Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pinterest Challenges 1-4

So thanks to Jessica's challenge to finish 10 pins in the month of August and thanks to getting some fancy new noodle bowls in the mail today, I decided to try this Malaysian Veggie Laksa that's been sitting under my Vegetarian board for quite some time now.

I definitely made a few of my own modifications (the most obvious being the fact that I used Ramen noodles! Oh for shame! But it was still delicious). Original recipe can be found here.

Pin #1: Malaysian Veggie Laksa (success)
2 Ramen noodle packages
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbs red curry paste
1 chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup chopped red pepper and zucchini
2 cups boiling water

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Cook curry paste, onion, and garlic in the oil until onions are softened. Add can of coconut milk, peppers, and zucchini. Boil until veggies are softened.

While veggies are boiling, cook ramen noodles. When noodles are done, measure two cups of the boiling water and add to the coconut milk, along with the noodles and the two seasoning packets.
That's it! So easy and sooo yummy. I also added crushed red pepper flakes cuz I like it hot.

Pin #2: Braid Buns (fail)


I'm pretty okay when it comes to doing my own hair.....except for braids. Dreaded braids. I can't braid other people's hair and I certainly can't braid my own hair. So I should have known this was going to be a failed attempt from the very beginning, but I thought it looked simple enough. First of all, I didn't do the braid within the braid like the directions said because that's just too many braids. I got the three sections braided and things were already looking ugly. Then when I started to try to pin them up, they just kept falling out and down and around and all over. My layers poking out of the braids didn't look cute-messy, they looked sloppy-messy. By the time I gave up, it looked like I had let a four-year-old do my hair - and it was just about as painful too. I tried to take a picture but I wasn't flexible enough and Adam wasn't home and I wasn't about to keep my hair like that the whole day. I'm sure anyone else could have made this pin work, but not me. (Total use of the word "braid": 9)

Pin #3: Striped Nails (fail)

Original pin
I've got way too high of hopes for myself when it comes to pins, apparently. I know I can't paint my own nails for the life of me, and yet here I am trying. And trying one with stripes nonetheless. But, really, I didn't even get to that step before I failed.

I put three different colors on my nails like it shows in the top right-hand corner of the photo, but I used green, blue, and silver (they matched, I promise). That paint job was pretty ugly already. While I was waiting for that layer to dry, my dog needed his collar on and, like usual, I just said, "Oh they should be fine by now anyway," and started putting his collar on. By the time I was done with that, my nails were pretty butchered. But I figured with the top color over it you wouldn't be able to tell. So then I couldn't find my black nail polish, nor any tape thin enough to make the stripes. So I thought I could just use my silver crackle paint on top and maybe that would really seal the deal. Well, seal it, it did. A terrible paint job to begin with + smudges from the dog collar + messy crackle paint = really, really, really ugly nails. So I did what any other girl would do at this point - I took it off. Aaaaaaaaand of course we didn't have nail polish remover so I just scraped it off. Lovely. I'm sure you've got a pretty good idea of what my fingers (not just nails anymore) looked like at this point.

This is what they looked like three days and a gazillion hand-washes later. Still not too hot.

Pin #4: Potato Salad (kind of success)

I am definitely a lot better at Recipe pins than Style pins. This Potato salad recipe added sugar, something I'd never done before. I didn't really like it - I like my potato salad to have more of a kick, so I probably won't be using this recipe again.

And here's a picture of my boy. Just because he's cute. I didn't make anything else in this photo but the child, and hey, at least I didn't need a pin to know how to make him :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

How do you know?

Awhile back I had a friend ask me how we knew it was time to have a baby. She asked how to tell the difference between just being baby hungry and when it's, you know, "right." I think if you were to ask anyone this question, we all would have different answers. Here's what I told her:

Adam and I had also originally said we wanted to wait 5 years before having kids. And then that changed to, "Well, we'll wait until we just can't wait any longer."

Well, I graduated in December of 2010 and at this point Adam and I had been married for almost a year and a half. I started getting pretty baby hungry at that point - mostly, I think, because I was finally done with school, we had a job lined up for Adam, and I was too scared at the idea of me getting a "real" job too. So we threw away the protection and left it up to fate. However, I still had my Europe trip coming up in April. I took my chances and figured "morning sickness can't be that bad.....I'd be fine!" Psh. I'm so glad I didn't get pregnant before my trip.

When I got home from my 4 week backpacking trip --- a trip I'd been dreaming of my entire life, and a trip I took without my husband --- my mind had changed quite a bit. I was feeling a taste of Miss Independent, so we held off for a little longer. Then I started my job as a nanny and boy did that really make me not want to have kids. I had such a bad attitude about it and just didn't know where I was supposed to be. I was experiencing a major "stupor of thought" --- a post-college depression, if you will. What was going to make me happy? Getting a new job? Going to graduate school? Certainly I wasn't ready for a baby....was I?

I was seriously depressed. I got up every day at 5:30 in the morning, went to a job I didn't like, and was exhausted when I came home at 5:30 at night. I didn't have energy or time to make dinner, take care of the house, or be a good friend or wife to my husband.

And then at the end of June, my sister-in-law had her baby boy she was pregnant with when we lived with her for 6 weeks. And, if you remember, a week later he died.

I was surprised at just how much this tore me up. I saw how much love he brought into our entire family, what a sweet, special spirit he is, and my heart just ached. Adam and I flew out to California for the funeral. I stayed for a week longer, just to be with Noe and her family. It was during that week with Noe and away from Adam that in my heart I felt that starting a family would make us happier.

I don't think I could say, "I just knew it was time." It wasn't a pre-destined timeline that God was merely making me aware of and that hit me like a ton of bricks and I just accepted it.  No, it was a definite choice I made in my heart - one I did without wagering many other factors. I didn't think about the sacrifices a baby would mean - less income, less time to myself and Adam, less freedom, etc. All I could think about was all the things I would gain with having a baby: more happiness, more purpose, more love. Sure, I thought about those sacrifices in the weeks following getting pregnant, but I never regretted our decision.

At around week 10, I quit my job, thanks to lovely morning sickness. From then on, I felt so much lighter, my mind so much clearer, so much happier. The stupor of thought I'd been experiencing was lifted and I really, really began to feel like.... myself again.

Of course the decision is uniquely made for each couple and family - and even when you do start trying, no one ever knows how long it will take to actually get pregnant. Which I believe is the Lord's way of saying, Not yet my children, but you will be blessed for your willingness.

I really don't think I can offer any advice....all I have is how it happened for us. I wish I could just say, "Oh you'll know..." but I'm not sure that's true. For us it wasn't a matter of, "Oh we couldn't wait any longer," it was the fact that I didn't want to wait any longer. And when that point happened, things fell into their proper perspective. Thoughts of grad school and a different job faded away, and a joy returned to me that had been missing for awhile.

 Yes there are other things to consider like income and insurance, and ya do your best to get them in place, but they should never be the only factor. Those things dont worry me so much -- the Lord blesses those who follow his commandments.

I do think there will come a point where having a baby is the only thing that will make you happier than you are. And thats the only way i feel you can make this decision without regrets - if you know you made the choice you made because it ultimately made you and your husband happy. You are young (though age doesnt matter much either) so you do have a lot of time on your hands....IF you want it.
And even if you do start school or get a permanent job or still live with your in laws....plans can change. :)

I hope this helped or at least gave you something to think about!

and of course you can and should pray, but i think its a rare case when Heavenly Father tells righteous couples to wait on kids :)

What about you guys? How did you know it was time to add a little one to your family? And now what I am really curious about is, for you second-time mommies (or third or fourth or whatever number you're on) how do you know when it's time to add a sibling?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Growing pains

I almost titled this post something along the lines of "The Pains of Letting Him Grow"....but I realized that there was no "letting" involved - I simply do not have any say in the matter of my son getting older. I cannot stop time, I cannot bottle his infancy, and I will not always be the center of his universe, try as I might. So instead I deal with it - him growing, and all. But sometimes it hurts.

Like that night in Idaho when my mom wanted to sleep with Axton. She knew we were leaving soon and she wanted to get as much snuggles in as she could. Fine, I said. I don't mind, I said. Maybe I will actually get some sleep tonight, I said..

So she laid with him on mattress, and I turned and walked away. The first few steps were easy, and I had high hopes for the night. But that hallway to my bedroom was a mile long and soon the skip in my step was slowing. When I reached my doorway, the darkness and silence that hit me was overwhelming. My room was empty. There would be no soft presence in the bassinet next to my bed, there would be no sleepy sounds of a tiny body to lull me to sleep. No one and nothing waited for me in that room.

And then I cried.

I was not ready for that. I was not ready to be done with him sleeping right next to me, even if for just one night. Even if it meant I would get a longer stretch of sleep than 5 hours for the first time in 3 months. I knew that that time would come soon enough, and I was going to enjoy him next to me for as long as I could. So I turned around and walked back down that mile-long hallway, tapped on my mom's shoulder, and told her to either scoot over or to pick up Axton and come with me to my room.

I never realize how much he means to me until his presence his questioned, and then it's like my body momentarily experiences death - a ripping apart of the heart and a cessation of breathing.

Or how about our first night in Minnesota? They had a crib - but those are for big boys! - not a bassinet. And that crib was not right next to my blow up mattress. No, it was totally on the other side of the room. Well, this won't work too well. Too far, I said. I've got to get up and feed him! And then Axton started fussing a bit in his crib and I walked over and picked him up and as I did I said these words,

"Oh, Axton, you want to sleep with Mommy, don't you?"

As the words hit my ears I knew.

I knew it had nothing to do with Axton wanting to sleep with me, and everything to do with me wanting to sleep with Axton. As I realized this, I shut my eyes, swallowed the lump in my throat, kissed his already-asleep little eyes, laid him back down in his crib, and walked weakly to my own, cold bed.

And now that we are home and he is back in his bassinet right next to me, I am still just a little sad because tonight, for the first night, he is sleeping unswaddled. He's slowly been resisting it more and more lately, and I've been resisting his resisting. A silly thing, really. But it means he is no longer a newborn, needing to be cozy and wrapped and secured. He is a baby and he wants to stretch and suck his fingers and have a blankey simply laid across him. And just that small thing....well, it sends my throat into a frenzy and I have to swallow that lump again.

Also, the fact that his legs are so long that when he nurses they are like spaghetti noodles dangling over my belly, onto the bed, and crossing at the feet --- when just a short time ago they used to curl so tightly against me, his toes barely past my belly button.

He is conscious of liking something and knowing how to get it - that fact that that process is even working in his brain already astonishes me. He makes his Lifting Weights Face when he wants to sit up and look around, when he never even used to know what sitting up meant. He cries when I take him out of his swing too soon because he wasn't done watching the mobile spinning in circles, when not long ago he couldn't even see them.


My husband asked me tonight if I liked being a mom. It hardly seemed a question to me - my immediate, instant answer: Yes. I love it.

Ask me if it's easy, and I will tell you No.
Ask me if I miss my sleep, my personal time, my patience, my old body, and I will say, Heck yes I do.
Ask me if, sometimes, do I just need a break? And I will say Yes, wanna watch my kid for an hour?

But when you ask me if I like being a mom, my answer will always be, forever more, Yes, yes, yes. It is my calling, it is my dream, it is my life, it is my heart and soul. It is the most painful and most amazing journey I could have ever chosen to embark on.

And tonight I cling to the fact that he still sleepily smiles as he is falling asleep, my breast still at his lip and his hand clutching a fistful of my shirt.

Good night, my love. My baby forever.