We spent a bunch of the weekend in a car, on a [small] road trip. Truth be told, I was kind of dreading it. I toyed back and forth between asking for a portable dvd player, and thinking they should learn to look out the windows and imagine, but assuming they would really just drive each other, and Jordan and I, crazy. A 5 year old, 3 1/2 year old, and an almost 2 year old. We don’t ever really go very far, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Truth be told – it went pretty great! They slept a bunch of the way there. We stopped for food, and then they snacked a bit, and played/sang/danced/talked the rest of the way. The way back was pretty similar. Except for Briar “MOOOing” for about an hour. Which was both hilarious and slightly unnerving. She’s going to be a cow for Halloween tomorrow.
I find that so many times I create the worst-case scenarios in my head as to how a trip anywhere is going to turn out. Whether that’s the grocery store, or the park, or a road trip. Sometimes I convince myself it’s not worth even going. And I don’t. Other times I go. Every so often (wayyy more than I’d like) I’ll go, and the worst-case scenarios ensue. But so many times, it’s my attitude going into the trip that is probably the cause of the disasters.
Anyhow. This weekend went great, and I’m really glad, because hopefully it’ll give me courage to try again. Get out and travel a little bit with these crazy kids.
It really was fun. Sure, there was some normal-kid stuff that happened. Attitudes that weren’t quite right, sleepy heads (which lead to slightly-cranky-heads), small quarrels. But it was fine. It was worth it. A great fall weekend to put in the books. Spent with some really wonderful people. 🙂
On to the food part!
May I present to you:
The BEST Goulash in the Entire World.
There is just no argument.
If you were to ask me what my favourite comfort-type style food was growing up, I would have to say this.
It’s equal parts yummy and amazing.
My mom and my Nannie both made it amazing-ly, though slightly different. And I’ve created a version that [I think] is awesome, and slightly different from theirs. This is a great weeknight meal if you are short on time, or just want to throw something together fairly quickly. A pan and a pot to dirty, serve with a salad, and voila! So great.
It’s a definite kid-friendly meal too!
For some reason, don’t ask me why, we grew up calling it “Chop Suey”. My hubby was very quick to inform me that it was not, in fact, chop suey. It was goulash. I’ve come to agree with him, but I do slip up every once in awhile and resort back to chop suey.
This makes a good sized batch – so it’s enough to feed a large family, or provide you with leftovers for lunches through the week!
Let’s make it!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs hamburger
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, diced finely
- 1 pepper, chopped
- 2 cans tomato soup
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- 2 cups macaroni
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Once it's hot, add in the onion and garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes. Add the peppers. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add hamburger. Cook until no longer red.
- While the hamburger is cooking, bring about 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Once it reaches a boil, add in your pasta. Cook until al dente.
- Once the hamburger is cooked through, add tomato soup, ketchup, salt, pepper, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Cook until warm.
- Drain pasta and add to saucepan. Stir in cheddar.
- As soon as it's heated through, it's ready to eat! So yummy!
- Tweak the flavours by adding more or less sugar, ketchup, and/or red pepper flakes.
If you’re looking for another comfort-food recipe, check out this Curry Chickpea Stew!
**This post may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry about them – they don’t cost you anything! I just get a percentage of the sale of whatever it might be. Thanks!**
Hey! I hope you’re all having a great week. Ours is flying by, as usual. It’s been a good week though.
We’re starting to really feel fall. It’s getting a cooler, and hasn’t warmed up in a few days. I guess it was bound to happen eventually. We be drinking all the tea, coffee, hot chocolate, you name a warm drink – we’re drinking it.
I love them. (Warm drinks, I mean.) They are so cozy, and yummy. And they make my hands warm. That really is one of my main reasons for loving to have one. My hands are cold from October, straight through until June or July.
Anyone else getting into the fall-swing-o-things? We’ve started thinking about Halloween costumes, and pumpkin carving. I’ve definitely had a PSL or two from Starbucks. I pulled out a scarf for the first time last night, though I haven’t really worn socks yet. (I guess those would help keep my toes a bit warmer…)
Anyhow. Halloween things, fall things, encouraging-Mom-articles, food. It’s all here in this week’s list.
- Black cat cake anybody? So cute.
- I think every mom ever has asked if it ever gets easier. Here‘s an article on that. We got this, mama.
- Adrianna at A Cozy Kitchen makes amazingly amazing food. Eg: Pumpkin chai scones with black tea glaze(!!?). And she even has a colouring cookbook! (Think colour the beautiful pages and then bake the wonderful food!)
- Pumpkin Creme Brulee Cake. Need I say more?
- A coatigan. Is this not the prettiest, coolest coat ever? I love it! And of course, it comes in mustard! (And many other great colours!)
- I’m a sucker for dresses. Especially black, and black… and sparkles every once in awhile!
- Warm drinks. Here’s a roundup I found. They all look pretty darned good!
- At Liv for Cake, she made this gorgeous Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake. Even if you never make it, just go look. It’s SO pretty.
I hope you all have a great rest of your week. Drink those warm drink for me, eh? (Or bring me one… that works too. 🙂 )
**Kiddos shelling beans. They LOVE doing it. And Briar loves playing with all the different coloured ones when it’s all done.
*Linked up on Honest Mum
Baking tip of the week: Clean your oven.
It’s not worth the ongoing smell of things burning, or the slight layer of smoke in your house that kind of burns your eyes and nose.
Take it from me. You should clean your oven.
(Not that I know from experience or anything.)
I seriously am not sure when I last cleaned my oven. But then again, I can’t remember where I put my tea 5 minutes ago. Or what I should be doing right now? There is probably something I should be doing right now.
It is with sorrow that I tell you that I made this delectable Pumpkin Cheesecake in an oven that smelled like burning hair. (Worst. Smell. EVER!) However, it did nothing to hinder the amazing-ness of the cheesecake itself. It simply meant that I couldn’t smell the wonderfulness of the cheesecake baking.
I made this cheesecake a few weeks ago, and it was pretty dang amazing. So! I thought I should make use of another seasonal flavour, and turn it into a pumpkin cheesecake! The crust is probably my favourite crust on a cheesecake so far! It’s like a shortbread crust. So it’s basically amazing. And then you make a wonderfully easy cheesecake, and top it with more shortbread-like crumbs.
Crumbs, crisps, crumbles. They’re the best, aren’t they? Anything topped with a mixture of sugar, flour, and butter is SO good. There’s just no arguing that.
Do I occasionally open the oven to steal extra crumbs off the top? Maybe. You’ll have to catch me in the act to make me admit to it.
On to the recipe!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup butter
- Pinch of salt
- 2 pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 10-inch spring form pan.
- Mix all ingredients together with a pastry cutter, until it resembles small crumbs.
- Press into pan, and bake for 6-8 minutes (until slightly browned).
- With a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in eggs, and vanilla, mix until combined. Add in the pumpkin. Stir in salt, sugar and spices.
- Spread over crust.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the cheesecake is baking, mix together flour, sugar, and butter until it resembles small crumbs. I totally do this with a wooden spoon. But you could use a pastry cutter as well.
- Don't eat them all.
- After the cheesecake has baked for 15 minutes, pull it out carefully and top with crumb.
- Put it back in the oven, and bake for 23-25 minutes. It should be slightly jiggly, but almost set. Let cool at room temperature before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
- Great served with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
Oh! The microwave keeps beeping. I think I found my tea!
**This post may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry about them – they don’t cost you anything! I just get a percentage of the sale of whatever it might be. Thanks!**
We have been continuing to keep our selves crazy busy. (I don’t think it’ll ever end. As much as I hate to say it – I’m kind of looking forward to some snow to keep us storm-stayed.) I just cannot believe that we’re making our way into the latter half of October.
I was grocery shopping [very late] last week one evening, and the staff at the store was putting all the Halloween stuff on sale and bringing out the Christmas things! That being said, I think Costco has had a bunch of their Christmas stock out for almost a month! I’m NOT ready for that yet!
I have lots of stuff to share this week. I was busy on the internet searching for things. Always searching.
I’m having a Steeped Tea party on Saturday with some lovely ladies, so I’m looking for recipes for that night. Briar’s birthday is fast approaching, and girly cakes (!!) are exciting to me. I’m still deciding on a dress to sew Briar, and quilt patterns, meal recipes, etc. You name it, I’m searching the web for it.
- Here are a couple of books (fiction novels) that I thought looked good enough to read. They’re on my to-read list.
- In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume
- Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books, by Cara Nicoletti
- Today Will be Different, by Maria Semple
- While we’re on a reading kick, I also thought these two books looked great in a thought-provoking and encouraging kind of way:
- A tea party = Scones, right? What kind though? Maple Date, Peach Cobbler, Blueberry Lavender, Apple Ginger. The options are endless. Help!
- Blow-your-mind diy: Paper Marbling with shaving cream and food colouring. It’s SO COOL. I might just go use all hubby’s shaving cream. Seriously though, even if you aren’t interested in doing it – go look at it! It’s beautiful!
- I’m always on the hunt for jackets. Mostly because they get worn so stinking much here. Cape-style (mustard!), long and burgundy, moto jacket (mustard again!), gray blazer, red tweed, and a navy peacoat.
- IKEA‘s new 2017 catalog is now available!! I LOVE devouring the pages of their yearly catalogs. They really do have some awesome products, and the layouts of the rooms in the catalogs are amazing! You can get one for free in the mail. Do it. Such a good look-book.
There you have it! Random bits of stuff.
**Fall colours everywhere! Photo credits to hubby.
I sometimes wish that I had the time to jot down what I’m thinking about writing for a post right when I think of it. Truth is – I don’t. Saturday, when I was making these scones, I had great ideas about what to write in the post. However, I was also doing laundry, refereeing children, trying to get them all dressed and ready to go, and making the house semi-presentable. Oh, and making the best scones ever. All I can remember about what I was going to write is that is was pretty good! Maybe it’ll come back to me as I go along.
I think it had something to do with the strong flavours that I seem to have a tendency to love. I’ve mentioned before that I love all things peanut butter, anything with lavender in it, and ginger. Ginger, oh ginger. You are so yummy. I normally keep a container of crystallized (or I call it candied) ginger in my cupboard. It’s a great sweet treat every once in awhile. Spicy and sweet. Guess who else likes it? My boys! I think it’s pretty great that they share some of my loves. Especially this one, because wow! Sometimes that stuff is REALLY spicy.
There is a bakery in town that makes apricot ginger scones. And I LOVE them. The mellowing flavour of the apricot and the spicy kick from the ginger come together to make a bonkers awesome scone. And I love those chewy chunks of both. I don’t really like spending $4 for one scone though. I wanted to try to recreate for at home, but using a seasonal fruit.
We went apple picking last weekend, so I had some really great ones on hand. I think I used a Cortland. It was a pretty big apple, but I used the whole thing – if you want less of an apple party in your scone, I’d suggest using a small apple, or only using half a large one. It’s definitely customizable.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped
- 1 medium apple, peeled and diced
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted (for brushing)
- Sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the first four dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, until the crumbs resemble small peas.
- Pour in buttermilk and vanilla, and stir lightly, until just combined.
- Add in ginger and apples.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a circle (about 9-10 inches diameter, 1 inch thick, or so). Cut into 6-8 pieces. Transfer to cookie sheet, leaving at least a 1/4 inch between scones. Brush tops with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes, and then either EAT or transfer to a cooling rack.
- You can most certainly cut these smaller, if you just want bite-sized scones, or cut them out into rounds! Whatever you're looking to do. Just note that they might have a shorter bake time if they're smaller.
Week 10 – Wut! Wut! 10 consistent weeks. That calls for a party or something, right?
I hope all you Canadians had a fantastic weekend, with lots of friends, family, and food! We sure did. I love the influx of people meandering through our house, and the ample quantities of caffeine consumed. Tea and/or coffee with every visit. Not to mention the excuse to get together with family members that we just don’t see often enough, even though we live withing easy driving distance. It’s so great to spend some time with people.
I guess I could do a little jig about what I”m thankful for, huh?
Starting off, I’m thankful for my Saviour, and the sanity & peace He grants me each day. My wonderful hubby, and the smile he [almost] always puts on my face. We’ve been best friends for so long, I’m still amazed that we got married 6 + years ago. It’s pretty cool. And then we had three crazy kids together! And I’m so thankful for each of them, though they drive me to the brink of insanity every day. 😉 I’m thankful for all of our extended family, for putting up with us, and always being there. For our house, where we can have lovely people over, and make memories together. I’m thankful for fall, and the beautiful colours we have here. It’s so gorgeous right now, and my kids are oohhing and ahhing every time we go for a walk. I love that they appreciate it too. I’m thankful for good food. And lists. They keep my scattered brain on track.
I’m sure I’m thankful for much more, but I’m sure y’all have heard a lot of that this past week, so I’ll spare you past the lists… Ha.
On that note – your weekly list! I’ve been on a pinning spree in the sewing department (let’s see if I ever actually get anything sewn), so you’ll see some of that, some foooood, and some other random stuff!
- I made this cake for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house. I thought I may have killed about 10 of my sibling/cousins, due to all the groaning going on in the living room. It was over-the-top amazing. Super rich, and filling, but oh! So worth it.
- I get emails from Style Sweet CA (she’s amazing!!), and she compiled a bunch of her apple recipes in an email. They all look so great I thought I’d share. Her Honey-Apple Layer Cake, Apple Blackberry Pie, Salted Caramel Pie, Apple Toffee Crunch Cake, Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting (<–WOW!), and Easy Cinnamon Apple Galette. She writes for so many huge websites!
- I thought I’d throw in one of my own apple recipes. It’s from the old blog and not quite reformatted yet, but these Apple Jelly Tea Rolls are SO good. I’ve gotta make them again!
- I hate shower curtains. They cling to you, they’re just super annoying and kind of gross. But I’d consider getting this one. (Not to mention how beautiful the bathroom is that it’s styled it!)
- In university, I had a prof in a Cooking 101 class that was VERY adamant about NOT putting your knives in the dishwasher. She was so passionate about it that I listened to her. (And I REALLY don’t enjoy doing dishes.) I still try not to put knives in the dishwasher. This is why you shouldn’t.
- I thought this article was pretty interesting. He had a stroke at 26. Take time to slow down. You are special to people around you.
- Re-purposing things for you kids, some really great ideas!
- I’ve been really wanting to sew something for Briar, and I’m not good at following direction, so I just pin ideas of things that I may be able to do without instruction. This dress, and these dresses. So adorable.
Have a great end-0f-your-week!
**Me holding that amazing cake mentioned in #1. It was so yummy. Forgive the tired eyes. A migraine was in progress in this picture…
Coming soon: A Month in Pictures – September installment.
There is something in the fall air that makes me crave soup. Soup and fresh carbs of some sort. Homemade bread, biscuits, corn bread. Okay. Maybe I just want soup because it makes me feel okay about eating a slab of bread.
Really though, I do love soup.
And Briar does too! She shovels it in like there’s no tomorrow. Even if Mommy may have made it a touch too spicy for the kids. If there are chickpeas involved – even better. She digs those out first, and then finishes the rest of the soup off. Funny kid, eh? I feel like most kids would leave those for last, and then mush them up and try to make them look like they aren’t there. (Sounds like something I might have done….)
I whipped this up in the spring with every intention to make it again. It took me awhile, but once fall rolls around, I’m ready for those cozy stews and soups again. It’s so easy and so yummy! And you don’t have to remember to thaw protein! (Which I am absolutely the worst at remembering! Much to my mother’s dismay. She always remembers. I have much to live up to. 😉 )
That to say, this is a vegetarian stew. Which I love, every once in awhile.
I only make somethings sans meat about once every two weeks. Because my hubby seems to think he might die if there is no meat in a meal. So extreme.
In his brain a meal = meat. If there is no meat, it’s just a snack. Or something like that.
Did I say it’s easy? Because it totally is. You literally have to chop a handful of things, and then just throw the rest in, and cook for awhile. Result = amazing.
It’s even more amazing the day after. Somehow. You know how chilis, soups, and stews just grow in flavour overnight? It’s pretty awesome.
This would be great to make after all the turkey that has been eaten this weekend. I know you’re sick of slaving in the kitchen. Heck, you might even be able to get your hubbies to make it. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I wasn’t kidding about eating it with a hunk of some sort of carb either. It’s a necessity. Preferably a fresh, warm carb, slathered in butter. Melty, drippy butter. Soaking into a warm, yummy bread. Gahh! My stomach is currently demanding I get up and make bread. (It’s 9pm – there’s no possible way I’m doing that.)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 4-5 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 sweet pepper, diced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 cans chickpeas
- 2 cups pasta (your choice - I've used egg noodles, and fusilli)
- 3-4 big handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 -3 Tbsp curry
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, sweet potato and onion. Sautee for 8-10 minutes, and then add the garlic and peppers. Once the garlic starts to brown a bit and your house smells amazing, throw in the spices, and cook for about 2 more minutes. Get those flavours rolling.
- Pour in stock, diced tomatoes, and chickpeas. Cook for 20-25 minutes.
- About 10 minutes before serving, add in your pasta and cook until it's al dente. Stir in the spinach until wilted, and serve!
- Adjust the spices (curry and cayenne) to your liking! Make it spicier, or turn the heat down.
- This also freezes great! And it makes enough that you may be able to eat a meal and then freeze a meal (depending on how ravenous you may be).
**This post contains affiliate links.
Welcome to October. I have entirely and completely accepted the change of the season. You might say I’ve even embraced it. We went full-fledged autumn this weekend, going to a corn maze, on TWO hayrides, and apple picking. Proud of me? 😉 I’ve also deemed it too cold for the boys to wear shorts, much to Jude’s dismay. He would probably wear shorts year-round, for some reason.
Me? I had a blast last week going through the kids clothes. I love switching them all around., and organizing them. Any clothes that Cael has grown out of [that have survived] go to Jude, who gets super pumped about wearing ‘new clothes’. We are super blessed to get amazing hand-me-downs for both Cael and Briar. Cael LOVES getting a batch of new clothes, and I love going through all the little girl clothes (SO cute!). We’re all set until summer of 2017.
I also just wanted to thank you guys for all the love for my last post. It was a different style for me, and I have a hard time being that open, but I much appreciated all the love.
On to the list! I definitely threw some fall things into the list. There are some Thanksgiving dinner & dessert ideas – check em out. As well at the usual random stuff!
- We be talking workout gear. I stumbled on Albion Fit. They have rocking workout clothes AND cute and comfy clothes to wear when you’re not working out. My faves are this sports bra, this swing top, and these joggers. They look SO comfortable.
- Little Men, by A. Alcott. It’s a follow-up to the classic, Little Women. It’s pretty good, so far! I’ve had an old copy of it to read for at least 10 years, and am just getting around to it.
- I made my own version of this Gingerbread Latte Cake this week. Wow. It was SO good. I’d definitely suggest if for Thanksgiving dessert. Or for breakfast.
- I definitely needed this article this week, “8 Ways to Fight Mom Exhaustion (Other than Sleep)“. She’s got some great tips (*hint-they include chocolate)
- I’m going to go full FALL on you and link up some pumpkin stuff. Check out this Pumpkin Spice Face Wash recipe, this Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Monkey Bread (<—- wut, wut!), and this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. Yum!
- Want to change up your Thanksgiving table? This Garlic Butter Mushroom Risotto is SOOO good. I made it last week, and it was a hit. It would be a fantastic change to potatoes. Also, this Mustard Cheese Fondue recipe looks pretty darn awesome as an appetizer for those vultures (mostly the teen-20-year-old guys, and me – at least in my house) while they wait for the main event.
**Briar in all her glory. The pigtails kill me. They’re so funny and cute all wrapped up. And she is such a ham.
This is post is going to be a bit different than many of my posts. I’m going to delve into the topic of Motherhood.
Just a disclaimer that I’m going to be honest and blunt. If you don’t enjoy bluntness, go back a few posts, and check out the Blueberry Lemon Pie, or Ginger Ice Cream instead (you’ll love both – I promise).
A few days ago, a friend of mine posted this article on Facebook. I read it, because it had an honest feel about it. Tears threaten to spill when I read articles on new motherhood. Mostly because I can remember it like it’s still happening. I thought I’d expound on this article, and [hopefully] spread some encouragement at the same time.
If you are anything like me (and I think most of us are pretty similar, whether we like to admit it or not), then parenting had passed through your minds quite a few times before you actually found out you were pregnant. For me, it started probably around 5. I knew I wanted to have babies someday. It continued to grow into a real desire in high school. A year after I graduated, I married my high school sweetheart. Months later, we found out we were having a baby. We had been trying, but it still feels like a surprise when you find out that it has actually happened. A baby has been conceived. There’s a living person inside of you. Wow. It’s breathtakingly amazing, and completely horrifying at the same time.
From those first thoughts as a 5 year old, and on into pregnancy, I had opinions and ideals about babies, and parenting. I had voiced some of them out loud. Others I kept hidden. Most of them were wrong.
I went back and forth with, “How can I possibly bear, and then raise a child?”, to “I can do this! I’ve been waiting for years to do this. I had 4 younger brothers, I know what I’m doing. I’ve got it in the bag.”
We are all insanely naive. Like it or not.
None of us have any idea what we’re doing. Whether we’ve had years of babysitting experience, nieces and nephews to take care of, or taught elementary school. Nothing prepares you for having a baby.
I’m not writing this to scare anyone away from having children. I’ve had three so far. If it wasn’t worth it, I would have stopped at 1, believe me. I’m writing this to hopefully open your eyes to what is to come.
I will glow when I’m pregnant. I will feel great.
These were ideas I had prior to getting pregnant. (Obviously. If you knew me when I was pregnant with any of my babies, you’ll know this was not true in any way.) As soon as I got pregnant, I became nauseous. I felt fat. I worried that any little thing I did might hurt the precious cargo inside of me. (Remember, this was baby #1. Things changed a bit after that first one. Oh, how that first one teaches you things about yourself!)
But, through the nausea, and the crazy emotional roller-coaster I was putting my poor, new hubby through, I thought that once the baby was here, I’d have it all together.
I’d have it all together. Right. Like I’ve ever had anything all together. EVER. Just because you’re becoming a mother does not mean you will suddenly be great at everything to do with motherhood. Please trust me on that. I thought I’d breastfeed for at least six months, and that it would be easy. I thought that I’d be able to get enough sleep, so as to not feel like an actual real life zombie. Those mom’s who couldn’t get enough sleep mustn’t be doing it right. And nursing, it’s natural, right? It must be so easy! There were no thoughts of, “What if my baby doesn’t poop for 9 days?” or “How will I find time to do anything at all?”. I figured it would take a few days to get used to, and then we’d be good to go.
I’d love my baby so much that it wouldn’t matter.
I’d love him so much ALL THE TIME, that I could deal with things that might not go right.
I had gotten all of the advice. Other moms had filled me in with advice like, “Nap when the baby naps”, and “Enjoy every minute, it goes by so fast”. They left out the hard parts. It is so easy to do that. You don’t want new moms to know about all of the hard work that being a new mom is. The hard parts that they might have shared, I kind of shrugged off. That doesn’t apply to me, I’m so special. Right.
Baby came into the world a day early. Starting there, I should have seen how naive I was about it all. I had planned to work that day. Even after my water broke, I figured it would take forever, so WHY NOT go in for a four hour shift? (It’s a good thing I didn’t, the baby would have been born on the floor of the grocery store.) My hubby, however, convinced me that we should go into the hospital. Delivery was actually okay. It sucked, but I wasn’t scarred for life. Delivering the placenta though. It’s the grossest, most horrible thing ever. For some reason I hadn’t realized that I’d have to push again, after the baby was already here. I’ve spoken to other moms who have said the same thing. They weren’t really expecting that.
Then we tried to nurse.
“Your nipples aren’t shaped right. Hasn’t anyone told you that before?” asks my nurse.
No. In fact, they had not. What does that even mean?!
It means that nursing sucks. Especially with a tongue-tied newborn.
We tried every position, got his tongue-tie clipped, pumped until I was raw. After a few days the breastfeeding expert decided that, yes, maybe we should try a shield (WHY DIDN’T YOU GIVE IT TO ME THE FIRST DAY?!). For those who don’t know (because seriously, who knows these things until one absolutely has to?), a shield is a rubber cover for your nipple. To make it ‘right’, if you’re not shaped correctly.
I also wasn’t informed that my baby might want to feed every time, for an hour at a time. And will need to be fed (at minimum!) every four hours. That basically means you feel like you are always feeding your baby. I felt like a cow, and smelled like sour milk.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about you.
You will love that babe with all your heart when you see them. Even though they might be covered with blood when they’re first placed on your chest. Even though your first thought may be, “Ewww, gross!”. You will love them.
And it will be hard.
There are a few mothers I’ve spoken to who are just naturals. Everything is easy. But they also question things. They don’t know all the right answers either.
It is hard.
There are no two ways to look at it.
You will feed your babe, lay them down, and try your best to do as many of the things that might be normal for you, before having to feed your babe again. You won’t get half of it done. Baby will wake up earlier than hoped. You will feel discouraged. It’s okay.
It’s okay, because you have just brought a beautiful new life into the world. You will not enjoy every minute of it. People advise you to, and when you don’t you will feel like you must be doing something wrong.
It’s okay. You aren’t. Not everything about being a parent is enjoyable. It’s just not.
You will feel tired. I found that I was the most tired after the babe was around 6-8 weeks old. All of those crazy days and not-very-rest-filled-nights caught up to me around then. I’d find myself nodding off whenever I sat down to nurse.
You will hurt. My body hurt so much more the first time. The shock of birth, I guess. It took so many weeks to stop bleeding. (Another thing you might not think of right before you’re having a baby – stock up on pads!) Some people don’t bleed very long. I wanted so badly to go back to running, and couldn’t. Discouraged. Again.
Give yourself time to heal. Give yourself time to get used to a completely different lifestyle. You will never be a childless woman ever again. You will always have this child to love, to worry about.
Don’t expect a great many thing to get done for the first few months. Yes, I said MONTHS. Those extra things that you thought you might get done on maternity leave, they won’t happen right away. You might get chance to do them eventually. Truly.
You might wish you could be back at work. Contributing to society. Contributing to the finances of the family. Talking to grown adults. Then you’ll feel bad about wishing that. But it’s okay. It’s normal. This is a huge change! (Not to mention your hormones are definitely making you crazy at this point.)
You are doing an amazing thing right where you are. You have borne, and birthed a child. You are helping the same child, nurturing him, already shaping him into who he’ll grow up to be. You are contributing to society by giving them a new member. (And a dang cute one at that!)
You are doing a great job.
The best job, in fact.
New moms out there, I’d like to say it gets easier. In some ways, it might seem like it for a season. I think it stays the same. Each stage with a child is hard. Different hard, but all difficult.
You will learn how to do a zillion things, all while carrying a baby. Eventually you won’t have to do that anymore. But then you’ll have to learn how to do anything with a toddler running around, getting into everything. All of the stages present difficulty. It is the greatest learning process ever.
And you will learn more about yourself than you ever could, doing anything else. Becoming a mother is humbling. You may have heard this advice pre-baby and not quite understood it. You do now. You learn how much you care about how you look. You learn how selfish you are. You learn how little you really know about raising a baby, or heck, life for that matter. You learn how little patience you have.
All of these things you’ll learn. They’ll make you feel discouraged. Everybody else must be doing better than me. They’re not as selfish, they don’t have as little patience, they don’t care about how they or their houses look (though they both always look fantastic!). We all have these self-doubting thoughts. They’re not true.
You’ll get better. You’ll learn to have a little bit more patience. You’ll learn more about how to raise a baby. You are enough for your babe. You will continue being enough.
And you are becoming a better person, a better Mom, in this whole process.
I really hope you enjoyed this, and will share it with any new moms in your lives.
Part two will follow in a week or two (or three?).
Thanks for enduring – it was a long one. 🙂
*Briar as a newborn (only hours old)
*Myself and Briar on the first day. (Notice I look happy. This was baby number three. As much as each babe is a new challenge, and still hard, I found each to also be a little bit easier, knowing what I’m about to come up against.)