My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

Please enjoy the musings and updates and leave me a comment if you'd like!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lentil Soup

Is there anything as amazingly comforting as soup? The correct answer is NO.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a soup freak! It can be 90 degrees outside and I'll be curled up in a blanket with soup. Ramen is one of my favourites, but I have a pretty wide repertoire for soup. Greek avgolemano, shrimp bisque, shrimp and corn chowder, egg drop, I love them all! I bought some lentils to try to make my own lentil soup, and the weather has been cooperating by being chilly. James was going out of town for the weekend, and  figured it was the perfect time to try the recipe that was full of some of his not-so-favourite foods. My mom sent me the recipe below, with some of the modifications she had made to it. I made some further modifications and ended up with a soup that G ate two bowls of!

Instead of the porcini and portobello mushroom, I just chopped up 8 oz of regular white button mushrooms and added them in step two. The microwave thing was weird to me but it worked really well. I left my carrots pretty chunky since I just cut up baby carrots. G liked that, but I think I'd have preferred them more minced. Instead of fishing out the bacon after cooking, I crumbled  up the 4 slices of bacon and left them in. I also don't like Swiss chard, so I substituted frozen, chopped spinach instead, and I think it turned out great. I didn't add any salt or pepper, and didn't serve it with oil, but I did top it with parmesan.

One thing I did notice was that with all the stuff in the crockpot, it was almost overflowing, and since I was cooking it on high, it spilled a little and ended up hissing a bit. The dogs thought some creature had gotten into the house and I was wondering if there was a squirrel in the stove vent somehow (you never know here!) Eve after the lentils had absorbed a lot of the liquid, there was still a full crockpot left. We'll have delicious leftovers for a while, and I'm planning on freezing some of it for another week.

If you try it, let me know how it goes! So here's the original, from Slow Cooker Revolution:

Friday, February 14, 2014

16 Months

My little babe is growing up way too fast. I'm constantly hearing his feet tapping on the floor as he runs around the house, never holding still for more than a few seconds at a time. Curious and inquisitive, we constantly hear "wass dees?" and he's forever pulling things out and [sometimes] putting them back.

Challenges: separation anxiety, tantrums, lack of weight gain
Triumphs: sippy cups (1 bottle at night), adventurous palate, cuddles
Words: "wass dees," "uppy," (puppy) "oose," (Moose) "ip," (Pippin we think) "up!," "dada," (this refers to everything) "bah bah" (bye bye)
Favourite toys: Little People ark, pretend food from Ikea, LeapFrog Scout dog, big bouncy balls. He's still a very independent player, but will bring you things, asking "wass dees?" Books are also a hit, but he only holds still for a page or two
Firsts: running, haircut, ear infection

I'm so grateful that G is an adventurous eater. Even though he fusses when we first sit down, if we continue to eat, he will eventually want to join in. He loves anything he can hold, and especially anything he can dip. He still won't feed himself; he'll try maybe once a week, but since he usually dumps the food before it gets to his mouth, he's perfectly happy to be fed. He's had spicy orange chicken with a couscous salad and lentil soup lately. He eats really well, but has barely gained a pound since we moved, and the doctor wants us to focus on upping his calories (butter on everything!) I was pretty tiny though too, so I'm trying not to worry because I know he's getting plenty of food. I honestly think he's just so active that he burns off the calories as fast as we can get them in him. He literally runs circles around me in the kitchen!

Lately, he's been ridiculously cuddly! He's been giving hugs and kisses, wanting to constantly sit in our laps or be held, holds onto our legs when we're standing and is just all about being a lovebug lately. I have been enjoying the heck out of this! It melts my heart to see him run toward my open arms or have him crawl into my lap or smile when I kiss his cheek.

G has an ear infection, diagnosed after I brought him in for a cough that just won't stop. He's still coughing at night, but the doctor seemed to think if we take care of the ear infection it might help the cough since it's not in his lungs. Luckily, G is awesome at taking medicine, and seems to like the disgustingly sweet bubble gum flavour of his antibiotic. He'll still fight a syringe pretty stubbornly, but he likes the little measuring cup and was even upset a few nights ago because there wasn't more!

My surgery went really well! It's been a month and I'm still a tad bit sore, but the nausea is gone and I'm feeling so much better than before! I was up and about the next day (up and about=shower and walking to the kitchen and back). James was wonderful; he took care of everything while I was getting my energy back, did wonderfully with G and understood when all I felt up to eating was rice or pasta stars (and would cook them for me). Life has been pretty good. I'm still getting over my Christmas cold; it seems to keep coming back, but I'll kick it eventually. The weather has been decent and we missed the snow when we went out to California to visit my parents (G did really well with the time change and the stress of a missed flight and lost car seat!) All in all, a pretty good month and I think we're adjusting pretty well!

16 months. I have no idea how he got his arm out.
Pick me up!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Being Honest about Motherhood

There is a notion out there, propogated by the media, social networking sites and nostalgia/romanticising, that motherhood is natural, and easy. This is society's biggest lie. It almost feels like a taboo subject to be writing about, but motherhood is HARD. It is by far the the hardest thing I have done in my life; harder than moving cross-country, harder than labour, harder than saying no to ramen.

Being a mother is amazing and I wouldn't ever change my decision to have a baby. My heart could almost burst when G runs up to give me a hug or a kiss. Watching my little man sleep and listening to his soft snores melts that same heart. There is nothing like the love you have for a child. It is trite, but it is true--it's a love you can't understand until there's a child in your life. And on those days when you are confident, you are on top of the world and nothing can stop you or bring you down.

But there are difficult days too. There's two types of difficult days: baby-centred and mommy-centred. Baby-centred difficult days are those days when your child seems determined to be a hellion. These are the days you wonder what past transgressions merit this form of penance (I know mine, I was a babysitter's terror). Today was one of those days for us. G woke up in a foul temper and had three tantrums before we even left the house, tried to kick me when I attempted to put his shoes on, refused his milk and his medicine then screamed the entire way to school. Those days are tough, but you're dealing with a little person who is trying to figure out this whole life thing and has even less to go on than you do, so you can take a breath and count to ten and (usually) keep your temper.

The really hard days, the worst days are the ones that don't have anything to do with your babe's behaviour. They're the ones where you doubt yourself. The ones where you've convinced yourself that your child hates you and your partner resents you. The days you're absolutely certain that you are the worst mother on the face of the earth. I think it happens more than anyone will admit. I know I certainly don't advertise it when I have a day like that, and they happen more than I want to tell anyone.

The media we're bombarded with every day doesn't help. I read a quote about comparing your life to your facebook friends'; it's like comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel. There's a lot of truth to that, but it's hard to see when you're having one of those really crappy days. It's hard to remember when you see that mom's photos, you know the one: her child always smiles, never throws things and she still has time to make creative bento box style lunches. Green looks good on me, right? Pinterest is quite possibly the worst. My ideas on there have hardly ever been attempted, let alone completed, but pinterest makes it look like every mom spends her afternoons in creative, educational pursuits with her two year old who can speak three languages, while the baby is on a perfect nap schedule and sleeps 12 hours a night. Instead, I try to convince myself that the third episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates will actually teach G good manners and contemplate ordering in dinner for the third time that week.

It's hard. Motherhood is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise 1) has never been a mother or 2) has an abnormal changeling for a child or 3) should just be sainted for their patience already. Some days I don't know how I'm going to make it through. Some days I feel like I've got this motherhood thing down pat. Some days I want to curl up in bed and cry and some days a hug from my little man makes me feel like I could take on an army. In the end, I think we're all doing our best to raise our kids. There's been a lot of talk about moms not judging each other, but to be honest, I don't think that's the problem; some of the best support I have is from other moms. The mommy guilt isn't going to diminish until the media stops handing us the image of the perfect mother like some extravagantly wrapped gift.

So here's my mommy truth. I drop off my son at daycare in pyjama pants. I almost never get dinner on the table before 8 pm. My son sometimes runs out of clean socks and my living room hasn't been vacuumed in weeks. My name is Emmi Lawrence and I am an imperfect mother doing her damnedest.