30 June 2011

Out of Breath Mommy

I can remember being the "fun" aunt. I used to have endless amounts of energy to toss around my nieces and nephews when I came home for a visit. I could be seen on the floor wrestling and running around the yard in a good game of chase. And in those moments, I thought, what a good mommy I would make some day.

Turns out - parenting seems to take that endless energy and drain it. I now have kids with endless energy. And while I would love to wrestle and run and chase, I know that after I'm done doing that, I still have to do the dishes, the laundry, make dinner, etc. I have to reserve some of my energy for the practical stuff. I'm sure the fact that I'm older probably has something to do with my lack of oomph. But, frankly, parenting is wearing me out long before we get to play time.

I've tried to let the house go to play more and clean less, but there are some basics that have to be done like making lunch, dressing, diapering, teeth brushing, et al. I think the only solution is to find a really "fun" aunt to run around and chase the kids while I sit on the sidelines and catch my breath!

18 June 2011

Going It Alone

I love where we live, but it's biggest downfall is that its not near any of our family. Our nearest relative is five hours and an expensive ferry ride away. While I love my family, this distance never bothered me too much until I had kids. Going home twice a year, spending four or five days with my family at a stretch and keeping in touch throughout the rest of the year via phone and email was working for me. It wasn't ideal, but it was a sacrifice worth making to live in my favorite city. However, throw two kids into the mix and I start to get wistful about what my life would be like if my mom lived down the street.

Most of our friends here are surrounded by family and I have to admit that I'm jealous. The ability to drop your kids off with their grandparents for an afternoon is something I can only day dream about. I imagine calling up my sister and having her ask why I sound so stressed and then offering to come over to entertain the kids in exchange for free dinner. That's my fantasy these days, folks! I haven't even gotten to the free day care. What would I do if one of my closest relatives offered to watch the kids for free so I could go back to work a few days a week? Run to the nearest phone and ask my old boss for a job. That's called having your cake and eating it too in my world.

While free day care and babysitting would be a dream come true, what bothers me the most is worrying that my kids are growing up without really getting to know their grandparents and cousins. EC asks about her grandparents every other day. She wants to know where they live and when she'll see them. Suddenly, twice a year visits seem inadequate. And this past year, our finances were tight and we didn't even get to visit that many times. I have such fond memories of spending time with my grandparents at least weekly when I was young. And I wish that for my kids. G grew up far away from his relatives and he still talks about how wonderful it was to visit his grandparents every summer. He was close to them despite the distance - in fact, LR is named after his grandmother. I can only hope that the kids will be able to form these attachments regardless of the distance. And that all the diversity and experiences that the city has to offer can make up for the lack of cousins living in the next town.

10 June 2011

Imperfect Morning

I sort of pride myself on not being one of "those" mommies whose children get into my fingernail polish and paint the carpet with it. I have most everything out of the reach of small fingers and watch them diligently. You know what they say about pride, don't you? It comes before a fall. Usually a big one.

This morning, G and I were awakened by the cries and shouts of wakefulness by our darling little girls at 5:26 am. Unfortunately, this is normal. We occasionally get to sleep in until 6 am, but 5:30 am is more the norm. And sometimes we try to convince them that its not time to get up yet. This morning they let us know just how foolish and futile that was.

When G crept back to bed, EC got into the top dresser where there is a basket of diaper cream, baby thermometers, and Vaseline. She decided to style LR's hair. I'm sure she had no way of knowing that she was setting the style for days, perhaps even weeks. With no scissors to be had, she glopped on a big ol' pile of Vaseline on top of her head and smeared it around. She added some to her own hair as well, but LR got the most of it.

I headed in a few minutes later and found the scene of the crime. Initially, I couldn't even believe it - what do you do for a head full of Vaseline? Poor LR had no idea what had happened, she was just happy that EC was letting her sit on her bed. After scooping them up and heading into the bathtub for multiple shampoos (useless, by the way), I started to develop some understanding about the situation that I was in. A situation of chagrin for all those times when I passed judgment on another mommy for this exact same thing.

And so, as my penance for being a judgmental mommy, I've got a nice greasy reminder of just how imperfect I am. And now, I'm off to Google how to get Vaseline out of someone's hair. Because the shampoo and dish liquid haven't worked and poor LR is leaving greasy spots everywhere she lays her head.

05 June 2011

Insane Mommy

I have mommy moments when I don't just feel guilty, I feel a little mean. Okay, a lot mean. And defensive. Tonight was one of those nights. The reason for my guilt is that I am currently sitting at a restaurant having dinner solo while G and the girls are fending for themselves at home. After I leave this restaurant where I am being waited on, I will go shopping while G bathes the girls and puts them to bed. I won't be there to kiss them goodnight. Big time mommy guilt. But here is my defense.

G has a deadline on Friday. He worked late several nights last week. He worked all day today which is Sunday. He will probably work late every night this week. I need a break from my little darlings so that tomorrow when EC tells me seventeen times that she wants a cowgirl doll for her birthday, I don't snap.

I love my kids and I want to be excited that EC loves cowgirls, but I have to tell ya. It's hard to sustain my excitement without a break from it all.

And so tonight when I told the girls goodbye and EC cried and pleaded that she wanted her Mommy, I felt mean, but I left anyway. Because I'm pretty sure I'll be meaner tomorrow without some time away.

Candice Barter

Sent from my iPhone, so please forgive my typos!

03 June 2011

Weight Loss Mommy

I was hoping to wait until I had ten pounds off to come and tell you that my attempt at Weight Watchers was a success, but as I slipped into a pair of old jeans this morning, I decided it was time to tout my achievements. This certain pair of jeans is from a shopping trip after I lost weight before getting pregnant with EC. So, while, I haven't quite reached my pre-EC weight, I'm fitting into the clothes and I'll take that!

I have, to date, lost 7 1/2 pounds since I started WW two months ago. On some days, that seems like a small achievement, but then I remind myself that I didn't even think I could stay on the program for two months. And sometimes I hear myself reminding EC that she needs to keep trying and not use the words, "I can't" quite so often. I need to follow my own advice.

One of the things I've always struggled with on diets is that I love to cook. Its a favorite pastime of mine and a love of cooking doesn't usually work well with a diet. So, I found (with a little help from my friends) a website from a like-minded gal who loves to cook and create recipes that are so very tasty and also WW friendly. The site is www.skinnytaste.com. The girls and G are big fans of the food I've made from this site and that is a true testament to the fact that these recipes do not make "diet" food. They make yummy food.

One of our favorite recipes has to be the Chocolate Zucchini Bread. The girls love it because it tastes like they are eating the moistest, richest chocolate cake. I love it because it feels indulgent, but isn't AND because my kids are getting a serving of a green vegetable every time they have a slice!

I'm going to copy the recipe here, but I'm doing so with props to Gina from skinnytaste.com and I encourage all of you to check out her site. The Swedish Meatballs are to die for and I've made a couple of the soups and some great latin fare for Cinco de Mayo, as well. Basically, all the recipes I've tried from her site have been delicious and easy to make. And her photography is pretty amazing too. I'm a girl who likes a good visual aid with her recipes.

So, a pat on the back to me for my 7 1/2 pounds and for finding a way to get zucchini into the diet of a 1 year old!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread courtesy of www.skinnytaste.com
Servings: Makes 16 slices (2 loaves of 8 slices each)
Serving size: 1 slice
Calories: 215

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
2 cups grated zucchini (1 medium)
baking spray

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3. Whisk eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate in another large bowl until blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in zucchini and walnuts. Pour the batter into prepared pans.

4. Bake the loaves 55 to 60 minutes (my convection oven only requires 45 minutes at this temp), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool completely.

5. Enjoy!