Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Holding- a Toddler Poop Story Part 2

Well. Those were the longest 2 years of my life.  In case you didn't read part 1. In short, girlfriend started holding her poop after our trip to Disneyland (while I was about 20 weeks preggo with boyfriend) and I became a poop doula. Since we do everything as naturally as humanly possible, that meant there was no dosing her up with miralax. It meant using prune juice, flaxseed, and greens to make the poop soft, and if she held it for more than 3 days, getting in a hot soapy bath with epsom salts and coaxing her to push the largest poops in history out. We also recently found at Whole Foods a brand called Buddy Bear that has a "laxative" (it's just an amped up pruned juice, it doesn't actually force them to go) and one called "Digest" that we started using. Sometimes it meant getting in there and breaking it up a bit. And sometimes it meant enema. Any way you slice it, these were not good times for either of us.

It seemed that this past April we were finally finally over it. But we had a few relapses. When family came to visit, or we were out all day long, or the wind blew a certain way... And she absolutely refused to push them into a potty.  Le sigh.

So I found a book.
Yup. This book. It actually used the idea of someone missing a family (we used Nemo since we were all about that movie). Percy the Poop wants to see his family that lives in the toilet bowl. We were obsessed with this book....but still no poop in the potty. UGH.

Enter Halloween. We trick or treated a little bit, and she did not ask to eat any of her chocolate. She just wanted a dum dum lollipop (because of course she wanted red dye and sugar nonsense. of course she did). She loved it. The next day, in Whole Foods, they had Halloween candy on sale. A huge bag of organic lollipops for 99 cents. So I bought it, since my ice cream, chocolate, buy anything she wanted motivation wasn't working at all. We got home. I said "Look I got you some lollipops, but you can only have one if you poop on the potty." She grabbed it, ran to the bathroom, and took a dump. ARE. YOU. FREAKING. KIDDING. ME.

So. yeah. We found the golden ticket. And she has gone on the potty every day since then. Just like that. Potty trained.

The most insane roller coaster of emotion finally coming to a close. A very happy 4 year old who loves to poop on the potty now (with or without a lollipop), and a mom who finally feels less judged about her older toddler in diapers, and a freedom from obsessively counting poops and praying there wouldn't be any scrubbing out the bath tub moments each week. Suddenly, we're over it.

It was a long journey FOR SURE. But honestly, I would rather take this journey than have filled her full of a laxative so that she couldn't trust her body to do what it needed to do. And who knows at the young age what that could do to a developing gut. Lord knows I have enough stomach issues (I was also a holder as a kid) and I'm just hoping this will result in a healthy gut and a healthy attitude about poop.

And also. She loves it when I draw Percy. She asked me to draw his brother. Then she drew his sister. I just super heart her.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nights in Morocco...or maybe just food from there...

Listen, I'd love to spend some nights in Morocco. But for now, we'll have to settle for the one in Epcot Center. Not so sure the 19 month old would fully appreciate all the nuances of different cultures, so we'll give it a few years before we start traveling internationally.

I digress.

Chicken thighs.

Honestly, I just super don't enjoy cooking chicken. Mainly because almost every time I do, the response I get from the hubbs (and myself if I'm honest) is "meh".  I mean, it's tasty. But it's not like beef or bacon tasty. The poor chicken. Not enough fat. Not enough flavor. Everybody's diet food.

So I've been experimenting. And I happened upon a recipe for Moroccan chicken thighs and lentils. Score! I have a crap ton of lentils that I haven't ever used. And it calls for dried apricots. Score again! We have a bag of dried apricots.

Wait. Just opened the bag. Ummm....did you know that dried fruit can ferment? Well. It can. And it did. Good thing I have some yellow grapes on hand. Close enough.

So. Here's the recipe I used as a base. I changed a few things...because of course I did. So. For the rub for the meat, I didn't use garlic powder. I don't have any. As a rule, I super hate garlic powder. I'd rather go ahead and put the real stuff right in there. And with my roasted garlic trick,  it's easy peasy to use fresh garlic always.  I also only used a portion of the cumin they say to. because I really don't care for cumin. I get that it's the base of so much of the food that I love....but I would rather taste the other stuff and cumin is SO STRONG. I also used smoked paprika. That stuff is amazing. And I was heavy handed with it. I threw in a little crushed red pepper as well for a kick.

I added whole peeled tomatoes (Jovial brand is my favorite- glass jars for the win!) I did not add ketchup. I just added a splash of red wine vinegar and some brown sugar. I probably should have added some tomato paste as well, but oh well. maybe next time. I was gonna add almonds too, but my brain is not firing on all cylinders. Whatevs, it's delish. 

And finally, I only had green lentils. So that was it.

I rubbed the chicken, browned it, removed it, sauteed the onions, then added the lentils and gave them some nice color and flavor. Then I added the garlic, and then I added the liquid stuff. Then threw the chicken back in, brought it all to a boil, and threw it in the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes at 350. BOOM.

 The browned chicken in a bowl, while the onions caramelize in the browned chicken goodness bits.


The smell in my house. Can't even explain.

And now. Onto the flatbread. Yes the above recipe is gluten and dairy free....so if you need that then you're all set.  But me??  I prefer the Moroccan way. Which is...use flatbread as utensil. YEEEESSSSSS.

Here's the flatbread recipe.  Other country's measuring units are dumb. The hardest part about this was figuring out how much of everything to add. And, since I make bread a lot in different places, I know you can't just add ALL the flour they say to. You have to add slowly as needed.

So. I started with 2 1/2 cups of flour, a little more than half a tablespoon of salt and yeast, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1 1/3 cups of warm water. Then I added flour as needed until it developed a ball in the kitchenaid mixer. It ended up about 3 1/2 cups I think.

Follow the directions to let the dough rise. Then cut it into 12 and roll them out. Get a cast iron pan really really hot, add olive oil and go ahead and cook em up. It's ridiculous how good these are. I ate the first one with nothing on it. Just straight up ate it.

And the two together???

This meal is magical. No joke.

Perfect warm and cozy food.

Friday, September 18, 2015

So this whole blogging thing...

Apparently, I'm not very good at it. It was SO. MUCH. EASIER. with just one kiddo. That second one. MAN 2 kids is a time suck vortex. I have zero ideas how people with more than 2 even handle life. Kuddos. For reals.

Anyhow, this is basically a post just to say I'm still alive, sometimes just hanging on by a thread, but here. I'm still navigating our crunchy lifestyle in the south. I'm meeting new people and getting some really good info which I'm stoked about....cause Whole Foods for everything is getting a little boring. I need a little variety in my life.

I'm also posting a lot less on FB. Not intentionally.....well kinda intentionally. I'm trying to just maybe not be on social media as often. Although the beginning of September was girlfriend's birthday party, my birthday, parents visiting, and all sorts of fun shenanigans so OVERPOSTER for sure. But I'm trying to hold back a bit now. And outside of the food pics I've put up, it's been some fairly lame repeats for the past month. Still yummy, just not exciting picture worthy foods. I would love to get back to doing new things almost nightly and blogging about all my fun discoveries...but we live on this AMAZEBALLS cul-de-sac and right around 5pm, all the kiddos are home from various schools and the mammas are home and it is time to get our play on. That used to be primetime dinner prep, but you know? Chilling out is way more important. So I braise some stuff during boyfriend's nap (and let's be honest....braises don't photograph well), and that way I can hang. I hover right in between introvert and extrovert and after a full day with just the kidlets, I SUPER DESPERATELY NEED TO TALK TO LOGICAL BEINGS. FOR. THE. LOVE. Otherwise, I end up talking to the hubbs like he's a child, and that works out for no one.

So there's my litany of excuses of why I suck at blogging right now. And possibly for the foreseeable future. Although....light at the end of the tunnel- perhaps I can start sneaking away once boyfriend falls asleep and type a little. He loves to snuggle, but lately big sister has been his target, and I'm all in on that train. We shall see.

In the meantime, I've found a few life hacks that have been helping budget wise and "I just can't find it out here" wise. For starters, we get INCREDIBLE bacon. This bacon is life affirming. It's black forest bacon from whole foods. There's also some seriously delish hickory smoked bacon from Ted's Butcherblock. Both are thick cut goodness, and render out some serious fat. We pour it into mason jars and BAM. Lard. Because I cannot find organic lard. And I need it to make tortillas and carnitas and fry potatoes in and just in general I need lard in my life. Trying to use all of the animal and all. Totally worth it.

Also trying to heal from 3 bulging discs. Apparently, my son hit the tipping point of how much weight I could carry on my front for hours on end while standing around and I went and ruined my lower back and hips. Awesometastic. So I've been trying to naturally get rid of inflammation using food, stretching, and foam rolling instead of cortisone shots. I'm also getting regular massages from a massage therapist and gonna give acupuncture a go. Frankincense oil has been so fabulous to rub right where the pain is- way better than any OTC ibuprofens or muscle rubs. I've been taking BCQ supplements (Bromelain, Curcumin, and Quercetin). I'm adding a lot more turmeric into my diet as well (curcumin) but since bromelain is from pineapples and I'm allergic to them, I have to stick to these supplements. Also omega 3 fish oils and vitamin d for absorption. I'm also drinking bone broth. Not gonna lie- I do not love it. It's not horrible but I'd rather make food with it than just straight drink it. If all of this works to heal my back I'll write a more detailed post about it, since I have had a hard time finding info on it, but I know I don't want to just take a shot of something to make me feel better but that ultimately will weaken the ligaments and not promote the healing of these discs. Meanwhile, I'm trying to convince my son that strollers are awesome....he's currently not buying it.

I'm also reading a poop book. BECAUSE OF COURSE I AM. I thought we were all done with the holding back in April. It seemed we were completely on board to just poop when you have to poop. We even started holding back a bit with the prune juice. And then. Potty training. So girlfriend has known how to pee in the potty for a year and a half. She never goes over night, rarely has accidents in underwear, and loves to announce to people that she's a big girl and always pees and poos in the potty (which is just not accurate- she's pooped once in the potty). So there are days she asks to wear underwear. And on those days, she REFUSES to poop. Doesn't talk about it or anything. Just holds it in. And then, we're right back to me poop doula-ing it out of her after 2 or 3 days, sitting in the bathtub and cheerleading it on. UGH. No one enjoys this. And it's been 2 years now, so I'm just OFFICIALLY OVER IT.

So I bought the book "It's No Accident- Breakthrough solutions to your child's wetting, constipation, uti's, and other potty problems" by Steve Hodges.  Not gonna lie. Don't love his love for miralax. But he does have a lot of good advice in this book, and insight. And I am totally gonna do an enema on girlfriend because I have a feeling if we x-rayed her we'd find a pretty good sized poop mass. I'm hoping we can clear her out, and then get a fresh start with the pooping and the potty training- leaving out the miralax and keeping things soft with more fiber and more prune juice. It's just all a work in progress right now.

So yeah. That's where I'm at. everything comes down to poo.


Friday, August 28, 2015

CHERRY. FLIPPING. MAZURKAS. or, how my life got infinitely better with 1 bite

I wondered around my whole life. Thinking I knew exactly what my favorite dessert was. Knowing there was a song about it. (pretty sure that's about something else ENTIRELY, but didn't know any better in middle school). My very favoritest pie. Cherry. Nothing was better. It was red and sweet and tart and amazing and heavenly and it wasn't always available but when it was. BAM. Game on. Love love love.

When we hopped on the real foods train, I thought I'd have to leave it for good. We don't eat processed nonsense out of a can, and the only cherry pies I had ever had were processed cherries out of a can. Do not ask me why I did not think to just buy cherries and make the filling myself. I just didn't. Leave me alone.

And then, yesterday, I was happily scrolling along my instagram feed, when Shauna Niequist posted a pic of some cherry mazurkas she made. Mazurkas?? What the heck is that? And did she say cherry??? And also- WOMAN POST THE RECIPE!!

Raspberry Mazurka is one of the only recipes I could find that looked even similar to Shauna's, and another commenter posted that recipe and said she really liked that one. Shauna said that one looked better than hers and so. I got to baking.

It just so happens that on a recent jaunt to Costco I grabbed a huge frozen bag of organic cherries. Pitted and everything (WOOHOO LESS WORK!). However, I didn't notice that they were sweet and not tart cherries. So I threw about half the bag in a pot with some lemon zest (because when making fruity compotey things ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS add lemon zest and juice. trust me. and Carla Hall, cause that's totally her jam. literally.)  And I added just a teeny bit of sugar. Make it to your taste and you can't go wrong.

Put em on a low heat and let em simmer and break down, and you can help it along with a potato masher. I like a chunky jam so I don't need to smash that much. Then at the end add a little cornstarch to thicken it up a bit. (organic please- non organic corn is full of nasty).

I probably could've eaten the entire pot. But I didn't.

Meanwhile, get your crust together. I used the raspberry mazurka as a base recipe above but tweeked it a bit. I needed to use 1 1/2 cups of melted butter to get the consistency I wanted. And I threw in a little salt for good measure because I used raw, unsalted walnuts. I also was a leeeetle short on coconut flakes, but that didn't seem to matter because it's still perfection. And grease the pan with melted butter. Because just through away your "cooking spray". Nonsensical garbage. It made WAY too much. I used the size baking pan she suggested, and I STILL had enough to make a mini mazurka to freeze for sometime this fall when I'm lazy and want pie. (they say it's like a granola bar, but that's straight up nonsense. This is like the most fantastic form of a pie ever).

Lay down the crust (similar to a cheesecake crust, the way you need to compact it. I let it ride up the edges of the pan so that the cherries didn't all dribble out the sides. Then sprinkle the layer over the top and lightly pat that. I like the top a bit crumbly so no need for compaction there.

Had I not been bombarded with tiny people, this would have taken about 20 to 30 minutes to prep. Alas, that is never the case when I'm in the kitchen. And I have a tendancy to royally screw up new recipes by not reading correctly and being generally brainless, so I took my sweet time. About an hour.

Then you throw it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. And then you're supposed to wait an agonizingly long time for it to cool before you cut it. I of course did not wait. Because warm baked goods.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beach Living. Or, How I got back to me

Well. I've lived in South Carolina now for a little more than a month. We're still working through the busyness- busyness of getting the house finished, of making friends, of exploring our new community, of getting our kiddos used to this heat. Our days are swallowed up in busy. And trying to ensure I'm not resorting to the "go watch a movie while mamma finishes her to do list" mantra which has been the story of our lives since mid April. Moving with small people is HARD y'all.

And amid all of that. Amid the daily and the busy and the fun and the WORK (for the LOVE all the work). It seems as though I'm finding me again.

It's a bit weird, this discovery. Mainly because I didn't know I was lost.

I know for sure that moving to Seattle from the Jersey Shore was scary huge terrifying something I had never planned on ever. Doing that one week after getting married did not help matters. All the big scary coming at me- complete career change, zero amounts of family or friends in our first home, dealing with this person who I thought I knew but now that I lived with realized was going to take some serious work to get along with. Not to mention that he spent at least half of the first year of our marriage on business trips to California. So. Yeah. Not super easy. No sunshine, no friends, no family, a job at Boeing (anyone that knew me in high school is going "WHAT THE HELL???"). And then my health started to fall apart. All in the space of a year.

I obviously worked it out. I made friends, found a fabulous church, figured out the health thing, learned how to live with a traveling hubbs, mastered life in general....  After girlfriend's arrival, I knew I found my calling as a stay at home mamma. It just felt right, after a long time of feeling wrong. And as she settled into her toddler years, I felt like I was getting a me back that I hadn't seen in eons. I took her to her first concert- Indigo Girls at the Woodland Park Zoo. We went everywhere together. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I finally felt like I was rocking this mommy gig.

And then I discovered I was pregnant. Which for most normal people would have been fabulous. For me? I freaked out. And got pissed. And freaked out some more. I was only going to have one. My body clearly showed me that it was not capable of bringing life into this world like a normal body and so I wasn't going to tempt fate. I wasn't going to put myself through being terrified for, well for however long my body decided it would be pregnant this time, and then what if it didn't work out well this time? I was a hot mess. And the hot mess ness did not stop once I had our little man. It took a really long time to stop crying all the time. To really fully embrace the beauty of two kiddos, instead of just going through the motions. To not be so damned frustrated about having to do all of it without the help of family around. That was probably the hardest. I loved the community and family we built out there...but we also lived 40 minutes away from our church, and pretty far away from most of our community. And I super suck at asking for help. I also super suck at accepting help that's offered even when I don't ask. (Please don't ask the hubbs about the ridiculous "WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU TURN DOWN OFFERS OF PEOPLE MAKING US FOOD" argument of 2014. He had a point. Food after new baby was born would have been nice. I super suck.)

So. Here we are. Almost 16 months after boyfriend was born. Almost 3 years since we were originally supposed to move to Charleston. The kiddos and I miss our buddies in Washington desperately, but are adjusting really well to life in the sun and water. My body hasn't felt this good in decades! My allergies are gone, my stomach has WAY less flair ups than it used to, and without dieting or exercise (because for reals, who's working out in 95 degrees??) I'm down to the weight I was when I met hubbs. I never in my life thought I would see the numbers on the scale this low. I was 22 when I met him. That's just crazy sauce.

And every day, more me sneaks in. The tanner I get, the more Jersey I re-become. The me that drank 15 cups of coffee a day. The me with natural blonde throughout her summer hair. The me that wears bathing suits as outfits. And is constantly barefoot. The one that drives like this:

At my heaviest (and sickest)-  I don't even have pics of that. Here's one that's pretty close to my heaviest...one of the few full body shots that I have.  It looked, and felt, like I was swallowed up by someone else.

And it's not ALL about the weight. But it's a little about it. Because it was something I was obsessed with for such a long time. I didn't recognize that person. I didn't feel like me. But man, that Disneyland castle is pretty...

And here we are, hitting up the Sullivan's Island beach for the first time!

But THIS. This is me. Sun and sand and salt water run through these veins. The smell of Hawaiian Tropic is nostalgia (no. I do not use that stuff anymore. It's complete garbage. But that smell....that's my teenage years). Beach hair. Barefoot. Sand between my toes. Driving to the ocean at night to breathe in the salty air and read a book with a nice cup of coffee. That's me. (I'm still waiting to get that one back. Pretty sure I'm gonna need a few years for that to happen....)

I find it a little disconcerting that my living location plays SUCH a huge role in my self-concept. I kinda thought I got over that after picking up everything I ever knew and loved and moved 3,000 miles away. I guess I'm not the tower of unshakeability that I thought I was.  But it's truth. And with 37 creeping up on me, I'm glad to be discovering this now.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Going up the country (or across and down it, whatever)

So. We're alive. We made it. 9 days in the car. 2 1/2 weeks of hotel living. 2 adults. 2 toddlers. It's time to stop being polite, and start being real...

Ok, maybe not that last part. (and let's be honest, that show has been solid crap for many seasons now.)

For starters, we finally got to celebrate this nugget turning one, along with having a see ya later Seattle peeps party. That was a rough day. I held it together mostly, til everyone left. Then I ugly cried for a few hours.

And 2 short days later, the movers came to pack up all of our stuff. ALL. OUR. STUFF.
The biggest moving truck I have ever seen ever. Shit just got real.

And of course, there was ridiculousness and nonsense all around. Both kidlets spiked high fevers. Like 105 fevers. Because of course they did. They never really get sick. And NEVER get fevers. So now seemed the perfect time. And hubbs decided that he needed to go see a movie with his boys. Leaving me with 2 sick kids, no TV, crappy take out food, and no where to hang except our very hot, very non-curtained bedroom. Where the sunshine poured in until 10 pm, and the men building crates for our fragile stuff labored directly outside until 9:30 pm. Sleep didn't happen. But lots of colorful phone conversations and texts did until daddy came home....

And then it was May 20th. the day we drove away, getting a much later start than anticipated (8 pm until the movers were completely finished).
The house we called home for 7 1/2 years. The city we called home for 9 1/2 years. The family and community we built. The crunchy granola family we became. The NICU that housed girlfriend for 2 months. The church that forever changed and sculpted my faith. The company that finally sent us back to the east coast. The doctors who talked me down from ledge after ledge while pregnant and terrified with little man. The friends I could not have done life without. Leaving was one of the most difficult things we've ever done.

 We became mommies together. There are no words for how much I desperately miss these girls. And their sweet nuggets. It's chaos and madness and crying and laughing and tantrums, and then there's the kids.... Playdates were a saving grace. Rare nights out without the kiddos were just laughter. The mass Bachelorette texts, the oversharing, the insane amounts of laughter. Good for my soul.

The amazing Amy Cheng took these pics. They were my going away present. Best. Present. Ever. And I have no idea how Amy was able to get any shots at all when we are all ridiculous and couldn't hold it together...

And also....can we just talk about these kidlets....
The world's greatest picture. There was perhaps 20% cooperation. And then full on terrorized screaming. Parenting in all it's messy glory.

And then these sweet friends. The oldest of the bunch, who finally figured out how to play together and not just next to each other. Girlfriend misses her buddies every day. That hug kills me.

So....I'm gonna need a minute. Sobbing into my keyboard.

Regroup. K. So roadtrip.

Hubbs did an amazing job breaking it down. We only had to drive about 4 or 5 hours total each day...except the one hellish nightmare that was Denver to Kansas City. UGH. it pretty much highlights all that is wrong with the midwest. Kansas. STEP. IT. UP. For the love. You've got a pretty famous movie to work with. Make some interesting signage OR SOMETHING. That day nearly killed us. Not to mention the ridiculous storm we drove through. But I get ahead of myself....

This was our car. Pretty full. And also? In order to nurse/ entertain the kidlets, I had to squeeze myself in front of that Full Circle bag. In approximately 1 inch of space. Because in this family, we don't pull over to tend to crying hungry babes. Mamma whips it out while we're driving and everyone on the highway gets a show. Woot! Side note: THANK GOD FOR DVD PLAYERS IN THE CAR. The end.

 Knowing that our organic options would be limited at best, I made some loaves of bread, some jelly, some snacks, and then we stocked up on organic snacks and easily portable food for the trip. The above is the "great idea" hubbs had for protection AND food prep. Cutting a loaf of sandwich bread with a machete is pretty bad ass. And no, I was not allowed to touch it. I'm missing enough tips of fingers as it is...

And these guys saved my butt (except in the mountains. elevation/ motion sick is of the devil, and I had to resort to the big guns- aka bonine- in order to not hurl everywhere). The best part about these are the lack of coma induced when you take them. I was actually wide eyed and clear headed for travel. Which has never ever happened before in the history of ever. It was kind of nice. Although maybe not for hubbs, as he was not allowed to listen to his garbage music when I was awake, which was all of the time.

So Oregon. Idaho. Utah. All pretty whatever until we got to Salt Lake City, which is really pretty. Not many pics taken. Just kind of thanking God the kids were doing so well both in AND out of the car and praying it stayed that way for the entire trip.

Please note. I have a gift for picking fantastic restaurants. I do a teeny bit of looking around on-line, and without fail, the places I chose were some of the best food we've eaten. Someone should hire me.

Anyway. At this point all of the places are kind of blending together. I think Colorado was after Utah.

The red mountains were so pretty and we got out and "hiked" a little bit. Yes, we do dress like that for road trips. We are beyond ridiculous. I'm aware. Girlfriend loved "climbing the mountains". In her cowboy boots.

 It was beautiful, but I don't know if I'll ever go back. The elevation killed me. KILLED. ME. I was nauseous and green for pretty much the entire time we were outside of the car and above 8,000 feet. We stopped in Aspen because we heard it's pretty. And it really was gorgeous. Although we had no idea we were taking a gondola to over 11,000 feet elevation. Oopsie. And then, to save time, instead of going back the way we came and take the highway, hubbs decided to take a nice scenic drive through the mountains. Which was fine, until we stopped so I could pee. The minute I stepped outside of the car, IT. WAS. ON. I spent the next few hours in the front seat, crying and rocking and trying not to puke all over myself, while still trying to appreciate the beauty around us.

A pic I managed to get to try to take my mind off the fact that my insides were trying to murder me.

It was snowing and hailing which actually looked magical, like we were driving through Santa's workshop. But how the hell people live here is beyond me. I'm sure you get used to it. But I'm not testing that theory, thankyouverymuch.

So we stayed the night in Denver, got to meet up with a friend and have some fabulous Mexican food, because again, I rock at that. Then we visited Dinosaur Ridge, which for girlfriend just might have been the greatest thing ever invented. While mommy cried on the inside from nausea plus heat.

And finally, it was time for the day we'd been dreading. The 8 to 9 hour drive from Denver to Kansas City. We kept getting those loud beepy emergency warnings of flash floods and tornadoes on our phones. Which just added to the pure joy of that drive. They are not kidding when they say there's NOTHING on that stretch. And the kids were not super enjoying that long of a car trip. And we decided that since she's not in any kind of a rush to potty train (you can read all about our issues with holding here), even though she is fully capable of using the toilet, we figured we'd make it work to our advantage and have her in diapers for this road trip. Because no one wants to try to find a place to wash out a car seat on the road. Or clean-ish public restrooms.

So that backfired. Because girlfriend, although in diapers, refuses to be seated to do her business. So. Everytime she had to go to the bathroom, she would tell us "I have to poop and pee please get me out of the car seat". PERFECT. And of course, the ask became urgent pleas as we're driving through a monsoon in a place that has ZERO rest stops, or any shoulder to pull onto. Have you ever tried explaining to a toddler that we just can't stop the car right now as she's SCREECHING that her tummy hurts cause she has to poop?? And the holding. DEAR LORD THE HOLDING I DON'T WANT THE HOLDING TO COME BACK. So. Yeah. That was just a good time.

Also. Kanorado?? We couldn't come up with a slightly more original name than that for the border town between Kansas and Colorado? Really??

I'm still working on deleting that whole day from memory.

We did eventually get to Kansas City, and then St. Louis. I had some music nerdy fun using song lyrics to announce our arrival into all of the cities on facebook. I'm positive that did not get old at all.

We went up the arch, because I thought why NOT subject myself to more heights and small spaces and motion sick? It was worth the experience. I won't be doing that again either.

And then we FINALLY got to NASHVILLE! My brother lived there for a few years, and I loved it. By far my favorite city on our road trip. We didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked, but our hotel was ON POINT.
I mean. Look at the bathroom. 'nough said.

And once again, my restaurant choice was amazing. We wandered by a place called The Stillery. It had just opened that week. My prediction is you will need reservations to get in there in the very near future. The food was outstanding- my first experience with hot chicken and I'm now hooked. And their mason jar cocktails. I wish I had a tolerance because hubbs' drink was SO. DAMNED. GOOD.

We unfortunately didn't get to take the kids to any of the music or wax museums, but I know we'll be back for a vacay there at some point. Because Tennessee houses Dollywood, which might just be one of my fave theme parks of all time. My family went the very first weekend it opened. We were 6 feet away from Dolly Parton, 2 feet away from her chest. Along with Burt Reynolds, Lily Tomlin, a whole cast of amazing people which probably helped the whole magical experience....we'll see how it pans out as an adult.

The next morning, I found the world's best breakfast place.
Used to be a food truck. Now a restaurant. Biscuit Love. Just do it. Just go there and eat breakfast. Then come visit us. And on your way, hit up the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. Because if you've never gone a mile up a mountain at a 73% incline, you should poop your pants today!

Our last night of the trip was spent in Atlanta. In a cruel twist of fate, that weekend Atlanta hosted a Food and Wine event that we couldn't go to. And. Since the city was crazy busy, we could only order dinner from a place in walking distance. We got soul food! Except. It was not good. And girlfriend spent the night puking....in the bed. And guess what hotels DON'T do at midnight? They DO NOT remake the bed for you, or remove the puke soaked sheets. We simply got to roll those up and put them in the shower, to house the stank for the night, and were handed a few new sheets. So that was awesome.

And the next day, we were finally off to Charleston. A little weary. Running low on sleep and underwear. But only a few hours of driving left.

And so began our week and a half stay at a hotel before we closed on the house and got our furniture. And surprise surprise, we all got sick.

I think it's safe to say our bodies were a little run down. Along with our ability to eat any more take out. Although we lasted a lot longer by sticking to as many restaurants as possible that used local, sometimes organic, ingredients. A few Charleston faves we discovered during our hotel stay: Crave, Saveurs du Monde Cafe (crepes and french pastries and the most amazing espresso), Opal, and Verde. And of course Whole Foods. 

So what did we learn from our excessively long road trip? Well. We learned that our kiddos are pretty amazing at traveling, which is nice to know.  We learned that the midwest is not really somewhere we ever need to go back to. And that you are probably not going to find many non chain, organic options in the midwest. (We were forced to eat Sonic for lunch. We won't be making that mistake again any time soon). We learned that we were spoiled rotten to be able to stay at Marriotts the entire way because a friend gave us her friends and family discount saving us ridiculous amounts of money, and allowing us a bit of luxury on the road every night. 

Also. It's a LOT easier to take a road trip when you know you don't have to drive back. 

Eventually, I'll post all about our adventures in our new house! But this post is already stupid long.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Long time gone

We just got the internet. Last night.

We closed on this house on June 3rd. Yet somehow, we JUST GOT THE INTERNET.

Do you know how hard it is to look recipes up on-line using only your phone??? (hash tag first world problems).

For reals.

Anyway, when I get a half second, I'll be sure to keep you all entertained with the story of our 2 week car trip across the country (spoiler: it was actually enjoyable!!).

Til then, I'll be cooking and (hopefully posting) soon!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

The one where we move across the country

Yup. It's finally happening. We're packing up this crazy and heading back east. Charleston, SC to be specific. This is a move that has been 2+ years in the making. The last time we talked about it here was when I announced we weren't moving like we thought, AND I was pregnant with little man...the double shock that had me reeling for quite a while.

But it's here now. And don't get me wrong. It would have been hard to move then. But now?? Now, it seems impossible.

It's impossible that I'm moving my tribe. Away from my people. Away from their playmates. Away from my playmates. Away from our church family. It's impossible, and it's happening. And it's getting a little too real in here for my liking...

I know this is the plan for our family. We were sent down to SC for a house hunting trip. While we were there, our house here went on the market. We found, and put an offer on a house in a fabulous part of Mt. Pleasant. Where we met the neighbors. Who just moved in 2 weeks ago and have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. And the house was $50,000 under our budget. And we can build a tree house in the backyard. And while we were doing all that? We got 2 list price offers on our house. 2. And ended up getting more than asking price.And every. single. devotional I've done has been about change, and God's timing, and affirming that this is the right move for us.

But it's not making things easier for me.

The idea of being so close to our family in Jersey? That makes me leap for joy. A car ride, and not a 6 hour plane ride. The same time zone. If needed, an hour and a half plane trip. Especially as little man is hitting that lovely age where he hates sitting still and can't be entertained for more than 20 minutes at a time. The ability to host Thanksgiving for my family at MY HOUSE. All of that is so exciting.

Not exciting? Finding all new playmates for my kidlets. Finding another tribe to do coffee and parks and venting and leaving the kiddos in a room and letting them fend for themselves and life together with. That's gonna take time. And I'm not a patient woman. Also? I suuuuuuuuuuuuuck at making friends. Super suck at it. Like, I bought 2 books on HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS. because I'm lame. (the one I read already is amazeballs- "Women are Scary" by Melanie Dale. It's like she jumped in my brain and wrote about it.)

Momlationships- I love having them. I'm scared shitless making them. I suffer from the "I'm so not cool enough to go and talk to her because why on earth would SHE want to talk to me? I'm such a nerd." Combine that with my bitchy resting face and you have a recipe for disaster. People end up thinking I'm a total snob. I'm also uber awkward, snort laugh, and loudly over share. ALWAYS. Wanna be my friend??

And there's something a little bit magical about my tribe here. A lot a bit magical. I'm not trying to kid myself into thinking this will be recreated somewhere else. And it makes my heart hurt. I can't really think about it, because I just go straight into ugly cry. Typically, the hubbs gets to deal with the hiccuping sobs that hit me if I start to think or talk about leaving too much.

And in the meantime? While I should be getting to spend as much time as possible with people that I love....I got sick. Then the kidlets got sick. Girlfriend got a fever for the 2nd time ever....It lasted for A WEEK and got up to 105 for 2 nights. WWWHHHHHAAAAAATTTT????? Are you kidding me? I get it. We're stressed, we dealt with time change, crazy all day outings looking for houses, being on airplanes, eating craptastic food. But COME ON. we basically hunkered down in our house for 2 weeks. Except when the home inspection was done on our house. When I took two sick kiddos out of bed and drove them around for THREE HOURS. Cause I'm sure that helped them feel better. Timing and all.

And now we have, as a friend so eloquently put it, 17 fucking days left. 17. Days. It's just. I'm ready. I'm ready to not live in limbo. To get into this new house and make it our own. To feel like we can get back to some sort of routine instead of the "throw the kids in front of a movie so mommy and daddy can get done the 74 thousand things we need to do before we leave". I'm ready for that.

I'm not ready to leave. I'm not ready to not have regular playdates. I'm not ready to be the new girl in town. To have the new kids in town. To have to explain how we roll to new people. I'm not ready and I'm a little scared and I'm a lot sad and all the feelings. I'M ALL THE FEELINGS.

And I have to learn to be granola in a new place. A place where they are WAY behind in the organic movement. Not to mention our alternative vaccine schedules, holistic approach to meds, and favoring a naturopath over a pediatrician. Not sure that will be widely accepted. But we're moving in, crunchy guns blazing.

It's been a while. And this is why. The meals have been basic repeats, when we have time to cook. I've gotten real pissy about lots of goings on. But I can't find a second to write about it.

And so that's what's up here.

I'm sure our 2 WEEK CAR TRIP ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH A 1 AND 3 1/2 YEAR OLD will give me some blog fodder.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mammarazzi gone stalker...

Well, it seems that the hubbs may be correct. I *might* be a bit of a stalker.

Seems I'm obsessed. Completely, utterly OBSESSED with taking pics of my fam while they sleep. And not just the kiddos. Hubbs is in on this action too.

I cannot help it that they are all adorable as they sleep. This is clearly not my fault. And so, I document.

It started innocently enough. I mean. Look at them. all snuggled up together. On me. Adorable!

And they just kept it up. The napping on mamma. All the cuteness.

And then they conked out on daddy. While daddy conked out. Come on!

And then my little no napper and her only-naps-on-mamma brother fell asleep in the afternoon. at the same time. in bed. without me. and there was much rejoicing. and then it never happened again.

but then, at night, they started gravitating towards each other. I will admit, the crossing of her arms over her chest makes this pic exceptionally creepy. the filter is not helping matters. yet I soldier on for the perfect stalking shot.

And then, all the absolutely exhausted happened to everyone. except mommy. who was utterly exhausted, yet 100% awake. because mom.

and these two. of COURSE there's stalking.

just. melting.

and this face. I get to stare at this sweet face every. night. because blessed.

and then, date night. our kiddos sleep "praise Jesus" style. we watch movies. win win.

Stalker indeed.

soon enough, they won't want to snuggle with us. soon enough, this bed will go back to just 2. for now, I'll keep on mammarazzing my way through our nights.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Awesometastic Guide to Lazy Parenting

Disclaimer: I am (clearly) not a parenting expert. I have, however, found that what we did, and do, works REAL well for us, so I thought I'd share. And also, lazy. So YES.

I am not indicting your parenting style. You do you. Whatever works in this crazy game of parenting.

So. I've been thinking of writing this blog for some time now. Because I seem to end up in convos where someone asks me why I've done what I've done with my kiddos, and typically my answer is "I'm lazy". And I gotta say, the laziness has TOTALLY worked for my fam. Worked better than I ever imagined it would, quite honestly.

So here's the scoop. We had every intention of being "normal" parents- bought the crib, set up the room, had all the typical parenting books ready, bottles in the cupboard, breast pump purchased, the whole nine. Then, this happened.  Babygirl showed up at 29 weeks. All 2 lbs 10 oz of her. And in a flash, everything changed. I had 2 months in the NICU- 2 months where all I did was sit in a recliner and hold this very tiny person skin to skin. And while I did that, I read. A. LOT. It started with the kangaroo care (skin to skin) and from there, I entered into the world of attachment parenting. I had never heard of it, but it became clear pretty quickly that, ready or not, this would have to be our parenting style. Lucky for us, we fell head over heels in love with our daughter, and with this style.

I was terrified to put her in a crib to sleep- getting to watch your child stop breathing and need oxygen from a tank blown into her face a few times will do that to you. In the NICU, the nurses were kind enough to "not notice" that babygirl slept through most of the night on my chest. Her vitals were always best that way. And we continued the trend when we came home. There was just no way I was putting her down for sleep. Neither of us would get any sleep if I did that. She slept on my chest, nursed when she woke and was hungry, and we both drifted easily back to sleep. For the first 2 1/2 years of her life. Then I got pregnant, and at 28 weeks, my supply completely dried up, so the co sleeping continues, just not the nursing her. And now we're joined by our little man, who is just about a year old. Although his entrance into this world was no drama, I still just couldn't bring myself to put him in a crib. So we have our little family in our big king bed, and we love it.

So here's the lazy: we have zero amounts of bedtime routines, except prayers. Occasionally, there'll be a bath. Sometimes a book, depending on what time we manage to get upstairs (daddy has to work late a lot so dinner happens on the later side most days). We change into jammies, we giggle, we snuggle, and within about 15 minutes, both kiddos are out. Ok, both kiddos and daddy, who gets up at ass o'clock for work. No screaming, no crying, no asking for water, no "get back into bed".  Just a really nice, relaxing, cuddle fest. And that leaves mommy free to watch all the garbage television she can get on Hulu and Netflix, or read a book (my nightstand is well stocked with books, nightlights, snacks, remotes, and my phone. always be prepared).

This works on so many levels for us. Obvs, because we're lazy. Also, because we travel a ridiculous amount. Whether it be because the entire family decides to join daddy in California on a work trip for 3 weeks, or because we're constantly flying back and forth from here to Jersey to see our families. We spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping somewhere besides home. And not a pack and play, travel bassinet, extra bed/ room is needed. No packing all the extra things. No special blankies or stuffies, sometimes not even pj's (we generate a LOT of body heat between all of us). No hard nights cause the kiddos are somewhere new. Not even an issue with time changes, which amazes me. No settling back in to our "bedtime routine", or lack there of. Lazy. And awesome.

So. Bottles. When girlfriend was in the NICU, she was too tiny to eat. So for the longest time, they fed her through a tube up her nose. Around 33 weeks, we gave feeding her a try. They told us that bottles are easiest for their little jaws, so we would try that. And that if we wanted it right from the breast, expect to be in the NICU for a longer amount of time. She took a bottle fairly well, but didn't seem to like it so much (she had been latching on to my nipple since I started holding her, but not able to suck). So we got the first bottle out of the way, and I announced that that would be her last bottle until she was also able to nurse. Thank God for lactation specialists. They clued me into this amazing thing called a nipple shield, and girlfriend took full feeds immediately. Like, doctors were pretty amazed she was nursing so well immediately. And so, the bottles went bye bye. Cause I had had almost 2 solid months of nothing but pumping and I. WAS. OVER. IT. All the suction, and the cleaning, and the feeling like a cow, and the stretched out nips, and the cleaning. And then the warming and the filling up the bottles, and the finding a bottle that would work for her, and THE CLEANING. NOPE. No thanks. Plus, every time someone tried to give her a bottle, she'd slap it out of their hands. She had opinions. So, she simply went every where I did. And nursed wherever, whenever she liked. And I never had to clean pump parts and bottles again. Which was glorious!! And due to the cosleeping, I was not sleep deprived, and the hubbs didn't have to get up in the middle of the night, so he could still function at work. I didn't even bother buying bottles for little man. He's never had one, never will. And by the time girlfriend was a little over 1, she was drinking out of cups. All of this was made possible by my next lazy tip:

Moby/ ERGO/ Babywearing! Here's the thing. I used to work out. My nickname in my family was muscles, cause when it came to moving furniture, lifting heavy things, doing hard work, I was your man. And although I would rather get myself waxed everywhere than ever lift weights again, I'm still fairly strong. But. It is simply asinine to carry around a 20 pound effing infant car seat, along with a 30 pound diaper bag and then a baby. Why would anyone do this to themselves? That's a lot of shit to cart around. And those car seats don't fit well in anything- not grocery carts, not high chairs in restaurants, barely in a car. So I lived in a moby wrap until the babes were big enough for the Ergo carrier. They were never fussy because they were being held, so we never needed pacifiers (lazy lazy lazy, who feels like dealing with that drama when it's time to give them up), if they were hungry, the boobs were right there for the taking and usually no one noticed that I was constantly feeding my kiddos, I had my hands free to get shit done (and I really really love to make lists and get shit done....it's kinda my thing), and because I refused to pump and bottle, I never had to carry around bottles and paraphernalia in my diaper bag, making it significantly lighter. Lazy lazy lazy win. The kiddo witching hour when you're trying to get dinner together and baby just wants you? Wear em. Just be careful. We had a mishap with little man that makes me a million times more careful in the kitchen. But on the plus side, both my kids love to play in the kitchen and help. We'll talk about this more in another section. And for all the folks that told me my kids would never learn how to crawl/ walk etc....they both walked early. Oh joy of joys. I would have preferred lazier kiddos, quite honestly. We also didn't have to deal with strollers ever. Crowded places, airports, malls, parks....no strollers. So much easier to navigate. Until I got pregnant with little man, and by about 18 weeks wearing girlfriend was just no longer an option. but by that time she loved to walk, and the stroller was an ok option for her when she was (finally) tired. One less thing to pack and carry around. Because lazy.

Baby proofing. Never fully understood this concept. I mean, gate off some stairs for a while. But padding every. single. thing. in your house? That sounds like work. And so, we didn't. We just straight up didn't. We stuck those plastic thingies in the outlets, because electrocution. We kept the door closed to the cat room, cause kitty litter doesn't make a good snack. Other than that? Nope. We have a stone hearth and fireplace. No padding, and no accidents. I was a bit nervous with girlfriend, cause she was my first, but she always just seemed to know it was there and slowed down before she got there. I thought perhaps it was because she was a girl (although her fearlessness at the playground and the launching herself off of all the things would suggest that had nothing to do with it). But little man has also never had an issue with it. Actually, I happened to watch him one day, and he naturally slowed himself down before he got to the fireplace (right around 7 months old), then used it to stand himself up, looked around, and got back down. They seem to have a natural awareness of what's around them, not only in their home but everywhere else as well. I'm inclined to think it's because we didn't pad down the house like a Little Gym, and they had no choice but to figure it out.And we also don't use plastic for their eating and drinking needs. Glasses and metal utensils and real plates.  Girlfriend broke one plate, once. While unloading the dishwasher when she tried to pick up too many at a time. Lazy. And winning.

Food. Ah food. The bane of most parents' existence. Look it up and you'll find 24 million blog posts and articles about just how sucky it is to feed little people, and their tyrannical demands. And we don't want to go all medieval on them, so we feed them pre-cooked shit shaped like dinosaurs and sigh. Once again, laziness prevails, and it seems to be working for us. I didn't feed them solid food until they were a year old (little man I started a little earlier, but he didn't really do anything but taste a little until 11 months). I one time made a puree for girlfriend. It was stupid. She just wanted what was on my plate, and couldn't care less about the orange colored ridiculousness I was trying to give her. So. I stopped making separate food. Some of her first meals were pasta bolognese, moussaka, chicken mole fajitas, and spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil. She loved it, she ate off of our plates most of the time, while sitting on our laps (cause who needs to always have a high chair with them? ain't no one got time for that). She ate everything we gave her, and she pretty much still does. She obviously has foods she doesn't prefer (she no longer likes the moussaka with the goat cheese bechamel topping, she just wants to eat the meat and eggplant mixture). But there's food that I don't like so I'm not gonna sweat it. Not only does she loooooove to eat, but she loves to cook too. She flips her own eggs and pancakes, she helps cut stuff up (with a special knife from pampered chef that doesn't cut skin but can cut through most veggies and fruits and sometimes even chicken). She knows how to properly salt and pepper food, and she is OBSESSED with dipping things in olive oil. Screw ketchup, she knows the good stuff. We've never ordered off of a kids menu for her, and don't ever plan to. In California, we tried to give her chicken fingers once, in Disneyland. She took one bite, spit them out, and hasn't tried them since. I find that hilarious. And little man the other night chowed down on Serbian meatballs, a yogurt cucumber dill salad, and roasted potatoes. Start em early. And they both are really really neat eaters. I don't know if it's because I waited to feed them, but I'm always kind of shocked by the lack of mess I have to deal with. And I firmly believe this was because I was too damned lazy to cook them separate food. Seriously. Who has time for that? That's nonsense. If children in other countries can eat food with flavors and spices, why can't ours? Do we have different stomachs that I don't know about? It's like some doctor somewhere said American children are only capable of eating bland food (enter Gerbers and the jars of nasty) and suddenly everyone panics and only feeds kids things that no one else would ever eat because it's disgusting. Either way, it's working for us. And for some reason, they don't really snack, either. Unless I am. And sometimes I share.

So, the daily grind. Little miss can entertain herself for HOURS. Coloring, drawing, somehow figuring out by the time she was 2 1/2 how to write all of her letters, and then writing her name without either of us having taught it to her....I still don't know how that happened. She builds lego towers and train tracks, and takes care of her babies, and races cars. All without mommy's assistance. Granted, the first year plus of her life was spent being carried around by me. She had a rough start and she loved to be carried and I loved having her on me. No swings, no seats, no play mats unless she was really showing interest in being put down, and then the playmat lasted about 5 minutes. And there was no dropping her off in the nursery at church. And she only had a babysitter a total of 5 times in her life so far (my mom, and some really close trusted friends). Yes, that means we didn't do date nights. Out. We would put her to bed and have date nights in. (but we also waited for 5 years of marriage before having kiddos so we kind of expected that there'd be a period of time where going out wouldn't happen so much). She was mommy's girl for sure, and not surprising, considering again traumatic first 2 months of life. But she's quite the independent little thing now. And little man is shaping up to be the same, but he WILL go to the church nursery, and he's happy letting anyone hold him. He's also pretty chill about just hanging out playing in the play kitchen, or playing Godzilla to all big sister's train tracks and towers. They give me time to get stuff done while exploring their surroundings. No crafts provided by me. No setting up games. No whining. No boredom. And somehow, learning has happened. Again, if I figure it out, I'm gonna find a way to sell the method because seriously!! I had zero to do with the learning of all the letters. Maybe it was from watching SuperWhy??  Lazy and loving it.

Yes, my kids sometimes watch TV. not all that much (unless we're sick, in which case, bring. on. the. disney. movies.) We cancelled cable, and I LOATHE all things Disney channel, Disney junior, Nick junior. The shows don't have much to offer learning wise, and I hate commercials, and I'm still trying to figure out why Caillou is even a thing. We watch Superwhy, I tried Sesame Street but she never took to it, and unfortunately she did take to Thomas the Train. I have a really hard time not rolling my eyes while this nonsense is on (Gordon is a real asshole), but it's only the Christmas episode that's on Netflix so I suppose I'll suck it up. Anything else they watch are Disney movies....because mamma likes to sing along. And here's the great catch- if your kid doesn't ever watch commercials, your kid will NEVER ASK YOU FOR SPECIFIC TOYS EVER. This has been the greatest discovery in the history of my household. Her favorite thing to do is grab a gift bag, throw a bunch of crap she finds around the house in it, and excitedly proclaim "Happy Birthday! I made you a present!". This makes my mommy heart happy. And also not hearing about how badly she wants a certain toy is glorious. Lazy, non cable having, not having to watch nonsense I don't like, goodness.

Napping. She stopped at 2. And before that she only napped on me until she was about 18 months old. This is not as awful as you think. She napped, I took walks. She napped, I went to the mall. She napped, I went to "play dates" where I'd sit and chat with friends and drink coffee. We weren't chained to the house. Same boat with little man, naps on me. But then girlfriend and I can go to the park. Or the children's museum. Or hang out outside and paint. Lazy.

Speaking of parks....she climbs all the things. all the time. No fear. And I've never once told her "oh honey you can't do that". I'm always a little shocked at the number of parents who do. If your kid wants to give it a try, why would you say no?? Maybe stand there and make sure they don't fall off of it, but why discourage their bravery? If they think they can, they probably can. The few times she didn't want to try something, she was the one who approached it, looked at it, then said "nope" hopped down and found something else. Trust their instincts. We're all wired to survive. Let em do their thing. Just like I've heard kids ask to try their parent's food, and they say "you probably won't like it." Self fulfilling prophesy, people.

Cleanliness. My kids seems to really enjoy being clean. I find this amusing and awesome. Since day 1, I've given the kiddos showers with me instead of baths. I have no time or patience for filling up a tiny tub that a mini, wet, squiggly thing is going to work their hardest to get out of, just to get me and the entire bathroom wet in the process of cleaning my child. Then, I have to scrub out said tub? No. Thank. You. While they were itty bitty, they would lay on a blanket outside of the shower door while I showered, then I'd bring them in to wash them. As they got a bit older, they moved into just hanging out in the shower with me, then me washing them. Girlfriend started washing herself when she turned 3 (don't worry, I still check to make sure all the bits are clean). We can get up and out within 45 minutes, including showering all 3 of us and doing my hair and make up.  Lazy.

Along with the attachment parenting, I started reading up on a more gentle discipline than any I had heard of or thought to use. Mainly, it's just an understanding that your child is a person with feelings just like any person, and respecting those feelings, and working with a toddler's natural curiosity and abilities instead of fighting against them.  Part of it is always comforting them when they ask for it, even when you don't necessarily think they need it. I find a well-timed hug, kiss, and snuggle will tame the tantrum that's brewing. I give her choices a lot- should we brush our teeth or brush our hair first. As long as she gets to choose, she does what needs to get done with no yelling from me. And she started dressing herself around 2 years old. Buttons still trip her up a bit, but girlfriend can pick out an outfit, put it on, including shoes, brush her hair and brush her teeth. And loves doing it.

We have time-ins, instead of time outs. I never liked the idea of sending them away if they've done something wrong. So, we go together to a spot to sit and calm down. We take some deep breaths, and she tells me why she's mad/ sad/ happy and screamy, etc. These work so well for her. Usually, she just wanted a bit of my attention all to herself, and that gives her the opportunity. Do we have those days where everyone is yelling at everyone? Of course, I have children. Does she have days of some defiance which makes me want to put my head through a wall? Yup. She's 3 1/2. But I feel like those "terrible 2's and 3's" weren't ever really a problem.

Alright, so the truth is, the lazy parenting is our pay off now for the work we put in early on. It's true, I missed out on some nights out because I had a nursling  that I wasn't willing to leave at home. We didn't, and still don't, have that many date nights....maybe 2 a year. But it's just a season and we actually both really enjoy taking the kiddos with us out to dinner or just out and about. It's considered extreme by many, but setting up that foundation for what we have now? Lazy priceless.

Our Valentine's Date

Date night watching a movie. We wouldn't want it any other way.