, simply. And you will fail…but that doesn’t mean you have been forsaken.

“My dear friends, we shall never be capable of keeping company with Him in His consolations, nor be invited to his heavenly banquet, if we are not sharers of His labors and sufferings.” -St. Francis de Sales

When I ask those questions, when I feel like I am failing as a mother and a wife, I am failing to share in His suffering. I am whining about my cross instead of carrying it with sweetness and humility.  I am wishing to escape the trials of my vocation.

So now I am all fired up to do better! I cannot wait to practice patience, to be sweeter and more humble.  And just as I am getting carried away with lists of all the amazing ways I can be better, St Francis calls my name:

“God has not placed perfection in the multiplicity of acts we do to please Him, but only in the way we perform them, which is simply to do the little we do according to our vocation, in love, by love, and for love.” -St. Francis de Sales

Isn’t that a beautiful reminder? Mother Teresa said “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” I have always heard that quote with the ears of a missionary, but now I hear it with the ears of a mother. It is not my vocation to be “Mother of the Year”, it is my vocation to love my family and to show them my love through my little daily tasks, completed with patience and sweetness and humility.

When you invite a friend to dinner…

Mother Nature has lost her mind in these here parts. Friday and Saturday were beautiful days! High 70′s, even getting into the 80′s. Blue skies and sunshine meant lots of time outside!  I hosted Mom’s Group this week and we moved our Wednesday meeting to Friday to be able to enjoy the sunshine together!

Edmund and I enjoying the sunshine on Friday afternoon!

Edmund and I enjoying the sunshine on Friday afternoon!

Edmund crawled all over the backyard and barely ate any grass!

Edmund crawled all over the backyard and barely ate any grass!

I think the dry grass was a little rough on his legs. He crawled like Mowgli:

mowgli

Saturday was another beautiful day! I got a lot of use out of my Dollar Tree sunglasses. (I seriously think the Dollar Tree is the most amazing store.)

And then Mother Nature flipped switch on us. This morning on our way to church it started to sleet. It was 30°! The weather did not improve so we spent a lot of time napping and snuggling, which was just fine by me!

Tonight we had friends over for dinner. I met Katie Meckley through Mom’s Group. The moms get together every week, but it is not often that Travis and I hang out with the other couples…which I am determined to change! We always have such a good time! It is so nice to be around friends who also have children. There is less pressure. They don’t care if your kid screams, poops, burps, spills something, pulls their kids hair, or vice versa.  We all smile and laugh because we know that’s just what babies do. We share hilarious stories and give each other lots of encouragement. I  would be lost without these girls!

I made Quinoa with Roasted Veggies! As you may already know I am a very budget-y grocery shopper. I don’t coupon…ain’t nobody got time for that…but I always plan meals ahead, make a list, and try to only make one trip to the grocery store per pay period. So, when we have company over, or a special meal, I try to use ingredients I already have, or choose a pre-planned meal that can easily stretch to feed more people. Quinoa is not cheap! But, it is a super healthy, super yummy, super versatile ingredient…so I splurged. I am hoping to find a better place to buy quinoa than Kroger, we will for sure check it out during our next trip to Sams!

Let’s start with the appetizer. I had a lot of anxiety about this. I always look for ways to showcase The Pig, so I wanted to do an appeteaser tray. I pulled some things from the fridge and pantry…sliced and diced…and voila:

Hint: Do not slice your apple until your guests arrive/are just about to arrive. Brown apple slices will ruin everything.

Hint: Do not slice your apple until your guests arrive/are just about to arrive. Brown apple slices will ruin everything.

Sharp Cheddar, Black Forest Ham, Apples, Goat Cheese with Herbs, and Crackers. **Sorry for the blurry photo**

Sharp Cheddar, Black Forest Ham, Apples, Goat Cheese with Herbs, and Crackers. **Sorry for the blurry photo**

I think it would be really easy to create this type of appetizer with things already in your pantry/fridge: olives, cucumber, different cheeses, pretzels, turkey, sausage, etc… If I had more time I would have whipped up some hummus, but this was perfect!

While I was prepping I had to keep Edmund occupied. He loves to crawl up behind me and climb up my legs while I cook or do dishes. I don’t mind, but when the oven is on I need a way to keep him from climbing up on the hot door. So I give him snacks…because he is my son…and we love snacks.

Yummy!

Yummy!

I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back and made it while I was still pregnant. I added chicken that was left over from a roast chicken we had made the night before. This time I didn’t add any meat, and I think it was just as good.

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The original recipe calls for red onion, I used white. I didn’t have fennel, but I added mushrooms. I am pretty sure you can roast any vegetables you like.

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Cutting a butternut squash is so hard! Or is that just me? I used a knife to peel the squash because my peeler is not sharp enough. I scooped out the seeds and then cubed the squash. Obviously my peel job is less than perfect, but I peeled it, and that is the important part!

I have ZERO counter space. I am not exaggerating. I literally do not have counters. So I used to just throw all the peels, seeds, etc into the sink and then send them down the disposal…sorry mom…But, I no longer do that! Aren’t you proud, mom? I use a bowl to collect everything and then throw it away. I would love to start a compost pile but Travis says they smell…I will make him do it anyway!

Cube all the veggies. I tried to make everything about the same size.

Cube all the veggies. I tried to make everything about the same size.

This recipe calls for Herbs de Provence. If you are a n00b chef like I am you may not have heard of this. Emeril has a pretty simple recipe for it. I like this recipe because it doesn’t leave you with a ton of seasoning that you have to store and hope to remember to use later! I only had 3 ingredients needed (Basil, Thyme, and Oregano), so I used 1 tablespoon of each and called it a day. Again, the point is to use what you have an improvise a little. I added a little bit of Kosher Salt too.

Mix it all up with Olive Oil and spread onto a foil covered cookie sheet.

Mix it all up with Olive Oil and spread onto a foil covered cookie sheet.

You can also grill your veggies. Well, you can unless you live in Texas in early March.

How rude!

How rude!

Anyway, while the veggies were roasting in the oven I prepped my appetizer. After 15 minutes I flipped the veggies and started the quinoa.

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I don’t usually buy so many organic ingredients, but organic chicken stock was cheaper than regular chicken stock at Aldi this week! I heated the olive oil in the pan and then added four WHOLE garlic cloves. You can also use a garlic press, which is what I did the first time I made this. I am terrible at reading instructions so I pressed the garlic and then realized I shouldn’t have…but I don’t think it made a difference.

When the garlic is a little roasted you add chicken stock and RINSED quinoa. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and cook.

When everything is ready you mix the veggies and the quinoa. Easy-Peasy!

Delicioso!

Delicioso!

I love this dinner because you can eat a ton of it and not feel bad afterwards. I also loved tonight’s dinner because we were able to share it with the Meckleys! Edmund and Ria had a great time:

Edmund loves to rub Ria's hair.

Edmund loves to rub Ria’s hair.

I have to warn him to use nice hands!

I have to warn him to use nice hands!

Zach, Katie, and Ria!

Zach, Katie, and Ria!

I try so hard to make people feel at home when they come over. That is something I always loved about my parents’ house, every who came over to visit felt like part of our family. Having friends over for dinner does not need to be a huge ordeal. Just clean your house (or not depending on how well you know them or how much you care), choose a simple meal, throw together an easy appetizer, pull out the Johnny Walker Black Label, and enjoy!

Out and About

Today Edmund and I went to Story Time at the Euless Library! We try to make it every week. I really enjoy going to the library and chatting with all of the “regulars”. Today was Maggie’s last day. Her grandma usually brings her, but her family is moving to Grand Prairie so now she will go to that library. I felt sad when Maggie and her Grandma left. It is funny how you become so attached to people, even when you only see them for 45 minutes once a week. I will miss them.

A little boy named Paris (please, don’t get me started. I am trying not to be judgey) who lives in Euless has traveled the world with his parents collecting rare bugs. They are all on display at the library! If you live in the area you should definitely go check it out! Edmund really enjoyed it!

Looking at all of the butterflies.

Looking at all of the butterflies.

Nope, you can't eat that buddy.

Nope, you can’t eat that buddy.

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I didn't let Edmund near this one...yuck.

I didn’t let Edmund near this one…yuck.

This past weekend was so beautiful here in North Texas. We decided to take a drive out to White Rock Lake. It is about 30 minutes away, but worth it!  I have always been very unimpressed with the Texas landscape, Travis says it is because I haven’t been to see the good parts of Texas…But, White Rock Lake is so nice!  We brought our lunch and sat on a big hill that overlooks the water. It would have been more relaxing if we didn’t have to keep stopping Edmund from trying to eat all the grass and leaves.  When do babies stop doing that? I don’t want him to be the weird kid that eats glue…

White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake

Catching Edmund before he grabs another handful of grass.

Catching Edmund before he grabs another handful of grass.

He is mad at me for not letting him crawl off the blanket.

He is mad at me for not letting him crawl off the blanket.

Travis and Edmund

Travis and Edmund

People Watching.

People Watching.

Edmund and Mommy

Edmund and Mommy

Squirmy baby.

Squirmy baby.

The other day I was on the phone with my mom and I told her that I needed to run to the store to grab some milk. A few minutes later she asked what I was doing. I told her I was in the car driving to get milk. She was shocked and impressed. Shocked because only a few months ago I was terrified of leaving the house with Edmund, even if someone was there to help me. Going to church was the most I could manage.  I would  wake up at 6 a.m. and barely be ready to leave at 11 a.m. for 11:30 mass.  

Remembering those days makes me laugh now. But, at the time, it was a very emotional ordeal to go anywhere.  My diaper bag weighed more than Edmund and was packed with a million useless things.  Travis insisted on packing at least 20 diapers. I had pacifiers that he never sucked on, toys he had no interest in, nipple cream, wipes, diaper rash cream, gas drops, nursing pads, a nursing cover, extra clothes, 5 burp clothes, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, a water bottle, etc…Just packing that thing took forever!

I would feed Edmund, lay him down, shower super fast, feed Edmund, lay him down, fix my hair, cry because I had nothing to wear and only maternity clothes fit, feed Edmund to make sure he would last the car ride to wherever we were going, cry, change my outfit, check the diaper bag. Always some variation of that routine. There were always tears, always multiple feedings, tons of anxiety, and I was exhausted before we even left the house. It literally took me 2 hours to prepare to go anywhere. My first trip to Mom’s Group was when Edmund was just over a month old. I spent the whole morning getting ready and left an hour early so I could go to grocery store and buy a snack to bring. I was a sweaty mess by the time I got there. I sat thinking to myself: was it this difficult for all the other moms?

I needed  new contacts pretty soon after Edmund was born. I made an appointment, went through my routine, made myself super anxious, and arrived just in time for my appointment. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I thought maybe this one time Edmund would sit nicely in his car seat. I prayed he would. He started to fuss as soon as we got there and the eye doctor was clearly uncomfortable. The receptionist came in and asked if she could hold Edmund for me. I felt embarrassed. I must have looked like such an idiot. What a n00b. She took him and he literally cried the entire time…and by cried I mean he screamed like he was dying a slow, painful death. It was awful. I am surprised I can even see out of the contacts I was prescribed. I was barely paying attention to the doctor as I listened to my baby scream in the other room. I heard people come in and ask if everything was OK. I just wanted to run out of there.

As soon as I was done and I took Edmund back he curled up in my arms and fell asleep. I am not kidding you when I say it was literally within seconds of being given back to me he was out. I did that laugh/cry thing where you smile while tears fall down your face. I had gone to the optometrist in Super Target so while Edmund slept I brought his car seat back to the car and then walked around Target. I needed hot dog buns. I also treated myself to a package of Chips Ahoy cookies, which I later consumed by myself.

These days going out is nothing. I run here and there with Edmund, only working around his naps.  We go to Story Time, the park, the zoo, the grocery store, the post office. We pick up the boys after school every day.  Over time leaving the house with Edmund has become easier. We still have the occasional rough outing, and I am sure those will continue as he continues to become more mobile.

Being a new mom comes with many challenges…learning to leave the house with a baby was a big one for me. Every time I see a girl with a brand new baby in a store alone I want to give her a hug. I want to tell her that it gets easier.  I want to help her do her shopping, be the extra pair of hands she needs. But, sometimes I see girls in the store with tiny babies fast asleep in their car seats. And I think, what the buns did I do wrong? Maybe she is just having a lucky moment where the stars have aligned and her kid is sleeping for once?

My diaper bag currently contains 3 diapers, wipes (sometimes…sometimes I forget to refill the box), a nursing cover I never use, a hand full of toys, a book light that Edmund likes to chew on, tissues, crumbs, receipts, my wallet, lip gloss, a Mothers Prayer Book, some election flyers, my chapel veil, and a granola bar. I pack much lighter these days. I am even thinking of transitioning back to a purse! I enjoy getting out of the house to see friends or run errands. I love our weekly trips to Story Time and Mom’s group. I am savoring these moments because I am sure that once we have more kids I will have to readjust, I just hope there are less tears!

Edmund is ready to go!

Edmund is ready to go!

All you need is love…and $20

As a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) and the wife of a graduate student/high school teacher I usually have to get pretty creative when it comes to giving gifts on a holiday. Travis and I have never been super into Valentine’s Day, but we always have a special dinner. This year I had $20 to spend…but with ingredients that I already had, and the help of my 2 of my favorite stores: The Dollar Tree (everything is LITERALLY $1!) and Terry Market (the best little Mexican/Korean Supermarket in South Irving) I totally pulled it off!

Edmund and I went to the store Friday morning. A friend gave us one of those grocery cart covers so he sits right up front and loves looking all around and smiling at people. We spent our $20 wisely.

From the Dollar Tree (seriously…everything is A DOLLAR!):
-2 candle sticks (I had to scrub the barcode stickers off of with rubbing alcohol. Seriously?! Take it easy Dollar Tree.)
-A pack of 2 red (festive) taper candles
-2 Valentine’s Day cards for Travis

From Terry Market:
-Apples
-Steak
-Bolillos (Mexican rolls…yum!)
-Ice Cream
-Bottle of Moscato

Total Spent: Just under $20.

When we got home Edmund took a nap because he was pooped.

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When he woke up we played outside because it was so beautiful! I love the sunshine! We sat on a blanket…and by sat I mean I tried to sit while Edmund kept crawling off the blanket to eat grass.

There he goes again...ignoring all of his toys, and heading straight for the grass!

There he goes again…ignoring all of his toys, and heading straight for the grass!

Chewing on the basting brush...don't worry, I washed it before I used it to make dinner!

Chewing on the basting brush…don’t worry, I washed it before I used it to make dinner!

We love the sunshine!

We love the sunshine!

Travis came home early from work so Edmund got to nap with Dad while I picked up the boys from school and made dessert, Apple Crisp

Five Granny Smith Apples...They were pretty big so I didn't use as many as the recipe called for.

Five Granny Smith Apples…They were pretty big so I didn’t use as many as the recipe called for.

A nice little snack while I baked. This kept me from eating the crumble dough!

A nice little snack while I baked. This kept me from eating the crumble dough!

Sliced the apples, mixed in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and lemon juice.

Sliced the apples, mixed in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and lemon juice.

I mixed the topping in the Kitchenaid. You can also mix it by hand. My butter was too soft, so it was not very "crumbly". But it worked just fine.

I mixed the topping in the Kitchenaid. You can also mix it by hand. My butter was too soft, so it was not very “crumbly”. But it worked just fine.

I baked the apple crisp in my Pampered Chef Baking Stone.   I LOVE Pampered Chef Stoneware.  I bake everything in this dish! I couldn’t find the dish on the Pampered Chef website, but they have a lot of other awesome Stoneware.

Perfection!

Perfection!

While my dessert was baking I made an appetizer. We needed something hearty because we weren’t eating dinner until Edmund was asleep.  I really like Brushchetta, but Travis is not a huge tomato fan…which is great because I didn’t have tomatoes anyway. But I did have zucchini, which I love! So we had this delicious version instead.

Bolillo rolls sliced and brushed with Olive Oil.

Bolillo rolls sliced and brushed with Olive Oil.

Toasted on the cast iron skillet and placed on the wooden pig!

Toasted on the cast iron skillet and placed on the wooden pig!

Don't mind my dirty stove top. It doubles as a counter so it is usually covered in crumbs!

Don’t mind my dirty stove top. It doubles as a counter so it is usually covered in crumbs!

I really put most of my favorite kitchen utensils to work while preparing this meal. The Kitchenaid, the baking stone, the garlic press, the wooden pig cutting board (that my mom had for years and almost threw away until I saved him!), the cast iron skillet.  Seriously. I use most of these on a daily basis. I recommend all of them to all of you!

I decided to add some canned, stewed tomatoes. I probably added 1/4 cup strained. I think it was just enough.

Topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Yummy! The recipe made 12 slices...which is perfect because I had eaten 2 slices.

Topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Yummy! The recipe made 12 slices…which is perfect because I had eaten 2 slices.

While we enjoyed this delicious snack, Edmund enjoyed his baby food, Beefy Macaroni and Sweet Potatoes.

Bath time is Travis and Edmund time, which is nice for me because it gives me time to go to the bathroom alone, put on my pajamas using both hands, clear the kitchen table, etc….

I got Edmund to bed while I baked the sweet potatoes. Nothing special I guess. I usually slice them so they bake faster.

After Edmund was asleep I made some broccoli and cooked the steaks in the cast iron with just a little salt and pepper. And there you go! Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezey!

Love those peach crystal wine goblets, don't you? Ours are packed away so we borrowed these. But I wish I owned them!

Love those peach crystal wine goblets, don’t you? Ours are packed away so we borrowed these. But I wish I owned them!

At one point while we were eating Travis commented about how strange it was to eat in silence. We usually say the following phrases over and over during dinner:

“Open wide!”
“No, don’t grab the spoon.”
“Mommy holds the spoon.”
“Do you want some water?”
“Don’t throw your spoon/cup/toy on the floor!”
“Are you done?”
“What’s wrong?”
“Stop gagging yourself with the spoon, silly!”
“I am not picking that up again, Edmund…ok, but this is the last time!”

Some nights I sit in bed, staring at the baby monitor, wondering how many hours I have before Edmund wakes up, and I think about going out and dancing and drinking and partying. I think about fancy dinners in expensive restaurants, big bouquets of flowers, shots of Patron. I think about all the things I would do if we still had two incomes and no baby. But, after our quiet, simple dinner made from $20 and ingredients I already had at home, I didn’t have those thoughts at all. I truly enjoyed our evening at home, and I wasn’t even cranky when Edmund woke up after only 3 hours ;)

Well, I hope this post inspired you! Go out and plan a nice dinner for your husband with only $20! It is so fun!
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A Baby Story

In honor of our sweet baby boy turning 7 months old today I would like to share the story of his Birthday! It is not just his story…although obviously he is the star.

Edmund was born on a Tuesday afternoon, a hot, muggy, summer day in Texas. But really the story starts on Monday.

40 weeks and 1 day

40 weeks and 1 day


I went into work on Monday morning. I sat in the back of Customer Service at my little makeshift desk. I checked my e-mail…empty. Everyone knew I was having a baby any day and my replacement was already taking over most (all) of my work load. So I did what I had been doing for the past 2 weeks…I played Candy Crush. I helped file paperwork. I answered a few phone calls. And I started having some back pain. I leaned over and asked Mike, the boss of Customer Service, if he remembered what it felt like when his wife started having contractions.

Then of course I called my mother…I mean…who else would I call?! I described my pain and the frequency and she told me to call the doctor. She was super giddy, she could barely contain her excitement. I spoke with the nurse on call and she told me I should probably go ahead and go to the hospital. I called Travis, he was home. I sneaked out of work…just in case it was a false alarm I didn’t want everyone to know. So I left a sticky note on my boss’ desk. It said, “Headed to the hospital. I will keep you posted!”

Travis came to get me and we drove the 45 minutes up to Denton. While walking into the hospital we saw a woman and her husband walking out. We were laughing about something and this woman was doubled over in obvious pain. I looked at Travis and I told him there was no way I was in labor. I was a little embarrassed that we were even there…I just knew they would send us home. If they were sending this woman home…while she was in so much pain…why would they keep me? I was laughing and joking and telling stories.

When we got to the front desk the receptionist asked me how far apart my contractions were. 2 minutes. He asked if I was having a contractions right then. No. So he asked me if I knew how to time my contractions. And that, right then, is when it all came back to me. I was not having contractions 2 minutes apart…I was having mild contractions like 45 minutes apart. Idiot.

He told me he would get me checked in and have the nurse take a look. So we did the paperwork part and then I went into a room with 3 beds in it. I sat in the furthest bed. The room was empty. Two nurses came in and asked me a bunch of questions. How much water had I had that day. None. But it was noon. Ok. And then they made me drink a ton of water. They hooked me up to monitor my contractions. They were there…but not very intense at all. As I kept drinking water the contractions all but stopped. UGH!

So we went walking on the sky bridge in the hospital for about an hour. When I was first checked I was a “tight 2 cm” and after my hour long walk I was “a normal 2 cm”. Progress! When no one could get in touch with my doctor (don’t even get me started) we spoke to the doctor on call. He recommended that I continue to walk if I didn’t want to be induced. So I walked again for 2 hours this time. Not much progress. So we consulted the doctor again…and by we, I mean the nurses consulted him because I never saw him.

We basically had 2 options: We could go home or I could be induced. The doctor and nurses were nervous about letting us leave because it was rush hour and we lived so far. So Travis and I decided that I would go ahead and be induced that evening. GASP! I know! How terrible!? Seriously, the way some people react when I tell them this you would think I had just volunteered for The Hunger Games. Breathe Crunchy Moms everywhere…just breathe.

That evening I was brought into my Labor and Delivery room and set up with my IV and monitors. I was given a half dose of Pitocin throughout the night. I was also receiving regular doses of Penicillin because my wonderful doctor’s office didn’t fax my GBS test results to the hospital in time. Seriously? I am not lying when I tell you that looking at your child may make you forget the pains of labor, but I will never forget the burn of that Penicillin.

Rockin' the hospital gown #swag

Rockin’ the hospital gown #swag

I felt minor contractions all night and couldn’t really sleep. I was too anxious and too uncomfortable because like a genius I never lowered the bed into a laying position…you live and learn right? In the morning I met my two beautiful day nurses. I love them. I will always love them. They were the best nurses you could ever ask for. They were fun and pleasant and kind and never made me feel awkward or uncomfortable. We made a plan for the day. It was 6 a.m. and I was given a full dose of Pitocin. By 7 a.m. I was 4 cm but my bag of waters (ew) was still intact. So at 8 a.m. I would get the epidural ((GASP! What? An epidural?! How will you form a connection with your baby? How will you know when your body is ready to push? Well, SPOILER ALERT! I pushed just fine and I am fully connected with my baby. I also feel that whoever invented the Epidural should be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for this gift to humanity.)), Dr. McDonald (my doctor) would break my water and I would be on my way to pushing. Nice and smooth and easy.

Well…While the hospital was leaving a message with Dr. McDonald’s office, I was speaking to Dr. McDonald’s office and it turns out Dr. McDonald was on vacation in California and missed his connecting flight. So he was not coming. And then I felt a pop just above my belly button…And my bed was soaking wet. My water broke and I was in active labor and my doctor was in California. The contractions were starting to gain momentum. So I was hooked up to an IV of fluids to prep for the epidural. It took 45 minutes for the fluid to trickle in…and I thought I was going to die. They are not lying when they tell you labor hurts. It hurts a lot. Travis was a champ…even the nurses were impressed with his “coaching skills”.

After what seemed like forever the anesthesiologist came in. I sat up, had a contraction, leaned over the table and held Travis’ hands. When the shot of Lidocaine went in I barely felt it. I had another contraction. I was obviously crying and semi-hysterical. The anesthesiologist told me to hold still and tell him where I felt “this”. All of a sudden I just started peeing. (sorry, mom, “Voiding my bladder.”) I was voiding all over the place! I couldn’t stop voiding, and I couldn’t stop talking about how I was voiding so much and so uncontrollably.

This made the anesthesiologist very impatient with me. He told me to calm down…and by told me I mean he practically yelled it at me. He had the needle in by back and wanted to know if I felt “it” left, right, or center…umm…right. He re-stuck me. Asked me again…umm…right? Why am I still voiding?

It was after two sticks he finally decided to describe what I was supposed to feel…pressure. Oh! The pressure…where did it feel like he was stomping on my back? Center. Center for sure. Whoops!

So, now that my bladder was fully voided and I was all set with my epidural it was time to sit back and relax. Seriously…the inventor deserves a Presidential Medal of Honor…the keys to all the cities!

My in-laws arrived around lunch time and I talked to them for the next 4 hours…I talked, they listened. At about 3 p.m. the nurse told me I was 10 cm! Just like that! Amazing. The doctor on call…who was going to deliver Edmund because my doctor was living it up in California…had me “labor down” for an hour. At 4 p.m. it was time to push! Whoop whoop!

The nurses got my bed ready and I pushed through three contractions. Then we called the doctor. They noticed meconium and also called the NICU. We had about 80 people in the room…which is awesome…And The doctor came in and said “Hi, I am doctor Noble. Ready to push? Ok…”

After one more push there he was. My perfect baby screaming his beautiful little head off. They held him up for me to see him and then handed him over to the NICU team. Everyone was running around and the nurses were talking and Dr. Noble was telling me something about a stitch and the placenta…

And then they brought him over to me. That sweet baby I had been waiting so long to meet. I awkwardly reached my hands up to take him…and Travis thinks it is so funny because I literally just held my hands up, palms up…waiting for the to give him to me…as if I had never held a baby before…

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First Family Photo

First Family Photo


It is true when they tell you that everything else melts away when you hold your child for the first time. That moment feels so surreal. One day you feel your baby kicking around inside of you, you feel his little hiccups… and the very next day you are holding him in your arms, hearing him cry, looking into his eyes. There is a whole new life, a whole new world of possibility.

Travis went with the nurses to get Edmund a bath. I moved into my recovery room…a story for another time…We spent 2 more nights in the hospital. My doctor finally showed up on Wednesday afternoon. How nice of him. Just kidding. I love him. He is a great doctor…I just like giving him a hard time. We brought Edmund home on Thursday. That Saturday afternoon we had him baptized. He slept the whole time, such an angel!

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Here we are 7 months later! Edmund is crawling all over the place and pulling up on everything (tables, chairs, my pant legs, the bars of his crib). He loves to eat sweet potatoes and apples. His favorite toys are electrical cords (only the ones that are plugged in), the Playstation controller, the clicker, my cell phone, Trav’s book light, his own socks, dirty shoes, and a stuffed monkey that plays “Rock-a-Bye Baby” when you pull it’s tail. He is more wonderful than I could have ever imagined and I love spending every day with him…even when he drives me crazy!

story time tuesday

Today was a typical Tuesday in the Gonzales home. We went to Story Time at the Euless library! So fun! Edmund loves listening to the stories and being bounced during the songs.

On our way to story time i gave Edmund a baggie full of cookies to hold so he wouldn’t cry…mistake. He was covered in cookies and cookie crumbs by the time we got to the library.

After story time we took a quick trip to Kohls to get Edmund some new socks because he has out grown all of his other ones! While we were driving to Kohls Edmund fell asleep:20140204_113349-1

Silly baby.

We spent the afternoon playing with our friends: Shannon, Evelyn, and baby Liam!

**insert smooth transition into new story**

As many of you may already know Edmund is now sleeping in his crib! Like a big boy! Which is obviously why I have time to write on my blog again! I had a dream the other night that Edmund was crying and I didn’t know what to do because I was already nursing a baby and how could I nurse both babies at the same time?! Turns out Edmund was crying at me through the baby monitor and the other baby was just a dream. ..for now. I am pretty sure Edmund will want to nurse until he is like…5. And will I let him? Well….

Speaking of nursing!  I think my next opinionated post will be on nursing in public. Anyone have any input?

Here are a couple teaser pictures from our Valentine’s Day card photo shoot this evening…

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You catch more Flies with Honey than you do with Vinegar

In the world of Parenting, there are a million ways to go wrong. And according to the Internet there are a million ways to do it right. And since you can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true, moms and dads everywhere are left scratching their heads while bouncing a screaming baby while Googling “how to make your baby stop screaming”…All the while trying not to snap at each other because you are both so tired and frustrated and Google is turning it’s back on you.

I only speak from personal experience, it’s my thing. So I can only pull from the treasure chest of knowledge I have been filling for the past seven months.

((Side bar: can you even believe we made it to the 7th month? Me neither…))

In my short time as a mother I have learned many things. Here are a few of my most prized accomplishments:

1. I have learned how to function on minimal amounts of sleep. As in 2…maybe 3 hours a night.

2. I have learned the meaning of “This too shall pass” and taken it as my personal mantra.

3. I have learned to do almost everything with one hand. My other arm is usually supporting my child while breastfeeding.

4. I have learned not to judge a mother with a seemingly out of control, screaming child in the middle of Target.

5. I have learned to sift through the mountains of advice I receive (whether I have asked for it or not) from every source imaginable. Google, Reddit, Facebook, the pediatrician, the attachment parent, the baby wearing parent, the mother of 12, the mother of 2, the nosey, the well intentioned, the rude, the loving…I have heard from them all.

After listening to advice from anyone who would give it I have come to the conclusion that what you say is not always the problem. It is the way you say it. The forum you use to express your opinion. The tone in your voice.

I think that if you want to give parenting advice you should first ask yourself a few questions:

1. Are you truly interested in helping?

2. Is the parent on the receiving end in a place to hear and accept your opinion?

3. Can you address the issue with kindness and compassion?

4. WWJD.

I am part of a Facebook group for moms and once a girl posted that she let her baby cry for one hour while she showered for the first time in 10 days. When I read her post I cried a little. I thought “that poor girl! I wish I could go help her…hold her baby, clean her house, paint her nails, make her lunch, hug her.” I never once thought “an hour?! Geez lady.” She posted looking for encouragement. And she received some from other mothers who had been in her shoes. But I was SHOCKED and Super angry when I saw some people posting “An hour is a little long…maybe 15 minutes is better…”

Seriously?! How dare you! Was her child in danger? No. Was her child hurt? No. Are you the world’s best parent all day, everyday? No. So shut up. A wise little bunny once said “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

IMHO (Always wanted to use that) it is not helpful to kick a person while they are down

I have probably over-shared my life as a mother with anyone who would listen long enough. But I truly hope I have never made anyone feel inadequate as a parent. Or judged because of the choices they make (bottle or breast; co-sleeping or crib; carrier or stroller; working mom or SAHM). My goal as a mother, as a friend, is to encourage and support. I try every day to set a good example for my baby and those around me. I admit my short comings as a mother to let others know they are not alone in their struggles.

My point is: you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Your message reaches more people when it is delivered with love and respect and understanding. No one wants to hear from a self righteous know it all.

But anyway…here is a picture of my kid being awesome:

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