My Chili! Recipe

SAM_1287

Chili! Recipe

Yields Approximately 10 Small Bowls

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of jalapenos, diced
1 cup of celery, diced
1 green bell peeper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of drained kidney beans
1 can of undrained kidney beans
1 can of half drained cannellini beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato puree
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp hot sauce (the good stuff)
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 lbs of ground beef
1/2 lbs of ground turkey

Directions:

  1. Brown meat over medium high heat in a skillet until evenly cooked. Drain grease.
  2. Place the meat in a slow cooker, and mix in jalapenos, onion, celery, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and cannellini beans. Season with chili powder, parsley, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and hot sauce.
  3. Cover, and cook for 8+ hours on Low.

Breast Milk versus Formula: What a joke!

Breastfeeding is the healthiest and best way to feed your baby! But you shouldn’t breastfeed in public, supplementing with formula is a bad idea, you’re baby’s digestive issues are caused by your milk, you’re baby isn’t gaining enough weight due to your lack of milk, you don’t breastfeed enough, you breastfeed too often, blah, blah, blah, blah…….

Obviously breast milk is beneficial to a new baby, but breastfeeding is nearly as hard as the delivery. Rarely does a new mom receive the support needed to breastfeed and society makes breastfeeding in public taboo. A stressed out, exhausted, sore, and inexperienced mother is expected to nurse like a pro immediately; but I can tell you from experience, it isn’t easy or pleasant to nurse, (in the beginning.) After time, lots of practice, and some mistakes, a breastfeeding mom can finally call herself a pro. That is, if she is still nursing and hasn’t been discouraged by the sore nipples, engorgement, night time feedings, colic, baby’s constant hunger, endless feedings, inability to pump, leaking breasts, desire to spend more than a couple of hours in public without the need to nurse, etc. I could go on for hours describing how incredibly difficult it can be.

Once optimal breastfeeding has been established, it is the easiest way to feed a baby. No bottles to wash, no formula to prepare, no heavy supplies to carry on long trips; it’s fantastic. But there’s just a little problem: where is a woman to breastfeed when on extended outings, events, or trips? Some department stores, like Nordstrom, will provide a lounge, while others will gladly make room in their largest and most comfortable dressing rooms for mom’s and their little ones. Most places are nothing like these department stores. In one instance, I approached an employee at Target and asked if they had a family room or private seating area that I could us to breastfeed.The young girl looked at me in confusion and said they had a family bathroom I could use. I asked if the bathroom included a chair; her reply, “no, it just has a toilet.” My point is, shouldn’t breastfeeding, the most natural way to feed a baby, be as common as using a baby changing station? Why don’t most places provide a private area for women to feed their babies? Is this a ridiculous request?

I realize that I am able to throw a blanket over the baby while he is nursing, but the looks a woman gets while breastfeeding in public range from understanding to outright disgust. It is easy to tell a mother not to worry about what other people think, but some women tend to be more modest than others. And have you ever tried covering yourselves with a blanket while trying to wrestle your breast out of your nursing tank and holding a squirming baby in a public setting without being completely obvious? All I’m saying is that I would love to be able to run errands and know that I will be able to find a private and comfortable place to nurse my son. Is that too much to ask for?

I have overcome establishing my milk supply, created a convenient feeding schedule, and become proficient at nursing in the car, fitting rooms, my friends’ and families’ homes, and some public places, like the above mentioned department stores. The rest of the time, I have supplemented with formula. Formula has become the best and most efficient way to feed Rylan while on outings and it also allows for Rich to feed the baby when he is home from work. The decision to use formula was not an easy one. Just the thought of one feeding a day with formula made me burst into tears. I can attribute this ridiculous emotional response to hormones, another great side effect a breastfeeding mom gets to endure.

Most of the literature I’ve found online regarding supplementing with formula stated that it would have a negative effect on my milk supply. My milk supply has decreased slightly, but I don’t find that negative since I still produce enough for Rylan. Since we began supplementing, he has slept through the night nearly every night (usually from 9pm until 5am). If I discontinue the one formula feeding a day, he wakes at least once to nurse between 3 and 4am. I am able to take my baby with me to do errands and not worry about  where I will nurse if he is hungry. A huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulder in that regard. The guilt of not exclusively breastfeeding, though, has not abated.

So to all you exclusively breastfeeding mothers out there: Great Job! For mothers that are only able to nurse for a short while or only occasionally: You are amazing for being able to breastfeed even a little. And to those women that are not able to breastfeed and had to use formula from the beginning or chose to use formula: There is no shame in it at all. I grew up on formula, my friends have raised their children on it, and formula has only gotten better with time. The importance of loving your baby and keeping him healthy outweighs what anyone says about breastfeeding versus formula. Care for your little one and care for yourself, everything else is secondary.

SAM_0769

Memorial Day Weekend

 

funny
I’m not sure which one of them hated the baby carrier more.

Rich and I were extremely busy this Memorial Day Weekend. I don’t know where to start, Friday night with our Pizza binge or Saturday with my Wedding Dress fiasco.

Both of us have discussed the need to lose weight, yet we stuffed our faces (and stomachs) with delicious, carby cheesy-pizza and bread sticks on Friday night. Granted, we only had 2 pieces each and saved the rest, but that does not excuse our behavior. I take the blame for that indiscretion; I was the one that brought the idea up and continued to talk about my craving until Rich was pulled into my insanity. After eating the incredibly fattening meal, we both regretted it, but my craving was satiated.

Saturday morning, we needed to go to Nordstrom to get my Wedding dress altered and stop by West Marine to look for a boat trailer part. I had a feeling my dress wasn’t going to work, since my grotesquely large breasts wouldn’t fit into it at all. I’m pretty sure the seamstress nearly fainted when she saw me wearing the dress. Sadly, I had to return it, but with the help of a Nordstrom veteran and friend, Shannon Muller, I managed to not only find a new Wedding dress, but a bra and pair of Spanx for a seamless presentation. I purchased a pair of shoes to complete the look and left the store. The entire ordeal lasted (only) 3 hours. Rich and baby Rylan were troopers, and we managed to leave without either of them, nor me, bursting into tears.

SAM_0947
Like father, like son.

 

After addressing the Wedding dress issue, our happy little family stopped by an outdoor restaurant called the Rum Bar to feed Rylan a bottle and eat a bit of lunch ourselves. The day was perfect for an outdoor meal and all three of us left content and full.

 

 

Unfortunately, our stop at West Marine for the U-bolt necessary to fix the boat trailer failed miserably, and we made and impromptu stop at Lowe’s, which also yielded no positive results. Rich attempted to make the part from some pieces of metal, but that did not work out either. He did determine the boat needed a new engine cover, and that turned out to be the only project that was completed on Memorial Day (after a failed trip to Home Depot, and a second stop at Lowe’s to get some wood cut into the proper sizes.)

ruby tuesdays
We had lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s with Andrea.

All of this occurred over our three day weekend and I haven’t even mentioned my sister, Andrea, visiting Saturday through Monday. Andrea arrived and we ate a delicious meal of Ribeye and Salad. We finished Saturday night with an attempt at watching Batman, but were unable to stay awake. Sunday morning, our little band stopped at Wellington Mall, and Rich and I found Wedding bands that we both love. We grabbed some lunch at Ruby Tuesdays in the mall, enjoyed a few good laughs and a great meal.

 

beachtime
Finally, a successful trip to the beach.

The next stop was the beach to collect shells for the Wedding favors we are preparing for our guests. I got some much needed exercise and a bit of a tan picking up shells with Andrea, while Rich and Rylan sat in the shade for some Father-Son bonding time. Dinner consisted of ice cream at City Place before we headed home and somehow managed to watch Star Trek in it’s entirety.

 

Memorial Day was a great finish to a fantastic weekend. Andrea made it safely back home and our little family spent some quality time outdoors. Rich constructed a new engine cover for the boat, and Rylan and I enjoyed a cool breeze. Our evening was complete with all three of us exhausted and ready for a good night of rest. This was definitely the best Memorial Day Weekend.

It’s my Birthday!

It’s my Birthday! What does that mean? It means I’m 24 years old. Nothing else and nothing more. I grew up with the belief that birthdays are the most important day of the year for each individual person. Turns out, that is only true for kids. Once we reach a certain age, our special day is not so special anymore. Does this bother me? Not really. Especially now that I have a kid of my own.

Every day I am reminded that I am no longer the point which the Universe revolves around.   That’s a scary thought. It’s funny that it took me nearly a quarter of a century to realize that; and I am not offended by it at all. Today concretes that knowledge even more, especially when anyone asks me what I want for my birthday. I think about it and my answer has been, “I don’t know,” every time. That’s not completely true, though. I know what I want.

My Family
My Family

I know what I want. My husband, the person that makes me feel special every day. My son, the kid that can make my heart burst each time he smiles. My family. There is no gift in the Universe that could be better than that and I know this will be the best birthday yet.

My first attempt at Blogging

This is my first attempt at blogging. So here it goes:

Today I am working on setting up the new book case Richard and I purchased last night. I haven’t been able to fit all of my books in a bookcase… ever, actually. Seeing all of my books spread out on a five shelf bookcase has made me realize that I very much love my books. Every book I own, I have read at least once. One of the books, my favorite, The Stand by Stephen King, I have read nearly two dozen times. When I place my Kindle on one of the shelves, I add close to another hundred books to my collection. As you can tell, I am certified bookworm. That may change soon.

Today, I am 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The last few months of my life have revolved around being a “vessel” for my unborn son. (“Vessel” is what my family has dubbed me. As a joke, of course.) I eat, drink, breath, and sleep pregnancy. All of my actions throughout the day are a direct relation to continuing a healthy pregnancy. This may sound obsessive to some, but I feel that every good mother has gone through the same thing. Richard has been the most supportive partner through this entire process. I’m sure he is exhausted of hearing about every sleepless night, muscle cramp, bathroom trip, and complaint I have, but he always listens and offers good advice. We plan every future day, week, month, and year with the intention of providing the best life for our unborn child. We know the decisions we make no longer affect only our relationship, but our son as well.

2012-12-11_20_27_45Today, when Richard comes home from work, I will show him the bookcase and let him read my first blog. We will have dinner and continue working on setting up the baby’s room. Tomorrow, we will both go to work to make a good future for our son possible. Every day we prepare for our new family member and make plans for our lives together. The stories in my books never prepared me for what life is really like, to hold the hand of the man I love, nor what it will be like to hold my first child in my arms. I will always be a bookworm, collecting books, and needing more room for them; but now I will also be a mother, a wife, and caretaker, and maybe I will one day write a book of my own.